School Choice Expansion Continues to be a Priority for Tennessee Lawmakers

Governor Bill Lee took to social media on Wednesday to proclaim the week of January 22 – 28, 2023, School Choice Week in Tennessee.

He further tweeted that “Every parent should have the opportunity to pick the best school for their child.” The governor added, “[W]e continue to advocate for high-quality education that meets the needs of every individual student.”

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Head of A&R for Baste Records Chris Wallin Comments on Whether ChatGPT Could Replace Songwriters

Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed the Head of A&R for Baste Records, Chris Wallin in studio to examine new AI called ChatGPT and what effect it could have on the songwriting industry.

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Head of A&R for Baste Records, Chris Wallin and Political Consultant Ward Baker Talk Curious Timing in Release of Biden Classified Docs

Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed Baste Records owner, Chris Wallin and political consultant Ward Baker of Baker Strategies in studio to discuss the curious timing of Biden’s classified document scandal.

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Top Political Strategist Ward Baker: ‘If I Was The Democrats I Would Nominate Warnock’ for President in 2024

Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed the top political strategist in the nation, Ward Baker in studio to give his assessment on the 2024 presidential race and the Democrat that could be a serious contender.

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Pfizer Executive Heard Claiming Company Considering Mutating COVID Virus Itself to Continue Profiting Off Vaccines, Later Seen Assaulting Project Veritas Founder James O’Keefe

A top-level Pfizer executive revealed to an undercover Project Veritas (PV) journalist that the pharmaceutical giant is considering the possibility of mutating the COVID virus itself via “directed evolution” in order to keep profiting off a continued stream of vaccines. Following the release of the first video, which was published Wednesday, Jordon Trishton Walker, Pfizer director of Research and Development, Strategic Operations – mRNA Scientific Planner, is seen in a second video assaulting PV founder James O’Keefe and his staff in a restaurant, and destroying the iPad showing the undercover video recordings.

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Proposed Bills Would Make All Tennessee Local Elections Partisan

Two proposed Tennessee bills would add to the partisan nature of all of the state’s elections, including local and judge races.

One of the bills would require all races, including local and state elections, to be partisan with candidates declaring a political party. Another would require all voters to declare a party and only vote in that party’s primary elections.

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U.S. GDP Ticks Up, but Recession Fears Remain

The U.S. economy grew modestly in the fourth quarter of 2022, despite signs of weak domestic demand, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) Thursday.

In the fourth quarter, inflation-adjusted gross domestic product (GDP) grew by roughly 2.9%, down slightly from 3.2% in the third quarter, the BEA reported. Recession concerns among economists linger, however, amid fears that the Federal Reserve’s campaign of interest rate hikes — intended to reduce economic demand to slow inflation — will lead to reduced spending and layoffs, The Wall Street Journal reported.

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Arizona Freedom Caucus Takes Stand on Lifting School Spending Limit: Only If it Comes with Reforms

Students on the floor in the classroom, listening to the teacher read

The Arizona Freedom Caucus (AFC) announced it would take a stand against lifting the highly contested aggregate expenditure limit (AEL), which puts a cap on public school spending unless it comes with systemic reform.

“Fiscal responsibility is a foundational tenant of good governance, and the legislature has a fiduciary duty to our constituents to ensure that their tax dollars are spent as efficiently and responsibly as possible. Unfortunately, despite years of record high education funding from legislative Republicans, government-run school districts continue to increase class sizes, strip teachers of critically needed classroom resources, and force feed a far-left worldview on children,” according to the AFC.

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Schiff Launches Campaign for Feinstein’s California Senate Seat, Setting Up Epic Democrat Primary

California Rep. Adam Schiff on Thursday launched his 2024 campaign for Senate, possibly setting up a Democratic primary challenge against incumbent Sen. Dianne Feinstein. 

“When a dangerous demagogue tried to undermine our democracy, I wasn’t about to let him,” Schiff says in a voice-over in his first campaign ad as videos of former President Donald Trump play.

