Key GOP Congressman Confirms That Party Blocs Are Negotiating Speaker Deal

Florida Republican Rep. Greg Steube confirmed on Wednesday that the party’s competing wings have entered negotiations to reach a compromise on choosing the next Speaker of the House.

California Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the party’s lead contender for the post, has failed six times thus far to secure the support of a majority of lawmakers. The House voted three times on Wednesday and no candidate received the necessary 218 votes. 

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Neil W. McCabe Weighs In on U.S. House Speaker Race and Possible Candidates

Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed One America News National Political Correspondent Neil W. McCabe to the newsmaker line to weigh in on the US House of Representatives Speaker election, Kevin McCarthy, and the emergence of other candidates.

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Leahy and Carmichael Debate the Republicans’ Lack of Cohesion and the Democrat Institutions That Support the Democrat Party

Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed all-star panelist Crom Carmichael in studio to discuss the Republican Party’s weakness and lack of cohesion and the attack needed on Democrat institutions.

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New Maury County Commissioner Aaron Miller Talks Power and the Authority to Help Guide the County

Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed newly elected Maury County Commissioner Aaron Miller in studio to discuss why he decided to run for county commission and his battle against grooming with the Maury County Library.

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Newly Elected Maury County Commissioner Aaron Miller Discusses His Background

Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed newly elected Maury County Commissioner Aaron Miller in studio to talk about his background and day job.

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Crom’s Crommentary: The Authenticity of Professional Athletes Compared to Washington Politicians

Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed the original all-star panelist Crom Carmichael to the studio for another edition of Crom’s Crommentary.

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FDA Approves Chemical Abortion Pills to Be Sold at Retail Pharmacies

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made a regulatory change that allows independent and chain drugstores, as well as mail-order companies, to offer a drug that induces abortion, making it easier for women and girls to conduct their own abortions at home or in college dorms.

The New York Times reported Tuesday evening the FDA’s regulatory change, which apparently came without an official announcement to the public, officially removes the requirement for the patient to have an in-person doctor’s visit for the prescription of mifepristone, the first drug used to induce an abortion.

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Tennessee to Distribute Nearly $15 Million of State Funds to Support Housing Projects for People with Mental Illnesses

The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) recently announced its intent to distribute approximately $15 million in state funds to local community agencies and organizations that will provide housing for Tennesseans living with behavioral health challenges, recovering from addiction or re-entering society from prison.

The funding, according to TDMHSAS, will be distributed by the department’s Creating Homes Initiative (CHI) to “grantees to develop safe, quality and affordable permanent supportive housing opportunities in the communities they serve.”

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Famous College Ranker Overhauls System After Law Schools Pull Out Due to Equity Concerns

U.S. News & World Report is modifying its law school ranking system after several top schools pulled out of the rankings altogether, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The ranker will give dean, faculty, lawyer and judge “reputational surveys” less weight and will no longer consider per-student expenditures which critics have said favor the wealthiest schools during the ranking process, according to the WSJ. The announcement comes after top law schools Yale, Harvard, Georgetown, Columbia, the University of California, Berkeley and Stanford pulled out of the rankings, saying the report hurts schools that admit students with lower test scores because they could not afford tutoring and academic services.

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U.S. Manufacturing Declined in December at Fastest Rate Since Pandemic Began

The S&P Global U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell at the fastest rate since May 2020 in December, a continuing sign that the manufacturing sector is on the decline, S&P Global reported Tuesday.

The U.S. Manufacturing PMI posted a 46.2 in December, down from 47.7 in November and solidly below 50, which signals that the sector is contracting, according to S&P Global. Production levels contracted in back-to-back months, with new sales plummeting at the end of December at the fastest pace since 2007, as companies cited weakening demand amid “economic uncertainty” and inflation weighing on customers.

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Record High Employee Turnover Since Pandemic Has Hurt Business Productivity

Employee turnover has surged since the pandemic, and the need to replace and train new employees at high volume has hampered productivity for businesses, according to The New York Times.

More than 4.5 million workers voluntarily left their jobs in November 2021, the highest since the government began tracking this data 20 years earlier, and the turnover rate remains significantly higher than it was before the pandemic, according to the NYT. Businesses are struggling with the costs of high turnover; new employees take time to become productive, and existing employees lose productivity because of the time they spend training others.

