Former Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives Beth Harwell Announces Candidacy for GOP Nomination in TN-5 Congressional District Race

Former Tennessee Speaker of the House of Representatives Beth Harwell announced Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy her candidacy for the Republican nomination for Tennessee’s Fifth Congressional district.

Harwell, a Tennessee resident for more than thirty years, was the first woman to serve as the Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives.

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At Least 40 Killed, Including Civilians, amid Russian Airstrikes in Ukraine

Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine has already left at least 40 Russian soldiers and “a few” Ukrainian civilians dead as of Thursday, multiple sources reported.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation” in Ukraine early Thursday as air strike sirens rang in Kyiv and Russian missiles reportedly struck multiple cities across the country.

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Country Music Star John Rich Testifies Before Tennessee House Criminal Justice Committee on Pornographic Material in Schools

Country music singer-songwriter and Nashvillian John Rich testified before the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee Wednesday regarding legislation dealing with pornographic and obscene material in K-12 Tennessee schools.

According to the sponsor of HB1944, Representative Scott Cepicky (R-Culleoka), alluding to the turmoil expressed across the state, the bill creates a process to deal with such materials that have found their way into classrooms and libraries.

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House Sponsor of Residency Requirement Legislation Affecting Federal Campaigns Punts Subcommittee Consideration Back a Week

Representative Dave Wright, the Tennessee House sponsor of legislation that would establish three-year residency requirements for Congressional and Senate candidates running in Tennessee, motioned to roll his bill back for consideration by one week in the House Elections & Campaign Finance Subcommittee.

Wright said that he intends to amend the bill to have the three-year residency requirements, an effective date of one day after this year’s November general election, and an exemption for incumbents at the next scheduled subcommittee meeting.

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Metro Nashville Public School Board Member Drops ‘F Bomb’ in Board Meeting

In a Metro Nashville School Board (MNSB) meeting that turned heated Tuesday night, one of the school board members directed a curse towards parents. 

Parents who attended the meeting – but were not allowed to speak – cheered when the board voted seven to one in favor of ending the school system’s mask mandate on March 21, when students return from their spring break.

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Congressman Burchett: Biden’s Afghanistan Withdrawal ‘Gave Vladimir Putin the Green Light to Invade Ukraine’

Congressman Tim Burchett (R-TN-02) on Tuesday argued that President Joe Biden’s botched Afghanistan withdrawal laid the foundation for Russian leader Vladimir Putin to invade Ukraine.

The Ukraine-Russia conflict has reached a boiling point amid weeks of increasing tensions. In an address to Russian citizens, Putin recognized the “independence” of two regions in Ukraine. Following the speech, he ordered troops into the regions to keep “peace.”

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Metro Nashville Public School District 6 School Board Member Fran Bush Recaps Tuesday Night Mask Mandate Vote

Fran Bush

Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed Metro Nashville School Board member Fran Bush to the newsmakers line to recap Tuesday night’s mask vote.

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Study: More Than One in Three Children in Early Elementary Grades Unlikely to Read on Grade Level by End of School Year

A study released last week has found more than one in three children in grades K-3 are unlikely to be reading on grade level by the end of the current school year unless they receive major remedial help.

Curriculum and assessment company Amplify analyzed data from more than 400,000 students in kindergarten through fifth grade and found that, while students have begun to rebound from the learning loss suffered during school closures amid the coronavirus pandemic, considerable gaps remain in basic reading skills, Education Week reported.

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Crom’s Crommentary: The Pushing of Green New Deal Subsidies

Wednesday 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.

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Commentary: For Decades Biden Promised He Could Handle Putin

There is always a tweet, so says the online aphorism, developed during the chaotic Trump years, that now seems to hold true across administrations and perhaps even with increased significance after a Russian strongman decided to invade an eastern European neighbor over the holiday weekend.

The Russian in question is Vladimir Putin. The country invaded, Ukraine, or more specifically the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics that Russia recently recognized diplomatically. And the tweet, well, that came from Joe Biden.

