Governor Glenn Youngkin Signs Bills, Participates in Ceremony Supporting Education

On Friday, Governor Glenn Youngkin participated in a ribbon cutting ceremony, signed new legislation, and participated in a roundtable discussion all based around supporting and improving education for the state of Virginia.

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Tennessee Firearms Association Responds to ‘Unconstitutional’ Set of Gun Control Bills Passed in the House of Representatives

The Tennessee Firearms Association (TFA) responded Friday to a set of gun control bills that passed in the House of Representatives this week. The group also criticized Tennessee lawmakers for “putting Tennesseans’ lives at risk” with current state legislation in place.

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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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Commentary: The Right Should Not Protect Woke Capital

Disney's Animal Kingdom Tree of Life

For nearly 70 years, families have traveled to Disney for vacation, not indoctrination.

Sadly, America’s preeminent entertainment company has joined a growing list of corporations bent on pushing woke ideologies.

For decades, Congress has unthinkingly supported these companies. Conservatives need to reassess whether Disney’s bottom line is worth protecting.  

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Georgia Senate President Pro Tempore ‘Butch’ Miller: Kemp Told Me He Would Have Signed Election Integrity Bill

Georgia Senate President Pro Tempore ‘Butch’ Miller told John Fredericks on The John Fredericks Show that Governor Kemp told him that he did not oppose SB 89, the election integrity bill killed by Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan.

Miller is also a candidate for Lt. Governor in the Republican primary which is slated to occur on May 24. His main opponent is fellow Georgia Senator Burt Jones.

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Georgia State Senator Brandon Beach: ‘I Don’t Understand Why the Governor Didn’t Want Us to Address That Outside Money’

Brandon Beach

Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan (R), allegedly on the behalf of Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, blocked state Senate legislation that addressed ballot chain of custody and would have placed a ban on private donations directly to counties. 

Senator Brandon Beach (R-21) told The Georgia Star News, “I don’t understand why the governor didn’t want us to address that outside money, whether it was Zuckerberg or Soros or whoever.”

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Arizona Supreme Court Resurrects Omni Resort, Arizona State University Land Court Battle

Arizona State University sign

Both sides are declaring victory after the Arizona Supreme Court released a mixed opinion that ultimately allows Attorney General Mark Brnovich to go after a deal between hotelier Omni Hotels and the Board of Regents.

The state’s high court overturned two of four charges denied in an appellate ruling in State et al. v. Arizona Board of Regents et al.

Brnovich filed the lawsuit against the governing body of the state’s three public universities in January 2019 over a 60-year lease it struck with the hotel chain to build a new location on public land near Arizona State University’s Tempe campus. The deal entails benefits for the university at the hotel and allows the company to purchase the land at the end of the lease. In the meantime, the hotel would pay no property taxes.

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Georgia Gov. Kemp Used Lieutenant to Block Ban on Zuckerbucks, State Senator Alleges

Geoff Duncan and Brian Kemp

Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan (R), the chair of the state Senate, refused to bring up an election integrity bill for a vote on Monday because Republican Gov. Brian Kemp wanted it scrapped, Senate GOP leadership said, according to state Sen. Brandon Beach.

Senate Bill 89 would have dealt with chain of custody for ballots and prohibited private, “Zuckerbucks”-like donations from going directly to counties by routing them first through the State Election Board for distribution.

However, a vote on the bill was blocked by Duncan on Monday, the last day of the 2022 legislative session.

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Georgia Lawmakers Sign Off on Flat Tax

Governor Brian Kemp

Georgia lawmakers passed legislation that will gradually drop the state income tax rate over the next few years, a move that proponents say will make the state more competitive.

The state House voted 167-2, and the state Senate voted 41-13 in favor of an amended House Bill 1437. The bill sets the state’s tax level at 4.99% by 2029, starting with a 5.49% flat tax for the tax year beginning Jan. 1, 2024.

The measure, which received broad bipartisan support in both chambers of the Legislature, now heads to Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, for his signature. Kemp is expected to sign the bill into law.

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St. Paul to Hold Community Meetings on Reparations

Mayor Melvin Carter

A St. Paul City Council committee will soon be holding community meetings on the establishment of a “permanent standing commission” that aims to create “generational wealth” for descendants of slaves and increase “economic mobility and opportunity” for blacks.

