Ohio Lawmakers Propose School Choice for All Students

Two Ohio lawmakers want to give all Ohio students the option of school choice and create K-12 education competition, which they say would raise the level of public and private education throughout the state.

The Ohio Backpack Bill, originally introduced in May and updated with a sub-bill to House Bill 290, would allow all parents to send their children to public school or establish an education savings account. The state would send the money earmarked for that student to the public school or into the parent’s account, allowing it to be used for private school tuition or other education expenses.

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Governor Lee Joins Blackburn and Hagerty, Questions Biden Administration over Afghan Refugee Resettlement

Governor Bill Lee (R) on Wednesday joined Senators Marsha Blackburn(R-TN) and Bill Hagerty (R-TN) and demanded answers from the Biden Administration over Afghan refugee resettlement.

Over the past several months, thousands of refugees from Afghanistan have been relocated across the United States after President Joe Biden’s chaotic withdrawal.

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The Factory at Franklin Will Be Transformed into a ‘Little City’ Following Developer Purchase

The Factory at Franklin has been purchased for $56 million by the Nashville office of Holladay Properties, led by Allen Arender. The company plans on transforming the property to create what it believes will be a national model for adaptive re-use of early 20th Century industrial structures.

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BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, a Near $1B Vendor to State Government and a TennCare Health Plan Contractor, Mandating Some Employees Get COVID-19 Vaccines and Not Allowing Religious Accommodation

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee (BCBST), which received nearly $1 billion in vendor payments from the State of Tennessee during fiscal year 2021 related to state employee healthcare benefits and is one of the Managed Care Organizations handling the state’s TennCare program is enforcing a COVID-19 vaccine mandate and not allowing religious accommodations for some of its employees.
Information was provided to The Tennessee Star by a long-term employee of BCBST, the Tennessee-based independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, on the condition of anonymity for fear of losing their job.

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New Tennessee License Plates Unveiled Following Statewide Vote

On Tuesday, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee unveiled the state’s next standard license plate design chosen by Tennesseans through optional statewide participation. The new plate sports a navy blue background with white letters and numbers. In its center is the state’s Tri-Star emblem with the words “The Volunteer State” in the top left corner.

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Williamson County School Board Candidates Vying to Replace Brad Fiscus Share Views on COVID-19 Mask Mandates and Critical Race Theory

Ten people have applied to replace Brad Fiscus on the Williamson County School Board. On Wednesday exactly half of them discussed their positions on COVID-19 mask mandates and whether public schools at the K-12 level should teach Critical Race Theory (CRT).

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Commentary: Biden’s Attack on Public School Parents Cannot Stand

President Joe Biden’s Attorney General, Merrick Garland’s memo directing the FBI to investigate parents who speak out at school board meetings has shocked the nation.

The Biden administration has gone into full attack mode against the First Amendment right to petition the government as Attorney General Merrick Garland has declared that parents opposing Critical Race Theory before their local school boards should be treated as terrorists under the Patriot Act.

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Commentary: The Left Can Finally Admit What It Wants

I remember a staggering conversation with my high school lunch table in the early 2000s. Everyone agreed with one kid’s statement that there was nothing special about living in America: Life in Canada, or anywhere else, would be identical except for maybe the weather.

At the time, I wondered what was going to happen to America when all these kids grew up. What happens when America’s young adults, far from having any intellectual commitment to freedom, don’t even understand what life would be like without it?

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Zuckerberg Responds to Whistleblower, Says Claims ‘Don’t Make Any Sense’

Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg broke his silence on Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen late Tuesday, rebutting several of her allegations in a Facebook post.

“At the most basic level, I think most of us just don’t recognize the false picture of the company that is being painted,” Zuckerberg wrote in a letter to Facebook employees posted to his account. “Many of the claims don’t make any sense.”

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Charges Dropped Against Illegal Migrants Who Said They Were Transported to Private Property and Arrested for Trespassing

Criminal charges were dropped against 11 illegal migrants who said they were transported to private property and then arrested for trespassing in Val Verde County, Texas, The Texas Tribune reported on Tuesday.

The migrants told Democratic Val Verde County Attorney David Martinez that they were apprehended, restrained with zip ties, walked around 20 minutes to a fenced-in ranch and arrested by border officials for trespassing, according to The Texas Tribune. The migrants said border officials cut the fence around the private ranch to allow a police dog onto the property after making the migrants scale the 10-foot fence.

