Constitutional Carry Bill Passes in House, Now Heads to Governor’s Desk

The Tennessee House passed the bill allowing permitless open or concealed carry, dubbed the “constitutional carry bill.” It will head to Governor Bill Lee’s desk, where it’s expected to be signed.

Under the bill, anyone 21 and older could lawfully carry without a permit, for both open and concealed carry. These provisions would only apply to handguns. A slew of House amendments proposed to the bill were withdrawn.

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Commentary: Movement Grows to Recall Progressive District Attorneys

George Gascón, District Attorney

The advocacy group “Fair and Just Prosecution” says the goal of progressive criminal justice reform is to create “a justice system grounded in fairness, equity, compassion, and fiscal responsibility.” Starting around 2016, this movement picked up momentum across the United States, primarily by funding candidates in county district attorney elections. There are now dozens of cities and counties with elected district attorneys that are enforcing massive shifts in prosecutorial conduct.

Reforms were needed. But so far, they have been a disaster.

While the most visible source of funding for these district attorney candidates is the notorious George Soros, the movement is much bigger than the agenda of one billionaire. It taps a core belief of progressives, that America’s criminal justice system is punitive and disproportionately targets nonwhite and low-income communities. It also taps into a sentiment shared by progressives and libertarians, that “victimless” crimes, primarily drug related, should not be crimes at all.

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Biden’s First 100 Days: Polling Versus Media Coverage of Getting the Pandemic Under Control

RealClear Opinion Research recently conducted a poll about Biden’s first 100 days in office. One of the questions asked was how important it was to get the pandemic under control and public satisfaction with results to date.

The timeline below shows total daily mentions of the pandemic across television news, showing that starting with December 31, 2020, CNN and MSNBC sharply reduced their coverage and have mentioned the pandemic this year far less than last year, while Fox News is largely mentioning it the same number of times each day.

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Proposed Bill Wants General Assembly to Have Final Say on Agencies Created Under Governor’s Emergency Powers

Legislators are considering whether the General Assembly should have the final say on agencies created by governor executive order.

A proposed bill would empower lawmakers to review any executive agencies created through the governor’s emergency powers. Specifically, the Joint Committee on Government Operations would decide within 60 days whether the executive agency should be allowed to exist, and notify the General Assembly within 5 days of the completion of the review.

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Music Spotlight: Brett Kissel

If there were ever a darling of the Canadian Country Airwaves, it would be Brett Kissel. Not only has the 30-year-old won numerous Canadian Country Music Association Awards, but he also has three number one hits and numerous top-tens on Canadian Radio.

But the main reason I wanted to interview him was because his music really is that good. His songs are all over the spectrum sonically but they resonate with the listeners.

Kissel admits that absolutely no one in his family is musical. “Not a grandpa, not a dad, an uncle, an auntie, nobody ever played music, period.”

The fact that he picked up a guitar, the fact that he can sing, the fact that he can write songs, and the fact that he moved to Nashville and made a go of it, is nothing short of remarkable.

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Tennessee Stands Holding Rally to Support Religious Exemptions for Vaccines

Nonprofit social advocacy organization Tennessee Stands will rally in support of an amendment for vaccine religious exemptions on Wednesday. The Senate Health and Welfare Committee will be reviewing the bill carrying the amendment that day, which seeks to prohibit government-mandated COVID-19 vaccines. 

In an interview with The Tennessee Star, Tennessee Stands founder Gary Humble explained that this rally would allow Tennessee lawmakers to see the support this bill has among their constituents. 

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Fraternities Say Duke’s Latest Action Poses ‘Existential Threat’ to Greek Life

After Duke University decided to end recruitment of freshmen by Greek and non-Greek selective living groups, nine fraternities decided to disaffiliate from the Interfraternity Council, and thus from the university itself.

Duke University has made several changes to Greek life since the hiring of former Tufts University dean of student affairs Mary Pat McMahon. McMahon is now the vice president and vice provost for student affairs at Duke.

McMahon collaborated with the Office of Undergraduate Education to create a new committee called the Next Generation Living and Learning 2.0 Committee in 2020. The committee seeks to “build a joyful and intentional 4-year residential experience that promotes growth, meaningful inclusion, and health, and that is distinctly Duke.”

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Exclusive: Reagan ‘Body Man’ Remembers Day President Was Shot 40 Years Ago

Jim Kuhn with President Reagan

President Ronald W. Reagan former advance and body man told the Star News Network he remembers where he was when he heard 40 years ago that President Ronald W. Reagan was shot.

James F. “Jim” Kuhn said he first met Reagan in October 1975.

“He was giving a speech at the Union Club in downtown Cleveland at a businessman’s gathering and the head of the group was the CEO of the company that I worked for in Canton, Ohio, and that’s how it all got started,” Kuhn said.

