Tennessee Congressional Delegation Urges Biden to Approve Emergency Declaration

Gov. Bill Lee

All members of Tennessee’s congressional delegation signed on to a letter urging President Joe Biden to approve an emergency declaration submitted by Governor Bill Lee.

The declaration, which was presented in early December, follows destruction from severe weather that impacted residents in Tennessee and Kentucky.

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Titans Linebacker Bud Dupree Cited with Misdemeanor Assault Following Altercation

Bud Dupree

Tennessee Titans linebacker Bud Dupree on Tuesday was cited for a misdemeanor assault by the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department (MNPD).

The citation follows an altercation between Dupree and an employee at a Walgreens in Germantown, according to a release from MNPD.

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Exclusive: Wife of Acquitted San Diego County Police Officer Railroaded Off Force After Viral Video Vows to Fight On

The wife of a former La Mesa, California police officer told The Star News Network that since a jury December 10 acquitted her husband Matthew Dages, the couple fights now to regain his spot on the force so that he can return to his law enforcement vocation.

“The foreman handed it to the court clerk, and she read the verdict, and I think all of us were just waiting for the end pronunciation of the not guilty words – and as soon as we heard that everyone kind of erupted in a huge sigh of relief and just tears,” said Christina Dages, whose husband was charged with the felony filing a false police report regarding his May 27, 2020, interactions and arrest of Amaurie Johnson, at the Grossmont Transit Center here.

Dages said when the couple celebrated their second wedding anniversary, December 28, it was poignant because, for 19 months of their marriage, they have been dealing with the severe possibility of her husband going to prison.

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Metro Nashville Public Schools Says They Will Not Close Schools Amidst COVID-19 Spike

Metro Nashville Public Schools said on Monday that shutting down in-person learning and switching the district to remote learning is “not an option”. 

An email sent out to staff by MNPS stated, “So, to be clear, switching the district to remote learning during this wave is not an option, and closing schools is not an option without extending the school year into the summer”. This is in compliance with current state guidelines, individual classrooms or schools may temporarily switch to remote learning for up to seven days, school districts are not allowed to. The need must also be documented.

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Commentary: One Year Later, More Lingering Questions About January 6

Large group of people storming Washington D.C. in protest on January 6.

A bombshell report just published in Newsweek details an in-depth, secret operation conducted by the Justice Department before and during January 6. Contrary to the lamentations of FBI Director Christopher Wray that he wished his agency had had better resources to prevent the Capitol breach, hundreds of elite forces under Wray’s authority were on stand-by days just before the protest, and even on the ground as it happened.

The “shadowy commandos” stationed at Quantico, home of the FBI Academy, on January 2, 2021 included the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team and SWAT teams. 

“On the morning of January 6, most of these forces staged closer to downtown Washington, particularly after intelligence was received indicating a possible threat to FBI headquarters building or the FBI’s Washington Field Office,” Newsweek investigative reporter William M. Arkin wrote. “FBI tactical teams arrived on Capitol Hill early in the day to assist in the collection of evidence at sites—including the Republican and Democrat party national headquarters—where explosive devices were found. FBI SWAT teams and snipers were deployed to secure nearby congressional office buildings. Other FBI agents provided selective security around the U.S. Capitol and protection to congressional members and staff.”

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Metro Nashville Council Unanimously Votes to End Emissions Testing in Davidson County

Metro Nashville Council unanimously voted to end emissions testing in Davidson County.

In August of 2021, the Environmental Protection Agency greenlit the ending of vehicle emissions testing programs by approving a revision to the state’s air quality plan, clearing the way for Metro Council to hold this vote.

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Amazon, Google Lobbying Small Business Partners to Oppose Anti-Big Tech Bills

Amazon logo on a Samsung phone

Amazon and Google are lobbying small businesses who use their services to oppose antitrust bills aimed at breaking up major tech companies, enlisting them to pressure lawmakers, Politico reported.

The companies are conducting a public relations campaign in an effort to drum up opposition to antitrust legislation proposed in the Senate, including a bill sponsored by Republican Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley and Democratic Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar that goes after companies like Amazon and Google for prioritizing their own services in online shopping platforms, according to Politico.

