Charlottesville Will Give Lee Statue to Museum That Plans to Melt It for a New Public Artwork

Charlottesville’s Lee statue will be given to the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center (JSAAHC) to be melted down into bronze ingots and repurposed for the museum’s Swords into Plowshares proposal. In a Monday city council meeting that ran late, councilors voted four to zero to approve the proposal.

The vote happened after discussion focused on the disposition of other removed city statues of Stonewall Jackson and Lewis, Clark, and Sacajawea. Seeking more information, the council decided to postpone decisions until later in the month, but public commenters at the end of the meeting asked the council to make a decision, leading to the final vote on just the Lee statue. Vice Mayor Sena Magill was absent.

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Knox County Mayor Creates Skilled Trades Academy and Regional Training Center to Bring Tradesmen to County

The Knox County Mayor announced in a press release that he was close to beginning the Skilled Trades Academy and Regional Training Center (START). The academy was explained as “a training school designed to attract, train, and retain a quality workforce in the construction industry.”

Mayor Glenn Jacobs said in the press release that the Knox County community is committed to opportunities for everyone to thrive. “This academy does that by advancing alternative pathways for students and residents while ensuring that our growing workforce will be ready and able to meet the needs of our trade businesses.”

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Law Professor John Eastman on Steve Bannon’s War Room Explains Why Pelosi’s January 6 Select Committee is Not Legitimate

  Stephen K. Bannon welcomed Conservative attorney, legal scholar, and professor of law John Eastman on Monday’s War Room: Pandemic to explain his attorney’s letter to Congress citing the illegitimacy of his subpoena regarding the January 6 committee hearings. Bannon: I’m going to start with John Eastman. God do I…

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Commentary: Remembering Pearl Harbor … Accurately

Most Americans once were mostly in agreement about what happened on December 7, 1941, 80 years ago this year. But not so much now, given either the neglect of America’s past in the schools or woke revisionism at odds with the truth. 

The Pacific war that followed Pearl Harbor was not a result of America egging on the Japanese, not about starting a race war, and not about much other than a confident and cruel Japanese empire falsely assuming that its stronger American rival either would not or could not stop its transoceanic ambitions. 

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Tennessee Should Collect, Connect Data on Court Fines and Fees Statewide: Report

Tennessee Supreme Court building

As Tennessee lawmakers continue to examine reforms in the criminal justice system, two recently released reports showed that the state is not collecting the proper data to evaluate the fines and fees collected from its court system.

Non-profit policy think tank Think Tennessee found that, despite a 2019 law requiring all courts to create a payment plan system for those who financially will have issues paying court fees, the law has been implemented inconsistently throughout the state.

“For Tennesseans who face an endless cycle of penalties due to an inability to pay court debt, the county where they live could determine whether they have access to a payment plan that could help them break free,” Think Tennessee wrote. “Moreover, court fines and fees have a disproportionate impact on people who are low-income, Black and/or rural, and the financial hardship they experience may lead to increased recidivism with more significant impacts for communities as a whole.

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‘Effectively Overcharges Seniors’: AARP Rakes in Record Profits Selling Brand Royalties While Overcharging Members

old man and woman walking outside together

The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) raked in massive profits in 2020, mostly from royalties on branded health insurance policies, not memberships, according to company financial documents.

AARP’s 2020 Form 990 shows that the organization reported $1.6 billion in revenue, with roughly $1 billion, or over 60%, from royalty revenue. Meanwhile, membership dues contributed under 20% of total revenue.

AARP’s 2019 Form 990 reported $1.72 billion in revenue, with royalties making up nearly 56% of revenue while membership dues contributed just 17%.

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Report: Pennsylvania Taxpayers Spend Tens of Millions on Government Lobbying

People shaking hands

A Pennsylvania government watchdog group is highlighting how the incestuous relationship between local government entities and lobbyists is costing taxpayers millions of dollars. The Commonwealth Foundation also is supporting legislation designed to put an end to the practice.

The Commonwealth Foundation issued a report Monday that reveals Pennsylvania taxpayers paid at least $42 million in lobbying expenses between 2007 and 2020 to advocate for more government spending, though the actual cost is likely substantially more.

The foundation sent public information requests to 1,518 government entities to collect data on taxpayer-funded lobbying, which involves boroughs, cities, counties, school districts and state agencies that hire lobbyists or pay dues to associations to lobby other areas of government.

