Commentary: Will Tennessee’s Representatives Restore Representative Government to Tennessee?

When Governor Lee’s COVID-19 Executive Order first ordered certain businesses to close, I looked up the law on which he relied and saw it passed while I was still in the state Senate. My heart sank on the assumption I probably voted for it. However, this week’s Executive Order delegating authority to county mayors to require county residents to wear facemasks or face state criminal sanctions sent me to the Tennessee Code to see if I’d really voted for a law that would allow that. I did not, and it is time we tell our state legislators to put an end to law by executive branch fiat.

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Judge Theodore Chuang Rules Women Can Get Abortion Pill Without Doctor Visit

A federal judge agreed Monday to suspend a rule that requires women during the COVID-19 pandemic to visit a hospital, clinic or medical office to obtain an abortion pill.

U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang, an Obama appointee based in Maryland, concluded that the “in-person requirements” for patients seeking medication abortion care impose a “substantial obstacle” to abortion patients and are likely unconstitutional under the circumstances of the pandemic.

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Analysis: President Trump Was Correct About the Rapid Economic Rebound Post-Shutdown as Another 630,000 Americans Come Off Unemployment Benefits

Another 630,000 Americans came off continuing unemployment claims the week ending June 27, according to the latest unadjusted data from the U.S. Department of Labor, proving President Donald Trump is right about the economy rapidly recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic state-based shutdowns.

Since the week ending May 9, unadjusted continuing unemployment claims have dropped from 22.8 million to 16.8 million the week ending June 27, a massive turnaround of 6 million Americans who temporarily found themselves on unemployment benefits but then rapidly came off of it on a net basis.

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Commentary: In-Person Schooling Would Be One of the Safest Activities to Reopen

Most students around the country haven’t been to school since March, when large parts of the country began to lock down in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the data increasingly suggests that reopening schools entails the least risks and should be a goal of every level of government.

The early hope was that the closures would be temporary, such as Michigan’s school-closure order that was originally meant to end in April—but that was extended for the rest of the school year.

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Ohio Ends 2020 Fiscal Year with General Tax Revenue Down $1.1 Billion

Ohio concluded the 2020 fiscal year with General Revenue Fund tax revenues of $1.1 billion, or 4.6 percent, below estimates, a clear indication of the impact the COVID-19 restrictions have had on the state.

Tax revenues in June were $50.5 million, or 2.2 percent, below estimate. However, state officials noted that revenues were better than a month earlier when they were 13 percent below expectations.

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Former Obama Official Asks Walz to Reclose All Bars for Indoor Service in Minnesota

One of former President Barack Obama’s top health care officials said he asked Gov. Tim Walz to reclose all bars in Minnesota during a Sunday phone call.

Andy Slavitt, the former acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said he urged Walz and Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm to close “all of the bars to indoor service across the state of Minnesota” to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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Governor Walz Extends Minnesota’s Peacetime Emergency Through August 12 as the Legislature Targets Police Reform, Bonding Bill

The Minnesota legislature kicked off its second special session Monday, and Gov. Tim Walz signed Executive Order 20-78, extending the COVID-19 peacetime emergency through Aug. 12.

Walz first declared a peacetime emergency on March 13.

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Tennessee State Representative Contracts COVID-19

A Tennessee state lawmaker says he has tested positive for COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus.

State Rep. Kent Calfee (R-Kingston) said on Facebook on Friday that both he and his wife have tested positive. The 71-year-old Kingston lawmaker said his wife is receiving treatment and he is self-isolating, though he is not experiencing symptoms.

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State Department of Labor Takes Steps to Catch Up as Tennesseans Wait on Unemployment Claims

Jeff McCord

More than a quarter of a million Tennesseans have open unemployment claims with the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

While some unemployed claimants have waited more than nine weeks to receive a first benefit payment, the department said it is continuing to adapt to meet the unprecedented demand.

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Federal Judge Eli Richardson Rules Against Nashville Bar Owners: Stay Closed for Now

A judge has ruled against some Nashville bar owners who sought a temporary restraining order against city officials in an effort to push back against coronavirus restrictions.

