LG Chem Announces $3.2 Billion Investment in Tennessee

A cathode manufacturer is set to make the largest foreign investment in Tennessee in the Volunteer State’s history, according to the Department of Economic and Community Development (TDECD).

“LG Chem’s anticipated investment of approximately $3.2 billion represents the single largest announced foreign direct investment in Tennessee’s history. The project is expected to create 860 new jobs in Montgomery County,” according to a TDECD press release. “The Clarksville facility will be the largest of its kind in the U.S. and is expected to produce roughly 120,000 tons of cathode material annually by 2027, which is enough to power batteries in 1.2 million electric vehicles with a range of 310 miles per charge.”

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Commentary: Tennessee Healthcare CON Job

Americans are still recovering from COVID lockdowns – by far one of the worst examples of chaos created by government intrusion. Career bureaucrats wreaked havoc on the economy and education system from their offices in Washington, D.C. Americans were left to fend for themselves while their businesses and savings accounts were depleted. Despite all these measures taken to safeguard the healthcare system, hospitals across the country were still overrun during the height of the pandemic.

The deregulation that occurred at the federal and state level to spur the economy and ensure the healthcare system was able to quickly respond to the ever-changing environment showed the power of regulatory reform without forcing taxpayers to foot the bill. Tennessee’s deregulation of some of the provisions of Certificate of Need (CON) during the pandemic was a shining example.

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Addiction Recovery Center Expanding Headquarters in Tennessee

A significant number of new jobs are coming to Williamson County after a large addiction recovery center, headquartered in Franklin, announced that it will be expanding its operations in the Volunteer State. 

Just a year after moving from Arizona, Landmark Recovery will invest $7.5 million to expand in Franklin, a move that will bring approximately 1300 new jobs to the area. 

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Tennessee Grant Will Give $5 Million to Volunteer Fire Departments

In keeping with a recent theme of proactive public safety measures, Tennessee Tuesday announced that it will provide $5 million in grants to volunteer firefighting brigades across the state. 

Through what is called the Volunteer Firefighter Equipment and Training Grant Program, the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance (TDCI) and the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) are inviting local volunteer firefighting organizations to apply for the grants, according to a release. 

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Gov. Lee Launches School Safety Toolkit

Tennessee’s governor Thursday announced another addition to the Volunteer State’s newly upgraded school safety plans. 

“Tennessee has done a lot of work this year to make our schools safer,” said Gov. Bill Lee (R). “And today I want to speak directly to parents about a new tool just for them.”

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Gov. Lee Touts Violent Crime Intervention Fund on Fox News

As part of a wave of new crime prevention and response strategies in Tennessee, Gov. Bill Lee (R) joined Fox News to tout his new Violent Crime Intervention Fund.

“We have a crime problem in this country, there’s no doubt about it, and Tennessee hasn’t escaped that problem,” Lee told former host and former U.S. Congressman Trey Gowdy on the channel’s “Sunday Night in America.”

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Unemployment Remains Low in Tennessee

Unemployment remained near record lows in Tennessee during September, according to new data released this week.

“The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for September came in at 3.4% and is just 0.2 of a percentage point away from Tennessee’s all-time low rate of 3.2%,” according to a press release from the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD).

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Gov. Lee Allocates $54 Million to Police Recruiting

In what has been a banner week for funding of local law enforcement in Tennessee, the Volunteer State’s governor pledged $54 million to assist law enforcement agencies in their recruiting efforts. 

“To stay ahead of the nationwide spike in crime, Tennessee is taking every step to recruit, train and retain highly-qualified law enforcement officers to keep our communities safe,” said Gov. Bill Lee (R) in a Friday press release. “I commend police departments and sheriff’s offices for their continued partnership, and I’m confident these additional measures will strengthen public safety and relieve financial burdens for local law enforcement agencies.”

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Gov. Lee Announces $100 Million Violent Crime Intervention Fund

Tennessee’s governor Tuesday announced that the state would give local law enforcement $100 million to fight violent crime.