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Tennessee Star Political Editor Neil W. McCabe Talks Terrible Republican Strategies and Morgan Ortagus’s RINO Fundraising Hosts

Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed National Political Editor for The Tennessee Star, Neil W. McCabe to the newsmaker line to comment upon Morgan Ortagus’s upcoming fundraiser contributors and the current Republican strategy.

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Tennessee Congressman Jim Cooper Wants Democrats to Seek Out More Rural Voters

Tennessee Congressman Jim Cooper (D-TN-05) told CBS News this week that it’s in Democrats’ best interests to befriend rural voters.“There are other things we could do for rural voters, but primarily it is a values question, Senator [Daniel Patrick] Moynahan said ‘The central conservative truth is that culture trumps politics. The central liberal truth is that politics eventually can change culture,’” Cooper told the network.

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Lawsuit Alleges Michigan Secretary of State Allowed Facebook to Sway 2020 Election

A conservative group in Michigan is duking it out in court with Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) claiming that the elected official allowed money from Silicon Valley titan Facebook to have a partisan impact on the state’s 2020 elections. 

“This is what happened in 2020,” co-founder of the Michigan Conservative Coalition Marian Sheridan said in a press release.  “Zuck Bucks, which is private money, was used by elected officials through public entities to promote voting, but only promoted among selected potential voter groups.  Not to all citizens.  Every voter should have received the benefit of a fair portion of the funds unfairly used by elected officials.  They cannot selectively promote anything.”

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Arizona Gubernatorial Candidate Kari Lake Still Polling Higher Than All Other GOP Candidates in the Race Combined

A new poll in the Arizona gubernatorial race shows Trump-endorsed Kari Lake still far ahead of other Republican candidates in the race, and the only Republican beating the Democratic frontrunner, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, in the general election. Arizona-based pollster Data Orbital found that Lake has 36.5% of the support of Republicans, with her nearest competitor Matt Salmon at 13%. 

“President Trump knows how to pick winners, and new polling proves the President was correct, once again,” Lake said in a statement. She told the Arizona Sun Times, “This is a huge poll. These fools have been saying I can’t win in the general election, when this poll shows THEY can’t win. First poll released that shows general election match ups.”

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LGBTQ Advocates Choose Florida Teachers, School Officials over Parental Involvement When Addressing Gender Issues

A proposed amendment requiring parental involvement when gender and sexuality issues arise at schools was withdrawn after LGBTQ advocates argued that informing parents would be dangerous to students.

The amendment, sponsored by Republican Representative Joe Harding, required 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 six weeks after the decision to withhold such information from the parent.”

Florida Representative Carlos Smith (D – Orlando), an outspoken LGBTQ advocate, said the amendment would “make it even more dangerous for vulnerable kids with a STATE-MANDATED outing of LGBTQ students to parents, specifically in cases of abuse, abandonment + neglect. This will have devastating consequences for our youth..”

This position – that parents should not be notified when these issues arise – has been adopted through policies in many school districts throughout Florida via LGBTQ guides. 

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Minnesota College Cancels Appreciation Lunch for Non-White Staff Following Civil Rights Complaint

A small liberal arts college in St. Peter, Minnesota, has canceled a de facto non-whites-only appreciation lunch following a federal civil rights complaint and a report by Alpha News.

Gustavus Adolphus College intended to hold its “People of Color & International Faculty and Staff Appreciation Lunch” on Friday, Feb. 25, but Mark Perry, a man who has filed civil rights complaints against more than 400 colleges and universities since 2018, caught wind of the event and took swift action against it.

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Virginia Senate Kill Key House Republican Bills, but Some Policies Have a Chance in the Budget

Democrat-controlled Senate committees have been killing House Republican bills, blocking policy changes on elections, guns, and the environment. More bills on education, abortion, and taxes are set to be heard in committees that have already killed similar Senate bills. However, even if those bills are killed, some of them still have a chance to be included in the budget.

