Major Pediatric Medical Organization Plotted Ways to ‘Circumvent’ Child Sex Change Bans, Emails Show

Child at the doctor's office

Members of America’s leading pediatric medical association discussed possible ways to “circumvent” red states’ bans on sex change procedures and drugs for children, according to emails obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The emails are part of a trove of documents that show how the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the country’s largest professional association of pediatricians with a membership of 67,000 doctors, quietly partnered with transgender activist groups, such as the Human Rights Campaign and the World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH), to push child sex changes nationwide.

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Tennessee to Receive Nearly $31.7 Million in New Defense Outlay

Arnold Engineering Development Complex

Tennessee could receive nearly $31.7 million to fund construction projects in the new defense appropriation that recently passed the U.S. House of Representatives.

The biggest outlays for the Volunteer State would be for Arnold Air Force Base near Tullahoma. The base is the home of the Arnold Engineering Complex, which has 58 wind tunnels and other test facilities. The base would receive $21.4 million for a new testing bay and $5.5 million for a new cooling system.

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TDOT will Halt Construction to Ease Traffic on July 4th

Road construction

The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) will halt all construction on July 4th to ease traffic for travelers during Independence Day.

“With so many people traveling on and around the Fourth of July, we want to do all we can to ensure they reach their destinations safely and without necessary delays,” said Deputy Governor and TDOT Commissioner Butch Eley in a news release. “We are doing so by suspending lane closures during this busy holiday travel time. Be mindful that our HELP Trucks will be on patrol and drivers must obey the law by moving over and slowing down for all emergency vehicles on the side of the road.”

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DOJ Tries to Shut Down Case That Exposed Biden Admin Colluded on Medical Standards Used to Justify Child Sex Changes

Merrick Garland

The Department of Justice (DOJ) moved Monday to shut down a lawsuit that exposed the Biden administration’s collusion with a transgender medical organization to develop the very standards it is now using to defend child sex changes at the Supreme Court.

After the Supreme Court agreed to take up the Biden administration’s challenge to Tennessee’s ban on child sex changes, the DOJ asked a lower court to put another case challenging a similar Alabama ban on hold pending the high court’s decision. While the DOJ requested a halt on the Alabama case to “avoid the prospect of re-litigation of the claims” after the Supreme Court issues its ruling, the defendants argued the government likely has another motive: shielding information about the administration’s involvement in developing the standards it heavily relies on from the Supreme Court.

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Reports: California Exodus Continues, Southeastern States as Primary Destinations

Austin, Texas

As the California exodus continues, a new migration trend is occurring, with southeastern and Appalachian states taking the top spots as inbound migration destinations, according to new reports.

According to a new Consumer Affairs 2024 Migration Trends report, “California’s mass exodus continues to ensue,” with the South and Southeast region of the country being the “hottest regions for people moving.”

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‘Operation Rainmaker’ Arrests Result in Dozens Charged in Alleged Cartel-Affiliated Drug-Trafficking Ring

Seized Drugs

Agents arrested 23 people in relation to a cartel-linked drug operation in Texas that dealt in cocaine, fentanyl, heroin and meth. 

The arrests came after a five-year investigation that started in 2019. Prosecutors said the drug ring operated in the Houston and Galveston areas and was under the control of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG).

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‘Civility is a Strength’: Tennessee Governor Bill Lee Delivers Sixth State of the State Address Amid Anti-School Choice Jeers

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee held his sixth State of the State Address on Monday, outlining his vision for Tennessee for the next year and the remainder of his administration. After highlighting the shared history and heritage of Tennesseans, and the strong economic position of Tennessee, the governor highlighted school choice, artificial intelligence (AI), and a streamlined regulatory framework among his goals for 2024. “As we enter our sixth year of working together, the State of our State is strong, and resilient, and ready for the future, and that is thanks to the hard work of the people in this room.” Lee began, “But there is more work to do, the world around us is changing every day, brings new challenges, unique challenges, Tennesseans are counting on us to face those challenges with wisdom and discernment.” “I’ve got three years left, there’s a lot to do, and we cannot, should not slow down, not for a second,” the governor declared. Throughout Lee’s address, he was repeatedly interrupted by hecklers, who first became vocal as the governor announced his plans to expand school choice and public education funding in Tennessee. As he attempted to turn to a different subject, a heckler appeared…

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Tennessee, Arizona Tie for Second Most Inbound Movers in 2023

Arizona and Tennessee tied with equal proportions of new residents moving in versus out of the states in 2023, with both states seeing about 61 percent of moves bringing new residents. Despite tying in percentages, Arizona was ranked second and Tennessee was ranked third by in the 2023 Allied US Moving Migration Report.

