Tennessee Clinic Overcharged TennCare Nearly $5 Million, New Audit Reveals

A west Tennessee primary care clinic overcharged TennCare — and, by extension, taxpayers — more than $4.7 million, according to an audit that Tennessee Comptrollers published late last week.

Officials who oversaw that company, the Grove Primary Care Clinic, closed all three of their facilities in 2019. They did this one day after state auditors announced they would examine the company’s finances.

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Senator Bill Hagerty Appoints Michael Sullivan to Serve as State Director

In a press release Friday, Tennessee Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) announced he appointed Michael Sullivan to serve as State Director for his U.S. Senate office. Sullivan will take over for Jim Henry, who is retiring.

According to the Tennessee Office of the Governor, during his political career, Jim Henry was appointed by Governor Haslam as deputy to the governor on June 30, 2015, after serving two years as commissioner for the Department of Children’s Services. Henry was previously the first commissioner of the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. A former mayor of Kingston, Tennessee, Henry also served 12 years as a state representative and six of those years as the minority leader.

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Eventbrite Refuses to Sell Tickets for Tennessee Eagle Forum’s COVID-19 Event

Members of the Tennessee Eagle Forum used Eventbrite to promote a forthcoming event to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic, but Eventbrite officials later removed the ad because they disapproved of the subject matter.

The event, titled “Whistleblowers: On the Deceptive Agenda Behind the COVID-19 Pandemic,” will present information about “propaganda involving PPE, respiratory protection, masks, lockdowns, vaccinations, and the weaponizing of our government agencies to implement the Great Reset.”

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Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn Holds Third Town Hall in Pulaski to Discuss Public School Budget

The Tennessee Department of Education held its third Town Hall meeting on November 1, 2021, at the University of Tennessee Southern’s Curry Athletic Complex. The meeting was also live-streamed on their FaceBook page.

Similar to the first town hall held in Hendersonville, a representative from the Tennessee Department of Education announced that the discussion at the meeting was not intended to replace the current Basic Education Plan, or BEP, until a new funding plan was passed by the General Assembly. 

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Commentary: Taking the Infrastructure Bill Hostage Didn’t Work

Nancy Pelosi, AOC's mother and her all together

Back in August, New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait blessed the strategy of the Congressional Progressive Caucus to withhold their votes for the Senate’s bipartisan physical infrastructure plan until that bill was effectively linked to a bigger, broader, and surely partisan, measure investing in a range of items from climate protection to universal preschool. He argued that “ransoming the infrastructure bill” would turn the tables on the party’s moderates:

Historically, most partisan bills are shaped by the preferences of the members of Congress closest to the middle, and their colleagues on the political extreme simply have to go along with it. … This time, the left has real power. Progressives can credibly threaten to sink a priority that moderates care about more than they do.

Twice in the past two months, most recently last Thursday, the House progressives successfully executed this strategy, blocking attempts by Speaker Nancy Pelosi to pass the bipartisan infrastructure legislation before an agreement is reached on the larger “Build Back Better” bill.

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TennCare Proposes $600M Budget Increase

Tennessee’s TennCare program would like to spend $600 million more next fiscal year than this year, according to a budget request presented Monday to Gov. Bill Lee and Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration Commissioner Butch Eley.

The proposed spending increase in the state’s Medicaid program includes a $250 million increase in recurring federal funds and $182 million in nonrecurring federal expense increases.

The spending increase would cost the state $137 million in additional recurring expenses.

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Nashville Mayor Promotes $30 Million Project to Place Juvenile Court in the Middle of Parks, Sports Complex

John Cooper

Mayor John Cooper announced on his Twitter that part of the New Capitol Spending plan would allocate $30 million for a new 14-acre campus. The campus will be located on Brick Church Pike— close to public transportation and community organizations— where Cooper said that it “will be home to green space, sports facilities, and Davidson County’s Juvenile Court.”

Judge Shiela Calloway, from the Davidson County’s Juvenile Court, said “I am immensely thankful to Mayor Cooper for prioritizing this project to benefit families and young people in Nashville for years to come. I believe this investment will pay off exponentially, through improved public safety and positive outcomes for our community’s young men and women.”