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Commentary: Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear is the Poster Child for School Choice Hypocrisy

Last week, Kentucky was the first state legislature to pass a new program to fund students instead of systems this year. The proposal, House Bill 563, would allow eligible students to access scholarships to use at approved private education providers of their families’ choosing. But the Bluegrass State’s Democratic governor, Andy Beshear, blocked educational opportunities for thousands of children by vetoing the bill on Wednesday.

Kentucky requires a constitutional majority in both the House and Senate to override Beshear’s veto, and that vote is expected to happen Monday.

During his press conference announcing the decision, Beshear said that the bill “would greatly harm public education in Kentucky by taking money away from public schools and sending it to unaccountable private organizations with little oversight.”

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Analysis: The Stated Goals of the Black Lives Matter Impact Report

Crowd of Black Lives Matter protestors.

Political activists who call for defunding police and ending what they call systemic racism used the banner of Black Lives Matter to raise tens of millions of dollars and launch a political action committee, according to the main organization’s “2020 Impact Report.”

The 42-page report declares victories in the election of two Democrats to the U.S. Senate in Georgia’s runoffs as well as three Democrats to the U.S. House from Texas, New York, and Missouri.

The report credits the new PAC for coordinating get-out-the-vote efforts. The main Black Lives Matter organization also entered the legislative fray for the first time while making generous grants to allied organizations.

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Commentary: President Biden’s First Press Conference in Less than 600 Words

There is absolutely no crisis at the southern border, and Trump caused it. Also Trump wanted small children to die at the border. I don’t. That’s just another reason people say I’m a good person.

Despite what you’ve heard, there is no surge of immigration. There’s just springtime, man. The fact that we need to open up military facilities to house this influx, well, that just shows what a fine job we are doing correcting Trump’s problems.

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Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act Supporters Need Help to Fend off Challenges from Metro Government, Establishment Media

The people behind the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act say they need supporters to contribute money to help educate Davidson County residents about the proposed referendum. Nashville attorney Jim Roberts said they also need the money to fight the likely counteroffensive from Metro Nashville government officials, many of whom may try to discourage people from supporting the referendum. And many of Nashville’s establishment media outlets could wage their own information campaign against the referendum, Roberts said.

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America’s Sheriff AJ ‘Andy’ Louderback Weighs in on Dangers of Gutted Trump Policies Creating Surge at Southern Border

Monday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed America’s Sheriff AJ ‘Andy’ Louderback to the newsmakers line to discuss Joe Biden’s disastrous border policies enabling immigrants to infiltrate towns throughout the nation unchecked.

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Author and Co-Creator of the Theology Home Project, Carrie Gress Talks About the Importance of Homemaking and It’s Devaluation by Radical Feminism

Monday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed author and creator of the Theology of Home project Carrie Gress, Ph.D. to the newsmakers line to discuss her book, the importance of homemaking, and the intentional feminist-Marxist destruction of the family.

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Census Bureau: Home-Schooling More Than Doubled in 2020, Higher in Some Regions

Student working on school work at home.

Faced with ongoing state lockdowns and changing school restrictions last year, frustrated parents increasingly pulled their children out of public schools nationwide and found other educational options for their children, one of which was home-schooling.

According to a new U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey, a substantial increase in the number of parents who chose to home-school occurred in 2020 compared to 2019. The survey is the first data source to offer both a national and state-level look at the impact of COVID-19 on homeschooling rates, the report states.

Using a large, nationally representative sample of U.S. households, the survey found that home-schooling was notably higher than national benchmarks. It was conducted in phases to assess parental choices over different periods of the school year.

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Winsome Sears Shocks Race for Lieutenant Governor, Receives Endorsement of Amanda Chase and Octavia Johnson

On Monday, former Delegate Winsome Sears, candidate for the Republican nomination for Lieutenant Governor in Virginia, was endorsed by gubernatorial candidates State Senator Amanda Chase (I-Chesterfield) and former Roanoke City Sheriff Octavia Johnson. The dual endorsements have caused a tremendous uproar in a race that until today was considered rather quiet.

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Georgia Woman Admits to Using COVID-19 Relief Program to Swindle Federal Government

Tracy Kirkland

A Georgia woman has admitted to creating a fake business and using it to receive funding from a federal COVID-19 small business relief program.

This, according to a press release that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia published this month.

Tracy Kirkland, 40, of Swainsboro, pled guilty to an Information charging her with wire fraud, said David H. Estes, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.

“As described in court documents and testimony, in August 2020 Kirkland received a federally guaranteed loan for $66,400 under the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program comprised of funds appropriated by the CARES Act,” the press release said.

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Fed Up with COVID: 44 Percent Increase in Michigan Teacher Retirements

teacher in the classroom

Michigan has seen a huge spike in teacher retirements during the past year, with many of those teachers citing COVID-19 restrictions as the reason for calling it quits. 

