Tennessee Lawmaker Concerned New School Funding Formula Could Lead to ‘Administrative Bloat’

As Tennessee officials get closer to presenting a new state funding proposal for K-12 public education, at least one state senator is concerned about the costs of record-keeping in the new plan.

“The way the bill is going to read, the state is going to give a capitated rate per student to the district and then, for rural schools or economically disadvantaged schools or schools with high amounts of English as a second language, they give bonuses basically,” said Sen. John Stevens, R-Huntingdon, a member of the Rural and Small District Subcommittee – one of 18 subcommittees under a steering committee involved in reviewing the state’s school funding formula. “Extra money for these extra things that you do.

Read More

Tennessee Lawmaker Proposes a Return to Voting Without Ballot-Marking Machines

Bruce Griffey

Tennessee Representative Bruce Griffey (R-75) submitted a new bill to protect election safety. The bill would have elections in Tennessee revert to paper ballots and instate other safety measures. The bill was filed for introduction earlier this week. 

According to the Tennessee General Assembly, the bill is explained as;

As introduced, prohibits the use of voting machines; requires that elections be conducted using hand-marked paper ballots; authorizes pool watchers to record video at the polling place; requires the coordinator of elections to prescribe certain security measures for paper ballots.

Read More

Commentary: Securing America’s Border and Communities Is Our Government’s First Duty

Group of people at a Trump rally, man in a "Keep America Great" hat

Remember when President George W. Bush said this?

I’ve had a lot of experience with dealing with borders, as the Governor of Texas. I know there’s a compassionate, humane way to deal with this issue. I want to remind people that family values do not stop at the Rio Grande River.

It was January 2005. Bush had just won reelection with a campaign strong on national security. Then after narrowly defeating John Kerry, Bush did what Bushes tend to do when they think they’re secure: He lurched to the Left and betrayed the base of his own party. He cast Americans who want a strong, secure border as racists—just four years after we had been attacked by international terrorists who exploited our weak immigration system to kill thousands of us. Bush behaved as if Americans didn’t know that Mexicans living south of the Rio Grande believe in family. Millions of Americans have Mexican heritage themselves. But they or their ancestors chose to be Americans.

Read More

Senator Marsha Blackburn Introduces Resolution to Oppose Vaccine Mandate for Healthcare Workers

Marsha Blackburn and Roger Marshall

Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Roger Marshall (R-KS) on Thursday introduced a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) against President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for healthcare workers.

If fully enacted, the resolution would stop the Centers For Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) from implementing the mandate that impacts almost all healthcare employees and would prevent any similar rule in the future.

Read More

Democrat-Run States Are Pushing Laws to Target Social Media ‘Misinformation’

Democratic state lawmakers are proposing laws to curb “misinformation” on social media sites and other online platforms, mirroring efforts by Democrats in Congress.

New York state Sen. Brad Hoylman announced a bill on Monday aimed at reducing the spread of misinformation and harmful content online.

Read More

Analysis: The Top Governor’s Races to Watch This Year

Democrats four years ago rode a blue wave to governors’ mansions across the country, flipping Republican-held seats in the Midwest, Northeast and West alike.

Now, however, many of those governors face Republican challengers amid a political environment that looks potentially promising for the GOP, meaning that contentious races may lie ahead in some of the nation’s most pivotal battleground states. Republicans have already had two strong showings in states that lean Democratic, flipping the governor’s seat in Virginia and coming surprisingly close in New Jersey, a state that voted for President Joe Biden by 16 points in 2020.

Governors in less competitive states are also facing primary challengers from the left and right, making for multiple bitter, closely-followed primaries between candidates from different wings of the same party.

Read More

New Law Empowers Tennessee Teachers to Remove Disorderly Students

Joey Hensley and Scott Cepicky

A new law allowing teachers to discipline students in school is set to take effect as students return to class in the new year. The bill was originally introduced in December of 2020 and was passed in April of 2021; sponsors for the bill were Representative Scott Cepicky (R- 64) and Senator Joey Hensley (R-28).

The bill was explained by the Tennessee General Assembly as it “establishes requirements and procedures for teachers to discipline students in the teachers’ classrooms, including relocation of a student.”

The new law states that teachers will be authorized to manage their classrooms and discipline their students. Teachers are allowed to send students to principals’ offices if needed, “and to hold students in the teacher’s charge strictly accountable for any disorderly conduct in school.”

Read More

Data From Around the World – Including Antarctica – Show Omicron Favoring the Fully Vaccinated

The coronavirus has reached remote Antarctica, striking most of the 25 Belgian staffers at a research station, despite all of them being fully vaccinated, passing multiple PCR tests, and quarantining before arrival.