“As Americans face rising crime nationwide, TN is launching the $100 million Violent Crime Intervention Fund to equip local law enforcement with tools to keep every community safe,” said Gov. Bill Lee (R) on Twitter. “I invite all TN police departments & sheriff’s offices to apply today.”

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Governor Lee Touts Education Savings Account Program

Tennessee’s Governor on Wednesday touted the state’s new Education Savings Account (ESA) program. 

“When TN families can choose the right school for their child, that student has an even greater shot at success in life,” said Gov. Bill Lee (R) on Twitter. “That’s what our Education Savings Account program is all about. Nearly 1,000 families have applied. 350+ are already approved. And we’re just getting started.”

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Tennessee Hiring 25 More Forensic Analysts to Address Rape Kit Backlog

The governor of Tennessee has announced that the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TB) will hire 25 new forensic analysts in order to assist with processing Sexual Assault Kits (SAKs). 

“Today, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally and Speaker Cameron Sexton announced a decisive step to accelerate the hiring process for 25 additional forensic lab positions at the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI),” said a press release from the governor’s office. “Taking this action ahead of the regular budget process will expedite the TBI’s efforts to expand testing capacity and reduce the turnaround time for sexual assault kits (SAKs).”

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Tennessee Emergency Management Agency Sends Teams to Florida in Response to Hurricane Ian

The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) plans to send support to Florida as expected Category 3 Hurricane Ian bears down on the Sunshine State. 

“As Florida braces for the impact of Hurricane Ian, Tennessee emergency service professionals are traveling to the area to help the state prepare and to provide support after the storm,” said Gov. Bill Lee (R) in a press release. “We are proud of men and women who have stepped up to represent the Volunteer State and provide critical, life-saving services to Floridians in need.”

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Tennessee’s Amtrak Ridership Remains Down as State Officials Prepare Study on Passenger Rail

Ridership on Tennessee’s one line of Amtrak service has dropped considerably since pre-pandemic numbers as the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations prepares a study on passenger service in the state.

The line of Tennessee service runs daily on a route between Chicago and New Orleans that stops in both Memphis and Newbern-Dyersburg.

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Exclusive: Tennessee National Guardsman Confirms Troops Losing Benefits Due to COVID-19 Vaccination Status

A U.S. Senator from Tennessee, along with several of her colleagues, announced Friday that she had introduced legislation aiming to stop the federal government from kicking soldiers out of the National Guard due to their COVID-19 vaccination status. 

“Joe Biden announced the ‘pandemic is over,’ and therefore has no reason to continue to fire our servicemembers using his politically-motivated vaccine mandate,” said Sen. Marsha Blackburn in a press release. “America’s national readiness should not be jeopardized because this White House is hellbent on preserving their forever pandemic. My legislation continues my work to strengthen our armed forces and prevent yet another unconstitutional power grab from the Biden administration.”

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Lee Calls for Investigation into Vanderbilt Transgender Clinic

Tennessee’s governor is calling for an investigation after a scandal emerged involving a transgender clinic at Vanderbilt University. 

“The ‘pediatric transgender clinic’ at Vanderbilt University Medical Center raises serious moral, ethical and legal concerns,” Lee said in a statement. “We should not allow permanent, life-altering decisions that hurt children or policies that suppress religious liberties, all for the purpose of financial gain. We have to protect Tennessee children, and this warrants a thorough investigation.”

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Medical Center Hides Pediatric Transgender Procedures After Exposure

Health care settings that advertise surgical and hormonal procedures for gender-confused youth as young as 13 are throwing their offerings down the memory hole, following exposure by critics of such procedures for children.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center took down the pages for its transgender clinic and pediatric counterpart after conservative author Matt Walsh posted videos Tuesday of its officials calling the clinics financially lucrative and warning that resistant VUMC employees would face “consequences” for not participating.

