Governor Bill Lee and State Department of Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn to Announce New School Funding Legislation

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and Tennessee Department of Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn are scheduled to announce legislation for the new student-based funding formula, known as the Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement formula (TISA) this week. According to an emailed statement, Lee and Schwinn are scheduled to present the legislation on Thursday, February 24.

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Tennessee State House Set to Consider Resolution Honoring Organization Dedicated to Fighting Human Trafficking

The Tennessee State House is set to consider a a resolution honoring and commending the Mission America Foundation, a Tennessee-based 501c(3) organization dedicated to fighting human trafficking, for the work they do.

The Mission America Foundation works to empower military veterans to utilize their skill sets to help eradicate child and human trafficking. 

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Commentary: America Is Not Divided, It’s Being Hijacked

It seems lately like everywhere, on both the Right and the Left, we are hearing a chorus of voices tell us America is hopelessly divided and on the brink of a second civil war.

The level of rancor and incivility characterizing much of our contemporary political dialogue appears to confirm as much on a daily basis. It appears Left and Right have arrived at irreconcilable worldviews, disagreeing on first principles, core convictions, specific policy choices and ultimate ends. Increasingly, they seem unable to see eye to eye even when it comes to pure matters of fact.

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University of Wisconsin Police Department’s ‘Equity Dashboard’ Tracks Arrests, ‘Use of Force’ Incidents by Race

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Police Department (UWPD) maintains an “Equity Dashboard” that tracks law enforcement encounters by race, ethnicity, and gender.

“This dashboard is the result of more than a year of collaboration through our Racial Equity Initiative,” the police department states on its website.

The dashboard launched Dec. 9 as the result of the university’s “Racial Equity Initiative,” which the institution announced in June 2020 following the death of George Floyd.

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Columbus and Surrounding Cities’ Mayors Signal Potential End to Indoor Mask Mandate

City leaders from Bexley, Whitehall, Worthington, and Columbus met with Columbus Public Health Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts and Franklin County Health Commissioner Joe Mazzola recently to receive an update on the status of the spread of COVID-19 in the community, according to a statement by the city of Columbus.

Currently, each city has local orders in place requiring the wearing of face coverings indoors, however, Dr. Roberts reported that both COVID-19 transmission rates and hospitalizations have continued to decline dramatically. If current trends continue, each city expects to consider lifting local face covering requirements in the coming weeks, according to the press release.

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Migrant Encounters at the Border Have Nearly Doubled Since Biden Took Office

The number of migrants encountered at the southern border in January nearly doubled that of January 2021, when President Joe Biden took office, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported Friday.

CBP agents encountered 153,941 migrants in January, according to an agency press release, nearly twice the 78,414 migrants encountered in January 2021.

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Florida U.S. Rep. Carlos Gimenez Calls for Reduced COVID Regulations on Cruise Industry

Congressman Carlos Gimenez (R-FL-26) called for reduced coronavirus regulations on the cruise industry, penning a letter to Jeffrey Zients, the White House COVID coordinator.

The letter, which gathered bipartisan support, criticized a new program implemented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that will require cruise lines to report the vaccination status of passengers and crew for each ship, if they opt into the program.

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After Redistricting, Arizona’s 6th Congressional District Seat Is a Prime Target for GOP Pickup

Arizona’s 6th Congressional District is believed to be a prime target for a GOP pickup, according to Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight political blog, which rates the newly-redrawn district as “Competitive R.” Seven-term incumbent Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, a Democrat, announced in early 2021 she would not seek re-election; and the area’s voting history suggests the new boundary lines favor Republicans.

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St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter Establishes ‘Rent Stabilization Stakeholder Group’

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter has established a “Rent Stabilization Stakeholder Group” to “identify considerations on improving and enhancing rent stabilization in Saint Paul.”

According to the mayor’s office, the new group is composed of 41 individuals from different careers and backgrounds. They will work together to produce a report by the end of the summer.