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Votes on Build Back Better, Infrastructure Bill Delayed as Democrats Scramble to Reach Agreement on Lowering Drug Costs

The House Rules Committee is no longer meeting Monday to markup Democrats’ spending package, meaning that the full House vote on it and the bipartisan infrastructure bill will be delayed past Tuesday, when Democratic leadership originally sought to pass the linked legislation.

An aide said Sunday that the committee would need “additional time to craft language and get final agreement with all parties involved,” telling Punchbowl News that “extensive progress” had been made, and that the House would vote “as early as possible this week.”

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U.S. Announces $144 Million in Aid Money Will Go to Afghanistan

The U.S. announced it will provide an additional $144 million in aid to Afghanistan as part of efforts to help citizens in the country in a statement by Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday.

The assistance brings the total amount of aid to Afghanistan to $474 million in 2021, making the U.S. the top aid donor to the country out of any nation, the statement wrote.

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Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Texas Heartbeat Act

Pregnant woman holding ultrasound photo in front of stomach

The United States Supreme Court heard arguments Monday on the constitutionality of Texas’ Heartbeat Act.

The Texas law effectively bans most abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which typically occurs around 6 weeks after conception. The law is enforced through civil lawsuits against individuals who perform abortions illegally or who knowingly help women to get abortions after the baby has a heartbeat.

The private enforcement mechanism was a response to district attorneys stating their intent to not enforce any abortion bans, according to Republican Texas state Sen. Brian Hughes. While abortion bans are frequently blocked in court, Texas’ Heartbeat Act quickly resulted in a 50% decline in abortions performed in the state, according to The New York Times.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh questioned Texas about the prospect of other states creating laws with similar enforcement mechanisms to block constitutionally protected rights such as freedom of religion.

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University of Pittsburgh Students Want to ‘Abolish’ Their Community’s Elementary Gifted Program

The Editorial Board of the University of Pittsburgh student paper recently published an article calling to get rid of the gifted program in surrounding schools.

“The gifted program segregates students — sometimes based on IQ tests conducted at an early age. The program is deeply flawed, encourages students to unnecessarily compete against each other academically and often ends up leaving behind students of color. It is time for Pittsburgh to follow New York’s example and eliminate the gifted program from local school districts,” claims the piece.

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Los Angeles Sheriff Warns of Police Shortage over Vaccine Mandate

The sheriff of Los Angeles County warned last week that there could be a massive exodus of police officers and other emergency workers over the city’s demand that all public employees take a coronavirus vaccine, as reported by Breitbart.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva said that the mandate could drive out as many as 20 or 30 percent of employees in the sheriff’s office. The vaccine mandate was passed by the city council in August, ordering that all public employees of the county submit their vaccination status in order to keep their jobs. Those who do not submit a vaccination status will be ordered to get the vaccine within 45 days or else be suspended from work for five days; they are then given another 30 days to comply, after which further action would be taken if they still refuse to get the vaccine.

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Professor’s Anti-Police Posts Still Have Repercussions

In October 2020, Nathan Jun was under fire at Midwestern State University after he wished for every policeman to be strangled with the “intestines of the last capitalist.”

Jun served as the Coordinator of the Philosophy Program and taught “Asian Philosophy and Religion,” “Philosophy of Race and Racism,” and “Ethics” at the Texas institution.

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Report: Online Trolls Could Be Jailed for Two Years Under Proposed United Kingdom Law

Social media users that post certain kinds of offensive content could face a prison sentence of up to two years under a proposed United Kingdom law, The Times reported.

The Online Safety Bill, a piece of proposed legislation overhauling the U.K.’s online communications laws, will include a provision that criminalizes content that causes “likely psychological harm,” with sentences reaching up to two years, according to The Times. Examples of newly-illegal social media posts include “knowingly false communication” with the intention to cause “emotional” harm, as well as “pile-ons” in which a group of people coordinate to send unpleasant messages to one user.

