CATO: Tennessee Fourth Freest State in the U.S.

Tennessee ranked fourth in the country in the CATO Institute’s recent 2021 Freedom in the States rankings.

The rankings use 230 policy variables to rank states on how their policies promote freedom in fiscal, regulatory and personal realms. The CATO Institute is a public policy think tank based on libertarian ideals to promote limited government, free markets and peace.

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Tennessee Officials Can Penalize Nashville Schools for Not Complying with New Law on Transgender Athletes, Legislator Says

Metro Nashville School Board members won’t update their policy on transgender athletes to comply with a new Tennessee law, but a state legislator says state government officials could penalize the school district for disobeying. State Senator Joey Hensley (R-Howenwald) helped get the original bill through the Tennessee General Assembly.

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Pumping Even More Money into Tennessee’s Public Schools Won’t Resolve Lingering Issues, State Senator Says

People who attended regional town halls this fall to discuss Tennessee’s public education funding strategy want legislators to pump even more money into public schools, but one state legislator said that’s not a remedy for improvement. Senator Joey Hensley (R-Hohenwald) said Wednesday that the state’s funding formula should change but it needs to recognize how many teachers and principals are needed.

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Yet Another Company Abandons California for Tennessee, Announces New Jobs for Volunteer State

Officials at the California-based Gutterglove, Inc. announced Monday that they will relocate their company’s headquarters from Roseville, California to Franklin, Tennessee.

Gutterglove manufactures professional grade stainless steel gutter guards. Company officials will invest $720,800 and create 20 new jobs in Williamson County, according to an emailed Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development press release.

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Oak Ridge National Laboratory Employees Say They Received No Help from Gov. Bill Lee or Legislators When They Were Punished for Declining COVID-19 Shot

Three Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) employees have come forward to say they will not take the COVID-19 shot, and, subsequently, their employer has forced them into unpaid leave. The ORNL employees have taken the matter to federal court.

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In Tennessee, Joe Biden Has Yet to Replace Donald Trump-Appointed U.S. Attorneys He Forced Out Several Months Ago

President Joe Biden asked U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee Don Cochran — a Trump appointee — to resign in February, but nine months later Biden still hasn’t nominated Cochran’s replacement.

David Boling, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee, told The Tennessee Star on Monday that he is not aware if Biden has nominated someone to take the position.

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Bill Lee Office Not Saying How Media Rapidly Obtained Email from Within His Office Warning Against New Tennessee COVID-19 Law

A new Tennessee law prohibits COVID-19 mask mandates in schools, but Governor Bill Lee’s legislative counsel warned in a recent and now heavily publicized email that the law violates the Americans with Disabilities Act. Legislative Counsel Liz Alvey sent the email October 30. The AP obtained Alvey’s email through a public records request.

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Tennessee Congressman Mark Green Travels Overseas to Repair U.S.-British Alliance After Joe Biden’s Afghanistan Exit

U.S. Representative Mark Green (R-TN-07) said Saturday that he is in Oxford, England to meet with members of the United Kingdom Parliament to address lingering “raw emotions” over President Joe Biden’s exit from Afghanistan. Green livestreamed himself from Britain on Facebook. He said Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan was shameful and hurt America’s longstanding political alliance with Britain. Green also scolded Biden for his “refusal to take [British Prime Minister] Boris Johnson’s phone call for 48 hours.”

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State Attorney Generals Launch Investigation into Instagram’s Effects on Kids

Young person on Instagram

A bipartisan coalition of state attorneys general launched a probe into Instagram on Thursday to examine whether the company violated state-level consumer protection laws.

The states are investigating whether Meta (formerly known as Facebook), which owns Instagram, promoted the image-sharing platform “to children and young adults” despite being aware of its negative effects, according to statements from the attorneys general. The probe cites internal Facebook communications and research leaked by former Facebook employee Frances Haugen and published by The Wall Street Journal showing Meta was aware that use of Instagram could contribute to body image and mental health issues among teens.

“When social media platforms treat our children as mere commodities to manipulate for longer screen time engagement and data extraction, it becomes imperative for state attorneys general to engage our investigative authority under our consumer protection laws,” Republican Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson said in a statement.

