Blackburn Joins Bill to Strip Federal Funding from ‘Anarchist Jurisdictions’

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) has added her name to a bill that would prevent federal funding from going to cities with “violent anarchist jurisdictions.”

The bill, carried by Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), defines an anarchist jurisdiction as a city or state that abdicates its constitutional duty to its citizens to uphold the rule of law, or fails to provide police, fire, or emergency medical services to its residents, according to Blackburn’s office.

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Cohen Urges Lee to Remove Nathan Bedford Forrest Bust, Rename State Park

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN-09) urged Gov. Bill Lee to remove a bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest from the State Capitol and rename a state park that bears his name.

In a letter sent to Lee Monday, Cohen asked the Republican governor to “demonstrate leadership on an issue that causes so much pain in the Black community in Tennessee.”

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Gov. Lee Announces Law Enforcement Reform Partnership to Improve Police Training, Policies

Gov. Bill Lee announced a new partnership last week with law enforcement agencies across the state in an effort to reform policing in Tennessee.

“The intent of this partnership is the desire to ensure law enforcement are consistently reflecting the values of the communities they serve,” Lee explained in a press release.

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Blackburn Calls Trump’s Fourth of July Speech ‘One of the Best’ of His Presidency

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) called President Donald Trump’s Independence Day speech at the annual Salute to America celebration “one of the best” of his presidency.

The president delivered back-to-back speeches over the holiday weekend, the first of which took place Friday night in front of Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. In both addresses, Trump delivered an unapologetic defense of American culture and history, mercilessly deriding the “cancel culture.”

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

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

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Gov. Bill Lee Grants County Mayors Authority to Issue Mask Mandates

Gov. Bill Lee signed an executive order Friday granting the mayors of 89 counties the authority to issue local face mask mandates.

Six Tennessee counties – Sullivan, Knox, Hamilton, Davidson, Madison, and Shelby – have local health departments, and therefore already have the authority to issue mask requirements as needed, Lee’s office explained.

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Tennessee Comptrollers: Former County Mayor Tried to Hide Wife’s Role in Auto Accident

Former Haywood County Mayor Franklin Smith filed a false accident claim after his wife was involved in an auto accident in May 2018 while she drove a county-owned vehicle, according to Tennessee Comptrollers.

Comptrollers did not identify the former county mayor by name in a report they submitted this week.

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University of Memphis Football Team Will Wear BLM Stickers on Helmets All Season

The University of Memphis recently announced that its football players will wear helmets with a Black Lives Matter sticker for every game during the upcoming season.

“This season, for every game, our student-athletes’ helmets will have a BLM sticker,” Ryan Silverfield, head coach of the school’s football team, wrote on Twitter.

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Joe Carr Endorses Dr. Manny Sethi for Senate, Hosts Candidate, Sen. Rand Paul at Cookout

Joe Carr, a conservative leader in Rutherford County, on Thursday endorsed Dr. Manny Sethi in his U.S. Senate race and said he will host the physician as well as U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) at a cookout on July 18.

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

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

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

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Tennessee Man Arrested on Eight Charges Connected to Nashville Riots

The Metro Nashville Police Department announced a “significant arrest” Wednesday night in connection to the May 30 riots outside the Metro Courthouse.

According to a press release, authorities have arrested 33-year-old Ryan Keith Ray on eight criminal charges. Ray has been charged with inciting a riot, arson, two counts of burglary, and four counts of felony vandalism.

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35 Democrats Join Steve Cohen’s Resolution to Open Impeachment Inquiry of Bill Barr

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN-09) wants to open up another impeachment inquiry, this time of U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr.

After calling for Barr’s impeachment last week, Cohen formally introduced a resolution Tuesday that would authorize an impeachment inquiry into Barr’s conduct.

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Blackburn Leads Bipartisan Letter Asking EU to Designate Hezbollah a Terrorist Organization

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) led a bipartisan group of lawmakers in urging member states of the European Union to designate Hezbollah a terrorist organization.

Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) along with Reps. Lee Zeldin (R-NY-01) and Ted Deutch (D-FL-22) joined Blackburn in drafting the letter to EU member states. A total of 30 lawmakers signed their names to the letter.

