Knox County Commission Delays Vote Finalizing Eliminating Powers of County’s Board of Health

The Knox County Commission opted to delay the final vote to eliminate or maintain Knox County Board of Health’s powers. The commission voted on Monday to postpone the deciding vote for 90 days.

If passed, the measure would revert all decision-making powers to Knox County Health Department Director Dr. Martha Buchanan. Early last month, the commission took the first step to dissolve the Board of Health and reconstitute it as an advisory board. As previously reported by The Tennessee Star, the proposal sponsor, Commissioner Kyle Ward, has argued that the measure would protect the community’s financial health.

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Exclusive: Wyoming State Senator Explains His GOP Primary Challenge to Rep. Liz Cheney

  A Wyoming Republican state senator told the Star News Network why he is challenging his state’s only Member of Congress and the most senior House Republican, Rep. Elizabeth L. “Liz” Cheney in the 2022 GOP primary. “Liz Cheney’s long-time opposition to President Trump and her most recent vote for…

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News Wars: Scripps-Owned ‘Newsy’ Smears Star News Network as a Part of Its Coverage of ‘News Literacy Week’

An online media outlet owned by publicly-traded mega corporation E.W. Scripps Tuesday became the latest outfit to publish a dishonest and inaccurate report on The Star News Network.

A three-minute segment produced by Newsy’s Mark Greenblatt and Lauren Knapp called into question the locality of The Star News Network’s local news outlets, including The Minnesota Sun. In its reporting, Newsy failed to follow the basic ethical guidelines as described by its parent organization, Scripps.

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Commentary: GOP Election Fraud Deniers Face Reckoning

So here’s the official company line promoted by establishment Republicans to defend the outcome of the 2020 presidential election: Of course the election had some irregularities like all elections but nothing that would change the result and, by the way, the country needs some major election integrity reform before this happens again.

The doublespeak designed to refute what election fraud deniers call “the big lie” was best expressed over the weekend by Chris Christie, the former New Jersey governor, failed presidential candidate, and now paid ABC News shill. While attempting to shame fellow Republicans for bolstering Donald Trump’s complaints about how the election was handled in states that flipped to Joe Biden in 2020, Christie falsely claimed there wasn’t any evidence of vote fraud. “I don’t think there’s any question that the country needs to focus on in terms of our elections is making sure we have some effective electoral reform . . . we need to make the system better for 2022,” Christie told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos on Sunday. “But this election was not stolen.”

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Policy Analyst of the Independent Women’s Forum Patrice Onwuka Talks ‘Copy and Paste’ Policy in a Biden Administration

Tuesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed policy analyst at the Independent Women’s Forum Patrice Onwuka to the newsmakers line to discuss the Biden administration’s policies.

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Biden Executive Order Could Force American Taxpayers to Fund San Francisco’s Hotels for Homeless Program

An executive order signed by Joe Biden last week may force Americans to fully fund programs in San Francisco and other cities that provide housing for the homeless.

San Francisco reportedly spends between $15 million to $18 million per month to house more than 2,200 people in about 25 lodging establishments—some of them luxury hotels.

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Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles Discusses His History, the Future of a Booming Community, and a Letter to Governor Lee

Tuesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles to the show to discuss his history, his letter to Governor Lee, and the break up of Big Tech through state dissolvement.

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Newly Dubbed All-Star Panelist Roger Simon Joins Leahy in Studio to Discuss His Removal from the Board of Radio Free Europe

Tuesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed newly dubbed all-star panelist Roger Simon to the studio to discuss the dissolution of Voice of America and his position at Radio Free Europe.

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Only Five Republicans Vote with Senate Dems to Table Rand Paul’s Point of Order on ‘Sham Impeachment’

After blasting Democrats for pushing what he called a “sham” impeachment trial, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Tuesday afternoon forced a vote in the Senate regarding the constitutionality of the endeavor.

Paul’s point of order alleged that impeaching a president after he leaves office violates the Constitution.

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Biden Administration Considering Allocating COVID-19 Funds to Climate Change Programs

The Biden administration is considering authorizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency to allocate COVID-19 funding for climate change projects, The New York Times reported Monday.

