Florida’s DeSantis Signs Bills from Recently-Concluded Special Session

Ron DeSantis Signing Bill

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed all of the bills passed this week during the Florida Legislature’s special session.

The special session was called in response to several pressing issues, including communities in need of relief from recent Hurricane Idalia, increasing access to education funding for disabled children and violence that has erupted in the Middle East.

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Florida Lawmakers Pass Iran Sanctions, Hurricane Relief Bills in Special Session

The Florida Legislature wrapped up its special session after several new measures were passed, including sanctions on Iran, protections for the state’s Jewish community and relief funds for those affected by Hurricane Idalia.

Senate Resolution 8C, House Resolution 9C and HR 11C all would express support for the State of Israel and its right to exist as a sovereign nation with the right to defend itself against attacks from terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah. The resolutions passed unanimously.

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Police Chiefs, Lawmakers Explain Issues with New SRO Law

Center of the American Experiment hosted a panel discussion with police chiefs and state representatives last week to discuss the ongoing controversy surrounding a new law impacting school resource officers (SROs).

The law prohibits SROs in cases where there is no threat of bodily harm or death from using the prone restraint or any force that “places pressure or weight on a pupil’s head, throat, neck, chest, lungs, sternum, diaphragm, back, or abdomen.”

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Virginia Legislators Pass Budget in Special Session

The Virginia General Assembly met Wednesday in Richmond and voted to finalize the overdue budget deal recently reached by the House and Senate finance committees – but not without a few impassioned speeches from the floor, many over the unique resolution lawmakers were asked to pass.

The assembly passes amendments to the state’s two-year budget every odd year, but this year, the House and Senate continued debating the budget past the July 1 deadline, the start of the fiscal year. Finally, the committees reached a deal, and Gov. Glenn Youngkin called a special session for legislators to codify it. 

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Minnesota Gov. Walz Open to Special Session to Fix New Law Impacting School Resource Officers

While students across the state are now back in class, the list of secondary schools that will begin the year without a school resource officer continues to grow.

On Monday the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office announced it will pull its officers it has contracted as SROs from six schools in the east metro. Well more than a dozen law enforcement agencies across the state have now pulled their SROs from school campuses in the wake of a new law they say the legislature needs to fix so their officers can safely do their jobs.

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Virginia Gov. Youngkin Calls Special Session to Finalize Budget

Just days after the House and Senate budget committees reached a deal, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin called a General Assembly Special Session for Wednesday, Sept. 6, to pass amendments to the state’s biennial budget. 

Budget negotiations have been fraught with difficulty this year, with the Republican-led House and the Democrat-led Senate unable to compromise on the governor’s proposed tax cuts and other big-ticket items like K-12 education. 

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Commentary: TFA and GOA File Amicus Brief in Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Challenging ATF’s ‘Frame and Receiver’ Rule

On August 25, 2023, Tennessee Firearms Association (TFA) joined again with Gun Owners of America GOA) in the effort to defeat the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms’ (ATF) unconstitutional expansion of the Congressional definition of a “frame or receiver”. The brief was filed in the case of Jennifer VanDerStok, et al. v. Merrick Garland, et. al. Fifth Circuit 23:10718.  

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Davidson County Judge Blocks Enforcement of Rule Prohibiting Paper Signs in House Gallery, Lobby During Special Session

A judge in Davidson County blocked a rule prohibiting paper signs from the Tennessee House of Representatives gallery or lobby.

The ruling came in response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Tennessee on behalf of three Tennesseans escorted out of a House subcommittee hearing on Tuesday for possessing paper signs advocating a political message.

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Anti-Human Trafficking Bill Passes Senate Judiciary Committee During Tennessee Special Session

During the special session of the Tennessee General Assembly Tuesday, the issue of human trafficking took center stage. 

The Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday passed SB 7088, which as introduced would require the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) “to submit a report on child and human trafficking crimes and trends in this state, based upon data available to the bureau, as well as current programs and activities of the bureau’s human trafficking unit, to the governor, the speaker of the house of representatives, and the speaker of the senate by December 1, 2023, and by each December 1 thereafter.”

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Gulbransen: The First Step to Stopping Modern Day Slavery in Tennessee Is to Pass This Bill

Attorney and newest all-star panelist Braden Boucek joined host Michael Patrick Leahy on Monday’s episode of The Tennessee Star Report to discuss to administrative overreach and bizarre secrecy surrounding the Covenant Killer Manifesto and how lawmakers convening in the special session could obtain and review those materials today.

