Special Session Legislation Increases Safeguards Related to COVID-19, but Some Legislators Say Concessions for Big Business and the Federal Government Leave Tennesseans Unequally Protected

The legislation that emerged in Saturday’s early morning hours from the three days of the 112th Tennessee General Assembly’s Third Extraordinary Session provided a number of safeguards against COVID-19 mandates, but some legislators say concessions to accommodate big business and funding from the federal government also resulted in unequal protection for some Tennesseans against COVID mandates.

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New York Attorney General Letitia James Launches Bid for Governor

New York Attorney General Letitia James on Friday officially launched a bid for governor against Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul.

James’ announcement comes just two months after the resignation of Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo due to multiple claims of sexual harassment. As attorney general, James oversaw the five-month investigation into the claims, which the inquiry found to be credible.

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Governor Bill Lee Awards Purple Heart to Special Agent Joe Frye

On Monday, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee awarded Tennessee Department of Correction Special Agent Joe Frye with the U.S. Marshals Service Purple Heart. On November 2, 2020, Frye was shot multiple times on duty in an attempt to capture fugitive Bobby Joe Claybrook. Once Joe was shot, he was immobile, but now has fully recovered from the incident.

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New Tennessee License Plates Unveiled Following Statewide Vote

On Tuesday, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee unveiled the state’s next standard license plate design chosen by Tennesseans through optional statewide participation. The new plate sports a navy blue background with white letters and numbers. In its center is the state’s Tri-Star emblem with the words “The Volunteer State” in the top left corner.

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McAuliffe-Tied Law Firm Sues Special Ed Parents for Posting Embarrassing Public Records

“Idon’t think parents should be telling schools what they teach,” Virginia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe said in a recent debate.

A wealthy Virginia school district outside Washington, D.C. went even further this week, with the help of a law firm tied to the former governor.

Represented by Hunton Andrews Kurth, Fairfax County Public Schools is suing two parents for learning about its dirty laundry from a state Freedom of Information Act request. It filed an emergency motion for a preliminary injunction Tuesday.

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Williamson County Schools Will Make Students Wear Masks in School Buildings Until Mid-January

On Monday, during a routine school board meeting, the Williamson County Board of Education voted to extend the temporary mask requirement for students, staff and visitors at all grade levels, inside all buildings and on buses, through January 19, 2022.

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Tennessee Governor Lee Appoints Blake Neill to Serve as 25th Judicial District Circuit Court Judge

On Friday, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee appointed A. Blake Neill to serve as circuit court judge for the 25th Judicial District to fill the Honorable Joe H. Walker III’s vacancy, effective immediately, according to a news release from Lee’s office.

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Tennessee Governor Bill Lee Gets New Democrat Challenger as 2022 Race Inches Closer

JB Smiley Jr. and Gov. Bill Lee

On Wednesday, Memphis City Council member JB Smiley Jr. announced he is running for Tennessee Governor. Smiley, a Democrat, held an event at the Orpheum Theater in Memphis and posted a video on social media debuting his announcement. 

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Kentucky Lawmakers Override Governor, Ditch School Mask Mandate

Group of young students at table, reading and wearing masks

Kentucky’s Republican legislature overrode the state’s Democratic governor late Thursday and repealed a statewide public school mask mandate.

The move, reported by the Louisville Courier Journal, came on the final day of a special session called by Gov. Andy Beshear. The mask mandate was repealed as cases in the state increased for the 10th straight week, and as over 30% of Kentucky’s new cases Thursday were in people 18 and younger, according to state data.

The legislature last month moved to significantly limit Beshear’s pandemic-related power, an action that was upheld by multiple judges in the state.

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Human Rights Campaign Fires Alphonso David for Advising Cuomo on #METOO Allegations

Alphonso David

The nation’s largest LGBTQ rights advocacy group has fired its president for advising Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on the #METOO allegations against the governor.

The two Human Rights Campaign (HRC) boards terminated Alphonso David “for cause” Monday evening, The New York Times reported. David called his termination unjust in a Monday evening statement and accused the HRC board of lying to him about its investigation.

“As a black, gay man who has spent his whole life fighting for civil and human rights, they cannot shut me up,” he said. “Expect a legal challenge.”

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Former State Attorney General Adam Laxalt Launches Senate Bid in Nevada

Adam Laxalt

Former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt launched a long-expected Senate bid Tuesday, becoming the highest-profile Republican to take on Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto.

