Tennessee Congressman Mark Green Introduces Bill Requiring Hollywood to Disclose Ties to the Chinese Communist Party

Mark Green

Representative Mark Green (R-TN-07) has introduced a bill that would stop federal agencies from assisting Hollywood studios that co-produce films with a Chinese company that are subject to the Chinese Communist Party’s content restrictions. Green, in a statement, called his bill The Stopping Communist Regimes from Engaging in Edits Now Act (SCREEN Act).

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Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr Joins Lawsuit Challenging Biden Administration Concealing Federal Intimidation Tactics Against Parents

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr said late last week that he has joined a lawsuit to force the Biden administration to release records that might reveal Biden’s attempts to intimidate parents. In a statement, Carr said these parents tried to speak out on issues concerning their children’s education. The lawsuit follows Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests filed last fall.

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Georgia Representative Barry Loudermilk Grills Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell About Inflation

Representative Barry Loudermilk (R-GA-11) this week reminded Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell about Loudermilk’s warnings from one year ago about inflation — a prediction that proved correct. Loudermilk discussed the matter at a U.S. House Committee on Financial Services hearing.

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Tennessee Legislators to Debate Bills on State Textbook Standards

Members of the Tennessee House Government Operations Committee are scheduled to discuss and debate two bills this week that address legislative approval of school textbooks. Tennessee Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) sponsors one bill, HB 2666. If enacted into law, members of the State Textbook and Instructional Materials Quality Commission would have to provide a copy of the commission’s proposed textbook and instructional materials list to legislators.

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Tennessee State Senator Brian Kelsey — Indicted Back in October — Announces He Won’t Seek Re-Election

State Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) told his constituents on Friday that he will not run for reelection, and he intends to spend more time with his family. “It has been a true honor to serve you for 18 years and to work with you to pass more constitutional amendments than any other Tennessee legislator in history — including one to forever ban the income tax,” Kelsey wrote on his Facebook page.

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Athens’ Homeless Problem Could Lower University of Georgia’s Enrollment Numbers, One Resident Says

Athens-Clarke County officials use taxpayer money to lure in greater and greater numbers of homeless people from around Georgia, but the consequences to the county and to the University of Georgia (UGA) are too great to ignore. This, according to two Athens residents who said they have observed the city’s homeless epidemic up close.

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Nashville Starts Gun Retrieval Program to Address High Crime Rate

Citing the city’s high crime rate, members of the Metro Nashville Office of Alternative Policing Strategies this week announced a new gun retrieval program. The Tennessee Star on Thursday contacted Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) spokesman Steven Bowers. We asked what measures Metro officials enacted to ensure criminals don’t use this program to get rid of guns that could link them to various crimes?

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Athens, Georgia Pastor Says County Officials Turn Deaf Ear to Complaints of Homeless Harassing His Church Members

Members of one Athens church fear for their safety after they said homeless people — many of whom they suspect aren’t even from that city — have harassed and threatened them on church grounds. Luis Ortiz, senior pastor of the Athens’ Young Harris Memorial United Methodist Church, said his complaints to Athens-Clarke County officials go mostly ignored. He and other city residents told The Georgia Star News they believe Athens’ officials are using a $60 million federal grant to bestow upon homeless people. Consequently, homeless people from other areas of the state are relocating to Athens.

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Metro Nashville Health HR Department Strikes Back Against Controversial Equity Director Stephanie Kang

Members of the Metro Nashville Public Health Department’s (MPHD’s) Human Resources (HR) Office are fighting back against scathing criticism from their Racial and Health Equity Director Stephanie Kang. Kang last month distributed a memo to MPHD board members to complain about the department’s alleged instances of bullying, sexism, racism, and homophobia.

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New Georgia Electric Car Manufacturer Connected to George Soros

Georgia gubernatorial candidate David Perdue said this week that incumbent Governor Brian Kemp provided state-backed financial incentives to an electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer tied to George Soros. Bloomberg reported this week that Soros does invest in the EV company Rivian.

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Conservative Celebrities, Including John Rich, to Highlight Williamson County Election Kickoff Event Next Week

Members of the Williamson Families PAC are scheduled to host a County Election Kickoff event next week that features country music star John Rich, actress Leigh-Allyn Baker, and former professional baseball player Jeremy Slayden. The kickoff will reveal 19 candidates endorsed by Williamson Families PAC for the 2022 Williamson County election. The primary is scheduled for May 3, while the general election is scheduled for August 4.

