Don Barnett Commentary: A Republican Win Will Protect Quality of Life in Tennessee

Tennesseans are big-hearted. In surveys, our state is routinely ranked as one of the nation’s friendliest. That helps explain the net inflow of Americans from other states to Tennessee. The state is also a popular destination for people from other countries. If the Democrats win the White House and the Senate, immigration to the United States and Tennessee will be vastly expanded.

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General Motors Says It Will Invest $2 Billion in Spring Hill Plant

General Motors will invest nearly $2 billion in its Spring Hill manufacturing plant, in Maury County, to build fully electric vehicles, including the all-new, luxury Cadillac LYRIQ.

This, according to a press release that Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD) officials posted on their website Tuesday.

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Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton Talks About His Barnstorming Tour Through Tennessee and Defeating Socialism

Monday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton to the newsmaker line to discuss his barnstorming tour and defeating socialism.

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Federal Prompts for Gov. Bill Lee to Issue Statewide Mask Mandate Begs Question of Who Is Behind the Idea

Tennessee is ranked fourth in the nation for COVID deaths per 100,000 people, WUOT reports, citing the White House Coronavirus Task Force’s red zone report, which calls for Gov. Bill Lee to implement a statewide mask mandate.

The controversial report is from earlier this month. The task force issues frequent red zone reports.

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Tennessee State Rep. John DeBerry: Progressives Use ‘Despicable Language’ Against Him and His Faith

Tennessee state Rep. John DeBerry (D-Memphis) this week publicly told members of the state and national Democratic Party apparatus that politicians will no longer sacrifice their beliefs just to have a “D” behind their name.

DeBerry said this during an interview with the Brooklyn, New York-based The Tablet, which is that area’s newspaper of the Roman Catholic Diocese.

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Tennessee Crushes First-Day Early Voting Turnout Record

A total of 273,325 in-person and absentee votes have been cast by Tennesseans – a 91% increase in voter turnout over the first day of early voting in the 2016 presidential election and a 120% increase in turnout over the first day of early voting in 2012.

More than 167,000 Tennesseans cast ballots in-person Wednesday on the first day of early voting this week, and more than 105,500 absentee ballots already have been cast, according to data released Thursday by Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett.

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Supreme Court Declines to Hear Tennessee’s Challenge to Federal Refugee Resettlement Program

The U.S. Supreme Court said this week it will not hear Tennessee’s challenge of the federal refugee resettlement program, which claimed it violated the 10th Amendment.

Tennessee’s Republican-led government had asked for the review, The Associated Press reported. The court filed its denial earlier, letting a lower court ruling stand.

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Tennessee Woman Wants Law Enforcement to Apprehend Illegal Immigrant Who Allegedly Killed Her Sister

Two years have passed since an illegal alien escaped law enforcement custody after he got drunk and allegedly killed a 29-year-old Bedford County woman in a traffic accident.

And that man, Omar Edgar Torres-Rangel, remains on the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Most Wanted List.

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More Than 40 Tennessee Residents Charged in Federal Domestic Violence Cases

The U.S. Department of Justice announced it has charged more than 500 domestic violence cases involving firearms this fiscal year, and 44 of those cases originated out of Middle and Western Tennessee.

This, according to two press releases that officials with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Tennessee and the Middle District of Tennessee emailed this week.

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Tennessee Officials Warn of COVID-19 Scams Throughout State

The Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance’s Securities Division this week encouraged state investors to proceed cautiously on new investment opportunities.

Fraudsters, TDCI officials said, continue to take advantage of the buzz surrounding companies promoting products and services related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Elder Abuse Increasing in Tennessee, Comptrollers’ Report

Elder financial exploitation is apparently increasing in Tennessee, according to a report that Tennessee Comptrollers released this week.

The Adult Protective Services (APS) program operates within the Tennessee Department of Human Services and operates a statewide hotline and reporting system for complaints about all types of elder abuse, the report said.

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Fox 17 Reports Nashville Bars and Restaurants Account for Less Than One-Half of One Percent of Virus Cases

Dennis Ferrier of Fox News 17 continues his reporting on Nashville Mayor John Cooper’s overreach in closing restaurants and bars, which account for only a fraction of coronavirus cases even as that industry continues to suffer.