“The radical left, rich elites, woke corporations, academia and the media, they’re taking over America,” Laxalt said in an announcement video likening them to Star Wars’ Galactic Empire.

Laxalt served as attorney general from 2015-2019. In 2018 he lost his bid for governor to Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak.

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Former Detroit, Michigan Police Chief and Gubernatorial Hopeful Craig Appoints Team to Generate Anti-Crime Solutions

Former Detroit, Michigan Police Chief James Craig, a Republican who is exploring a run for governor, announced Monday the formation of his Law Enforcement Action Team (LEAT), an advisory panel to craft legislation to strengthen public safety.

The group is made up of lawmakers and law-enforcement officials, including two Democrats: Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham and Gladwin County Sheriff Mike Shea.

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Newt Gingrich Commentary: No One Knows Where These Illegal Immigrants Are Going in America

Watching television coverage of people crossing the border illegally at our southern border I began to wonder: where are they going?

I was shocked to learn that the Biden administration refuses to tell the states and cities how many people they are sending – and who they are sending. Apparently, immigrants just get put on airplanes, buses, and trains, and go off into America.

We are learning that a substantial number of the people who have crossed the border illegally have COVID-19. McAllen, Texas had to declare a state of emergency when 7,000 infected immigrants arrived there. So, the Biden government could send people with COVID-19 to your neighborhood and then refuses to tell you that it has put you at risk. 

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Court to Hear Clash over Phoenix School District’s Mask Mandate That Defies New State Law

Representative Joseph Chaplik - LD 23

A judge is expected to hear arguments on August 13 in a lawsuit filed by a teacher in the Phoenix Union High School district over its revived mandatory mask policy. Governor Doug Ducey signed SB 1826 in June, the education budget bill, which includes an amendment prohibiting schools from requiring masks. 

Biology teacher Douglas Hester filed the lawsuit against the school district, its governing board and superintendent Chad Gestson, citing the conflict with state law. The school contends that the law isn’t scheduled to go into effect until 90 days after the legislature adjourns, September 28. However, A.R.S. 15-342.05 includes a clause making it retroactive to June 30.

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Kari Lake Calls for Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs to Recuse Herself from Overseeing Gubernatorial Race

Kari Lake AZ

Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake is calling for “the most partisan Secretary of State in the history of Arizona,” Democrat Katie Hobbs, to recuse herself from overseeing the governor’s race. Hobbs is also running for governor. Lake cited Hobbs’ behavior during the 2020 election and aftermath, her “history of irrational bias and disdain toward Republicans in addition to what election investigators have reported to the public about serious issues affecting tens-of-thousands of ballots and voters.” She said, “Arizona voters have lost confidence in Katie Hobbs to run another election.”

Lake is concerned that Hobbs will not conduct the election fairly for Republicans like herself in the race. She asked other candidates to join her demand. She cited a tweet from Hobbs in 2017, where Hobbs said, “[email protected] has made it abundantly clear he’s more interested in pandering to his neo-nazi base than being @POTUS for all Americans.” Hobbs did not delete the tweet.

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Gubernatorial Hopeful Kari Lake Rallies to a Raucous Standing-Room-Only Crowd in Scottsdale

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona – A gubernatorial rally in Scottsdale for Kari Lake Monday night featured a long list of celebrities leading up to the former newscaster, who all spoke along her theme of “stand for freedom.” Lake’s plain-talking style had the audience standing and cheering as she declared, “We’re going to finish the wall!”

She hammered California, vowing to never let Arizona become a “California 2.0.” She said California “is the leftists’ dream.” “California was once heaven and now it’s hell.” She declared, “Keep that California crap away from me!” to roaring applause. Lake lamented how the Democrats’ “dead-end policies have brought blue states to their knees.” She warned that “the left wants to rip us to shreds.” 

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Arizona Legislature Overrides Ducey’s Veto

Doug Ducey

The Republican-controlled Senate voted 25-5 Thursday to override Governor Doug Ducey’s veto of a bill that made technical corrections to previously enacted laws. Ducey vetoed SB1635 along with 21 other bills a month ago, following through on a threat he’d made in May over the legislature’s failing to send him a budget. It was the first time in 40 years, the Arizona Senate has overruled the governor.

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Prior to Youth Sports Pause, Minnesota State Officials Admitted to Lack of Evidence, Emails Suggest

Young boy hitting a baseball

In the weeks leading up to Gov. Tim Walz’s “pause” on youth sports, state officials were privately scrambling for evidence to support the restrictions, at times admitting that “there isn’t much,” emails released Monday reveal.

