Tennessee Finishes 2020-2021 Fiscal Year with a $3.1 Billion Budget Surplus

The State of Tennessee finished the 2020-2021 fiscal year with a $3.1 billion surplus in revenues, as compared to the budgeted estimates, Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration Commissioner Butch Eley reported Friday.

After adjusting for the increased revenue estimate of $1 billion recommended by the Funding Board in November 2020 and passed by the General Assembly on April 29, Eley announced total tax receipts for fiscal year 2020-2021 are $2.1 billion more than the budgeted estimates.

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State Expects Chattanooga Migrant Children Shelter’s License to Be Suspended into Fall

A closed shelter in Chattanooga again was the focus Thursday for much of the Tennessee Legislature’s Study Committee on Refugee Issues meeting.

Tennessee Department of Children’s Services Commissioner Jennifer Nichols said the home, run by the Georgia-based Baptiste Group, remains under suspension as the Baptiste Group appeals its license suspension in chancery court.

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Commentary: Inflation Hits 5.3 Percent in July as $1.2 Trillion Infrastructure Bill Easily Passes with $3.5 Trillion Stimulus Expected in September

The unadjusted consumer price index as measured by the Bureau of Labor Statistics was 5.28 percent for the month of July, slightly lower than June at 5.32 percent, but still measuring the highest inflation on record since July 2008, when it hit nearly 5.5 percent.

The latest numbers come as Congress has easily passed another gargantuan $1.2 trillion infrastructure spending plan that included $550 billion of new spending. Interest rates have already reacted as 10-year treasuries came off a near-term low of 1.17 percent on Aug. 2 to 1.36 percent as of Aug. 12, slightly increasing inflation expectations.

The $1.2 trillion spendathon was just the latest in a long line of spending that has added $5.25 trillion to the national debt since Jan. 2020 in response to the Covid pandemic all the way to the current $28.5 trillion: the $2.2 trillion CARES Act and the $900 billion phase four under former President Donald Trump, and then the $1.9 trillion stimulus under President Joe Biden. It’s been a bipartisan affair.

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American Academy of Pediatrics Claims Masks Have No Negative Effects on Children

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) on Thursday argued in a series of tweets that masking in schools seemingly has no negative effects on children.

The medical organization dismissed parental concern over the issue as nonexistent, pledging to provide “real talk” about children wearing masks.

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Homeschoolacademy.com CEO Jessica Parnell Outlines Program Choices and Increase of Enrollment

Friday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Bridgeway Academy’s CEO Jessica Parnell to the newsmakers line to discuss the boom in homeschooling and information about their curriculum and services that help homeschool parents.

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Supreme Court Denies Request for Injunction in IU Vaccine Mandate Case

Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett on Thursday denied the request for an emergency injunction to stop Indiana University’s vaccination mandate from going into effect.

Her decision, however, does not mark the end of the road for the eight IU students suing the university, or for their attorney, Jim Bopp.

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Report: Biden’s 90-Day COVID Origins Probe Expected to Be A Dud

The intelligence community is unlikely to come to any definitive conclusions on the origins of COVID-19 as a result of its 90-day probe ordered by President Joe Biden in May, according to multiple reports.

The report is likely to show that officials are still divided over the two theories they started out with at the beginning of the probe, that COVID-19 either entered the human population through an accidental Wuhan lab leak or by jumping naturally from animals to humans, according to reports by CNN and McClatchy citing sources familiar with the assessment.

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Professor Seana Sugrue Outlines Her Latest Piece by Legally Defining CDC Director Walensky as an ‘Inferior Officer’

Friday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Ave Maria University Professor of Law Seana Sugrue to the newsmakers line to discuss her recent piece which addresses the disorder at the CDC.

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2ndVote Advisers’ Dan Grant Talks About the War on Small Business and Being Taxed Out of Existence

Friday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed CEO of 2nd Vote Advisers Dan Grant in studio to discuss the newly proposed Sensible Taxation and Equity Promotion Act and how it will harm small businesses.

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Eleven Senate Democrats Vote Against COVID Tests for Illegal Immigrants at the Southern Border

Eleven Senate Democrats on Thursday voted against a modest and commonsense amendment to the Senate Budget Resolution that requires illegal migrants apprehended on the southern border to be tested for COVID-19 before they are transported into the country.

The amendment, introduced by Senator Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), a physician, establishes “a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to protecting migrants and local communities against COVID-19.”  Under the provision, migrants will be quarantined and not transported from the border until they tested negative.