The tech giants are using email campaigns, Zoom calls and online petitions, to spread the message that the bills would harm small businesses that rely on their platforms, Politico reported. Several technology trade groups, including the Connected Commerce Council, are also working to encourage small businesses to oppose the legislation.

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More Job Resignations Than Ever as Openings Sit Near Record Highs

A record number of American workers quit their jobs in November 2021 as the gap between available jobs and potential workers continues to increase, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.

Over 4.5 million workers quit their jobs in November 2021, a jump from October’s 4.1 million, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced Tuesday.

Quits in accommodation and food services saw the greatest increase, 159,000, while other low-wage sectors like health care, social assistance, transportation, warehousing and utilities also saw spikes as workers looked for jobs with higher pay.

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Attorney Says January 6 Detainee Being Denied Proper Diet, Medical Care

According to a Tuesday report, a defendant from the Jan. 6 protest at the Capitol who is being held in a Virginia jail is being denied medical care, and the special diet he needs due to an autoimmune disease. 

According to his attorney Joseph McBride, Jan. 6 participant Christopher Quaglin, charged with assaulting police officers, has lost 20 pounds at Northern Neck Regional Jail. 

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Iowa Leaders React to Biden Administration’s $1 Billion for Expanding Independent Meat and Poultry Processing Capacity

Inside of a butcher shop with meat hanging up

The Biden Administration announced Monday it will spend $1 billion in American Rescue Plan Act funds to increase independent meat and poultry processing capacity.

The administration will invest $375 million on independent processing plant projects that fill a need for diversified processing capacity, spend up to $275 million in working with lenders to increase availability of loans, particularly to underserved communities, for independent processors, and spend $100 million to back private lenders investing in independently owned food processing and distribution infrastructure to move product through supply chain.

It will spend and additional $100 million to support training, safe workplaces and jobs in meat and poultry processing facilities, $100 million in reducing overtime and holiday inspection costs for small and very small processing plants, and $50 million to provide independent business owners and producers with technical assistance and research and development.

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Grant’s Rants: Grant Henry Quits Twitter Today, Model of Free Speech Party over

Tuesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed official guest host Grant Henry in studio for another edition of Grant’s Rants where he discusses the censorship of Twitter.

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Former Senator David Perdue Discusses His Campaign for Georgia Governor

David Perdue

Tuesday morning live on The John Fredericks Radio Show, host Fredericks welcomed former Georgia Senator David Perdue to the line to discuss his run for Georgia Governor against incumbent Brian Kemp.

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Poll: Most Republicans Distrust the FBI

For decades, the Federal Bureau of Investigation enjoyed strong support from Republican political leaders and voters. But the agency’s reputation has crashed among its most dependable constituency amid scandal, corruption, and flagrant politicking on behalf of the Democratic Party.

A Rasmussen poll released today shows that 57 percent of Republicans hold an unfavorable view of the FBI; 47 percent of all likely voters surveyed at the end of December view the FBI unfavorably.

As if to prove the bureau has become the jackboots of the national Democratic Party rather than a nonpartisan law enforcement agency, a whopping 63 percent of Democrats have a favorable opinion of the FBI.

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Misrule of Law Blog Creator Mark Pulliam Talks About Blount County’s Efforts to Evolve into a More Hipster-Like Community

Tuesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Misrule of Law blog creator and Blount County resident, Mark Pulliam to the newsmakers line to talk about this forced demographic shift from middle-class to hipster in his county.

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Manhattan District Attorney: No Charges Against Cuomo in COVID Nursing Home Death Scandal

Former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo started 2022 much like he ended 2021, with an apparent legal victory.

A lawyer for the disgraced ex-leader of the state said Monday that the Manhattan district attorney’s office ended its investigation into the Cuomo administration’s nursing home policies during the early stages of the COVID-19 crisis without pressing any charges.

“I was told that after a thorough investigation – as we have said all along – there was no evidence to suggest any laws were broken,” Elkan Abramowitz, former outside counsel for the executive chamber, said in a statement posted by Cuomo spokesperson Rich Azzopardi on Twitter.

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Wilson County Re-Opens Drive-Thru COVID Testing Center at the Fairgrounds

The Wilson County Health Department announced that COVID testing would be moved from the Health Department building back to the Fairgrounds. Beginning Tuesday, anyone needing a COVID test may go to the Fairgrounds, but vaccines will still be offered at the Health Department building.