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Commentary: In Trudeau’s Canada, a Pastor Is Imprisoned for Talking to Truckers

“In an unjust society the only place for a just man is in prison,” said the writer Henry David Thoreau. That is increasingly true in Canada, where critics of its COVID restrictions can be thrown in jail for peaceful protests. Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau is unleashing powers meant for terrorists on the truckers. His mandates already damaged their livelihoods, but now his treatment of the truckers as a group akin to ISIS threatens to wipe them out completely. Meanwhile, a Calgary pastor who merely preached to the truckers finds himself in solitary confinement on a phony charge of incitement, according to his lawyer.

The condition of religious freedom in America is pretty dismal, but it appears to be even worse in Canada. This imprisoned pastor, Artur Pawlowski, didn’t urge the truckers to violence. On the contrary, he explicitly disavowed violence. “May God help us all, because we don’t fight with guns and swords,” he said to truckers gathered for a freedom convoy rally. “We don’t fight with Tasers and the police vehicles. We don’t. We just want to go back and work hard and achieve something and provide for our families. We just want to be left alone.”

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Pennsylvania Supreme Court Considers Congressional Maps, Asked to Consider State-House Districts as Well

Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court, deliberating over oral arguments made last Friday, will soon decide the congressional-district boundaries that apply in next year’s elections.

State House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R-Bellefonte) has meanwhile asked the court to strike down a newly enacted map containing districts for his own legislative chamber.

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Georgia Legislator Burt Jones Files Bill to Create New ‘Back the Blue’ Fund

Senator Burt Jones (R-Jackson) filed a bill last week that would, if enacted into law, allow Georgia residents to contribute money to increase law enforcement officers’ pay. Georgia residents would subsidize this Back the Blue fund through motor vehicle insurance policies. According to the language of the bill, SB 532, state residents would pay into this fund voluntarily.

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Youngkin Adds $1.25 Billion to FY 2022 Revenue Forecast, Asks General Assembly to Approve His Tax Proposals

Governor Glenn Youngkin asked the administration’s finance team to perform a mid-session review which added another $1.25 billion to the Fiscal Year 2022 revenue forecast. Youngkin highlighted the additional expected cash in a Friday letter to Virginia’s top money legislators as part of his push to save his broad tax reduction plan.

Youngkin wrote, “[T]he bottom line is taxes paid to the government are soaring and the revised revenue forecast estimates the Commonwealth will collect $1.25 billion more in the current fiscal year. That, of course, is on top of the additional $3.3 billion added to the original forecast last December. This is a staggering number, the largest mid-session re-forecast in anyone’s memory. The stunning amount of money being collected from taxpayers is the direct result of over taxation. Put simply, without significant tax relief, the Commonwealth’s general fund collections will grow by over 40 percent between 2018 and 2024.”

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Stonecrest Mayor Pleads Guilty to Stealing Georgia COVID-19 Relief Funds

The former mayor of Stonecrest and a bookkeeper who administered COVID-19 relief funds to the town pleaded guilty in federal court this month to charges related to the theft of pandemic relief funds. Per federal rules, Stonecrest officials could only spend these relief funds on necessary expenditures related to the pandemic that occurred between March 2020 through December 2020. They include medical and public health expenses as well as grants to reimburse businesses for lost business during COVID-19.

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Commentary: Failing Public Schools Motivate More Black Families to Home-School

As the United States observes Black History Month, African-American families are making history by leaving failing public schools and home-schooling their children in record numbers.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, parents, and especially black parents, found public schools incapable of handling the crisis. Even prior to the pandemic, public schools were failing to improve learning among African-American children.

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Commentary: Six Things We Know About the CIA’s Secret Mass Surveillance Program

The Central Intelligence Agency has secretly been running mass surveillance operations to collect data on Americans, according to a newly published letter written by Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.).

Wyden and Henrich, both members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, wrote the letter in April 2021, and the letter was partly declassified on Thursday.