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Tucker Carlson Rips Gov. Bill Lee After Violent Week in Memphis

Tucker Carlson Thursday night ripped Tennessee’s governor for what he sees as soft-on-crime policies in the wake of a murderous rampage that left four dead in Memphis. 

 “So this happened in a city that is collapsing due to violence,” Carlson said on his show “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” “Memphis set an all time record for homicides last year. Earlier this week, a woman called Eliza Fletcher, as you know, was kidnapped and murdered while she was out for a jog in her neighborhood. Her killer had just gotten out of jail on a kidnapping charge. He was let out years early. So, he got out and committed the same crime, this time with murder.” 

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Leftist Author Jon Meacham Named to Board of University of Tennessee’s Institute for American Civics

Author and former MSNBC contributor Jon Meacham was named to the Board of Fellows of the University of Tennessee’s newly established Institute for American Civics last week by University of Tennessee President Randy Boyd.

German-owned Politico reported that Meacham helped President Joe Biden “frame” his now infamously divisive “speech from hell” delivered in Philadelphia last week in which he attacked the 74 million Americans who voted for former President Donald Trump as a “threat to American democracy.”

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Report: Large Economic Incentives Like in Tennessee Benefit Politicians Who Approved Them

Economic incentives from states such as Tennessee toward private businesses looking to move to the state continue to increase.

But academic research shows that the largest impact of the spending of public dollars is to bring political and financial benefit to the politicians who approve those incentives.

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Bridgestone to Make $500 Million Expansion in Warren County

One of the world’s largest tire companies is making a $500 million investment to expand its operations in Tennessee, creating more jobs in the Volunteer State.

Bridgestone’s investment strengthens the global competitiveness of the company’s U.S. manufacturing operations and commitment to its U.S. labor force. Bridgestone will create 380 new jobs at its Warren County facility, increasing its existing headcount of 1,100 to more than 1,400, and bringing the total number of Bridgestone’s U.S. manufacturing workforce to nearly 10,000,” according to the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD).

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Tennessee Abortion Trigger Law to Take Effect Thursday

A major abortion law is set to take effect in Tennessee following the Supreme Court ruling in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which effectively overturned Roe v. Wade. 

“Pursuant to the Human Life Protection Act, 2019 Tenn. Pub. Acts, ch. 351, $ 3, this letter serves to notify the Tennessee Code Commission that the U.S. Supreme Court issued the judgment today in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, 142 S. Ct. 2228 (2022). Dobbs overruled, in whole or in part, Roe v. Wade … thereby restoring to the states their authority to prohibit abortion,” says a letter to the Tennessee Codes Commission written by Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III. 

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Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security Launches School Safety App

Tennessee’s Department of Safety and Homeland Security says it has launched an application for school safety, called SafeTN.

“SafeTN is a secure, open door communications platform where you can send in tips and access useful resources to help keep your school and community safe,” according to the government agency.

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Memphis, Nashville School Districts to Make Education Savings Accounts Available to Families

According to the governor’s office and the cities of Memphis and Nashville, more than 40 independent have committed to allowing families to enroll in Education Savings Account (ESA) programs beginning in the 2022-2023 academic year. 

“There was an urgent need for school choice in 2019, and finally, parents in Memphis and Nashville won’t have to wait another day to choose the best educational fit for their children,” said Gov. Bill Lee (R). “I thank each school that has partnered with us to swiftly implement a program that will change the lives of Tennessee students, and I invite interested families to begin the enrollment process today.” 

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Tennessee Department of Revenue Announces Three Upcoming Tax Holidays

Tennesseans can expect to enjoy three tax holidays over the next several months, according to the state’s Department of Revenue (DOR). 

Annually, Tennessee holds a sales tax holiday for the month of July, letting them off the hook for state and local sales taxes, which can be up to 10 percent. 

