Tennessee Considering Waiving Vehicle Registration Fees for a Year

A bill that would waive Tennessee’s license plate registration fees for a full year could save Tennessee drivers $121.6 million based on legislative estimates.

Senate Bill 2491 was amended to include the fee waiver before being approved by the Senate Transportation and Safety Committee earlier this month. It has been assigned to the Senate Finance, Ways and Means Committee.

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Missouri’s Republican State House Likely to Take Action on the State Senate’s Compromised Congressional Map Plan

Missouri’s Republican Majority state House is likely to agree to the timid Senate-passed compromise on the state’s congressional redistricting plan on Monday.

The Missouri state House stands adjourned until Monday, March 28. The filing deadline for candidates seeking to run in primaries for one of Missouri’s eight U.S. House seats is the following day, March 29.

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Deep Blue Oregon May Cough Up a U.S. House Seat to the GOP

The famously blue state of Oregon may be the site of a November Republican victory in the Fifth congressional district. The current borders of OR-5 are not far from Antifa-laden Portland.

Democrat incumbent U.S. House Representative Kurt Schrader finds himself taking fire from both sides of the aisle.

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Outreach Director Jill Simonian Celebrates One Year of PragerU Kids Free Online Educational Curriculum

Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed Jill Simonian of PragerU Kids to the newsmakers line to celebrate their one-year anniversary and talk about their free online programs.

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Watchdog Group Helps Uncover Potential Conflicts of Interest in Veterans Affairs Administration

After a watchdog group and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) pushed the Veterans Affairs Officer of the Inspector General (VA-OIG) to look into a possible conflict of interest, that OIG this week released a report saying that one VA official may have broken rules regarding conflicts of interest. 

The potential conflict of interest centers around executive director of the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) Charmain Bogue and her husband’s business dealings. 

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Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto Talks Background, County Growth, and His Conservatism

Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed Wilson County, Tennessee Mayor Randall Hutto to the newsmakers line to discuss his background and answer the rumors of him being an establishment Republican.

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Crom’s Crommentary: ‘We’re Getting Very Close to the Point Where the Left Is Totally Absurd in Their Worldview’

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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Commentary: Sweden—Once Mocked for Its COVID Strategy—Now Has One of the Lowest COVID Mortality Rates in Europe

Early in the coronavirus pandemic, I asked a simple question. Could Sweden’s laissez-faire approach to the coronavirus actually work?

Unlike its European neighbors and virtually all US states, the Swedes had opted to not shut down the economy. The country of 10 million people took what was at first described as “a lighter touch.”

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Governor Evers Approves $10 Million to Improve Maritime Infrastructure

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Wednesday approved $10 million in funding for infrastructure improvements at ports and harbors across the state.

In collaboration with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) and Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), the money seeks to encourage economic development.

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Independent Map Makers Get Orders from Ohio Redistricting Commission

Two independent map makers could have a first draft of state legislative maps to the Ohio Redistricting Commission by Thursday night, a day after getting their instructions.

The commission faces a Monday deadline to have new maps on the desk of Secretary of State Frank LaRose, who must have the maps to the Ohio Supreme Court by 9 a.m. Tuesday.

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Michigan Judge Tosses Zuckerbucks Lawsuit over 2020 Election Funding

A Michigan judge has tossed a lawsuit alleging Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson illegally accepted private money to swing the 2020 presidential election in favor of President Joe Biden.

First filed in October 2020, the litigation claimed that then-Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg swung the 2020 election in favor of President Joe Biden by awarding millions of dollars to local governments in Democrat strongholds via his Chicago-based nonprofit the Center for Technology & Civic Life.

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More Than 1,000 Pennsylvania Workers Quit AFSCME Union in 2021

Pennsylvania public-sector unions cannot compel state workers to join a union, and many workers have exercised their right to leave in recent months.

Over a nine-month period in 2021, almost 1,200 workers left AFSCME Local 13, which represents state and local government workers in Pennsylvania, according to public records obtained by the Freedom Foundation, a group that educates workers about their right to leave government unions.

