Diane Black Petition Urging Gov. Haslam to Sign the Anti-Sanctuary City Bill Receives ‘Overwhelming Response’

A spokesman from the Diane Black campaign for governor told The Tennessee Star over the weekend that their petition urging outgoing Governor Bill Haslam to sign recently-passed, anti-sanctuary city legislation into law has received an “overwhelming” amount of support by Tennesseans concerned about state and government officials turning a blind eye to illegal immigration and the issues arising from it. “The response we’ve received has been overwhelming, with over 1,000 Tennesseans signing our petition urging Governor Haslam to sign the sanctuary cities bill,” Black communications director Chris Hartline wrote. “It’s clear that Tennesseans support this common-sense bill that puts the safety and security of the people of Tennessee first.” Last Wednesday, the Black campaign launched a petition asking Tennessee residents to help them pressure Governor Haslam – who originally campaigned on confronting illegal immigration in the Volunteer State – to sign the Green-Reedy bill that closed key loopholes in the existing anti-sanctuary city legislation he signed in 2011: The Tennessee General Assembly passed a bill to end sanctuary cities in our state. Governor Haslam hasn’t signed the bill, and every day, those who support illegal immigration are emboldened by the inaction. Our governor should sign the bill without hesitation. If you agree, please…

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Tennessee Registry of Election Finance Gives Speaker Beth Harwell a Pass on Alleged Ethics Violations

Facing three ethics violations before the Registry of Election Finance House Speaker Beth Harwell walked out with a 3-0 decision to not proceed against her in any way. Perhaps the most significant of the three violations was the complaint that she used her PAC to promote her record as House Speaker…using the exact same ad team that is promoting her campaign for Governor. “Clearly, the Tennessee Registry doesn’t believe that such overlap of creative, production and placement of ads constitutes ‘coordination.’ That certainly opens the door for every other PAC and campaign to operate under the same ‘rules’ that they now have established with this ruling,” said Sharon Ford, President of the Tennessee Republican Assembly who filed the ethics complaints. One member of the Registry raised a specific concern about the precedent that the decision would establish but was ignored. Registry Chairman Tom Lawless singled out the State Attorney General for criticism for failing to give the Registry direction on how to proceed from a legal standpoint.  “This body requested an attorney general’s opinion to assist us in evaluating the complaints,” Lawless said. “The opinion was respectfully declined by the AG’s office because it appears the questions posed in the…

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Supreme Court Clears Way For Legal Sports Betting Across The Country

Sports Book Betting

by Kevin Daley   The U.S. Supreme Court Monday struck down a federal law effectively banning sports betting in most states. The decision is a boon for sports enthusiasts and dozens of states that hope to fill coffers with gambling revenue. The American Gaming Association estimates that Americans wager $150 billion in illegal sports gambling markets every year. At issue in the litigation is the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which restricts sports betting to Nevada and allows limited sports lotteries in Delaware, Montana, and Oregon. In a bid to revive Atlantic City’s faltering economic prospects, New Jersey decriminalized sports betting in 2014. A coalition of professional athletic associations led by the NCAA sued the state, arguing New Jersey was in violation of PASPA. In turn, New Jersey argued that PASPA is unconstitutional, since it compels the state to carry out a federal policy against its will. This, they argue, violates the principles of federalism laid out in the Constitution. A seven-justice majority led by Justice Samuel Alito agreed, finding PASPA forces the states to enact and enforce federal regulatory regimes. “It is as if federal officers were installed in state legislative chambers and were armed with the…

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Randy Boyd Locks Down More Legislative Endorsements

Randy Boyd and the TN Legislature

Republican candidate for Governor Randy Boyd has added to his list of endorsements from State Legislators. The Boyd campaign announced four State Senators and six State House members joining six other legislators who have previously endorsed the Knoxville businessman and former State Commissioner of Economic and Community Development. The latest Senate endorsements include Sen. Steve Dickerson from Nashville, Sen. Ed Jackson from Jackson, Sen. Jon Lundberg from Bristol, and Sen. Shane Reeves from Murfreesboro. House members endorsing Boyd in the new groups are Rep. Michael Curcio from Dickson, Rep. Martin Daniel from Knoxville, Rep. Ron Gant from Rossville, Rep. Gerald McCormick from Chattanooga, Rep. Bill Sanderson from Kenton, and Rep. Ron Travis from Dayton. They join previously announced legislative endorsements for Boyd by Sen. Richard Briggs, Sen. Becky Massey, Rep. Kent Calfee, Rep. John Ragan Rep. Cameron Sexton, and Rep. Eddie Smith. Massey is retiring Congressman Jimmy Duncan’s sister. In announcing his endorsement, former House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick said: “For me, it boils down to proven conservative leadership, both as a businessman and as a former state commissioner, and someone who has a bold, new vision for our state. Randy Boyd is the only candidate who meets both of…