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Minority Leader McCarthy Endorses Rep. Cheney Opponent Harriet Hageman

In the latest blow to Congresswoman Liz Cheney’s (R-Wyo.) re-election bid, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has endorsed her biggest primary opponent.

As reported by CNN, McCarthy issued his endorsement of Harriet Hageman on Thursday, declaring that he was “proud to endorse Harriet Hageman for Congress.”

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Number of American Adults Who Claim to Be LGBT Has Doubled in 10 Years, Particularly Among Generation Z

The latest findings from Gallup indicate that the number of American adults who claim to be part of the “LGBT” crowd – lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender – has doubled in the last decade.

ABC News reports that the new percentage of LGBT-affiliated Americans in 2021 is 7.1 percent, which is slightly more than double the previous total of 3.5 percent in 2012. The survey was conducted by interviewing over 12,000 adults in the United States. Of the remaining percentage, 86.3 percent confirmed their heterosexuality, while 6.6 percent did not say one way or the other.

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Florida Republicans Introduce Historic Tax Cut Package

Republican state lawmakers on Thursday said they introduced what would be the single-largest tax cut package in Florida history.

As Floridians, and all Americans, pay more for every day purchases due to surging inflation and depleted supply stemming from supply chain issues, some lawmakers are seeking to reduce the state’s tax burden.

The package, submitted to the House Ways and Means Committee, would reduce sales taxes and property taxes for some Floridians and expand several tax holidays.

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Media Wage Harassment Campaign Against Freedom Convoy Donors Doxxed in GiveSendGo Hack

Media outlets are continuing to message small-dollar donors to the Freedom Convoy whose identities were leaked to the public after a hack of crowdfunding site GiveSendGo.

The personal information of roughly 90,000 donors to the Freedom Convoy, a group of truckers and hackers protesting Canada’s vaccine mandates and COVID-19 restrictions, was leaked after hackers breached GiveSendGo late Sunday. The leaked data included names, email handles, IP addresses and zip codes, and was provided to “journalists and researchers” by Distributed Denial of Secrets, an activist group hosting the information.

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Tennessee Group Wants Property Seizure Reform After Indictment of Knox County Sheriff’s Supervisor

The Tennessee chapter of Americans for Prosperity is pushing to reform the state’s forfeiture law after a former Knox County Sheriff’s Office supervisor was accused in a federal indictment of taking seized drug assets and using them for personal use.

Former Assistant Chief David Henderson, head of Knox County’s Narcotics Unit, entered a not guilty plea Friday in court, according to WBIR-TV.

Henderson is accused of using cash and narcotics unit credit cards for the purchase of personal items, including $138,000 worth of Apple products between 2011-2018, $13,000 in Yeti coolers, $2,200 for a Google Nest indoor security system and more, according to the report.

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Biden Pentagon Let 50 Afghans Posing Serious Security Risks into the United States, Watchdog Finds

The Biden administration failed to use all available screening data to vet Afghan refugees brought to the United States last year, allowing at least 50 individuals posing “potentially significant security concerns” to make it inside America’s borders, the Pentagon’s chief watchdog is warning.

To make matters worse, the Defense Department inspector general reported to Congress this week that 28 of 31 Afghan evacuees with known “derogatory information” can no longer be located.

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Funeral Directors, Embalmers Alarmed by Unusual Blood Clots in Vaccinated Bodies

Board-certified funeral directors and embalmers are coming forward to tell tales of horror featuring vaccinated bodies with veins and arteries clogged with strange, rubbery, worm-like clots.

Richard Hirschman, a funeral director and embalmer from Alabama, with over twenty years of experience in the field, has said in recent interviews that he had never seen anything like it until around the middle of 2021, after the mass injections of the experimental COVID vaccines began. He says his colleagues in the field are seeing the same thing, and the numbers are increasing.

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Students Launch Bipartisan Protest Against University’s China Investments

George Washington University (GWU) students held a bipartisan protest Tuesday, urging the Washington D.C. institution to divest its endowment from companies that are complicit in China’s human rights abuses.