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Commentary: As Race ‘Equity’ Advances in Health Care, Signs of a Chilling Effect on Dissent

by John Murawski   The national movement to eradicate what activists call systemic racism and white privilege from medicine and health care has few public critics in the medical profession. A possible reason: Skeptics who have questioned these efforts have been subject to harsh Twitter campaigns, professional demotions and other…

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Rising Inflation Could Mean Largest Social Security Increase Since 1983

Person counting cash

Rising inflation and the price increases that come with it may lead to the highest raise for senior citizens in decades.

The Senior Citizens League predicted Thursday that the annual cost-of-living adjustment for 2022 Social Security payments could be the highest since 1983. The prediction comes as federal data this week showed two major signs of inflation, continuing a trend that has worsened this year.

“The estimate is significant because the COLA is based on the average of the July, August and September CPI data,” said Mary Johnson, a Social Security policy analyst for The Senior Citizens League. “With one third of the data needed to calculate the COLA already in, it increasingly appears that the COLA for 2022 will be the highest paid since 1983 when it was 7.4%.”

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Anderson County Commissioners Could Request Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Help on Sports Field with Potentially Hazardous Material

Anderson County Commissioners are scheduled to meet Monday to decide whether to contact the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) about potentially radioactive coal ash waste, reportedly in a children’s playing area. Commissioners will also debate whether to contact the Tennessee Department of Health on the same matter.

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Professor Calls America Failed Experiment: ‘Only for White People … Didn’t Work for Black People’

Chanelle Wilson

A Bryn Mawr College professor argues that America is “only for white people.”

Speaking on the “Refuse Facism” podcast, Chanelle Wilson, assistant professor of education and director of Africana Studies at the women’s liberal arts college, said the country “didn’t work for black people.”

“Damn sure it didn’t work for indigenous people,” she continued. “It did not work for people of Mexican ancestry. It didn’t work for Asians, it didn’t work for Jewish people, it didn’t work for Japanese people. It didn’t work for Chinese people.”

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Former President Trump Endorses Derrick Van Orden in Wisconsin Swing District

Former President Donald Trump on Thursday endorsed candidate Derrick Van Orden in an important Wisconsin swing district, representing the 3rd Congressional District of the state.

In a statement announcing the endorsement, Trump highlighted Van Orden’s record as a military veteran and praised the veteran’s stance on key issues.

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Governor DeSantis Supports Monoclonal Antibody Treatment for High-Risk COVID Patients

Governor DeSantis expressed his support for Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody treatment Thursday, as COVID cases and the number of hospitalizations continue to surge in Florida.

According to DeSantis, “These treatments have been proven successful, with clinical trials resulting in a 70% reduction in hospitalization and death for COVID patients,” especially those who have higher risk for severe complications due to age or preexisting medical conditions.

As reported by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), “Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off harmful antigens such as viruses.” The treatment is meant for individuals who have tested positive or recovered from COVID.

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Minnesota’s Clean Energy Sector Recovering from Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic hit the Midwest clean energy job market hard, with more than 17,000 workers at one point filing for unemployment.

But the industry appears to be rebounding, according to an analysis of employment data released by the nonpartisan business group E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs) and Clean Energy Trust.

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Release of Census Numbers Starts Florida’s Redistricting Process

Florida State Capitol

With Florida’s gubernatorial race only a few months in, the political rhetoric is increasing and pressure is mounting on Republican and Democratic sides of the aisle. For the Democrats, they will be attempting to unseat current Gov. Ron DeSantis and current Sen. Marco Rubio.

For Republicans, the pressure is mounting to increase their already dominant presence in Florida’s statewide offices and state legislature. However, this upcoming legislative session will also see the Republican-controlled State House and Senate redrawing Florida’s congressional seats.

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Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey Calls on Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas to Resign Following Explosive Leaked Comments

Doug Ducey

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey on Friday called on Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to resign after reports of leaked comments made by the top security official.

In the comments obtained by Fox News, Mayorkas said, “A couple of days ago I was down in Mexico, and I said look, you know, if, if our borders are the first line of defense, we’re going to lose and this is unsustainable.”

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Ohio Attorney General Yost Hunts for Ex-PUCO Chairman’s Assets to Preserve Potential Civil Judgments

Sam Randazzo and Dave Yost

“(Sam) Randazzo is making moves that will make it harder to hold him financially accountable for accepting bribes,” Yost said in a Friday morning news release

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Arizona Republican State Legislators Ask Governor to Take Action Regarding School Districts Violating Law on Mask Mandates

Doug Ducey and Jake Hoffman

Twenty-six Republican members of the Arizona Legislature signed onto a letter drafted by Rep. Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek) asking Arizona Governor Doug Ducey to take four steps of action in regards to several school districts that appear to be violating state law by imposing mask mandates in schools. A high school biology teacher recently filed a lawsuit over the mandate implemented by Phoenix Union High School District. The school districts contend that the law, A.R.S. 15-342.05, doesn’t apply yet since bills do not go into effect until 90 days after the end of the legislative session, but the bill contains a retroactive clause. 

