Proposed Legislation Would Enter Tennessee into an Interstate Compact, Creating an Unelected Quasi-Governmental Entity with Broad Powers Including Eminent Domain

A bill scheduled to be heard by the House Commerce Committee on Tuesday would enter Tennessee into an interstate compact with Arkansas and Mississippi for the greater Memphis region, creating a quasi-governmental and public entity of unelected commissioners that will be vested with very broad powers, including eminent domain and condemnation of any and all rights or property.

If enacted, the legislation would create the RegionSmart Development District (District) and the RegionSmart Development (RegionSmart Development) Agency of the Greater Memphis Region.

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Commentary: Shutting Down Parents Does Not Help Public Education

As school districts start dropping the mask mandates, removing pornographic books from their libraries, and explicitly prohibiting critical race theory, it’s clear that the parent protests are working. School boards, even in progressive bastions like San Francisco, are currently being cleaned out and replaced by more pro-parent members. Moreover, politicians like the governor of Oklahoma are openly instituting a school choice model that would allow for different schooling models and have education dollars follow the student, not automatically go to the school.

Naturally, these developments invite more pushback (sometimes literally so) from those who believe they’re supporting public education. It was fine in the past to let various kooky parents carry on about the evils of teaching Harry Potter or sex ed; school boards and district leaders could simply yawn and carry on as before. However, now that it actually threatens their authority and influence, they can no longer ignore parents’ concerns..  

In general, opponents of protesting parents make the same points over and over. They deny that public schools have problems, play semantic games with critical race theory (“it’s just an abstract legal theory taught in law school,” etc.), and accuse angry parents of being misguided racists. In their view, parents who demand a more wholesome and academic experience for their children are actually demanding an exclusively white and privileged experience. And for good measure, they will add an anecdote about a heroic public school teacher changing lives, proving beyond any doubt that public schools are still doing noble work and are essential for a healthy, diverse society.  

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Biden Quietly Extends National COVID Emergency Indefinitely

In a letter to the House Speaker and Senate President Friday, President Joe Biden extended the national COVID-19 emergency pandemic indefinitely.

“There remains a need to continue this national emergency,” Biden wrote.

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RNC Site Selection Committee to Visit Nashville ‘In the Next Week or So’

downtown Nashville at night

Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Scott Golden told The Tennessee Star that the Republican National Committee’s (RNC) site selection committee for the 2024 Republican National Convention will be heading to visit Nashville “in the next week or so.”

Chairman Golden, who has attended three of the last four Republican National Conventions, said that a unique aspect of Nashville is that, if Nashville were to win the bid to host the 2024 Republican National Convention, the bulk of official convention business would take place in a small area, where most activities are within walking distance of each other.

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New Tennessee Bill to Secure Religious Exemptions Does the Reverse, Conservative Group Warns

Members of the Williamson County-based Tennessee Stands are warning the public that a new bill making its way through the Tennessee General Assembly that purports to protect religious liberty does the opposite. Legislators say that the bill, HB 1867, and its companion legislation, SB 1823, will secure religious exemptions for healthcare workers. The Tennessee General Assembly’s website lists Representative Jason Zachary (R-Knoxville) as the house sponsor. The website also lists Senator and Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson (R-Franklin) as the senate sponsor.

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Former Tennessee Speaker of the House Beth Harwell Talking to TN-5 Voters, Possibly Nearing Decision on Whether to Run

Beth Harwell

Former Tennessee Speaker of the House Beth Harwell may be nearing a decision on whether to run for Tennessee’s 5th Congressional district seat.

Speaker Harwell told The Tennessee Star that she’s still considering whether to run. “I’m in the process of doing that right now.”

Harwell said that she has three factors in mind when considering a congressional bid. “One, you need to talk to people in the district and see what they want from their U.S. Representative in Congress. Two, you need to make sure your base of political and financial support is in place.”

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Oral Antiviral Therapeutics to Combat COVID-19 More Available in Tennessee

pharmacy

The two oral antiviral therapeutics developed by pharmaceutical companies Merck and Pfizer to treat mild to moderate cases of COVID-19 are readily available to patients in Tennessee as a part of an increased bi-weekly allocation program.

“This increase in allocations is something we have been anticipating for weeks,” Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey, MD, MBA, FAAP said in a statement. “Our goal has always been to increase access to these treatments by onboarding more pharmacies to maximize access to patients. We have seen a steady increase in allocations to the state and know many pharmacies and providers are eager to offer this treatment to help mitigate COVID-19 disease progression for those at risk of a severe outcome.”