Two thirds of the researchers working in Belgium’s Princess Elisabeth Polar Station have caught Covid, the Daily Telegraph reported, “proving there is no escape from the global pandemic.”

None of the cases are severe, according to the Telegraph. There are two emergency doctors at the station monitoring the situation.

Read More

Progressive Dems Pressure Biden to Pass Build Back Better Using Executive Authority

Left-wing Democrats are pressuring Joe Biden to bypass Congress and pass his $1.75 trillion Build Back Better package by executive fiat, Newsmax reported.

Without Senator Joe Manchin’s (D-W.V.) vote, Biden’s bloated social spending plan is dead on arrival in the Senate.

Read More

Border Patrol Agents Seize Record Amount of Drugs in November, Apprehensions Also Increase

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers apprehended more people in November than October and confiscated a record amount of drugs last month, according to its latest operational report.

In November at the southern border, encounters with unaccompanied minors increased by 9% from October, with family units by 5%, and with single adults also by 5%.

Read More

Alaska GOP Governor Secures Trump Endorsement Through ‘Non-Endorsement’ of Murkowski Reelection Bid

Mike Dunleavy and Lisa Murkowski

Former President Trump is issuing a public warning to Republican incumbents and those running for office: Don’t expect my endorsement without your “non-endorsement” of perceived GOP enemies.

He endorsed Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy for reelection Thursday night after the incumbent made clear he’d uphold the quid pro quo from Trump two days earlier: not endorsing for reelection Sen. Lisa Murkowski, one of seven Republicans to vote to convict Trump in his impeachment trial related to the Jan. 6 riot.

In a statement intended for Trump that the ex-president published, Dunleavy wrote: “With regard to the other issue, please tell the President he has nothing to worry about.”

Read More

Memphis Man Arrested in Case of Vulnerable Adult Abuse

senior citizen

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) announced this week that an arrest was made in a vulnerable adult abuse case. The TBI had been investigating Memphis resident Terence Gray since November 12 after receiving leads from the Tennessee Department of Human Services Adult Protective Services.

The TBI determined that Gray, while working as a caregiver on November 9, had assaulted a 69-year-old vulnerable adult at a residence in the 3800 block of Ridgemont Avenue in Memphis.

Read More

Peter Thiel and Donald Trump, Jr. to Host Two Fundraisers for Cheney Challenger

In January, billionaire Peter Thiel will be hosting two separate fundraisers for the frontrunner candidate to replace Congresswoman Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), alongside Donald Trump, Jr., the eldest son of President Donald Trump, Politico reports.

The fundraisers will both be held on January 26th in support of Harriet Hageman, a lawyer and former member of the Republican National Committee. Hageman is one of four Republican challengers seeking to unseat the unpopular incumbent congresswoman for Wyoming’s at-large congressional district in the primary election next year, and has earned the endorsement of President Trump. Hageman had previously run for Governor of Wyoming in 2018, coming in third place in the primary that year.

Read More

Nevada Lawmakers Reverse State-Wide Vaccine Requirement for College Students

The Nevada Legislative Commission’s 6-6 split decision last week overturned the state’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate for all college students within the state.

Initially approved in August by the Nevada State Board of Health, the emergency provision was set to last only 120-days, according to The Nevada Independent. When the mandate expired last week and was sent to the Legislative Commission for review, the Commission chose not to make it permanent, with all six Republican lawmakers voting against the mandate and all six Democrats for it.

Read More

Tesla Recalls 475,000 Cars over Safety Concerns

Tesla issued recalls for nearly half a million Model S and Model 3 vehicles over potential safety concerns resulting from malfunctioning trunk technology, Barron’s reported.

The recalls, submitted on Dec. 21 to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), are for issues related to opening and closing the trunk in around 355,000 Model 3 cars and for a misaligned front trunk latch assembly in roughly 120,000 Model S vehicles, Barron’s reported.

Read More

Biden Doesn’t Want a Ukraine Invasion, Putin Opposes NATO Nearby

Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin in Geneva, 16 June 2021

In a lead-up to international security meetings set for January, the American and Russian presidents have set the stage for negotiations aimed at de-escalating tensions over Ukraine.

Their bottom lines are clear: the U.S is gravely concerned about Moscow’s amassing of troops on the Ukraine border while Russia doesn’t want to see NATO expand further into its sphere of influence.

