Court: Tennessee Can Enforce Down Syndrome Abortion Ban

A federal appeals court ruled Friday that Tennessee can begin outlawing abortions because of a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome, as well as prohibit the procedure if it’s based on the race or gender of the fetus.

Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Lee enacted the so-called “reason bans” earlier this year as part of a sweeping anti-abortion measure. The law gained national attention because it banned abortion as early as six weeks — making it one of the strictest in the country — but it included several other anti-abortion components.

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U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen Lectures Tennessee Republicans to Stop Destroying America and Stop Defending Donald Trump

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN-09) this weekend used his Twitter to hurl another personal attack at U.S. President Donald Trump while he also accused Trump of using the recent election to divide people.

As The Tennessee Star has reported many times, Cohen has made countless divisive remarks about Trump and Republicans.

On Saturday, Cohen linked to a TikTok video and ridiculed Trump, whose hair in the video appeared white.

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Tennessee’s Top Republicans Request Two Things: Vote Tuesday and Recruit Your Friends To Do The Same

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), U.S. Rep. Mark Green (R-TN-07), and U.S Senate Republican candidate Bill Hagerty urged their supporters to vote Tuesday and to also re-elect U.S. President Donald Trump.

They did so Sunday at Franklin’s Liberty Hall inside The Factory, where State Sen. Jack Johnson (R-Franklin) hosted his annual Boots & Jeans, BBQ & Beans event.

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Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee Gets High Marks in New Report on Economic Freedom During COVID-19

Bill Lee

  Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee ranks seventh in The American Legislative Exchange Council’s new scorecard that assesses America’s 50 governors on policy performance and leadership before and after the start of the COVID-19 health crisis. Members of the Arlington, Virginia-based ALEC released their 2020 Laffer-ALEC Report on Economic Freedom Tuesday.…

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Tennessee to Receive Two Million COVID-19 Rapid Tests from White House

Governor Bill Lee announced during the weekly Tuesday briefing that Tennessee will receive around 2 million rapid viral tests for COVID-19. The tests from BinaxNOW will come in staggered shipments throughout the end of the year.
BinaxNOW tests are significantly more cost-effective and quicker at giving results. They are also more comfortable than the standard deep nasal swab. Instead of going up the nose and into the back of the throat, swabs will go just inside the nose.

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Davidson County Election Commission Suing Citizens for Putting Tax Cut on Ballot, Calling it ‘Unconstitutional’

The Davidson County Election Commission has recruited a legal team to sue the citizens’ group Americans for Prosperity-Tennessee (AFP-TN) for its December ballot tax cut petition.
Former Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Bill Koch will serve as lead council, and Junaid Odubeko the co-council.

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Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles Tells Bill Lee and John Cooper That it’s Time to Open up Tennessee

 

Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles said Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee and Nashville Mayor John Cooper can heal an economy wounded after COVID-19, and Ogles said now is the time to do so.

Simply put, Ogles said Middle Tennessee is Tennessee’s economic engine and what happens there reverberates throughout the rest of the state. He also said it’s time for the state to go back to what life was like February, before COVID-19 impacted the United States. Ogles also said it’s safe to do so.

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Tennessee Projects 65 Percent Learning Loss in Math, 50 Percent Loss in Third Grade Reading After COVID-19 Closures

Reading proficiency among Tennessee third-graders is projected to drop by 50%, and math proficiency is projected to drop by 65% because of COVID-19-related school closures, according to preliminary projections released by the Department of Education.

Gov. Bill Lee and Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn announced the projected learning loss during a news conference at the state Capitol on Wednesday.

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Nissan Moves Production Back to U.S.A. With Smyrna, Tennessee Plant

Nissan began efforts to move production to the United States on Tuesday by manufacturing the 2021 Rogue in Smyrna, Tennessee.
Nissan predicts the Rogue’s longstanding popularity will lead to its “turnaround as the company’s top-selling U.S. model,” according to their press release.

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Former TDOE Employees Warn That Penny Schwinn Jeopardizes Tennessee’s Public Schools As Well As Bill Lee’s Reelection Chances

Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) Commissioner Penny Schwinn’s leadership problems could trickle down to the state’s public schools, and parents are right to worry.