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Georgia Speaker David Ralston Proposes Major Tax Reform Legislation

Speaker David Ralston presides over the Georgia House chamber

Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) and House Ways and Means Chair Shaw Blackmon (R-Bonaire) on Tuesday announced legislation that would, if enacted into law, lower Georgia’s maximum income tax rate. Ralston and Blackmon want to reduce Georgia’s maximum income tax rate from 5.75 percent to a single and flat rate of 5.25 percent. They said at a press conference that state residents would save an estimated $1 billion per year if and when the proposed cut goes into effect for calendar year 2024.

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Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners Say They Won’t Investigate Doctors Who Prescribe Ivermectin or Hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19

Members of the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners said last week they won’t object if or when a primary care physician in the state prescribes ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19. Board members said this last Wednesday at a Senate Government Operations Committee meeting.

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Buckhead Site of Yet Another Violent Crime, Brian Kemp and Other GOP Leaders Still Not Endorsing Movement to Separate City from Atlanta

News of yet another violent crime in Buckhead apparently won’t nudge Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and other high-ranking GOP legislators to push for legislation to allow Buckhead residents to vote on separating from crime-plagued Atlanta. Members of the Atlanta Police Department (APD) reported a violent carjacking in Buckhead on Sunday.

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Georgia Church Members Could Carry Guns Into Church Under New Bill

A new bill in the Georgia General Assembly would, if enacted into law, remove places of worship from a list of unauthorized locations where people in the state may carry weapons or long guns. Representative Rick Jasperse (R-Jasper) is the primary sponsor of the bill, HB 1378, according to the Georgia General Assembly’s website.

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New Bill Would Stop Tennessee Medical Licensing Board from Punishing Doctors over COVID-19 Treatment

A new bill would, if enacted into law, prohibit a Tennessee licensing board or disciplinary subcommittee from acting against a physician’s license based solely on the physician’s recommendations to a patient regarding treatment for COVID-19. The bill would also prohibit a pharmacy from blocking or attempting to block a patient’s access to COVID-19 treatments in certain circumstances.

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Tennessee Legislator Wants to Create Office of Election Integrity

Janice Bowling

Members of the Tennessee Senate State and Local Government Committee are scheduled to discuss a bill this week that would require comptrollers to establish an Office of Election Integrity to perform and supervise election audits. Senator Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma) is sponsoring the bill, SB 1939.

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Georgia Legislators to Consider New Gun Rights Bill This Week

Jason R. Anavitarte

Members of the Georgia General Assembly this week will consider a bill that would, if enacted into law, allow all lawful weapons carriers to carry a firearm without needing a government permit. Senator Jason Anavitarte (R-Dallas) is the primary sponsor of the bill, SB 319, according to the Georgia General Assembly’s website.

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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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Tennessee House Passes Brian Kelsey Bill to Hire Police and Fire Outside County Lines

Members of the Tennessee State House of Representatives on Thursday voted to approve Senate Bill 29, which would allow first responders to live where they choose. State Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) sponsored the legislation. The bill would ban residency requirements for police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical services workers.

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COVID-19 Whistleblowers Warn Alpharetta Audience About Corruption Within Medical and Pharmaceutical Industries

ALPHARETTA — Whistleblowers, some of whom have testified on Capitol Hill, told an audience in Alpharetta Thursday that the medical and pharmaceutical industries that treat COVID-19 have been corrupted. Organizers held this conference, COVID-19 Pharma Corruption: Your Life, Health, and Job, at Alpharetta’s Phase Family Learning Center.

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Tennessee Congressman Jim Cooper Wants Democrats to Seek Out More Rural Voters

Tennessee Congressman Jim Cooper (D-TN-05) told CBS News this week that it’s in Democrats’ best interests to befriend rural voters.“There are other things we could do for rural voters, but primarily it is a values question, Senator [Daniel Patrick] Moynahan said ‘The central conservative truth is that culture trumps politics. The central liberal truth is that politics eventually can change culture,’” Cooper told the network.

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Tennessee Lawmaker Files Bill to Protect Unborn Children from Drug Exposure

Tennessee Representative Bruce Griffey (R-Paris) has filed legislation that he said would, if enacted into law, repair a legal loophole with how the state treats unborn versus born babies who are exposed to drugs. Griffey said in a statement that this loophole in Tennessee law fails to protect unborn children from drug exposure in utero.

