Governor Bill Lee Signs Several Election Bills Into Law

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed several election-related bills into law last week, which were passed by the General Assembly before it took a two-month recess caused by the coronavirus.

The most controversial bill signed by Lee scales back restrictions on community voter registration efforts that were put in place in 2019 by the Republican-controlled Legislature. The new bill removes “misdemeanor penalties for not completing certain administrative requirements” and eliminates fines for submitting an abundance of incomplete voter registration forms.

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Nashville Chief Public Defender Wants Even More Inmates Released Due to COVID-19

Metro Nashville Chief Public Defender Martesha L. Johnson has formally asked that members of the Davidson County Criminal Court immediately release an additional number of inmates from jail because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

These inmates are housed in the Davidson County Sheriff’s Department and at Core Civic facilities, Johnson said.

“It is perhaps an unprecedented request for relief in Nashville, but has been utilized in jurisdictions across the country,” Johnson said in her motion.

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Senator Marsha Blackburn Urges FDA to Respond to Critical Drug Shortages

Senator Marsha Blackburn

U.S. Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee this week urged U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials to address shortages of drugs used to treat patients with lupus.

Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, used to treat autoimmune diseases like lupus, are currently used to treat COVID-19.

“We should not be facing a choice between treating lupus and COVID-19,” Blackburn said in a statement.

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Representative Mark Green Asks Tennesseans to Cover Their Mouths While Out in Public

Rep Mark Green

U.S. Rep. Mark Green (R-TN-07) said people don’t necessarily need masks over their heads right now to protect themselves from COVID-19.

But Green still asked people late last week to cover their mouths when they are out in public.

“If you put your hand over your mouth at Publix while you are walking around, as long as your hand is sanitized, anything you put over your mouth will decrease the amount of the viral load that you inhale,” Green said during a Tele-Town hall phone call with constituents Friday.

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Border Patrol Catches Child Sex Offender Attempting to Illegally Enter the US

CBP detainee

Border Patrol agents on Thursday apprehended a 29-year-old Honduran national after he unlawfully entered United States territory via the Arizona-Mexico border.

Rudy Chirinos-Hernandez was arrested by agents patrolling the desert near Sells, Arizona, according to a press release by Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Following his apprehension, agents conducted a records check and discovered that Hernandez had been convicted of sexual assault against a minor — a felony offense — in 2012 in Dallas, Texas.

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Analysis: Tennessee, Other States Should Expect Significant Revenue Shortfalls in State Budgets

Tennessee Capital building

State governments, including Tennessee’s, should expect revenue shortfalls because of the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an analysis released by Pew.

Revenue forecast predictions that predate the COVID-19 pandemic are out of date because of skyrocketing unemployment, regulations on businesses and restrictions on people leaving their homes. This negatively will affect income-tax revenue, sales-tax revenue, business-tax revenue and likely other minor sources of revenue.

In Tennessee, nonessential businesses have been closed, restaurants have been forced to only carry-out and delivery services and people are not allowed to leave their homes for nonessential activities.

Gov. Bill Lee and the Tennessee General Assembly sought to get ahead of the crisis by altering the state budget proposal when the crisis began. The new budget removed some initiatives and diverted funding from education, teacher-salary increases and other public-employee salary increases to fund efforts to combat COVID-19 and the rainy day fund.

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Surgeon General Adams: The Next Week Is ‘Our Pearl Harbor Moment’

Surgeon General Adams on 'Meet the Press'

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams on Sunday described the next week in the country’s fight against COVID-19 as “our Pearl Harbor moment.”

Adams made the statement on NBC-TV’s “Meet the Press” when host Chuck Todd asked him how he would advise the nine U.S. governors who have not issued stay-at-home orders.

“Here’s what I would say to them right now: The next week is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment. It’s going to be our 9/11 moment,” Adams said. “It’s going to be the hardest moment for many Americans in their entire lives. We really need to understand that if we want to flatten that curve and get to the other side, everyone needs to do their part.”

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Commentary: Alexis de Tocqueville’s Lessons in a Time of Pandemic

The immediate challenge of COVID-19 has been cast as an examination of how individual Americans will fare should they be exposed to the virus. The effort to arrest the spread of the virus has brought unprecedented changes in the daily routines of all Americans. The limitation of activity is apparent when one walks outside. There is a marked silence, regardless of the time of day, almost eerie, that gives one pause.

The check on movement is accompanied by images of field hospitals and graphs showing curves and spreads displayed across news sites. While many are changing their daily routines to comply with the requirements of staying at home and practicing social distancing, a broader concern is the effect on our American democratic foundation.

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Who Are the Ohio State University Epidemiologists Working with the Ohio Health Department on Its Coronavirus Model?

  Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the state of Ohio has been in an effective shutdown for 12 days. Governor DeWine and Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Director Amy Acton have, on several occasions, referred to an evolving series of slides depicting what they say are projections of the number…

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World Health Organization: Abortion Is ‘Essential’ During Coronavirus Pandemic

WHO Dir Gen. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Abortion is considered an essential service during the coronavirus pandemic, the World Health Organization said in a statement Saturday.

The WHO said in its statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation that “services related to reproductive health are considered to be part of essential services during the COVID-19 outbreak.”

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Governor DeWine Urges ‘Courageous’ Ohioans to Wear Cloth Masks in Public to Combat Coronavirus

  Governor Mike DeWine encouraged Ohio residents during Saturday’s coronavirus press briefing to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation (CDC) to wear a non-medical mask while in public, where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. “In many cultures around the world, wearing a mask is…

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New Coronavirus Cases and Hospitalizations Decline in Ohio on Sunday, Deaths Increase by 17

The rate of increases for new Chinese coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in Ohio declined on Sunday, although the number of deaths climbed by 17.

The data is provided by The COVID Tracking Project, and is available here. The project has taken multiple screenshots every day of the Ohio Department of Health’s COVID-19 portal, which is here, to provide and document the numbers.

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Ohio Will Appeal Ruling Allowing Abortion Clinics to Remain Open

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said he will appeal a federal judge’s ruling that exempts abortion clinics from a mandate to cancel all elective surgeries.

Several abortion providers sued the state last Monday seeking relief from the Ohio Department of Health’s order to cancel all elective and non-essential surgeries.

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Emergency Order Accelerates Notification to the State of Coronavirus Deaths in Michigan

An emergency order was issued late Saturday by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) that shortens the length of time coroner and funeral staff have to notify state officials when someone dies of COVID-19 to 24 hours.

“MDHHS is committed to protecting the public health during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is why I am issuing this emergency order,” MDHHS Director Robert Gordon said said in a statement.

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Minnesota Governor Walz’s Ten Minute State of the State Focused Only on Coronavirus

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz touched on nothing but the coronavirus pandemic during his second State of the State address Sunday night.

The address was originally scheduled to take place March 23 before a joint meeting of the House and Senate, but was canceled because of the pandemic. Instead, Walz delivered a televised address from the Governor’s Residence that was just over 10 minutes long.

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