The council’s Legislative Advisory Committee on Reparations, established last June after the idea was approved last January, says it will produce a report on this permanent commission by Friday, June 10, and lay out its recommendations on creating wealth and boosting black economic opportunity the following Wednesday, June 15.

But first, it will hold four community meetings — two virtual, two in person. The virtual meetings will take place on Thursday, April 7, from 5 to 6 p.m. and Friday, April 29, from noon to 1 p.m.

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Wisconsin Hunters Disappointed in Evers’ Hunting, Fishing Vetoes

hunter standing next to his hunting dog at dusk

Add one of Wisconsin’s largest hunting groups to the list of people upset at Gov. Tony Evers’ latest vetoes.

Hunter Nation on Friday said the governor turned his back on hunters in the state by vetoing three proposed laws that would have given people more opportunity to get into the field or out on the water.

“Gov. Evers has sent a clear message that he simply doesn’t care about Wisconsin’s outdoor traditions and would rather partner with anti-hunting groups to trample our long-held traditions,” Hunter Nation CEO Luke Hilgemann said.

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Minnesota House DFL Pitches $1.15B Increase in Education Spending Using State Surplus

Catrin Wigfall

Minnesota House DFL committee chairs on Monday pitched a $1.15 billion increase in education funding for fiscal year 2023 and $2.12 billion in fiscal years 2024 and 2025.

The Minnesota House Education Finance, Policy and Early Childhood committees proposed using the state’s historic budget surplus for the increases.

Center of the American Experiment Policy Fellow and Educated Teachers MN Director Catrin Wigfall told The Center Square in an emailed statement Monday that the House plan won’t help.

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House Passes National Marijuana Legalization Bill

Person making a marijuana joint

The Democrat-led House on Friday passed legislation to legalize marijuana nationwide, eliminating the longstanding criminal penalties for those who distribute and possess it.

The bill passed primarily along party lines (220-204), with all but three Republicans voting ‘no,’ and all but two Democrats voting ‘yes.’

The legislation will now head to the Senate where it will likely face an uphill battle toward passage, but has a powerful ally in Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who is working with several of his colleagues to introduce a twin bill sometime this spring.

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Measure to Allow Gambling in Georgia Advances

interior of a casino with slot machines

Georgia voters soon could decide whether to allow sports wagering and casino gambling.

The House Economic Development and Tourism Committee signed off this week on versions of Senate Resolution 135 and Senate Bill 142. If approved, voters could decide on the measures as soon as November.

Legalizing sports wagering and casino gambling in The Peach State has been an on-again-off-again proposition for years. The passage of the most-recent legislation could face long odds as the state Legislature is in its final days.

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Jen Psaki Will Leave White House Podium for MSNBC: Report

Jen Psaki

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki will reportedly depart her official administration job this spring and join MSNBC, according to a report from Axios.

Psaki has been rumored to be in discussions with corporate media outlets for months. Her White House departure is also no surprise; the mother of two always expressed a desire to stick with her current role for about a year before pursuing other options.

Axios reports that Psaki has been in close contact with the White House counsel’s office about her imminent departure and has not signed any contracts that would put her in messy ethics territory. Though, sources say that Psaki has shared her plans to join MSNBC with some senior White House officials – the deal is reportedly close to being finalized.

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Iowa House Passes Bill Requiring Schools to Post Curriculums, Materials Online for Parent Review

The Iowa House voted 60-30 in favor of passing a bill that would require Iowa public and charter schools to post their curriculum and books online for parents to review.

Some educators have argued that the bill (HF2577) will limit their ability to “adapt and meet the individualized needs of their students.”

The bill will give parents the ability to review instructional materials and request that their children opt out of certain reading materials. If the schools materials do end up changing, teachers will be required to update the information online by week’s end or be subject to a fine between $500-$5,000.

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DeSantis Signs Law Enforcement Bill into Law, Includes Signing Bonuses for Officers Who Move to Florida

Ron DeSantis

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday signed into law a measure that incentivizes law enforcement officers to move to or stay in the state through monetary awards.

“While other parts of the country are mistreating, marginalizing and defunding law enforcement, in Florida we continue to prioritize and appreciate our law enforcement officers,” DeSantis said during a Friday news conference while accompanied by Attorney General Ashley Moody and House Speaker Chris Sprowls. “This legislation encourages Floridians to pursue careers in law enforcement and attracts high quality law enforcement officers from other states who are sick and tired of the mistreatment they experience to bring their skills to Florida. From $1,000 scholarships to $5,000 bonuses to $25,000 adoption incentives, we are putting our money where our mouth is, and we are backing the blue.”