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Knoxville Mayor Urges General Assembly to Pass Red Flag Laws During Special Session

Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon released a statement on Thursday in support of Governor Bill Lee’s call for a special session in the General Assembly, set to convene on Monday.

“As Mayor of Knoxville, public safety is my top priority. I support the Governor’s call for a Special Session to consider legislative measures to make our communities safer,” Kincannon’s statement said. “While there are many perspectives on how to accomplish these goals, the conversation must continue to include all parts of our state and all communities.”

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Michael Patrick Leahy: Bill Lee’s ‘Laundry List Red Flag Law Special Session’ Is a Dramatic Break from the Modern Political Tradition of Tennessee

Host Michael Patrick Leahy lays out why Gov. Bill Lee’s “Laundry List Red Flag Law Special Session’ breaks with modern political tradition in Tennessee.  He also explains the surprising reason his ‘Red Flag’ law is doomed to fail in court on Friday’s episode of The Tennessee Star Report.  TRANSCRIPT Michael Patrick Leahy: Well, we’re looking at this special session call Governor Bill Lee had – his ill-advised call [for a special session that will convene on Monday, August 21.]It’s going to be an opportunity for the Left wing to descend upon the capital on Monday and try to intimidate Tennessee General Assembly members to adopt gun control measures and a Red Flag law. We’ll get to those details here in just a minute, but let’s talk about the history of special sessions. It’s supposed to be on extraordinary occasions. The modern political tradition here in the state of Tennessee is to take care of the business of the state during the general session of the Tennessee General Assembly, which convenes in January and typically runs to April or May. And when you have an opportunity for committee hearings and for more deliberate consideration of a wide array of laws…

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Crommentary: The Runaway Left Wields Power Through the Tyranny of the Minority

On Friday’s episode of The Tennessee Star Report, original all-star panelist Crom Carmichael noted three seemingly unrelated stories in the news today to illustrate how the Left is effectively dominating critical sectors of life across across the country.  TRANSCRIPT Crom Carmichael: Michael, like so many of my recent commentaries, it’s kind of a theme – pulling from a bunch of different stories on seemingly unrelated topics. But this is a headline from the Wall Street Journal, James Freeman, “Has the Bay Area Hit Bottom?” and what it goes on to point out is just how terrible things are in San Francisco and in Oakland. And there’s one there’s one quote in here. It’s by Mr. Chachas acquired Gump’s department stores following a chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2018. And here’s what he wrote – and it was published in the local paper there. San Francisco now suffers from a tyranny of the minority behavior and actions of the few that jeopardize the livelihood of the many. The ramifications of COVID policies advising people to abandon their offices are only beginning to be understood. Equally devastating had been a litany of destructive San Francisco strategies, including allowing the homeless to occupy our…

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Gulbransen Confronts the Rumor Mill About a ‘Backroom Deal’ to Pass Red Flag Gun Control Laws During Special Session

Sparks fly in Tuesday’s edition of Aaron’s Analysis on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy, as official guest host Aaron Gulbransen directly confronts swirling around the politics of Gov. Lee’s proposed “red flag” gun control law. In a rare moment, Gulbransen shares shocking details about his past and how that informs his insights into what he thinks which measures will and won’t pass during the upcoming special session. TRANSCRIPT Aaron Gulbransen: So, I wanna set this up: I absolutely despise talking about myself other than telling funny stories, but I feel I must point out a few things so the audience can understand where I’m coming from in general, and how I view things politically in special session. The audience knows me, of course, as the official guest host of this program and the executive director of The Tennessee Faith and Freedom Coalition. I am, long ago, a Blue State refugee. I got my start in politics as a volunteer for the Long Island Coalition for Life, the oldest pro-life organization in the country, folding and distributing their newsletter. My first paid campaign was in the year 2000 against Hillary Clinton. Years later, I moved to Virginia and…

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Michael Patrick Leahy: Gov. Bill Lee’s 18 Separate Bills Are a Smoke Screen to Jam Through Red Flag Gun Control Laws During Special Session

The Tennessee Star Report host Michael Patrick Leahy took to the airwaves Monday morning to break down Governor Bill Lee’s call for an “extraordinary” special session.

By looking into the recent past, Leahy shows listeners how Lee’s “laundry list” of eighteen line items are little more than a smoke screen to hide the central purpose of the August 21 session, which is to pass legislation that will fundamentally alter the nature of gun ownership in Tennessee.

