McCarthy Wins Speakership in Dramatic 15 Round Voting Marathon for the History Books

House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy captured the House speakership in dramatic fashion early Saturday, winning enough votes on a historic 15th ballot that saw 20 renegade Republicans changing their votes under enormous pressure after winning significant concessions about how Congress will operate going forward.

The final vote was 216-212-6.

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Brian Wilson on The Drive: Davidson County Metro Council to Reduce Its Numbers from 40 to 20, Backlash for 2024 RNC Convention Kill

Friday afternoon Brian Wilson, the host of The Drive discussed the Metro Davidson County City Council’s decision to ‘kill off’ the 2024 RNC Convention in Nashville and the upcoming bill set forth by both the Tennessee House and the Senate to eliminate nearly half of the council’s seats.

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TN-5 GOP Congressman Andy Ogles Explains 12th Round Vote for McCarthy in House Speaker Race

Tennessee Congressman Andy Ogles (R-TN-05) released a statement offering insight on his decision to switch his vote in the Speaker of the House race during the chamber’s 12th round of voting on Friday.

Ogles voted for California Congressman Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-20) in the speakership race during the chamber’s 12th round of voting on Friday, The Tennessee Star previously reported.

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House Adjourns Until 10 p.m. After McCarthy Comes Up Short for Speaker in 13 Rounds

The House of Representatives convened on Friday for the fourth day of voting for speaker and House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy has picked up 15 votes from GOP holdouts but he’s still short of the simple majority needed to win.

The House passed a motion to adjourn until 10pm. McCarthy told reporters he’s confident he will have the votes to win Friday evening.

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Finance Professor Murray Sabrin Talks 2023 Economic Outlook, ‘We Have a Mess on Our Hands, Courtesy of the Federal Reserve’

Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed Finance Professor Murray Sabrin to the newsmaker line to give his take on the 2023 economic forecast.

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Tennessee Firearms Association CEO John Harris Suggests Ways for the Tennessee General Assembly to Protect the Second Amendment

Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed Tennessee Firearms Association CEO, Attorney John Harris in studio to explain the Brewing decision and offer suggestions as to how the Tennessee General Assembly can protect the Second Amendment.

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Crom’s Crommentary: Proposes Republicans Demand McCarthy Cease Debt Ceiling Raise Until Elimination of Public Employee Unions

Friday 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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Governor Lee Appoints Three to State Charter School Commission

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has reappointed Alan Levine to the Tennessee Public Charter School Commission. Along with Levine, Michael Carter of Davidson County and Chris Tutor of Shelby County have been submitted for approval as members. The two new members will represent Middle Tennessee and West Tennessee respectively, replacing Dr. Derwin Signet and Dave Hanson as board members. Appointments come from the governor, but must be confirmed by the General Assembly.

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TN-5 GOP Congressman Andy Ogles Votes for Kevin McCarthy’s Speakership Bid During 12th Round of Voting

Newly-elected Tennessee Congressman Andy Ogles (R-TN-05) voted for California Congressman Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-20) in the House of Representatives House Speaker race during the chamber’s 12th round of voting on Friday.

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Bills Damar Hamlin Has Breathing Tube Removed, Team Says He Continues to Make ‘Progress Remarkably’

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin is breathing on his own after having a breathing tube removed by doctors, his team said on Friday. 

The Bills said in a statement posted to their website that “per the physicians at [University of Cincinnati Medical Center], Damar’s breathing tube was removed overnight. He continues to progress remarkably in his recovery.”

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Legendary Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce, Sponsor of SB 1070, Dies at 75

Longtime Arizona Legislator Russell Pearce of Mesa, who served as Senate President in 2011, passed away Thursday at age 75. The sponsor of Arizona’s nationally known SB 1070 curbing illegal immigration, which Governor Jan Brewer famously signed into law in 2010, died peacefully at a hospital surrounded by family and friends after becoming sick earlier in the week. 

Pearce was loved on both sides of the aisle, famous for his friendship with Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) going back to when she was in the state legislature and considered the most liberal member — the Arizona Federation of Taxpayers awarded her the Vladimir I. Lenin Award. According to one source, Sinema moved her desk at the legislature to sit next to Pearce. 

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Social Media Use in Children Linked to Significant Brain Changes

Person on phone with Twitter open

A new study from the University of North Carolina shows children and teens who frequently check social media may become more sensitive in the long term to “social feedback” in the form of “likes” and “dislikes” at a time when the brain is experiencing significant developmental changes.