HB 3 includes a wide range of law enforcement initiatives, including incentives to encourage both out-of-state residents and Floridians to join state and local law enforcement agencies. It includes signing bonuses for every new recruit, costs covered for training programs and relocation expenses, pay raises and $1,000 bonuses. The bill also created a Law Enforcement Academy Scholarship Program for children of law enforcement officers, and adoption benefits for officers.

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Abbott Blasts Biden Administration’s Latest Immigration Policy, Saying It Endangers Americans

Greg Abbott

 Texas Gov. Greg Abbott blasted President Joe Biden Friday for making what he called another “reckless” immigration policy decision to terminate the public health rule known as Title 42. By doing so, the number of illegal immigrants expected to enter the country will more than double those who entered illegally last year, law enforcement officials estimate.

“President Biden’s open-border policies are an unmitigated disaster for national security,” Abbott said in a statement. “His recklessness has forced the State of Texas to take unprecedented steps to fill the gaps – including deploying Texas Department of Public Safety troopers and over 10,000 Texas National Guard soldiers, jailing illegal immigrants who are charged with trespassing, and becoming the first state ever to build a wall to secure the border.

“Instead of listening to the millions of Americans that his administration has endangered – and instead of enforcing immigration laws passed by Congress – President Biden has chosen to jeopardize the safety and security of those very Americans he swore to protect and defend by ending Title 42 expulsions.”

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Georgia House Approves ‘Constitutional Carry’ Legislation

person holding hand gun

Georgians soon could be able to carry guns outside their houses without a license.

The Georgia House voted, 100-67, Wednesday in favor of Senate Bill 319 to eliminate the need for a permit. Currently, Georgians must obtain a firearms license, which costs about $75 but may vary by county.

The “constitutional carry” measure now returns to the Senate to consider changes the House made to the bill. A similar piece of legislation, House Bill 1358, is pending in the state Senate.

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Commentary: Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Soft Spot for Drug Dealers, Pedophiles and Terrorists

Ketanji Brown Jackson

If confirmed as a Supreme Court justice, she vowed to limit the government’s “overreach” in punishing criminals and enforce the guarantees offered the accused under the Bill of Rights.

That said, Jackson testified, “It’s very important that people be held accountable for their crimes, so if they’re not, then it would be a problem for the rule of law.”

Her idea of the best way to hold criminals “accountable” is a key issue the Senate will have to weigh as it votes to confirm her confirmation early next month.

As the count stands now, it appears she has enough votes to squeeze past an evenly divided Senate. But Republicans are pressuring Democrats on the Judiciary Committee to release documents they say shed more light on Jackson’s record on the bench, as well as the sentencing commission. Democratic Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin refuses to turn over even redacted copies of the presentencing reports generated in the child sex offender cases Jackson presided over. He also will not release her emails and other internal correspondence from her time on the commission. The White House, moreover, is withholding an additional 48,000 pages of documents that likely include some of her commission emails.

“Why are Democrats hiding her record? What is Judge Jackson hiding?” Davis asked.

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Commentary: GOP Must Promise Inquisitions, Not Meaningless Task Forces

Ginni Thomas and Mark Meadows

Using the pretext of the so-called insurrection on January 6, 2021, the long knives are out for Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Post-election text exchanges between Mrs. Thomas and Mark Meadows, President Trump’s chief-of-staff, recently were leaked by the January 6 select committee to none other than the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward, who darkly described the communications as proof that “Ginni Thomas used her access to Trump’s inner circle to promote and seek to guide the president’s strategy to overturn the election result.”

The small cache of texts—29 total—shows Thomas expressing frustration at the election’s outcome. There is nothing sinister, and certainly nothing criminal, about the messages.

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Ohio Redistricting Commission Adopts Modified Versions of Thrown-Out Maps

Ohio State House

Republicans on the Ohio Redistricting Commission passed a modified version of state legislative districts previously ruled unconstitutional by the Ohio Supreme Court, bypassing the efforts of two independent map makers it hired last week.

An hour before Monday’s 11:59 p.m. court ordered deadline, the commission voted along party lines, 5-2, in favor of maps drawn by Republicans.

Democrats claimed the approved maps again were drawn in secret while the map makers worked for days in public to develop maps. House Minority Leader Allison Russo, D-Upper Arlington, called it a slap in the face to Ohio voters.