Additionally, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, who appointed Schwinn, should worry that she could cost him reelection in 2022.

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Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn Has Created ‘a Fairly Abysmal’ Work Environment, Former Employees Allege

Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) Commissioner Penny Schwinn and her leadership skills have created a toxic work environment and driven too many talented state workers away and into the private sector, said three former TDOE employees.

These are the same three sources who criticized Schwinn in an article that The Tennessee Star published Wednesday. Those sources spoke on condition of anonymity. They said the problems within the department started when Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee appointed Schwinn. And the sources also said the difficulties began not despite Schwinn — but because of her.

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Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles Formally Asks Tennessee Governor Bill Lee to Fire Penny Schwinn

Tennessee Department of Education Commissioner (TDEC) Penny Schwinn must leave, said Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles on Wednesday.

Ogles posted on his Facebook page that Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee must remove Schwinn. Ogles said he formally called on Lee to do this only hours after he read Wednesday’s Tennessee Star article that quoted three former TDEC higher-ups. Those former employees, speaking anonymously, denounced Schwinn and her alleged on-the-job behavior. They said she falsified government records, ridiculed Lee at TDEC staff meetings, and lied to avoid appearing in public alongside U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

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Former Tennessee Department of Education Higher-Ups Criticize Commissioner Penny Schwinn

Three former high-level Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) officials who left the department voluntarily criticized their former boss, Commissioner Penny Schwinn, in exclusive interviews with The Tennessee Star.

The former officials spoke with The Star on the condition of anonymity.

Their criticisms of Schwinn are withering, and include the following allegations.

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Lee Says Tennessee Legislature Should Not Limit Executive Emergency Powers

Gov. Bill Lee believes the Tennessee Legislature should not limit the existing executive emergency powers of the governor, Lee’s staff told a committee reviewing executive emergency powers.

The ad hoc study committee, co-chaired by Sen. Ferrell Haile, R-Gallatin, and Rep. Jason Zachary, R-Knoxville, met for a second time Thursday to hear testimony from Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery, members of the governor’s executive staff and others.

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On New Podcast, Gov. Bill Lee Talks Juggling Public Safety Versus Keeping Tennessee’s Economy Going

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said this week that protecting public safety while also protecting the state’s small businesses during COVID-19 is his administration’s primary “balancing act” and it was “heartbreaking” to watch small businesses close.

Lee also said he and other state officials used stimulus money to help the state’s business owners.

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Child Well-Being Check Initiative Withdrawn After Uproar in Tennessee

 The Tennessee Department of Education has withdrawn a $1 million initiative to conduct well-being checks for all children in Tennessee from birth to age 18 after the program sparked uproar this week, with critics calling it a big-brother government overreach.

Gov. Bill Lee and Education Commissioner Dr. Penny Schwinn released the Child Wellbeing Check Toolkit during a news conference Tuesday. As originally published, the initiative recommended well-being checks for all children in the state to verify well-being as school closures have left gaps for nutrition, health, and abuse reporting services amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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Tennessee Defends COVID-19 Response to Oversight Chair

Gov. Bill Lee on Wednesday defended Tennessee’s response to the coronavirus pandemic after receiving criticism from a top Democratic congressional leader, arguing that his decisions have been “data driven” despite not adhering entirely to White House recommendations.

“Our response has focused on reducing bureaucratic barriers, strengthening private sector partnerships, and finding every opportunity to protect the lives and livelihoods of Tennessee,” Lee, a Republican, said in a three-page letter to South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn.

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Gov. Lee Says State Will Do ‘Whatever It Takes’ to Defend Heartbeat Bill in Court

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said Tuesday the state will do “whatever it takes” to defend the pro-life Heartbeat Bill in court.

U.S. District Judge William “Chip” Campbell in Nashville blocked the pro-life measure just hours after Gov. Lee signed it into law Monday.

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Liberals Praise Trump-Appointed Judge for Blocking Tennessee’s Heartbeat Bill

Pro-abortion advocates praised a Trump-appointed judge for blocking Tennessee’s Heartbeat Bill from becoming law.