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Craig Huey on the Bureaucratic Mentality of Control on Californians and Their Compliance by Fear

Craig Huey

Thursday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed direct marketing expert Craig Huey in studio to discuss California pandemic paranoia and the Obama judge who recently ruled against Tennessee’s mask mandate ban.

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Federal Injunction Against Tennessee’s COVID-19 Mask Law Makes No Specific Claims About Americans with Disabilities Act

A federal judge halted a new Tennessee law that prohibits COVID-19 mask mandates in schools on the basis that it violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), but the language of the law shows otherwise.

That judge, Waverly Crenshaw, presides over the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee.

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Tennessee Christian School Teaches God Made Only Males and Females, Infuriating Shelby County Commissioner and LGBTQ Activists

A private Christian school in West Tennessee has triggered LGBTQ activists as well as Shelby County Commissioner Tami Sawyer into an angry frenzy.

Officials at Briarcrest Christian School, in Eads, held a training session for parents and students about how to respond Biblically to gender theory. A flyer for the event, which school officials held November 9, asked participants to “look into the craziness our culture is throwing at our kids.”

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Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles and the Repercussions of Federal Government Overreach of COVID

Andy Ogles

Tuesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Mayor Andy Ogles of Maury County to discuss federal government overreach and resisting COVID mandates safely.

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Tennessee National Guard Says It Will Not Follow Oklahoma and Resist DOD Vaccine Mandate; Gov. Lee Silent

The head of the Oklahoma National Guard won’t require his troops to comply with the Pentagon’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, but Tennessee National Guard (TNG) troops should not expect their superiors to follow the Oklahoma’s commander’s lead.

TNG spokesman Darrin Haas said Monday that his commanders will enforce Biden’s vaccine mandate.

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Rep. Jim Cooper Says Costly New Infrastructure Bill Will Accomplish Great Things for Tennessee

Jim Cooper

Staff for U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN-05) told his constituents he voted for the $1.2 trillion infrastructure deal, and they bragged about all the good things they said it will accomplish for Tennessee.

Cooper’s staff said this in an emailed newsletter Friday.

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Resolution to Potentially Nullify Federal COVID Mandates Now on Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee’s Desk

Along with the seven bills that passed Tennessee’s Legislature during its recent COVID-19 related special session, a joint resolution also passed both chambers of the legislature and sits on Gov. Bill Lee’s desk.

While the bills become law if Lee signs them, “resolutions differ from bills in that they do not become law but simply serve to express the views of the majority of one or both houses of the Legislature.”

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Tennessee Attorney General Joins Other States, Challenges Joe Biden’s COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for Private Sector Employees

Tennessee Attorney General Herb Slatery and six other state attorneys general have filed a petition before a federal court challenging the Biden Administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for private sector employees. This, according to a press release that members of Slatery’s staff emailed Friday.

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More Than 40 BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Employees Who Refused COVID-19 Vaccine Join the Unemployed

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee (BSBCT) had 41 fewer employees as of Friday because those now-former employees said no to the COVID-19 vaccine. BSBCT spokeswoman Dalya Qualls told The Tennessee Star in an email Friday that 19 staff members left the company last month. She also said another 22 staff members left Thursday. Qualls did not specify how many BSBCT employees left voluntarily versus how many got fired.

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Tennessee Attorney General Sues Joe Biden over COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for Federal Contractors

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery has announced that he and the attorneys general in Ohio and Kentucky have filed suit against the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal contractors. This, according to a press release that members of Slatery’s staff emailed Thursday.

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Tennessee Official Wants Legislators to Investigate Hiring of State Education Official

A member of Tennessee’s Textbook and Instructional Materials Quality Commission, Laurie Cardoza-Moore, has sounded an alarm on a new Tennessee Department of Education official and her reported advocacy of math equity. Math Equity is the concept that working to answer a question correctly constitutes racism and white supremacy.

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Tennessee Clinic Overcharged TennCare Nearly $5 Million, New Audit Reveals

A west Tennessee primary care clinic overcharged TennCare — and, by extension, taxpayers — more than $4.7 million, according to an audit that Tennessee Comptrollers published late last week.