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GOP Governors Ignored by Biden Offer Solutions to Border Crisis Anyway

After a group of 26 Republican governors, spearheaded by Gov. Doug Ducey (R), sent a letter to the Biden Administration requesting to meet and discuss the ongoing crisis at the border, the group is pushing forward with solutions.

That letter, sent in late September, was ignored by the White House. 

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Star News’ Neil McCabe on a College Student’s Beating over Her Support of Justice Barrett, and the Smash and Grab Strategy of Congressional Democrats

Wednesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Washington Correspondent for The Star News Network, Neil McCabe to the newsmakers line to weigh in on Stony Brook student attack and the Democrats’ control of House and Senate.

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Commentary: Hyde Amendment Is New Obstacle to Biden Spending Plan

The White House is once again at odds with the senior senator from West Virginia.

Joe Manchin has made clear for months that the administration’s sprawling $3.5 trillion social spending package is too large, and just as progressives seemed to agree that the top-line number could be whittled down somewhat, the moderate Democrat drew another line in the sand, this one underscoring the Hyde Amendment.

The amendment represents a decades-long agreement by both parties that prohibits federal dollars from funding abortion, except in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is in danger. Manchin wants it included in the spending bill. The White House does not. Thus has emerged another obstacle to passing the president’s legislative agenda.

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Metro Council Member-at-Large Steve Glover Weighs in on Mask Vote, Scooters, and Party Buses

Wednesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Nashville Metro City Council Member-At-Large Steve Glover to the newsmakers line to discuss the recently indefinitely deferred mask mandate, scooter problems, and party bus chaos.

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GETTR CEO Jason Miller Blasts Facebook After Whistleblower Testimony

After Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen testified before the Senate Commerce Committee Monday, a hearing which focused largely on Facebook’s negative impact on children, GETTR CEO Jason Miller released a statement. 

In a press release, Miller said the following: 

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Democrats Push to Make Child Tax Credit Permanent Despite a Lack of Taxpayer Support

Democrats are pushing to permanently expand monthly child tax credits in their spending package, but a new poll shows that just 35% of Americans support extending the payments beyond July 2022.

The expanded payments began in July as a part of President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief package signed in March. While the Politico/Morning Consult poll released Wednesday found that 50% of Americans supported the increase in payments, 12 points higher than those who opposed them, 52% of Americans said the payments should not be extended beyond their set expiration.

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Oil Prices Hit a Seven-Year High as Industry Feud with Biden Administration Continues

Oil prices hit a 7-year high this week as American oil and gas companies continue to fight the Biden administration over policies restricting production.

As the economy began to reopen this year and the demand for fuel increased, President Joe Biden, through executive order, halted and restricted oil and gas leases on federal lands, stopped construction of the Keystone Pipeline, and redirected U.S. policy to import more oil from Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia (OPEC+) instead of bolstering American oil and gas exploration and production.

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Border Officials Arrested Around 9,000 Criminal Migrants in Fiscal Year 2021

Border Patrol officials made nearly 9,700 criminal arrests from October 2020 through August 2021, according to Customs and Border Protection data.

Of the nearly 9,728 arrests, 325 individuals were associated with gang organizations, according to Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Over 100 of those arrested with connections to gangs were affiliated with MS-13, and border officials arrested at least nine individuals associated with the group in August, according to CBP.

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House Speaker Cameron Sexton Discusses the Upcoming Special Session

Wednesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton to the newsmakers line to discuss the items that will be on the next special session call.

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Report: Private Job Hirings Beat Expectations Amid COVID-19 Scares, Slow Economic Growth

Private companies added 568,000 jobs in September, exceeding expectations as the country faced growing numbers of delta variant cases and slow economic growth, according to a major payroll report.

The 568,000 jobs added is a sharp increase from the 340,000 jobs added in August, the ADP National Employment Report showed. Experts predicted private companies would add 425,000 jobs in September, CNBC reported.

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COVID Case Numbers Surge in New England, Despite Region Having Highest Vaccinate Rate in U.S.

Hospitals across New England are reporting full intensive care units and staff shortages as a result of COVID- related illnesses that are starting to impact care, despite the region having the highest vaccination rates in the country.

Public officials say the record case counts, hospitalizations and deaths that rival pre-vaccine peaks are largely among the unvaccinated and are pleading with the part of the population to get the shots, according to the Associated Press.

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Taiwan Defense Minister Says Tensions with China Have Hit 40-Year High

Chiu Kuo-cheng, the defense minister of Taiwan, said Wednesday that tensions between his country and China are at their worst point in four decades.