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Michigan Gov. Whitmer to Sign $4.8 Billion Spending Package

Gretchen Whitmer

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will sign a $4.8 billion spending plan into law to focus on water, broadband internet, and housing.

“The Building Michigan Together Plan makes bold, bipartisan investments in the kitchen-table issues that matter most to Michigan families, including clean water, smooth roads, fast internet, and beautiful parks,” Whitmer said in a statement. “I am so proud that the Michigan Legislature and I were able to come together to get this done. This bill will make a real difference in our communities, support tens of thousands of good-paying jobs, and set up Michigan’s economy for decades of success. It is a testament to what is possible when we put Michiganders first.”

However, she didn’t say when she would sign it. Her office hasn’t responded to multiple requests for comment. 

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Wisconsin Election Managers to Mail ‘Movers’ Postcards This Week

Anthony LoCoco

The latest step in double-checking Wisconsin’s voter rolls begins this week.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission on Friday said it will send postcards to thousands of “movers” in the state to check if they are still living where they are registered to vote.

“WEC is required to make contact with these voters,” the Commission said in a letter to local election managers last week. “The postcard notifies voters that a transaction with the WisDOT Division of Motor Vehicles or a National Change of Address database update indicates their address may be different than their voter registration address.”

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Minnesota Wild to Raise Money for Kids’ Puberty Blockers on First-Ever ‘Pride Night’

Minnesota hockey player

The Minnesota Wild will be raising money for a kids’ “gender health program” during its first-ever “Pride Night.”

On Tuesday, March 29, just prior to their game against the Philadelphia Flyers, the Wild will wear “pride” jerseys during warmups. Those jerseys will then be signed and auctioned off, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Wild Foundation and the Children’s Minnesota Gender Health program, according to an NHL news release.

“The Gender Health program provides compassionate and comprehensive care for transgender and gender-diverse youth,” says Children’s Minnesota. “We’re dedicated to serving as an essential medical partner and resource for transgender youth and families along their journey.”

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Georgia Senate Signs Off on Fiscal 2023 Budget

Georgia State Capitol

The Georgia Senate has signed off on a fiscal year 2023 state budget that increases spending by 10.8% over last year.

The Senate voted 56-0 in favor of an amended House Bill 911, a more than $30 billion spending plan that includes pay raises for many state employees and largely returns spending to pre-COVID-19-pandemic spending levels.

The budget proposal includes pay raises for certified teachers and other school workers, including nutrition workers, bus drivers and school nurses. It also increases funding for law enforcement, including for the Georgia Department of Public Safety to hire state troopers and expand crisis intervention training for officers across the Peach State.

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Commentary: America’s Domestic Politics Hampers Ability to End Ukraine War

family with signs protesting the war on Ukraine

In my past role as founder and CEO of Varsity Brands, I came across every old business adage in the book.  Some were cheesy, some were over simplified, but many had wisdom as their foundation.  One such phrase that’s commonly used is, and with which I struggled because of my compassion for my employees, is, “Don’t bring your problems from home into the office with you.”    

There is a variation of that phrase that should be introduced to our political leaders in Washington, albeit a bit too late.  Their version of the “leave it at the doorstep” rule needs to be, “Leave your domestic political problems at your shores when conducting foreign policy.”

It is the violation of that rule, committed by members of the Democrat Party, the mainstream media, and never-Trump Republicans, that has put the United States in a position of pure international impotence with regard to playing a meaningful role in ending the current war between Russia and Ukraine.  We are unable because of our recent obsession in trying to manufacture a collusion narrative between former President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

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Phoenix Nets Most Inbound Movers, Study Finds

Phoenix home

People are moving to Arizona in droves, especially the Phoenix area.

Last year, the Phoenix metro area took the top spot nationwide in terms of the number of people moving to the city compared to the rate at which people were leaving the city, according to a study conducted by Allied.

Meanwhile, Arizona as a whole was a popular state for people to move to, even outside of the Phoenix metro area; it ranked fifth among inbound states in the country last year. States that ranked ahead of Arizona on the list included: South Carolina, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Florida. Meanwhile, Arizona ranked ahead of Texas on the list.

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Trump Levels Blistering Attack on Democrats, and Biden’s Supreme Court Nominee

Donald Trump speaking

Sounding ever more a candidate seeking the White House again, former President Donald Trump on Saturday night attacked Democrats as a party of “socialists and communists” so extreme that they chose a Supreme Court nominee who “can’t even say what a woman is.”