The forthcoming engagements will be held in Geneva. They were scheduled amid heightened tension and rhetoric surrounding Russia, Ukraine, and NATO, with the international community particularly focused on the large numbers of Russian troops that are massed on the border with Ukraine.

Read More

Conservation Fund Gives over 1,100 Acres to Bear Hollow Mountain Wildlife Management Area

The Tennessee Conservation Fund announced last week that they would be giving the Bear Hollow Mountain Wildlife Management Area (WMA) over a thousand acres of land. The area, known as the Corum tract, will connect “two sections of the existing WMA that were previously divided by the Corum property, improving continuity of state-owned land and expanding protected habitat for wildlife and recreation.”

According to the statement, the Conservation Fund purchased the land in March of 2021 with the intention to wait until the Bear Hollow Mountain WMA had the funds to purchase the land from them. Officially, on the 20th, the land was given to the Bear Hollow Mountain WMA for permanent ownership.

Read More

University Accused of Weaponizing Public Records Law to Harass, Intimidate Faculty

Indiana University campus

Indiana University paid a law firm to file a public records request against itself to search the emails of a law professor who was investigating its presidential search process, the professor claims, citing an invoice for the firm’s services.

Steve Sanders said he learned about the Access to Public Records Act (APRA) request made by Hoover Hull Turner, “presumably to attempt to find out how I’ve learned what I know,” on the eve of publishing his investigation on Medium in October.

The request covered any presidential search-related emails he may have sent or received with trustees, search committee members, former officials and recently departed President Michael McRobbie.

Read More

United Offers Pilots Triple Pay to Cover Flights Amid Ongoing Omicron Disruptions

United Airlines plane on runway

United Airlines is offering its pilots a whopping threefold increase in pay to help cover employee shortfalls as the omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 continues to wreak havoc on multiple industries around the country.

The Air Line Pilots Association announced this week that it had reached a payment agreement with the company for covering flights throughout the month of January.

“Due to the rapid spread of the COVID Omicron variant, we are currently seeing record levels of pilot sick calls,” the union wrote to members. “The impact on the operation is clear and United has experienced a correspondingly large number of cancellations over the past week.”

Read More

Commentary: The Reckless Push for Electric Vehicles at the U.S. Postal Service

As Democrats regroup and forge ahead with plans to implement components of the Build Back Better legislation killed by Senator Joe Manchin, calls for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to be given billions to electrify its vehicle fleet are likely to soon reach a fever pitch.  

USPS is a high-profile, well-regarded institution through which progressives want to unveil new programs. Progressives pulled out all the stops to provide USPS with electric vehicle funding in 2021 and will likely double down in 2022. 

Read More

Federal Judge Blocks Mask, Vaccine Mandates for Texas Schools’ Head Start Program

A federal judge has blocked COVID-19 mask and vaccine mandates in Texas’ schools Head Start program, a decision that GOP Gov. Greg Abbott is calling a win over “Biden again.”

“Texas just beat Biden again,” Abbott, a staunch opponent of such mandates, tweeted after the ruling Friday by Judge James “Wesley” Hendrix, of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

Hendrix, a Trump administration appointee, wrote in the ruling: “The Court concludes that the circumstances do not justify or require a nationwide injunction,” according to KLBK Lubbock. “The great majority of evidence before the Court is limited to harm caused to Head Start programs in Texas.”

Read More

New Consumer Protection Law Will Forbid ‘Surprise’ Medical Bills to Patients

Anew law going into effect on Saturday forbids medical providers from issuing “surprise” charges to patients using out-of-network services.

The “No Surprises Act,” passed in late 2020, offers consumers “new billing protections when getting emergency care, non-emergency care from out-of-network providers at in-network facilities, and air ambulance services from out-of-network providers,” according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Read More

‘BIPOC’ Debate Tournament Banned White Students from Competing

University of Chicago Library

Student-run debate organizations at Northeastern University and Boston College co-hosted the American Parliamentary Debate Association’s (APDA) “inaugural BIPOC tournament” and explicitly prohibited white students from competing.

The BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color,) only tournament included teams from multiple universities including the University of Chicago.

As The Chicago Thinker reported this past semester, The University of Chicago informed students the BIPOC debate was only open to anyone who “does not identify as white.”

Read More

Hundreds of Sociology Syllabi Contain Liberal Bias Across Assignments and Readings, Survey Finds

Through a Freedom of Information Act request, Campus Reform obtained copies of the syllabi from Spring 2021 undergraduate sociology classes at six universities.

Universities include: the University of Virginia, the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill, the Georgia Institute of Technology, Ohio State University–Columbus, University of Wisconsin–Madison, and University of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign.