The minister was speaking to lawmakers as he promoted a new $8.6 billion military spending package, telling them that the current situation with China was “the most serious” he has seen throughout his more than 40-year military career.

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GOP Governors Gather in Texas to Address Border Crisis

Nine Republican governors are joining Govs. Greg Abbott of Texas and Doug Ducey of Arizona in Mission, Texas, Wednesday to discuss the ongoing border crisis and President Joe Biden’s immigration policies.

Ducey and Abbott will be joined by Govs. Brian Kemp of Georgia, Brad Little of Idaho, Kim Reynolds of Iowa, Greg Gianforte of Montana, Pete Ricketts of Nebraska, Mike DeWine of Ohio, Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma, Kristi Noem of South Dakota and Mark Gordon of Wyoming.

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Major League Baseball Embraces China, Even as It Mistreats Georgia, Columnist Says

Major League Baseball (MLB) is, according to one Washington Examiner commentator, “chasing after the Chinese market while pretending that places such as Atlanta are the locus of evil in the modern world.” Commentary Fellow Zachary Faria said in the publication this week that the MLB “is taking a page out of the NBA’s book when it comes to social justice politics.”

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Minnesota Rep. Hagedorn Says Attorney General Garland’s Memo ‘Attempt to Intimidate’

Minnesota Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R-MN-01) called Attorney General Garland’s memo regarding law enforcement responses to alleged harassment toward public education officials an “attempt to intimidate.” Hagedorn said, “Parents should always be allowed to openly express their opinions and concerns when it comes to their children.”

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Gretchen Whitmer Hints Support for Coronavirus Vaccine Mandate

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) hinted Tuesday she may follow President Joe Biden’s lead and support a coronavirus vaccine mandate in the state.

Whitmer was asked about the federal mandate for federal government employees and employers with 100 or more workers, and the Democrat incumbent did not indicate any concern. In fact, she said she would follow Biden’s lead.

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Five Wisconsin Mayors to Receive Subpoenas in Ongoing Election Investigation

Five Wisconsin mayors will be receiving subpoenas as part of the ongoing election investigation. Head investigator Michael Gableman announced on Tuesday that the mayors of Green Bay, Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha, and Madison would be subpoenaed to assist in the audit.

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Virginia Ranks Among Top States Most Prepared for Public Health Emergencies

Doctor with arms folded, holding stethescope

Virginia’s preparedness for public health emergencies ranks it among the top four in the U.S., according to the 2021 National Health Security Preparedness Index (NHSPI). The index looks at data from 64 sources across the public and private health sectors, creating an overview of health protections in place in each state; the national preparedness level is 6.8, but Virginia scored 7.4 out of ten.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been a real-world stress test of the readiness of Virginia governmental, health care delivery, and emergency management systems to respond to a major public health threat. Throughout this time, Virginia’s hospitals, public health and emergency management agencies, and other public and private sector stakeholders have effectively navigated this unprecedented crisis while facing many pandemic-related challenges,” states a Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association (VVHHA) press release.

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Florida Gov. DeSantis Blasts Justice Department for Investigating Parents Like Domestic Terrorists

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said he will defend Floridians after Attorney General Merrick Garland began “weaponizing” the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate supposed threats against school board members.

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Florida Community College Paying Off Financial Accounts, Providing Food Credit

Tallahassee Community College (TCC) announced it will be paying off students’ financial accounts up to $6 million stemming from federal funding. Students eligible have to have been enrolled in TCC from March 2020 through this fall.

The money will be coming out of a grant from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, which was a part of the CARES Act legislation passed during 2020. The CARES Act was designed to provide economic relief during the slowed economy as a result of the COVID pandemic.

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Surveillance on Campus: Universities Give Students Tools to Report on Each Other’s COVID Violations or ‘Bias Incidents’

Michigan State University provides students with reporting system to achieve what the school describes as a “safe and supportive environment” for its community members.

The school’s Culturally Inclusive College Sharing System (CIC) is an online submission form allows the university to “track and respond to behaviors and situations that work to support or detract from [its] goals of a safe and supportive environment.”

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Treasury Department Prevents Ducey from Awarding Grants to Schools That Do Not Have a Mask Mandate

The U.S. Treasury Department on Tuesday blocked Arizona Governor Doug Ducey from utilizing federal COVID-19 aide toward grants for school systems in the state that do not have mask mandates.

Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo penned a letter to Ducey, informing the Republican governor that the grants were “not a permissible use” of the relief aide.

