General Assembly Endorses ‘Big Step in Right Direction’ for Tennessee Small Brewers

Brewery

Brad Eldridge-Smith and his business partner plan this summer to open the taproom at Common Law Brewing in Spring Hill.

They are in the process of getting their equipment in and starting their small business, the first brewery to serve the area of 45,000 residents and growing.

Without a bill that passed the Tennessee House on Thursday and is headed to Gov. Bill Lee, however, Common Law Brewing wouldn’t have even been able to sell a keg of its beer to most of the restaurants in town.

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Commentary: Cancel Culture and Why It Only Works on Republicans

Andrew Cuomo and Ralph Northam

With cancel culture running rampant and the court of public opinion more powerful than ever, it’s no wonder many Americans are afraid to speak their minds. We’ve watched as people get taken down for reasons ranging from wrong think on Twitter, to allegations of racism, bigotry or sexual assault. The latter of which seems to be a favorite tool of the Democrats, one which they dig up seemingly every time someone “problematic” pops up in opposition to their agenda.

We saw this with Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, where wildly unfounded accusations were made, leading to an extensive investigation which found nothing. The Kavanaugh hearing, one of the most divisive in history, proved Democrats are willing to play dirty to win, even at the risk of destroying an innocent man’s life and reputation.

However, conservatives and elected Republicans always seem to get caught up in legal battles when these things come up, because they take a defensive stance, accepting the left’s narrative by trying to prove their innocence.

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Commentary: The Vatican Museums and Persevering Through a Pandemic

Vatican Saint Peter's Basilica at dusk

On Monday, May 3, the Vatican Museums will reopen to the public.  The Vatican Museums were founded in 1506, when Pope Julius II discovered and acquired the sculpture, Laocoön and His Sons.  Today, the Vatican Museums house one of the oldest and most important art collections in the world.

The Vatican’s impressive collection consists of over 200,000 works spanning five millennia.  The collection includes remarkable 15th and 16th century frescoes by Fra Angelico, Michelangelo, and Raphael, as well as stunning masterpieces by Caravaggio and Leonardo da Vinci.  Reflecting upon her work, Vatican Museums Director Dr. Barbara Jatta said, “It’s a cultural duty undertaken with a conviction that beauty can lead to faith.” 

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Vatican Museums were the 3rd most visited museum in the world, hosting an average of 6 million visitors per year and generating essential funding for the Vatican. 

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Commentary: Journalists Become Cynical, But Not Skeptical

Farm grown fruit for sale

Journalists and scientists have more in common than you’d think—at least they should. Scientists seek to understand and explain how the natural world works. They observe, ask questions, and approach new information with skepticism as they work through a careful process to determine what is true.

Journalists, in theory, use the same curiosity and rigor to provide the information we need to make good decisions in our lives. According to the Society of Professional Journalists, a core tenet of journalism is to “seek truth and report it.” In both worlds, negligence begins where skepticism ends, creating dangerous opportunities for peddlers of misinformation.

The Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) annual “Dirty Dozen” list is a perfect marriage of scientific and journalistic negligence. Each year, the EWG, a controversial, agenda-driven organic activist group, purports to rank the top 12 fruits and vegetables most contaminated with pesticides. And each year, the media takes the bait without fail, and the coverage reads like sponsored content.

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Commentary: If Biden Really Wants to Be FDR, He Should Oppose Public Sector Unions

Franklin Roosevelt

President Joe Biden has made it pretty clear he idolizes Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR). A painting of #32 hangs in his office, he frequently invokes the former president in his speeches, and the media often draws comparisons between the two progressives.
But as much as Biden seems to draw on FDR’s legacy, his knowledge of his positions seems to have one glaring omission. FDR was opposed to public sector unions.
Public sector unions are having a moment in the spotlight, and not in a good way. Their actions over the past year have incurred ire from all political directions. Many Americans have become aware of the role police unions play in protecting bad apples, blocking popular criminal justice reforms, and preventing transparency as extrajudicial killings and the resulting protests have demanded attention on our justice system.

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Hawley Cites ‘Culture War’ in Proposal for Monthly Payments to Families with Children

Josh Hawley

Rising Republican star U.S. Rep. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., is sponsoring a new measure that would give unprecedented tax cuts to parents with children, and now he is saying his bill is on the front line of the nation’s “culture war.”

The plan in question would give a fully refundable tax credit of $12,000 for married parents and $6,000 for single parents who have children under the age of 13.

“Starting a family and raising children should not be a privilege only reserved for the wealthy,” Hawley said. “Millions of working people want to start a family and would like to care for their children at home, but current policies do not respect these preferences. American families should be supported, no matter how they choose to care for their kids.”

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Five White Farmers Sue over Loan Forgiveness Only for Blacks, Other Minorities

Group of farmers harvesting crops

Christopher Baird owns a dairy farm near Ferryville in southwest Wisconsin, not far from the Mississippi River. He milks about 50 cows and farms approximately 80 acres of pasture.

Like a lot of farmers, Baird has direct loans through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency. 

But the dairy farmer isn’t entitled to a new FSA loan-forgiveness program provided as part of COVID-19 relief in the $2 trillion American Rescue Plan Act, legislation touted Wednesday night by President Joe Biden in his address to Congress. 

Baird is white. He joined four other white farmers Thursday in suing federal officials over being left out.

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Midwest Farmers Among Those Challenging Biden Administration Loan Forgiveness

Field with tractor in it, loaded with hay on trailer

A pair of Wisconsin farmers are part of a new lawsuit challenging President Biden’s race-based program for farm loan forgiveness.

The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty filed the suit on behalf of Calumet County farmer Adam Faust and Crawford County farmer Christopher Baird, as well as clients in Minnesota, South Dakota, and Ohio. The suit claims the farm loan forgiveness program included in the American Rescue Plan discriminates because it is only open to farmers of color.

