Eastern Washington Legislators Urge Biden to Lift Vaccine Mandate for Border Travel

Two U.S. Representatives from Eastern Washington have signed onto a letter that urges the Biden Administration to drop all vaccine requirements for people entering the United States from Canada.

Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane, and Dan Newhouse, R-Sunnyside, say the decision to send the letter follows Canada lifting vaccine mandates for international travelers entering the country despite Biden’s refusal to follow suit.

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Reporting, Staff Turnover Contribute to Pennsylvania Audit Troubles

Recent audits show that poor accounting practices can cause Pennsylvania townships to lose out on thousands of dollars, either in interest from a pension fund or from state aid.

A September audit of Dunkard Township in Greene County, for example, found that administrative mistakes caused an overpayment from state aid, among other issues, and required the township to repay nearly $5,000. 

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The DNC Wants to Block Wisconsin Lawsuit over Incomplete Absentee Ballots

The Democratic National Committee is looking to join the legal fight over incomplete absentee ballots in Wisconsin.

The DNC on Monday filed to join the lawsuit seeking to allow local election clerks to continue filling in missing information from ballots they receive this fall.

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Georgia Gov. Kemp Signs Another Extension of the State’s Gas Tax Moratorium

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has extended the suspension of the state’s collection of taxes on motor and locomotive fuel.

The governor also extended the supply chain state of emergency. Both orders will be effective through Nov. 11, shortly after the election.

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Florida AG Moody Issues Another Warning About Price Gouging, Disaster Scams in Aftermath of Hurricane Ian

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody is issuing another warning to Floridians to be aware of fraudsters attempting to take advantage of those impacted by Hurricane Ian.

“Hurricane Ian devastated Floridians, destroying homes and leaving thousands without food, water or electricity,” Moody said. “Rebuilding will take months or longer – creating an inexhaustible demand for qualified contractors and debris removal services.

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Arizona School District Gave Out $68 Million in Bonuses Using COVID-19 Emergency Money

Tucson Unified School District gave employees $68 million in retention bonuses and vaccine stipends, according to Superintendent Gabriel Trujillo in a document given to the school board.

Trujillo made the statement in a Sept. 13 report, which stated, “Over $68 million invested in our employees through the payment of retention and vaccine stipends.”

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Gubernatorial Hopeful Tudor Dixon Pledges to Protect Line 5 from Whitmer’s ‘Attacks’

Although there are many telling differences between Michigan’s 2022 gubernatorial candidates, energy policy may be the most significant from an economic perspective for families.

Democrat incumbent Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has led the charge to close the Line 5 dual pipeline that has spanned the Straits of Mackinac since 1953, whereas Republican challenger Tudor Dixon has pledged to keep the hydrocarbons flowing through the five-mile stretch of pipeline positioned on the lakebed of Lake Michigan.

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Wisconsin Test Scores Show Slight Bump in Math, Drop-Off in Reading

The latest snapshot of Wisconsin schools shows that kids are still not back to where they were before the coronavirus closed some schools for more than a year.

Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction on Thursday released the scores from the Forward Exam for elementary school kids, the ACT Aspire for freshmen and sophomores, and the ACT for high school juniors.

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Hundreds of Virginians Have Had Firearms Confiscated Through Red-Flag Laws

Hundreds of Virginians have had their guns confiscated from them through red-flag laws since those rules went into effect more than two years ago, according to data in the Virginia Firearms Transaction Center.

Red-flag laws allow police to seize firearms from a person if a judge deems him or her to be a threat to himself or others, even if that person has not been convicted of a crime, charged with a crime or even accused of a crime. The laws passed the General Assembly when Democrats had control of both chambers and were signed by former Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam. The legislation received staunch opposition from the Republican minority at the time.

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‘Parents Bill of Rights’ Introduced in Ohio House

Ohio school districts would not be able to discourage or prohibit parental involvement in decisions about their child’s mental health if the General Assembly passes a recently-introduced Parents Bill of Rights Act.

House Bill 722 would require schools to draft a policy that promotes parental involvement in their child’s education in honor of that policy.

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Iowa Joins Coalition of States Including Minnesota, Wisconsin, to Sue China-Owned Subsidiary Syngenta and Indiana-Based Corteva

The State of Iowa is suing pesticide manufacturers Syngenta and Corteva.

Ten states and the Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint Thursday in the U.S. District Court in the Middle District of North Carolina.

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Researchers Say Better Data Is Needed to Verify Claims, Extent of Teacher Shortages

New research on the demand for teachers highlights the lack of information about teacher shortages at all levels of government.

