Tennessee Legislature Convenes Tuesday with Education Issues at Forefront

Tennessee lawmakers will return to Nashville to begin the 2021 legislative session this week and soon will take up legislation on key education issues.

House and Senate speakers will gavel in the new session of the Tennessee General Assembly at noon Tuesday. The first week of session largely will be organizational, with House and Senate speakers swearing in newly elected legislators and announcing committee chair and committee assignments.

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Democrat-Turned-Republican Georgia State Rep. Vernon Jones to Speak to Nashville Young Republicans Tuesday

Less than a week after making the announcement that he would be leaving the Democrat Party to join the Republican Party, Georgia State Rep. Vernon Jones will be a keynote speaker at the Nashville Young Republicans monthly meeting Tuesday evening.

It was a history-making moment at the Save America March in Washington, D.C. last Wednesday, when Jones announced he would be officially joining the Republican Party.

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Tennessee’s December Revenues Yield a $156.4 Million Surplus

The state’s revenue collections for the month of December were higher than budgeted yielding a $156.4 million surplus, Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration Commissioner Butch Eley announced Monday.

On an accrual basis, December marks the fifth month of the 2021-2022 fiscal year. 

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Commentary: The Now-Complete Democrat Trifecta Threatens Tax Hikes

Capitol building

Understandably lost in the wake of Wednesday’s shocking events was the fact that, with two election wins in Georgia, Democrats took control of the Senate to go with control over the House and presidency. Though tax policy may have taken a backseat in these Georgia elections, the results raised the chances of significant tax hikes, and the undoing of progress made in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), substantially.

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PGA President: 2022 Championship Hosted at Trump Golf Course Would be ‘Detrimental’

The Professional Golfers Association (PGA) announced Sunday that they won’t host their 2022 championship at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster.

Jim Richerson, President of the PGA of America, called it “detrimental” for the association’s brand to have the championship take place at Trump Bedminster, during a video posted to the group’s website. Richerson said it would also “risk the PGA’s ability to deliver our many programs and sustain the longevity of our mission.”

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Facebook and Instagram Are Eliminating All Posts that Include the Phrase ‘Stop the Steal’

Facebook announced on Monday that it is purging both Instagram and Facebook, two major social media platforms, of all content that includes the phrase “stop the steal.”

“We are now removing content containing the phrase ‘stop the steal’ under our Coordinating Harm policy from Facebook and Instagram,” Facebook said. “We removed the original Stop the Steal group in November and have continued to remove Pages, groups and events that violate any of our policies, including calls for violence.”

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Victor Davis Hanson Commentary: If You Thought 2020 Was Hard, Wait Until You Get a Load of 2021

The proper conservative response to last Wednesday’s violent entry into the Capitol and vandalism, as well as assaults on law-enforcement, is to identify the guilty parties and ensure they are arrested.

Such deterrence will prevent any future devolution from legal popular protests into thuggery. No constitutional republic can tolerate its iconic heart stormed, breached, and defiled.

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Crom Carmichael: ‘A Free Society Cannot Stand for Long When People Are Treated Unequally’

Monday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed all-star panelist Crom Carmichael to the show to discuss Big Tech’s censorship of conservative site Parler and the necessity of fair and equal treatment in maintaining a free society.

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Tennessee Department of Education Gives $1 Million to Left-Leaning PBS

Officials with the Tennessee Department of Education announced late last week that they will give $1 million of taxpayer money to Tennessee’s six PBS stations to help educate students throughout the state. As reported last year, several organizations, including the Family Research Council, have faulted PBS’ educational materials for what they call a left-leaning bias.

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Memphis Police Officer Charged with On-Duty Kidnapping, Murder

A member of the Memphis Police Department (MPD) has been arrested and charged with the kidnapping and murder of another man while on duty.