The data, which tracks migration patterns within the United States and is published by Allied Van Lines, showed that 60.8 of interstate moves in Tennessee and Arizona were new residents moving from elsewhere in the country, while just 39.2 percent of interstate moves saw residents leave the states. At 60.8 percent, Tennessee and Arizona are only edged out by South Carolina, where 64.7 percent of interstate moves brought new residents.

Data released in the 2023 Allied US Moving Migration Report, which tracks migration patterns within the United States and is published by Allied Van Lines, showed that 60.8 of interstate moves in Tennessee and Arizona were new residents moving from elsewhere in the country, while just 39.2 percent of interstate moves saw residents leave the states. At 60.8 percent, Tennessee and Arizona are only edged out by South Carolina, where 64.7 percent of interstate moves brought new residents.

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Non-Partisan Think Tank Says State of Tennessee Has Enough Money to Reject All Federal Education Funding

The Sycamore Institute revealed in a presentation to lawmakers on Monday that the state has enough tax revenue to fund education without federal assistance. Their report comes as Tennessee considers rejecting federal assistance to increase local control over education.

Sycamore Institute Deputy Director Mandy Spears told the legislators that while Tennessee’s “days of historically large surpluses may be over,” the state “still has room in its budget to replace federal funding” for education “at the expense of other investments,” according to WJHL-TV.

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Tennessee Legislative Offices Locked Down After ‘White Powder Substance’ Found in GOP Leader Mail, Liberal Activists Suspected

The Cordell Hull Building in Nashville was locked down Thursday following the discovery of a “white powder substance” in mail sent to Republican leaders, in “obvious threats made by a liberal activist,” the House GOP said in a statement. One news outlet is reporting the suspicious mail has the markings of a trans activist. 

Officials say everyone is safe and that there have been no injuries reported. 

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Nearly Half of U.S. States Now Have Measures Limiting Transgender Surgery for Minors, but Lawsuits Abound

At least 20 states have either restricted or banned transgender procedures for minors, with many of them facing lawsuits and temporary blocks by courts as a result, while future litigation is possible in states considering adopting such laws. 

The states that have enacted legislation against such procedures are: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and West Virginia – essentially all conservative-leaning.

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Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn’s Term in Office Officially Concludes

June 1st officially marked the end of Penny Schwinn’s tenure as the top education official in Tennessee. Schwinn submitted her resignation on May 1st but gave the state 30 days’ notice before making it official.

Long-time Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) employee Sam Pearcy will assume the reins for the next 30 days. At that time, Governor Bill Lee’s appointed successor, Lizzette Gonzalez Reynolds, officially begins her term.

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Indiana Expands School Choice to Nearly All K-12 Students as Republican-Led States Continue Momentum

Indiana scored the latest school choice victory with nearly all, save for 3.5 percent of families with school-age children, qualifying for the state’s new voucher program, The Wall Street Journal editorial board noted last week.

“The hits keep coming on school choice in Republican-run states,” The Journal editors observed, detailing:

The new law raises the income cap to 400% of the free- and reduced-price lunch income level, which is now about $220,000 for a family of four. The bill also removes the other criteria for eligibility so that any family under the income limit can apply. Tens of thousands of additional students could qualify, and a legislative analysis projects that some 95,000 students might use the program in 2025, up from about 53,000 in 2023.

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Tennessee General Assembly Extends Eligibility for Participation in State Education Savings Account Program

Tennessee lawmakers passed a bill on Friday that would extend eligibility for participation in the state’s Educational Savings Account (ESA) program to Hamilton County students.

The Senate passed its version of the bill, which limited expansion to Chattanooga, back in February. This week, the House passed a version (SB0012) that included Knoxville in the ongoing pilot program.

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Out-of-State Dark Money Funded Anti-Gun Protestors at Tennessee Capitol Riot

Make no mistake, the “mostly peaceful” riots at the Tennessee Capitol last week under the guise of “gun safety” activism were all about power — organized and led by some well-heeled Generation Z groups with a pipeline to the Democrat-controlled White House.

Gun control extremists March For Our Lives and Gen-Z For Change hit social media to again recruit their young soldiers following the March 27 mass murders of three children and three adult staff members at The Covenant School, a private Christian school in Nashville. Audrey Elizabeth Hale, a deranged 28-year-old who reportedly identified as a transgender male, stormed into the private school and mercilessly shot and killed her victims before police officers fatally shot Hale.

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Republican States Weigh Rejecting Federal Education Funds to Block Federal Interference

Republican states are beginning to consider rejecting federal funding for K-12 education in order to keep out federal interference in the form of the strings attached to the monies.