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Georgia Representative Jody Hice Launches Statewide Tour in Athens About Georgia’s Election Integrity Issues

ATHENS, Georgia – Representative Jody Hice (R-GA-10), currently running to replace Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, launched a statewide tour in Athens on Tuesday to address Georgia’s election integrity issues. And, during the stop, Jessica Fore, a Democrat running for Hice’s 10th Congressional seat, challenged Hice on Georgia’s 2020 presidential election.

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New Tennessee Bill to Secure Religious Exemptions Does the Reverse, Conservative Group Warns

Members of the Williamson County-based Tennessee Stands are warning the public that a new bill making its way through the Tennessee General Assembly that purports to protect religious liberty does the opposite. Legislators say that the bill, HB 1867, and its companion legislation, SB 1823, will secure religious exemptions for healthcare workers. The Tennessee General Assembly’s website lists Representative Jason Zachary (R-Knoxville) as the house sponsor. The website also lists Senator and Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson (R-Franklin) as the senate sponsor.

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Another Republican, Matt Richards, Drops Out of Race to Replace Jody Hice

Matt Richards, running to replace Representative Jody Hice (R-GA-10) in the U.S. House of Representatives, said Monday that his campaign has come to an end. Richards, on Facebook, said the best candidate to replace Hice in the 10th Congressional District is fellow Republican Mike Collins.

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Governor Bill Lee and State Department of Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn to Announce New School Funding Legislation

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and Tennessee Department of Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn are scheduled to announce legislation for the new student-based funding formula, known as the Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement formula (TISA) this week. According to an emailed statement, Lee and Schwinn are scheduled to present the legislation on Thursday, February 24.

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Georgia Legislator Burt Jones Files Bill to Create New ‘Back the Blue’ Fund

Senator Burt Jones (R-Jackson) filed a bill last week that would, if enacted into law, allow Georgia residents to contribute money to increase law enforcement officers’ pay. Georgia residents would subsidize this Back the Blue fund through motor vehicle insurance policies. According to the language of the bill, SB 532, state residents would pay into this fund voluntarily.

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Stonecrest Mayor Pleads Guilty to Stealing Georgia COVID-19 Relief Funds

The former mayor of Stonecrest and a bookkeeper who administered COVID-19 relief funds to the town pleaded guilty in federal court this month to charges related to the theft of pandemic relief funds. Per federal rules, Stonecrest officials could only spend these relief funds on necessary expenditures related to the pandemic that occurred between March 2020 through December 2020. They include medical and public health expenses as well as grants to reimburse businesses for lost business during COVID-19.

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Nonprofit Blasts Georgia Officials for Lack of Transparency on Rivian Deal

Georgia officials recently announced that the company Rivian will construct a $5 billion Electric Vehicle (EV) manufacturing plant in Morgan and Walton counties, but no one knows how much money the company took in government incentives. This, according to a statement that the Washington, D.C.-based Good Jobs First issued this month. According to its website, Good Jobs First is a policy resource center that promotes corporate and government accountability in economic development.

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Tennessee Titans Officials Won’t Say Whether They’ll Call Upon Nashville Taxpayers to Help Pay for Possible Replacement Stadium

Tennessee Titans officials want to renovate Nissan Stadium, but those renovations would likely cost $600 million, and now people are talking about simply constructing another stadium altogether — possibly with money from taxpayers. Nashville’s finances aren’t in the greatest shape.

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Georgia State Senate Members Want Political Candidates to Spend Campaign Expenses on Personal Childcare

Sixteen Democrats and two Republicans in the Georgia State Senate filed legislation this week that would, if enacted into law, allow political candidates to use campaign funds on childcare and other caregiving expenses. Senator Nikki Merritt (D-Grayson) is the primary sponsor of the bill, SB 523. On Thursday she did not return The Georgia Star News’ requests for comment.

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Top Georgia Official Indicted for Allegedly Faking Pregnancies Through Family and Medical Leave Act

Members of a Fulton County grand jury have indicted a former top-ranking state official for allegedly and repeatedly lying that she was pregnant just so she could take advantage of the Family and Medical Leave Act. That woman, Robin Folsom, 43, previously directed external affairs for the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency. This, according to a statement from the Office of the Inspector General (OIG).

