Tennessee General Assembly Gives Redistricting Plans to Governor, Democrats Repeat Plans to Sue

The General Assembly has officially transmitted the passed redistricting plans to Governor Lee for his signature.

Lt. Governor and the Speaker of the Senate Randy McNally signed the new Senate legislative district and congressional district bills on Wednesday, January 26. He signed the state house district bill on Thursday, January 27. State House Speaker Cameron Sexton signed all three bills on January 27. They were then transmitted to Governor Lee for action on the same day.

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Tennessee Attorney General Marks Milestone Progress on $26 Billion Opioid Agreement

On Thursday, Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III marked a key milestone in the $26 billion opioid agreement with the nation’s three major pharmaceutical distributors – Cardinal, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen – and Johnson & Johnson over the companies’ role in creating and fueling the nationwide opioid crisis.

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Commentary: Meet the Capitol Police’s New Spy Chief

U.S. Capitol police uniform

When most Americans hear the term “Capitol Police,” they likely conjure visions of uniformed officers manning metal detectors at the numerous congressional buildings or helping tourists navigate the sprawling Capitol grounds: a D.C. version of a mall cop.

That imagery, however, is in stark contrast to reality as Democrats have weaponized yet another federal agency to target their political enemies on the Right. 

After January 6, 2021, Capitol Police officials announced plans to expand beyond the legislatively authorized purview of the agency and open offices in Florida and California, as well as in other states. Congress overwhelmingly supported a bill last year to fork over $2.1 billion in new funding to the Capitol Police. Now flush with cash and immune from any serious public oversight, the agency is returning the favor by spying on dissidents of the Biden regime.

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Senator Marsha Blackburn, Other Republicans Demand Answers over Attack on Texas Synagogue

Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and several other members of the Senate Judiciary Committee sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, demanding more information on the man who took several hostages in a Texas synagogue.

Malik Faisal Akram, a British national, entered Beth Israel Congregation in Colleyville, Texas, earlier this month and took four individuals captive.

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Facebook Exec Promises to Crack Down on ‘Falsehoods’ Targeting ‘Marginalized Communities’

Roy Austin, vice president of civil rights for Facebook parent company Meta, pledged to crack down on “misinformation” and alleged discriminatory conduct propagated by the social media platform.

“We’re living in a time and a society where there are people who propagate obvious falsehoods,” Austin said in an interview with Axios. “My position is, when those falsehoods injure historically and systemically marginalized communities, that they don’t belong.”

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Commentary: Regular Exercise Restructures the Brain

Physical activity can do wonders for the body. Exercise can trim weight, chisel muscles, and strengthen the lower back, among many other benefits. Less overt, but no less consequential, physical activity can also buff up your brain. Science is increasingly revealing that the brains of those who regularly work out can look very different compared to the brains of people who don’t.

Changes can start to occur in adolescence. Reviewing the scientific literature in 2018, researchers from the University of Southern California found that for teens aged 15-18, regular exercisers tended to have larger hippocampal volumes as well as larger rostral middle frontal volumes compared to healthy matched control teenagers. The hippocampus is most commonly associated with memory and spatial navigation, while the rostral middle frontal gyrus has been linked to emotion regulation and working memory. Studies suggest that these structural changes translate to improved cognitive performance and better academic outcomes.

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Biden Reportedly Plans to Regulate Crypto over National Security Concerns

President Joe Biden is set to announce guidelines for regulating cryptocurrencies in the coming weeks, Barron’s reported.

The initiative will involve the State Department, Treasury Department, National Economic Council, Council of Economic Advisers and White House National Security Council, according to Barron’s, and it will charge the agencies with developing a coherent regulatory framework for digital assets.

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Electrolux Springfield Campus Hosts Job Fair to Fill More than 200 Positions

The Electrolux company is hosting a job fair in Springfield, Tennessee on January 29, from 10 A.M. to 2 P.M. In a release shared with The Tennessee Star, it listed multiple incentives for joining the company, including starting pay up to $21 an hour, up to a $2,000 sign-on bonus, full benefits on day one and room to advance within the company. The fair will be held at 866 Bill Jones Industrial Drive, Springfield TN.

The statement included the company would be “modernizing our 48-year-old plant by investing more than $250 million to expand production and manufacture amazing new cooking products.”