In February, Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton said he had introduced a bill to create a task force to weigh the idea of the state rejecting the roughly $1.8 billion of federal monies it receives for K-12 education.

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Governor Lee Declares March 2023 Tennessee Literacy Month

Governor Lee is an avid advocate for literacy in Tennessee. In that spirit, he has proclaimed March 2023 as Tennessee Literacy Month, and throughout the month, the Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) will be highlighting how reading is an essential skill for all students.

Commissioner Schwinn and the TDOE  invite all Tennesseans to celebrate Tennessee Literacy Month, by spotlighting the Reading 360 initiative and the focus Tennessee’s educators, families, elected officials, and community partners have placed on improving literacy rates for all learners in the state.

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School Choice Expansion Continues to be a Priority for Tennessee Lawmakers

Governor Bill Lee took to social media on Wednesday to proclaim the week of January 22 – 28, 2023, School Choice Week in Tennessee.

He further tweeted that “Every parent should have the opportunity to pick the best school for their child.” The governor added, “[W]e continue to advocate for high-quality education that meets the needs of every individual student.”

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Tennessee Senate Education Chair Files Bill That Gives Local Districts Flexibility on Class Size

State Senator Jon Lundberg (R-Bristol), who serves as chair of the Senate Education Committee, filed legislation that would lift classroom size limits for k-12 schools.

SB0197, if made law, would repeal the existing maximum class sizes, maximum class size averages, student-teacher ratios, and the prohibition against split-grade classes established by law. It would authorize each local education agency (LEA) and public charter school with authority to establish the maximum class sizes for schools under its control and jurisdiction. Transferring power from the Tennessee Department of Education(TDOE) back to local school boards while still requiring the department to set recommendations.

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Middle Tennessee Schools Take 7 of the Top 10 State Spots in 2023 Public School Ranking

Niche has released its annual school rankings for 2023. This year’s list shows that 7 of the top 10 public high schools in Tennessee are located in the mid-state region. Nashville’s Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet School holds the top spot, closely followed by Williamson County’s Ravenwood and Rutherford County’s Central Magnet. It isn’t until the 7th slot that a high school outside middle Tennessee is recognized – Knox County’s Farragut High School. 

The middle school rankings tell a similar story. Once again, 7 out of the top 10 schools are located in the state’s central region. The top public middle school, per Niche, is Rutherford County’s Central Magnet (a 6 – 12 school), followed by Merroll Hyde Magnet School (a k – 12 school) in Sumner County and Thompson Station Middle School in Williamson County. Coulter Grove Intermediate School is the highest-ranked middle school located outside of Middle Tennessee. The Maryville City School is ranked 5th. 

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Report Shows Tennessee’s Financial Position Improved $7.4 Billion Last Fiscal Year

Tennessee’s financial position is $7.4 billion better than it was the year before, according to the state’s recently released Annual Comprehensive Financial Report.

And the state has a combined fund balance of $19.2 billion, up $5.4 billion from the year before. That leaves the state with $15.8 billion in spendable fund balance with $1.6 billion in a rainy day fund as of June 30, according to the report.

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Under Proposed New Legislation, Tennessee Students Would Wait Until Age 7 to Start First Grade

Last week on 99.7 WTN, Tennessee House Representative Scott Cepicky R – Culleoka outlined to host Matt Murphy, legislation he intended to file to change the eligibility age for students entering first grade. Under Cepicky’s proposal, students would not be able to enter first grade until age 7, unless they could pass a local assessment showing that they could do grade-level work. The bill would allow younger students to take a “redshirt” year to adequately prepare for the increased academic demands of first grade. 

Cepicky’s legislation is derived from a legislative brief on Kindergarten Readiness and Academic Performance, written by the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury’s Office of Research and Education Accountability (OREA). This brief shows that Tennessee students who were older at kindergarten enrollment performed better on 3rd-grade literacy tests than their peers. Forty-two percent of students aged 6 to 6.49 (older students) were on or above grade level in 3rd-grade literacy, compared to 33 percent of younger students aged 4.5 to 4.99 years old. The trend of older students outperforming their younger peers was also reflected on 6th-grade literacy tests. 

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Commentary: Tennessee Sets Example for Rest of the Country on Forced Unionization

On November 8, Tennesseans overwhelmingly voted to enshrine right-to-work in the state constitution. For 75 years, Tennessee law has protected its workers from being forced to join a union and pay dues as a condition of employment. It had been such a longstanding tradition that when I began urging state officials and business leaders to consider making right-to-work a constitutional protection, I was met with tremendous reluctance. Why do this now when this state law has been unchallenged for nearly a century?