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Tennessee Star Files Records Request for Information on ‘Handwritten Words, Drawings, and Numbers’ Found on Covenant Killer’s Clothes

The Tennessee Star filed a public records request seeking information related to “handwritten words, drawings, and numbers” found on the clothing of Audrey Elizabeth Hale, the Covenant School killer, at the time of the mass shootings.

Michael Patrick Leahy, Tennessee citizen and CEO of Star News Digital Media, Inc., parent company of The Tennessee Star, filed the records request Thursday morning with the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department. MNPD officials sent an automatic reply acknowledging receipt of the request.

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TFA Commentary: Gov. Lee’s Special Session Proclamation ‘Makes It Clear He Is on Board with Calls from Democrats like Justin Jones and Joe Biden to Enact Gun Control in Tennessee’

Months ago, while the Legislature was still in its regular session, Governor Lee asked them to enact his Red Flag law which was his immediate, some might say knee-jerk – response to the Covenant School murders. The Legislature rejected that request, deferred almost all remaining 2nd Amendment legislation to 2024 and instead adjourned. Before most of them could get home, Governor Lee announced that he was going to call them back into a special legislative session to consider and pass his Red Flag proposal.

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Minnesota Gov. Walz Rejects Calls for Special Session to Fix ‘Loopholes’ in New Marijuana Law

Gov. Tim Walz won’t call a special session to make changes to the new adult-use recreational marijuana law to fix loopholes Republicans allege effectively decriminalize use for minors.

Walz told reporters gathered for a press conference Tuesday that it’s clear to him it’s still illegal for minors to use marijuana products. He said he won’t be calling a special session at the request of House Republicans, but said he expects that legislators may choose to tweak the new laws during the 2024 regular legislative session.

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State Rep. Scott Cepicky on Special Session: ‘I Will Be a Firm No Vote’ on Any Legislation that Restricts Tennesseans’ Constitutional Rights

State Representative Scott Cepicky (R-Culleoka) joined host Michael Patrick Leahy on the newsmaker line on Wednesday’s episode of The Tennessee Star Report to discuss the special session Gov. Bill Lee formally called in a proclamation last night. Cepicky broke down the steps ahead and shared his thoughts about the fate of Lee’s “Red Flag” law aspirations. TRANSCRIPT Michael Patrick Leahy: 6:18 a.m. – we are joined on a newsmaker line right now by our very good friend, State Representative Scott Cepicky. Good morning, Scott. How are you today? Scott Cepicky:  Good morning, Michael. How’s everybody doing today? Michael Patrick Leahy: Well, I was doing fine until I saw the governor last night release this proclamation for a special session, which will be held Monday, a week from Monday at 4:00 p.m. in the state Capitol. What’s your reaction to this laundry list of 18 things that he wants you to pass in a special session? Scott Cepicky: Well, Michael, the first thing I wanna say is I swore an oath to uphold the constitution of Tennessee and pass no bill or vote for any bill that is injurious to the citizens of the state. So I take that very seriously and…

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Commentary: Bill Lee Conspiring with Democrats and Conducting ‘Secret’ Meetings to Craft Surprise Gun Control Agenda for Special Session

In a constitutional republic with a so-called conservative Governor in a “red state” like Tennessee, few would expect that the Governor would be conspiring with gun control advocates and conducting “secret” meetings away from the capitol in order to craft a gun control package, including his demand that Tennessee enact a Red Flag law, to be revealed perhaps only once “his” Special Session is called? Well, if you are a Second Amendment advocate who has watched this particular Governor and several in the Republican legislative caucus over the last 13 years, you might be one to expect exactly that kind of shenanigans.

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Gulbransen on Gloria Johnson Senate Bid: You Don’t Tug on Superman’s Cape, You Don’t Mess with Marsha Blackburn When You’re a Marxist

Official guest host of The Tennessee Star Report and executive director of the Faith and Freedom Coalition Tennessee Aaron Gulbransen joined Michael Patrick Leahy in-studio Tuesday to discuss the purported U.S. Senate candidacy of the far-left Democrat State Representative Gloria Johnson (D-Knoxville).

Gulbransen took the opportunity to remind listeners of Johnson’s liberal bona fides and Marsha Blackburn’s ferocity on the campaign trail.