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Two Felons Guilty of Possession of Firearms

The United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee announced two men previously convicted of felonies entered guilty pleas for crimes involving the illegal possession of firearms they were not allowed to have due to their previous convictions. John Davidson Long of Jackson was sentenced to ten years in federal prison. Demitrious Davis of Memphis, meanwhile, pled guilty but not has yet received sentencing.

According to prosecutors, Jackson law enforcement officers observed multiple members of the Vice Lord gang gather in the Parkway East Apartment Complex at Carver Cove in Jackson, Tennessee. “While monitoring the cameras, Long was observed standing outside of a car with a black handgun protruding from his waistband.” Since Long is a convicted felon, it is illegal for him to possess a firearm.

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Commentary: The Contentious Battle to Replace Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer

Wednesday’s announcement by Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer that he would be retiring at the end of the court’s current session has raised the obvious question of how contentious the battle over his replacement will be.

One thing is almost certain to be true: No matter who is nominated by President Joe Biden, there will be no 87-9 favorable vote – the tally when Breyer was nominated by Bill Clinton in 1994. Though there were occasional exceptions in the decade prior to Breyer, his vote totals were not unusual in that era. Antonin Scalia was approved 98-0, Anthony Kennedy 97-0, and Ruther Bader Ginsburg 96-3. However, no Supreme Court nomination since Breyer’s has received fewer than 22 negative votes, the number against Chief Justice John Roberts in 2005.

That was the year Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer (now majority leader) urged that senators should vote explicitly on the basis of candidates’ ideology rather than simply their qualifications. In reality, ideology had been the primary driving factor behind the rejection of Robert Bork’s nomination in 1987 and the tough, though ultimately successful, fight over Clarence Thomas’ nomination in 1991, but most opposing senators had attempted to preserve the fiction that judicial temperament or scandals were behind their “no” votes. Schumer opened the door to unabashed ideological and partisan warfare, and subsequent votes on Supreme Court nominations have shown it.

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Record Gun Sales Fueled by 5.4 Million First Time Buyers

Gun sales surged to a record high in 2021, fueled by first-time gun owners, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF).

At least 5.4 million people purchased firearms for the first time in 2021, with roughly 30% of all gun purchases going to first-time buyers, according to the NSSF. The figure is a 10% decrease from 2020, when approximately 8.4 million people purchased firearms for the first time.

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Alaska Joins Texas Lawsuit Against Biden Vaccine Mandate for National Guard

On Thursday, Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy (R-Alaska) announced that his state would be joining a lawsuit, originally filed earlier this month by Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R-Texas), against the Biden Administration for its mandate requiring vaccinations for all members of the National Guard.

Fox News reports that the lawsuit seeks to challenge the constitutionality of Biden’s mandate by claiming that it violates the sovereignty of the states and the state governors over their control of their respective National Guard units.

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Crom’s Crommentary: The Media as an Institution

people writing in notebooks

Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed the original all-star panelist Crom Carmichael in studio for another edition of Crom’s Crommentary where he discusses the media as an institution.

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Metro Nashville School Board Member Fran Bush Talks About Common Sense School Board Candidates and Her Agenda

Fran Bush

Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed Metro Nashville School Board Member for District Six, Fran Bush to discuss her agenda and common sense candidates.

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Minnesota GOP Accuses DFL of Illegally Allowing Felons, Non-Citizens to Participate in Caucus Process

The Minnesota Republican Party accused the DFL Party of breaking the law when they allowed felons and non-US citizens to participate in their caucus process.

The party pointed to the state’s voter eligibility requirements as cause for their concern.

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Michigan’s Redistricting General Counsel Resigns Amid Lawsuits

Julianne Pastula

Julianne Pastula, the general counsel of record for Michigan’s Independent Citizen’s Redistricting Committee (MICRC) resigned Wednesday night amid lawsuits over proposed maps.

The Detroit Free Press first reported the story, which was overshadowed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s 2022 State of the State address.

“The purpose of this letter is to provide official notice of my resignation as General Counsel,” Pastula wrote. “Pursuant to Section 2 of my Employment Contract 30-day written notice is required. This makes my resignation effective February 25, 2022.”

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Connecticut Republicans and Democrats Argue Congressional Map Case in Court

Connecticut Supreme Court Building

The state’s Supreme Court has until Feb. 15 to render a decision on how Connecticut’s congressional district maps will be drawn.