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Tennessee Gives Additional $18 Million Incentive to Ultium Cells in Spring Hill

Tennessee has agreed to give Ultium Cells an additional $18 million incentive for expanding its yet-to-be opened electric vehicle battery manufacturing facility in Spring Hill.

The $275 million additional promise at the facility is in addition to the previously promised $2.3 billion initial project that was awarded a $60 million FastTrack grant in April 2021.

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Analysis: Tennessee State Report Card Scores for Cannon, Williamson, and Nashville Metro School Districts

The recently released Tennessee State Report Card for schools and districts offers a means for parents to gather information about their children’s schools and compare and contrast neighboring school districts. The report focuses on performance, but also provides data on student demographics, student funding, staffing levels, and other pertinent information required by parents to make informed judgments about their children’s education opportunities.

“With the release of the State Report Card, Tennessee continues our firm commitment to providing families with clear, actionable information on how our districts and schools are serving students,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “The Report Card allows stakeholders to access years’ worth of meaningful data through an interactive, easy-to-navigate online platform, and now the latest data is available to help Tennesseans to explore and learn about their local schools and districts.”

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Experts Expect Tennessee Tax Collections to Continue to Grow at a Slower Rate

Tennessee’s collection of taxes and fees are expected to continue to rise over the next two years, but the rate of increase won’t match its recent record-breaking pace, according to estimates from the University of Tennessee’s Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research.

The numbers were presented as part of a series of financial presentations given to Tennessee’s State Funding Board as it prepares to give its estimates for the state’s finances for next fiscal year. Those estimates are then used in the state’s budget-making process.

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Tennessee Collects $1.14 Billion in Sales Taxes in October, Putting State $585.5 Million over Revenue Estimate

The state of Tennessee has collected $585.8 million more than budgeted in taxes and fees in the first three months of the fiscal year.

That’s after the state collected $4.6 billion more than its initial budgeted estimate for last fiscal year. Tennessee’s State Funding Board heard testimony Thursday from economists as it worked toward establishing next fiscal year’s estimates.

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Tennessee Will Receive $82.2 Million Towards Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program

Memphis-area Rep. Steve Cohen (R-TN-09) announced on Wednesday that Tennessee will receive $82.2 million towards the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which is administered through the Administration for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

In a statement made to The Tennessee Star, Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN-02) said, “It’s a shame the Democrats’ reckless spending and war on domestic energy production is causing our energy prices to skyrocket. More East Tennesseans will be dependent on these funds this year because the Biden administration’s policies caused a problem that was avoidable from the start.”

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Knoxville Community Empowerment Director Lomax Resigns to Run Local Urban League Chapter

Knoxville’s Community Empowerment Department Director Charles F. Lomax Jr. has announced today that he will step down from the position of director on December 9 to become the president and CEO of the Knoxville Area Urban League.

“I will always be grateful for Mayor Kincannon’s faith in me and the opportunity to serve as part of her administration. While I will miss my team at the city, I am excited to embark upon this journey and to serve our community in this new capacity. I look forward to working alongside the staff and board of the Knoxville Area Urban League as we empower communities to change lives,” Lomax said.

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Owner and CEO of Auto Masters Indicted for Multi-Million-Dollar Bank Fraud

Brentwood area businessman Mahan Janbakhsh and Steven L. Piper of Joelton were arrested by FBI agents on Thursday for their role in an alleged conspiracy to commit multi-million-dollar bank fraud.

According to the Department of Justice, the indictment charges Janbakhsh and Piper with conspiring to defraud Capital One and First Tennessee Bank (now First Horizon); five counts of defrauding these financial institutions; five counts of making false statements and over-valuing property and securities to influence these financial institutions; and three counts of making false representations during official proceedings.

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The Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury Published an Audit Revealing that Tennessee State University Mishandled Five Years of Funding

The Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury published an audit on Thursday revealing that Tennessee State University (TSU) management mishandled over five years of funding.

According to the audit, “Management’s failure to adequately implement a system of internal control increases the risk of TSU not achieving key objectives related to financial reporting. When management and staff do not take adequate care when preparing financial statements and the accompanying notes to the financial statements, the risk of errors in the financial statements increases. Providing inaccurate financial information can negatively impact the decision-making ability of users of the financial statements.”

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Representative Tim Burchett Sponsors New Act Which Would Use Recycled Plastic in Asphalt

Tennessee U.S. Representative Tim Burchett (R-TN-02) introduced the Recycled Plastic Asphalt Act last week that would create a research program for using recycled plastic in asphalt.

Burchett said, “If we want to take care of our environment, we need to rely on more innovative green solutions than just wind and solar. Studying the real-world use of RPM asphalt will take us a step closer to building a cleaner infrastructure and a cleaner future.”

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