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Commentary: When the Regular Joes Shrugged

Until recently, conservatives were the party of business. They defended the business world not as a necessary evil or because of its efficiencies, but because they thought it exemplified an enterprising, individualist morality. It respected rights of contract, served as an arena for creativity, and allowed socially useful competition. Even now, Republicans condemn the Left’s programs as creeping socialism, seemingly forgetful of the last decade in which corporations became the vanguard of the cultural revolution.

Part of American conservatives’ embrace of capitalism comes from its historically central place in American life. Americans had tamed the wilderness and become an industrial powerhouse by the middle of the 20th century. Most of this activity was rooted neither in the pursuit of glory nor religious conviction—as, perhaps, with Spanish colonialism—but by ordinary economic self-interest, the spirit of Yankee ingenuity.

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Condoleezza Rice Has Harsh Words for Critical Race Theory

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice debunked critical race theory during a recent appearance on ABC’s The View.

Rice, who is now director of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, spoke bout the role of public schools in the United States during a discussion on broader education issues including homeschooling and sex education.

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Vice President of Independent Women’s Voice, Carrie Lukas Talks Distrust of Public Schooling

Carrie Lukas

Monday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Independent Women’s Voice and author, Carrie Lukas, to the newsmaker line to discuss her recent article related to her distrust of Virginia’s public schools.

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Ex-Campaign Staffers File Complaint and Affidavits Accusing Ohio Gubernatorial Candidate Joe Blystone of ‘An Unprecedented Level of Illegal Activity’ And Under Reporting Cash Contributions ‘To Facilitate a Theft’

A former co-campaign manager for Ohio gubernatorial candidate Joe Blystone has filed a complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission (OEC) that alleges the candidate purposely underreported cash contributions, failed to disclose the names of those contributors in campaign finance reports, and that “these cash contributions are being reported in this manner in order to facilitate a theft of these campaign funds by the respondents.”

The former co-campaign manager, Sarah Chambers, filed the complaint, OEC Case #2021G-022, on October 28 supported by affidavits of other former staff and volunteers who claim they also witnessed the collection of cash donations not properly recorded at the expressed direction of the Blystone campaign leadership.

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Commentary: Conservatives File Suit to ‘Derail Biden Climate Railroad’

Michael Regan

Michael Regan began his tenure as President Biden’s Environmental Protection Agency administrator by dismissing dozens of outside scientific advisers appointed during the previous administration — part of an effort to “ensure the agency receives the best possible scientific insight to support our work.”

At the time, Regan (pictured) called it a “reset.” Opponents grumbled that it looked more like “a purge.” Now, one of those advisers, Stanley Young, has filed a lawsuit in federal court accusing the agency of violating U.S. law; the suit also seeks an injunction to halt the work of his former committee.

The legal dustup is the latest rearguard action from the right on environmental issues. Conservatives see the case as their best chance to thwart the Biden administration’s multi-agency approach to combating climate change, seen as hostile to the fossil fuel industry.

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Representative Chris Todd of Jackson: ‘We’re Dealing With a Lawless Unconstitutional Federal Biden Administration’

Monday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed State Representative (R-73) Chris Todd to the newsmakers line to break down what happened in last week’s special session.

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American Airlines Cancels More Flights Citing Weather and Labor Shortage

American Airlines plane in the air

American Airlines canceled 340 flights on Monday after cutting almost 2,000 flights during the weekend due to staffing shortages and weather delays, multiple sources reported.

The airline cut 343 flights Friday, 548 Saturday, and over 1,000 Sunday, according to American Airlines data obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The company canceled 2,291 flights as of Monday morning, representing over 10% of its schedule.

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Texas Police Refused Requests to Escort Biden Campaign Bus Bothered by Trump Supporters

Transcripts of 911 calls last year from the San Marcos, Texas, police department show officials turned down multiple requests for assistance from a 2020 Biden campaign bus that was being harassed on the road by pro-Trump vehicles.

Individuals inside the bus at the time of the incident have filed suit against the police and the transcripts are now evidence in the case.

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REVIEW: Hemingway’s ‘Rigged’ a Bone Chilling Page-Turner About the 2020 Election

Person with mask on at a computer.