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European Efforts to Purge ‘Christmas’ from Seasonal Lexicon Meet Resistance

Moves by officials in the EU and U.K. to cleanse the insufficiently inclusive term “Christmas” from holiday season nomenclature are meeting resistance amid signs that authorities may be backtracking from a sweeping top-down campaign to weed out speech rooted in traditional Western usage that could be construed as insensitive to minorities.

In the European Union, an internal document by EU Commissioner for Equality Helena Dalli, first reported on by Italian daily Il Giornale, recommends that expressions that are offensive to minorities or “aren’t inclusive enough” — including “Christmas” — shouldn’t be used ahead of the Christmas season.

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Commentary: Biden Is Right that Moving off Fossil Fuels Quickly Would Be Dangerous

Following his trip to Rome a few weeks ago for the G-20 summit, President Joe Biden expressed worry that surging energy costs would harm working-class families and urged OPEC and Russia to pump more oil.

Some noted this was a strange message to send to the world, since Biden was preparing for a climate summit in Scotland where he pledged to reduce carbon emissions at home.

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Students ‘Demand’ Roles for Black Actors, Professor’s Resignation

Silhouette of three performers onstage

A student organization at the College of Wooster is calling for the school to apply affirmative action to its theater productions. 

The BIPOC Performing Arts Alliance (PAA) has written a list of demands for the university, which according to The Wooster Voice, include having: 

At least one department play yearly that is BIPOC written or starring a BIPOC student (this student should not be the only BIPOC student in the cast) in one of its leading roles. This can also be fulfilled by student productions that are treated like main stage productions. The department must show a vested interest in BIPOC work.

Additionally, the students demand that Shirley Huston-Findley, a professor of theater and dance, resign “from department chair until further substantial equality education is reached and the DEI plan is completed.” 

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Majority of School Board Associations Have Distanced Themselves from National Organization

Since the National School Boards Association (NSBA) sent a letter to the White House equating the acts of concerned parents at local school board meetings to “domestic terrorism and hate crimes” and requesting federal intervention, the majority of state chapters of the organization have either left or distanced themselves from the NSBA.

There are 49 state chapters that paid dues to the NSBA before the Sept. 29 letter, which sparked backlash from parents, lawmakers and education leaders. Since then, 27 state school board associations have distanced themselves from the NSBA, while 17 state associations have taken further action, according to data compiled by Parents Defending Education (PDE).

The NSBA apologized for the letter and removed it from its website.

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Academic Journal Publishes Hoax on Conservative Takeover of Higher Ed

Man speaking in front of crowd

A prestigious academic journal has egg on its face for publishing a hoax paper that claimed to find widespread concerns about “undue” conservative influence in higher education.

“Right-wing money strongly appears to induce faculty and administrators … to believe that they are pressured to hire and promote people they regard as inferior candidates, to promote ideas they regard as poor, and to suppress people and ideas they regard as superior,” according to the abstract in Higher Education Quarterly.

Peer reviewers failed to perform basic due diligence on the paper submitted in April and approved in October, neglecting, for example, to verify that authors “Sage Owens” and “Kal Alvers-Lynde III” were UCLA professors as they claimed. Owens even used an encrypted email service for correspondence with the journal.

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Missouri Paper Stands by Reporting After Sparring With Governor Over COVID Mask Mandates

Man on escalator with mask on

A Missouri newspaper is standing by its recent reporting on COVID-19 mask mandates after it drew criticism from Gov. Mike Parson (R).

“Our story — which included all documents and data supporting it — speaks for itself. We stand behind our reporting,” Editor-in-Chief of The Missouri Independent Jason Hancock told The Star News Network. 

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Fraudsters Used Paycheck Protection Program Loans for Bentleys, Diamonds, Luxury Homes: Watchdog

woman on laptop with eye glasses and mug next to her

This week’s Golden Horseshoe goes to the Small Business Administration for millions in Paycheck Protection Program loans it issued to fraudsters who used the money to purchase luxury homes, high-priced jewelry and expensive cars, including a Bentley and two Lamborghinis, according to a watchdog report.

The Paycheck Protection Program had the highest percentage of cases of criminal activity of all the pandemic relief programs, according to the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee’s recent Semiannual Report to Congress.

“A total of 14 OIGs have indictments/complaints, arrests, and/or convictions from April 1, 2021, through September 30, 2021, related to the federal government’s COVID-19 pandemic response,” PRAC reported.

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Family Tracking App Life360 Is Selling Customers’ Locations to Data Brokers: REPORT

A family safety app used to track children’s movements is selling location data to several different data brokers, according to an investigation by The Markup.