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Wisconsin Rep. Steil Visits Texas to See Border Crisis ‘First Hand’

Wisconsin Representative Bryan Steil (R-WI-01) visited the border along with two other representatives to see the crisis first hand. Steil visited Del Rio, where thousands of migrants have been camped under an overpass and where video footage showed illegal immigrants walking across the river and into the United States.

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Suspect Named in Arizona Amtrak Train Shooting That Left DEA Agent Dead

The surviving suspect from a Monday shootout on an Amtrak train in Tucson has been named in a criminal complaint, according to several Wednesday reports. 

Devonte Okeith Mathis has been charged with possession with intent to distribute less than 50 kilograms of marijuana for his role in the incident. 

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Gov. Whitmer Calls on Lawmakers to Boost Michigan Economic Development Corporation Funding

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called on the Legislature to provide more taxpayer money to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to attract businesses, but an economic development analyst and GOP leader disagree.

Citing Ford Motor Company choosing Kentucky and Tennessee to build electric vehicle battery plants instead of its home state, Whitmer called on legislative leaders to give the MEDC “more resources and more advanced procedural and legal tools” to pursue projects.

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Report: Gov. DeWine Selling Out to Democrats in Ohio Redistricting Battle

According to a report in Breitbart News, sources familiar with Ohio’s Republican Gov. Mike DeWine plans for the state’s redistricting battle include DeWine supporting a map that would help Democrats gain U.S. House seats in 2022.

That report also says that Republican state auditor Keith Faber and Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose are supportive of the new left-leaning map. 

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Florida Supreme Court Hears Case Regarding Red-Light Cameras, Fees

After hearing arguments in a potential class-action lawsuit regarding credit card fees and red-light cameras, Florida Supreme Court justices seemed skeptical in siding with the motorist who filed the suit.

The motorist, Steven Pincus, filed the lawsuit in Miami against American Traffic Solutions, Inc. (ATS), who Pincus says improperly charged him with a $7.90 credit card fee after paying a $158 fine for running a red light in 2018.

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Emerson College Poll Has Youngkin Down One Percent Against McAuliffe

A new Nexstar/Emerson College poll conducted at the beginning of October has GOP gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin one point behind Democrat Terry McAuliffe, 48 percent to 49 percent. A Fox News poll conducted at the end of September found 48 percent support for McAuliffe and 44 percent support for Youngkin.

“The new poll by Emerson demonstrates clearly that all the momentum is on Glenn Youngkin’s side and he is poised to win this race in Virginia on November 2,” said The Virginia Star’s Publisher, radio talk show host John Fredricks.

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Qualified Immunity Becomes One of the Deciding Factors of 2021 Virginia Elections

The rise in violent crime across Virginia combined with increases in law enforcement officers leaving the field have started to raise questions from voters about the once-popular push from Leftist activists and Democrat lawmakers to “reimagine policing” and essentially end qualified immunity, a legal protection mechanism for law enforcement officers.

Montgomery County Sheriff Hank Partin told The Virginia Star “absolutely, without a doubt” that Democrats’ threats to end qualified immunity are affecting law enforcement’s ability to keep and retain officers. He spoke at length about how law enforcement would be negatively affected if Virginia Democrats were to end qualified immunity. He discussed these protections are in place to protect law enforcement who are trying to follow the law.

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Cleveland Residents to Vote on Measure to Give Citizens Power over the Police

Residents of Cleveland will vote in November on Issue 24, an amendment to the city’s charter that would give citizens the power of oversight of the police force.

The amendment, which has been endorsed by several progressive groups, would establish an “independent” council of community members to review “everything from disciplinary oversight to recruiting and training.”

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Arizona State Rep. and Secretary of State Candidate Shawnna Bolick Favors Statewide Audit, Other Measures

The results of the Maricopa County ballot audit has many elected officials demanding accountability and action. Arizona State Rep. Shawnna Bolick (R-Phoenix), who is running for Arizona Secretary of State, issued a statement denouncing the fraud that the audit uncovered, and recommended conducting a statewide audit. 

Bolick said in a recent campaign update, criticizing Democratic election officials Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and former Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes, “Who is surprised that Secretary Hobbs and the former Maricopa County Recorder Fontes bent the rules last year, taking advantage of Covid to consistently undermine our election processes? It didn’t stop in 2020. They continued to obstruct the State Senate’s audit to serve justice. Then we saw how Maricopa County refused to turn over election routers despite a subpoena, but it went deeper. Throughout the audit report, it was clear that at almost every point Maricopa County was uncooperative in providing important context and information. They disrupted the audit processes by deleting logs, files, and important documents from the Election Management System.”

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