According to a press release posted to MPD’s Twitter account, Officer Patric Ferguson has been charged with First Degree Murder, First Degree Murder in Perpetration of Aggravated Kidnapping, Especially Aggravated Kidnapping, Abuse of a Corpse, and Fabricating and Tampering With Evidence in the alleged murder of 30-year-old Robert Howard.

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Georgia Secretary of State Classified Trump’s Private Call a ‘Threat’ During 60 Minutes Interview

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger called President Trump’s remarks a “threat” during a 60 Minutes interview aired Monday. The interview also included previous Voting System Implementation Manager Gabriel Sterling, currently the Secretary of State’s Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer.

Raffensperger was referring to a secretly-recorded, leaked call in which the President questioned the merits of Georgia’s elections systems, voter fraud allegations, and election irregularities. At several points, Trump criticized Raffensperger for stating that there wasn’t any evidence of criminality within the 2020 general election. The President also likened Raffensperger’s unwillingness to assign credibility to election fraud claims with criminal activity.
Raffensperger was referring to a secretly-recorded, leaked call in which the President questioned the merits of Georgia’s elections systems, voter fraud allegations, and election irregularities. At several points, Trump criticized Raffensperger for stating that there wasn’t any evidence of criminality within the 2020 general election. The President also likened Raffensperger’s unwillingness to assign credibility to election fraud claims with criminal activity.

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Host Michael Patrick Leahy Discusses Election Integrity and America’s Path Forward with Caller Jasper

Monday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy took a call from listener Jasper and discussed election integrity and a path forward for America’s election.

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Michigan Rep. Stevens Says Trump Committed ‘High Crimes and Misdemeanors,’ Doesn’t Say What They Are

A Democrat member of the U.S. Congress said Monday that she believes that President Donald J. Trump committed high crimes and misdemeanors worthy of impeachment, but did not say what those crimes were. 

Calling it a “solemn moment,” Rep. Haley Stevens (D-MI-11) said that Congress will try to get Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment against Trump. 

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Georgia’s Newly-Elected District Attorney for Athens-Clarke, Oconee Counties Implements List of Progressive Prosecution Reforms

District Attorney Deborah Gonzalez implemented over 40 new policy changes posing alternative, more progressive forms of prosecution. In a lengthy memorandum titled “Fairness and Equity in the Western Judicial Circuit District Attorney Office,” Gonzalez stated that the changes would take effect immediately. 

Gonzalez cited that these efforts would end their circuit’s “participation in mass incarceration and the school to prison pipeline.”

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Governor DeWine Signs Multiple Acts into Ohio Law

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine (R) endorsed 31 legislative acts last week which now become part of Ohio law.  The list of the bills below comes directly from press releases issued by the Governor’s office.

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Georgia Legislature Opens 2021 Session With COVID-19 Mitigation Measures, National Anthem Rendition

The Georgia General Assembly returned to session Monday for the first time since June 2020 with coronavirus measures in place.

Legislators were required to observe COVID-19 restrictions including wearing masks and social distancing, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Legislators will be tested twice a week for COVID-19, said State Senator Mike Dugan (R-Carrollton), the Republican Senate leader.

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Minnesota State House Democrats Urge Republicans to ‘Repent’ for Their ‘Foolish statements’

Minnesota State House Democrats recently filed a complaint against their Republican colleagues who raised concerns about changes to Minnesota’s election laws, urging them to “repent of their foolish statements.”

Concerns about the complaint were brought up by Republicans during a Thursday House session.

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Virginia Delegate Rasoul Tries Again with Green New Deal

Delegate Sam Rasoul has pre-filed his “Green New Deal Act” [GND] in the Virginia House which includes a moratorium on new fossil fuel infrastructure beginning January 1, 2022.

“The 2021 GND Act tackles the dual crisis of climate change and inequity with an intersectional approach,” Rasoul said in an announcement on Twitter. “The science is clear. We must act swiftly to address the climate crisis.”