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New Legislation Targets Organized Retail Crime in Minnesota

A new piece of legislation proposed in the Minnesota State Legislature seeks to deter organized retail crime throughout the state.

S.F. 3487, introduced by Senator Warren Limmer (R-Maple Grove), would establish a legal statute for the crime and details various levels of penalties.

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Connecticut Bills Call for New Mental Health Treatment Techniques

Using psychedelics to treat mental health disorders is the focus of a bill that passed out of the Public Health Committee, Senate Democrats said.

House Bill 5396, which addresses access to mental and behavioral health services and medications, moved out of committee on Monday. The bills are sponsored by state Sen. Saud Anwar, D-South Windsor, who serves a vice chairman of the committee.

House Bill 5275 also moved out of the committee; it addresses step therapy and prescription drugs for mental and behavioral health issues.

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Miyares Chairs New PAC Aimed at Electing Conservative Prosecutors

Attorney General Jason Miyares is the honorary chairman of new PAC Protecting Americans Action Fund (PAAF), which is focused on supporting conservative prosecutors in races across the U.S. The new PAC is operated by GOPAC.

“As we thought about how we continue to have an impact and what at our core is making sure Americans have personal and economic security, because that’s the basis of American success, Americans having personal and economic security, there was a big area missing,” GOPAC Chairman David Avella said in a Thursday press conference. “That was making sure that we had prosecuting attorneys who are willing to enforce the law.

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Georgia Plans to Use Tax Dollars to Upgrade State-Owned Rail Lines

Georgia plans to spend about $10 million to upgrade state-owned rail lines to Class II standards, which officials said would better integrate the lines with the national rail network and allow faster speeds.

The funding is included in the proposed fiscal year 2023 budget Georgia lawmakers are considering. However, the funding isn’t enough for the state to completely overhaul the lines, Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) spokesperson Natalie Dale told The Center Square.

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Arizona Legislature Approves Bill Vetting All Voters for Citizenship Before They Can Cast a Ballot

Arizona lawmakers approved new voter safeguards that supporters said will ensure only U.S. citizens can cast ballots.

A unanimous Republican caucus approved House Bill 2492 in the Senate, sending the legislation to Gov. Doug Ducey for consideration. 

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Commentary: America’s Domestic Politics Hampers Ability to End Ukraine War

In my past role as founder and CEO of Varsity Brands, I came across every old business adage in the book.  Some were cheesy, some were over simplified, but many had wisdom as their foundation.  One such phrase that’s commonly used is, and with which I struggled because of my compassion for my employees, is, “Don’t bring your problems from home into the office with you.”    

There is a variation of that phrase that should be introduced to our political leaders in Washington, albeit a bit too late.  Their version of the “leave it at the doorstep” rule needs to be, “Leave your domestic political problems at your shores when conducting foreign policy.”

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Florida Census Data Shows Trump Counties Gained 224,000 Residents While Biden Counties Lost Population

The most recent U.S. Census data release shows that Florida counties that voted for Trump in the 2020 presidential election gained 224,336 residents from July 1, 2020 to July 1, 2021, while Florida counties that voted for Biden lost 13,140.

Late last year the U.S. Census reported that the largest net domestic migration gains from 2020 to 2021 occurred in Florida (220,890), Texas (170,307) and Arizona (93,026). The largest domestic migration losses were in California (-367,299), New York (-352,185) and Illinois (-122,460).

The latest U.S. Census report, released March 24, analyzed the population dynamics in each of the 3,143 U.S. counties.

The report shows that Florida (2) and Texas (5) have seven of  the 10 counties in the U.S. with the greatest numeric growth in population.

An analysis of Florida counties reveal that 58 counties had population growth while, nine had population declines.

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Florida Judge Expected to Uphold Pro-Life Law

A Leon County, Fla. circuit judge, Angela Dempsey, is expected to uphold a 2015 Florida law requiring women seeking an abortion to wait 24 hours before going through the procedure. Dempsey indicated her decision earlier this week on Wednesday.

The order would be another indicator of a trend, nationally, of pro-life judicial and legislative victories. Even in predominately left-leaning states like Connecticut, its first ever March for Life garnered thousands of attendants.