The plan would reallocate part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) overall disaster budget to projects designed to preemptively address damage from climate disasters, The Times reported. The agency wants to build seawalls and elevate or relocate homes in flood planes with the reallocated funds.

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Biden Reportedly Prepared to Issue Moratorium on Fossil Fuel Leases for Federal Lands

President Joe Biden is reportedly set to temporarily halt new federal oil and gas leasing, people familiar with his plans told The Washington Post.

The move would pause pending fossil fuel auctions on federal land and water, but will not affect existing leases in the Gulf Coast and the western part of the country, according to the Post. While the moratorium will help Biden deliver on one of his signature campaign promises, it will likely be met with sharp resistance from fossil fuel industries and lawmakers who have voiced concern that Biden’s climate policies will cost thousands of jobs.

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Commentary: Democrats’ Impeachment Fever Will Make the 2022 Midterms Tee-Ball for Republicans

The Senate trial of former President Donald Trump will begin on Feb. 8, according to a joint agreement between Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

The announcement came as 29 Senate Republicans and counting are already opposing the trial, which they say is unconstitutional since Trump is no longer in office, and comes as almost 9 out of 10 Republicans say they oppose convicting former President Trump in polls.

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House Democrats Push Comprehensive Bill on Alleged ‘Voter Suppression,’ ‘Dark Money,’ and ‘Gerrymandering’

Leading Democrats in the House of Representatives are bringing back a previously-introduced bill that aims to fight such as issues as “dark money” and alleged “voter suppression” and “gerrymandering,” as reported by Fox News.

The bill, labeled the “For The People Act,” is sponsored by Representative John Sarbanes (D-Md.), and is cosponsored by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

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Founders Federalism: Host Leahy and Mayor Andy Ogles Discuss the Concept of a New Conservative Movement

Tuesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Maury County, Tennessee Mayor Andy Ogles to the show to discuss the concepts of a new conservative movement, Founders Federalism.

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‘Stop the Steal’ Organizer Charged in Capitol Protest

A self-described ex-liberal activist from New York was arrested Monday in connection with the US Capitol riot.

Brandon Straka, 44, was taken into custody on Monday on a felony charge of interfering with police during civil disorder, and illegal entry and disorderly conduct on restricted Capitol grounds, The Washington Post reported.

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U.S. Sees Largest Rise in Poverty Rate in 50 Years Amid Pandemic

The U.S. poverty rate saw its sharpest increase since the 1960s as the coronavirus pandemic devastated the economy in 2020, according to a recent study.

The poverty rate increased 2.5 percentage points from 9.3% in June to 11.8% in December, according to the study released Monday by economists Bruce Meyer, of the University of Chicago, and James Sullivan, of the University of Notre Dame, Bloomberg reported. In total, 8.1 million Americans were added to ranks of the poor, according to the researchers.

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Nearly 20 Percent of American Renters Are Behind on Payments, Analysis Shows

About 18% of renters, or roughly 10 million people, in the U.S. are behind on their monthly payments as of early January, according to an Urban Institute analysis.

Researchers Jim Parrott, a fellow at the Urban Institute, and Mark Zandi, the chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, calculated that 18% of U.S. renters were behind on payments and warned that if lawmakers didn’t act fast, there could be a major eviction crisis. The average delinquent renter is four months behind on payments and owes $5,600, the researchers estimated using Bureau of Labor Statistics figures.

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Legislation Eliminating Mandatory Minimum Sentences Passes Through Virginia Senate Committee

Legislation to remove most mandatory minimum sentences in Virginia advanced out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday through a 9-6 party-line vote.

Senate Bill 1443 would end the mandatory minimum prison time for more than 200 crimes in the Commonwealth that carry the specific punishments, including assault and battery, rape and other sexual crimes, drug distribution and possession, child pornography as well as driving under the influence (DUI).

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Georgia Lawmakers Say Tax-Credit Audit, Tobacco Tax Hike Could Deepen State Coffers

State leaders and economists believe Georgia’s fiscal outlook is promising despite the economic strain from the COVID-19 pandemic, but some lawmakers say the state can do more to secure additional revenue.