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Harris: Constitutionally, New Legislation Restricting Firearms Must Demonstrate a Similar Law Existed in 1791

Second Amendment expert and Executive Director of the Tennessee Firearms Association John Harris joined host Michael Patrick Leahy in-studio on Wednesday’s episode of The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy to discuss the high burden lawmakers must overcome in order for new gun control laws to pass constitutional muster, and the rumors at the state Capitol swirling around who is behind the push.  TRANSCRIPT Michael Patrick Leahy: 6:34 a.m., broadcasting live from our studios on Music Row in Nashville, Tennessee. In studio, a very good friend, John Harris, the executive director of Tennessee Firearms Association. John, the shortest amendment to the Constitution is the Second Amendment. And it basically says “the right to bear arms shall not be infringed.” Now to me, that’s pretty clear, “shall not be infringed.” Is there any lack of clarity in that to you? John Harris: There is not. But you know, I’ve been doing it for 30 years, so I’ve got a learning curve ahead of a lot of legislators because it is such a complicated concept– Michael Patrick Leahy:  “Shall not be infringed?” John Harris: When you have a concept that is defined with a single period, it doesn’t leave a…

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Gulbransen Confirms After Meeting with Gov. Lee: A Special Session Will Happen In August, Despite Threats

Executive Director of Tennessee Faith and Freedom Coalition Aaron Gulbransen puts listeners in the room with him during his recent meeting with Gov. Bill Lee on Tuesday’s Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy.

Gulbransen shares insider details, the points of agreement, and confirms that the Governor intends to call for a special session in August as he originally said – despite the many threats of unrest the Left have vowed to deliver.

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Commentary: An Open Letter to Governor Bill Lee from Williamson County Elected Officials and Republican Party Leadership

As a coalition of elected officials and community leaders in Williamson County, we are calling on you to  reconsider the Special Session currently scheduled for August 21, 2023, and resume discussions about future legislation to create safer schools and communities during the regularly scheduled General Session in January 2024.  

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Harris Warns: Gov. Bill Lee Could ‘Easily Pass’ Red Flag Legislation During Special Session with Dems and ‘Squishy’ Republicans

Second Amendment expert and Tennessee Firearms Association Executive Director John Harris continued his Monday interview with The Tennessee Star Report’s Michael Patrick Leahy to outline the requirements and limitations of Governor Bill Lee regarding a proposed special session in August, along with a warning about scenario that could result in red flag legislation passing both chambers of the legislature.

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Tennessee Faith and Freedom Coalition Meets with Lee Administration on Concerns Regarding August Special Session

Members of the Lee administration met with the Tennessee Faith & Freedom Coalition (TNFFC) Board of Directors on Wednesday after the group sent a letter urging Governor Bill Lee to cancel his proposed August 21 special session of the Tennessee General Assembly.

“In response to our letter asking Governor Lee to cancel plans for an August Special Session of the Tennessee General Assembly due to public safety concerns as well as constitutional concerns, Chief of Staff Joseph Williams emailed us and requested a meeting with our Board of Directors. We took him up on that offer and on Wednesday, had a meeting with Chief of Staff Williams and Lee Administration Special Advisor Michael Hendrix,” the TNFFC disclosed in a Friday statement emailed to The Tennessee Star.

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TN Faith & Freedom Coalition Calls on Gov. Lee to Cancel Special Session on Gun Control ‘In the Interest of Public Safety’ Due to Danger from Far Left Activists

The Tennessee Faith & Freedom Coalition (TNFFC) called on Gov. Bill Lee (R-TN) Monday to cancel his proposed August 21 special session of the Tennessee General Assembly.

“We are writing you because you have made it clear that you are planning to use your authority to officially call an ill-advised special session of the Tennessee General Assembly on August 21st to address gun issues in the aftermath of the Covenant School shooting tragedy, a heinous and despicable act committed by a mentally ill individual who claimed to be on the transgender spectrum,” the TNFFC said in a letter sent to the governor. A copy of the letter was also sent to all members of the Tennessee General Assembly.

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State Rep. Bryan Richey Issues Open Letter Calling on Governor Bill Lee to Cancel Special Legislative Session

Richey and his colleagues urge the governor to abandon the special session proposed for August 21 in response to The Covenant School tragedy, because the General Assembly can discuss and consider legitimate measures to improve public safety when it reconvenes in January 2024.

While acknowledging that the governor has the constitutional authority to call a special session, the letters states that it “will be a political event to put pressure on conservative Republicans to grow government and ignore the will of their constituents in service to the national woke mob that will descend on the Capitol.”

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