We are a year overdue for the true story of the 2020 elections. Mollie Hemingway has at last delivered it to us in one tidy volume.

It’s a complex story, which makes for a weighty book. The research is thorough, the writing is evidentiary, the style is clinical—like investigative journalism and social science used to be. The endnotes alone run nearly 100 pages. 

Reading Rigged, one isn’t jarred by hyperbole, conjecture, or spin. Hemingway is unequivocal on progressive malice, yet she can be scathing of Republicans, too. She is particularly critical of Rudy Giuliani’s attempts to publicize fraud nationally, thereby undermining prior case-by-case efforts to get particular state courts to recognize particular violations of particular state laws. 

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Crom’s Commentary: By Forcing Vaccination, Democrats Are Losing Constituents

Doctor giving a shot

Monday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed the original all-star panelist Crom Carmichael in studio for another insightful edition of Crom’s Commentary.

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Some Arizona Municipalities Looking for More Money in Off-Year Election

Voters in some Arizona cities are due to see whether their taxes or costs of government are going to increase in the coming years.

Although many cities in the state have moved to all mail-in voting for off-year elections, Tuesday at 7 p.m. is the deadline for ballots to be received by Maricopa County.

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McAuliffe Campaign Closes with Gaffes, Scandal

Democrat Terry McAuliffe’s campaign for Virginia governor, which has endured more than a month of scandal leading up to Tuesday’s election, remained true to form during the final weekend of the race.

McAuliffe spokesperson Christina Freundlich accidentally looped in a Fox News reporter on what was supposed to be an internal campaign email. Fox had reached out to McAuliffe’s campaign for comment about why it had retained Marc Elias, a known election litigator, for $60,000. Ostensibly, the hire was for the purpose of litigating the results of the election should McAuliffe lose.

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Herschel Walker Miles Ahead in Georgia’s GOP Senate Primary, Poll Shows

Herschel Walker, the former NFL star-turned-Republican Senate candidate in Georgia’s primary, is the clear favorite to win the nomination in 2022, a new poll shows.

Internal polling shows 74% of Georgia GOP primary voters supporting Walker, who announced his bid in August with the vocal support of former President Donald Trump. Walker led his closest opponent, Gary Black, by 68 points, while 16% said they remained undecided.

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Marco Rubio Proposing GOP Divorce from Big Business

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R) is calling for Republicans to break from big business in policy and polities when he spoke at the National Conservatism Conference yesterday. He also penned an op-ed in the Orlando Sentinel saying America’s largest companies have peddled “anti-American ideologies” and “wokeness” which has contributed to America’s growing partisan divide.

Rubio comments from the conference were pared down into another op-ed posted in The American Conservative where he said if conservatives do not fight back using “corporate patriotism,” Rubio said “we would lose America.”

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Michigan OSHA Caves After Deposition Threat Over Coronavirus Lockdown Fine

Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration construction worker

The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration withdrew a fine it levied against the City of Port Huron after the municipality threatened to depose the agency director.

MIOSHA penalized the city $6,300 after the state department claimed the city violated Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s (D) executive orders imposing tight restrictions on residents.

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School Board Politics Underlie Virginia Beach House Races

Virginia Beach has several competitive House of Delegates races where Republicans hope to make gains that will help power them to a House of Delegates majority.  GOP candidates are focusing on a mix of law-and-order and education policy in a city where school board politics underlie several of the local House races.

In HD 83, Attorney Tim Anderson is challenging Delegate Nancy Guy (D-Virginia Beach), a former school board member. In the past, Anderson has endorsed and legally represented School Board Member Victoria Manning, a member of a conservative minority faction on the school board. Manning herself has pushed for recalls of her fellow school board members, including Vice Chair Kim Melnyk, who is challenging Delegate Glenn Davis (R-Virginia Beach) in HD 84. Additionally, 2020 school board candidate Jeffrey Feld is challenging Delegate Barry Knight (R-Virginia Beach) in HD 81.