The court heard arguments Thursday from attorneys representing Republican and Democratic members of the Reapportionment Commission, who have been unable to reach agreement on how the state’s congressional districts will be drawn.

At the crux of the arguments are maps that are to be drawn with the least amount of change from current districts, with close approximations of the number of residents in each district, and how to address the “lobster claw,” a gerrymandered district that dates back to 2001.

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Florida Progressives Ignore Gender Issues in Public Schools, Call Parental Rights Bill Homophobia

During the debate over Florida’s Parental Rights legislation (HB 1557/ SB 1834), progressive politicians are ignoring issues in public schools and calling the proposal the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

The bill addresses a number of concerns related to communications between school officials and students. The bill requires school officials to notify parents if issues arise related to a students mental, emotional physical well-being. In addition, the bill prohibits school officials from encouraging  students to withhold information.

Issues related to these provisions are currently being litigated in two separate legal cases across Florida. For example, parents are suing the Clay County Schools Board for counseling their elementary school child related to gender without their knowledge. The parents became aware of the situation when their child tried to commit suicide. School officials allegedly defended their actions by invoking “confidentiality rules” to justify not including the parents in the counseling sessions.

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Poll: 44 Percent Approve, 42 Percent Disapprove of Youngkin’s Job Performance; More Disapprove on COVID-19 Performance

Governor Glenn Youngkin has a 44 percent favorable, 42 percent unfavorable rating, according to a new survey from Public Policy Polling conducted about a week-and-a-half into the new administration. However, only 44 percent of respondents approved of Youngkin’s job performance on COVID-19, while 47 percent disapprove — within the plus-or-minus 3.8 percent margin of error. On specific questions about COVID-19 policy, the poll found more separation, including that 55 percent disagree with Youngkin’s EO Two ending school mask mandates, versus 40 percent who agree.

“Virginians are also supportive of school boards across the state, agreeing that local school boards that oppose Youngkin’s order removing mask mandates in schools and have filed lawsuits are right. Voters support the school boards by a 15-point margin (55-40). By an even larger 25-point margin (56-31), Virginia voters say they think local school districts should set mask requirements themselves, rather than have the mask requirements set by Youngkin,” PPP reported.

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New Poll Finds Kari Lake Remains Arizona GOP Gubernatorial Frontrunner, Opponents Increase Support

A new poll shows Arizona GOP gubernatorial contender Kari Lake remains the Republican frontrunner, but her opponents are gaining ground.

According to the analysis from OH Predictive Insights (OHPI), Lake’s poll numbers have not shown “meaningful” growth during the last three surveys.

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Poll: Phoenicians Blame Democratic Mayor and City Council, Not Police for Public Safety Problems

A survey conducted by OH Predictive Insights on behalf of the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association (PLEA) found that Phoenix voters overwhelmingly fault Democratic Mayor Kate Gallego and the Democrat dominated City Council for public safety problems. More than three in five Phoenix voters (62%) blame them, while only 15% say the Phoenix Police Department is responsible. Hispanics were slightly more likely to blame the mayor and city council, 64%.

“It is evident that the recent anti-police rhetoric within the Phoenix City Council does not match voter sentiment within the City of Phoenix,” said Michael “Britt” London, President of PLEA. “Phoenix voters value our police officers and recognize that we need additional resources to protect our community and bring crime rates down. Voters clearly want the Mayor and Phoenix City Council to take action and direct additional funding and resources to the Phoenix Police Department to keep residents safe.”

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Fauci: ‘Three-Dose Regimen’ of Pfizer Vax for Infants and Toddlers is Coming

Young girl getting vaccine

The Biden administration is planning to recommend the experimental mRNA vaccines for babies as young as six months old, despite alarming safety signals and concerns that mass vaccination is making the pandemic worse.

White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci announced Wednesday that Pfizer vaccines for infants and toddlers are currently being tested, and once the shots are approved, a “three-dose regimen” will be recommended.

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Georgia Legislators Revising Bill That Would Crack Down on Obscenity in Public School Libraries

Representative James Burchett (R-Waycross) said Friday that he believes members of the Georgia General Assembly will pass a bill that would, if enacted into law, clamp down on obscene material in public school libraries. But the bill still has a long way to go.

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Swimmer Says Her Team Is Uncomfortable Sharing Locker Room with Trans Swimmer Lia Thomas

A female swimmer at the University of Pennsylvania said the school brushed off her and her teammates’ concerns about sharing locker rooms with a male swimmer, the Daily Mail reported.