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Source: More than 500 Unvaxxed Tennessee Guardsmen Enter No-Pay Status, Await Loss of Health, Life Insurance

A Tennessee National Guard source told The Tennessee Star that more than 500 guardsmen remain without a COVID-19 vaccine past Big Army’s June 30 deadline.

“The number that I got about a month ago was 400; however, I have now heard it is actually 585-some,” the source said.

These are straight-refusals, the source said, not guardsmen awaiting the adjudication of their request for a religious or medical waiver. Those guardsmen continue in their service until and when their cases are resolved.

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Gov. Lee Calls Attempted Arson at Pro-Life Center ‘Terrorism’

After an attempted arson at a pro-life pregnancy center, Tennessee’s governor is speaking out. 

“This is terrorism and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Gov. Bill Lee (R) said Thursday in response to news that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) are investigating an arson at Hope Clinic for Women in Nashville.

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Bill Banning Transgender Athletics Takes Effect This Week

A Tennessee bill that bans biological males from participating in female athletic competition will take effect this week. 

HB 1895, which passed through the Tennessee General Assembly in April and was subsequently signed into law by Gov. Bill Lee (R), says “the commissioner of education to withhold a portion of the state education finance funds that a [Local Education Association] is otherwise eligible to receive if the LEA fails or refuses to determine a student’s gender, for purposes of participation in school sports, by the student’s sex at the time of birth…”

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Tennessee Will Waive State Personal Vehicle, Motorcycle Registration Fees Starting on July 1

State registration fees for personal vehicles and motorcycles will be waived starting on July 1 for a full year.

The move comes out of legislation passed at the end of this year’s session and then signed into law by Gov. Bill Lee earlier this month.

The law applies to registrations that expire after July 1 and before June 30, 2023.

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Tennessee to Suspend Sales Tax on Food in August

As part of the state’s 2022-2023 budget, Tennesseans can expect that the state’s tax on food and “food related items” will not apply during the month of August. 

“As Americans see their cost-of-living skyrocket amid historic inflation, suspending the grocery tax is the most effective way to provide direct relief to every Tennessean,” said Gov. Bill Lee said upon signing the budget bill. “Our state has the ability to put dollars back in the pockets of hardworking Tennesseans, and I thank members of the General Assembly for their continued partnership in maintaining our fiscally conservative approach.”

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Tennessee Office of Reentry Touts Study About Rehabilitating LGBT Offenders

A department of the Tennessee state government dedicated to helping those who have been released from prison is touting a Vanderbilt University study aimed at understanding reentering LGBT people into society. 

“Thank you to Ms. Danait Issac out of or including us in the first part of her study on reentry efforts for the justice-involved LGBTQ+ population. These are important conversations and we look forward to your work in the future! #PrideMonth,” said the Tennessee Department of Reentry on Twitter, attaching the study. 

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Entire Tennessee Congressional Delegation Urges Biden to Approve Lee’s ‘Major Disaster’ Request After Sevier County Fires

In a rare showing of bipartisanship, the entire federal congressional delegation from Tennessee this week signed a letter addressed to President Joe Biden (D) urging him to approve Gov. Bill Lee’s (R) request to declare a major disaster emergency.

An early April wildfire tore through 3,700 acres in Sevier County in early April, prompting the request for the federal declaration.

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Gov. Lee Signs Executive Order Addressing School Safety

Tennessee’s governor Monday signed an executive order meant to enhance school safety in the wake of a mass shooting at a high school in Uvalde, Texas. 

“Parents need to have full confidence that their children are safe at school, and thankfully, Tennessee has built a firm foundation with our practical approach to securing schools, recognizing crisis and providing confidential reporting of any suspicious activity,” said Gov. Bill Lee (R) in press release. “This order strengthens accountability and transparency around existing school safety planning and assures Tennessee parents that our efforts to protect students and teachers will continue.”