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Commentary: Even Though the GOPe Edged Conservatives in Last Tuesday’s Primaries, There’s Plenty to Celebrate Going into the Fall Elections

by Jeffery Rendall   Establishment Republicans in the Washington swamp must have waited with bated breath on Tuesday night as they viewed the primary election results ticking slowly across the bottom of their TV news screens. Of particular concern for charter members of the capital bog was the GOP contest in West Virginia, where avowed anti-Mitch McConnell (and seemingly outwardly bigoted) oddball Don Blakenship was running surprisingly strongly in recent polls, suggesting another headache could be in the works for a DC ruling class that had just gotten over the aftermath of having to root against a fellow Republican in last year’s Alabama special election. This time the establishment came out on top – or at least they didn’t lose big – and conservatives should be glad. Blankenship ended up falling to the conservatives’ favorite in West Virginia, perhaps paving the way for a Republican senate seat pick-up (Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin is vulnerable) in November. There was good news for conservatives elsewhere as well. W. James Antle III of the Washington Examiner reported on Wednesday, “If Tuesday night’s Republican primary winners were not like [Alabama’s Judge Roy] Moore, they were not exactly rejecting Trump either. Rep. Jim Renacci, who won the GOP primary to…

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Early Voting Continues to Lag in Nashville Special Mayoral Election with Less Than 9,000 Votes Cast and Only 5 More Days Left


Early voting continues to lag in the May 24 Nashville special mayoral election, as only 2,605 votes were cast in Nashville/Davidson County on Monday. Over nine days of early voting, only 8,419 votes have been cast. With just five days of early voting left between now and Saturday, the total number of early votes cast will be about 22,000 if the remaining days average 2,600 votes a day. Typically, however, the last three days of early voting see an uptick in activity. If that happens, early voting totals could reach about 25,000. You can see the daily breakdown by polling location, as provided by the Davidson County Election Commission to The Tennessee Star here: [pdf-embedder url=”https://tennesseestar.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/EV-Daily-Report-May-24-2018-Mayor-Dist-1.pdf” title=”EV Daily Report-May 24, 2018 Mayor & Dist 1″] Those numbers, however, pale in comparison to the 59,000 early votes cast in the May 1 transit plan referendum, which Nashville/Davidson County voters rejected overwhelmingly by a 64 percent to 36 percent margin. That election saw about 123,000 total votes cast. If current voting trends continue, the total number of votes cast are likely to come in at a range between a low of 46,000 and a high of 53,000. All estimates within that range…

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US Senate Committee to Vote On Trump CIA Pick Wednesday

Gina Haspel

The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee will vote on Wednesday morning on President Donald Trump’s nominee to be the new director of the CIA, Gina Haspel, a committee aide said on Monday. The vote will take place behind closed doors, as is customary for the intelligence panel. Haspel was grilled by lawmakers at her confirmation hearing last week over her role in the agency’s past harsh interrogation system, pledging she would never restart the program or follow any morally objectionable order from Trump. The nominee, who would be the first woman director of the Central Intelligence Agency, is expected to be approved by the committee and confirmed by the full Senate, now that at least two Democrats – Senators Joe Manchin and Joe Donnelly – have said they would join Republicans in supporting her. Although Republicans John McCain and Rand Paul have announced opposition to Haspel, Trump’s fellow Republicans hold a 51-49-seat majority in the 100-member Senate and Vice President Mike Pence could vote to break a tie.               VOA News

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School Prayer Not OK, But Blocking Traffic Is, Socialist Protesters Say

Dozens of protesters sat in the crosswalk Monday in front of the Tennessee Capitol as part of the national Poor People’s Campaign, The Tennessean reported. The protest blocked afternoon rush hour traffic on the Victory Memorial Bridge (James Robertson Parkway), News Channel 5 reported. According to the group’s press release, Monday’s rally kicked off a six-week season of nonviolent direct action in Nashville, demanding a massive overhaul of the nation’s voting rights laws, the TV station said. There were more than 30 such protests nationwide. More than a dozen protesters were arrested Monday afternoon after they blocked a busy downtown Indianapolis street during rush hour, Denver 7 reported. The socialist Poor People’s Campaign styles itself as a way to “challenge the evils of systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, ecological devastation and the nation’s distorted morality.” The group’s website further adds, “We aim to shift the distorted moral narrative often promoted by religious extremists in the nation from issues like prayer in school, abortion, and gun rights to one that is concerned with how our society treats the poor, those on the margins, the least of these, women, LGBTQIA folks, workers, immigrants, the disabled and the sick; equality and representation under the law; and the…

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Ron DeSantis Says He May Know Who Was Spying On The Trump Campaign: ‘There Needs To Be Follow Up’

DeSantis Spy Insite

by Nick Givas   Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis of Florida thinks he may know who was spying on President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, but said further investigation is needed to get to the truth. Rumors of an FBI mole planted within the campaign have surfaced and DeSantis, a Florida gubernatorial candidate, believes the accusations have merit. “I know that we’re actively trying to get the underlying documents that would tell us — did they spy on the Trump campaign or not?” DeSantis said on “Fox & Friends” Monday. “The reason why a lot of us were suspicious was because Glen Simpson at one point, the head of Fusion GPS, testified that there was a human source inside the Trump campaign, based on his conversations with Christopher Steele. So it suggests that Steele as a British agent, may have been working with somebody who the FBI was also working with.” DeSantis said he may know the identity of the mole but believes it’s more important for Congress to confirm that the federal government was spying on the Trump campaign. “I think I may know the person just based on what I’ve learned, not even classified. But we don’t even need to know the name. We just…

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STUDY: Washington, D.C. Has the Worst Drug Use and Addiction of Anywhere in the U. S.

