Tennessee Military Infrastructure Expected to Receive Additional Funding, Equipment Following Passage of National Defense Authorization Act

The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives approved the National Defense Authorization Act, sending the bill to President Joe Biden.

If signed by Biden, Tennessee’s national defense infrastructure is likely to receive additional funding and equipment for its operations.

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Governor Bill Lee Announces $15 Million ‘Bill Dance Signature Lakes’ Program to Boost Tourism in Tennessee

Governor Lee announced a new program dubbed the “Bill Dance Signature Lakes” Initiative Thursday. The program – which will cost taxpayers $15 million – is a collaboration between Tennessee Department of Tourism Development (TDTD), the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA), Tennessee State Parks (TSP). The announcement said the effort “seeks to solidify Tennessee as the heart of fishing in the southeast and drive economic activity across the state;” and will improve “both above and below the water at 18 lakes which bear fishing legend Dance’s stamp of approval.”

“I’m unbelievably humbled and excited to be involved in such a helpful project that will benefit so many people and our natural resources in my great home state of Tennessee,” Dance said in a statement. “You can bet your favorite lure this project will definitely have a ripple effect for a mighty long time, not only giving the weekend fisherman, but tournament anglers a wonderful fishery as well, thanks to the great state of Tennessee and my friends at TWRA.”

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Commentary: The Left Is All of a Sudden Worried About the End of Democracy

What is behind recent pessimistic appraisals of democracy’s future, from Hillary Clinton, Adam Schiff, Brian Williams and other elite intellectuals, media personalities, and politicians on the Left? Some are warning about its possible erosion in 2024. Others predict the democracy downturn as early 2022, with scary scenarios of “autocracy” and Trump “coups.” 

To answer that question, understand first what is not behind these shrill forecasts. 

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Shelbyville Doctor Who Allegedly Overcharged TennCare Blasts State’s ‘Intricate Reporting Requirements’

TennCare reportedly overpaid nearly $300,000 of taxpayer money to a Shelbyville physician, according to a report that Tennessee Comptrollers released Thursday. The reported cited Joseph Howard Rupard for failing to accurately report TennCare visits and payments submitted to the state of Tennessee.

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Metro Nashville Police Department Officer Kills Suspect in Shootout

Wednesday night a Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) officer killed a suspect after a brief shootout. 

“Fatal police shooting under investigation on Old Hickory Blvd W in Madison. Citizens called to report this abandoned Impala in the traffic lane with doors open & the sounds of gunfire from nearby woods. Officers repeatedly ordered the gunman to emerge & surrender…” MNPD said on Twitter. 

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All Star Panelist Roger Simon Weighs in on Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccines Bait and Switch

Friday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed all-star panelist Roger Simon in studio to discuss the discrepancies between the FDA-approved COMIRNATY and the EUA authorized Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine.

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Mike Huckabee Tapes His New Year’s Show in Front of a Live Audience

HENDERSONVILLE, Tennessee — Mike Huckabee, host of the Mike Huckabee Tonight show, prerecorded his New Years Day episode this week. It was held in front of a live audience and featured special guests Mark Meadows, Jeff Kemp, Alicia Whitt, Bob Zany, and the musical group The Spinners.

Keith Bilbrey, introduced as ‘the Voice of the Grand Ole Opry’ welcomed the audience. He thanked everyone for attending and told the audience “If you like something, let’s hear it. If you don’t like it, let’s hear it anyway!”

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Nike Executives Funneled Money to Democrat Who Blocked Uyghur Forced Labor Bill

Several top Nike executives funneled more than $60,000 to the re-election campaign of Democratic Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden over the course of just 16 days in September.

On Wednesday evening, Wyden blocked the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act which the House passed unanimously Tuesday and the Senate was expected to overwhelmingly approve. President Joe Biden vowed to sign the bill once passed by both chambers and work with Congress to “ensure global supply chains are free of forced labor,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.

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Five Governors Request Defense Department Withdraw Vaccine Mandate for National Guard

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds is joining four other state governors in requesting the Department of Defense withdraw vaccine mandate directives to National Guard members in Title 32 duty status.

U.S. National Guard members’ deadline to be vaccinated was Dec. 2. Nearly 50,000 military members across all branches have declined to get vaccinated, Reynolds’ office’s news release said.

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Commentary: DC Bar Association Restores Convicted FBI Russiagate Lawyer to ‘Good Standing’ Amid Irregularities

A former senior FBI lawyer who falsified a surveillance document in the Trump-Russia investigation has been restored as a member in “good standing” by the District of Columbia Bar Association even though he has yet to finish serving out his probation as a convicted felon, according to disciplinary records obtained by RealClearInvestigations.