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Anti-Gun Group to Host Protests in Six Tennessee Cities

An anti-gun group will host protests in five cities later this month, as part of a nationwide effort to push gun control in the wake of a mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

“What we are demanding from our state’s legislators should not be controversial, and will help to prevent preventable deaths in our communities,” said Carson Ferrara, a rising senior at Vanderbilt University and representative of March For Our Lives. “Last year, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed a law that allows anyone to carry a loaded gun in public without a permit. He signed it at a weapons manufacturing plant.”

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Vanderbilt Poll Shows Massive Drop in Support for Biden

A Vanderbilt University poll of 1000 registered voters in Tennessee shows that support for President Joe Biden has dropped among Democrats, Independents and Republicans. 

Compared to the spring of 2021, Biden’s approval rating among Democrat voters has dropped from 92 percent to 79 percent, a full 14 point fall. Among Independent voters, the decline is even steeper, dropping from 46 percent to only 27 percent, or 19 points. Republican support for the President in the state dropped from five percent to two percent. 

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Gov Bill Lee Awaits Late-Session Bills from the Tennessee Legislature

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee didn’t waste time signing a new public school funding formula bill just four days after it was passed on the floor of the Tennessee Legislature.

But the process for other bills passed in the waning days of session has taken longer. Several key late-session bills have not been sent to Lee yet for his signature.

After bills are passed by the Legislature, they are enrolled and then signed by the speakers of the House and Senate before heading to the governor’s desk. Lee can then sign the bill, allow it to pass without signing or veto the bill. He also can reduce or veto an appropriation in a bill, but vetoes can be overridden by a majority vote in the Legislature.

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Gov. Lee Suspends Executions Pending Independent Review of Lethal Injection Process

Tennessee has suspended executions for those on death row after an “oversight” in the lethal injection process of one prisoner caused the execution process to be halted in the prisoner’s final hours. 

During the suspension period, a review of the execution process will be conducted, according to Monday reports. 

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Ivermectin Effective for Early Treatment of COVID-19 Now Easily Accessible in Tennessee Without Prescription

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee (R) has signed a bill that makes ivermectin, an antiviral drug that has been found to be an effective early treatment for COVID-19, available in the state without a prescription.

Lee signed SB 2188, approved by the State Senate, 66-20, and the State House, 22-6, which authorizes a pharmacist to provide ivermectin to patients 18 years of age or older, “pursuant to a valid collaborative pharmacy practice agreement containing a non-patient-specific prescriptive order and standardized procedures developed and executed by one or more authorized prescribers.”

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Tennessee Legislature Approves $500M for New Titans Domed Stadium

LP Field in Nashville, Tennessee

The Tennessee Legislature approved $500 million of bonds for a new Tennessee Titans stadium as part of a record $52.8 billion budget on Thursday.

The Titans stadium funds were not initially included in budget appropriations passed by the Senate in the early afternoon after they were removed in committee on Wednesday, but later in the day the Senate concurred on the budget that the House had passed, including the Titans stadium funds.

The $500 million in bonds for the stadium will require $55 million in annual payments.

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Gov. Bill Lee Offers Hillsdale College Funding for 50 Charter Schools

Tennessee GOP Gov. Bill Lee has invited the private conservative Hillsdale college to open 50 charter schools in his state that will teach so-called “anti-woke” curriculums.

The offer for Hillsdale, a liberal arts college with about 1,500 students in Michigan, to use public funds includes $32 million for charter facilities.

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ACLU Requests Tennessee Records on Announced Charter School Partnership with Hillsdale College

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Tennessee has asked the state of Tennessee to release all records regarding an announced charter school partnership with Hillsdale College.

The organization sent open records requests on Monday, requesting information about Governor Bill Lee’s (R-TN) “developing partnership with Hillsdale College to establish a number of publicly funded charter schools in Tennessee,” a press statement said.

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Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee and Ed Commissioner Penny Schwinn Launch Student-Centered Funding Approach for Public School Students

Gov. Bill Lee (R-TN) and Tennessee Department of Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn presented details Thursday of the legislation for the new student-based funding formula, known as the Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement formula (TISA).