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University of Michigan Makes List of Top Medical Schools with CRT Programs

A report by an organization that tracks Critical Race Theory (CRT) in schools says that 23 of the top 25 medical schools at universities across the countries have some form of CRT program. 

The University of Michigan Medical School is among them. 

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Inflation Prompts Pennsylvania Legislators to Suggest Tax Holidays

Some Pennsylvania lawmakers are proposing that the commonwealth offset some of the inflationary burden on residents by pausing certain taxes.

One bill State Senator Lisa Boscola (D-Bethlehem) is currently drafting would stop sales taxation in June and July 2022 at a time the senator says the state can afford to do so. In a memorandum seeking co-sponsors for her bill, she cited Governor Tom Wolf’s (D) recent declaration that Pennsylvania will amass a budget surplus for Fiscal Year 2021-22 of over $2 billion and a similarly large surplus for the following year. Since budget years end on June 30, the legislation is thus timed to spread the financial loss to the state over both budget cycles. 

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Eight Individuals Arrested in Ohio Anti-Human Trafficking Operation

Eight individuals were arrested for attempting to buy sex during an anti-human trafficking operation that took place in the northeastern region of the state, according to Attorney General Dave Yost.

The mission, Operation Fouled Out, involved the Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission and focused on Cleveland, leading up to the National Basketball Association’s All-Star Game.

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Florida Measure Requiring Parental Involvement with Student Counseling Draws LGBTQ Criticism

Joe Harding

A proposed amendment to the already controversial Parental Rights in Education bill to require parental involvement on sensitive student issues has drawn more criticism from LGBTQ advocates.

The sponsor of the bill, Republican Representative Joe Harding, introduced an amendment on Friday which would require school officials to facilitate a meeting between a student and parents to disclose child-specific information.

The amendment states that the “school principal or his or her designee shall develop a plan, using all available governmental resources, to disclose such information within 6 weeks after the decision to withhold such information from the parent.”

The six-week provision gives school officials a time frame to decide a student is facing unsupportive or abusive parents related to specific issues. If there is a determination by school officials that a student could be in danger from the parents the amendment details a course of action.

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Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson Introduces Bill to Protect Doctors’ Right to Treat Patients

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) introduced legislation Wednesday to protect a doctor’s right to treat patients and to reassert that the federal government’s agencies have no authority to restrict lawful prescribing or dispensing of FDA-approved or Right to Try drugs.

Johnson, who has spearheaded efforts to break the silencing of physicians and scientists on the issue of early treatment for COVID-19,  joined with Sens. Mike Braun (R-IN) and Mike Lee (R-UT) to launch the Right to Treat Act to confirm that the doctor-patient relationship is at the center of treatment decision-making, and not the federal government.

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Democrat Incumbent Has Enormous Financial Edge in NRCC Targeted Iowa 3rd Congressional District Race

Cindy Axne

Democrat U.S. Representative Cindy Axne (D-West Des Moines) has an enormous financial edge in the race for Iowa’s 3rd Congressional seat.

As of the December 31, 2022 FEC report, Axne has raised$2,768,815.89 for 2022 her re-election efforts and $2,104,780.81 is on hand, available to spend.

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Commentary: The Gathering Storm in the West

Canada is now governed by absurdism, and it is symptomatic of an ailing Western elite.

Liberal Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last week invoked martial law to arrest and financially destroy truckers on the charge that their largely peaceful protests are “dismantling the Canadian economy” that had already been dismantled for two years under some of the most draconian lockdowns in the world. The trucker “sect,” Trudeau added, is guilty of felonious “unacceptable views.” But his rhetoric still cannot square the circle of demonizing vital workers while conceding he cannot run his country without them. 

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Huckabee Sanders Endorses Kleefisch for Wisconsin Governor

Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Rebecca Kleefisch

An Arkansas gubernatorial candidate Monday issued an endorsement to one of her counterparts in Wisconsin. 

“I’m proud to endorse my good friend Rebecca Kleefisch,” said Sarah Huckabee Sanders, former press secretary to then-President Donald Trump. “We need strong conservative governors like Rebecca, standing up for our law enforcement, pushing back against the radical Left and their socialist policies, and making sure that craziness coming out of Washington doesn’t change our states.”

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Husband and Wife Plead Guilty to Espionage-Related Charges, Disclosed Restricted Data to Undercover FBI Agent

A husband and wife, Jonathan and Diana Toebbe, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to communicate restricted data, as the husband attempted to disclose confidential information to someone he believed was a representative of a foreign government.