The move is the latest in a series of exceptions the bar has made for Kevin Clinesmith, who pleaded guilty in August 2020 to doctoring an email used to justify a surveillance warrant targeting former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

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All Star Panelist Clint Brewer Weighs in on Beacon Center Pork Report and Partisan School Board Primary Elections

Friday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed all-star panelist Clint Brewer in studio to weigh in on the 2021 Pork Report and Shelby County’s Republican and Democrat Party’s decision not to have partisan primary elections.

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Los Angeles Schools Delay Forcing Thousands of Unvaccinated Students Back to Online Learning

Los Angeles Unified School District will hold off enforcement until the start of the Fall 2022 semester for a vaccine mandate that would have moved thousands of students out of the classroom and into remote learning.

The LAUSD’s Board of Education voted Tuesday to suspend enforcement of a vaccine mandate for all students 12 and older until the fall. The original mandate, which passed in September, required students to show proof of full vaccination or obtain an exemption by Jan. 10, 2022, to continue attending in-person classes.

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Jobless Claims Rise from a 52-Year Low

Unemployment sign

The number of Americans who filed new unemployment claims totaled 206,000 in the week ending Dec. 11 as the tight labor market continues to recover, though it remains far from pre-pandemic levels.

The Labor Department figure shows an 18,000 claim increase compared to the week ending Dec. 4 when jobless claims reached 184,000. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal projected claims to increase to just 195,000 from the previous week’s figure.

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Congress Passes $770 Billion Defense Bill, Prevents Discharge over Vaccine Refusal

Congress passed a $770 billion defense bill Wednesday, authorizing a wide range of military spending for the next year.

The Senate passed the bipartisan 2022 National Defense Authorization Act with an 89-10 vote, sending the legislation to President Joe Biden. The bill, which is passed annually in some form, includes a revamp of how the the military deals with sexual assaults as well as a 2.7% pay increase for military members and employees at the Department of Defense.

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Mexican National Funneled Drug Money to Mexico Through Ohio Banks

A Mexican national this week was convicted of funneling drug profits through Ohio banks to a cartel in Mexico.

“Susana Ramirez Orozco pleaded guilty Monday to conspiracy to commit money laundering in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles,” according to Cleveland.com. “She served as a financial conduit between large-scale drug peddlers and the banks.”

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Ohio Health Department Won’t Say Which Version of Pfizer Vaccine It Is Distributing

Following Wednesday’s story in which The Ohio Star reported that Pfizer is currently still shipping it’s Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) COVID-19 vaccine, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) won’t say which version of the vaccine it is distributing. 

ODH is responsible for acquiring and distributing at least some of the state’s supply of COVID-19 vaccines, though Alicia Shoults of the ODH’s Office of Public Affairs told The Star by phone Thursday afternoon that some healthcare providers procure the vaccine directly from the federal government. 

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Former Gov. Walker Proposes Eliminating Wisconsin Income Tax

There is a plan that would end Wisconsin’s 6.27% personal income tax.

Former Gov. Scott Walker, University of Wisconsin economist Noah Williams, and a coalition of reform groups in the state on Thursday proposed eliminating the individual income tax as a way to jumpstart the state’s economy.

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Enbridge Files Lawsuit to Keep Line 5 Case in Federal Court

As many predicted, pipeline company Enbridge filed to remove a lawsuit to shut down Line 5 from state court to keep it in front of a federal judge.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer have been attempting to revoke the easement that allows Line 5 to transport approximately 540,000 gallons of hydrocarbons across a five-mile stretch of the Straits of Mackinac. The easement has been honored since 1953.

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Minnesota DFL Responds to GOP Letter Condemning Mayo Clinic COVID Vaccine Mandate: ‘Deeply Disturbing’

The Minnesota Democrat Farmer Laborer (DFL) released a statement following a letter signed by over 30 Minnesota Republican (GOP) House lawmakers condemning a COVID vaccine mandate implemented by Mayo Clinic, calling the letter “deeply disturbing.”

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Youngkin, Senator Dunnavant, and Delegate Willett Stop in Henrico for Small Business Round Table

HENRICO, Virginia – Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin met with the Asian Chamber of Commerce for a round table with Senator Siobhan Dunnavant (R-Henrico) and Delegate Rodney Willett (D-Henrico). Youngkin told those in attendance that he planned to bring 400,000 new jobs and 10,000 new startups to Virginia.

“So, in order to do that, we in fact recognize that we have to put a lot of the ingredients together, just like we’re cooking a meal,” Youngkin said. “And one of those ingredients is, in fact, the recognition that there are some inhibitions in starting small businesses. So one of the things I want to hear from you are the challenges that you all feel and hear when you start your businesses.”