The Health Department said that those who need a COVID test can enter the Fairgrounds at James E. Ward Ag Road off of Tennessee Boulevard and follow the signage to the testing site. Testing will be held Monday – Friday, 8:30 – 10:30 AM, excluding holidays.

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Former State Representative Micah Van Huss Take on New Role in American’s for Prosperity and Citizen Lobbyist Training

Tuesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed former Tennessee State Representative Micah Van Huss to the newsmakers line to talk about his new role with AMF and his Citizen Lobbyist Event Wednesday night in Franklin.

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Commentary: ‘America First’ Has Answers for U.S. Crisis of Confidence

Joe Biden

A majority Americans begin 2022 full of worry and dread. During President Biden’s first year in the White House, societal anxiety surged, including among voters who identify as independents and Democrats. In the newest Axios/Momentive year-end survey, 2021 saw a 50% increase in fear about what 2022 will bring among independents. Democrats weren’t much more sanguine. They began last year with refreshing optimism as their party took control of the White House and Congress, with only 19% of Democratic voters declaring themselves fearful about 2021. By year’s end, that number had surged to 45%.

Reflecting this dour assessment, the RealClearPolitics polling average of Joe Biden’s approve/disapprove ratio also receded sharply for the last year, from a stellar 20-percentage-point surplus in his favor on Inauguration Day, to a minus- 10-point rating.

Given this environment, Republicans naturally grow more confident about the midterm elections. But taking nominal control of Capitol Hill won’t be enough. Will Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy and their lieutenants be content with stopping the woke and socialist-inspired agenda of progressives? Or will they boldly implement a full-throttle populist nationalist “America First” agenda?  

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Owner Greg Davidson of Music City Outdoors Discusses Smart Moves for His Small Business Amid Supply Chain and Inflation Challenges

Tuesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed local business owner, Greg Davidson of Music City Outdoors to discuss the effects of supply chain and inflation on small business.

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Joe Rogan, Rand Paul Begin Exodus from Big Tech in Mounting Backlash over Censorship

Prominent personalities including podcast host Joe Rogan and Republican Sen. Rand Paul have announced plans to leave major social media platforms amid growing backlash over censorship.

Rogan announced late Sunday that he had started an account on alternative social media site Gettr, posting remarks critical of Twitter on the platform.

“Just in case shit over at Twitter gets even dumber, I’m here now as well,” Rogan wrote. “Rejoice!”

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Judge Suspends COVID Vaccine Mandate for Military Service Members Seeking Religious Exemption

The Navy cannot force service members with religious objections to COVID-19 vaccines to take them so long as the exemption process remains “by all accounts … theater,” a federal judge ruled Monday.

“Our nation asks the men and women in our military to serve, suffer, and sacrifice. But we do not ask them to lay aside their citizenry and give up the very rights they have sworn to protect,” U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor wrote in approving a preliminary injunction against the mandate as applied to the 35 service members who sued.

“Every president since the signing of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act has praised the men and women of the military for their bravery and service in protecting the freedoms this country guarantees,” O’Connor said.

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Trump Calls Twitter, Facebook ‘Disgrace to Our Nation,’ Urges Americans to Abandon Platforms

Former President Donald Trump, who is building his own social media solution, on Monday night called Twitter and Facebook a “disgrace to our Nation” for their continued censorship of conservative voices and implored Americans to abandon their platforms.

Trump’s statement was released after a tumultuous 24-hour period in which freshman Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia was banned permanently from Twitter and given a 24-hour timeout on Facebook for information she posted on COVID-19.

“Twitter is a disgrace to democracy. They shouldn’t be allowed to do business in this Country,” the former president said. “Marjorie Taylor Greene has a huge constituency of honest, patriotic, hard-working people. They don’t deserve what’s happened to them on places like low-life Twitter and Facebook.

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Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles Talks Comirnaty, Omicron, COVID-19 and Drive Thru Testing

Andy Ogles

Tuesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles in studio to discuss the confusion surrounding the Cominarty Pfizer vaccine, testing, and health privacy.

