Monday’s Tennessee State Election Commission Meeting Takes on Heightened Importance

The Tennessee State Election Commission’s biennial, normally unnoticed routine of appointing county election commission members takes on heightened importance in light of recent events and unusual situations in at least three Tennessee counties.
In accordance with Tennessee state law, T.C.A. 2-12-101 and 2-12-106, the State Election Commission (SEC) appoints five election commissioners for each of the state’s 95 counties for terms of two years.

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Commentary: This Easter Let Us Celebrate Hope

On Easter, billions of people around the world will celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ – the most important day of the year for the Christian community.

Christians believe Jesus Christ was crucified, died, was buried, and rose from the dead. This act of selfless, sacrificial love for humanity is at the heart of Christianity. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life.” It is through Jesus Christ’s suffering, death, and resurrection that we are saved from sin and have hope for eternal life with God in Heaven.

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13 States Sue Biden Administration, Demand Ability to Cut Taxes

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey

Thirteen states sued President Joe Biden’s administration over an American Rescue Plan provision prohibiting states from cutting taxes after accepting coronavirus relief funds.

The 13-state coalition argued that the provision included in the Democrats’ $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package preventing states from cutting taxes if they accept relief from the federal government is unconstitutional. The coalition, led by Republican West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, filed the federal lawsuit Wednesday evening in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama.

“Never before has the federal government attempted such a complete takeover of state finances,” Morrisey said in a Wednesday statement. “We cannot stand for such overreach.”

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GOP Rep. Greene Introduces Bill to Cut Fauci’s $400,000 Salary to Zero Until He Is Replaced

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene on Thursday said she is introducing a bill to strip Dr. Anthony Fauci of his government salary.

In a press release Greene posted on Twitter, the controversial Georgia Republican said her “Fire Fauci Act” would decrease “Dr. Always Wrong’s pay to $0 and the ‘We Will Not Comply Act’ will ‘prevent discrimination against the unvaccinated.’ “

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CDC Announces Vaccinated Americans Can Now Travel with Minimal Risk

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Friday that Americans who are vaccinated for COVID-19 will now be able to travel domestically and internationally.

The CDC officially made the announcement during the White House Covid Briefing and said Americans will still need to wear masks and observe social distancing while traveling.

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Pentagon Reveals Policies Reversing Trump’s Transgender Ban

John Kirby

The Pentagon on Wednesday issued new rules, sweeping away Trump administration policies that largely barred transgender people from serving in the military, following through on an executive order President Biden signed after taking office, The Hill reports. 

The new Defense Department policies, released on the International Transgender Day of Visibility, allow transgender people who meet military standards to enlist and serve openly in their self-identified gender. The new regulations will also give access to medical transition-related care, and prevent discrimination against transgender military members, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told reporters.

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Parents of Bowling Green Student Call for State and Federal Legislation to End Hazing After Son’s Death

Rodney Rogers of Bowling Green State University

The parents of a Bowling Green State University (BGSU) suggested that state and federal lawmakers should tackle the issue of hazing after their son, a fraternity member at the school, tragically died during an alleged hazing ritual.

Stone Foltz, who was pledging to become a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, died on March 4. His parents released the following statement:

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Zuckerberg-Funded Group Spent over $30 Million in Texas in the 2020 Election

Mark Zuckerberg

A report released Tuesday by the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) revealed that the Center for Technology and Civic Life (CTCL), a group funded by Facebook founded Mark Zuckerberg, spent over $36 million in 14 urban counties in the state of Texas in an effort to influence the outcome of the 2020 election, according to Breitbart.

The report states that “Texas counties were given money to help shift voting to the mail and away from traditional procedures in Texas law. The large blue-leaning counties received huge sums to transform their elections,” while “smaller red counties did not receive anything close.” Among the initiatives that were pursued by this funding were “drive-thru voting, mail voting sorting assets, polling place rental expenses, and…voter education/outreach/radio costs.”

The county that most benefited from these funds was Dallas County, which received just over $15 million, followed by Harris County (where Houston is located) at $9.6 million. The remaining 12 counties all received less than $3 million.

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Surveys: 46 Million People Can’t Afford Health Care, Majority of Hospitals Not Providing Pricing Transparency

Assorted color syringes.

An estimated 46 million people — or 18% of the country — would be unable to pay for health care if they needed it today, a recent poll conducted by Gallup and West Health found.

In another survey by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, the majority of hospitals in the U.S. have yet to comply with a transparency ruling implemented this year that would help patients shop around for the most affordable prices.

Gallup’s findings are based on a poll conducted between February 15 and 21 among 3,753 adults with a margin of error of 2%.