“Here’s the way it should work: There is data, then there is a decision, then there is communication,” Sen. Michelle Benson, R-Ham Lake, explained at a Monday Senate hearing. “It’s not, ‘We need a message. Go find me the data that matches it.’”

Benson and her Republican colleagues published a trove of emails between state health officials and members of Gov. Walz’s staff ahead of Monday’s informational hearing.

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Great Lakes Governors Call on Biden to Support Critical Water Infrastructure

Four Great Lakes governors on Tuesday urged President Joe Biden to prioritize federal investments in water infrastructure.

In a letter sent to Biden, the governors lauded the American Rescue Plan Act’s $360 billion in direct aid to state and local governments that can be spent on water and sewer infrastructure.

“As your administration continues to develop and pursue its policy agenda, we respectfully encourage you to continue your emphasis on modernizing America’s water infrastructure,” readsthe letter.

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VPAP Provides Infographic Explaining Complex Process of Becoming a Delegate to Virginia GOP Convention

The Virginia Public Access Project has provided additional information about the delegate registration and vote counting processes for the 2021 Republican Party of Virginia unassembled convention. The May 8th convention will determine the Republican nominees for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General.  The Virginia Star has previously covered the process, and VPAP provided additional detail about changes made to the delegate selection and counting process.

The process is very different from a traditional primary with a polling location in each neighborhood. For one to become a delegate to the convention, one must file a pre-file form with your local Republican committee. Then, one must show up to one of the 30+ voting locations across the Commonwealth as assigned per voting locality.

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Sarah Huckabee Sanders Announces Run for Governor in Arkansas

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the former press secretary to President Donald Trump, announced Monday that she will run for governor of Arkansas.

Sanders, an Arkansas native and daughter of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, announced her decision in a recorded message, discussing her time in the Trump administration and criticizing the “radical left.”

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Ohio Governor Eases Restrictions on Elective Surgery Ban

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine during his daily news briefing Wednesday, announced an easing up on the prohibition of elective surgeries during the coronavirus pandemic.

DeWine said that doctors can now review postponed procedures and surgeries with patients in terms of their current health situation and quality of life, after which doctors and patients can make a joint decision about whether to proceed. New or other chronic conditions that may have a significant impact on a patient’s quality of life should also be evaluated.

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New Democratic Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear Gives Nonviolent Felons the Right to Vote, Run for Public Office

New Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear isn’t wasting time enacting liberal agendas, having signed an executive order Thursday restoring the right to vote and the right to run for public office to hundreds of thousands of felons convicted of nonviolent crimes, according to a story by Jurist.

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Recreational Marijuana Bill Dies in Minnesota Senate Committee

The Minnesota State Senate Judiciary Committee overwhelmingly voted to kill a bill that would have legalized recreational marijuana throughout the state Monday. Senate Bill, SF 619, would have made it legal for individuals “21 years of age or older to cultivate, consume, use, and possess cannabis, cannabis products, and cannabis accessories,” as…

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DeWine’s First State of the State Address Focuses on Long Term Plans for Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio– Tuesday, Ohio Republican Governor Mike DeWine addressed a joint session of the Ohio legislature in his first State of the State Address. While he covered several topics ranging from workforce development to infrastructure repair, the speech’s main focus was three key points; the gas tax, greater protections for children, and environmental action.…

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Ohio Secretary of State: Redistricting Ohio Before 2020 Election Could ‘Hurt’ Voter Turnout

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose stated on Thursday that he was against Ohio redrawing its district lines before the 2020 presidential election. It was a statement that surprised many, considering he made it at a voting rights forum, hosted by the Ohio League of Women Voters who are currently suing…

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Ohio Governor Mike DeWine Delays All State Executions Amid Concerns of Drug Effectiveness

In a surprise decision, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has ordered a moratorium on all executions in the state of Ohio following concerns that the currently approved practice could be considered a violation of the Eighth Amendment. Warren Keith Henness was convicted and found guilty of the kidnapping and murder of Richard…

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Tennessee Pastors Network Criticizes Bill Lee for Ignoring His Christian Conservative Base

In a letter to Governor-Elect Bill Lee delivered on the eve of his inauguration, Dale Walker, President of the conservative Tennessee Pastors Network, has expressed “concerns” about recent appointees to the Lee Administration. The letter notes that Walker “requested a meeting with the Governor-elect weeks ago and was informed he…

