Memphis Police Department’s SCORPION Unit ‘Permanently Deactivated’

The Memphis Police department announced Saturday that the controversial SCORPION unit has been permanently deactivated on the heels of overnight protests in the city and across the nation.

“It is imperative that we, the Memphis Police Department, take proactive steps in the healing process for all impacted,” the statement said.

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Trump Releases Video Statement on His Plan for Dealing with Atlanta Riots

Former President Donald Trump released a video statement Friday prompted by the riots in Atlanta, calling out the perpetrators and declaring what his actions would be as president under the same circumstances.

Protests against the construction of a new police training facility on Wednesday, January 18 turned violent days later when a man allegedly shot a state trooper during a law enforcement operation at the site. When police shot back, the man died, The Georgia Star News reported.

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Tennessee Representative John Rose Named Vice Chairman of House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations

Tennessee Representative John Rose (R-TN-06) was selected to serve as vice chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

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Five Memphis Police Officers Charged in Beating Death Belonged to 40-Member SCORPION Unit with History of Violence, Poor Training, and Lack of Supervision

The five former Memphis police officers who were charged last week with second degree murder in the beating death of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols were part of a special, 40-member SCORPION (Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods) unit established in October 2021 by Memphis Police Department Chief Cerelyn Davis and Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, a Democrat.

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Tennessee Airports Continue Request for $125 Million in Annual State Funding

Tennessee’s airports came to a Senate committee Wednesday again asking to receive $125 million in annual state funding as the state continues to lower the fuel taxes that once funded those airports.

The state has put an individual company cap on annual fuel tax payments starting at $10.5 million in 2015 and dropping to a $5 million cap in 2023. That means that funding in the state Transportation Equity Fund dropped from $56.6 million in 2018 to $14 million in 2023.

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Virginia Senate Panel Defeats Abortion Bans

 A panel of Virginia Senate lawmakers voted down Republican-backed bills seeking to enact bans on abortion in the commonwealth Thursday, including a 15-week ban backed by Gov. Glenn Youngkin. 

The Senate Education and Health Committee voted to defeat a bill making it unlawful for physicians to perform an abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy unless the life of the mother is at risk, or the pregnancy is as a result of rape or incest.

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Feds Sending $4 Million to Georgia for McIntosh County Ferry Service

The feds are sending $4 million to the Georgia Department of Transportation to buy a new electric ferry.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources will use the ferry for its passenger service between Meridian and Sapelo Island in McIntosh County. The new ferry will replace an older vessel to continue daily transit service.

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Surge in Illegal immigration from Cuba, Haiti to Florida Continues

In the first three months of fiscal 2023, U.S. Coast Guard’s 7th District-Southeast crew apprehended and repatriated a record number of Haitians and Cubans attempting to illegally enter Florida by sea.

In the first three months of fiscal 2023, the Coast Guard apprehended 1,766 Haitians and 5,183 Cubans, it reported.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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Clint Brewer Comments on Speaker Kevin McCarthy Keeping Schiff and Swalwell off Previous House Committees

Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed all-star panelist Clint Brewer to comment on the recent conviction by Speaker Kevin McCarthy to keep both Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell off their previous committees.

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All-Star Panelists Roger Simon and Clint Brewer Speculate Biden Document Leaker and Optics of the U.S. House Speaker Election

Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed all-star panelists Clint Brewer and Roger Simon in studio to discuss Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s news spine, optics of his election, and who leaked Biden classified docs to CBS.

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Roger Simon Weighs in on the U.S. Supply of 31 Abrams Tanks to Ukraine

Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed all-star panelist Roger Simon in studio to comment upon the recent decision by the Biden administration to supply Ukraine 31 Abrams tanks in their war with Russia.

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Former Director of the Office of Management and Budget David Stockman Discusses America’s Out-of-Control Spending

Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed the author of The Great Money Bubble and former director of the Office of Management and Budget during the Reagan administration, David Stockman on the newsmaker line to breakdown the ramifications of a national budget spun out of control.