Originally, Jonathan Toebbe sent a package to a foreign government, listing an address in Pittsburgh for the return. The package contained a sample of restricted data, related to his work as a nuclear engineer assigned to the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program.

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Virginia’s Unemployment Claims Backlog Reduced by 89 Percent

Glenn Youngkin

On Monday, Governor Glenn Youngkin announced a nearly 89% decrease in the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) backlog. This is the first step in the governor’s day one game plan commitment to fix the VEC and put the government back to work for Virginians, according to a press release by Youngkin’s office.

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Canadian Trucker Urges Nationwide Strike over COVID-19 Rules in Viral Video

police officers standing outside in the snow

In a now-viral video an unidentified man encouraged a national strike in every Canadian business sector, along with active support for those who are opposing COVID-19 restrictions and vaccine mandates in the country. 

“You’ve seen what’s happening in Ottawa,” the man, whose face was blurred in the video, said. “Canadians are known around the world to be among the most kind, most peace-loving people anywhere. And so you know when Canadians star rising up by the millions, to oppose what their government is doing, something is horribly wrong.”

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Virginia Senate, House of Delegates Reveal Budget Proposals; Senate Doesn’t Include as Many Tax Cuts as Youngkin Wants

The House and Senate money committees presented their biennial budget proposals on Sunday afternoon in preparation for passage later this week. Both the Senate Finance Committee and the House Appropriations Committee included more than $2 billion in additional education spending when compared to previous years, a key goal of Governor Glenn Youngkin. But differing amounts of tax cuts drew Youngkin’s attention. In separate legislation, the House has already approved Youngkin’s tax cuts and refunds, but the Senate has rejected or pared down some cuts.

“The House budget provides nearly $5.3 billion in tax relief for all Virginians – including significant tax relief for our military veterans and common sense tax relief worth $1,500 to a typical Virginia family in the first year. This represents the priorities I outlined in the Day One Game Plan Virginians voted for last November. Speaker Gilbert and Chairman Knight have delivered on our shared promises,” Youngkin said in a Sunday afternoon press release. “While it does not include nearly enough tax relief, the Senate budget proposal also includes common sense, bipartisan priorities on which we can find common ground. I know Senator Howell and Senate Leadership are eager to work in good faith on these and other important priorities.”

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Wason Center Poll Finds Slight Majority Disapproval of Youngkin’s Job Performance

A Wason Center/Christopher Newport University Poll found Governor Glenn Youngkin’s current job approval trailing slightly, with 41 percent approval and 43 percent disapproval. Forty-five percent of voters polled said Virginia is heading in the right direction, and 41 percent say it is headed in the wrong direction. Both results are within the poll’s plus-or-minus 4.2 percent margin of error. The Center reported that those results fall largely along partisan lines — 80 percent of Republicans say Virginia is going in the right direction, while only 22 percent of Democrats said the same. Key Republican initiatives got mixed results.

“In this highly polarized environment, we see partisans running to their corners on how they view the direction of the Commonwealth and the job of the governor,” Academic Director of the Wason Center Quentin Kidd said in a press release. “Youngkin’s approval numbers are certainly lower than those of recent governors in Wason Center polling early in their term.”

“These polls were wrong during the campaign and are wrong now,” Youngkin spokesperson Macaulay Porter said in a statement. “Virginians endorsed Governor Youngkin’s grocery tax plan so overwhelmingly that outgoing Governor Northam included it in his budget proposal. Governor Youngkin’s initiatives have received bipartisan support and he looks forward to delivering on more promises that he made during the campaign.”

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Another Republican, Matt Richards, Drops Out of Race to Replace Jody Hice

Matt Richards, running to replace Representative Jody Hice (R-GA-10) in the U.S. House of Representatives, said Monday that his campaign has come to an end. Richards, on Facebook, said the best candidate to replace Hice in the 10th Congressional District is fellow Republican Mike Collins.

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Florida Business Owners Indicted for $12 Million Moving Company Fraud

Two Florida business owners were indicted on charges related to a fraud scheme that allowed them to collect more than $12 million.

Matthew Pardi and Ashley Lynn Hars allegedly created a series of fake moving companies, often stealing the identity of real businesses. Additionally, they would inflate their record with fake 5-star reviews and dubious claims.

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Michigan Basketball Coach Suspended for Rest of Regular Season after Striking Wisconsin Coach

Juwan Howard

University of Michigan head basketball coach Juwan Howard is suspended for the remainder of the regular season and is forced to pay a $40,000 fine, The Big Ten Conference announced Monday.