In total, Campus Reform surveyed 201 undergraduate course syllabi across these institutions. This number included 25 100-level introduction to sociology courses, which are sometimes taken by non-majors to fulfill general education requirements. The results of the survey, divided into the categories of assignments, biased language, and common textbooks and readings, are below.

Read More

Campus Reform Calls Out Georgia State University for Bias Reporting Tools

The Virginia-based Campus Reform late last week called out the Atlanta-based Georgia State University (GSU) for using bias reporting tools that enable students, faculty, and staff to report on one another for alleged acts of discrimination. Campus Reform, according to its website, is conservative and monitors the nation’s higher education system.

Read More

Commentary: Four Education Trends That Will Continue in 2022

There is a lot to be frustrated about as 2021 concludes. Some places are back in lockdown over rising coronavirus cases, while others are re-imposing previous restrictions and introducing new ones—including my city.

But at this joyful time of the year, I choose to be optimistic and focus on all the good things happening right now, particularly in the world of education.

Read More

Veterans Group Says Biden Administration Undermining Trump-era ‘Mission Act,’ Hurting Veterans in Arizona

Man in uniform saluting

Under the Trump administration, the VA Mission Act (VAMA) was enacted in 2018 to provide veterans access to healthcare outside of the Veterans Administration healthcare system in order to provide more options and speed up accessibility to medical care. Unfortunately, veterans are reporting that the VA under the Biden administration has cut back on that expansion.

VAMA allowed veterans who could not get a medical appointment within 20 days or who had to drive more than 30 minutes to a VA facility to use alternate private healthcare providers instead. This was crucial, because veterans were dying while stuck on waiting lists for medical treatment, Josh Stanwitz of Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) told The Arizona Sun Times.

Read More

Ohio Economists Uncertain About Sports Betting Impact

A group of Ohio economists are not as certain about the economic impact of legalized sports betting in Ohio as a national gaming research group that predicted the state eventually would be one of the largest gambling markets in the country.

Only 10 of the 23 state economists surveyed agreed legalized sports betting would outweigh the economic costs of intervention for problems associated with gambling addiction, according to a recent survey from Scioto Analysis, a central Ohio group that provides analysis of issues around the state.

Read More

Democratic State Senator Morrissey Key to Virginia Republican Legislative Policy Wins, Including Fetal Pain Abortion Ban

Senator Joe Morrissey (D-Richmond) is set to be one of the most important legislators in the 2022 General Assembly session. The Virginia Senate has 21 Democrats and 19 Republicans, meaning that with just one Democratic senator swinging on a vote, Lieutenant Governor-elect Winsome Sears, a Republican, will cast a tie-breaking vote. Morrissey is a pro-life Democrat, and although he may be a standard Democrat on many issues, he occasionally finds common ground with Republicans.

“I don’t believe that being pro-life is something that is just in the orbit of Republicans,” Morrissey told The Virginia Star. “And let’s be clear: I’m not being disrespectful towards those that are pro-choice. It is my choice to be pro-life. It’s how I feel, and I’ve never wavered from that since the moment I came into the General Assembly.”

Read More

Virginia Car Insurance, Other New Laws Go Into Effect

A series of new Virginia laws go into effect in the new year, including changes to required car insurance coverage.

Beginning in January, car insurance companies will be required to provide $30,000 in coverage for injury or death to one person and $60,000 in coverage for injury or death to two or more people. This will be an increase of $5,000 worth of coverage for one person and an increase of $10,000 of coverage for two or more people. The property damage coverage will remain at $20,000.

This legislation is part of an incremental increase in required coverage. The mandatory coverage will increase again in 2025 to $50,000 for one person and $100,000 for two or more people, which doubles the current requirements. In 2025, the property damage coverage will also increase, but only to $25,000.

Read More

Ohio Senate Candidate JD Vance Slams Biden for ‘Destroying’ Marines with Vaccine Mandate

U.S. Senate candidate JD Vance slammed President Joe Biden for hurting the U.S. Marines with a vaccine mandate for members of the military.

Vance, who served as a Marine during the Iraq War, has remained an outspoken critic of “wokeness” within the U.S. military.

Read More

Iowa Utilities Board Approves Black Hills Energy Increases

Black Hills Energy’s base rate for natural gas will increase Jan. 1, the Iowa Utilities Board ruled this week.

Non-gas costs on residential customers’ bills will rise from $0.13625 per Therm to $0.13905 per Therm. The typical monthly increase in base rates for residential customers will be $1.45, the IUB said in a news release Dec. 28.