Ferrier has been digging into the story for some time to gain the actual number of cases.

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Lawmakers, Superintendents Blindsided by Tennessee Department of Education Learning Loss Projections

Tennessee Department of Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn’s announcement of COVID-19-related learning loss projections for Tennessee students took state lawmakers and school superintendents by surprise.

In a joint news conference with Gov. Bill Lee last week, Schwinn announced Tennessee students are expected to face learning loss of 50% in English and 65% in math, stressing the importance of in-person learning. Projections were based on national research and early results of beginning-of-year student checkpoint assessments in Tennessee.

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Tennessee Good Government Group Files Suit Against Williamson County Schools’ Mask Mandate

Members of a Tennessee-based group who say they fight government overreach have sued the Williamson County School (WCS) System because it mandates that its students wear masks to guard against COVID-19.

This, according to a lawsuit that Recall Williamson founder Gary Humble filed in the Williamson County Chancery Court this month. Recall Williamson members, in their lawsuit, said they want court officials to declare that WCS members breached their authority, per state law, when they mandated that students wear masks. They also said that only members of the Tennessee General Assembly — and not the state’s governor — can grant that authority to school systems.

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Tennessee’s High School Graduation Rate Declines, New Data Reveals

Tennessee’s graduation rate among public school students has declined for the first time since 2015, according to data on the Tennessee Department of Education’s website.

A total of just 89.6 percent of the state’s high school students graduated in 2020, the TDOE’s website reported.

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Tennessee Woman Files Suit Against Public School Mask Mandate

A Coffee County mother is reportedly suing the county school system over its mask mandate for students.

That woman, Heather Murchison, said the mandate prevents her son from concentrating at school, and she also said only parents can decide if their children should wear masks.

In a Facebook post last week, Murchison also said she observed a certain level of hypocrisy among the people enforcing the mandate.

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West Tennessee Port That Has Accepted Millions of Taxpayer Dollars Since 2010 Still Has Not Created One Job

Politicians promised 10 years ago that if they invested millions of taxpayer dollars in a northwest Tennessee port they would create thousands of new jobs and deliver prosperity to an economically-distressed region.

But, thus far, that project, the Port of Cates Landing, has not created so much as one position.

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Former TDOE Employees Warn That Penny Schwinn Jeopardizes Tennessee’s Public Schools As Well As Bill Lee’s Reelection Chances

Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) Commissioner Penny Schwinn’s leadership problems could trickle down to the state’s public schools, and parents are right to worry.

Additionally, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, who appointed Schwinn, should worry that she could cost him reelection in 2022.

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Aitken Bibles Will Connect Students to History in Secular Ways, Says Man Who Wants Them in Tennessee Schools

Aitken Bibles tie into the lessons of the American Revolution in historical and even secular ways, said one of the men who wants to bring them to Tennessee’s elementary, middle, and high schools.

As reported, organizers of The American Bible Project want to donate these Aitken Bibles to the state’s school libraries.

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Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles Formally Asks Tennessee Governor Bill Lee to Fire Penny Schwinn

Tennessee Department of Education Commissioner (TDEC) Penny Schwinn must leave, said Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles on Wednesday.

Ogles posted on his Facebook page that Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee must remove Schwinn. Ogles said he formally called on Lee to do this only hours after he read Wednesday’s Tennessee Star article that quoted three former TDEC higher-ups. Those former employees, speaking anonymously, denounced Schwinn and her alleged on-the-job behavior. They said she falsified government records, ridiculed Lee at TDEC staff meetings, and lied to avoid appearing in public alongside U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

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Tennessee Man Seeking Pardon from Donald Trump for Non-Violent Crime Has Changed the Lives of Troubled Youths

At age 30, Robert Sherrill had served his time for a drug-related felony and was out of prison, destined for greater things, but more struggles were approaching.

In 2015 Sherrill started his own company, Imperial Cleaning Systems, which he said reaches nearly $1 million in revenue with more than 20 employees. He published an autobiography, The Journey Back to Now.

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Tennessee Businessman Seeking Presidential Pardon Says Prison Was ‘A Wakeup Call’

As reported Saturday, Robert Sherrill’s path to redemption began on a bus ride to the federal prison facility in Forrest City, Arkansas. Authorities had convicted Sherrill of a drug-related felony.