U.S. District Judge William “Chip” Campbell in Nashville blocked the pro-life measure just hours after Gov. Bill Lee signed it into law Monday. Campbell’s mother, Beth Campbell, serves as a Republican National Committee member for Tennessee, the Tennessee Republican Party confirmed.

“An activist judge barely waited until the ink was dry to promote his own pro-choice view. We cannot allow the lives of unborn children to be jeopardized by radical judges. As your Senator, I will only vote to confirm justices who stick to the Constitution,” said Manny Sethi, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate.

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Trump Approves Disaster Declaration for 20 Tennessee Counties Impacted by May Storms

The federal government granted Gov. Bill Lee’s request this week for a major disaster declaration for 20 Tennessee counties impacted by severe weather in early May.

President Donald Trump announced in a Thursday press release that he approved the declaration, which will make federal funding available for state and local recovery efforts in the affected areas.

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Tennessee Highway Patrol Arrests Left-Wing Activist Justin Jones and Other Protestors

Authorities have released left-wing activist Justin Jones from the Davidson County Jail after Tennessee Highway Patrol officers arrested him and several other activists at Legislative Plaza.

As reported, Jones and several of those activists have taken turns occupying that space for weeks as they demand a meeting with Gov. Bill Lee.

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Cohen Urges Lee to Remove Nathan Bedford Forrest Bust, Rename State Park

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN-09) urged Gov. Bill Lee to remove a bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest from the State Capitol and rename a state park that bears his name.

In a letter sent to Lee Monday, Cohen asked the Republican governor to “demonstrate leadership on an issue that causes so much pain in the Black community in Tennessee.”

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Gov. Lee Announces Law Enforcement Reform Partnership to Improve Police Training, Policies

Gov. Bill Lee announced a new partnership last week with law enforcement agencies across the state in an effort to reform policing in Tennessee.

“The intent of this partnership is the desire to ensure law enforcement are consistently reflecting the values of the communities they serve,” Lee explained in a press release.

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Gov. Bill Lee Grants County Mayors Authority to Issue Mask Mandates

Gov. Bill Lee signed an executive order Friday granting the mayors of 89 counties the authority to issue local face mask mandates.

Six Tennessee counties – Sullivan, Knox, Hamilton, Davidson, Madison, and Shelby – have local health departments, and therefore already have the authority to issue mask requirements as needed, Lee’s office explained.

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Tennessee Planned Parenthood Members Burn American Flag in Defense of Abortion

Members of the Tennessee chapter of Planned Parenthood gathered at an unspecified location this week and posted a Twitter video of themselves incinerating an American flag.

Those same Planned Parenthood members then placed the burning flag into a garbage container before someone extinguished the flames with a fire extinguisher.

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Dave Ramsey Expands Headquarters in Williamson County, Adds New Jobs

Ramsey Solutions CEO Dave Ramsey announced this week that the Williamson County-based Ramsey Solutions will invest $52 million to expand its corporate headquarters in Franklin and create 600 jobs.

Ramsey announced this in a press release on the Tennessee Department of Community and Economic Development’s website. Ramsey announced this with Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee and ECD Commissioner Bob Rolfe.

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Abortion Groups Sue Tennessee Over Newly-Passed Heartbeat Bill, Down Syndrome Abortion Restrictions

Bill Lee

Tennessee was immediately sued by a cohort of liberal organizations Friday after the General Assembly passed its pro-life heartbeat bill.

The bill passed the Tennessee House in a vote of 69-17 and was then approved by the Tennessee Senate 23-5.

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Law Enforcement Officers Prevent Protesters from Occupying Legislative Plaza for Second Night

Law enforcement officers were able to prevent demonstrators from camping out in Legislative Plaza for a second night Saturday.

Gov. Bill Lee failed to enforce state law Friday night and allowed left-wing protesters to occupy the plaza throughout the night and into Saturday morning, The Tennessee Star reported. More than 100 protesters claimed Friday that they had taken control of Nashville’s Legislative Plaza and refused to leave until speaking with Lee.

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Taylor Swift, Reese Witherspoon Join Calls to Remove Confederate Statues in Tennessee

Taylor Swift called on Tennessee leaders Friday to remove monuments “that celebrate racist historical figures who did evil things.”