The demonstration, which involved both of the university’s College Republicans and College Democrats chapters, comes one week after university President Mark S. Wrighton rescinded his criticism of on-campus artwork that critiqued China’s abuses against its Uyghur population.

“We’ve all banded together,” activist and GWU alum Juan Carlos Mora told Campus Reform during the protest.

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Inflation, Workforce Issues Dominate Pennsylvania House Budget Hearing

Officials with the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development discussed inflation and staffing challenges, as well as the Wolf administration’s decisions to close businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic, during a third day of budget hearings in the House Appropriations Committee.

State Rep. Lynda Culver, R-Northumberland, highlighted record inflation numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics that showed a 7.5% annual increase in the Consumer Price Index for January, the fastest rise since 1982.

Culver also noted federal stimulus spending and questioned acting Secretary of the Department of Community and Economic Development Neil Weaver on outreach from the department to understand the effect of inflation on small businesses.

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Gun Sales During Emergencies Approved by Ohio House

Ohio businesses that sell guns and ammunition have moved closer to being allowed to operate under a declared emergency, even though those businesses were not shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Ohio Senate now gets House Bill 325 after it passed the House earlier this week. It would prohibit government from using an emergency declaration to close firearms dealers or restrict the lawful ownership of guns. The bill was in response to other states that declared those businesses nonessential during the pandemic.

“Lawful gun owners should never be restricted of their second amendment right as a result of an emergency declaration,” Rep. Mark Fraizer, R-Newark, said. 

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‘Mutually Beneficial’: Major News Outlet Expands Climate Change Reporting Funded by Left-Wing Activist Groups

The Associated Press announced Tuesday that it had secured funding from several progressive interest groups to hire two dozen climate change reporters.

The outlet referred to the groups’ funding as “philanthropic grants” and promised that the groups wouldn’t have any editorial control over the climate change content published, according to an announcement. But the five organizations — the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Rockefeller Foundation, Quadrivium and the Walton Family Foundation — are well known for pushing a variety of left-wing causes and funding Democratic political campaigns.

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EPA Pledges $1 Billion for Great Lakes ‘Areas of Concern’

The Biden administration and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have announced a $1 billion cleanup fund for 22 of 25 Great Lakes “Areas of Concern,” or AOCs.

President Joe Biden announced the cleanup funding during a press event on Thursday in Lorain, Ohio. According to Press Secretary Jen Psaki, the president will “deliver remarks on how the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law delivers for the American people by investing in clean-up and restoration efforts in the Great Lakes region and surrounding waterways.”

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SBA Oversight Failures Lead to $93M in Questionable Awards to Disadvantaged Firms, Internal Audit Finds

The Golden Horseshoe is a weekly designation from Just The News intended to highlight egregious examples of wasteful taxpayer spending by the government. The award is named for the horseshoe-shaped toilet seats for military airplanes that cost the Pentagon a whopping $640 each back in the 1980s.

This week’s Golden Horseshoe is awarded to the Small Business Administration, which awarded $93 million in questionable contracts to small businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals under the agency’s 8 (a) Business Development Program, according to a recent audit by the SBA Office of Inspector General.

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Parents File Ethics Complaints Against Knox County Board of Education Members in Battle Against End to School Mask Mandate

A Knox County Schools (KCS) parent group fighting the end of school mask mandates has filed an ethics complaint against three members of the school board, alleging they violated one of the board’s own policies and also appeared at a Knox County Commission meeting without giving adequate public notice.

Parent Amanda Collins, who chairs Knox County Schools Parent Advocates for School Safety (KCS PASS), said in a press statement KCS board members Betsy Henderson, Susan Horn, and Kristi Kristy violated the board’s policy when they submitted a proposal to the Knox County Commission to hire private attorneys to help in the board’s fight against a lawsuit over masks in schools.

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