Washington DC

by Anders Hagstrom   Washington, D.C., has the highest rate of drug use and addiction of any state in the country, according to a WalletHub study released Monday. Drug addiction has become an epidemic in the U.S., claiming the lives of more than 60,000 Americans in 2016 — more than during the Vietnam War. The eastern U.S. has been hardest hit, with state and federal lawmakers scrambling for a solution. Some have proposed legal “injection sites” where addicts can shoot heroin safely to cut down on overdose deaths. The District of Columbia, Missouri, New Hampshire, Michigan, and West Virginia have been most ravaged by the crisis, while Minnesota is faring better than any other state, according to the WalletHub study. WalletHub ranked the jurisdictions based on three factors: rate of drug use and addiction, how law enforcement treats the drug trade, and the amount of drug health issues as well as the availability of rehab. D.C. was rated the worst in the country for both the drug addiction rate and drug health issues, while coming in 22nd in law enforcement, with one being the worst. President Donald Trump’s administration has made battling the opioid epidemic a top priority, with Attorney General…

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Columbia Private School Mock Trial Team 3rd Best in Nation

Agathos Mock Trial Team

A Columbia school has finished as third in the nation after appearing at a mock trial competition. Agathos Classical School’s Mock Trial Team finished its year ranking third in the nation after competing in the National Mock Trial Competition this weekend in Reno, Nevada, The Daily Herald reported. “They did all that could be asked of them,” Columbia attorney Jason Whatley, one of the team’s coaches, posted on Facebook. Cory Ricci was the other coach. The Columbia team and Washington state were the two undefeated teams, winning trials at the regional, state and national levels. Agathos Classical’s victories included defeating a two-time champion team from Georgia. Lead attorney Luke Worsham won Best Attorney, top 10 in the nation, Whatley said. Three of the teams Agathos Classical faced had top 10 attorneys, including North Carolina, which was the reigning champion. Teams from Washington and Minnesota finished first; Columbia’s team could not compete due to the program’s regulations. Agathos Classical team member students were: Worsham, Josiah Burns, Ella Seago, Luke Epley, Fern Greene, Samuel Whatley, Asher Black, Rebekah Epley, Levi Pettit, Matthew Whatley and Ethan Seago. Two of the 2018 team members were honored in the 2017 season: Worsham was awarded the…

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Melania Trump in Hospital for Procedure on Kidney Condition

Melania Trump underwent a procedure Monday morning to treat a benign kidney condition and will likely be hospitalized for the rest of the week, the White House said. President Donald Trump was expected to visit his wife at Walter Reed Medical Center just outside Washington later Monday, according to a White House official who was not authorized to disclose the plan and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. Her spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, said the procedure on the 48-year-old first lady was successful and there were no complications. The White House did not offer any additional details on Mrs. Trump’s condition. She was last seen in public on Wednesday at a White House event where she joined the president to honor military mothers and spouses for Mother’s Day. Mrs. Trump, who has been gradually raising her profile as first lady, recently hosted her first state dinner and launched a public awareness campaign to help children. With the president watching in the Rose Garden, Mrs. Trump last week unveiled the “Be Best” campaign, which she said will focus on childhood well-being, social media use and opioid abuse. The first lady lived full time in New York during the administration’s…

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Harwell, Like Boyd, Supported Elevating Political Influence of Current Chairman of National Council of La Raza

Beth Harwell, Renata Soto, Randy Boyd

After Renata Soto, founder and director of Nashville-based Conexion Americas became a leader in the National Council of La Raza, both GOP gubernatorial candidates Beth Harwell and Randy Boyd, helped elevate her influence in political circles. The Tennessee Judicial Council first appointed Soto to the Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission (JPEC) in 2009 so she could help decide which appellate judges should be “retained” or “replaced.” Soto was among the five JPEC members appointed by the Judicial Council and was appointed to a six-year term. The new law also authorized the Speakers of the House and the Senate to make the remaining appointments. Harwell became Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives in January 2011. An article written in 2015 by Supreme Court Justice Gary Wade, now retired, noted that in 2013, “bills were introduced to discharge all members of the Commission—primarily designed to remove Kent Williams’ appointee and that of the Judicial Council. While passing in the Senate, the bills failed to pass in the House. Ultimately, the JPEC ‘sunsetted’ in 2014.” Speaker Harwell and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey were sued by John Jay Hooker alleging that their 2014 JPEC appointments violated the race and gender apportionments required by Tennessee law, and…

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