Federal Judge Eli Richardson denied the request, the mayor’s office and the plaintiffs’ attorney told news outlets on Sunday.

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Board Members of Nonprofit Founded by Dr. Sethi Attacked Sen. Blackburn in Ads, and One Oversees Mayor Cooper’s COVID-19 Task Force

One board member of nonprofit Healthy Tennessee, founded by Dr. Manny Sethi, has taken positions excusing protestors for spreading the coronavirus, and he and another director have attacked U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn.

Alex Jahangir and Jesse Ehrenfeld were listed as directors of Healthy Tennessee on the nonprofit’s 2018 Form 990EZ, available here.

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Walz Calls Another Special Session, Says He Will Extend COVID-19 Emergency Powers

Gov. Tim Walz said he plans to extend his COVID-19 peacetime emergency declaration for another 30 days when lawmakers return to St. Paul Monday for a special session.

The governor announced Friday night that he has convened a special legislative session for July 13, the same day his peacetime emergency declaration is set to expire. According to Minnesota law, the governor must convene both houses of the Legislature if he wishes to extend a peacetime emergency when the Legislature is not in session.

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Majority of Minnesota Parents Say They Are Comfortable Sending Children Back to School in Fall

A survey conducted by the Minnesota Department of Education found that the majority of parents would feel comfortable sending their children back to school this fall.

Between June 15 and July 6, the agency collected more than 130,000 responses to the informal survey, which was offered in English, Hmong, Spanish, and Somali. A total of 64 percent of respondents said they would feel comfortable sending their children back to school in September. Of that 64 percent, 94 percent said they would send their children back to school full time.

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Lamar Alexander Criticizes Trump’s Decision to Leave WHO

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said he disagrees with President Donald Trump’s decision to terminate the United States’ membership in the World Health Organization (WHO).

The Trump administration formally notified the United Nations this week of its decision to leave WHO, The New York Times reported.

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Nashville Mayor John Cooper Says Dramatic Tax Increases on Struggling Businesses Are Necessary

Because of COVID-19, Nashville business owners will likely have their worst year ever, but Mayor John Cooper said at Thursday’s press conference that they and others in the city must still pay dramatically higher property taxes.

As The Tennessee Star reported last month, Nashville Metro Council members voted to impose a 34 percent property tax hike upon city residents.

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People in Nashville with COVID-19 Who Attended Black Lives Matter Rallies Could Potentially Lie About It to Contact Tracers

There’s no way to know for certain if people in Nashville who caught COVID-19 are telling the truth when they said they didn’t march in any recent political rallies honoring George Floyd or Black Lives Matter.

A spokesman for the Nashville Metro Health Department said as much this week.

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Buckeye Institute Sues Over Law Allowing Columbus to Collect Income Taxes From Commuters Despite Emergency Order Preventing Them from Working in the City

The Buckeye Institute said that it and three employees filed a lawsuit over the taxing of workers’ income in Columbus since they do not live in the city and were not allowed to work there during Ohio’s Stay-at-Home order.

The lawsuit, which is available here, was filed in the Court of Common Pleas in Franklin County.

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Jason Lewis Says Parents Should Be Refunded for Property Taxes If Schools Don’t Reopen

Republican Senate candidate Jason Lewis said parents should be refunded for property tax payments and tuition if schools aren’t allowed to reopen in the fall.

“The more we learn about COVID, the more it becomes apparent that we have done a huge disservice to our children in the way we have handled this virus. Research has proven that COVID presents minimal risks to young people. But what isn’t minimal is the toll this prolonged lockdown and social isolation has on our kids’ social, mental, and physical well-being,” Lewis said in a statement released Wednesday.

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Crom Carmichael Talks Mask-Non Education Mandates and Questions the Left’s Continuation of Bad Public Policy

Live from Music Row Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed the original all-star panelist Crom Carmichael to the studio.

During the third hour, Carmichael talked about the unrealistic science being used to mandate masks nationwide. He added that data supports that children under the age of 12 are unable to contract or contaminate older people and advocated the importance of getting them back into school.