“President Joe Biden’s signature COVID-19 relief legislation signed in March, provides billions of dollars of debt relief to ‘socially disadvantaged’ farmers and ranchers,” WILL said in a statement about the case. “But the law’s definition of “socially disadvantaged” includes explicit racial classifications: farmers and ranchers must be Black or African American, American Indian or Alaskan native, Hispanic or Latino, or Asian American or Pacific Islander. Other farmers — white farmers, for example — are ineligible.”

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Over 100 American Colleges Demand Students Get Vaccinated

COVID Vaccine Parking sign

As American schools begin the process of slowly reopening at all academic levels, over 100 colleges and universities are implementing the strictest requirements by demanding that all students receive a coronavirus vaccine before returning to school, according to CNN.

In the beginning of April, only about 14 campuses had announced such a policy. But by the end of the month, that number had increased exponentially. Only a handful of the schools have included possible exemptions for various medical, religious, or personal reasons. The majority of schools demanding such mandatory vaccinations are private schools.

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Residents Complain About Lack of Police in Minneapolis

Nearly a year after the death of George Floyd, prompting calls from activists and Democrat leaders to defund the police, residents of Minneapolis are complaining that police won’t respond to their calls. 

“George Floyd Square has been a place for mourning and healing for the thousands who pay a visit,” WCCO reported. “But for the people who live there, once night falls, they say it becomes a place where lawlessness abounds.”

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Florida Bill Allows Students Athletes to Profit Beginning in July

In the waning moments of the 2021 Florida legislative session, elected officials amended a bill (SB 1028) that will allow college and university athletes to profit from their names and images beginning July 1, 2021.

On Wednesday lawmakers added a provision that would have pushed back the effective date of the name, image and likeness law until 2022 due to concerns with the NCAA.

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Florida Legislature Passes $101.5 Billion Budget

Florida Senate Capitol

Friday marked the last day of the legislative session, and the state legislature agreed upon a record-setting budget bill. 

“State lawmakers on Friday signed off on a record $101.5 billion on the state budget that has left both Republicans and Democrats happy — mostly,” The Tampa Bay Times reported. 

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Exactly 99 Percent of Claimants Have Received Georgia’s COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Benefits, Jobs Now Available

Officials with the Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) reported this week that exactly 99.4 percent of all eligible claimants with a benefit year beginning in March 2020 until the present day who have requested a payment have received one.

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More Rural Georgia Counties to Get Internet Upgrade under Private-Sector Deal

Workers installing broadband internet

More rural Georgians are expected to gain access to high-speed internet under a private-sector partnership announced this week by Conexon Connect.

Conexon Connect is collaborating with Middle Georgia EMC to provide broadband access to nearly 5,000 homes and businesses in Dooly, Houston, Macon, Pulaski, Turner, Wilcox and Ben Hill counties.

“Our members have waited long enough for high-speed access to make telemedicine, remote learning, working from home and videoconferencing with loved ones a reality on a daily basis,” Middle Georgia EMC President and CEO Randy Crenshaw said. “Connect is making it possible for our cooperative to deliver this vital service at last. We are ready to show them all the opportunities that open up in a more connected community.”

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Ohio Industry, Business Groups Want Specifics in Biden’s Climate Plan

"There is no planet B" sign

As states, business groups, energy producers and other industry groups show concern over President Joe Biden’s climate plan, Ohio organizations want more specifics and believe cooperation is needed.

Biden has announced a plan that contained few specific measurers but established goals of cutting 2005 emission numbers in half by 2030.

The Ohio Manufacturers Association (OMA) pointed to concerns raised by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), which wants more details but also wants a fair plan.

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Secretary of State Benson Calls on Lawmakers to Revamp SOS Services, Give Unspecified Amount of Money

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson on Thursday asked for an unspecified amount of money to completely revamp the Michigan Department of State (MDOS).

The money would be used to provide “pop-up” offices, provide virtual interactions instead of in-person, and pass other laws that would result in less interaction with the department.

“Michiganders can now complete most of their transactions online, by mail or at one of our new self-service stations located at their local grocery store,” Benson said. “And the remaining in-person transactions are carried out by appointment, ensuring the vast majority of customers have little to no wait time.”

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Republican Senators Say Independent Investigation Firm Is Biased

Republican senators are criticizing the choice of law firm Nixon Peabody to investigate the investigation into the Virginia Parole Board (VPB). An appointment letter published by the Office of the Attorney General states that the firm was chosen in part to avoid any firms with a strong connection to Virginia. But a week after the announcement, Senators Mark Obenshain (R-Rockingham) and Stephen Newman (R-Bedford) suggested that the Nixon Peabody team is politically biased.

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Marijuana Legal to Possess After July 1, But Still Illegal to Buy or Trade in Virginia

Possessing marijuana in amounts of up to one ounce will be legal July 1, but sales will still be outlawed in Virginia until 2024. That means there will be no clear legal way to acquire marijuana or marijuana plants, despite possession itself being legal.

“Outside of the medical cannabis program, there remains no legal access to marijuana in Virginia,” Virginia NORML Executive Director Jenn Michelle Pedini told The Virginia Star.

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Nikki Fried’s Medical Marijuana Card Issued for Sleep Issues

On April 14, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried posted a video to social media displaying her medical marijuana card. In the video, Fried reminded viewers medical marijuana was passed by 71 percent of Floridians through a ballot initiative in 2016. The medical marijuana issue was a calling card for Fried’ campaign in 2018, and it has been reported Fried has a financial interest in the marijuana industry.
However, Fried followed up the clip with a 15-minute interview with Jim DeFede at Facing South Florida where she said she was approved for a medical marijuana card due to a sleeping disorder.

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