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ACLU Warns of ‘Unchecked Power’ After Facebook, Twitter Suspend Trump

A legislative counsel member from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on Friday warned that the suspension of President Donald Trump’s social media accounts wielded “unchecked power” by large tech companies, Breitbart reported.

Kate Ruane, a senior legislative counsel at the ACLU warned in a statement that the decision to suspend Trump from social media platforms could set a precedent for big tech companies to silence less privileged voices.

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Unelected Group Bans Open Carrying of Guns from Michigan Capitol

Just days after unarmed, mostly peaceful protestors entered the U.S. Capitol in Washington, a group of unelected officials has banned open carrying of guns from Michigan’s Capitol building.

“The Michigan Capitol Commission voted unanimously Monday to ban these firearms from the Lansing building,” ABC said. “Concealed weapons with permits will be still allowed.”

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Georgia House Democratic Caucus COVID-19 Subcommittee Petitions Governor for Mandatory Shelter-in-Place, Mask Mandates, and Social Gathering Restrictions

The Georgia House Democratic Caucus Subcommittee on COVID-19 requested that Governor Brian Kemp implement more emergency regulations to address the new COVID-19 strain. Subcommittee members are State Representatives Rhonda Burnough (D-Riverdale), Viola Davis, (D-Stone Mountain), Shelly Hutchinson (D-Snellville), Donna McLeod (D-Lawrenceville), Sandra Scott (D-Rex), and Kim Schofieeld (D-Atlanta). 

The letter requested that Kemp expand the emergency orders to require everyone to either shelter-in-place, or do a combination of the following: cease all in-person schooling; further limit gatherings in bars, clubs, and restaurants; impose a statewide mask mandate; and establish moratoriums on evictions and utility cutoffs for all of this upcoming year.

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Ohio Businesses No Longer Need Voter Approval for Sunday Alcohol Sales

Ohio businesses no longer have to ask voters to be allowed to sell alcohol on Sundays. Now, they only need the General Assembly’s permission.

Thanks to a bill recently signed into law by Gov. Mike DeWine, businesses can get the ok from the state legislature for Sunday sales, and Friday and Saturday alcohol sales can continue until 4 a.m. the next day with a specific liquor permit.

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Two Virginia Police Officers on Administrative Leave After Attending D.C. Rally

The Rocky Mount, Virginia Police Department has placed two of its officers on administrative leave after they attended a pro-Trump rally that turned violent in Washington, D.C. on January 6. Screenshots of a selfie posted on Facebook allegedly show the two officers inside the Capitol building, but one of them told The Roanoke Times that Capitol police allowed them in the building.

“We were escorted in by the Capitol Police, shown around and told, ‘As long as you stay here, you’re fine,'” Sergeant. T.J. Robertson told The Times.

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Virginia Governor Northam Plans to Extend Upcoming General Assembly Session

The Virginia General Assembly will convene on Wednesday and a lot of conversation surrounding the annual gathering of state lawmakers this year is not on legislative agendas or hotbed issues under consideration, but on how long the session will last.

Intrigue over the session length began back in mid-November when Republican legislative leaders of the Senate and House of Delegates, Sen. Tommy Norment (R-James City) and Del. Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah) announced their intention to limit the session to 30 days

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Virginia Teachers Union President Calls for All-Virtual Learning Until School Staff get Vaccinated

Virginia Education Association (VEA) president James Fedderman wants public schools in the Commonwealth to go to fully virtual learning until teachers and school staff receive vaccinations to stop the spread coronavirus in schools.

Fedderman asked the governor and school leaders around the state to facilitate the instructional switch in a video published to the VEA website on Friday.

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Proposed Legislation Gives School Boards Decision-Making Authority Over School Closures During Public Emergencies

A bill filed Monday will give Tennessee school boards the ultimate decision-making authority about whether their schools should be open or closed during a public emergency. 

The filing of the legislation was accompanied by an announcement from the bill’s sponsors, Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) and Representative Kevin Vaughan (R-Collierville).

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