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Republican Lawmaker Proposes Bill to Sell Minnesota’s $6.9 Million COVID-19 Morgue

A Republican lawmaker has drafted a bill that would require Minnesota to sell a facility it purchased for the storage of deceased COVID-19 patients.

Due to a projected surge in COVID-19 fatalities, the state of Minnesota spent $6.9 million in May to acquire a warehouse for the “temporary storage of human remains.” As of early June, however, the facility had yet to be used.

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Walz Expected to Call Another Special Session to Extend Emergency Powers

Gov. Tim Walz is expected to call another special session by the end of the week in order to extend his peacetime emergency powers.

House Speaker Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park) alerted members and staff in a Monday email about the likely special session.

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Hosts Leahy and Kellett Discuss Mandated COVID-19 Face Masks

Live from Music Row Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed early edition co-host, Doug Kellett to the studio.

During the first hour, Leahy and Kellett discussed the lack of data to support the face mask mandate across the nation. Leahy noted that the public health officials at healthaffairs.org had used analyses providing supporting evidence that face masks only reduced the spread of coronavirus by only two percent.

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Support Exists for Tennessee Special Session to Address Stalled COVID-19 Liability Protection

Gov. Bill Lee plans to call a special legislative session to take up COVID-19 liability protection that Tennessee lawmakers debated but did not pass last month.

While an executive order Lee signed Wednesday limits liability for licensed health care workers responding to the coronavirus, it leaves businesses, local governments and school districts across the state open to COVID-19-related lawsuits.

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Bill Hagerty Says No to COVID-19 Mask Mandate During Signal Mountain Stop

U.S. Senate candidate Bill Hagerty reportedly said last weekend that governments in Tennessee should not require residents to wear a mask to guard themselves against COVID-19, according to the Chattanooga-based WRCB.

Hagerty reportedly said this as he appeared alongside U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN-03) in Signal Mountain.

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Slow Processing, Lost Markets Mean New Challenges for Livestock Farmers

The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on many sectors of the economy and livestock farming is one of them.

Closures of public spaces such as schools, restaurants, bars, and hotels mean decreased demand for meat products. In addition, outbreaks of coronavirus-caused illness at meatpacking plants caused some large operations to shut down temporarily, swamping small mom-and-pop operations that are now booked into spring 2021.

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Minnesota Board of Medical Practice Investigating Republican Senator for Speaking Out on COVID-19

State Sen. Scott Jensen (R-Chaska), a practicing physician, revealed Sunday that anonymous complaints were filed against him with the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice for his public comments on the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is one of the most important videos I’ve made and one of the hardest,” Jensen said in a video posted to Facebook. “Less than a week ago, I was notified by the Board of Medical Practice in Minnesota that I was being investigated because of public statements I had made.”

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Gov. DeWine’s Company, which Owns a Minor Baseball Team in North Carolina, Gets Loan from Federal Virus Aid Program

A company partly owned by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine is among those that received loans from a $600 billion-plus coronavirus aid program.

The data released Monday shows DeWine Seeds-Silver Dollar Baseball received a loan under the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program for a range of $150,000 to $350,000.

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Tennessee’s COVID-19 Case Count Rising, Although More Than 30,000 State Residents Have Recovered

  As of Sunday night Tennessee has had a total of 51,431 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 646 deaths. Officials at The Covid Tracking Project reported the latest numbers on their website Sunday night. The website also reported that the virus has hospitalized 2,871 Tennesseans. Exactly 949 of those Tennesseans remain…

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Michigan AG Nessel Will Comply with U.S. House ‘Partisan’ Request to Investigate Whitmer’s COVID-19 Nursing Home Policies

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel defiantly responded to a letter from U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., regarding the number of nursing home deaths in the state attributed to COVID-19.

Scalise is ranking member of the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on the Coronavirus. His June 25 letter – also signed by Reps. Jim Jordan, R- Ohio; Blaine Luetkeymer, R-Mo.; and Jackie Walorski, R-Ind. – followed a similar letter to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to which she did not respond.