The ddisciplinary action comes after Howard struck Wisconsin assistant coach Joe Krabbenhoft on Sunday in Madison, Wis.

The Big Ten also found University of Wisconsin head basketball coach Greg Gard in “violation of the conference’s sportsmanship policy” and gave him a $10,000 fine.

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Tulsi Gabbard Will Headline a Speech at CPAC in Florida

Tulsi Gabbard

Former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat from Hawaii who ran for president in 2020 and has been critical of President Joe Biden, will headline a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), according to the event’s website.

Gabbard has sharply criticized “elite” members of the Democratic and Republican parties since leaving Congress just over a year ago, pushing back on rhetoric that she says is divisive and against policies embraced by the Biden administration’s Department of Justice. She has also defended Kyle Rittenhouse, saying that the charges brought against him were motivated by politics and “should be considered criminal.”

Gabbard, a staunch opponent to interventionism, has also criticized Biden’s handling of the crisis on Ukraine’s border with Russia. She also spoke out against Biden’s pledge to appoint a black woman to the Supreme Court instead of nominating someone based on merit.

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Enthusiasm to Join Trump Social Media Platform, Truth Social, Causes Waitlists, Registration Delays

person holding a smart phone up

The enthusiasm to join former President Trump’s new new social media platform – Truth Social – on its official launch day appears to have overwhelmed the site.

The site went live Sunday night ahead of its official President’s Day launch. However, potential users in roughly the past 24 hours have reported problem getting on the platform.

“Due to massive demand, we have placed you on our waitlist,” read the message received by several users, according to Reuters.

Other users reported having trouble registering for an account amid the early scramble to join.

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Senate Committee Examines Economic Benefits of Horse Race Betting in Georgia

Legislation to legalize horse race betting again has been introduced in the Georgia Legislature.

Similar bills have been pushed in Georgia over the past three years after the federal government lifted a federal ban on sports betting outside of Nevada in 2018.

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Commentary: The IRS Can’t Get the Basics Right, So Don’t Add to Its Authority

All taxpayers are dealing with a disastrous filing season this year, with the IRS backed up on processing millions of returns and refunds from last year and communication from the agency nonexistent at best. But some taxpayers will have an added headache in the future as a result of an unnecessary new paperwork requirement that went into effect this year. Fortunately, however, legislation introduced by Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-TN) would address this issue by removing the burdensome new requirement.

Ever since IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig claimed last year that the “tax gap,” or the gap between what the IRS collects and what it believes it is owed, could be as large as $1 trillion, politicians and legislators have been scrambling to propose ways to collect all that missing revenue. That’s despite the fact that more sober analyses show that the $1 trillion figure is probably wildly exaggerated, that it is functionally impossible to wholly prevent tax evasion, and that a far greater concern is the IRS’s inability to handle its taxpayer service responsibilities.

But as far as proposals to collect all this supposed “extra revenue” go, most of the focus has rightly been on schemes to drastically increase the IRS’s enforcement budget and allow the IRS to snoop on taxpayers’ financial accounts. But another more targeted change has already gone into effect, and is already causing problems.

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Biden DOJ Hurts Americans’ Trust by ‘Doing Bidding of the Radical Left,’ Former Official Warns

Attorney General Merrick Garland

Attorney General Merrick Garland has undercut his own promise to restore trust in the Justice Department by “doing the bidding of the radical left,” such as suing to block voter ID laws and launching FBI probes of school parents, a former top agency lawyer says.

Gene Hamilton, who served as counselor to Trump-era Attorneys General Jeff Sessions and William Barr, told Just the News he hoped Garland would focus the department on core law enforcement priorities and away from ideological agendas but has been sorely disappointed.

“For all of his rhetoric, and for all of his talk about returning the Department of Justice to norms and all of those other such things, Merrick Garland’s Department of Justice has betrayed the trust of the American people,” Hamilton said during an interview Friday on the John Solomon Reports podcast.

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Bill Proposes Minnesota Join 19 States with Co-Pay Caps for Insulin

Two Minnesota DFL legislators announced a bill to cap state-regulated health plans’ co-pays for certain prescription drugs at $25 per month.

The bill Rep. Michael Howard, DFL-Richfield, and Sen. Erin Murphy, DFL-St. Paul, if passed, HF 3592, would apply the caps to drugs and medical supplies that treat severe allergic reactions and chronic conditions, such as diabetes and asthma. The bill would become effective in 2023.

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Trucker PAC Launches Fund to Support Protests Against U.S. COVID-19 Restrictions

A political action committee is funding a series of trucker protests against COVD-19 restrictions in the U.S., mirroring efforts by Canadian truckers to lift the country’s vaccine mandates and rules.