A working paper from Brown University found that “teacher shortages are still poorly understood, and it remains unclear whether there is a shortfall of teachers on the national scale or if shortages are localized – a key component of the current debate around teacher shortages.”

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Maricopa County Announces ‘Election Command Center’ to Combat Misinformation

Maricopa County, Arizona, has formed what it refers to as an “election command center” in hopes of combatting election misinformation, adding officials will vet journalists who they deem qualified to participate in the events.

A group of six elected officials plus elections and communications professionals have worked together to establish the “2022 Elections Command Center”, according to a press release from the county’s office.

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Three More Counties Want Texas to Declare Invasion at Southern Border; Total at 32

Three more counties are the latest to express support for Texas declaring an invasion at the southern border, bringing the total to 32.

The judge and county commissioners of Ector County, in the Permian Basin, signed a Declaration of Local State of Disaster on Sept. 27 stating the “health, safety, and welfare of Ector County residents are under an imminent threat of disaster from the unprecedented levels of illegal immigration, human trafficking, and drug smuggling coming across the U.S. border from Mexico.”

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Tennessee Closing In on $6 Billion in Sports Wagers Since Online Wagering Opened in November 2020

If trends hold, by the end of next month Tennessee will have seen $6 billion in sports wagers since the state opened legal online sports gambling in November 2020.

Then, the state had four sportsbook operators in Action 24/7, BetMGM, FanDuel and DraftKings.

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Georgia Judge Strikes Down Part of Rivian Electric Truck Plant Deal

A Morgan County judge has struck down a key component of a deal to entice an electric vehicle manufacturer to build a plant in Georgia.

Earlier this year, the Georgia Department of Economic Development and the Joint Development Authority of Jasper, Morgan, Newton and Walton counties announced a deal to give incentives totaling $1.5 billion to electric vehicle manufacturer Rivian Automotive. The company plans to build a $5 billion plant at Stanton Springs North along Interstate 20 in Morgan and Newton counties.

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Pennsylvania Senate Race Tightens; Economy and Crime Focal Points

Though polls in the race for Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate seat have shown Democrat John Fetterman with a comfortable lead, it may be narrowing.

As the Nov. 8 election draws closer, Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz trails Fetterman 45% to 43%, according to a new poll of very likely voters released today by Emerson College and The Hill.

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Policy Group Says Intel’s Ohio Tax Breaks Could Be Better Spent

An Ohio nonprofit policy research group criticized state approval of up to $650 million in tax breaks for Intel’s $20 billion project in central Ohio, saying the money could be used for schools or seniors rather than large corporations.

Policy Matters Ohio, a Cleveland-based research group, called the Ohio Tax Credit Authority’s approval earlier this week of the incentives a missed opportunity and challenged the state’s openness and accountability.

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No Chance of Winning’: Four Female Athletes Challenge Connecticut High School Transgender Policy

Four female athletes are locked in a legal battle over transgender athletes that could set major precedent for the same fight playing out in schools around the country.

The four female athletes appealed to a federal court over a Connecticut policy allowing high school males identifying as females to compete against girls. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit heard Soule v. Connecticut Association of Schools this week, where the girls’ legal team argued the policy is unfair to girls and hands female sports victories over to transgender athletes.

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Florida Attorney General Warns Potential Looters of Consequences During State of Emergency

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody is warning people not to loot during the state of emergency resulting from widespread destruction caused by Hurricane Ian.

She issued a warning to criminals on Friday, saying, “you will spend maximum time allowed by law behind bars.”

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Michigan Legislature OKs $1 Billion Spending, Mostly Economic Development

The Michigan Legislature approved a $1 billion spending plan primarily meant to attract critical state projects. The supplemental spending bill was passed Wednesday over objections from some Republican lawmakers that the spending package wouldn’t benefit taxpayers in the long run.

The state is spending a $7 billion taxpayer surplus.

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Major Government Unions Lose over 200K Members

The top four public labor unions in the U.S. lost hundreds of thousands of members since a 2018 Supreme Court case that ruled government employees could not be forced to pay a union to keep their job, a new report shows that.

The Commonwealth Foundation released the report, which found that the top four public labor unions – AFT, AFSCME, NEA, and SEIU – lost nearly 219,000 members altogether since the Janus v. AFSCME ruling.

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Minneapolis Ranks as Best City Nationally for People with Disabilities

While Minneapolis tops WalletHub’s ranking for best cities for people with disabilities, St. Paul comes in 14th.

WalletHub released its “2022’s Best & Worst Cities for People with Disabilities” report on Tuesday. In the report, WalletHub assessed physical and economic challenges of managing a disability by analyzing 34 indicators of disability-friendliness in 182 cities that related to three equally weighted categories: economy, “quality of life” and health care. WalletHub selected the 150 most populated U.S. cities and at least two of the most populated cities in each state.

