In Presenting Bill for Interstate Compact with Arkansas and Tennessee, Mississippi Senator Omits Unelected Quasi-Governmental Entity’s Broad Powers Including Eminent Domain, Passes Senate Unanimously

During his presentations of a bill that would enter the state of Mississippi into an interstate compact with Arkansas and Tennessee, the Senate sponsor completely omitted that, if passed, the law would create an unelected quasi-governmental entity with very broad powers, including eminent domain. The bill went on to pass the state Senate unanimously on February 3.

SB2716, sponsored by Republican Senator David Parker (R-DeSoto), is a 17-page document that creates the RegionSmart Development District (District) and the RegionSmart Development Agency of the Greater Memphis Region (RegionSmart Development).

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Commentary: Russian’s Invasion of Ukraine Has the Potential to Embolden China

With a reconnaissance plane in tow Thursday, a small fleet of eight fighters deliberately probed disputed airspace before scrambled jets scared them away, an air-to-air episode that may be part of the larger international epoch which President Biden frequently describes as one of “democracy versus autocracy.” But these weren’t Russian fighters. They were Chinese.

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Bolivar, Tennessee Mayor Julian McTizic Talks Town History and New Business Growth

Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed Mayor Julian McTizic of Bolivar, Tennessee, to the newsmaker line to talk about the recent decision of Wall Innovations to relocate its headquarters to his town.

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Crom’s Crommentary: Putin’s Goals and the Role of Green Energy in Europe

Vladimir Putin

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.

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Tennessee Coalition for Open Government Director Deborah Fisher Talks About the Tri-State Pact and Gives an Update on McKinsey Report Open Records

Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed Tennessee Coalition for Open Government Director Deborah Fisher to the newsmakers line to discuss the status of the McKinsey COVID response open records request and the Tri-state Pact economic development plans.

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Veteran Phoenix School Teachers Protest Pay Cuts to Oust Them for New Critical Race Theory-Supportive Teachers

Phoenix Elementary School District 1 is cutting the merit-based pay of veteran school teachers, which accounts for 15% of their salaries, while offering $1,500 bonuses to new teachers who join the district. Some of the teachers believe it is in part due to the fact more experienced teachers are less likely to support CRT and other radical curriculum. Teachers at one of the district’s schools, Shaw Montessori, held a protest in front of the district’s administration building Wednesday night while its leadership was meeting.

The teachers found out in early February about the pay cuts. Administrators, principals and other staff are getting pay raises, veteran teacher Vanessa Stricker told the Arizona Sun Times. And Phoenix Elementary School District 1 School Superintendent Larry Weeks got a 12% pay raise last year, just in time to substantially increase his retirement pay when he retires in May. 

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More Wisconsin Schools Move to Ditch Mask Mandates

A growing number of educational institutions throughout Wisconsin are moving to ditch mask mandates that have been placed on students for roughly two years.

West Allis-West Milwaukee School District voted on Monday to remove a mask mandate for students, instead making the face coverings optional.

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Michigan Redistricting Committee Awards Itself with a Pay Raise

Members of the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission voted to give all 13 individuals on the panel a 7% raise, citing inflation concerns.

The group, which draws the state’s political boundaries for the next decade, was enacted by voters of the state in 2018.

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Mom Arrested Again at Gwinnett County School Board Meeting

A mother who was previously arrested at a Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) Board meeting was again arrested Thursday night, according to a mother who attended the meeting.

“Last night Karen Pirkle was once again arrested at a school board meeting,” Brenda Stewart told The Georgia Star News. “She requested to secure a speaking slot and received written confirmation that she secured a spot.  She was arrested upon arriving and banned for life.”

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U.S. Senate to Vote on Extreme Abortion Bill Pennsylvania ‘Pro-Life’ Democrat Says He Will Vote to Debate

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has scheduled a vote on legislation that would embed abortion on demand, at any time during pregnancy, into federal law, making invalid many individual state pro-life laws.

The Senate will vote February 28 on the abortion lobby’s Women’s Health Protection Act (S. 1975), sponsored by Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and self-described “pro-life” Senator Bob Casey, Jr., (D-PA) has said he will vote for debate on the bill.