Officials who oversaw that company, the Grove Primary Care Clinic, closed all three of their facilities in 2019. They did this one day after state auditors announced they would examine the company’s finances.

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Tennessee Bill that Allows Partisan Elections for School Board Members Passes Both Chambers, Now Heads To Lee’s Desk for Signing

On Monday, a bill that would allow Tennessee counties to decide if school board elections can be partisan passed both chambers and now heads to the Governor’s desk.

The bill, HB 9072 – SB 9009, “requires elections of school board members to be conducted on a partisan basis.” The legislation also “removes prohibition for a person seeking a position on a school board to campaign as the nominee of a political party and authorizes political parties to nominate candidates for school board membership by any method authorized under the rules of the party or by primary election.”

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Ford Company Displeased with Tennessee GOP-Led Legislature Fighting Joe Biden’s COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates

Officials with the Ford Motor Company reportedly dislike plans that the Republican-led Tennessee General Assembly have made to block President Joe Biden’s COVD-19 vaccine mandates for private employers. This, according to the Nashville-based FOX 17, which reported the news and quoted a spokeswoman for Governor Bill Lee on Friday.

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Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery Asks Joe Biden to Withdraw COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate on Federal Contractors

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery announced this week that he and 20 other state attorneys general have formally called on President Joe Biden to withdraw his administration’s COVID 19 vaccine mandate on federal contractors. The state attorneys general mailed the letter Wednesday.

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Legislation Permitting Tennessee’s School Board Members to Run by Party Has Strengths and Weaknesses, Elected Official Says

Tennessee State Representative Scott Cepicky (R-Culleoka) has filed legislation that would, if enacted into law, permit school board candidates in the state to campaign as the nominee or representative of a political party. Cepicky filed the bill for the Tennessee General Assembly’s current special session. The Tennessee Star’s attempts to reach Cepicky on Thursday were unsuccessful.

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Knox County Sheriff Tells President Biden He Will Not Enforce Mask Mandate

A local sheriff has responded to President Biden’s COVID vaccine mandate for businesses with 100 or more employees. Sheriff Tom Spangler, of Knoxville, Tennessee sent Biden a letter telling the President that he would not be enforcing the mandate on his staff.

Spangler said in his letter that enforcing the mandate was unconstitutional and was putting the lives of the people of Knoxville at risk.

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New Details Emerge About Tennessee State Sen. Brian Kelsey’s Federal Indictment

More details emerged Tuesday about the circumstances that led to the federal indictment of Tennessee State Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) as well as details about a federal prosecutor — a former Obama appointee — involved with the case. ABC News reported that the allegations against Kelsey “resemble a complaint against Kelsey’s campaign filed with the Federal Election Commission and the Department of Justice in 2017 by the Campaign Legal Center.”

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Tennessee Sen. Bill Hagerty Asks Bernie Sanders to Speak Out Against Proposed Green Card Provisions

Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) may hold wildly opposite perspectives on economic, domestic, and foreign policy, but Hagerty says he hopes Sanders will join him in opposing one specific portion of the reconciliation bill.

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Commentary: Tennessee Legislature Must Pass Big COVID Test in ‘Special Session’

The red state/blue state dichotomy is not simple.

Nowhere is that more apparent than Tennessee where—despite having one of the most conservative electorates in the country—the leadership has been passive at best in responding to the wishes of their supporters during these days of great crisis.

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Tennessee State Sen. Brian Kelsey Indicted on Federal Charges

Tennessee State Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) was indicted by a federal grand jury in Nashville Friday on a five-count indictment charging him and another man with violating multiple campaign finance laws. This, according to a press release that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee published Monday.

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Tennessee Department of Human Services Sometimes Failed to Follow Policies on Child Welfare Complaints, New Audit Reveals

Tennessee Department of Human Services (DHS) employees did not abide by their own policies as they documented and investigated certain complaints, and those lapses could have could endangered the children they were supposed to help. This, according to an audit that Tennessee Comptrollers released this week.

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Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs Highlights Upcoming Fall Festival at Oakes Farm October 26th and Democratic Infiltration at the Local Level

Glenn "Kane" Jacobs

Friday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs to the newsmakers line to highlight October 26th Fall Festival in Corrington, Tennessee, and liberal infiltration in the local government.