“A party that’s unwilling to admit that men and women are biologically different in defiance of all scientific and human history is a party that should not be anywhere near the levers of power in the United States,” Trump told a raucous rally in rural Georgia.

In a 90-minute speech, Trump also rallied Republicans to get behind gubernatorial candidate David Perdue and football star-turned-Senate candidate Herschel Walker and to defeat incumbent GOP Gov. Brian Kemp.

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Wisconsin Gov. Evers Signs Bill Appropriating $883K to Promoting Dairy Exports

Gov. Tony Evers

Wisconsin taxpayers will pay $883,000 for a new agricultural exports program to promote dairy products.

The tab results from a bill signed by Gov. Tony Evers on Tuesday, which was National Agriculture Day.

Wisconsin Act 207 (Senate Bill 827) requires the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection to apply the existing, unused appropriation for a newly created agricultural exports program.

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New Connecticut Incubator Could Spur Job Growth, Business Development

Ned Lamont

A $1.3 million business incubator is in the works, Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont said.

Lamont announced the anticipated approval from the Connecticut State Bond Commission for the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut’s Thames River Innovation Center which will focus on job growth in the state.

The center, according to a release, will be located in New London and will give businesses and workers an innovation center and working space, in addition to the site being used for training, technical apprenticeships, and business development.

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10 Republican-Controlled States Reach Record-Low Unemployment Rates

As the peak of the coronavirus pandemic appears to have passed, ten Republican-led states have all recorded the lowest unemployment rate on record.

According to The Hill, the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows ten different states with unemployment rates as low as just over 2 percent. Nebraska and Utah are tied for the lowest percentages in the country, at 2.2 percent each. They are followed by Indiana with 2.4 percent, and Kansas with 2.6 percent. The remaining six states are: Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma and West Virginia.

All ten states’ unemployment rates are currently the lowest on record since BLS first began tracking state-by-state percentages in 1976. Of these ten states, only one has a Democratic governor, with Laura Kelly in Kansas. All ten states have Republican majorities in their respective state legislatures.

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Shrinking Food Supplies, Soaring Prices Could Trigger Global Unrest, Key GOP Lawmaker Warns

Rep. Austin Scott

With U.S. and world food prices set to soar due to inflation and supply shortages stemming from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a key GOP lawmaker is asking the Pentagon to study the potential for conflict if the global food supply shrinks by 5%.

U.S. farmers will pay $300-$400 more per acre to grow crops this year due to inflation and costs associated with the war in Europe, Georgia Republican Rep. Austin Scott warned Monday on the Just the News TV show.

Shipping is another issue, as trade is throttled by war-related disruptions and tough economic sanctions against Russia.

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Iowa Is Second State in 2022 to Ban Men from Women’s Sports

Women's volleyball game

On Mar. 3, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed House Bill 2416, which bars men from competing against women in sports at “all school levels.”

“The bill also requires that only female students, based on their sex, may participate in any team, sport, or athletic event designated as being for females, women, or girls,” the new legislation reads.

“This is a victory for girls’ sports in Iowa,” Reynolds said on Mar. 3, surrounded by a room of female athletes as the bill was officially enacted. “No amount of talent, training or effort can make up for the natural physical advantages males have over females. It’s simply a reality of human biology.”

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Georgia Senate Approves Bill to Ban Teaching ‘Divisive Concepts’

Bo Hatchett

Georgia teachers would be banned from teaching “divisive concepts” in the classroom under legislation signed off on by the Georgia Senate.

Senators voted, 34-20, in favor of Senate Bill 377. The legislation now heads to the state House, where lawmakers previously passed similar legislation, House Bill 1084.

The bill outlines nine “divisive concepts,” including that one “race or ethnicity is inherently superior to another race or ethnicity” and that an “individual’s moral character is inherently determined by his or her race, skin color, or ethnicity.”

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All-Star Panelist and Senior Editor-at-Large for The Epoch Times Roger Simon Visits Cordell Hull to Watch How the Sausage Is Made

Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed Senior Editor at Large for The Epoch Times, Roger Simon in-studio to describe his recent visit to the Tennessee State Capitol.

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Wisconsin Dairy Farmers Want New State Water Officer to Help, Not Hurt

Gov. Tony Evers

There are some worries among dairy farmers in Wisconsin about a new water officer position that’s headed for Gov. Evers’ desk.