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Senator Marsha Blackburn Introduces Bill that Would Reinstate U.S. Service Members Who Were Fired for Refusing COVID-19 Vaccine

Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) joined 17 of her Republican colleagues this week in introducing a bill requiring the Secretary of Defense to offer reinstatement to service members who were fired over the military’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

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Five Ex-Memphis Police Officers Charged with Murder in Connection to Death of Tyre Nichols

Five former Memphis police officers on Thursday were taken into custody and charged with murder in connection to the death of Tyre Nichols, according to jail records.

The former officers have been identified as Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith.

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Fairfax County’s Thomas Jefferson High School Found Not Denoting Honors Class Designation on Student Transcripts

Administrators at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology (TJ) in Fairfax County, Virginia, failed to make Honors classes notations on the official school transcripts of their students, Parents Defending Education (PDE) has discovered.

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Tennessee Firearms Association Looking for Plaintiffs for Possible Lawsuit Against the State over Gun-Free Zones

The Tennessee Firearms Association (TFA) is looking for plaintiffs to take part in a possible lawsuit against the state of Tennessee pertaining to the state’s gun-free zones.

A lawsuit is being prepared for filing in state court against the State of Tennessee that will address gun-free zones and whether those zones violate the constitution, according to the TFA.

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Georgia Gov. Kemp: ‘State of Our State Has Never Been Stronger’

In his State of the State Address, Governor Brian Kemp touted progress in his first term, and laid out next steps that include increased education, incentives for law enforcement and healthcare professionals, and targeted Medicaid expansion through the Georgia Pathways to Coverage program. “Over the last four years our greatest…

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Georgia Police Officer Resigns After Being Put on Leave for Facebook Post on Traditional Marriage

A Georgia police officer has resigned after he was told by superiors that he could not share his personal religious views on social media.  

“If someone somewhere considers an opinion I have—that isn’t a direct quotation from Scripture—to be offensive, then that would be a fireable offense,” Jacob Kersey, the former officer, told The Daily Signal.

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DOJ Indicts Radical Activists for Attacking Florida Pro-Life Facilities

Following attacks on over 78 pro-life groups across the nation, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has finally indicted two pro-abortion activists for attacking pro-life facilities in Florida.

Twenty-seven-year-old Caleb Freestone and 23-year-old Amber Smith-Stewart “targeted pregnancy resource facilities and vandalized those facilities with spray-painted threats,” according to the DOJ. The threatening language that the two used to vandalize the pro-life facilities mirrors that of the terrorist group Jane’s Revenge.

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Bill to Establish Permanent Daylight Saving Time Defeated in Virginia Senate

After discussing the measure at length, lawmakers in the state Senate voted to kill a bill seeking to establish permanent Daylight Saving Time in Virginia. 

Following debate and discussion that at times prompted laughter in the chamber, lawmakers ultimately voted down Senate Bill 1017, which proposed ending the practice of changing the clocks twice a year, and would keep Virginia on daylight saving time. 

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Davidson County Republican Party Chair Candidate Lonnie Spivak Describes His Background in Political Activism

Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed candidate for Davidson County Republican Party Chair, Lonnie Spivak in studio to further discuss his political experience and and professional background.

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Davidson County Republican Party Chair Candidate Lonnie Spivak Discusses Past Politics and How He Can Help Turn Things Around

Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed Lonnie Spivak in studio to discuss his past involvement in politics and how his professional experience could help turn the Davidson County Republican Party around.

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OANN’s Reporter Neil W. McCabe Comments on Mike Pence’s Document Discovery

Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed national correspondent for One America News, Neil W. McCabe to weigh in on the recent documents found at former Vice President Mike Pence’s private residence and what becomes of the Biden family’s crooked dealings.

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Rutherford County Mayor Joe Carr Explains the Benefits of the Proposed 2023 Property Taxpayers Protection Act

Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed Rutherford County Mayor Joe Carr to the newsmaker line to explain the details of the proposed 2023 Property Taxpayers Protection Act.

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Four Memphis Carjackers to Serve a Combined 66 Years in Prison for Shooting at Law Enforcement Officers

Four men have received federal prison sentences after being convicted of carjacking, assaulting a federal officer, and using a weapon during the crimes committed in Memphis nearly two years ago.

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Avian Influenza Detected in West Tennessee Poultry Flock Amid Increasing Egg Prices

The highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) was recently detected in a commercial broiler chicken flock at a farm in Weakley County, the Tennessee State Veterinarian announced.