At age 25, Sherrill had already resolved he wouldn’t die in a penitentiary, as his father did.

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UTK Law Professor Glenn Reynolds Talks to Legislative Ad Hoc Committee about Tennessee Governors’ Emergency Powers

University of Tennesse at Knoxville (UTK) Law Professor Glenn Reynolds on Thursday spoke to members of the Tennessee General Assembly about various topics, including a governor’s use of executive orders and the reasoning behind him having such power.

His appearance was before the Legislature’s Ad Hoc Committee to Study Emergency Powers.

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Action 24/7 Set to Debut in Tennessee

Action 24/7, the only Tennessee-owned and operated sportsbook, is about to make its debut and will initially compete against three international operating publicly-traded companies.

“We believe we have a home-field advantage that will be hard for competitors to match. Our investors and our employees are from communities across the state,” said Action 24/7 CEO Tina Hodges.

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Republican Political Operative Roger Stone Reflects on His Arrest and Talks Redemption This Sunday August 30 at Global Bible Church in Mt. Juliet

Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Republican political operative Roger Stone to the show to discuss his commitment to Jesus Christ and his appearance this Sunday at Global Bible Church in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee

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As New School Year Begins in Tennessee, Problems with Zoom and Other Virtual Learning Programs Await

Technical glitches and other unforeseen problems nationwide could interrupt your child’s virtual classroom sessions, as students in Williamson County learned this week.

Zoom, which provides video conference services, malfunctioned Monday morning, according to the Williamson County School (WCS) System’s Facebook page.

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Tennessee Democratic U.S. Senate Candidate Marquita Bradshaw Tells Socialists She Can Get Republican Votes

Tennessee U.S. Senate Democratic nominee Marquita Bradshaw late last week thanked the Democratic Socialists of America for helping her campaign, and she also said she can get Republicans to vote for her.

Bradshaw said this during an online conversation with DSA members nationwide. DSA Los Angeles officials posted the video on their YouTube channel.

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Tennessee Participates in Coordinated International Crackdown on COVID-19 Scams

The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI) Securities Division will participate in the COVID-19 Enforcement Task Force, an international investor protection initiative to crack down on schemes related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The North American Securities Administrators Association, of which Tennessee is a member, is coordinating the task force.

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Commentary: The Google v. Oracle Supreme Court Case Could Have Lasting Effects on the Music Business and Tennessee’s Economy

With the COVID-19 pandemic, racial justice protests and the looming presidential election dominating the headlines, the upcoming Supreme Court case, Google v. Oracle, has been all but forgotten.

It may seem like an inconsequential lawsuit between two Silicon Valley rivals fighting over a coveted piece of technology. But that analysis is wrong. The case has enormous potential consequences, not just for the two companies in dispute, but for countless Tennesseans and the state’s economy.

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Kanye West Might Appear on Tennessee Presidential Ballot

Rapper Kanye West wants Tennessee officials to place him on the ballot for the 2020 presidential election.

An unidentified person representing West arrived at the Tennessee Division of Elections office Friday. That person picked up a petition that would allow West to run in the Volunteer State, said Tennessee Secretary of State spokeswoman Julia Bruck.

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Administrator of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Seema Verma Discusses the Uptick of COVID Cases in the State of Tennessee

Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed administrator for Centers of Medicaid Services and a member of the Coronavirus White House Task Force Seema Verma to discuss the recent uptick of COVID cases in Tennessee.

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Tennessee Ranks High in Economic Outlook Compared to Other States, New Report Says

Tennessee ranks eighth out of 50 states in economic outlook, according to the 2020 edition of Rich States, Poor States, released Wednesday.

The Virginia-based American Legislative Exchange Council published the book. Economists Jonathan Williams, Art Laffer, and Stephen Moore wrote it. The authors say they base a state’s economic outlook ranking on its current standing in 15 state policy variables.

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Memphis Barber Wins Lawsuit Against Tennessee Officials who Kept Him from Working

Elias Zarate

A Memphis man has won a lawsuit against the Tennessee Board of Cosmetology and Barber Examiners for denying him the right to work.