The Wisconsin Senate this week approved a plan, AB 727, that creates a new hydrologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Extension.

The Wisconsin Dairy Alliance and the Venture Dairy Cooperative released a joint statement pleading with the governor not to turn the new position into an environmental advocate.

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Proposed Law Would Stop Ohio Communities from Prohibiting Vacation Rentals

Sarah Fowler

Ohioans who want to rent their homes on a short-term basis as vacation rentals or an AirBNB could not be stopped by local governments if a bill recently introduced in the Ohio House becomes law.

House Bill 563 would prohibit local regulations that would place outright bans on short-term rentals and limit the duration of use. It would not stop local municipalities from regulating the rentals but would require those regulations are the same as long-term rentals.

“Ohioans should always have the right to use what is often their most valuable asset, their homes, as an investment to make money through short-term rental,” Rep. Sarah Fowler Arthur, R-Ashtabula, said. “Short-term rentals also help drive traffic to countless small businesses – restaurants, shops and tourist attractions – across the state. Eliminating short-term rentals hurts Ohio’s economy.” 

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Michigan Gov. Whitmer’s Campaign Enters Legal Battle over 35,000 Signatures

Gretchen Whitmer

 More than 35,000 signatures are on the line for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s reelection campaign as a result of a legal battle over the size of union logos printed on ballot petitions.

In February 2022, the Board of State Canvassers deadlocked on party lines and failed to approve a ballot initiative petition for the group Raise the Wage because Republicans said the typeface union logo printed was too small.

This appears to be a new disagreement, as court documents say the entity has previously approved documents with the small union logo. 

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Gableman Investigation Extended, Trump Weighs In

Robin Vos and Donals Trump

The investigation into the 2020 election in Wisconsin will last at least another month.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos on Tuesday extended former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Mike Gableman’s investigation until the end of April.

“The office of Special Counsel has done an outstanding job looking into the election concerns people all across Wisconsin had,” Vos said in a statement after signing a new contract with Gableman.

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Commentary: Reject Liz Cheney’s War

Liz Cheney

After nearly two weeks, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine continues with the Russian military steadily gaining ground and methodically taking control of key assets such as highways, bridges, airports, and power plants. As the Russians advance, they are also encircling and cutting off the main concentrations of the Ukrainian military. If those encirclements are completed, it could get ugly.

It’s into that cauldron that U.S. Representative Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) would plunge the United States. On “Face the Nation” last week Cheney was nothing short of bellicose calling for escalation across the board.

Cheney wants Biden to expand already sweeping sanctions and seize the Russian Central Bank’s foreign reserves. Weaponizing the dollar and the banking system in this way, she apparently fails to realize, carries with it risks to dollar-supremacy and the global dominance of American financial institutions. As other nations watch America use the dollar and important elements of the international banking infrastructure such as the SWIFT system as weapons, they will realize their own vulnerability and take steps to protect themselves from U.S.-dominated financial systems. China already offers alternatives and Biden’s actions are the best advertising for those systems they could ask for.

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Michigan Gov. Whitmer: $400 Checks Should Arrive by May 9

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

A $400 check for each insured vehicle in Michigan should hit state residents’ mailboxes by May 9 at the latest.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA) will complete the transfer of $3 billion in surplus funds to Michigan’s auto insurers this week.

“These $400 refunds are game-changers for so many Michigan families,” Whitmer said in a statement. “I called for these refunds because I am committed to lowering costs for Michiganders and putting money back in people’s pockets. They are possible because we worked across the aisle to pass bipartisan auto insurance reform, and we will keep working together to grow our economy and build a state where families can thrive.”

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Ohio Bill Takes Aim at Workers’ Compensation Injuries at Home

Ohio Rep. Brian Lampton

Workers’ compensation injuries taking place at home would look more like injuries suffered in an office if a bill passed recently by the Ohio House eventually becomes law.

House Bill 447 would eliminate at-home injuries suffered by employees working from that were not a direct result of a typical work. State law does not currently differentiate injuries from injuries sustained by work-from-home employees that are outside of the employer’s control.

“The pandemic changed our lives dramatically,” Rep. Brian Lampton, R-Beavercreek, said. “With that change, legislators should act to modify laws that reflect the world we live in today. House Bill 447 codifies that injuries sustained by work-from-home employees qualify for workers’ compensation if the injury was caused by their employment and within the control of their employer.”