“There’s still a lot of time left, we got the budget document we’re working on. A lot of our funding opportunities are in the budget,” House Majority Leader Terry Kilgore (R-Gate City) told The Virginia Star. “A lot of these bills that we’re talking about are in the budget. We took out RGGI [Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative] in our budget.”

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Timken Endorsers Silent on Her Alleged Mismanagement of Ohio Republican Party Funds

Jane Timken For U.S. Senate

Three U.S. Senators who this week endorsed Ohio Republican candidate Jane Timken for U.S. Senate are silent after The Ohio Star reached out to ask about Timken’s alleged mismanagement of Ohio Republican Party (ORP) funds. 

Tuesday, Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Deb Fischer (R-NE) endorsed Timken in the hotly contested primary race that includes candidates J.D. Vance, Mike Gibbons and Josh Mandel. 

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Pennsylvania Supreme Court Picks Democrat-Favored Congressional Map

Democrats celebrated and Republicans demurred Wednesday after the Democrat-controlled Pennsylvania Supreme Court selected the state’s new congressional map.

In so doing, the court overturned a decision earlier this month by Commonwealth Court Judge Patricia A. McCullough (R) to allow implementation of a redistricting plan passed by the GOP-led General Assembly but vetoed by Governor Tom Wolf (D). The initial version of the legislature-approved map was drawn by a private citizen, Amanda Holt of Lehigh County, though legislators modified her plan somewhat.

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Wisconsin Assembly Approves Multiple Education-Focused Bills

The Wisconsin Assembly approved multiple pieces of legislation focused on education-related issues, sending the bills to the Wisconsin Senate for full legislative approval.

One of the bills is a “parental bill of rights” that would establish certain legal rights for parents throughout the state, like maintaining a voice surrounding education curriculum taught to their child or choice in medical decisions. 

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Senate Budget Amendment Would Block Richmond’s Second Attempt to Get a Casino

The Senate Finance Committee killed a bill that would have blocked the City of Richmond from holding another casino referendum, after voters voted against a casino proposal in 2021. The bill would have granted the opportunity to build the casino to nearby Petersburg instead, and some committee members expressed a desire to study the potential implications of a Petersburg casino. The February 10 vote against the bill left the door open for Richmond to try again, and take the last of five casino licenses in Virginia. Now, Senator Joe Morrissey (D-Richmond) is pushing to block Richmond through a budget amendment.

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Michigan Democrat Representative Elissa Slotkin Commands a Substantial Financial Advantage in the Race for State’s 7th Congressional District

NRCC targeted Democrat incumbent U.S. Representative Elissa Slotkin has a towering financial advantage in the race for Michigan’s 7th Congressional District seat.

Slotkin has raised $3,476,331.42 for the 2022 election cycle and is currently sitting on $4,508,719.04 cash on hand. Republican state Senator and U.S. Army veteran Tom Barrett has raised $311,971.14 with $254,171.87 cash on hand. Barrett declared for the race in November of 2021.

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Florida Senate Set to Vote on Fatherhood Bill

The Florida Senate is set to hear HB 7065, a priority piece of legislation for Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls (R-Palm Harbor), that would designate $70 million for addressing Florida’s “fatherhood crisis.”

The Senate Appropriations Committee recently approved the bill and full Senate consideration is its next stop.

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Prosecutors’ Union in Landslide Vote Says Soros-Backed Los Angeles District Attorney Should Be Recalled

The Los Angeles Association of Deputy District Attorneys (ADDA), a union which represents the vast majority of Los Angeles County prosecutors, voted overwhelmingly to support the recall of District Attorney George Gascon.

Gascon, who received over $2 million in financial backing from left-wing financier George Soros according to The Los Angeles Times, is currently facing a recall petition spurred by backlash to his perceived lenient stance on crime.