Life360, which bills itself as a “family location sharing app” that purports to “simplify safety” for families, is selling customers’ location data to over a dozen data brokers including X-Mode, SafeGraph and Cuebiq, the Markup reported, citing interviews with two ex–Life360 employees and two former employees of major location data brokers.

Life360 is used by 31 million members, according to its website, and is intended to provide parents with the ability to track their children’s movements. The company discloses in its privacy policy that it sells “identifiers, Internet/Network information, Geolocation, Inferences, and Other personal information, including driving event and movement data” to third parties.

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Crom’s Crommentary: Constitutional and Judicial Oaths, Justice Sotomayor, and the Viability of a Fetus

Baby laying on a bed, close up of feet

Monday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed the original all-star panelist Crom Carmichael in studio for another edition of Crom’s Crommentary where he discusses the Supreme Court and fetus viability.

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Robin Steerman of Mom’s for Liberty-Williamson County Updates on Status of the Group’s ‘Critical Race Theory’ Complaints

Young girl reading a book

Monday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Mom’s for Liberty of Willamson County, Robin Steeman to the newsmakers line for updates on her complaint to the Tennessee Department of Education regarding the continuation of the CRT curriculum into 2022.

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Foreigners Illegally Entering U.S. Come from 106 Different Countries, Border Patrol Says

While most Americans are legally traveling to visit relatives and celebrate during the holidays, Border Patrol agents are being inundated with illegal travelers arriving at the U.S. southern border from more than 100 different countries this year.

Border Patrol agents assigned to Del Rio Sector in Texas, for example, arrested people coming from African and former Soviet countries over Thanksgiving, as well as known sex offenders from Mexico and Nicaragua.

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Former D.C. National Guard Official Says Generals Lied to Congress About January 6th

A former member of the D.C. National Guard has accused two Army leaders of perjuring themselves before Congress in an attempt to rewrite the history of the military’s response to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

Col. Earl Matthews, a high-level Pentagon official during the Trump administration, has authored a 36-page report criticizing the Pentagon’s inspector general for what he believes is an error-riddled account created in order to protect a top Army official who argued against sending the National Guard to the Capitol, according to Politico.

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Trump Makes Deal to Clear North Carolina GOP Senate Field So His Candidate Can Win

Donald Trump smiling

Former President Donald Trump struck a deal this past weekend to clear the crowded field in North Carolina’s Republican primary for Senate for Rep. Ted Budd, his preferred candidate, a source close with Budd and familiar with the meeting confirmed to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Budd, who joined the fray in April and received Trump’s endorsement two months later, has failed to emerge as the frontrunner in a GOP primary that includes former Gov. Pat McCrory and former Rep. Mark Walker. One recent poll conducted for the conservative group Club for Growth, which has also backed Budd, found the congressman slightly behind McCrory even as Budd’s popularity rose in recent months, while Walker remained in a distant third.

An internal poll from McCrory’s campaign, however, showed the former governor up by 15 points.

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Former New York Times Reporter and Author of ‘Pandemia’ Alex Berenson Talks Masks, Vaccines, Boosters, and Lockdowns

Alex Berenson

Monday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed former New York Times reporter and author of the new book Pandemia, Alex Berenson to the newsmakers line to answer questions about the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Georgia Rep. Buddy Carter Said He Did Not Vote for a Federal COVID-19 Database That Intrudes on People’s Privacy

U.S. Representative Buddy Carter (R-GA-01) on Monday denied that he voted for a federal database that documents who got vaccinated against COVID-19. According to the U.S. House of Representatives’ website, Carter was the sole Republican House member from Georgia to vote yes on H.R. 550. That bill is otherwise known as the Immunization Infrastructure Modernization Act of 2021.

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Nikki Fried Consultant Wants FBI to Investigate Right Wingers Who Criticized Her on Twitter

Evelyn Perez-Verdia and Nikki Fried

A communications consultant for one of Florida’s Democrat candidates for Governor suggested Monday that the Federal Bureau of Investigation should investigate right wingers who criticized her on Twitter. 

“In the last days, after posting the above,I am also getting followed by retired police who follow Breitbart, people who work for the alt-right publication in Spanish The American, and other alt-right people,” Evelyn Perez-Verdia said on Twitter. 

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Northam Announces $2.4 Billion Increase for Education in His Final Budget Proposal; New House Appropriations Chair Knight Previews Upcoming Budget Process

Governor Ralph Northam will include a $2.4 billion increase for education in his budget proposal to the General Assembly next week, with a 5 percent salary increase for teachers in each of the next two fiscal years.

