Supreme Court Will Consider Landmark Challenge to Harvard, University of North Carolina Affirmative Action Policies

The Supreme Court announced Monday it will reconsider race-based affirmative action in college admissions, a decision that could eliminate a practice that in recent years primarily benefitted black and Hispanic applicants.

The high court says it will hear challenges to policies at Harvard and the University of North Carolina that use students’ race as one criteria to decide who should gain admission.

In the case against Harvard, challengers say the same practices that have for close to four decades helped black and Hispanic students — not necessarily applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds — gain admissions have hurt Asian-American applicants.

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TDOT Announces $3.3 Million Plan for Pothole Repair

closeup of a pothole on a rainy day

Due to this season’s back-to-back winter storms, potholes have formed along Tennessee interstates and state highways. As a result, the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) announced in a Friday press release that it is using all available staffing to repair the damaged areas as quickly as possible.

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Smyrna, Tennessee Man Allegedly Used Paycheck Protection Program Fraud Gains to Buy a Maserati Sports Car, Semi-Trailer Truck, and More

several $100 bills

The Department of Justice announced this week a man from Smyrna, Tennessee was charged for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) fraud. Shawn Palmer, who is the sole owner of Palmers Transportation, Inc. was charged with a criminal information which alleges he applied for and received a PPP loan of $514,370.

According to the charging document, in June of 2020 Palmer sent documents to an individual who assisted him to apply for a PPP loan. The documents were then sent to Kabbage, Inc. which was “a lender approved by the Small Business Administration to provide funds under the program which was designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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Judge Orders Nashville Metro Public Schools to Pay Student Sex Assault Victim $75,000

Metro Nashville Schools must pay a former student $75,000, Judge Aleta A. Trauger ordered recently. The court’s decision stems from a 2017 lawsuit filed by the mother of a then-15 year old girl, referred to as “S.C.,” who was allegedly raped at Hunters Lane High School by a fellow student. The assault was video recorded and then disseminated.

Judged Trauger wrote that “the video – which was, by any reasonable definition, child pornography – spread quickly, both between S.C.’s peers and on third-party websites.”

S.C. did not return to campus after the assault, court documents note, and while she was considered a ‘homebound’ student, “she had been harassed by students seeking to discourage her participation in MNPS’s investigation into the events.” She and her family received multiple threats.

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Tennessee Collects $3.3M in Taxes on $340M in Sports Bets in December

Tennessee collected $3.3 million in taxes from the $340 million in bets placed at Tennessee’s sportsbooks in December, according to Tennessee data acquired by PlayTenn.

December was the third-highest month for amount of bets placed since betting began in November 2020. In October, $375.3 million was wagered and $365.7 million was wagered in November.

More than $2.7 billion in bets were placed in Tennessee in 2021 with $39.3 million in taxes paid on $239.9 million in gross revenue.

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Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Arrests Bristol Man Who Shot, Injured Police Officer

Cop car lights

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) charged a Bristol man, Alan Coulter, with two counts of Attempted First Degree Murder for his role in a shooting that injured a police officer with the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office.

In addition to the charges of Attempted First Degree Murder, Coulter faces one count of Reckless Endangerment, one count of Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, and one count of Use of a Weapon During the Commission of a Dangerous Felony.

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Tennessee’s Unemployment Reaches Lowest Level Since January 2020

Unemployment in Tennessee reached a two-year low in December, according to new data that the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD) released late last week. The state ended 2021 with an unemployment rate of 3.8 percent, which was 0.2 of a percentage point lower than the rate it recorded in November. Over the past year, Tennessee’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased by 1.8 percentage points from 5.6 percent to 3.8 percent.

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Music SpotlIght: Noah Guthrie

Even though Noah Guthrie played Roderick on Season 6 of Glee in 2015, making music has always been his aspiration. As a very young child, the South Carolina native grew up going to recording studios with his dad and step-mom who were both background singers.

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Former Tennessee Clinic Owner Sentenced for Opioid Distribution

Close up of white pills

The Department of Justice announced last week a former Tennessee clinic owner was sentenced for opioid distribution. Mark Daniel Allen, who now lives in Venice, Florida, was sentenced to 168 months in prison and $700 in special assessments, “followed by three years of supervised released.”

According to court documents, Allen was found guilty on six counts of “unlawfully distributing controlled substances” and one count of “maintaining a drug-involved premises after a three-day trial” which started September 1, 2021. Evidence at the trial showed Allen unlawfully prescribed 15,000 opioid pills to three women “with whom he had sexual relationships,” and to a male patient who later passed away.