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Taxpayer-Funded Federal Program Trains Teachers in Critical Race Theory

Newly uncovered federal grant documents show that the U.S. Department of Education awarded roughly $2.5 million in taxpayer dollars to a Florida-based education program that trains future teachers and other professionals in, among other things, critical race theory.

The funding came through two grants, one in 2017 and another in 2021. Both grants went to faculty at Florida State University, which has partnered with Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University.

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Commentary: Critical Thinking Crumbles in the Case of COVID

According to Hans Rosling “Critical thinking is always difficult, but it’s almost impossible when we are scared. There’s no room for facts when our minds are occupied by fear.” The American Psychological Association indicates the use of fear to influence behavior is effective, especially among women. For fear to be a successful change agent, it must be viewed as a legitimate warning about what will happen if behavior does or does not occur.

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‘We Need to Be Honest’: Biden Suggests U.S. Gas Prices Will Increase Because of His Russian Sanctions

President Joe Biden suggested that Americans may be negatively impacted at the pump as a result of a sanctions package targeting Russia he unveiled Tuesday.

“As we respond, my administration is using every tool at our disposal to protect American businesses and consumers from rising prices at the pump,” the president remarked at the White House on Tuesday. “As I said last week, defending freedom will have costs for us as well and here at home. We need to be honest about that.”

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‘Squad’ Member Rashida Tlaib Will Give Rebuttal to Biden’s State of the Union

Michigan Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib will deliver a response to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union Tuesday on behalf of the left-wing Working Families’ Party.

News of her speech, first reported by Politico, comes weeks after Democratic moderates have slowed much of Biden’s domestic agenda, much to the chagrin of their colleagues further to the left. According to a summary of the remarks obtained by the outlet, Tlaib is expected to hammer the moderates responsible for the obstruction, which all but killed Biden’s plan to boost domestic spending and fight climate change.

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Michigan Gov. Whitmer Signs Bipartisan Bills to Reduce Prescription Drug Prices

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday signed into law three bills aiming to reduce the price of prescription drugs.

“I am proud to sign this bipartisan legislation that helps us lower the cost of prescription drugs,” Whitmer said in a statement. “For too long, unlicensed pharmacy benefit managers have been able to engage in practices that drive up costs for Michiganders whose lives and health depend on critical prescription drugs like insulin. This bill brings much-needed transparency to our healthcare system and is a testament to what we can do when we put Michiganders first.”

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Election Watchdog: ‘Not Ready for 2024’ Elections, ‘Still Have Many of the Same Problems’ from 2020

Election integrity issues from the 2020 presidential election have yet to be resolved, “so we are not ready for 2024,” Phill Kline, Director of the Amistad Project, warned on Monday.

Kline was asked by “Just the News, Not Noise” TV show cohosts John Solomon and Amanda Head if election integrity issues had been solved after the 2020 election. “No, we still have many of the same problems,” he replied, explaining that this is “because the legislatures have not taken the time to understand the problem.”

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Mortgage Applications Plummet as Housing Prices Surged to Record High

Mortgage applications plummeted to their lowest level in three years as rates continued to edge higher, hitting home buyers and refinancers.

Mortgage applications decreased 13.1% in the week ending Feb. 18, the lowest level since December 2019, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Application Survey. The survey, which measures mortgage loan application volume, found refinancing activity decreased 15% on a weekly basis and was 56% lower than the same period one year prior.

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Former Trump Cabinet Member Ric Grenell Endorses Morgan Ortagus for TN-5, Pulling Prior Robby Starbuck Endorsement

Former Director of National Intelligence and the first openly gay cabinet member in U.S. History, Ric Grenell, has endorsed Morgan Ortagus for Tennessee’s 5th Congressional district seat.

Prior to redistricting, Grenell had endorsed Robby Starbuck but he has pulled that endorsement. Both the Ortagus campaign and the Starbuck campaign have confirmed that Grenell’s previous endorsement of Starbuck was pulled.

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