“Paying teachers is the right thing to do, and a wise investment,” Northam said in a Monday press release. “Virginia has invested in teachers in a big way over these past four years, and now it’s time to do much more. Our country has asked teachers to carry a heavy load, especially during the pandemic. They have delivered, and they deserve to be rewarded.”

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Gov. DeSantis Defends Parental Rights, Criticizes Political Advocacy in Florida Classrooms

After the Florida Capital Star uncovered the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) removed links and resources to LGBT advocacy groups, notable Florida progressives chimed in to criticize the FDOE and the Gov. Ron DeSantis administration.

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Perdue Launches Georgia Governor Bid With Pledge to Eliminate State Income Tax, Block Stacy Abrams Control of Elections ‘Over My Dead Body’

David Perdue

The former Republican Georgia senator, who lost his January runoff election to Democratic Sen. T. Jonathan Ossoff, announced today he is challenging his friend and former ally Gov. Brian P. Kemp in the party’s May 24 primary.

“Look, I like Brian,” said David A. Perdue Jr., in a video released by his campaign.

“This isn’t personal. It’s simple,” Perdue said. “He has failed all of us and cannot win in November. Instead of protecting our elections, he caved to Abrams and cost us two Senate seats, the Senate majority, and gave Joe Biden free reign.”

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Attorney General Nessel Offers to Review Oxford Shooting

Attorney General Dana Nessel has offered to review the Oxford High School shooting that has left four students dead.

Nessel’s spokeswoman Lynsey Mukomel told The Center Square in an email that they offered the AG’s services “to conduct a full and comprehensive review of the 11/30/21 shooting and the events leading up to it.”

“Our attorneys and special agents are uniquely qualified to perform an investigation of this magnitude and are prepared to perform an extensive investigation and inquiry to answer the many questions the community has regarding this tragedy,” the email read.

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Ohio Ranks Poorly in Terms of Freedom, Report Says

Ohioans are not as free as much of the rest of the nation, according to a new report released by the Cato Institute. And things are getting worse.

The report calls Ohio “thoroughly mediocre when it comes to freedom,” ranking the Buckeye State above average in fiscal policy but poorly on both regulatory and personal freedom issues. Overall, the report ranked the state 31st in the nation in terms of freedom, a spot lower than last year and two below its peak in 2016.

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Former President Trump Endorses Georgia GOP Gubernatorial Candidate David Perdue

Former President Donald Trump on Monday endorsed former U.S. Senator and Georgia GOP gubernatorial candidate David Perdue.

Perdue, arguing he is a better contender to defeat Democrat Stacy Abrams, formally launched a primary challenge against Republican Governor Brian Kemp.

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Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody’s Motion to Block Health-Care Worker Vaccine Mandate Denied

Ashley Moody

A motion by Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody to block a rule by the Biden Administration that would require health-care workers to receive the COVID-19 vaccine was denied Sunday by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. 

In a three-judge panel, it was voted two to one in denying Moody’s proposed injunction, as the two judges who voted against it – Judges Robin Rosenbaum and Jill Pryor – expressed that the state “failed to make the requisite showing for an injunction pending appeal.” Judge Barbara Lagoa was the judge who supported the state’s appeal. 

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Ohio GOP Insider: All Four Major Senate Hopefuls Could Get Trump’s Endorsement

Donald Trump waving

An Ohio Republican insider who held senior positions in Donald J. Trump’s 2016 and since then been a consultant for Republican Senate and gubernatorial races told The Ohio Star each of the top four candidates running for the 2022 GOP Senate nomination has a shot at Trump’s endorsement.

“I think each of these candidates can make an argument to give an endorsement. Every one of them, all the top four,” said the insider and Ohio native.

Joshua A. Mandel

Former state treasurer and Marine Iraq veteran Joshua A. Mandel is leading in all the polls, and he has recovered from his surprise dropping of the 2018 Senate race, which was supposed to be a rematch of with Democratic Sen. Sherrod C. Brown, who beat him 51 percent to Mandel’s 45 percent, he said.

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Lentz: Minnesota Becoming a De Facto ‘Sanctuary State’ for Child Sexual Predators

Kyle Hooten talking to Michele Lentz

Alpha News recently sat down with Michele Lentz, president of the Child Protection League, for an in-studio interview.

Interviewed by Kyle Hooten, Lentz spoke about the work of the Child Protection League, a nonprofit whose mission is to protect children from indoctrination, exploitation, and violence.