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States See Revenue Surge from Income Tax, Federal Aid

Woman with $100 bills spread open in hands

Numerous states have seen their state revenue surge in 2021 fueled by a robust stock market, growing income, federal aid, and increased tax revenue, The Wall Street Journal reported.

States’ revenue soared 24% between April and November from 2020 to 2021, according to a survey conducted by the Urban Institute think tank, the WSJ reported. Thirty-two states said the revenue collected in the fiscal year ending in 2022 was ahead of expectations, according to data from the National Association of State Budget Officers obtained by the WSJ.

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Exclusive: Archbishop Reacts to ‘Catholics for Choice’ Projecting Pro-Abortion Messages Upon National Shrine as He Celebrated Pro-Life Mass

Arcbishop

  Baltimore’s archbishop, who Thursday celebrated Annual Pro-life Vigil Mass at Washington’s National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, while Catholics for Choice projecting pro-abortion messages upon the church’s façade, gave his reaction to The Star News Network. “Well, the real action was what was going inside the basilica,” said Archbishop…

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Commentary: The Coming Dethronement of Joe Biden

It’s not often that I agree with Joe Biden, but he said something in his nasty, brutish, and long press conference last week with which, if properly understood, I agree.

Don’t get me wrong. The press conference as a whole was a “total disaster.” Notwithstanding the sycophantic performance of the court eunuchs in the regime media, everybody understands this. (But speaking of “court eunuchs,” what’s the female equivalent? It was Jennifer Rubin, who actually gave Biden an “A-” for the presser, that prompts this vital question and I hope some enterprising savant will contribute the answer.)

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Orange Juice Prices Expected to Soar After Worst Harvest Since 1945

Orange juice prices are expected to soar in 2022 after inclement weather and citrus disease constrained the supply of oranges in the U.S. while demand surged during the pandemic, CNN Business reported.

Frozen orange juice futures climbed over 50% during the COVID-19 pandemic and reached a two-year high in January, according to CNN Business.

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California Law Would Let Kids 12 and Older Be Vaccinated Without Parental Consent

California state senators have introduced a bill to allow children 12 and older to receive vaccinations against diseases like COVID-19 without parental consent.

State Sens. Scott Wiener and Richard Pan on Thursday introduced SB 866, which clarifies eligible vaccines as those that are “approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration” and meet “the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

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Famous M&M Characters to be Redesigned as More ‘Inclusive’

On Thursday, the food company Mars Incorporated announced in a press release that it will soon be redesigning the iconic animated mascots of the candy M&M’s, as part of a “global commitment to creating a world where everyone feels they belong, and society is inclusive.”

As reported by The Daily Caller, all six of the animated characters will be redesigned in order to represent a “more dynamic, more progressive world,” the press release continued. The characters will feature “different shapes and sizes of M&M’S lentils across all touchpoints to prove that all together, we’re more fun.” The characters will also have “more nuanced personalities to underscore the importance of self-expression and power of community through storytelling.”

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Farms Fail as Fertilizer Prices Soar

Blue tractor in a field, fertilizing the land

Soaring fertilizer prices across the globe have impacted farmers making it more expensive to produce food and forcing them to cut back on production, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Diammonium phosphate, or DAP, a common component of fertilizer, cost $745 per metric ton in December 2021, more than double its average 2020 price, the WSJ reported.

Higher fertilizer costs could translate into increased food prices in the next year, worsening global hunger after the pandemic caused massive job losses and further growing inflation, the WSJ reported.

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Statue of Theodore Roosevelt Removed from New York Museum Will Be Placed in North Dakota

The iconic statue of U.S. President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt has been removed from the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, where it has stood for over 80 years.

CNN reports that demands for the statue to be removed began over a year and a half ago, with some falsely claiming that the statue was racist. The monument depicts the 26th president riding triumphantly on horseback, with an American Indian on one side of him and an African man on the other side. The process of removing the statue itself began on Tuesday and was completed by Thursday.

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Commentary: Criminal ‘Catch and Release’ Is Plaguing Our Country

“Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do? Whatcha gonna, whatcha gonna do when they come for you?”

That song and those words used to open the show Cops along with scenes of the police chasing down and arresting the “bad boys.” Viewers assume those apprehended would be spending some time in the slammer.

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Andrew Yang Predicts Biden May Not Win 2024 Democratic Nomination

Former Democratic presidential contender and failed New York City mayoral candidate Andrew Yang says he’s unsure whether President Biden will be their party’s nominee in 2024.