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21 Attorneys General Want U.S. Supreme Court to Uphold Immigration Law

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich is leading a group of 21 attorneys general in an amicus brief regarding federal immigration law.

The attorneys general are asking the Supreme Court of the United States to uphold a federal statute to enforce federal immigration law in United States v. Hansen.  

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Michigan Mother Sues School Board over COVID-19 Policy ‘Retaliation’

After Sandra Hernden voiced her opinion to the Chippewa Valley School District school board, she says the district retaliated.

Now she’s suing the district with help from the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation, alleging the board violated her First Amendment rights. Her request in damages if successful, is a public apology and one dollar.

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Companies Donate More than $10 Million in One Day to Help Floridians

Companies nationwide donated more than $10 million in one day to help Floridians in the aftermath of destruction caused by Hurricane Ian.

Ian, which is believed to be the costliest storm in U.S. history, has devastated communities throughout much of southwest and central Florida.

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Federal Court Rules for Wisconsin Catholic School in Split Busing Decision

Parents at the St. Augustine School in Colgate could soon be putting their kids on the school bus after a federal judge ended a long-simmering court battle over Wisconsin’s school choice busing program.

A federal judge in Milwaukee last week issued a final decision in the case that questioned both First Amendment religious protections and Wisconsin state law.

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Inflation Rose More than Expected in August, Federal Data Shows

Inflation rose more than expected in August, leaving Americans facing even higher prices on a range of everyday purchases, according to newly released federal inflation data.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis released the pricing data, which showed the Personal Consumption Expenditure excluding food and energy, a key marker of inflation, rose 0.6%, higher than expected by Dow Jones.

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Poll: 79 Percent of Americans Are Dissatisfied with America’s Direction

Only a fraction of Americans is satisfied “with the way things are going in the U.S.,” according to a new poll.

Gallup released the survey data, which showed that 79% of Americans are dissatisfied with the direction the country is headed, compared to only 21% of Americans who say the opposite.

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Maricopa County Attorney Says She Won’t Prosecute Women Who Have Abortions

Will Maricopa County prosecute women who have abortions under the state’s old abortion ban?

Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell posted a video on Facebook Tuesday clarifying Arizona state law regarding abortion and that she will not prosecute women who have the procedures.

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Government Agencies Buying Cellphone, Internet Data to Track Americans

In a little noted trend, law enforcement agencies at every level of government are increasingly buying data from private, third-party data brokers on Americans’ phone and internet activities in order to track them, often without a warrant.

While proponents say this practice provides critical help for investigations, critics argue it poses a serious violation of civil liberties that needs to be addressed through legislation.

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U.S. Treasury Department Awards $125 Million to Georgia-Based Financial Institutions

The U.S. Department of the Treasury has awarded more than $125 million to Georgia-based institutions under programs that support community financial institutions to help small and minority-owned businesses.

The 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act established the Emergency Capital Investment Program. Under the program, the feds allocated $9 billion to Community Development Financial Institutions and Minority Depository Institutions.

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Michigan Won’t Tax Forgiven Public Student Loans

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said on Wednesday that the forgiven student loans of about 1.4 million Michiganders won’t be treated as taxable income.

Typically, the Internal Revenue Service treats debt forgiven as taxable income, meaning that Michiganders could have been taxed student loan debt wiped by President Joe Biden’s plan for Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

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Wisconsin Representative Questions Elections Commission’s New Elections 101 Lessons

One of the Republican lawmakers in Madison who continues to have questions for the Wisconsin Elections Commission isn’t impressed with the Commission’ new lessons for kids.

The Elections Commission this week launched what it’s calling Election 101 lessons for high schoolers across Wisconsin.

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Ohio’s Fetal Heartbeat Law Stopped for Another 14 Days

Ohio officials are expected to return to court in Hamilton County for a hearing Oct. 7 after a judge extended a ban on the state’s fetal heartbeat bill for another 14 days.

The decision continues to allow abortions in the state through 20 weeks, pausing a state law that stopped most abortions after the first fetal heartbeat is detected, which is usually around six weeks. The law, signed by Gov. Mike DeWine in April 2019, went into effect when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade earlier this year.

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Economic Growth in Northeast Pennsylvania Comes with Coal Mine Cleanup

A rush of federal money will boost Pennsylvania’s ability to address abandoned mining land, but the commonwealth will not be able to rely on federal dollars for most of the funding.

The Senate Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee met on Tuesday to discuss the impact of the anthracite coal industry in northeastern Pennsylvania – both its environmental costs and its economic potential.