Read More

Wisconsin Department of Health Encourages Return to Masking for Students Amid COVID Surge

Mother putting mask on child

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) on Thursday urged students to return to masking amid a surge in positive coronavirus cases.

As most classes are scheduled to begin in January, DHS recommended wearing a mask, even if it is not required by the school district. Furthermore, the officials advocated for vaccinations and a quarantine period if exposed.

Read More

Pennsylvania Sales Tax Exempts Many Medical Supplies, But Not COVID Tests; Bill Would Change That

Pennsylvania already exempts many medical supplies from its sales tax, but not COVID tests, a discrepancy legislation by Sen. Mario Scavello (R-East Stroudsburg) would eliminate.

Scavello’s bill would except rapid at-home COVID-19 antigen tests from the state’s six-percent sales levy. Healthcare devices, services and substances all generally don’t get taxed in the Keystone State.

Read More

Connecticut Governor Lamont Directs Increase in Earned Income Tax Credit to Benefit Lower-Income Taxpayers

Ned Lamont

Nearly 200,000 households in Connecticut will benefit from an increase in the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit, Gov. Ned Lamont said.

The governor said in a news release that the Department of Revenue Services will increase the 2020 Earned Income Tax Credit from 23% to 41.5% as directed by the state budget.

Lamont said the increase will “provide needed economic support to low-to-moderate income working individuals and families” who faced negative economic impacts amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read More

CDC Recommends Avoiding Cruises, Florida’s Cruise Industry at Risk

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now advising people to avoid going on cruises or cruise ships regardless of if they have received their COVID shots, or not. The federal agency made the new recommendations after a recent spike in COVID cases aboard cruise ships.

Read More

Pennsylvania State University Pledges to Continue In-Person Learning

Penn State University (PSU) on Thursday announced that all students and staff members will return to campus and begin the semester on time.

Citing mitigation measures that are in currently place, Penn State President Eric Barron pledged to continue in-person learning for students at the university.

Read More

Recovered Carjacked Vehicle Processing Backed Up Five to Six Weeks, Police Say

The processing for recovered carjacked vehicles is backed up five to six weeks, the police say. Carjackings are happening across the Twin Cities, spilling out into the suburbs. In Golden Valley, Minnesota they experienced five carjackings in a span of 24 hours last weekend.

Read More

Senator Rick Scott Predicts 2022 Elections Will Change School Boards

Florida Sen. Rick Scott (R) commented on the recent shift in attitudes from parents towards school boards with the 2022 elections less than one year away. Scott predicts overwhelming support for changes at the local level across Florida, and the country, as a result of months of pushback from parents to school districts imposing mask mandates and pushing Critical Race Theory (CRT).

Read More

European Tech Firm Chooses Arizona as First American Location

A European solar power tech company has chosen Arizona as its first location in the United States.

Switzerland-based mechanical engineering company Meyer Burger Technology AG is establishing a production site for high-performance solar modules in Goodyear, Arizona. Production is expected to be operational by the end of 2022, creating an initial 250 jobs and more than 500 jobs at full capacity.

“I am very pleased to welcome Meyer Burger to our community,” Mayor of Goodyear Joe Pizzillo said in a news release.“The decision to make a large investment in our community shows Goodyear is an excellent location for advanced manufacturing businesses. Our highly skilled workforce, modern infrastructure, and low cost of doing business has created an environment where companies can thrive.”

Read More

New Georgia Laws Address Juvenile Justice, Sales Tax on Vehicles, Medical Transactions

Three Georgia laws go into effect at the start of the new year that impact juvenile justice, sales tax on vehicles and medical transactions.

House Bill 63 changes the way the fair market value of a vehicle is estimated. The value of a car will be calculated as the total depreciation, lease amortized amounts and down payments. Fair market value is how much a vehicle is worth for sale. The new bill excludes interest or finance charges in base or down payments.

Senate Bill 80 is aimed at improving medical billing transparency. It requires insurers to disclose their prior authorization policies online. The prior authorization process calls for health care providers to contact the insurer before providing a particular service to ensure it would be covered under a patient’s plan. It adds another layer of health care approval that critics said could prolong care.

Read More

Tennessee U.S. Rep. Tim Burchett Suspects Bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. Secretly Pulling Strings to Push Country Toward Socialism

U.S. Representative Tim Burchett (R-TN-02) said late last month that he wonders whether certain aspects of inflation haven’t happened by design, as a means of pushing the United States closer to socialism. Burchett said this on the talk show, Over-Caffeinated.

Read More