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Superintendent of Public Education Balow Publishes Report on VDOE Material Removed for ‘Inherently Divisive Concepts’

Virginia’s new education administration has removed many of the equity training materials that used to be on the Virginia Department of Education website, according to a report from Superintendent of Public Education Jillian Balow. The removals and the report were ordered by Governor Glenn Youngkin in his first executive order, aimed at removing “inherently divisive concepts” from public education. That was a measure to fulfill a campaign promise to ban Critical Race Theory (CRT), but the order and subsequent actions go beyond material that explicitly references CRT.

“This interim report rescinds certain policies, programs, and resources that promote discriminatory and divisive concepts as directed by Executive Order One. It also contains a sampling of critical race theory-based materials,” Balow wrote in a letter accompanying the report.

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DeSantis, Ladapo Announce New COVID Guidelines for Floridians

Dr. Joseph Lapado and Ron DeSantis

In an effort to “Buck the CDC” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and recently appointed Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo announced new COVID guidelines for Floridians. They are entitling the effort “Buck the CDC.”

In a flyer pushed out by the governor’s office, the new guidance includes four proposals: end corporate masking, right to try treatments, keep kids in school, and reduce isolation.

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Donald Trump Schedules Mar-A-Lago Fundraiser for Vernon Jones

Former President Donald Trump is scheduled to attend and host a fundraiser for Vernon Jones, who is running for Georgia’s 10th Congressional District. Organizers said in a statement that they have scheduled Jones’ fundraiser for 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. ET, Thursday, March 17, at The Mar-A-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida.

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Georgia Republican Candidate Rich McCormick’s Name No Longer Appears on List of RINO-Endorsed Candidates

An organization tagged as catering to Republicans-In-Name-Only (RINOS) has apparently endorsed Republican Rich McCormick, who is running for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District — but reports say that they are keeping that endorsement under the radar. Members of McCormick’s campaign staff did not return The Georgia Star News’ repeated requests for comment this week.

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National Pro-Life Leaders React to Biden Supreme Court Nominee Who Worked to Defend Partial Birth Abortion

National pro-life leaders say President Joe Biden’s choice of Ketanji Brown Jackson to fulfill his promise to nominate a black woman to the U.S. Supreme Court also fits his administration’s aggressive pro-abortion stance since Jackson has shown her support for “radical” and “extreme” abortion measures.

“Joe Biden is fulfilling his promise to only appoint justices who support the Roe v. Wade regime of abortion on demand up to birth – a policy so extreme only a handful of countries in the world hold it, including North Korea and China,” said Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) President Marjorie Dannenfelser in a statement.

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Another Voter Fraud Investigation in Florida

The Gadsden County Supervisor of Elections and the Florida Department of State have initiated an investigation into possible voter fraud related to 23 voters. The investigation is reviewing the votes casts by  four sexual predators and 19 sex offenders in the 2020 Gadsden County General Election.

Voting records indicate 19 of the 23 voters under investigation were registered as Democrats. Three were registered with no party affiliation, and one was registered as a Republican. Also, public records reveal that 10 voted via absentee ballots, seven early-voted, and six voted in person.

The allegations are similar to other situations across the state. For example, The Florida Capital Star recently reported about felons voting in Leon County, which borders Gadsden County to the west.

Leon County Supervisor of Elections Mark Earley told The Florida Capital Star that he started the process of removing seven felons from the Leon County voter registration system. Earley noted that all seven voted in the 2020 general election.

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Ohio Redistricting Commission Passes Third Set of State Legislative Maps

Robert Cupp and Vernon Sykes

The GOP-dominated Ohio Redistricting Commission has passed its third set of state legislative maps, a week after a court-ordered deadline and with one Republican objection.

The 4-3 commission vote means if the maps are approved by the Ohio Supreme Court, they last only four years rather than the traditional 10 that would have happened with bipartisan support on the commission.

Commission Co-Chair and House Speaker Bob Cupp, R-Lima, said the new maps, which were passed late Thursday, met all the constitutional requirements established when voters created the commission and twice when the court ruled previous maps were unfairly gerrymandered to benefit Republicans.

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Biden Announces ‘Devastating’ Sanctions and Deployment of 7,000 Additional Troops to Europe

Joe Biden announced on Thursday that an additional 7,000 U.S. troops will be deployed to Germany, bringing the total of U.S. troops sent to Europe this month to 12,000. On February 2, 1,700 troops were ordered to Poland, and 300 to Germany. Another 3,000 troops were added to Poland on Feb. 11, as the crisis loomed.