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New Poll Gives Joe Carr Comfortable Lead in Race for Rutherford County Mayor

A new poll reveals strong support for former Tennessee State Representative Joe Carr’s campaign for Rutherford County mayor. The Oregon-based Triton Polling and Research released the poll this week. The company polled 455 likely Rutherford County voters between January 19 through January 21 of this year, according to a press release.

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Buckhead City Committee Members Say Georgia Legislators’ Recent Actions Will Endanger Lives

BUCKHEAD —  Georgia General Assembly members have, for this year, written off legislation that would allow Buckhead residents to vote on separating from Atlanta, but members of Buckhead’s City Committee aren’t done and announced new priorities Wednesday. Buckhead City Committee members held a press conference at Buckhead City Headquarters. There, they announced that Bill White will continue to serve as the Buckhead City Committee CEO. Committee members then called on Governor Brian Kemp, Speaker of the House David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge), and other high-ranking GOP legislators to use their clout to push for a vote.

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State Senator Ken Yager Files Bill Addressing School Staffing Challenges in Tennessee

Tennessee State Senator Ken Yager (R-Kingston) has filed a bill in the Tennessee General Assembly that he said would, if enacted into law, help school districts across Tennessee address ongoing staffing challenges.

The bill, SB 2702, would allow retired members of the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System (TCRS) to seek reemployment as a K-12 teacher, K-12 substitute teacher, or as a K-12 bus driver. This, without the loss or suspension of the retired member’s TCRS benefits, Yager said in an emailed statement.

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Brad Raffensperger Calls for More ‘Policing’ to Protect Georgia’s Election Integrity

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger this week said state officials must do more to protect the integrity of the state’s elections, and, toward that end, he said it’s time for the state to provide additional security. Raffensperger called for greater vigilance of elections in a statement that his office published Monday. He also said it was essential for state officials to take extra steps to protect voters and poll workers. Raffensperger said the state can accomplish this by dispatching state law enforcement resources at polling places, early voting locations, and county election offices where officials handle absentee ballots.

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Government Could Increase New Home Construction Costs in Georgia by Mandating They’re Wired to Charge Electric Vehicles, Expert Says

Some people want to mandate that every new home comes wired ready to charge electric vehicles (EVs), and those mandates, if enacted, would likely raise a home’s construction costs. And the people who want those mandates will likely push for them in about two years, said Home Builders Association of Georgia Vice President Austin Hackney.

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Stephanie Kang Alleges in Internal Memo Nashville Public Health Department Has Pattern of Sexism, Racism, Homophobia

A high-ranking and controversial Nashville Metro Public Health Department (MPHD) official apparently sent a memo to MPHD board members to complain about the department’s alleged instances of bullying, sexism, racism, and homophobia. The Tennessee Star obtained a copy of that memo on Monday. Stephanie Kang, who directs the MPHD’s Bureau of Racial and Health Equity, apparently distributed the memo last week.

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Certain Candidates for Nashville’s Community Oversight Board Have Record of Hostility, Mistrust Toward Police

Members of the Nashville Metro Council are scheduled to vote on Tuesday on appointing or reappointing open seats on the city’s Community Oversight Board (COB). Several social justice advocates critical of law enforcement serve on the Nashville COB.

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Jody Hice Announces Election ‘Integrity Fly Around Tour’ for Georgia

Representative Jody Hice (R-GA-10), currently running to replace Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, will launch a statewide tour later this month to address election integrity and connect with voters. Hice announced that this Election Integrity Fly Around Tour will commence Tuesday, February, 22. No one from Hice’s campaign returned The Georgia Star News’ request for comment on Monday.

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Weston Wamp’s Campaign for Hamilton County Mayor Could Attract Votes from Democrats

Hamilton County mayoral candidate Weston Wamp’s stance on former President Donald Trump could help Wamp attract votes from county Democrats.

This, according to a Saturday opinion piece that cited a recent Tennessee Star article about Wamp.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press published the column and said Wamp “spends a lot of time talking about national issues.”

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Buckhead City Committee Members Say All is Not Lost, Despite Setback in Georgia General Assembly

Members of the Georgia General Assembly are unwilling to move forward with legislation that would allow Buckhead residents to vote later this year on forming an independent city. But members of the Buckhead City Committee, who have pushed for a vote, said media reports about the matter lack important context.

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