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Miami Herald Faces Backlash from Governor’s Office for False DeSantis Story

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office is hitting back after a newspaper article wrongly said that he had been disinvited from an event over his stances on immigration. 

“Investment conference in Miami cancels DeSantis’ speech over ‘anti-immigrant’ views,” said a Thursday evening headline in The Miami Herald. 

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Commentary: Washington Doesn’t Want Peace in Ukraine

The United States is now overwhelmed with propaganda pushing for Americans to “stand with Ukraine” in its war with Russia. It is not enough to wish the people of Ukraine well. The media, Big Tech, and both political parties have made being a partisan of Ukraine some kind of moral duty. Those refusing to get swept up in anti-Russian hysteria can expect to be condemned as traitors and agents of Vladimir Putin. 

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Janet Yellen Defends Sustainable Investing Craze That’s Trying to End U.S. Oil and Gas Drilling

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen defended sustainable investing practices and climate change policies that have negatively impacted U.S. oil and gas drilling in an interview Friday.

“I don’t think that the ESG movement and the emphasis on climate change is creating the problems that we have,” Yellen told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Friday morning when asked if investors need to rethink their stance on fossil fuels. “If anything, the problem is that we haven’t moved as rapidly as we should have.”

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Jobless Claims Fall to Lowest Level in over 50 Years

The number of Americans who filed new unemployment claims decreased to 187,000 in the week ending March 19, the lowest level in over 50 years, the Department of Labor announced Thursday.

The Labor Department’s figure showed a decrease of 28,000 compared to the week ending March 12, when new claims numbered 215,000, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This week’s claims were well below the predictions of economists surveyed by Bloomberg, who estimated that new claims would total 210,000.

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Redistricting: Governor Petitions Wisconsin Supreme Court to Accept SCOTUS Invite

Gov. Tony Evers on Thursday asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court to take the U.S. Supreme Court’s invitation to accept more evidence if it wishes to reconsider his state legislative maps.

The nation’s highest court on Wednesday reversed and remanded the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s March 3 decision to adopt Evers’ proposal, calling the first-term Democrat’s maps a racial gerrymander that violated the U.S. Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause.

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‘Reducing Europe’s Dependency’: Biden Strikes Deal to Boost Gas Exports to Europe

President Joe Biden and his European counterparts struck a deal Friday to send more U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the European Union amid the ongoing global supply crunch.

The U.S. and European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, will form a joint task force with representation from both sides under the deal announced by Biden and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Brussels on Friday. The task force will seek to increase energy security for the EU and Ukraine in the run-up to next winter and the following winter while working to end European dependence on Russian fossil fuels.

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Minnesota Hospitality Industry Lost $15 Billion During COVID Pandemic

The hospitality industry in Minnesota is projected to have lost $15 billion over the course of the COVID pandemic.

Results from a new survey — conducted by Hospitality Minnesota, the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, and Explore Minnesota Tourism — show that COVID lockdowns and restrictions played a role in reducing hospitality revenue “by an equivalent of up to 249 days.”

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The Biden Administration’s Ties to Ukraine Go Deeper Than Hunter and Burisma

A senior Biden administration official handling global energy policy recently held a high-level position at a Ukrainian state-run natural gas firm but resigned citing corruption.

Amos Hochstein, who President Joe Biden appointed to be the State Department’s top adviser for energy security over the summer of 2021, was a member of the energy company Naftogaz’s supervisory board. Hochstein took the position in 2017 after he said government officials persuaded him to accept the offer.

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Tennessee Bill Would Excuse Teachers from Using Students’ Gender Pronouns

A bill making its way through the Tennessee General Assembly would protect teachers who do not use specific gender pronouns preferred by their students. 

SB 2777 “specifies that a teacher or other employee of a public school or [Local Education Association] is not required to refer to a student using the student’s preferred pronoun if the pronoun does not align with the student’s biological sex” and “insulates a teacher or other employee of a public school or LEA from civil liability and adverse employment action for referring to a student using the pronoun aligned with the student’s biological sex instead of the student’s preferred pronoun.”

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