She underscored just how crucial their mission is, given the fact that Minnesota checks in as one of the worst states in the U.S. for the light sentencing of child sexual predators — specifically those who traffic in the possession, distribution, or production of child pornography.

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Georgia Thieves Targeting Elderly Victims in Identity Scheme Sentenced to Federal Prison

Two Georgia residents were sentenced to federal prison, following a scheme that sought to steal the identity of elderly individuals.

The two criminals, Durrell Tyler and DeShawn Johnson, both plead guilty to charges of access device fraud and aggravated identity theft.

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Commentary: Burned Out Teachers Are Starting Their Own ‘Microschools’ – and It’s Working

Teachers across the country are feeling burned out and depleted, particularly as school coronavirus policies and staffing shortages make their jobs more difficult. According to a survey by the RAND Corporation, almost one-quarter of teachers planned to leave the profession in 2021, and teachers experienced higher rates of work-related stress and depression than other adults.

A recent letter from teachers and staff at a small Vermont public elementary school to their superintendent and school board members echoes the feelings of many public school personnel. “Everybody is stepping up to try to do what is asked of them; everybody is feeling inadequate, exhausted, and defeated much of the time,” wrote educators at the Ottauquechee School in Hartford. “Colleagues are questioning whether changing professions is in their best interest.”

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Minnesota Woman Stands Trial on Criminal Charges for Opening Restaurant During COVID

Lisa Hanson

ALBERT LEA, Minnesota – Monday was the scheduled start to the trial against Minnesota restaurant owner, Lisa Hanson, who is charged with nine misdemeanors after she opened her restaurant in violation of Governor Tim Walz’s (D) COVID orders in 2020.

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Gov. Northam Orders Removal of Lee Monument Pedestal

Crews have begun work to remove the pedestal that used to hold the Lee statue in Richmond. On Sunday, Governor Ralph Northam announced that the pedestal would be removed to storage in a process lasting through December, and that after the pedestal was removed, the land underneath would be given to the City of Richmond. On Monday evening, the pedestal was surrounded by scaffolding.

“This land is in the middle of Richmond, and Richmonders will determine the future of this space,” Northam said in the press release. “The Commonwealth will remove the pedestal and we anticipate a safe removal and a successful conclusion to this project.”

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Republican Lawmakers Unimpressed with Gov. Evers’ $134 Per-Student Funding

Republicans at the Wisconsin Capitol aren’t sure just how far Gov. Tony Evers’ new $110 million for schools in the state will go.

The governor on Thursday announced the latest round of Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security(CARES) Act spending.

“This $110 million investment is an opportunity for schools to invest directly into programming to help students both in and out of the classroom, allowing schools to hire additional educators and staff, provide more educational and extracurricular opportunities, invest in mental health supports, buy art supplies or computers, or keep the lights on – whatever they need and, most importantly, whatever our kids need,” the governor said.

The $110 million breaks down to about $134 per child.

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Former President Trump Responds to David Perdue’s Gubernatorial Primary Challenge

Former President Donald Trump on Monday responded to former U.S. Senator David Perdue launching a Georgia gubernatorial campaign.

The campaign, a GOP primary challenge against incumbent Governor Brian Kemp, follows routine attacks from Trump against Kemp.

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Outside Organization Finds Discrepancies After Examining Michigan Voter Registration Lists, Calls for More Transparency

The Voter Reference Foundation (VRF), an outside organization that has reviewed multiple states’ voter registration lists, called for more transparency in Michigan’s voter rolls.

When analyzing the data, the group claimed that the state has a discrepancy between the number of voters listed as having voted in the 2020 general election and the number of ballots reported being cast according to states’ official canvass and turnout reports.

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CATO: Michigan Seventh Freest State in the Nation

Michigan ranked 7th nationwide in the CATO Institute’s 2021 Freedom in the States report.  

The rankings use 230 metrics to rank states on how their policies promote freedom in fiscal, regulatory and personal realms. The Wolverine state advanced two spots from 2018 and four since 2016.

Michigan’s tax burden is 5.9% of adjusted personal income, while government debt is now below average at 15.9% of income.

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Two Tennessee Republicans Vote Yes on Controversial Democrat-Led Health and Human Services Bill

Two Republicans who represent Tennessee in the U.S. House of Representatives voted for a bill that some people say would give the federal government access to information about any one person’s COVID-19 vaccination status. Representative David Kustoff (R-TN-08) and Representative Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN-03) voted yes last week on H.R. 550. That bill is otherwise known as the Immunization Infrastructure Modernization Act of 2021.

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