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Audit: $13,700 Bonus Paid to Dickson County Director of Schools Not Approved by Board

An audit of Dickson County schools found Director of Schools Danny Weeks received $13,700 in compensation as part of a federal grant that was not part of his contract.

That payment also was not approved by the Dickson County Schools board.

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Court Settlement Lowers Tennessee Concealed Carry Age to 18

Those who are 18 to 20 can now openly carry firearms in Tennessee after a settlement was reached between the Firearms Policy Coalition and the state.

The settlement came as the result of a suit following Tennessee’s law on open carry restricting those who are 18 to 21 from being part of the allowance.

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Pro-Life Advocates Pushing Personhood Legislation in Georgia

Pro-life activists expect Georgia Republicans to file two bills granting equal rights to the unborn; the bills would impact exceptions currently in place under Georgia’s heartbeat law that bans abortions after six weeks.

Georgia Right to Life (GRL) Executive Director Zemmie Fleck said the heartbeat bill grants some rights, mostly to the mother, including counting the unborn in the census. It includes exceptions for certain circumstances surrounding conception or health.

“This would actually say all of those children who are classified in the rape and incest category or the fetal anomaly category, or the life of the mother category, those children also — they have equal protection of their life, and they have the equal recognition that they are persons to be treated just like a born person,” she said.

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Youngkin’s Business, Personal Tax Cuts Pass Out of House

The Virginia House of Delegates passed Governor Glenn Youngkin’s bills to cut the business tax rate from six to five percent and the top  individual income tax bracket from 5.75 to 5.5 percent. The two bills would also increase individual and business income tax deductions.

“Virginians are still overtaxed, they deserve to keep more of their hard-earned paychecks and today’s significant move by the House of Delegates means Virginians are one step closer to additional relief,” Governor Glenn Youngkin said in a release after the bills passed out of the House on Wednesday.

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Florida’s DeSantis Announces Sweeping Reforms That Include ‘Teacher Bill of Rights’

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis held a news conference in Jacksonville on Monday to propose sweeping changes to education, including a Teacher’s Bill of Rights which will empower educators to be leaders in their classrooms.

In the proposed legislation, teachers will have their paychecks protected, while $1 billion will go towards teacher pay increases. School board members will have a maximum term of eight years, instead of twelve.

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Epoch Times Reporter Lawrence Wilson Discusses the Decline in Big City Public School Enrollment

Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed education reporter Lawrence Wilson for The Epoch Times to the newsmaker line to talk about the national decline of public-school enrollment and its financial repercussions in big cities. 

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Aaron Gulbransen and TC Weber Discuss Literacy Testing and the Tennessee General Assembly’s Big Issues

Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed education reporter for The Tennessee Star, TC Weber and official guest host, Aaron Gulbransen in studio to define literacy testing and discuss the Tennessee General Assembly’s big issues.

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Education Guru TC Weber Talks Chiefs for Change and Third Grade Retention Bill

Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed education reporter for The Tennessee Star, TC Weber in studio to explain the group, Chiefs for Change and Tennessee’s third-grade retention bill.

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The Tennessee Star Education Reporter TC Weber Questions Bill Lee’s Education Priorities

Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed education reporter for The Tennessee Star, TC Weber in studio to comment upon Bill Lee’s 2023 priorities absent of education and questions the whereabouts of Penny Schwinn.

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Hosts Leahy and Gulbransen Speculate Who Benefits from the Classified Documents Scandal

Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed official guest host Aaron Gulbransen in studio to examine who would benefit from Biden’s classified document debacle and why.

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Local Tennessee School Districts Navigating Changes in State Funding Formula

Tennesse’s school districts have started preparing their individual budgets for the 2023-2024 school year. They are doing it while contending with a new state funding formula and with limited guidance from the Tennessee Department of Education(TDOE). The change in formula completely alters how district allocations from the state are calculated. In the past, the state has provided calculations for local districts. This year, that too will change.

In notes obtained by The Tennessee Star from a call between the TDOE and the Superintendent Study Council, local officials were informed that the department will soon be sending out Data Verification Packets to districts that will include district-specific data from 1st, 2nd, and 3rd 20-day reporting periods. Districts are required to report attendance counts at 20-day intervals throughout the year.

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