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Governor-Elect Bill Lee Appoints Long Time Deputy to Liberal Pro-LGBTQ Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero to His Cabinet

Governor-elect Bill Lee has continued his preference for appointing those closely affiliated to either liberals or Bill Haslam to top positions in his Administration. His latest selection, Christi Branscom of Knoxville, whom he named to his cabinet on Thursday as head of the Department of General Services, fills both boxes.…

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In Unique Midnight Ceremony, Mike DeWine Sworn in as Governor of Ohio

If his first day in office is any gauge of his coming term of office, Governor DeWine will have an unprecedented tenure. DeWine is not the first executive to be sworn in on more than one Bible. As recently as 2017, President Donald Trump was sworn in on two; a…

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Wisconsin Governor Issues Executive Order on ‘Gender Identity or Expression’ on First Day in Office

In one of his first acts in office, Gov. Tony Evers (D-WI) signed an executive order seeking to prohibit discrimination on the basis of “gender identity or expression” in state agencies. Executive Order #1 states that it “is the expressed policy of my administration that the executive branch should prevent…

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Former North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory Eyes 2020 and 2022 Races

During his weekly radio show last week, Former North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory went on the record about possible future runs for political office. McCrory specifically spoke about running for governor again in 2020 and possibly the U.S. Senate in 2022. “I’m going to do a thorough assessment on whether…

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Drug Companies Seek Gag Order Against Republican Gov.-Elect Mike DeWine for Speaking Out on Opioid Crisis

Friday, lawyers representing some of the nation’s largest drug manufacturers began an attempt to sanction and silence Governor-elect Mike DeWine, stemming from his involvement in a lawsuit he initiated as Ohio Attorney General. The motion, filed by an amalgamation Big Pharma attorneys, accuse DeWine, along with lawyers Mike Moore and…

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OFF THE RECORD: Bill Lee Names Six Additional Commissioners as He Works Toward Completing His Cabinet

Governor-elect Bill Lee will be inaugurated on Saturday January 19. As that date approaches he and his team are working feverishly to complete the selection of his Cabinet and fill many of the top deputy positions in key departments of state government. Thursday afternoon, Lee announced six new commissioners: David…

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OFF THE RECORD: Bill Lee’s Anti-Trump Chief of Staff Blake Harris Setting the Personnel Agenda

President Donald Trump carried 92 of Tennessee’s 95 counties against Hillary Clinton in 2016 with a 61 percent to 35 percent margin. He retains an extraordinarily high approval rating among Tennessee Republicans, polling consistently above 84 percent. Trump’s support for Marsha Blackburn was a critical factor in her 11 point…

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OFF THE RECORD: Will Governor Bill Lee Hire Any Conservative Republicans For His Administration?

When the Bill Lee Transition team was announced with Democrat Butch Eley chairing the effort, many conservative Republicans who worked hard to elect Governor Lee raised their eyebrows; particularly in view of his substantial donation to Democrat Senate candidate Phil Bredesen earlier this year, who was defeated handily by Marsha…

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Diane Black, Jim Tracy Rumored to Want Jobs With Bill Lee’s Administration

Governor-elect Bill Lee may have a couple of high-profile applicants for his upcoming administration. U.S. Rep. Diane Black (R-TN-07) and former State Sen. Jim Tracy (R-TN-14) are seeking jobs with Lee, The Tennessean reported. The newspaper cited “three people familiar with the efforts of Black and Tracy.” Some may find…

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Professional Educators of Tennessee to Conduct Legislative Survey

teacher

Professional Educators of Tennessee is conducting a legislative survey of educators across the state. Frequent areas that we hear from educators:  School Safety & Security, Teacher Compensation and Recruitment, School Funding, and Assessment.  We believe policymakers need to address these issues in 2019,

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Tennessee Star Poll: Governor Bill Haslam Retains Relatively High Approval Rating

Bill Haslam

As Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam moves closer to full lame-duck status when his successor is elected on November 6 it appears he will leave office with a relatively high approval rating from Tennessee voters. A Tennessee Star survey of likely November general election voter conducted in early September shows the…

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Commentary: It Isn’t Just Trump vs. Bernie in Florida Governor’s Race

Ron Desantis, Andrew Gillum, Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders

by George Rasley, CHQ Editor   Tuesday’s Florida Primary Election rocked the Florida political establishment of both parties and set up what will likely be the most expensive and certainly the most important gubernatorial election of 2018. On the Republican side Rep. Ron DeSantis (FL-6) one of the most visible…

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