In the study, published at the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics, researchers Maria Maza, et al, investigated whether the frequency with which middle-school age children check their Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat social media accounts is associated with long-term changes in brain development as they mature further into adolescence.

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Rep. Chris Smith Calls Pope Benedict ‘Extraordinary Religious Leader’ as Tens of Thousands Bid Farewell at Funeral Mass

Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ) said Thursday that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was “an extraordinary religious leader” who “led us to be more faithful followers of Jesus Christ and His Church on earth.”

Smith, who co-chairs the House’s Pro-Life Caucus, and serves as the ranking member of both the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights & International Organizations, and the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, said Benedict was “a powerful defender of the weakest and most vulnerable, including unborn children and their mothers, and ever faithful in both living and promoting the good news of the Gospel.”

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Lawmakers Profit from Sending Billions in Aid to Ukraine

Members of Congress raked in profits from defense contractor stocks after voting to send billions in military aid to Ukraine, according to financial disclosures and voting records reviewed by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Congress approved more than $20 billion worth of military aid to Ukraine between Jan. 24, a month before Russia invaded, and Nov. 20, including $12.7 billion in direct drawdowns from existing U.S. weapons stocks, according to data compiled by the Council on Foreign Relations. To make up for that aid, top defense companies have boosted production, and lawmakers trading on company stocks saw a financial windfall as a result, according to publicly available stock trading data.

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South Carolina Supreme Court Axes State’s Abortion Ban

South Carolina’s Supreme Court on Thursday struck down the state law restricting abortions at around six weeks, finding that it violated the state constitution.

Republican South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster signed a bill into law in February 2021 barring abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which can happen at around six weeks into a pregnancy. The state can limit a woman’s privacy rights with regard to abortion decisions, but only after she’s been given “reasonable” time to pursue an abortion legally, the court found.

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Ex-Capitol Police Boss Says Politics Hampered January 6 Security Under Pelosi: ‘Recipe for Disaster’

The Capitol Police chief who handled the Jan. 6 riot says political bureaucracy under Speaker Nancy Pelosi put optics over safety and hampered his department from crafting an appropriate security plan to protect the home of Congress that fateful day.

Steven Sund, who resigned as the head of the $600 million a year Capitol Police Department after the tragedy, told the “Just the News, No Noise” television show on Wednesday that significant lapses occurred inside his department, inside the political leadership of Congress and across federal law enforcement and security agencies in the days before the Capitol riot.

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Arizona Supreme Court Denies Kari Lake Request, Case Heads for Court of Appeals

Arizona Supreme Court (ASC) Justice John R. Lopez released an opinion Wednesday evening denying Republican Kari Lake’s request to transfer her election challenge case directly to the ASC. Despite the denial, Lake remains undeterred in her legal battle.

“My court case will be going before the Appeals Court prior to the Arizona Supreme Court because it’s already been scheduled for review. This decision was done without prejudice & I am confident the case will end up in their hands eventually. We’re moving forward,” Lake tweeted.

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Abe Hamadeh and RNC File Motion for New Trial Based on Additional Evidence of Voter Disenfranchisement

Republican Arizona Attorney General candidate Republican Abe Hamadeh is not giving up contesting the election which went to Democrat Kris Mayes by just 280 votes. His first lawsuit contesting the election results was dismissed as premature, his second was thrown out by Mohave County Superior Court Judge Lee Jantzen for not showing there were enough problematic votes to change the election, but on Tuesday Hamadeh and the RNC, along with two individuals, filed a motion for a new trial, based on additional evidence of voter disenfranchisement. Hundreds of uncounted ballots were recently found in Pinal County. 

Hamadeh said on the Charlie Kirk Show, “We didn’t have these facts. But you know who had these facts? It was Secretary of State @katiehobbs. She had all these facts and she withheld them from the court, she withheld them from me. We weren’t able to present any of this evidence.”

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District 9 Chairwoman Rebecca Yardley Announces Campaign for Georgia GOP Chair

Georgia GOP (GAGOP) District 9 Chairwoman Rebecca Yardley announced her campaign to chair the Georgia Republican Party; current Chairman David Shafer hasn’t yet decided if he will run, but Yardley will likely face him or one of his allies in the June convention.