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Exclusive: Chambers Tells The Ohio Star What She Told the FBI About Blystone’s Campaign, What FBI Told Her

The former co-campaign manager for Joseph K. Blystone’s gubernatorial campaign, who filed a complaint in October against that campaign, told The Star News Network she told two Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents Blystone mishandled cash contributions to his campaign, while they told her their probe into Blystone goes beyond his run for governor.

Sarah Chambers said she met with the FBI special agents Julie Becker and Blane Wetzel November 18 in the Columbus field office at or around 1 p.m. “They don’t conduct interviews over the phone; they want to meet in person.”

The whistleblower said the FBI agents were very prepared for her interview. They each had copies of her complaint with many of the pages highlighted, along with printouts of articles from The Ohio Star.

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New Wisconsin Law Requires Law Enforcement Officers to Stop Other Officers from Using Excessive Force

A new statewide Wisconsin law will now require law enforcement officers to stop other officers from using excessive force. TMJ4 reported that this law has been in effect in the city of Milwaukee since 2013, but the data on its effectiveness is “inconclusive.”

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Arizona Governor Doug Ducey Pledges to Continue In-Person Learning, Provides Funding to Families Impacted by Virtual Instruction

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey on Tuesday pledged to continue in-person learning for students across the state, even if it requires unconventional methods.

Ducey created the Open for Learning Recovery Benefit program, which will provide financial assistance to families who may face unexpected barriers due to school closures.

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Florida Unemployment Claims Lowest Since December 2019

Despite the surge in the new COVID-19 Omicron variant that is especially prominent in Florida, the number of new unemployment claims during the week that ended on December 25th was the lowest since before the pandemic during the same time period in 2019.

According to a news release by the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) on Thursday, the number of initial unemployment claims in Florida for that week was only 3,982 – down 1,178 from 5,160 the week before.

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Pennsylvania Decision Against Counting Undated Mail Ballots Prompts Supreme Court Appeal

Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court this week ruled that 257 flawed ballots in a Lehigh County judgeship election cannot be counted, prompting Democratic candidate Zachary Cohen to announce a state Supreme-Court appeal. 

Excluding these mail-in ballots, which contain no date on their return envelopes, puts Republican David Ritter 74 votes ahead of Cohen in their contest for Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas judge, in which about 22,000 total votes were cast. Ritter initially sued in county court to exclude 261 ballots, four of which displayed a date, albeit not on the correct line. Trial Judge Edward D. Reibman (D) handed down a ruling favorable to Cohen, spurring Ritter to appeal to the Commonwealth Court which handles litigation between governing entities, public officials and candidates. 

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Wisconsin Representative Gallagher Criticizes Distance Learning, Says It’s Not a Substitute

Wisconsin Representative Mike Gallagher (R-WI-08) criticized distance learning, saying that it’s “not a substitute” for in-person learning. Gallaher made the comments about distance learning following the announcement that Milwaukee and Madison schools reverted to online schooling for the first several days back after Christmas break.

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Minnesota’s Health Care Industry Experiencing Record-High Number of Vacancies

The health care industry in Minnesota is experiencing a record-high number of job vacancies.

That’s according to a bulletin sent Monday by Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). The figures included in the report come from DEED’s job vacancy survey, which was conducted in the second quarter of 2021 — before many vaccine mandates took effect.

Although staffing shortages have long been common in the health care industry, the problem has significantly worsened as the COVID-19 pandemic has dragged on.

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Sen. Kaine Stuck in Blizzard Traffic in Northern Virginia

A Virginia Senator was among thousands of travelers stranded overnight on 1-95 after a large snowstorm caused several car wrecks on the interstate. 

“I started my normal 2 hour drive to DC at 1pm yesterday. 19 hours later, I’m still not near the Capitol. My office is in touch with [the Virginia Department of Transportation] to see how we can help other Virginians in this situation. Please stay safe everyone,” Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) said Tuesday morning on Twitter. 

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People Moving to Red Parts of Arizona, Not Blue Areas Like Tucson

Arizona is one of the fastest growing states in the country, ranked No. 6 in 2021 by HomeSnacks. New data from the Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity reveals that the growth is taking place in red parts of Arizona, not blue strongholds like Tucson — which could mean Arizona is not trending blue.

“The growth is around Maricopa County,” Rep. David Schweikert (R-06-Ariz.) told The Arizona Sun Times. “Maricopa County, which leans Republican, already dominates the state. This will give it even more power.” Currently, 62% of the population lives there.

