Denver Schools Facing ‘Unprecedented Challenge’ with Influx of Migrant Students

Alex Marrero

Denver’s public school system has been taking in as many as 250 new students a week since the new year, which it attributes to the increase in the number of migrants arriving in the city.

Denver Public Schools Superintendent Alex Marrero called the situation an “unprecedented challenge” in a message to the community posted on the district’s website. The district said the influx of new students will cost an additional $837,000 “to support additional needs across the system.”

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Trump Campaign Has Outraised Biden Campaign in Pennsylvania

Donald Trump Joe Biden Pennsylvania Fundraising

Donald Trump (R) has raised the most money from Pennsylvania state of all presidential candidates, with $2.14 million raised since the start of the campaign cycle. Trump raised $502,595 in the fourth quarter of 2023. Joe Biden (D) has raised the next most from Pennsylvania, with $1.5 million since the start of the campaign and $943,704 in the fourth quarter.

Twenty-three notable presidential candidates, including those who have dropped out of the race, raised a total of $6 million from Pennsylvania donors between Jan. 1, 2023, and Dec. 31, 2023. Thirty-five notable candidates raised $47.6 million in Pennsylvania during the 2020 election cycle, while 25 raised $25 million during the 2016 election cycle.

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Foreign-Owned Social Media Platforms Could Face New Florida Restrictions

People on Phones

Foreign-owned social media platforms such as TikTok could face a big change in the Sunshine State if a bill currently being advanced by the Florida Senate gets signed into law.

Senate Bill 1448 is sponsored by state Sen. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, and would add transparency for social media platforms operating in Florida that are owned by foreign adversaries.

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Congressional Watchdog Questions Reliability of U.S. Financial Statements, Cites ‘Serious Financial Management Problems at the Department of Defense’

The Pentagon

A Congressional watchdog said Friday that it was again unable to determine if the federal government’s consolidated financial statements were reliable.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office, which is Congress’s research arm, said it was hampered by “serious financial management problems at the Department of Defense,” problems in accounting for transactions between federal agencies, weaknesses in the process for preparing the statements and inadequate support for the cost of loan programs from the Small Business Administration and Department of Education.

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Lawmakers Consider Bill to Prevent Arizona Cities from Defunding Local Police Departments

The Arizona House Rules Committee is scheduled to discuss legislation on Monday that would prevent cities from decreasing funding to their local police departments.

Rep. David Marshall, R-Snowflake, is the sponsor of House Bill 2120, and it has already passed the House Military Affairs & Public Safety committee in an 8-7 party-line vote this past Monday.

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Transit Ridership Slightly Climbing but Still 22 Percent Short of Pre-COVID Levels

Bus Riders

Transit ridership has seen a significant decline across the U.S. since the beginning of COVID-19. Although now rising slowly, transit agencies are still seeing a 22% drop from peak pre-COVID ridership.

Overall weekly ridership went from 196.3 million the week of Jan. 26-Feb. 1, 2020 to 152.7 million the week of Feb. 4-10, 2024. That’s according to reports from the American Public Transportation Association.

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Americans Unhappy with Biden’s Handling of Immigration

Illegal Immigrants

Immigration has become a toxic issue for President Joe Biden, with many voters citing it as their top problem with the president, according to newly released survey data.

Gallup released the poll, which was taken in January and found that only 41% of Americans approved of the job Biden is doing as president while 54% disapprove. Among those disapproving of Biden’s work, 19% cite immigration as the reason, far more than any other specific issue.

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Former CEO: High Interest Rates ‘Killing’ Companies as Layoffs Continue

Bob Nardelli

President Joe Biden is blaming corporations for high prices and “shrinkflation.” Business executives and many economists disagree, arguing the real problem is inflation created by federal deficit spending policies.

Ahead of the Super Bowl, Biden posted a video on X saying, “While you were Super Bowl shopping, did you notice smaller-than-usual products where the price stays the same? Folks are calling it Shrinkflation and it means companies are giving you less for every dollar you spend. I’m calling on the big consumer brands to put a stop to it.”

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Michigan Petition Drive Aims to Repeal State Control over Large Wind, Solar Farms

Solar Panel Farm

A voter-led petition seeks to repeal a Michigan law that allowed the state to seize local control of large-scale wind and solar projects.

The Michigan Farm Bureau and the Michigan Townships Association say Public Act 233 of 2023 strips local siting authority in 1,240 townships and gives it to the Michigan Public Service Commission – three people appointed by the governor.

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Virginia Energy Bills Progressing in House and Senate

Solar Panel Installation

Virginia marches toward a greener future with its 2024 legislative session halfway through.

Clean energy enthusiasts in the House of Delegates and the Senate continue to build on the momentum gained by the passage of the Virginia Clean Economy Act, with legislation promoting the use of electric vehicles, energy efficiency, renewables, solar energy and greener buildings. Here’s a roundup of legislation that has been successful so far.

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Gov. McMaster Signs Bill to Ban ESG from South Carolina’s Retirement System

Gov. Henry McMaster

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster ceremonially signed a measure mandating the state’s retirement system to consider only “pecuniary factors” when making investment decisions.