“Edward Carmack and Nathan Bedford Forrest were despicable figures in our state history and should be treated as such,” Swift said in a statement posted on Twitter Friday.

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Gov. Bill Lee Fails to Remove Anarchist Protesters from Legislative Plaza, Who Camped There Overnight

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee failed to enforce state law Friday night and allowed left-wing activist Justin Jones and a handful of his fellow protesters to camp out in Legislative Plaza, pitching tents and sitting on the steps of the plaza throughout the night and into the morning.

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Gov. Bill Lee Says He Will Not Tolerate Anarchy at Planned ‘Defund the Police’ Protest

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said Friday afternoon that state officials will not entertain any criminal behavior at a demonstration scheduled for 5 p.m. today at Legislative Plaza.

Organizers have scheduled the event, which they call “Free Capitol Hill” at 5 p.m. Central today. In a Facebook flyer organizers do not address the venue as “Legislative Plaza.” Instead they refer to the landmark as the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (Formerly Legislative Plaza).”

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Tennessee National Guard Soldiers Sent to DC Amid Unrest

About 1,000 citizen-soldiers with the Tennessee National Guard were deployed to the nation’s capital this week to help keep the peace outside the White House.

Like many major cities, Washington has seen massive demonstrations in response to the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was allegedly murdered by Minneapolis police. Many of the protests have taken a violent turn as Washington braced for what was expected to be its largest protest yet Saturday night.

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Gov. Bill Lee Outlines Big Spending Cuts

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee on Thursday outlined new spending plans for state government that reflect significant revenue reductions due to the economic impact of COVID-19.

Department of Finance and Administration Commissioner Butch Eley presented state lawmakers with the revised budget plans for the current fiscal year, as well as FY 2020-21, which begins July 1, 2020, and a framework for the following fiscal year, 2021-22.

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Beacon Center of Tennessee Sends Legislature A Guide to Remove Burdensome Regulations

The Nashville-based Beacon Center of Tennessee released a new solutions guide for Gov. Bill Lee and the state legislature on Friday that focused on making some of the deregulation done by executive order during the COVID-19 pandemic permanent.

This, according to an emailed press release Beacon put out Friday.

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Tennessee Lifts Restaurants and Retail Capacity Restrictions

Gov. Bill Lee announced Friday that Tennessee is lifting its capacity restrictions for restaurants and retail on May 22.

“Tennesseans have worked incredibly hard to do their part and help slow the spread of COVID-19 so that our state can begin to reopen. Thanks to their continued efforts, we’re able to allow restaurants and retail businesses to operate at greater capacity and large attractions to open in a safe and thoughtful way,” Lee said.

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Gov. Bill Lee Not Keen on Voting by Mail in Tennessee

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said Tuesday that fear of catching COVID-19 is not reason enough to vote by mail in the coming elections.

“I think that what we want to do in this state is remove the reason to have fear about going to the polling booths. We have worked really really hard to set up businesses in a way that people can feel safe to go into them, and we’re going to do the same thing with our elections,” Lee said at a press conference Tuesday.

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Tennessee Providing Names And Addresses of COVID-19 Patients to Law Enforcement, Report Reveals

The Tennessee government is providing the names and addresses of COVID-19 patients to law enforcement agencies and other first responders, documents obtained by the Associated Press reveal.

According to a memorandum of understanding (MOU) obtained by the outlet, the Tennessee Department of Health is “disclosing” the information to the Tennessee Emergency Communications Board, which in turn passes the information along to first responders.

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23,000 Tennesseans Have Received Free COVID-19 Tests, State Has Completed Twice as Many Tests as Kentucky

Gov. Bill Lee said more than 23,000 Tennesseans have received a free COVID-19 test at one of 67 drive-through testing sites over the past three weekends.

“Testing remains one of the most important tools for gaining more information in our fight against COVID-19, and the 23,000 tests we’ve completed over the last three weekends have provided incredibly valuable data,” Lee said in a statement. “We’re grateful to the thousands who came out to receive a test this weekend and we continue to remind Tennesseans: when in doubt, get a test.”

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