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Wisconsin Treasurer Wants to Dump Russian Investments

Wisconsin Treasurer Sarah Godlewski

Wisconsin’s state treasurer is the latest to look to pull the plug on the state’s Russian investments.

Treasurer Sarah Godlewski on Monday released a letter to the State of Wisconsin Investment Board that asks for a report on any investments the state has in any Russian companies or funds, and asks for a plan to dump them.

“The Wisconsin Retirement System is one of the largest public pension funds in the U.S., and it is our prudent obligation to act,” Godlewski wrote. “I’m calling on the State of Wisconsin Investment Board to immediately identify any direct investments in Russia held by the Wisconsin Retirement System, the State Investment Fund, and other state trust funds; and develop a plan to divest from these holdings.”

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Gov. Evers Signs Law That Exempts Restaurant Revitalization Grants from State Taxes

Gov. Tony Evers holding up recently signed legislation

Another Republican-driven tax cut has been signed by Gov. Tony Evers.

Evers on Monday signed AB 717, which exempts any and all Restaurant Revitalization grants from state taxes.

“This will ensure that these funds are treated like the Paycheck Protection Loans by making them state-tax-exempt,” Evers said.

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Governor of Iowa Signs Bill Banning ‘Transgender’ Individuals from Women’s Sports

Kim Reynolds

On Thursday, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds (R-Iowa) signed a bill that will completely ban so-called “transgender” individuals from competing in girls’ and women’s sports, forcing them to remain with the teams of their actual biological gender.

The Hill reports that the bill, House File 2416, had previously passed the Iowa State House in February and was passed by the State Senate on Wednesday. Both chambers are controlled by Republican majorities.

The new law declares that “only female students, based on their sex, may participate in any team, sport, or athletic event designated as being for females, women, or girls.” The bill clearly defines “sex” as the “biological sex” listed on the individual’s birth certificate, and encompasses sports teams at all levels of school, community college, and college.

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Massive Bipartisan Coalition Introduces Legislation Banning Russian Oil Imports

Senator Joe Manchin speaking at a press conference

A group of bicameral Republican and Democratic lawmakers introduced legislation Thursday that would prohibit the U.S. from importing Russian oil and petroleum products.

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Joe Manchin unveiled the Banning Russian Energy Imports Act which would ban the import of Russian oil and petroleum to the U.S. amid the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. More than a dozen Democratic and Republican lawmakers announced their support for the bill.

The U.S. imported more than 670,000 barrels of oil per day from Russia in 2021, U.S. Energy Information Administration data showed. That figure represented a 24% year-over-year uptick compared to 2020.

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Head Start Teachers in Ohio, Virginia, and Louisiana Suing over Biden Administration’s COVID Vaccination Mandate

Head Start teachers in Louisiana, Ohio and Virginia are suing the Biden administration over a nationwide COVID-19 vaccination mandate for the federally funded program.

Elizabeth Etherton, a preschool teacher at Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia, has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court over a threatened termination Monday for failing to take a COVID-19 vaccine.

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Michigan Gov. Whitmer Signs Bipartisan Bill Letting Part-Time Workers to Keep Aid

A bipartisan bill, intended to clear confusion over an apparent contradiction between state and federal law over who actually qualified to receive benefits during the pandemic, is now law.

Senate Bill 445 amends the Michigan Employment Security Act to allow certain unemployed workers eligible for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) to keep benefits.

“As we continue to grow our economy, my top priority is working toward bipartisan solutions to save Michiganders time and money,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement commemorating her signing the bill. “I’ve always said that Michiganders should not be penalized for doing what was right at the time they applied for federal pandemic benefits. The changes in this legislation will streamline our unemployment system and provide relief to Michiganders who needed these federal benefits to pay their bills, keep food on the table, and continue supporting small businesses.”

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Connecticut Gov. Lamont: Economic Summit with Israel Strengthens Business Ties

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont

Six Israeli countries pitched business ideas business leaders from Connecticut in a recent economic mission trip, Gov. Ned Lamont said.

The governor, having returned from the four-day economic summit to the nation situated along the Mediterranean Sea, said discussions focused on building and strengthening relationships with members of the country’s innovative business sector.

Meetings were held with venture capitalists, incubators, accelerators, and thought leaders during the four-day trip, Lamont said.

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