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Mark Green Introduces Bill to Provide Transparency on Federal Funds Spent in China

U.S. Rep. Mark Green (R-TN-07) recently introduced a bill to require annual reporting on federal funds spent in China.

The bill, called the Our Money in China Transparency Act, would require detailed annual reporting on any federal funds spent on activities conducted in collaboration with China’s entities and institutions, Green explained in a press release.

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Steve Cohen Calls for Bill Barr’s Impeachment

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN-09) called for the impeachment of U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr during a House Judiciary Committee hearing last week.

In a statement released before the hearing, Cohen claimed the Department of Justice “has clearly been corrupted” under Barr’s leadership. He pointed to the recent removal of Geoffrey Berman, former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, and the Justice Department’s request to dismiss its criminal case against Michael Flynn as evidence of corruption.

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Tennessee Planned Parenthood Members Burn American Flag in Defense of Abortion

Members of the Tennessee chapter of Planned Parenthood gathered at an unspecified location this week and posted a Twitter video of themselves incinerating an American flag.

Those same Planned Parenthood members then placed the burning flag into a garbage container before someone extinguished the flames with a fire extinguisher.

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Thales Academy Announces July 20 Grand Opening of Franklin Campus

Thales Academy, a college preparatory network of Pre-K-12 independent schools, announced that it will hold a grand opening for its new Franklin campus on July 20.

The grand opening will mark the first day of the school’s year-round calendar for the 2020-2021 academic year, Thales Academy said in a press release.

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18-Year-Old Charged with Inciting a Riot, Civil Disorder in Knoxville Unrest

An 18-year-old from Heiskell, Tennessee was charged Monday with inciting a riot and civil disorder for his involvement in a May 30 riot in downtown Knoxville.

According to WVLT, a group of 50 to 100 people gathered in Market Square around 11:30 p.m. on May 30 to commit acts of vandalism as unrest spread across the nation in response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

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Abortion Groups Sue Tennessee Over Newly-Passed Heartbeat Bill, Down Syndrome Abortion Restrictions

Bill Lee

Tennessee was immediately sued by a cohort of liberal organizations Friday after the General Assembly passed its pro-life heartbeat bill.

The bill passed the Tennessee House in a vote of 69-17 and was then approved by the Tennessee Senate 23-5.

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Gov. Lee Considers Calling Special Session of Legislature to Pass Bill Giving Businesses Protection From COVID-19 Lawsuits

Gov. Bill Lee is thinking about calling the Legislature in for a special session to pass a bill to provide retroactive COVID-19 legal protection for businesses, the Chattanooga Times Free Press said.

The General Assembly ended their session on Friday without the House passing the Tennessee Recovery and Safe Harbor Act. It received 46 of 50 votes needed. House Majority Leader William Lamberth (R-Portland) questioned whether the measure was legal under Tennessee’s Constitution regarding the impairment of contracts. (The Senate had approved the bill.)

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The Tennessee Star’s Neil McCabe Interviewed by Politico for Story on Nation’s Division

Neil McCabe, the national correspondent for The Tennessee Star and Star News network, was interviewed by Politico last week for a front-page story on the nation’s division.

The article focused on Seattle’s Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, called CHAZ for short, which Politico described as a “microcosm of the culture wars.” The CHAZ was established by protesters earlier this month after law enforcement officers withdrew from the scene.

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Gov. Lee Announces ‘Strong Mask Movement’ to Make Wearing Face Masks ‘Fun’

Gov. Bill Lee announced a new “TN Strong Mask Movement” Thursday with the goal of making face masks more “fun.”

According to a press release from the governor’s office, the Economic Recovery Group developed the new program along with more than 30 “flagship brands” across the state, including Amazon, Bridgestone, Bristol Motor Speedway, Graceland, Jack Daniel’s, several professional sports teams and universities, and many others.

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Tennessee State Senate Hurriedly Approves Major Abortion Bill Just Before Legislature Adjourns, Gov. Lee Says He Will Sign into Law

Major pro-life legislation was approved by the Tennessee Legislature in Friday’s early morning hours just before legislators wrapped up their year.