During a livestream presentation, the governor said that, following input from people all over the state, they now have “a piece of legislation and a funding formula that Tennesseans can understand, that parents can understand, that teachers and districts can understand.”

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Parents File Ethics Complaints Against Knox County Board of Education Members in Battle Against End to School Mask Mandate

A Knox County Schools (KCS) parent group fighting the end of school mask mandates has filed an ethics complaint against three members of the school board, alleging they violated one of the board’s own policies and also appeared at a Knox County Commission meeting without giving adequate public notice.

Parent Amanda Collins, who chairs Knox County Schools Parent Advocates for School Safety (KCS PASS), said in a press statement KCS board members Betsy Henderson, Susan Horn, and Kristi Kristy violated the board’s policy when they submitted a proposal to the Knox County Commission to hire private attorneys to help in the board’s fight against a lawsuit over masks in schools.

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Sixteen States File New Lawsuit Against Federal COVID Vaccination Mandate

Sixteen states again are challenging a federal COVID-19 vaccination mandate for health care workers who work at facilities that receive Medicare and Medicaid funding.

Friday’s filing in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana comes after the issuance of final guidance on the mandate from the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS), arguing the guidance is an action that is reviewable.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled by 5-4 vote Jan. 13 against the original Louisiana challenge to the mandate and a similar Missouri filing.

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Court Allows Tennessee Law Banning Down Syndrome Abortions to Take Effect

A federal appeals court has allowed a Tennessee law that prohibits abortions sought due to sex, race, or prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome, to go into effect until the U.S. Supreme Court rules in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit allowed the Tennessee law to be enforced while litigation against it continues. The court also postponed hearing the case until after the Supreme Court issues a decision in Dobbs, a case involving a Mississippi law that prohibits abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

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Hillsdale College to Help Bring Classical Charter Schools to Tennessee

Hillsdale College announced Thursday it will begin to offer its support to classical charter schools in the state of Tennessee.

Through a partnership with American Classical Education, Inc. (ACE), Hillsdale will provide assistance to classical charters in the state entirely free of charge.

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State of Tennessee Awards $8 Million in Grants to Assist Economic Development Projects

Governor Lee and the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development awarded a dozen grants to communities across the state to assist economic development programs.

The grants, which total $8 million, are to be used for infrastructure and engineering improvements on industrial sites throughout the state.

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Tennessee House Committee Unveils State House Legislative Map

The Tennessee House Select Committee on Redistricting made public Friday its plan for new state House legislative districts.

The committee heard several publicly submitted plans and responses, along with the House Democrats’ plan, during Friday’s meeting before committee Vice Chair Rep. Pat Marsh, R-Shelbyville, introduced the committee’s plan.

The House must approve the plan during the General Assembly’s upcoming legislative session, which begins in January, before sending the plan onto the Tennessee Senate and Gov. Bill Lee for his signature.

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Tennessee House Speaker Celebrates Court Ruling Blocking Vaccine Mandates

Tennessee’s Republican House Speaker is celebrating after a federal judge Tuesday struck down President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare workers. 

“Speaker Sexton has always maintained that federal mandates imposed on Americans by the Biden administration were unconstitutional,” Doug Kufner, Communications Director for Tennessee’s House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) told The Tennessee Star Wednesday. “These injunctions are the first step in preserving the constitutional rights of Tennesseans and all Americans.”

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Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Requests $59M Increase in Next Year’s Budget

Gov. Bill Lee

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation requested a $59 million budget increase in its budget hearing this week with Gov. Bill Lee and advisers.

The request includes $24.9 million for a career path initiative that will assist with recruitment and retention of staff, an issue many government agencies cited in hearings this week.

TBI’s proposal also included requests for $11.7 million for one-time training and equipment and $10.2 million to hire forensic services positions, including $5.65 million in recurring expenses and $4.5 million in one-time expenses.

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