In a post to his website this week, Yang wrote, “for a while” he has been predicting that former President Trump will once again be the GOP candidate for the presidency and that he will once again face off against Biden.

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Dartmouth Cancels Conservative Group’s Event after Alleged Antifa Threats

aerial view of The Dartmouth College

A conservative group at an Ivy League college was reportedly forced to take a planned event virtual after reported threats tied to a left-wing protest group, according to journalist Andy Ngo.

The Dartmouth College chapter of Turning Point USA (TPUSA) was hosting Ngo and Gabriel Nadales, a former member of the left-wing group, to discuss Antifa at a Thursday night event before the college canceled it due to concerns about security, the Post Millennial reported.

“In light of concerning information from Hanover police regarding safety issues shared late in the afternoon, similar concerns expressed by the College Republican leadership, and challenges with the student organization’s ability to staff a large public event and communicate effectively (including dissemination of the visitor policy and a prohibition on bags in the building), the College requested that the Extremism in America panel be moved online,” Diana Lawrence, a spokeswoman for Dartmouth, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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‘If There Is Risk, There Must Be Choice’: Dr. Robert Malone Stirs Defeat Mandates Rally in DC

Vaccine Mandates

Protesters opposed to COVID-19 vaccine mandates marched on Washington, D.C. on Sunday, embarking on a mile-long march before convening at a rally outside the Lincoln Memorial.

Organizers with Children’s Health Defense predicted 20,000 people would attend the event, Defeat the Mandates.

Speakers included Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., virologist and immunologist Dr. Robert Malone, investigative journalist Lara Logan, and doctors and other experts.

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University of North Dakota Scraps ‘Gender Inclusion’ Policy Proposal After Catholic Organization Warns Parents

Last week, Campus Reform reported on the North Dakota Catholic Conference’s  (NDCC) concerns surrounding the University of North Dakota’s (UND) ‘Gender Inclusion’ policy proposal.

Friday, UND President Andrew Armacost reportedly announced it would “cease its work” on the policy and “will not implement it,” according to a statement provided to Campus Reform by NDCC’s Executive Director Christopher Dodson.

“The recent public discussion about a draft gender inclusion policy at the University of North Dakota highlighted concerns both about freedom of speech and religious exercise and expression and about protections for transgender students, faculty, and staff members,” Armacost’s statement reads.

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Despite Increased Measures, Security Concerns Remain at Ohio State University

Safety concerns remain an issue for students at the Ohio State University (OSU), despite increased funding for security measures across the campus.

Two individuals were arrested after a stabbing occurred in a parking garage on the campus of OSU. According to law enforcement and university officials, none of the individuals involved were connected to the college.

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After ’49th March For Life,’ Ohio Right To Life Leader Says: ‘We’re Really Living In A Pro-Life Generation’

The executive director of Ohio Right to Life told The Star News Network he and the more than 100 young people he bused to Washington for Friday’s 49th March for Life could have marched for the last time under the current abortion regime.

“We believe in the power of prayer, and we believe prayer through all these years of the movement has brought us to this point,” said Peter Range, who just joined Ohio Right to Life after working as the director of the Life and Justice Office at the Diocese of Toledo.

“A point – that this could literally be the last March for Life that happened under Roe v. Wade, because of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case the Supreme Court will rule on,” said Range.

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Arizona Republicans Pressure Yellen Not to Claw Back COVID Aid

Republican members of Arizona’s congressional delegation have a demand for United States Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen: don’t take federal relief funding away from the state.

Arizona is scheduled to receive $4.2 billion from the federal government as a part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan; it has received nearly $1.2 billion of that money so far.

However, the United States Treasury Department has warned the state that it may forfeit $163 million if it doesn’t change its actions.

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Minnesota Gov. Walz Wants to Give $700M Back to Taxpayers

group of three people standing and talking

Gov. Tim Walz says he plans to send 2.7 million Minnesotans “Walz Checks” up to $350 as part of his 2022 Local Jobs and Projects Plan.

“To continue growing Minnesota’s economy, we must invest in the people who made it strong in the first place,” Walz said in a statement. “By investing in workforce development, cutting taxes for the middle class and working families, lowering costs, and expanding access to resources like technical education and high-speed broadband, we will improve economic prosperity across the state and grow the workforce we need to compete.”

The proposal aims to deliver $700 million in direct payments to Minnesotans funded by Minnesota’s tax surplus.

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Virginia Small Businesses Request Tax Relief, Lower Regulations

With Virginia’s 2022 legislative session underway, a small business association is asking lawmakers to consider tax relief, lower regulation and other policies to help the commonwealth’s business community.