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Georgia’s Unemployment Rate Drops Yet Again, Better Than Pre-COVID-19 Numbers

Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) Commissioner Mark Butler announced Thursday that the state now employs the highest number of Georgians ever, surpassing the number of employed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic by more than 3,000. Butler announced the news in a Thursday press release.

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Michigan Legislature Passes Bill Aimed to Assist Small Businesses

Michigan lawmakers in both the House and the Senate overwhelmingly approved a measure that aims to ease the tax burden on small businesses in the state.

When filing federal taxes, large corporations are allowed unlimited state and local tax (SALT) deductions. However, small business, considered flow-through entities, deductions are capped at $10,000.

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Voter-Integrity Amendments Pass the Pennsylvania House

A set of amendments to the Pennsylvania Constitution, including a voter-identification requirement, passed the state House of Representatives this week on nearly party-line votes.

To become part of the state Constitution, the proposed amendments must pass in two consecutive sessions of the Pennsylvania General Assembly and must gain approval by a majority of voters in an election. State House members voted on these measures as amendments to a Senate bill that would let gubernatorial candidates select their own running mates, whereas current law lets Pennsylvanians vote to elect nominees for lieutenant governor.

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Gov. DeSantis Announces Millions for Rural North Florida Projects

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis made two stops in rural north Florida counties yesterday to announce the millions of dollars being granted to the respective communities.

DeSantis’ first stop was in Nassau County, north of Jacksonville where he emphasized the money being granted out of the Job Growth Grant Fund will go to workforce development.

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Ohio Gov. DeWine Will Veto Bill Banning School Vaccine Mandates

After signing a bill earlier this year that banned Ohio’s public schools and universities from mandating vaccines that have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Gov. Mike DeWine (R) will reportedly veto a similar bill if it passed by the state Senate. 

“A school, private college, or state institution of higher education shall not require a student to receive any of the following utilizing messenger ribonucleic acid, deoxyribonucleic acid, or any other genetic vaccine technology and for which the United States food and drug administration has not issued a biologics license or otherwise granted full approval,” HB 218 says. 

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Arizona Attorney General Brnovich Asks SCOTUS to Reinstate Arizona’s Ban on Aborting Fetuses with Genetic Abnormalities

A federal appeals court temporarily blocked Arizona’s new law preventing abortions for reasons of genetic abnormalities like Down syndrome, and so Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to remove the injunction while he is appealing the decision on behalf of Arizona. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals also upheld the injunction, and it will be up to Justice Elena Kagan, who handles emergency appeals from the 9th Circuit, to rule on the request or have the full court decide. 

“Every society will ultimately be judged by how it treats its most vulnerable,” Brnovich said in a statement to Fox News. “I am proud to stand up for Arizona’s law protecting the unborn.”

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First Lady Biden Visits Wisconsin Just Weeks After Waukesha Christmas Parade Killings

First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, accompanied by second gentleman Doug Emhoff, visited a children’s COVID vaccine clinic and Waukesha City Hall during their Wisconsin trip. This was the first visit from anyone in the White House following the Waukesha parade tragedy.

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In Budget Speech, Virginia Gov. Northam Acknowledges Priorities of Incoming Republican Administration, Warns of Need to Cut Taxes in the Right Way

Governor Ralph Northam presented his 2022-2024 budget proposal to the money committees of the Virginia General Assembly and the incoming administration on Thursday. Several elements of Northam’s proposal, including tax cuts, were inspired by Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin’s policy. Northam said he’s leaving Virginia in good financial conditions.

“And today I present to you my last budget. I’m biased, but I also think it’s our best one yet,” Northam said according to his prepared remarks. “That’s because Virginia’s economy is doing very well. State revenues are at record investments, while also putting money back into the pockets of the hardest working Virginians. We need to be clear about how this has happened. It is because over these four years, we have consistently taken a prudent, cautious approach to budgeting.”

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Georgia Rep. Andrew Clyde, a Victim of Civil Asset Forfeiture, Calls for New Reforms

Representative Andrew Clyde (R-GA-09) this month shared how Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents violated him and his rights several years ago and listed new ways for the agency to reform itself. Clyde made his remarks at a House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties hearing.

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Tennessee Unemployment Levels Continue to Decline, Drop to Pre-Pandemic Level

Tennessee’s economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic continues to improve, as unemployment numbers have decreased for the sixth consecutive month.

According to data released by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD), the unemployment numbers have dropped to pre-pandemic levels.

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