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Ohio to Spend COVID Funds on Drug Task Forces and Bridge Repairs

Ohio plans to spend more than $2 million worth of federal COVID-19 relief funds on more than two dozen local drug task forces around the state, Gov. Mike DeWine announced.

The money, DeWine said, would be used to disrupt drug trafficking and promote substance use awareness, prevention and recovery.

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Despite Slight Uptick, Gas Prices in Tennessee Are 7.42 Percent Lower than Last Month

Despite a slight uptick in the past day, gas prices in Tennessee are still lower than they were a month ago.

According to data from AAA, the average price per gallon was $3.193 per gallon, up slightly from the day before, which was $3.186. That’s still 7.42% cheaper than the average price in the Volunteer State was a month earlier at $3.449 per gallon.

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Georgia Ports Authority Approves $60 Million Terminal Expansion in Brunswick

The Georgia Ports Authority approved $60 million for upgrades to its Colonel’s Island Terminal in Brunswick, the country’s second busiest port for total roll-on, roll-off cargo.

A GPA spokeswoman told The Center Square that the authority is pulling the funding for the infrastructure and upgrade projects from port revenues. The money will go toward additional buildings, property development and civil infrastructure to expand Ro/Ro capacity.

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New England Governors Push for Home Heating Assistance

New England governors are pressing the federal government for a supplement aid package supporting home heating assistance to residents this winter.

Led by Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, the governors penned a letter to congressional leaders expressing their desire to see approval of President Joe Biden’s request for the emergency supplemental funding package that would assist residents with home heating assistance.

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DeSantis to Reporter: ‘Stop Politicizing’ Hurricane Response

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis pushed back against a reporter who he said was trying to politicize the state’s hurricane preparedness efforts.

The governor has been giving multiple briefings daily. At one briefing Tuesday, a reporter asked about remarks made by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administrator Deanne Criswell earlier in the day.

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Fired Michigan Physician Assistant Claims Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Director Called Her ‘Evil’ for Not Using Preferred Pronouns

A physician assistant at a University of Michigan hospital in west Michigan claims she was told she was evil and was responsible for the suicide of transgender people by the health system’s director of diversity and was later fired because she refused to acknowledge the preferred pronouns of patients.

The First Liberty Institute, a nonprofit legal organization, spelled out Valerie Kloosterman’s grievances against the University of Michigan Health-West hospital system in a Sept. 27 letter that demands Kloosterman be rehired. First Liberty claims that Kloosterman’s religious rights were violated.

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Wisconsin Republican Party Sues over Milwaukee Get-Out-The-Vote Effort

A lawsuit is brewing over Milwaukee’s 2022 get-out-the-vote effort.

The Republican Party of Wisconsin on Wednesday filed an open records lawsuit against Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson and the city’s Elections Commission.

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Ohio Economists Split on Progressiveness of Electric Vehicle Fees

A group of Ohio economists disagree over moves by the state and the country as a whole toward electric vehicles and whether government investment in electric vehicle infrastructure is cost-effective.

Nearly half of the 19 economists at Ohio colleges and universities surveyed by Scioto Analysis said the state’s current $200 annual fee for registering electric vehicles is progressive, while a little more than half believed spending tax dollars on EV infrastructure is likely to be more cost-effective than providing the same amount in tax credits.

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Allowing Fentanyl Test Strips Advances in Pennsylvania Senate

Republican legislators in the General Assembly have embraced a harm-reduction approach to deal with drug overdose deaths.

The Senate Judiciary Committee last week advanced a House bill to legalize fentanyl test strips by removing them from the definition of “drug paraphernalia.” The strips can detect fentanyl in other drugs such as heroin, which can help users avoid accidental overdoses.

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Poll: Arizona Democrats Riding on Abortion Rights to Make Up for Poor Biden Approval

Democrats in Arizona say they’re more interested in November’s election, with abortion laws becoming their battle cry. But, they will have to outwork President Joe Biden’s mid-term approval ratings.

A recent Arizona Public Opinion Pulse poll from OH Predictive Insights found that 59% of Arizona voters think there should be limits on which abortions should be legal in the state, while just 9% say it should be illegal in all instances; the latter category supports a stricter law than the one that is currently on the books in Arizona. Meanwhile, 41% of voters said abortion should be legal in all circumstances.

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Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Calls January 6 Subpoena ‘Clearly Political’

Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has a guess as to how he ended up on the subpoena list for the January 6 committee. Namely: Politics.

Vos on Monday said he intends to fight the subpoena from the Democratic panel in Washington that has spent the past year looking into the riots at the U.S. Capitol.

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