Passage — and the end of the session — came as a surprise because Senate leaders had said they would not take the abortion measure up in this condensed year, according to a story by The Tennessee Journal: On the Hill. The publication also reported the Senate did this to persuade the House to back off of making changes to the budget proposal the Senate had approved.

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Mayor Cooper Reinforces Police Chokehold Ban, Duty to Intervene

Mayor John Cooper said this week that he has asked the Metro Nashville Police Department to strengthen its policies to “explicitly prohibit the use of chokeholds and to further clarify officers’ duty to intervene.”

However, as the statement from Cooper’s office notes, chokeholds are already prohibited under Tennessee law in most circumstances. Additionally, since the Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) doesn’t train officers on the technique, chokeholds are “not allowed per Nashville police policy and have not been allowed for decades,” said the statement.

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University of Memphis Launches George Floyd Memorial Scholarship

The University of Memphis in partnership with Shelby County Schools recently announced the creation of a George Floyd Memorial Scholarship.

According to a press release, the goal of the scholarship is to provide support to “as many African American Male Academy members as possible.”

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Illegal Alien Sentenced to Five Years for Cocaine Trafficking in Memphis

An illegal alien who evaded capture for nearly three years was sentenced to 60 months in federal prison last week for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

According to a Monday statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Tennessee, a federal jury in February found Carlos Landeros-Salcedo guilty after a three-day trial and just 40 minutes of deliberation among the jurors. U.S. District Court Judge Sheryl H. Lipman sentenced him to 60 months in federal prison on June 10.

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Leahy and Carmichael Talk About the History of Statues Calling for Public Discussion and Not Mob Rule

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

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Law Enforcement Officers Prevent Protesters from Occupying Legislative Plaza for Second Night

Law enforcement officers were able to prevent demonstrators from camping out in Legislative Plaza for a second night Saturday.

Gov. Bill Lee failed to enforce state law Friday night and allowed left-wing protesters to occupy the plaza throughout the night and into Saturday morning, The Tennessee Star reported. More than 100 protesters claimed Friday that they had taken control of Nashville’s Legislative Plaza and refused to leave until speaking with Lee.

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U.S. Senate Candidate Dr. Manny Sethi: We Need Republicans to Fight Democrats at the Local Level

Live from Music Row Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – Leahy was joined on the newsmakers line by Tennessee Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Manny Sethi.

During the third hour, Sethi discussed his priorities in the wake of COVID and the death of George Floyd. He disagreed with defunding the police and advocated to bring supply chains back to America. He added that in order to defeat Democrats, Republicans need to challenge them at the local level.

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Fifth Correctional Officer Pleads Guilty in Beating of Tennessee Inmate, Covering Up Incident

A fifth former correctional officer pleaded guilty this week to using unlawful force on an inmate and then conspiring to cover it up while working as an officer for the Tennessee Department of Correction.

Jonathan York, 33, faces up to 10 years in prison for the civil rights offense of using unlawful force and up to five years for the conspiracy offense.

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Liberal Group Calls on Nashville Police Chief to Resign, More Council Members Support Move

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Tennessee called on Metro Police Chief Steve Anderson to resign in a statement released Wednesday.

“Over the last ten days, tens of thousands of Nashvillians have stood together in peaceful protests to express their outrage over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. These powerful protests highlight the outrage over the enduring and deep-rooted problem of racist policing and structural racism in the United States,” the group said in its statement.

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Tennessee Dems Call for ‘Abolishing All Voter ID Laws’ in Response to Floyd’s Death

A recent letter issued by the Tennessee Democratic Party in response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis calls for “abolishing all voter ID laws.”

The letter was posted on the website of the Tennessee Democratic Party on Friday.

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Tennessee Officials Charge Fayette County and Mississippi Women with TennCare Fraud

Tennessee officials have charged two women in separate cases, one from Fayette County and another from Mississippi, with TennCare fraud.

Authorities charged Shuvonda Barnett, 36, of Rossville, with 48 counts of TennCare fraud and two counts of theft of services over $10,000 but under $60,000, according to a Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration press release.

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Thales Academy to Host Parent Interest Meeting Tuesday Night

Thales Academy, a college preparatory network of independent Pre-K-12 schools, will be hosting a parent interest meeting Tuesday night regarding its new campus in Franklin, Tennessee.