“It borders on anarchy and destabilizes the very foundation of our society to have local governments effectively refusing to comply with the law. It must not be allowed to stand,” the legislators said. “Any local government that willfully and intentionally flaunts state law must be held accountable.”

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Virginia Tourism Corporation Awards Grants to 64 Local Tourism Initiatives

Several people on Virginia Beach

The Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) has awarded $861,080 in state funds to 64 Virginia local tourism initiatives through its Recovery Marketing Leverage Program (RMLP). The funds combine with local match funds of $2.2 million, helping recipients leverage their marketing budgets.

“The tourism and hospitality industries have been among the hardest hit by the pandemic,” Governor Ralph Northam said in the Thursday press release.

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Voters in Georgia’s Ninth U.S. Congressional District Worry Most About the US-Mexico Border, Telephone Poll Reveals

A plurality of people who participated in a recent Telephone Town Hall with U.S. Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA-09) said they worry most about what’s taking place at the U.S.-Mexico border. Clyde told his constituents in an emailed newsletter this week that more than 4,700 residents in his district participated in his Telephone Town Hall.

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Michigan Attorney General Nessel Claims ‘Democracy’ on Ballot in New Campaign Ad

In a new campaign ad for her reelection, Attorney General Dana Nessel says “democracy is on the ballot.” 

“AG Dana Nessel’s Republican opponents support ‘The Big Lie’ and violent extremists. Whether it’s elections or domestic terrorism-what happens in Michigan doesn’t stay in Michigan. It impacts all of America. Let’s make sure Dana is re-elected. Our democracy depends upon it,” Nessel said in a Tweet, attaching her ad. 

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‘Voters Not Politicians,’ Which Rebuked Michigan Redistricting Commission for Hiring Republican Firm, Has Its Own Partisan Ties

The nonprofit Voters Not Politicians (VNP) has stridently criticized the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (MICRC) for hiring a GOP-aligned law firm, but VNP’s own leftist agenda and political ties are getting little media attention.

The Lansing-based “nonpartisan” organization spearheaded the Proposal 2 referendum which created the MICRC to oversee legislative and congressional redistricting free of gerrymandering. 

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Florida Board of Education to Have Emergency Meeting on Defiant School Districts

The Florida Board of Education is scheduling an emergency meeting on August 17 to discuss Alachua and Broward school districts regarding their mask mandates which go against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ executive order banning mask mandates.

Earlier in the week, withholding salaries was a possible ramification, but after DeSantis and the Florida Department of Education slightly backtracked on the issue, their focus is now just funding cuts for the defiant districts. But, where the funding cuts come from is up to the school district.

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Resolution Calls on Ohio High Schools to Change Native American Nicknames

The Cleveland Indians changed their nickname to the Guardians last month, and now two Democratic lawmakers want Ohio high schools to follow that lead.

Reps. Adam Miller, D-Columbus, and Jessica Miranda, D-Forest Park, have introduced a resolution that encourages all state schools to retire the use of Native American mascots and to engage Native American groups as part of the process.

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Fight for Schools PAC Has Enough Signatures for Recall Petition Against Loudoun School Board Member Ian Serotkin

Ian Serotkin

A recall petition targeting Loudoun County Public School (LCPS) Board Member Ian Serotkin has 110 percent of the signatures needed, Fight for Schools PAC organizer Ian Prior said Friday. Recall petitions aimed at other school board members are also nearing target amounts. The PAC has 88 percent of signatures needed for the Denise Corbo petition, 75 percent of signatures needed for the Leslee King petition, 54 percent of signatures for the Atoosa Reaser petition, and 50 percent of signatures needed for the Brenda Sheridan petition.

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Taylor Keeney Starts Campaign for Virginia’s 7th District Republican Nomination

Taylor Thornley Keeney, a Richmond area PR executive and former appointee of  Virginia Governor Bob McDonell’s administration, announced her campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives in July. The Goochland County resident sat down with The Virginia Star to discuss key federal issues and her campaign for Congress.  Keeney is seeking the Republican nomination to take on Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07) in the 2022 election cycle.

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