She and her teammates felt uncomfortable sharing locker rooms with transgender swimmer Lia Thomas, who has male body parts and is reportedly “attracted to women,” according to the Daily Mail.

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Attorney Running for Ohio House Suing State GOP for ‘Corruption’

A Republican candidate for the State House of Representatives in District 98 is suing the Ohio Republican Party (ORP) for what he says is corruption.

“I’m the new attorney for a group of State committee members trying to end the corruption in the Ohio Republican Party,” Scott Pullins, of Pullins Law Firm in Mt. Vernon told The Ohio Star.

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Missouri Considers Pension Changes to Solve Teacher Shortage

Man standing in front of a room, giving a lecture with a presentation

Legislators are considering changes to Missouri’s teacher and non-certified school employee pension plans to alleviate pandemic-related teacher and staff shortages.

HB2114, sponsored by Rep. Rusty Black, R-Chillicothe, will reduce restrictions on pensions if a retired public school teacher returns to the classroom or to a non-teaching position in a public school. The legislation also increases from two to four years the length of time a retired teacher or retired non-certified public school employee can work while still receiving their pension.

During testimony before the House pensions committee, Rep. Black, the committee vice chairman, said similar legislation was passed by the House and died in the Senate last year as the legislative session ended in May. He said the legislation simplifies and improves the amount retirees can earn before their pensions are restricted.

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Virginia Attorney General Says College Mandate Vaccines for Students Illegal

Virginia’s Attorney General released a legal opinion Friday saying that under Virginia law, vaccine mandates for college students are illegal. 

“Absent specific authority conferred by the General Assembly, public institutions of higher education in Virginia may not require vaccination against COVID-19 as a general condition of students’ enrollment or in-person attendance,” Attorney General Jason Miyares said in his opinion. 

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Iowa Schools Must Require Masking to Accommodate Students with Disabilities

 Iowa schools must require masking when necessary as a reasonable accommodation for students with disabilities, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at St. Louis ruled Tuesday.

The court cited the Rehabilitation Act Section 504 in its determination.

What’s more, Iowa statute currently allows masking when federal law requires it, the court ruled, American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa said in an explainer of the ruling.

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Virginia General Assembly Off to Slow Start as Committees Evaluate Legislation, Youngkin Cabinet Picks

RICHMOND, Virginia – Most of the action in the General Assembly is occurring in committees as legislators decide which bills will survive to be voted on by the full Senate and House of Delegates. House Republicans have advanced some key bills on local gun control repeals, elections reform, and school misdemeanor reporting. Senate Democrats have advanced some key bills, but much of their work has been in killing Republican-introduced legislation.

“What has not surprised me is there has been a conspicuous partisan divide with Democratic pushback against Governor Youngkin’s agenda, particularly in the area of tax reform and education reform, and masks,” Senate Minority Leader Thomas Norment (R-James City) told The Virginia Star.

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New Book Reveals Chinese Dollars to University of Pennsylvania Tripled After Biden Center Founding

As President Joe Biden’s nomination of University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann as ambassador to Germany proceeds in the U.S. Senate, a new book reveals that financial support from communist China to her university nearly tripled after the school established its Biden Center four years ago.

The flow of dollars from People’s Republic of China entities to Penn has already fueled contentiousness about Gutmann’s nomination. In a November letter to Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) expressed their concern regarding the amount of money the university has accepted from Chinese institutions and companies. Committee Ranking Member Jim Risch (R-ID) has since come out against Gutmann’s prospective appointment and has cited the $86 million in Chinese contributions and contracts that Penn has received since 2014.

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Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers Proposes Payments to Wisconsin Residents Via Surplus Funds

Tony Evers

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Thursday released his plan to spend the 2.9 billion surplus the state has due to increased tax revenue and federal coronavirus relief funds.

The Democrat takes $1.7 billion to distribute directly to residents of the state through $150 payments. Furthermore, $131.8 million will grant tax breaks to certain caregivers and families.

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Tennessee Committee Approves Report on Refugee Issues, One Legislator Said It Didn’t Go Far Enough

The Joint Study Committee on Refugee Issues this week approved a report that recommends a variety of proposals related to Tennessee’s refugee issues, but one state legislator said they don’t go far enough. The recommendations could influence future legislation.

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