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Audit Finds Dyer County Schools Gave Unauthorized Bonuses to Administrators

An audit from the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office found that Dyer County Schools gave more than $60,000 in ineligible bonuses to administrators out of federal COVID-19 grant funds.

The school district had received a $1,021,467 Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Infectious Diseases Grant that was part of federal American Rescue Plan Act funds that passed through the Tennessee Department of Education.

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Three Arizona GOP Representatives Vote Against Kevin McCarthy for Speaker

The United States House of Representatives began voting Tuesday to elect a new Speaker of the House. Yet, Republican Party frontrunner Kevin McCarthy of California has not secured enough votes to achieve the title. In total, 19 Republicans voted against him, including three GOP members from Arizona.

“We barely got through half the ballot before confirming that McCarthy is still well short of 218 votes. My colleagues have made clear that our party deserves a new leader. McCarthy should stand down and allow us to select someone else in the next ballot,” tweeted Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ-05).

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State Senator to Reintroduce Pennsylvania Constitutional-Carry Bill

Pennsylvania state Senator Cris Dush (R-Bellefonte) is asking colleagues to cosponsor legislation to let law-abiding state residents carry concealed firearms without a permit, something he tried but failed to get enacted last session. 

The senator’s original bill passed the General Assembly in autumn of 2021 but Governor Tom Wolf (D) vetoed it. Its chances of becoming law have diminished even further insofar as Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro recently was elected in November to succeed Wolf and Democrats won a majority of seats in the state House of Representatives. 

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After FBI Warning, Michigan Gov. Whitmer Still Posting on TikTok

Whitmer FBI Building

After the FBI declared the popular Chinese video app TikTok a national security threat, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer continues to post on the platform.

Whitmer posted three videos in three days to her 186,000 followers. The most recent post is video of her second inauguration on Jan. 1.

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Minnesota College Stands by Removal of Art Instructor

Hamline University in St. Paul, Minn., is standing by its decision to punish an art instructor who shared two Renaissance depictions of the Islamic prophet Muhammad in class.

Reports of the instructor’s removal generated outrage among free-speech advocates, who called the school’s actions “one of the most egregious violations of academic freedom in recent memory.”

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Connecticut Lawmakers, Top Statewide Officials Receive Significant Salary Hikes

Members of the Connecticut General Assembly and top-level statewide officials receive significant pay raises Wednesday that include a jump in base salary for the part-time lawmakers from $28,000 to $40,000.

State lawmakers voted last May to approve the legislation that grants the pay hikes for themselves and other specified leadership positions.

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Youngkin Calls for Investigation into Thomas Jefferson High School After Allegations That School Downplayed Student Awards

Governor Glenn Youngkin has asked Attorney General Jason Miyares to investigate the administration at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology after allegations that officials downplayed student National Merit awards until after early selection college deadlines.

“We need to get to the bottom of what appears to be an egregious, deliberate attempt to disadvantage high-performing students at one of the best schools in the country,” Governor Glenn Youngkin said in a Tuesday press release. “Parents and students deserve answers and Attorney General Miyares will initiate a full investigation. I believe this failure may have caused material harm to those students and their parents, and that this failure may have violated the Virginia Human Rights Act.”

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Commentary: The Origins and Destiny of Critical Theory

Karl Marx once famously commented that Hegel wrote that history repeats itself. Marx then supplemented this by noting that this happens the first time as tragedy, the second as farce. And it is perhaps ironic that this is nowhere more true than among some of Marx’s own progeny, the critical theorists. Critical theory’s first coming was as a sophisticated reappropriation of Hegel for Marxist thought in response to the tragedies of the early 20th century — the Russian Revolution, the failure of the German Spartacist uprising, and the rise of Nazism and Stalinism. Its founding fathers were deeply immersed in the Western philosophical tradition and men of substantial intellect. Its second coming — that of our own day — is as the theoretical part of the farce that is postmodern identity politics, often in a form that feminist philosopher Kathleen Stock has declared to be “adolescently, simplistically monotonic.” From tragedy to farce, as Marx would say.

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Arizona Court of Appeals to Hear Case Involving 2020 Maricopa County Ballot Images

Audit USA (AU), a nonpartisan organization based in Arizona focusing on election integrity, will have an opportunity to present arguments in the Arizona Court of Appeals Wednesday in a case involving Maricopa County and ballot images.

“I’m hopeful we will win this case because the facts are with us and transparency in our elections is vital for democracy,” said John Brakey, co-founder and director of AU. “Transparency is the currency of trust and without it, our democracy will die in darkness.”