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Tennessee Education Officials Schedule Eight Town Halls to Offer Input on Public Education Funding

Staff at the Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) have invited all state residents to eight regional public town halls later this month and throughout next month to discuss the state’s public education funding strategy.“These public town halls will spark localized conversations about student-based funding for public education in Tennessee and how to create a new strategy to best serve our students and ensure they are prepared for future success,” according to a TDOE press release.

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Tennessee Representative Scott DesJarlais Sends Letter to President Biden Warning Him of Result of Vaccine Mandates for Tennessee Valley Authority Employees

On Thursday in a press release, Tennessee Representative Scott DesJarlais (R-TN-04) announced that he sent a letter to President Joe Biden regarding his executive order mandating COVID-19 vaccines for federal workers and the effects it will have on Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) employees.

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Tennessee’s GOP Congressional Delegation React, Discuss Next Steps After Learning Anthony Fauci Lied to Congress

News that the Bethesda, Maryland-based National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded Gain-of-Function research in Wuhan, China has prompted certain members of Tennessee’s congressional delegation to condemn Anthony Fauci as a liar and to demand drastic changes. Representative Diana Harshbarger (R-TN-01) tweeted about the matter on Thursday.

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State Representative Scott Cepicky Talks Why He Voted No on Ford $900 Million Deal

Thursday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Tennessee State House Representative Scott Cepicky to the newsmakers line to explain why he voted no on Ford mega-site deal.

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Georgia Receives Major Investment by Solar Company Plagued by Ethics Issues

Lee County, Georgia will accept a more than $220 million investment from a Tennessee-based company with a reported history of ethics problems. That company, the Silicon Ranch Corporation, helps finance the construction of solar arrays. Silicon Ranch will invest those millions into the 250-megawatt (MWAC) DeSoto Solar Farm.

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Former Tennessee County Mayor Allegedly Falsified Unemployment Documents

Grand jurors this month indicted former Houston County Mayor George Clark and charged him with one count of official misconduct and one count of tampering with government records. Tennessee Comptrollers released a report Wednesday that accused Clark of falsifying documents to help two former county employees. Those employees allegedly received unauthorized unemployment benefits that totaled more than $9,000.

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Tennessee Department of Education Ready for Online Student Assessment Tests, Despite Warnings in New Comptrollers’ Report

Tennessee Comptrollers Jason Mumpower this week released a report warning Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) officials to take additional steps to make sure they can recover assessment tests that students take online. But TDOE officials told The Tennessee Star on Tuesday that they have already addressed the Comptrollers’ concerns.

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Host Michael Patrick Leahy and All-Star Panelist Crom Carmichael on Pros and Cons of New Ford Motor Site

Monday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed all-star panelist Crom Carmichael in studio to weigh in on the Ford Motor Company’s new Mega Site location outside of Memphis.

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Tennessee Stands Releases Priorities for Special Legislative Session

Members of the Williamson County-based Tennessee Stands on Sunday published their priorities for a presumed special session of the state’s general assembly, and certain priorities address government overreach in the age of COVID-19. “There are a lot of issues that need to be addressed ranging from mandates to education to elections, immigration and the list goes on. But we have to be realistic,” said Tennessee Stands spokesman Gary Humble, in an email to supporters.

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Tennessee Revenues Exceed Expectations for September

On Wednesday, the Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration revealed the state’s revenues exceeded budgeted estimates for the month of September. September’s total tax revenues were $1.9 billion, which is $321.5 million more than September of last year and $378.1 million more than the budgeted estimate. The total growth rate for the month was 20.28 percent.

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Former Tennessee Attorney General Urges Keeping U.S. Supreme Court Limited to Nine Justices

A bipartisan coalition of 17 former state attorneys general, including one from Tennessee, this week urged the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court to preserve the current number of nine U.S. Supreme Court justices. In a letter, these attorneys general proposed accomplishing that through a “Keep Nine” amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The amendment simply states that “the Supreme Court of the United States shall be composed of nine Justices.” The former attorneys general said this will protect the independence of the U.S. Supreme Court.

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