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Arizona Mayor Declares State of Emergency over Border Crisis

Yuma’s mayor has declared a state of emergency in the city over the border crisis, which has overwhelmed much of the American southwest. 

“Well, it’s not surprising because in 2019, if we go back for a little history, we were having a similar surge during the Trump administration and there were policies put in place that mitigated those numbers to nearly… below 10,000 a year,” Mayor Douglas Nicholls said on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom.”

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After Missouri Gov. Parson Lets Emergency COVID Orders Expire, Pandemic Task Force Asks for Reinstatement

Mike Parson

Days after Republican Gov. Mike Parson let emergency COVID-19 orders expire on Dec. 31, Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) reported significant increases in COVID-19 infections.

The DHSS dashboard on Monday showed 35,067 new confirmed cases during the last seven days, an 88.8% increase compared to the previous seven-day total. The seven-day positivity rate was 27.3%, an increase of 11.7 percentage points compared to the previous seven-day total. Many health organizations and agencies consider a positivity rate higher than 5 or 10% to be a predictor of rampant spread of sickness, resulting in increased hospitalizations and deaths.

“Thanks to the effectiveness of the vaccine, widespread efforts to mitigate the virus, and our committed health care professionals, past needs to continue the state of emergency are no longer present,” Parson said in a statement on Dec. 30, 2021. “Over the last 22 months, we have coordinated with local, state, and private partners to mitigate COVID-19 and work towards returning to normalcy. We all now know how to best fight and prevent serious illness from this virus. The State stands ready to provide assistance and response, but there is no longer a need for a state of emergency.”

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Study: Michigan Ranked Sixth Nationwide for Outbound Migration

As Americans near their third year of COVID-19, Michigan ranked sixth nationwide for people leaving the state, according to United Van Lines 45th Annual National Movers Study.

The study derived by tracking customer migration patterns throughout the past year indicates Americans moved to lower-density areas and to be closer to their families.

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New Salon Article Attacking David Perdue Proves the Left Worries Georgia Will Elect Him Governor, Campaign Says

Salon this week identified former Republican senator and current Georgia gubernatorial candidate David Perdue as one of the nation’s 10 “scariest Republican candidates of 2022.” The Georgia Star News asked Perdue spokeswoman Jenni Sweat on Tuesday whether that article signals that the left takes Perdue’s candidacy seriously and outright fears he’ll defeat incumbent Republican Governor Brian Kemp later this year.

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Conservative Chesapeake School Board Reverses Decision to Make Masks Optional

The Chesapeake School Board voted five to one on New Year’s Eve to keep masks mandatory for students — a reversal from a December decision to make masks optional after Christmas break. An announcement from the district cited the COVID-19 surge.

“At this meeting, the School Board proposed and approved an amendment to their previous motion from the December 13, 2021 meeting regarding masks for students. Therefore, masks will continue to be required for all
students, staff, and visitors as per the Public Health Order when we return on January 3, 2022. Vaccines and testing for student athletes, however, will remain optional,” Superintendent Jared Cotton wrote.

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Florida Signals Shift Away from Federal COVID Testing Standards

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo signaled they would be adopting procedures that would shift Florida’s COVID testing protocol away from the federal government’s standard of testing.

Both officials stressed the importance of “high-value testing” rather than blanketed testing like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends.

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Youngkin Resumes Rollout of Cabinet Picks

Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin is continuing his rollout of key administration announcements. On Monday, he announced that Youngkin campaign COO and Transition Director Jeff Goettman will be chief of staff. On Tuesday morning, he announced that Craig Crenshaw will be the Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs of Virginia. On Tuesday evening, he announced that USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service Chief Matt Lohr will serve as Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry.

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Americans for Prosperity-Backed Bill Could Make Tennessee Politicians Think Twice Before Raising Property Taxes

A bill making its way through the Tennessee General Assembly would, if enacted into law, force local government officials to show homeowners exactly how much a property tax increase would take out of their bank accounts. Americans for Prosperity -Tennessee (AFP-TN) spokesman Grant Henry on Tuesday identified this legislation by two different names: Stop Surprise Taxes or Truth in Advertising.

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