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Georgia’s Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority Boss Wants to Expand Service in Atlanta Metro Area

The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority recently unveiled the first of its new railcars for its network. The $646 million cars are expected to start service in 2025.

MARTA General Manager and CEO Collie Greenwood spoke with The Center Square during the event about what’s next for the transit agency, funding and possible expansion to new areas.

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Ohio Enacts Universal Occupational License Recognition

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine (R) on Sunday signed legislation allowing Ohioans who acquired occupational licenses in other states to utilize their credentials in the Buckeye State.

Eighteen states, including neighboring Pennsylvania, already recognize occupational licenses that their residents received elsewhere. For years, a coalition of free-market organizations, including the Columbus-based Buckeye Institute, have urged Ohio lawmakers to adopt the same policy to ease burdens on workers and make the state more economically competitive. 

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More Abortion Access, More State Spending Top Evers’ Priorities in Second Term

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers used his inauguration address on Tuesday to tell lawmakers and voters that he wants more abortion, more state spending and more money for public schools in the next four years.

Evers started his wish list with a rollback of Wisconsin’s 1849 abortion law.

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Interim Meetings This Week in Preparation for Florida’s 2023 Legislative Session

Florida Senate and House committees are having interim meetings this week to kick off the new legislative session for 2023, and several new committees will be meeting for the first time – and chaired by freshman Republicans.

Originally, the interim meetings were set to take place from Dec. 12-16, but were postponed and instead replaced with a special session. Lawmakers took the opportunity during that special session to address the growing issue of property insurance costs in Florida, as well as recovery after Hurricane Ian and Hurricane Nicole ripped through the Sunshine State in September 2022.

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Ohio Governor Appoints Rhonda Burggraf to Marion County Family Court

Governor Mike DeWine appointed Republican Magistrate Rhonda Burggraf as judge of Marion County Family Court.

Burggraf, of LaRue, Ohio, is replacing Judge Robert Fragale, who retired from the court last month, ending his 40-year career in the legal profession, 30 of which he served as a Marion County judge. Burggraf will assume office on January 9th alongside fellow family court Judge Larry N. Heiser. Burggraf must run for election in 2024 to retain the seat.

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Ohio Governor DeWine Indicates Four Priorities for New Term Including Expanding Job-Training Programs

Ohio’s Republican Governor Mike DeWine has occupied political office for the better part of 50 years starting his political career as a county prosecutor and moving up to become an Ohio state legislator, congressman, lieutenant governor, senator, and now state governor.

DeWine prepares to be sworn in for his second and final four-year term as governor of Ohio on January 9th.

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Ralston, Chastain Go to Runoff in Georgia’s House District 7 Election

Sheree Ralston took 45.02 percent of the  House District (HD) 7 special election vote on Tuesday night, followed by Johnny Chastain with 39.28 percent of the vote, according to preliminary results. That sets the two candidates up for a runoff.

That’s a bad result for Kemp-endorsed Sheree Ralston since Chastain is likely to pick up votes from conservative supporters who backed the other three candidates on Tuesday, according to Atlanta Tea-Party President Debbie Dooley.
That’s a bad result for Kemp-endorsed Ralston, since Chastain is likely to pick up votes from conservative supporters who backed the other three candidates on Tuesday, according to Atlanta Tea-Party President Debbie Dooley.

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Seven New Ohio State Senators Sworn in for New Legislative Session

In the 2022 general election, 17 of the Ohio State Senate’s 33 seats were up for grabs. As of January 2023, seven of those seats are held by members of the Democratic Party, and 26 are held by members of the Republican Party.

Four new Democratic state senators and three new Republican state senators have been sworn in to represent their constituents in the new legislative session.

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Governor Mike DeWine Signs 19 Bills into Ohio Law

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed 19 bills into law on Monday, the start of the new legislative session, that lawmakers approved during the lame duck session last year.

On December 22nd, DeWine’s office received a raft of 24 bills. He signed 18 of those 24 into law.

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Commentary: New Year’s Resolutions for a Better America

Entering the new year, it is traditional to set goals and pronounce resolutions to improve ourselves and our lot in life during the coming 12 months.

Although these resolutions are more often honored in their breach than their fulfillment, they are nonetheless a useful tool to focus our attention on our weak points, whether we have the fortitude to correct them or not.

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