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Government Report: Unemployment Fraud May Top $60 Billion During Pandemic

A U.S. government report released Monday estimates that there could have been more than $60 billion in unemployment insurance fraud during the pandemic.

The report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office says that figure is an estimate spread over the entire unemployment system and should be “interpreted with caution.”

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MNPS Provides Marketing Budget for Individual Schools in Wake of Recent Enrollment Declines

Over the past several years, Tennessee lawmakers have increased school choice options for families. In an effort to influence parents’ educational choices, Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) is providing each school with a stipend designed to entice families to make zoned schools their first choice. It’s a continuation of a strategy first implemented last year, and one that the district feels was successful.

In an email, MNPS spokesman Sean Braisted tells The Tennessee Star, “Our goal as a district is to get as many families as possible to choose MNPS as their first option for student success.”

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Sens. Ron Johnson, Roger Wicker Introduce Senate ‘No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act’

Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson (R) and Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker (R) led 45 of their Republican colleagues in introducing the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, a measure that would permanently prohibit federal funding for abortion.

Johnson and Wicker introduced the legislation Wednesday, a measure that would establish a “permanent prohibition on federal funding for abortion, replacing the current restrictions with a single, government-wide standard,” said a press release from Johnson’s office.

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Nationally Watched Wisconsin Supreme Court Race Is a Battle Beyond the Badger State

The national left is all in on Wisconsin’s crucial Supreme Court race, a contest that will not only determine whether conservatives or liberals control the high court, but the fate of Gov. Tony Evers’ liberal agenda and, possibly, the 2024 presidential election. 

Conservative Supreme Court candidate Daniel Kelly, a former justice on the court, says the race is about the very survival of the constitution and the rule of law. 

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Michigan Gov. Whitmer Calls for ‘Immediate’ Relief in State of the State Address

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called for “immediate” relief to some Michiganders from rising prices in her State of the State address Wednesday evening.

Whitmer, the Democrat who won a second term in November, said three proposals will make a “real difference” to many residents who are “facing the pinch right now” at the grocery store and with medical bills and prescription costs.

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Attorney General’s Report: Virginia Parole Board Broke the Law, Abused Power in March 2020 Parole Board Releases

A report from the Attorney General Jason Miyares’ office says the Virginia Parole Board violated state law governing victim and prosecutor notifications and had a “culture of ignoring the Virginia Code, Parole Board policies, and administrative procedures,” while accelerating the rate of releases in March 2020. Senate Minority Leader Thomas Norment, Jr. (R-James City) responded to the report by requesting Judge Adrianne Bennett, who was Parole Board chair, to resign.

“Under Chair Adrianne Bennett, the Virginia Parole Board endangered public safety and abused its power by releasing dozens of violent felons against Parole Board policies, and frequently in clear violation of a court order or Virginia law,” Attorney General Miyares said in a press release announcing the report. “Judge Bennett’s brazen abuse of her power put Virginians’ safety at risk so that she could promote a criminal-first, victim-last agenda without regard for victims or their safety.”

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Minnesota Court of Appeals Rules Unvaccinated Man Can Be Denied Unemployment Benefits

The Minnesota Court of Appeals has ruled that a college instructor is not entitled to unemployment benefits after he was fired for refusing “to abide by his employer’s COVID-19 vaccination and testing policy.”

Three appeals court judges agreed last Tuesday that Michael Larson, an English teacher for Minnesota State College Southeast-Winona (MSCS), committed employee misconduct by failing to follow its COVID vaccine and testing requirements, which means he is not eligible for unemployment benefits per state law.

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Most Politicians’ Think Tanks Heavy on Research Output, in Contrast to Penn Biden Center

Numerous university think tanks have had national political leaders as figureheads. The University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement isn’t unique in that regard. What does set the center apart from similar institutions — besides its recent immersion in national scandal — is its limited research output. 