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Virginia Supreme Court Allows Charlottesville to Remove Lee and Jackson Statues

The Supreme Court of Virginia ruled Thursday that Charlottesville can remove a statue of Robert E. Lee and a statue of Stonewall Jackson from its parks. In February 2017, the city chose to remove the Lee statue, triggering a lawsuit. Then, in the wake of the violent Unite the Right rally, the city reaffirmed its decision to remove the Lee statue and to remove the Jackson statue as well, according to court documents.

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Brian Kemp, Others, Tell Corporate America They Will Not Retreat on Georgia’s Voter Integrity Law

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Saturday told Major League Baseball officials and executives at Coca-Cola and Delta Airlines that he will not buckle under to their pressure. Kemp, flanked by several supporters at the Georgia State Capitol, said he will not do away with the state’s new voter integrity law, Senate Bill 202. The governor also told state residents that Democrat and former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams is lying about the new law and fundraising off of her lies.

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Northam Acts on 552 General Assembly Bills from 2021 Sessions

Governor Ralph Northam announced the signing of 14 bills on Wednesday, March 31, which was a deadline for the Governor to take action on legislation passed in the 2021 General Assembly sessions. According to his announcement, took action on 552 bills with no vetoes, although he sent some back to the General Assembly with amendments.

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Gubernatorial Candidate Peter Doran Floats Hyper Loop Project for Southwest Virginia Without Explaining How to Pay for It

Peter Doran

As Governor Northam and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced expansion of rail services in the Commonwealth of Virginia, gubernatorial candidate Peter Doran floated an expensive – and expansive – transportation policy position. Doran, a former foreign policy think tank CEO whose campaign has gained little traction outside of Northern Virginia, introduced a proposal for Virginia to build a “hyperloop” system and place the hub in Southwest Virginia.

Doran stated, “New technologies like HyperLoop will provide opportunities for people in the Commonwealth of Virginia. It will create jobs as well as new options for Virginians to have more choices in where to live and work. Providing realistic, current-gen (not last-gen) solutions that can tie Virginia’s far-flung regions together? That will make us the best.”

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DeWine Signs $8.3B, Two-Year Ohio Transportation Budget

Highway with cars

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine praised the $8.3 billion state transportation budget he signed into law despite it missing the increased vehicle fees and massive cuts for public transportation he proposed.

The two-year budget, House Bill 74, provides money for road and bridge construction and maintenance, as well as other transportation priorities established by the committees in the House and Senate, along with DeWine.

“The budget ensures that we can continue to maintain and invest in Ohio’s roadways,” DeWine said Wednesday. “Ohio’s transportation system continues to be a critical part of our economy, moving materials and people safely across our state. This budget advances our commitment to invest in state and locally-maintained roadways.”

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Great Lakes Governors Call on Biden to Support Critical Water Infrastructure

Four Great Lakes governors on Tuesday urged President Joe Biden to prioritize federal investments in water infrastructure.

In a letter sent to Biden, the governors lauded the American Rescue Plan Act’s $360 billion in direct aid to state and local governments that can be spent on water and sewer infrastructure.

“As your administration continues to develop and pursue its policy agenda, we respectfully encourage you to continue your emphasis on modernizing America’s water infrastructure,” readsthe letter.

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General Assembly OKs Paid Parental Leave for Georgia State Workers

A follow-up attempt by lawmakers to implement paid parental leave for Georgia state employees is on its way to Gov. Brian Kemp.

The measure allows state employees in Georgia to take three weeks of paid parental leave. The House agreed Monday, 153-8, to the Senate’s changes to House Bill 146 after it unanimously passed the Senate last week. A similar measure cleared the House in 2020.

Under HB 146, state or local school board employees who worked at least 700 hours over the six months preceding the requested paid leave date can qualify for the paid time off after the birth of a child, adoption of a child or taking in of a foster child. Paid parental leave would be granted only once a calendar year. State agencies and school boards are able to dictate the policy rules.

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Tennessee General Assembly Passes Bill Effectively Blocking Nashville Metro Council’s Construction Regulation Efforts

State Senator Jeff Yarbro and Jack Johnson.

An amended bill would effectively block Metro Nashville City Council’s ongoing efforts to impose stricter regulations on the construction industry. The legislation limited local government from enforcing oversight measures like obtaining employee data, enforcing safety and health standards beyond federal and state requirements, gaining entry to worksites, and obtaining the information of suppliers for labor or materials.

The Senate last passed an amended version of the bill, 27 to 6. The amendments widened the bill’s scope to include remote in addition to prime contractors, and to include bids, proposals, and agreements within what governments couldn’t enforce as oversight tactics.

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