The informational meeting is scheduled for June 9 at 6:30 p.m. at The Gate Community Church, the address of which is: 3835 Carothers Parkway, Franklin, TN 37067. Thales Academy is a secular school and is not affiliated with The Gate Church.

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Tennessee National Guard Soldiers Sent to DC Amid Unrest

About 1,000 citizen-soldiers with the Tennessee National Guard were deployed to the nation’s capital this week to help keep the peace outside the White House.

Like many major cities, Washington has seen massive demonstrations in response to the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was allegedly murdered by Minneapolis police. Many of the protests have taken a violent turn as Washington braced for what was expected to be its largest protest yet Saturday night.

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Judge: Tennessee Must Allow Vote by Mail for All Amid Virus

Tennessee must give all of its 4.1 million registered voters the option to cast ballots by mail during the coronavirus pandemic, a judge ruled Thursday.

Davidson County Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle ruled that the state’s limits on absentee voting during the pandemic constitute “an unreasonable burden on the fundamental right to vote guaranteed by the Tennessee Constitution.” The judge wrote that any eligible voter can get an absentee ballot to avoid contracting or passing on COVID-19 in the “upcoming elections during the pendency of pandemic circumstances.”

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Gov. Bill Lee Outlines Big Spending Cuts

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee on Thursday outlined new spending plans for state government that reflect significant revenue reductions due to the economic impact of COVID-19.

Department of Finance and Administration Commissioner Butch Eley presented state lawmakers with the revised budget plans for the current fiscal year, as well as FY 2020-21, which begins July 1, 2020, and a framework for the following fiscal year, 2021-22.

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High Court Won’t Take Over Tennessee Voucher Lawsuit

Tennessee’s highest court declined Thursday to take up an appeal of a lawsuit challenging the legality of a school voucher program that would let parents use public tax dollars for private school tuition.

Voucher supporters had hoped the Tennessee Supreme Court would reach down and take up the case after an appellate court set an Aug. 5 hearing to review the case.

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GOP Considering Nashville for August Convention, Trump Pulls from North Carolina

Gov. Bill Lee confirmed Tuesday afternoon that GOP leaders are considering Nashville as an alternative site for August’s Republican National Convention just hours before President Donald Trump announced that he will be pulling the convention from North Carolina.

Lee’s office told WTVF that officials with the Republican National Committee will be visiting Nashville Thursday to tour the city.

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Ads for Children’s Book on 19th Amendment Written by Sen. Blackburn and Her Daughter Banned by Instagram

Instagram reportedly believes a children’s book written by U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and her daughter, about the history of the 19th Amendment, may “influence the outcome of an election,” so the tech giant has banned advertising for it.

The Federalist reported on the book’s ban.

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New Numbers Show Tennessee’s ‘Staggering Increase in Unemployment’

Officials with the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development released statistics Thursday showing what they call “a staggering increase in unemployment for each of Tennessee’s 95 counties” in April. This, as many businesses closed to help slow the spread of COVID-19, according to a TDLWD press release.

“The unprecedented and historic spike in unemployment impacted some counties more drastically than others, but no area of Tennessee escaped the pandemic’s effect on the state’s workforce,” the press release said.

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Nashville Health Department to Continue Sharing COVID-19 Patient Data with Law Enforcement

The Metro Public Health Department in Nashville will still provide COVID-19 patient information to first responders and law enforcement.

Metro Public Health Director Michael Caldwell said the practice is “temporary,” but that it’s working, WPLN reported Thursday.

“This is an emergency,” he says. “This is critical, timely, life-saving information that has reduced and contained the spread of this disease within our medical institutions and within our jails. I’m puzzled by why the state reversed course.”

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Blackburn Leads Bill to Fight ‘Digital Authoritarianism’ in China, Russia

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced a bill Friday that she says would help prevent authoritarian governments in Russia and China from restricting “Internet freedom.”

“Leading censors like China and Russia are not only employing more sophisticated means to control the lives of their citizens online; they are also exporting their censorship and surveillance tactics to illiberal regimes abroad,” Blackburn said in a press release.

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