The Penn Biden Center is undergoing intense and somewhat bipartisan criticism for having housed nearly a dozen classified government records after Joe Biden used the space as his main D.C. office from 2017 to 2019 while also nominally working as a professor. The documents were discovered last November and other restricted federal materials turned up this month in the president’s Delaware home. Some of the records were generated when Biden served as a U.S. senator and others materialized when he was vice president. 

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Commentary: The Real Differences Between the Biden and Trump Troves

Donald Trump for now certainly seems to have had more documents labeled classified at Mar-a-Lago in Florida than did Joe Biden at his various homes in Delaware. 

Yet otherwise, the comparisons between the two cases, contrary to popular punditry, hardly favor Biden. 

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Connecticut Leaders React to LEGO’s Decision to Move Headquarters

Connecticut leaders are lamenting LEGO Group’s decision to move its corporate headquarters to neighboring Massachusetts, but argue the state will bounce back. 

The company announced it will be relocating from its office in Enfield to Boston by the end of 2026, as part of a strategy to “support the business’s long-term growth ambitions.” The office, which opened in 1975, has roughly 740 employees, who will be given the option to work at the new Boston office.

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Chief Justice Kennedy Promises ‘A New Day’ at the Ohio Supreme Court

Taking her ceremonial oath of office on Wednesday, Ohio’s new Supreme Court Chief Justice Sharon Kennedy promised “a new day” at the high court and could cast the deciding vote on crucial topics in the state like abortion and redistricting.

Kennedy, who becomes the second female justice to preside over the state’s highest court, said she didn’t initially picture the moment.

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Proposed Bill Would Increase Georgia’s Tax Credit Scholarship Program Cap

Proposed legislation would increase the cap on the state’s tax credit scholarship program a year after lawmakers raised it.

The proposed measure, House Bill 54, would increase the cap from $120 million annually to $200 million per year starting in 2024. The state’s tax credit scholarship program, enacted in 2008, allows individuals and corporations to use part of their state tax obligation for private school scholarships.

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Ohio House Speaker Stephens Denies Debate or Amendments on GOP Leadership or House Rules

The Ohio House approved a new rules package Tuesday despite objections from Republican lawmakers. The provisions set the guidelines for the upcoming session. House Speaker Jason Stephens (R-Kitts Hill) advanced the House rules to a vote without allowing for any debate or amendments. Republicans who supported state Representative Derek Merrin (R-Monclova) for speaker argued that Stephens excluded them from the process.

Lawmakers controversially elected Stephens as speaker earlier this month to succeed state Representative Bob Cupp (R-Lima). The choice came despite the Republican Caucus‘ previous selection in November of Merrin as the new speaker. Although the GOP caucus voted for Merrin as Speaker of the House in December, Stephen fought in collaboration with the Democrats to collect votes and garner a win.

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Republican Senators Re-Introduce No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act

In a show of pro-life solidarity, 47 Republican U.S. senators are re-introducing a bill that would establish a permanent prohibition on federal funding for abortion, replacing the current restrictions with a single, government-wide standard.

The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, the lawmakers say, attempts to clean up inconsistent and haphazard policies that have regulated federal funding for abortion.

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Kari Lake Files Reply Brief with Arizona Court of Appeals in Election Contest Lawsuit

Kari Lake’s election lawsuit contesting her loss to Democrat Katie Hobbs in the gubernatorial race is at the Arizona Court of Appeals after being dismissed by the trial court judge. Lake filed a reply on Tuesday to the responses from defendants Maricopa County and then-Secretary of State Hobbs.

The reply brief began, “Defendants ignore the trial court’s holdings, misstate the law, misstate material facts, and — unable to get their stories straight — contradict each other.” 

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DeSantis Facing Lawsuit over Ban on African-American Studies

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) is facing a lawsuit from three high school students over his Education Department’s decision to ban an Advanced Placement (AP) course on African-American studies.