As The Tennessee Star reported in 2018, state officials denied that man, Elias Zarate, a barber’s license because he did not have a high school diploma.

A press release that the Nashville-based Beacon Center of Tennessee emailed Monday updated Zarate’s case. Beacon, a right-of-center think tank, represented him.

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Madison County Judge Sets Back Efforts to Recall School Board Members in Tennessee

One group’s mission to give all Tennessee voters the power to recall school board members has withered away because of a chancery court judge in Madison County.

As The Tennessee Star reported last month, members of the Tennessee General Assembly proposed a law that would have given voters statewide the power to recall school board members. But legislators later watered down the bill so that it would apply only to Madison County, and they later passed it into law.

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Three Tennessee Republican Congressmen Vote Yes to Bill That Gun Owners of America Flags as Dangerous

Three Tennessee Republican congressmen voted yes on a bill last month that the Gun Owners of America call a “Red Flag” that would permit the government to confiscate guns from members of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Members of the Democratic-majority U.S. House of Representatives passed that bill, H.R. 6395, late last month, at a vote of 295 to 125, according to the House website.

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Precinct Ballots Omit State Rep. Robin Smith’s Name

State Rep. Robin Smith’s name was left off ballots in the first hour on the first day of early voting in one Chattanooga precinct.

On Friday, a voter called Smith to tell the Republican that her name was missing from the ballot for the 26th District, WRCB reported. This happened in Chattanooga’s Northgate 2 precinct. This impacted 10 early voters and 18 absentee ballots.

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Nearly 3,000 Tennesseans Have Signed Up to Work Polls

Nearly 3,000 Tennesseans have signed up to be poll workers for the state’s August 6 primary election, Secretary of State Tre Hargett said.

“I am encouraged by how many students and young adults have applied to serve as poll officials,” Hargett said in a press release. “A successful election would not be possible without these Tennesseans choosing to serve in their community.”

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Tennessee Revenues Down Versus This Time Last Year

Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration Commissioner Butch Eley this week announced that revenues for June were $1.5 billion, which is $12.5 million less than the budgeted monthly revenue estimate.

State tax revenues, meanwhile, were $29.8 million less than June 2019. Overall collections for the month represented a negative growth rate of 1.91 percent.

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Trump Administration Rescinds Rule on Foreign Students, Which Tennessee Scholars Opposed

Facing eight federal lawsuits and opposition from hundreds of universities, the Trump administration on Tuesday rescinded a rule that would have required international students to transfer or leave the country if their schools held classes entirely online because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The decision was announced at the start of a hearing in a federal lawsuit in Boston brought by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. U.S. District Judge Allison Burroughs said federal immigration authorities agreed to pull the July 6 directive and “return to the status quo.”

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Gov. Lee Says State Will Do ‘Whatever It Takes’ to Defend Heartbeat Bill in Court

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said Tuesday the state will do “whatever it takes” to defend the pro-life Heartbeat Bill in court.

U.S. District Judge William “Chip” Campbell in Nashville blocked the pro-life measure just hours after Gov. Lee signed it into law Monday.

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Liberals Praise Trump-Appointed Judge for Blocking Tennessee’s Heartbeat Bill

Pro-abortion advocates praised a Trump-appointed judge for blocking Tennessee’s Heartbeat Bill from becoming law.

U.S. District Judge William “Chip” Campbell in Nashville blocked the pro-life measure just hours after Gov. Bill Lee signed it into law Monday. Campbell’s mother, Beth Campbell, serves as a Republican National Committee member for Tennessee, the Tennessee Republican Party confirmed.

“An activist judge barely waited until the ink was dry to promote his own pro-choice view. We cannot allow the lives of unborn children to be jeopardized by radical judges. As your Senator, I will only vote to confirm justices who stick to the Constitution,” said Manny Sethi, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate.

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Bill Hagerty Resigns from Board of Company After It Was Exposed for Supporting Black Lives Matter Movement

Bill Hagerty’s Senate campaign confirmed with The Tennessee Star that the Republican has resigned from the board of an investment firm that issued statements in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Hagerty previously served as President Donald Trump’s ambassador to Japan and was endorsed by the president in the race to replace Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), who is retiring at the end of his current term.

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