The Great American Patriot Project (GAPP) launched a campaign Wednesday intended to organize and fund several truck convoys to begin in early March across the United States.

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Professor’s Race-Based Class Participation Policy Inspired by Chairman Mao

The “Class Discussion Guidelines” section of Ana Maria Candela’s “Social Change -Introduction to Sociology” syllabus, which instructs white male students to wait their turn to speak after “non-white folks” talk, opens with a quotation about speaking from Mao Zedong, the communist Chinese dictator who killed 45 million people.

“No investigation, no right to speak,” the quote reads in the document for the Binghamton University class.

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U.S. Appeals Court Pauses $15 an Hour Minimum Wage Mandate for Outdoor Recreation Companies

A federal appeals court on Thursday halted a mandate from the Biden administration that required an hourly minimum wage of $15 for outdoor recreation companies operating on public land.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in Denver granted an injunction in a lawsuit filed by the Pacific Legal Foundation against the Biden administration on behalf of outdoor recreational groups that have contracts with the U.S. government or operate on federal land.

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Number of Americans Living Paycheck to Paycheck Jumps Seven Percent, Report Shows

A growing number of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck despite increasing wages, a newly released report found.

PYMNTS and Lending Club released the report, which says that 61% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, an increase of 7 points since May 2021. The report also found 54% of Baby Boomers and seniors are living paycheck to paycheck.

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Ohio University Employees Are Donating to Democrats Ten-to-One over Republicans

With midterm elections this year, Ohio’s 2022 congressional redistricting plans are under scrutiny. The state lost one congressional district last year, bringing the total number down to 15.

The Ohio Supreme Court recently struck down new redistricted maps and gave the Ohio Redistricting Commission until Feb. 17 to draw new maps. As the deadline approached, the Commission decided they were at an “impasse” and negotiations came to a halt as of this writing.

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Some School Districts Cancel ‘Diversity’ Programs After Backlash

As backlash grows against so-called “diversity” programs in public schools, some districts throughout the country have been canceling plans to implement such programs.

According to ABC News, one such program was in Colorado Springs School District 11, a district that serves over 26,000 students. In May of 2020, shortly after the accidental fentanyl overdose death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis, the district was among the first in the nation to push for an “equity policy.”

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Pennsylvania Professor Files Lawsuit Following Dismissal over Anonymous Tweets

Greg Manco, Ph.D. of St. Joseph University

Professor Gregory Manco has filed a lawsuit against his former employer, St. Joseph’s University, citing undue discrimination after a previous student of his complained to the institution about what she perceived to be racist activity on Manco’s Twitter account. 

Manco had served as the Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics at St. Joe’s for 17 years. In 2017, Hadassah Colber, a student that Manco failed, claimed that she found offensive tweets on the scholar’s anonymous Twitter account, Broad + Liberty reports. 

According to the lawsuit, Colbert learned about his Twitter account on Jan. 22, 2021, and emailed the University to complain about the “racist” and “transphobic” content she saw.

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Blue States Consider Letting Anatomical Males into Women’s Prisons, Hiding Their Backgrounds

barbed wire fence, outiside of a prison yard

As West Coast states deal with the fallout of putting anatomically male inmates in women’s prisons, the East Coast is looking to join the club.

Maryland is considering legislation similar to a California law that lets inmates choose their correctional facility based on self-declared gender identity, an option that concerned even transgender inmates in the Golden State.

A purported draft executive order by President Joe Biden would do the same to federal prisons, prompting GOP Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas to introduce opposing legislation.

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Democrats ‘Aiding and Abetting’ Border Humanitarian Crisis, Says Arizona Sheriff

Democrats are “aiding and abetting” the humanitarian crisis along the southern border, as “women are being raped on a daily basis,” Arizona’s Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb said on Thursday.

“It shouldn’t matter whether you’re a Republican, Democrat or Independent,” Lamb told “Just the News, Not Noise” TV show cohosts John Solomon and Amanda Head. “If you care about human beings, you should absolutely care about border security. Why? Women are being raped on a daily basis … kids are being used as pawns, men are being extorted.”

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Fourteen Candidates Collecting Petitions in Race for Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District

Tennessee State flag

The Tennessee Secretary of State’s office has posted their updated list of individuals who have begun collecting petitions to run for Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District seat.

Fourteen candidates are collecting petitions for the 5th Congressional seat: Eight Republicans, three Democrats, and three Independents are listed by the Secretary of State’s office as having begun collecting petitions.

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