The National Federation of Independent Business announced its Small Business Recovery Plan, which includes four legislation principles they hope lawmakers consider during the session. The NFIB plan includes lower taxes, repealing some regulations, financial assistance and unemployment insurance reform, which the group believes will help businesses that are still struggling from their pandemic-era losses, a labor shortage and skyrocketing inflation rates.

“Virginia’s small businesses have had a rough couple of years, starting with the pandemic and continuing with the labor shortage and disruptions to the supply chain,” NFIB State Director Julia Hammond said in a statement. “Our ‘Small Business Recovery Plan’ is a set of legislative principles that outlines the issues of greatest concern to Virginia’s small businesses. Legislators should keep these principles in mind while crafting bills during this year’s session of the General Assembly.”

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Newly Elected Minneapolis Council Member Makes Statement After Defending Homeless Encampment from Eviction

A newly elected Minneapolis council member made a statement on Saturday after she defended a homeless encampment from eviction two weeks ago. Robin Wonsley-Worlobah, a Democratic Socialist, said that all pending evictions from Minneapolis homeless encampments need to be stopped. Wonsley-Worlobah was elected to the Minneapolis City Council in November.

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Senator Rick Scott Labels Biden’s COVID Relief Funds as ‘Irresponsible’

Rick Scott

Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) questioned coronavirus relief policies enacted by President Biden and congressional Democrats, labeling the added spending as “irresponsible.”

According to Scott, the funds, which were enacted through legislation passed last year, add to the levels of inflation throughout the country and waste taxpayer funds.

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Ohio School Employee Appeals Ruling that Forces Union Representation

A northeast Ohio high school guidance counselor who wanted to choose her own attorney in a dispute with her school system has appealed a lower court ruling she had to accept union representation.

Barbara Kolkowski, a counselor in the Ashtabula Area City School District, filed the original complaint a year ago in Ashtabula County Court of Common Pleas to stop the Ashtabula Area Teachers Association from requiring her to accept its representation.

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Kari Lake Campaign for Governor Raises Almost Three Times More Money as Pundits Predicted

The Kari Lake campaign for governor continues its strong momentum, raising $1,462,115 in 2021 according to the Arizona Secretary of State’s campaign finance database. Two of her Republican opponents brought in more money, but both are funding their campaigns with millions of their own dollars. Steve Gaynor reported $5,009,655, which came almost entirely from his own funds, and Karrin Taylor Robson raised about the same amount as Lake, with almost another $2 million added of her own money. Matt Salmon brought in a little over a million.

Lake told The Arizona Sun Times, “I am thrilled by our fundraising. The pundits expected us to only raise $500,000. We raised nearly $1.5 million. Our swampy opponents hired up all of the political fundraisers in town in order to starve us from being able to raise money. But the people stepped up and made donations because they know in me, they have the first politician to run for governor who will truly represent the people of Arizona.”

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Missouri AG Sues 36 School Districts with Mask Requirements, But Not His Own District

Missouri Republican Attorney General Eric Schmitt completed on Friday a promise made earlier this week by filing lawsuits against 36 public school districts for requiring masks.

“Mask mandates in schools are illegal, they simply don’t work, and they contribute to alarming and negative psychological impacts on our children,” Schmitt, a candidate for the seat of retiring Republican U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, said in a statement announcing the lawsuits. “My Office has been on the frontlines of the fight to end the forced masking of children all day in school, and today we took concrete legal action toward that end. Parents and families, not bureaucrats, should have the power to decide what’s best for their children. With this litigation, we’re seeking to return that power back to parents and families, where it belongs.”

Earlier this week, leaders of two Missouri public school district collaboratives told The Center Square that attorneys for many school boards believe two Missouri statutes require districts to create and enforce policies to ensure the health and safety of students. Schmitt stated a November Cole County Circuit Court ruling, now being appealed by St. Louis and Jackson Counties at the Missouri Court of Appeals, prevents school districts from enforcing any public health orders. Schmitt set up an email box through his office in December and received 11,000 messages and photographs from people witnessing mask requirements in public schools.

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Northwoods Congressman Wants to Ban Race-Based Coronavirus Treatments

Tom Tiffany

One of Wisconsin’s Republican congressmen wants to ban racial-scoring in deciding who gets the new coronavirus antiviral pills.

Northwoods U.S. Rep. Tom Tiffany on Thursday introduced legislation that would prohibit the federal government and the states from discriminating against or giving preference to any person based on race when it comes to the distribution of, or access to, medical treatment.

“Denying life-saving medical care to Americans based on skin color is wrong, it is illegal, and it is un-American,” Tiffany said.