“Our Party deserves a chairman who is fully focused on taking the steps required to win Georgia elections. I’ve witnessed firsthand the incredible work done on the county and district levels. Now it’s time to have our top leadership at the state match the same energy, concentration, and drive shown by our local members daily,” Yardley said in a Thursday press release.

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Ohio Governor Vetoes Flavored Tobacco Ban Bill, Leaving Local Governments in Charge

Governor Mike DeWine vetoed a bill on Thursday, that would prohibit local governments in Ohio from enacting any laws regarding tobacco or vaping products that are more strict than state law.

DeWine scheduled a press conference with health authorities to discuss the legislation rather than just vetoing it, calling youth smoking an “epidemic” made worse by commercially available flavored tobacco products.

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Commentary: The Coup We Never Knew

Did someone or something seize control of the United States?

What happened to the U.S. border? Where did it go? Who erased it? Why and how did 5 million people enter our country illegally? Did Congress secretly repeal our immigration laws? Did Joe Biden issue an executive order allowing foreign nationals to walk across the border and reside in the United States as they pleased?

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Judge: Del. March Failed to Prove Assault Allegation Against Del. Williams

Delegate Wren Williams (R-Patrick) was found not guilty of assaulting Delegate Marie March (R-Floyd) on Wednesday. An outside judge brought in to hear the case said March’s legal team failed to prove Williams intentionally assaulted her, according to The Roanoke Times.

Williams and March are conservative Republicans in neighboring districts who have been paired into the same deep-red district for the upcoming election cycle, setting off one of the most heated primary battles currently in Virginia.

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Parents of Akron Public School Students Speak Out About Potential Teacher Strike

Parents are speaking out about the potential teachers’ strike and what is being done on both sides to resolve it as tensions between Akron Public Schools (APS) and its teachers intensify.

After many allegations of campus violence, APS teachers declared last week that they would strike mere days after kids are expected to return from winter break. According to a news release, safety was one of their primary concerns.

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Democrats Introduce Bill to Legalize Marijuana in Minnesota

Minnesota Democrats introduced a bill Thursday to legalize the recreational use of marijuana for adults over the age of 21.

With control of both chambers of the Legislature, and a governor who is ready to sign it into law if passed, they are confident this is the year it will happen.

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Bipartisan Proposal Would Make Pennsylvania Pardon Recommendations Easier

A bill is re-emerging in Pennsylvania’s new State Senate session to end the requirement that pardon and commutation recommendations from the State Board of Pardons be unanimous. 

The five-member board comprises the lieutenant governor and the state attorney general as well as experts on corrections, victims’ rights, and mental health. Once the panel issues a recommendation for an inmate to receive a pardon or a commuted sentence, the governor reviews those determinations and decides whether to sign off on them. Historically, governors have tended to follow the board’s advice. 

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Madison’s East High School to Host ‘Family Friendly’ Drag Show

Madison East High School will host a “family friendly” drag show later this month, a taxpayer-funded woke event that is “Exhibit A” for expanded school choice, according to a parental rights activist.  

East High parents recently received an email announcing the event, sponsored by the Gender and Sexuality Alliance. The show is scheduled for 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Jan. 19, according to the school’s calendar. The festivities will take place in the high school’s Margaret Williams Theater. 

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Connecticut Towns Seeking Tax Relief, More Education

Connecticut cities and towns are seeking tax relief and more money for education from the state as a new legislative session gets underway. 

The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities has released a list of legislative priorities that its 168 municipal members believe “merit priority action” by Gov. Ned Lamont and the General Assembly before the regular session ends in June. 

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After Resisting Policy Change, Florida School District Now Bans Boys from Using Girls’ Bathrooms

After refusing to change its transgender policy for five years, a Florida school district will now require students to use bathrooms on the basis of biological sex rather than gender identity, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Pasco County school district Superintendent Kurt Browning announced Tuesday that the district changed its policy to mandate restroom and locker room use on the basis of biological sex, with private bathroom access for transgender students, according to the Tampa Bay Times. The policy change comes after the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled to uphold a Florida school district’s policy of separating restrooms by “biological sex” instead of gender identity.

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Councilman in Arizona Successfully Restores the Invocation of Prayer to Local Town Hall Meetings

During a Tuesday Fountain Hills Town Council Meeting, Councilman Allen Skillicorn led a successful effort to restore an invocation of prayer to the beginning of future meetings.

“For over 200 years, this [prayer] has been part of our legislative process. This isn’t about a church. This is about people coming in from the community and praying for the board and praying for the town or state or the country,” Skillicorn said following the approval by the board.