Sens. Chuck Hufstetler, R-Rome; Jen Jordan, D-Atlanta; and House Minority Leader James Beverly, D-Macon, said the state needs to re-evaluate its tax incentive programs to eliminate waste and ensure tax equity.

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Georgia Democrats to Push for More Funding for County Jails

A group of Democratic lawmakers in Georgia wants more state funding for local jails to improve mental health services and accountability.

Reps. Sandra Scott, D-Rex; Kim Schofield, D-Atlanta; and David Wilkerson, D-Powder Springs, held Monday the first of a series of town hall meetings focused on jail reform.

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Second Big Change Coming to Who Influences Georgia’s Future Transportation Plans

A high-ranking member of the Georgia State Senate will vice chair the state’s Senate Transportation Committee, which recently lost State Sen. Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta) as chairman after he questioned alleged irregularities in the state’s November 2020 elections. State Senate Majority Whip Steve Gooch will vice chair the State Senate Transportation Committee. This, according to a press release that members of the Georgia General Assembly published Tuesday. The press release went on to say that Gooch will expand beyond his usual duties as majority whip to serve on other State Senate committees.

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Virginia Lawsuit Reduces Threshold: Only 2,000 Signatures Needed to Get on 2021 Ballot

Statewide candidates for the Democratic primary and independents for the 2021 Virginia general election now only have to get 2,000 signatures, which can be collected electronically, and they only need to get 50 from each congressional district. The change is the result of a settlement after gubernatorial candidate Delegate Lee Carter (D-Manassas) and Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Paul Goldman sued Virginia elections officials arguing that during COVID-19, asking candidates to send teams out across the state collecting in-person signatures was a recipe for problems.

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Michigan Governor Whitmer Mostly Mum on MDHHS Director’s Abrupt Exit

In a news briefing Monday afternoon, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer introduced newly appointed Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Elizabeth Hertel.

However, she declined to answer questions from reporters regarding the abrupt departure of former MDHHS Director Robert Gordon late last week.

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First Case of UK COVID-19 Variant Identified in Virginia, Health Department Says

The first confirmed case of the United Kingdom COVID-19 variant strain in Virginia has been identified, according to a press release on Monday from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and the Department of General Services Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services (DCLS).

What is currently known to be the only case in the Commonwealth so far was discovered in a sample from an adult residing in Northern Virginia with no recent travel history reported. The case was confirmed by DCLS using next-generation sequencing and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been informed of the matter, the release said.

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Georgia Health Officials Won’t Check Residency for COVID-19 Vaccines as ‘Vaccine Tourism’ Occurs

Despite reports of individuals engaging in “vaccine tourism,” state officials said they won’t be checking residency before administering COVID-19 vaccines. In a press conference on Tuesday, Dr. Kathleen Toomey responded to a reporter’s inquiry about individuals admitting they were traveling from out of state to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Georgia. 

“I think it’s important that everybody know: we’re not going to be checking driver’s licenses, we’re not going to police this process. Does that mean somebody may slip in from out of state? Possibly,” stated Toomey. “I think it’s important that we don’t want to be policemen. We want to encourage as much vaccination as we can.”

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105 Percent Increase in Shootings, 70 Percent Increase in Homicides in Minneapolis Last Year

Minneapolis experienced a 105% increase in shootings between 2019 and 2020, according to an end-of-year report presented to the City Council last week.

The city recorded 82 homicides in 2020, a 70% increase over 2019’s 48 homicides. Between 2016 and 2019, Minneapolis had an average homicide rate of 41, the report from the Minneapolis Police Department states.

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Metro Nashville School Board Doesn’t Have a Set Date for Reopening Schools

Tuesday’s school board meeting made it clear that Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) doesn’t have an exact date for getting kids back in the classroom. As in past weeks, Metro Nashville Board of Public Education reiterated that reopening would be contingent on the level of community spread charted by the city.

In a director’s report presented by District 6 representative Fran Bush, it was revealed that the current level of community spread sits at 8. Bush repeated the same information found on the MNPS website regarding reopening: in order to gradually reopen, the measurement needs to be at 7 or below.

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