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Commentary: Trump Supporters Swarm Pennsylvania GOP Senate, Gubernatorial Debate

The event?

The Lawrence County Republican Party of Pennsylvania holding not one but two debates last week. The first for candidates running for an open U.S. Senate seat, the second for GOP candidates for governor of Pennsylvania, the latter an open seat as well in 2022.

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University of Wisconsin System Names New President

University of Wisconsin-Madison

The University of Wisconsin system on Friday named Jay O. Rothman the new system president, following a unanimous vote from the Board of Regents.

Rothman, who serves as chairman and CEO of a law firm in Milwaukee, will become the eighth president of the system.

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Virginia Lawmaker Introduces ‘Pain-Capable’ Abortion Ban

Delegate Nick Freitas (R-Culpeper) has introduced a bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks in most circumstances, a threshold based on when the unborn are believed to feel pain.

“We’re actually making sure that it’s understood that this is about the capability to feel pain, it’s not about an arbitrary 20-week schedule,” Freitas told The Virginia Star.

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Pennsylvania State Senate Leader Sees Bipartisan Support to Impeach Soros-Backed Philadelphia District Attorney

Pennsylvania state Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R-Bellefonte) said this week that there is bipartisan support in the state House of Representatives to file articles of impeachment against Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner (D).

Corman, who’s running for governor, sent a letter to the Republican-led state House on Tuesday, urging them to begin impeachment proceedings against Krasner, citing the prosecutor’s “refusal” to “hold criminals accountable for the crimes that they commit.”

Krasner was elected in 2017 with the help of $1.7 million from the George Soros-backed Philadelphia Justice and Public Safety PAC.

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Pennsylvania Legislature Must Pass, and Governor Must Sign, Congressional Map Monday to Meet Department’s Deadline

Pennsylvania’s Republican-led state Senate and Gov. Tom Wolf (D) must approve a congressional map Monday in order to meet a deadline set by the Pennsylvania Department of State.

Last summer, then-Secretary of the Commonwealth Veronica Degraffenried (D) announced that her department wanted new congressional districts enacted before January 24 so election officials and candidates may adequately prepare for the May 17, 2022 primaries. Lawmakers redesign districts every decade according to population changes reflected in U.S. Census data, whose release last year stalled several months owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. Population trends dictate that the Keystone State will lose one congressional district out of its present eighteen. 

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Amid Legal Doubt over Youngkin Mask Opt-Out Order, Virginia Departments of Health and Education Emphasize Parents, Officials Share Responsibility for COVID-19 Mitigation

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and Department of Education (VDOE) updated their guidelines to reflect Governor Glenn Youngkin’s mask-mandate opt-out order. The new guidance downplays masks and says COVID-19 risk reduction is a shared responsibility between parents and officials.

“These three core principles found in Executive Order 2 reaffirm: 1. Parents are in charge of their children’s health, wellbeing and education, 2. Schools must be open five days a week for in-person learning, and 3. The Commonwealth and school divisions must provide a safe and healthy school environment,” the new guidance states.

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Georgia Real Estate Agent Sentenced for Using Federal Housing Administration Loans in Fraudulent Schemes

Federal officials have sentenced an Atlanta real estate agent for a mortgage fraud scheme that netted more than $21 million in fraudulent mortgage loans, many of which were insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). This resulted in more than $850,000 in claims paid for mortgages that defaulted.

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Commentary: Make Congress Great Again

House Democrats can subpoena President Trump or they can yield back the balance of their time to Speaker Trump. They can carry on about January 6, 2021, until the midterms on November 8, 2022, or they can hold out until January 3, 2023, when the 117th Congress ends. If they choose humiliation over honor, they may lose twice on Election Day: first, at the polls; then, with the election of Donald Trump as speaker of the House.

To be second in the presidential line of succession, and sit next to Vice President Harris while Joe Biden stands (unassisted) and speaks before Congress; to preside while Biden stammers and wince as the president struggles to speak; to watch Biden lose face while refusing to cover his own; to do these things would be a coup for Trump and a win for the Republican Party.

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Tennessee Legislators File Legislation Banning Biological Males from Women’s Collegiate Sports

Women playing lacrosse

Two Tennessee Republican legislators have filed companion bills banning biological males from competing in women’s collegiate sports.

State Senator Joey Hensley (R-Hohenwald-SD28) and Representative John Ragan (R-Oak Ridge-HD33) filed SB1862 and HB1894 on Thursday. Senator Hensley is a physician who achieved his M.D. at the University of Tennessee-Memphis.

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