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Pro-Life Wisconsin PAC Endorses Justice Daniel Kelly in Supreme Court Primary

The Pro-Life Wisconsin Victory Fund political action committee (PAC) on Thursday came out in favor of Justice Daniel Kelly’s election to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. 

Kelly previously served on the court from 2016 to 2020 but failed to get reelected that spring. This year, he will face state Circuit Court Judge Jennifer Dorow (3rd District), Dane County Circuit Court Judge Everett Mitchell (Branch 4), and Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Janet Protasiewicz (Branch 24) in the February 21 primary. The top two vote-getters will compete for the high-court seat in an April 4 general election. 

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East Cleveland City Council in Dispute over Council President and Ward 3 Seat

Members of the East Cleveland City Council dissolved into an argument over the position of council president and who legally qualifies for the Ward 3 position.

Last month, Councilmembers Korean Stevenson and Pat Blochowiak filed a lawsuit against Council President Nathaniel Martin and Clerk of Council Tracy Udrija-Peters due to allegedly illegal actions without the council’s support.

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Blystone to Surrender $105,000, Admit Violations, Not Run Again for Five Years

Joe Blystone

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio Election Commission had a full hearing scheduled for today and tomorrow to investigate multiple election law violation complaints filed by three separate parties against former gubernatorial candidate Joe Blystone. Instead of a hearing, the session turned into a settlement conference that resulted in an agreement.

That agreement orders Blystone to surrender his campaign cash of approximately $105,000 and shut down his campaign fund.  The funds are to be distributed by paying $75,000 to an escrow account for a case Blystone started in Delaware County against his former campaign co-manager; turning over the remaining balance to the Ohio Election Commission in the form of a fine.  Additionally, Blystone stipulates that the allegations made in the complaints are fact and commits to not seek office for five years.

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Top Zelensky Adviser Rejects Peace Talks with Russia

Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov this week rejected the idea that Kyiv would engage in peace talks with Moscow as the Russian invasion of Ukraine rages on.

“There’s no way to have conversations with them; you can’t talk with terrorists,” he told NatSec Daily, adding that Ukraine would not end the war until it had reclaimed all of its territory, including Crimea.”

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Commentary: Make Elections Normal Again

Americans can’t seem to agree on much of anything anymore. We’re deeply divided on a wide range of issues: abortion, illegal immigration, gun rights, and so-called climate change, to name a few. In fact, one would be hard pressed to find a major political issue on which Republicans and Democrats overwhelmingly agree.

Political polarization is nothing new: Many countries experience it at one point or another. In America, we once could put our differences aside and settle things at the ballot box. Our electoral system, when functioning as intended, transcends partisan politics. Things are different today, though. COVID-era voting policies need to be reversed in order to restore faith in our electoral process.

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Six Policies That Anti-Abortion Leaders Expect a Pro-Life House Majority to Prioritize

A letter signed by leaders of more than 40 pro-life organizations has been sent to every Republican member of Congress, urging action on eight related bills.

“We write to urge you to exercise Congress’s constitutional authority to legislate abortion policy at the federal level and pursue a robust pro-life agenda,” reads the letter to House and Senate Republicans authored by organizations ranging from March for Life and Live Action to The Heritage Foundation. (The Daily Signal is Heritage’s multimedia news organization.)

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Soros Doubles Donations to Far-Left Group Seeking to Pack Supreme Court

Far-left billionaire George Soros has increased his financial support for a radical group that is determined to pack the Supreme Court of the United States, continuing to wage a war in favor of a policy that is widely unpopular with the American people.

As the Washington Free Beacon reports, Soros’ Open Society Foundation donated $4.5 million in 2021 to the group Demand Justice, which “supports policy advocacy on court reform.” Open Society had previously donated $2.5 million to the same group in 2018, the year Demand Justice was first created out of opposition to Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the high court.

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Kohberger Murder Affidavit: Left-Behind Knife Sheath, DNA Led to Capture, Arrest

The man accused of stabbing four University of Idaho college students to death was identified through DNA evidence left on a knife sheath at the crime scene and cellular data showed his phone was in the area of the Moscow, Idaho, crime scene at least a dozen times before the murders, officials said in an affidavit released Thursday.

The Idaho State Lab discovered DNA on a knife sheath left on the bed next to victim Madison Mogen, Moscow Police Department Cpl. Brett Payne said in the affidavit. 

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