The U.S. forces are being deployed to bolster NATO’s defenses as Russia continues its military incursion into Ukraine.

Speaking from the East Room of the White House, Biden stressed that U.S. soldiers will not be going to Ukraine and will not be fighting Russian troops.

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Commentary: The Undeniable Common Sense of Border Walls

Although it sometimes may seem as though we live in a complex world and our country is beset with crises on all fronts, it is important to recognize that some of the most effective remedies are elegantly simple. They have worked for centuries and would work again today. We only lack the will as a people to implement them with conviction, and to shun the cacophony of malcontents who would seek to complicate sensible solutions. 

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Ohio Gov. DeWine and Minnesota Gov. Walz Issue Bipartisan Response to Russian Invasion of Ukraine

Mike DeWine and Tim Walz

Two governors who serve as co-chairs of the bipartisan, presidentially-appointed Council of Governors – meant to give advice and opinions to the United States President’s Office along with heads of executive branch agencies like the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – Friday denounced Russia’s…

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Arizona House Votes to Cap Emergency Declarations at Two Weeks

Arizona House Republicans unanimously support ending an emergency declaration that has not received their consent to continue beyond a couple weeks.

Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, continually has renewed his emergency declaration, which initially was ordered in March 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic had just begun. It has allowed his expanded powers of executive orders to remain for nearly two years.

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Minnesota Nonprofit to Dissolve Following FBI Raid

A Minnesota nonprofit that was raided by the FBI last month announced Friday that it is dissolving, blaming “negative media reports.”

The FBI raided over a dozen properties connected to Feeding our Future Jan. 20. An FBI search warrant accused the “conspirators” of stealing “millions of dollars in federal funds” from child nutrition programs, but the nonprofit has denied any wrongdoing and nobody has been charged with a crime to date.

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Another Key Inflation Indicator Surged to Highest Level Since 1983

woman in a grocery aisle with a mask and backpack on

A key inflation indicator increased to its highest level in 38 years while consumer demand remained strong despite soaring prices, the Commerce Department announced Friday.

The Commerce Department’s personal consumption expenditure (PCE) index grew 5.2% in January, exceeding the 5.1% Dow Jones estimate, the Commerce Department reported. The PCE is the Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of inflation, and January’s figure marks monthly the largest year-over-year increase since April 1983.

The PCE increased 0.5% on a monthly basis in January, the same pace as the previous three months, according to the Commerce Department. Including food and energy prices, overall PCE surged 6.1% since January 2021, marking the most annual growth since February 1982.

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Music Spotlight: Hippies and Cowboys

Hippies and Cowboys bring a fresh vintage flair in their new single, taking you back to the days of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Led Zeppelin, CCR, and Aerosmith. Recorded at Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, the band’s debut single, “20 to Life” is not to be missed.

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Biden’s Supreme Court Nominee a Slam Dunk for Democrats

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson

President Biden announced Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as his nominee to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Jackson, who donated to and worked with former President Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, has a record of rulings that seemingly favor Democrats.

In a 2015 ruling, for example, she declined to force former Hillary Clinton aide Philipe Reines to explain why he used a private account for work-related emails, according to Politico.

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CDC Set to Announce Easing of Mask Guidelines

On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is allegedly set to announce an easing of mask restrictions on the national level.

Fox News reports that the updated guidelines will focus less on the overall number of cases, and will instead emphasize a community’s general risk of spreading the coronavirus. As such, current guidelines apply to individuals who live in communities with allegedly “substantial or high transmission.” The CDC claims, without evidence, that 95 percent of all counties in the United States qualify as “high transmission.”

The new guidelines will apparently not apply to most Americans, as the new criteria will factor in hospitalizations with the overall capacity of local medical facilities. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky has said that the new guidelines will focus more on “enhanced prevention efforts.”

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Historic Opioid Settlement Receives Final Approval, Tennessee Attorney General Announces

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery on Friday announced a final agreement between large opioid distributors, Johnson & Johnson, and attorneys general throughout the country.

According to the final details, Tennessee will receive approximately $600 million over 18 years to help combat the opioid crisis. The three distributors, Cardinal Health, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen, along with Johnson & Johnson, will begin to make payments on April 2, 2022.

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