As reported by NPR, the lawsuit was announced on Wednesday by State Representative Fentrice Driskell (D-Fla.). Speaking at a press conference, Driskell said that “by rejecting the African American history pilot program, Ron DeSantis has clearly demonstrated that he wants to dictate whose history does — and doesn’t — belong.”

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Arizona State Legislators and Guests Address Southern Border Crisis and Plans to Alleviate It at State Capitol

PHOENIX, Arizona – Republican members of the state legislature gathered outside the state capitol to discuss the ongoing crisis caused by conditions at the southern border and how they plan to address it in the coming session. State Rep. Steve Montenegro (R-Avondale) began the meeting by addressing the fentanyl flowing into the country across the border.

“Ladies and gentlemen, this is now a public health crisis, and we need to take swift action to deal with what is happening, to combat it,” Montenegro said. “The legislature is focused on empowering law enforcement to stop border crimes by directing resources, forming task forces, and applying pressure on those who are abetting this crisis and denying the disastrous effects it has on our communities.”

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Governor DeWine and Lieutenant Governor Husted Announce Ohio Administrative Code Regulatory Reform

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted have unveiled a new strategy to streamline the Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) by focusing on redundant clauses, out-of-date portions, and pointless mandates.

The strategy, which DeWine is launching with the aid of the Ohio Common Sense Initiative (CSI), makes recommendations for the removal of portions of the OAC using modern AI technologies that it identifies as unnecessary.

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New Bill from Rep. Rachel Jones Would Bar an Arizona Secretary of State from Certifying Their Own Election

One of Arizona’s newest Republican State Representatives, Rachel Jones (R-Tucson), introduced a new bill that would prevent a Secretary of State from certifying an election in which they participated.

“So, I think it is pretty clear what the intent of this bill is. It is basically saying if a current Secretary of State is running for another office, such as happened in the 2022 election with Katie Hobbs running for governor, this is just getting rid of any potential conflicts of interests with that individual,” Jones said while introducing her bill to the House Municipal Oversight and Elections Committee.

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Commentary: Nationwide Rent Control Is a Dangerous Proposition

Some of our nation’s politicians seem to know very little about basic economic principles despite constantly proposing legislative action on economic issues. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.) and Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D–N.Y.) now want federal regulators to impose rent control on the entire nation. In their letter to the Biden administration, which was signed by 50 members of Congress, Warren and Bowman request that the administration “pursue all possible strategies” to control high rents. These politicians portray themselves as fighting for the average American, but, if they get their way, the results will be catastrophic.

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Chris Janson Releases ‘All I Need Is You’

NASHVILLE, Tennessee- Before I got the email, I thought it was about time for some new Chris Janson music because it had been a few years since he put new music out.

Fueled by Mountain Dew®, Janson’s high-octane show puts this human hummingbird right at the top of my all-time favorite live performers.

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Commentary: EV Mandates Could Mean California-Style Backouts in Minnesota

California recently announced a ban on all gas-powered vehicles by 2035. This is a decision that will have wide ranging negative implications for Minnesotans.

Residents in the Gopher state may be curious how an administrative decision made halfway across the country will affect them, but the answer is relatively simple: last year Governor Tim Walz and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) unilaterally finalized a rule to cede their regulatory authority over automobile emissions to regulators in the Golden State. 

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Cardinal Says Pope Francis Has No ‘Contact with the Holy Spirit’ in New Book

Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is releasing a book that accuses Pope Francis of giving “privileged status” to his friends that are accused of sexual abuse in the church, according to Catholic news website LaCroix International.

The Roman Catholic Church has suffered multiple sexual abuse scandals over the years after several reports from the Vatican found that the clergy, particularly in France, had abused thousands of victims. While Müller says that France’s Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church (CIASE) 2021 report was “inflated and exaggerated,” the cardinal claims in his new book, “In Good Faith: Religion in the 21st Century,” that Francis has helped protect those close to him by granting them a special “status,” citing the case of Argentine Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta, who was convicted in March 2022 of sexual abuse of two victims during seminary, as an example, according to LaCroix International.

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