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COVID-19 Liability Reform Measure Flounders in Tennessee

Just a few weeks ago, Tennessee looked like a sure bet to become the latest state to protect businesses and other organizations from lawsuits by people impacted by the coronavirus in the push to reopen the economy. Republican Gov. Bill Lee had talked up the change and touted his advocacy on tort reform as a businessman, and he had GOP lawmakers in supermajorities lined up to seal the deal.

That was before negotiations among lawmakers broke down so badly in the hectic waning hours of legislative work that the generally mild-mannered Senate Speaker Randy McNally accused two House leaders of working with “a cabal of Democrats and attorneys to defeat the legislation and place our entire economy in danger.”

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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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STUDY: Anti-Malarial Drug Used to Treat Lupus Helped COVID-19 Patients Survive, Despite Media Claims

An anti-malarial drug that President Donald Trump hyped as a potential therapy for the coronavirus helped some patients survive the disease while in the hospital, according to research published Wednesday.

Some of those who received hydroxychloroquine before acute symptoms began were much less likely to die from the virus, according to researchers at Henry Ford Health System in Michigan. Their findings come after other studies determined that the experimental drug provided little or no benefit to people struggling with the coronavirus, or COVID-19.

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Host Leahy and Tennessee State Senator Jack Johnson Discuss Gov. Lee’s State of Emergency Extension

Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson to the studio.

At the end of the third hour, Leahy and Johnson answered calls from concerned parents about Governor Lee’s state of emergency extension that will last until August 29 and touched upon the potentiality of spreading COVID-19 through elementary and high school students.

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Nashville Cancels July 4 Fireworks Show as City Reverts to Phase Two of its COVID-19 Plan

Citing an increase in COVID-19 cases, Nashville Mayor John Cooper announced Thursday that the city will go back to the second of its four-phased rollout to reopen the city.

Nashville will formally go from Phase Three back to Phase Two on Friday. The city will remain in Phase Two for the next several weeks, Cooper said at a press conference Thursday.

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Commentary: Blue States Have Been Hit Much Harder by COVID-19

In March, data guru Nate Silver wrote about the different ways blue states and red states were experiencing the COVID-19 epidemic, noting that “states Clinton won do have considerably more total reported cases.”

COVID-19 was not just a blue state problem though. Silver pointed out that cases in red states were increasing far more rapidly.

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Walz Says Statewide Mask Mandate Is ‘On the Table’

Gov. Tim Walz said a statewide mask mandate to help curb the spread of COVID-19 is “on the table” during a Monday press conference.

According to Walz, Republican governors who participated in a Monday phone call with Vice President Mike Pence were also “exploring the idea.”

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Britain’s Boris Johnson says COVID-19 Has Been a Disaster

Prime Minister Boris Johnson acknowledged Monday that the coronavirus pandemic has been a “disaster” for Britain, as he announced a spending splurge designed to get the country — and his faltering Conservative government — back on track.

As the U.K. emerges from a three-month lockdown, Johnson has lined up big-money pledges on schools, housing and infrastructure, in an attempt to move on from an outbreak that has left more than 43,000 Britons dead — the worst confirmed death toll in Europe.

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Dr. Simone Gold Commentary: We Do Not Consent

It is clear to me as a physician-lawyer that the disinformation about both Covid-19 and the Constitution has caused us to turn a medical issue into a legal crisis.

The scientific usefulness of a mask has been so aggressively overstated, and the foundational importance of the Constitution has been so aggressively understated, that we have normalized people screaming obscenities at each other while hiking.

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Scrutiny Intensifies as Congressional Republicans Probe Michigan’s COVID-19 Reponse

senior citizen

Congressional Republicans intensified their questioning of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s nursing home policies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Members of the U.S. House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis sent a letter asking Michigan’s Attorney General Dana Nessel to investigate the impact of Whitmer’s executive orders that placed COVID-19 patients into the same buildings, but different units, as elderly nursing home residents.

They also sought investigations into four other state governors who set similar policies.

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