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Minnesota School District Requires Teachers to Create ‘Anti-Racist Learning Environments’

South Washington County Schools board meeting

South Washington County Schools now requires teachers to nurture “anti-racist learning environments” as part of the district’s “racial equity journey,” according to an official policy the school board approved earlier this year.

The South Washington County Schools Board unanimously passed a “Racial Equity and Inclusion Policy” at its Aug. 26 meeting. This policy is “riddled with divisive, blatant and vile racism from top to bottom,” said parent Eric Tessmer, who is now running for school board.

“This is racism from top to bottom. I don’t care how you spin it,” he said at the August meeting. “If policies such as this take hold in our communities and in our institutions, this nation is never going to heal, ever. Ideas such as this are toxic to a civil society.”

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Brooklyn Park Seeks Job Applicants Who Believe in Progressive Racial Theories

Brooklyn Park City Hall

A Minnesota city is hiring for a position that pays up to $125 an hour and requires that applicants subscribe to various left-wing racial theories.

“The Brooklyn Park Economic Development Authority (EDA) and North Hennepin Community College (NHCC) are seeking a Project Manager to coordinate collaborative work and fundraising for the Center for Innovation and the Arts,” reads the job posting. The applicant selected for this role will be charged with “support[ing] the development of more arts programming in the community” and increasing donations to the city’s planned arts center. Apparently these tasks require a firm faith in progressive ideas about race.

One of the “desired qualifications” is a belief in systemic racism. The preferred candidate “acknowledges the history in our country of the oppression of black and indigenous peoples, and the power, privilege, and access disparities along the lines of social identities.”

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New Technology at Robins Air Force Base Will Boost the Military, Says Georgia Rep. Austin Scott

New robotics at Robins Air Force Base (AFB) in Houston County will improve productivity and better equip the military on future missions, said Representative Austin Scott (R-GA-08).

Robins AFB personnel, Scott said in June, provide critical capabilities to counter America’s adversaries in China, Russia, and Iran.

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Tallahassee Police Chief Under Fire for Attending Evangelical Conference

Lawrence Revell Named Tallahassee Police Chief

Tallahassee Police Chief Lawrence Revell spoke at a law enforcement retreat in North Carolina hosted by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) and LGBT advocacy groups are calling for Revell to be removed from his post.

The groups are calling the BGEA “one of the nation’s most notorious anti-LGBTQ+ Christian right groups.”

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Commentary: Americans Don’t Buy the Insurrection Narrative

Capitol Riot

Americans never bought House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s “insurrection” narrative about the January 6 violence at the Capitol, and the majority believe the incident was not as serious as portrayed, according to a new pair of polls.

More Americans identify the mayhem as a “riot” or as “protests” rather than an “insurrection,” armed or otherwise, according to polls published in June and October.

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Constitutional Carry Bill Passes Ohio House Committee

Ohio is one step closer to passing what is colloquially known as Constitutional Carry, the right for the state’s residents to carry concealed firearms without a permit.

HB 227 passed through the House Oversight Committee late last week, and is headed to a full vote on the Republican-dominated House floor.

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Former President Trump Reaffirms Support for Mike Carey, Urges Supporters to Vote in Upcoming Special Election

Donald Trump

Former President Donald Trump on Monday reaffirmed his support for Ohio congressional candidate Mike Carey, who is running to replace Representative Steve Stivers (R-OH-15) in a special election.

The special election, which will take place on Tuesday, is a contest between Carey and Democrat Allison Russo.

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Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos Calls for New Leadership at the Wisconsin Elections Commission

Robin Vos of Wisconsin

Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos on Sunday called for reform and new leadership within the Wisconsin Elections Commission.

In an interview with WISN, Vos expressed concern over the state agency, especially after allegations made by Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling.

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DeSantis’ Florida Offers In-N-Out Haven from Regulatory Overreach in Newsom’s California

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis

Refusing to ask patrons if they got the COVID-19 shots or to show a negative test in order to eat in, the popular California-based burger chain In-N-Out is taking a stand — and paying for it. But the company may have a new place to call home, if it takes up an offer from the state of Florida.

If the besieged fast-food chain were to leave, it would follow Elon Musk’s recently decamped Tesla in a growing exodus of companies from a Golden State that has lost its luster for many business owners.