H.3690, the ESG Pension Protection Act, effectively bans the South Carolina Retirement System Investment Commission from weighing environmental, social and governance factors and orders the system to maximize the highest rate of return for beneficiaries. The state House passed the measure by a 103-5 margin, while the state Senate passed it 45-0.

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Connecticut Delegation Blasts Army over Helicopter Contract

Blackhawk Helicopter

Connecticut’s congressional delegation is calling on the Army to provide more details about its decision to reject a local company’s bid for a multimillion-dollar defense contract to build long-range helicopters.

Sikorsky Aircraft, maker of the iconic Blackhawk helicopters, submitted a proposal to the Army in 2018 to develop a new armed scout helicopter. But last week, the Army announced that it was scrapping its Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft program, delivering a major blow to the company.

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Florida House Reworks Bill That Would’ve Restricted State Guard Deployments

Florida National Guard

A bill that would have possibly prevented Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis from sending the Florida State Guard to the nation’s southern border has been rewritten to remove that provision.

Instead, House Bill 1551, sponsored by state Rep. Mike Giallombardo, R- Cape Coral, was replaced by a committee substitute authored by the Infrastructure & Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee.

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South Carolina House Passes Clean Constitutional Carry Bill

South Carolina Gun Bill

The South Carolina House advanced a clean Constitutional Carry bill, returning the measure to the state Senate and potentially setting up another showdown.

The state House rejected a Senate-amended version of H.3594, the South Carolina Constitutional Carry/Second Amendment Preservation Act of 2023. In a letter, the head of a pro-gun rights group said Senate-introduced amendments violate the Second Amendment.

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U.S. Senate Passes $95 Billion Foreign Aid Bill to Ukraine, Israel

Chuck Schumer

The U.S. Senate passed a $95 billion foreign aid bill for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan after days of delay from Republicans who did not want to pass the funding without provisions to secure the southern border.

The legislation passed early Tuesday morning after a filibuster largely led by U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., ended. Now the legislation goes to the House, where it remains unclear if they can get the votes.

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AG Kris Mayes Backs Federal Rule Prohibiting Controversial ‘Junk Fees’ Brought to Light by Artist Taylor Swift

Kris Mayes

Attorney General Kris Mayes is in support of a crackdown on “junk fees.”

Junk fees are added charges that are typically not shown until a purchase is right about to be made, and it may not serve a clear purpose. The Federal Trade Commission is pushing for a Trade Regulation Rule on Unfair or Deceptive Fees in order to prevent companies employing the controversial practice.

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Lawmakers Consider Bill to Classify Some Fatal Fentanyl Poisonings as First Degree Murder

Fentanyl pills

An Arizona bill would increase the criminal penalties for those convicted in a fentanyl-related death.

Senate Bill 1344, introduced by state Sen. Anthony Kern, would make certain fentanyl drug deaths classified as first-degree murder. This means someone could face life behind bars or the death penalty if they are found guilty, according to a state law. 

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Report: Farm, Food Prices Rise Under Net-Zero Climate Rules

Farmer Working

Farms and families will pay significantly more under the Biden administration’s net-zero climate policies, a new report from an Ohio-based policy group says.

The Buckeye Institute’s Net-Zero Climate-Control Policies Will Fail the Farm shows farmers will see a 34% rise in operational costs under the policies and family grocery bills will increase 15% based on modeling.

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Report: Unfunded Cost of Retirement Benefits Reaches $1.14 Trillion

New Jersey Capitol

New Jersey, California, New York, Texas and Illinois face a hundred billion plus deficit when it comes to paying for the benefits other than pensions promised to state retirees.

The State of New Jersey’s unfunded liability for post-retirement benefits other than pensions in state health care plans reached $174.9 billion in 2022. That was the highest in the country, according to a report by the American Legislative Exchange Council. The report stated the nationwide costs of state-sponsored post-retirement benefits reached $1.14 trillion in 2022.

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Ohio Appalachian Region Getting $85 Million Assistance for Innovation Centers

Gov. Mike DeWine

Ohio plans to funnel $85 million in federal taxpayer dollars to its Appalachian region to develop new community innovation centers to help with education, behavioral health care and jobs.

The money is available for K-12 school districts, joint vocational school districts, regional councils of government or other political subdivisions in the state’s 32-county Appalachian region.

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Virginia Legislation to Limit Removal of Explicit Content from Schools Advances

Democratic-sponsored bills meant to inhibit censorship of books with sexually explicit content are advancing through the Virginia House of Delegates and the Senate this session — and not just along party lines.

House Bill 571, sponsored by Del. Karrie Delaney, D-Fairfax, passed the House Education Committee Wednesday 14-8, with two Republicans — Del. Carrie Coyner, R-Chesterfield, and Del. Baxter Ennis, R-Chesapeake — voting for the legislation. 

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South Carolina House Republicans Plan Clean ‘Constitutional Carry’ Measure

The South Carolina House Republicans plan to introduce a clean “Constitutional Carry” measure after declining to proceed with an amended version the state Senate passed, exposing a rift within Republican ranks over one of the party’s top priorities.

The state House rejected H.3594, the South Carolina Constitutional Carry/Second Amendment Preservation Act of 2023, which the Senate passed last week. However, the head of a pro-gun rights group sent a letter to House members saying the Senate’s amended version violates the Second Amendment

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