“From August through February, there was a 44 percent increase in midyear retirements compared with the same period in 2019-2020 as 749 teachers left public school classrooms in the middle of the school year, state data show,” Crain’s Business Detroit reported. 

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‘Normalcy is on the Horizon’ Gov. Walz Touts COVID-19 Recovery in State of State Address

Gov. Tim Walz

“Normalcy is on the horizon,” Gov. Tim Walz told Minnesotans in his 2021 State of the State speech.

Walz delivered his speech Sunday night from his old Mankato classroom.

The state is recovering quickly from the global pandemic, he said, with 80% of seniors having a single vaccine dose and two-thirds of school personnel vaccinated. Starting Tuesday, he said, all Minnesotans ages 16 and older will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

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Hollywood, Major League Baseball, and PGA Could Try to Punish Georgia for its New Voter Integrity Law

A new Georgia voter integrity law that requires, among other things, voter ID on absentee ballots, has prompted talk that Major League Baseball and the Professional Golfers’ Association might cancel major events in the Peach State. And at least one major Hollywood director said he now wants nothing to do with Georgia.

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Michigan Campus Diversity Program Accused of Having Toxic Environment

University of Michigan’s ADVANCE program has been hit with allegations of discrimination, with former employees accusing its leadership of allowing microaggressions and a toxic environment to fester, among other claims.

The program employs about a dozen people and is focused on faculty recruitment, retention, climate and leadership development as it works “to address necessary institutional changes to support the needs of a diverse faculty in all fields,” its website reads.

An investigative piece by The Michigan Daily, the school’s student-run newspaper, found 12 alleged instances of discrimination and a hostile work environment spanning eight years from 2012 to 2020.

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Exclusive: Crime Remains a Problem on Light Rail Despite Huge Drop in Ridership

Metro Transit’s light rail lost more than half of its riders in 2020, but crime continued to flourish on the empty trains, according to documents obtained by Alpha News.

Light rail saw a decrease in ridership of 59% last year, largely due to an upsurge in telecommuters who no longer travel for work because of COVID-19.

Despite the diminishing ridership numbers, crime continued to ravage the passenger rail and its stations in 2020. Adjusting for 2020’s abnormally large decrease in ridership shows that the crime rate actually increased significantly in 2020.

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Loudoun Board of Supervisors Criticizes Commonwealth’s Attorney for Handling of Domestic Violence Cases

The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors has decided to give Commonwealth’s Attorney Buta Biberaj a smaller budget increase than requested amid concerns over high turnover in Biberaj’s office and her handling of domestic violence cases. In recent budget work sessions, supervisors cited a statistic that out of 735 cases, Biberaj’s office dismissed 491 cases. As an elected official, Biberaj herself is not under the authority of the board, but the county contributes a significant portion of her office’s budget.

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Clemson University Students Fight to Ban ‘Racist’ Tomi Lahren from Campus

Tomi Lahren of Clemson University

Students at Clemson University in South Carolina are calling on the school to ban Fox News conservative personality Tomi Lahren from a Turning Point USA conference set to take place on the campus on April 8. 

Students say that Lahren’s past criticism of the Black Lives Matter organization disqualifies her from speaking at the university.

“We are committed to creating a more equal, fair and inclusive environment on our campus,” said the Clemson University College Democrats on March 11, “Statements made by Ms. Lahren, especially those concerning the Black Lives Matter movement, are divisive and hateful.” 

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Students Protest After University of Richmond Decides Not to Remove Controversial Names from Campus Buildings

The University of Richmond (UR) has decided it will not remove from campus buildings the names of founding President Robert Ryland, who enslaved people, and former University of Richmond Rector Douglas Southall Freeman, who promoted segregation and supported eugenics.

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Six Ohio High School Teachers Won’t Face Charges After ‘Offensive’ Discussion of Student

Ohio Teachers caught on camera

Six high school teachers have been placed on leave, but will not face criminal charges, after a video of the two of those teachers surfaced in which they discussed the physical appearance of one of their students. 

“Rocky River police decided not to pursue charges against members of Rocky River High School staff placed on administrative leave after video surfaced on them talking about a student ‘in an inappropriate manner,'” Cleveland.com said. 

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Bill Proposes Sweeping Reforms on Incarceration Alternatives and Probation Stipulations

The General Assembly is considering sweeping criminal justice reforms, namely concerning incarceration alternatives and probation. The proposed legislative changes, filed on the same day by State Representative William Lamberth (R-Portland) and State Senator Jack Johnson (R-Franklin), are lengthy. 

In part, the bill would expand those who qualify for community-based incarceration alternatives addressing substance abuse or mental health rehabilitation. It would also provide new avenues for individuals who break probation to have their probation reinstated (2 years at most), receive incarceration alternatives, or be shielded from extensive sentencing. It also caps probation sentencing to 8 years for felony offenses.

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