Currently, three Bay Area health jurisdictions — San Francisco County, Contra Costa County and the city of Berkeley — are requiring restaurants to screen customers for on-site indoor dining by either showing proof of a negative COVID test or of COVID vaccination status.

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Petition Aims to Dodge Whitmer Veto for Student Opportunity Scholarship

A ballot question committee aims to gather enough signatures to enact the Student Opportunity Scholarship legislation passed last month by the Michigan legislature. It’s anticipated those bills will be vetoed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Let MI Kids Learn (LMKL) will aim to collect more than 340,000 valid signatures from registered voters for each of the two bills in the Student Opportunity Scholarship package. Upon certification of the signatures by the Board of State Canvassers next year, the House and Senate could enact this veto-proof reform.

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Pollsters’ Final Shifts Reflect Increased Odds of Virginia Republican Gubernatorial Win

In final ratings changes before the election, multiple analysts shifted their gubernatorial race ratings in favor of Republicans, partly due to a preference from some organizations to avoid ending on a toss-up rating. The Crystal Ball shifted from Lean Democratic to Lean Republican. Inside Elections shifted from Lean Democratic to toss-up. CNalysis switched from toss-up to Tilt Republican. That’s significant since up until now, most analysts have either rated the race a tie or with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe in the lead.

“This Virginia gubernatorial race is one of the most vexing races we can remember,” The Crystal Ball said. “Terry McAuliffe (D) retains the advantage of running in a state that is clearly trending Democratic. But Glenn Youngkin (R) has many significant advantages of his own, which may outweigh Virginia’s Democratic lean.”

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Whitmer Official Admits Burning Public Records: REPORT

A Monday Detroit News report claims that an employee of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) who works for the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) admitted to burning public documents in a deposition.

MOISHA was attempting to fine the city of Port Huron for violations under some of Whitmer’s COVID-19 mandates, which have now been rendered unconstitutional.

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Judge Tosses Virginia Election Integrity Lawsuit

Late last week, a judge on the Virginia Circuit Court for Fairfax County threw out a lawsuit by the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF), which was levied against Fairfax County Board of Elections and the Fairfax County General Registrar.

“The lawsuit was dismissed because our client, the Virginia Institute for Public Policy, lacked standing, so the merits of the case were never heard. It is a shame that an election will take place with the largest county in Virginia breaking the law,” Lauren Bowman, the spokeswoman for PILF, told The Virginia Star. “The good news is other counties in Virginia are following all election rules and guidelines. Fighting lawlessness discourages more lawlessness.”

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Meet the Two New Arizona Republican Legislators, Teresa Martinez and Neal Carter

The Pinal County Board of Supervisors has appointed Neal Carter as Representative for District 8 to serve the remaining term left by Frank Pratt's passing, and Teresa Martinez as Representative for District 11 to serve the remaining term left by Bret Roberts' resignation.

With the passing away of Rep. Frank Pratt (R-Casa Grande) and the resignation of Rep. Bret Roberts (R-Maricopa), the Pinal County Supervisors have chosen two new legislators to replace them. The five-member board chose them at a meeting on October 27.

Teresa Martinez will replace Roberts representing LD 11, which is located between Phoenix and Tucson. She described herself to The Arizona Sun Times as “A pro-life, pro-gun, back the blue, protect our border, love America, protect our elections through election integrity conservative.” She said, “I am not going to trample on your freedom, but I don’t want you to trample on mine or anyone else’s.” 

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Tennessee Bill that Allows Partisan Elections for School Board Members Passes Both Chambers, Now Heads To Lee’s Desk for Signing

On Monday, a bill that would allow Tennessee counties to decide if school board elections can be partisan passed both chambers and now heads to the Governor’s desk.

The bill, HB 9072 – SB 9009, “requires elections of school board members to be conducted on a partisan basis.” The legislation also “removes prohibition for a person seeking a position on a school board to campaign as the nominee of a political party and authorizes political parties to nominate candidates for school board membership by any method authorized under the rules of the party or by primary election.”

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