Sr. Advisor to Governor Lee John DeBerry Talks Top Agenda Items and Establishing a Rapport with Washington D.C.

Tuesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed former (D) State Rep. John DeBerry to the newsmakers line to talk about how his new role as Sr. Advisor to Governor Lee, his pastorship, and establishing lines of communication with state lawmakers, officials, and the Biden administration.

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Tennessee Firearms Association’s John Harris Weighs in on Biden Gun Control EO and How Tennessee Will React

Friday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed John Harris of the Tennessee Firearms Association to the newsmakers line to weigh in on Joe Biden’s gun control executive order and whether or not Tennessee legislators will respond.

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Tennessee Congressman Jim Cooper Gets Challenge from Justice Democrats-Backed Odessa Kelly

A Justice Democrats-backed candidate has come forward to challenge U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN-05). Members of the Knoxville-based Justice Democrats announced in an email Monday that Nashville resident Odessa Kelly will oppose Cooper. Her platform calls for the Green New Deal and Medicare for All.

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Groups with Ties to MS-13 Ran Organized Crime out of Tennessee State Prison, Feds Say

Officials with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee late last week unsealed a federal indictment charging 27 individuals with a host of federal crimes relating to a large scale conspiracy to distribute drugs. Those drugs, according to a press release, include distribute heroin, methamphetamine, fentanyl and cocaine.

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Measure Granting Tennessee School Boards Sole Authority to Close Schools Heads to Lee’s Desk

Gov. Bill Lee

A bill that will give local school boards the sole authority to close schools was approved Thursday by the Tennessee House and is on its way to Gov. Bill Lee.

Senate Bill 103, which passed the House, 85-2, makes it clear local school boards can close public or charter schools in the state, not the governor through executive orders or local health departments.

The bill, sponsored in the House by Rep. Kevin Vaughan, R-Collierville, aimed to clarify who had the authority because during the COVID-19 pandemic, it was unclear in some locales whether the county health department or local school board held the authority.

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New HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, in Role as California AG, Targets Tennessee-Based Brookdale Senior Living with Lawsuit

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra this week filed a lawsuit against the Brentwood-based Brookdale Senior Living, which Becerra described as “the nation’s largest senior living operator.” This, according to a press release that Becerra and his staff published on his website.

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Tennessee AG Alleges Care Services Management in State Committed Medicaid Fraud

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery this week announced a lawsuit against the Murfreesboro-based Care Services Management and Marquis Mobile Dental Services for wasting taxpayer money and allegedly violating the Tennessee Medicaid False Claims Act. This, according to an emailed press release that Slatery and his staff emailed this month.

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Convicted Felon in West Tennessee Sentenced to Seven Years in Federal Prison for Firearm Possession

Officials with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Tennessee have sentenced an- already convicted felon to 88 months in prison for possessing a firearm. Acting U.S. Attorney Joseph C. Murphy Jr. identified the man as Orlando Mays, 41.

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Tennessee Congressman Mark Green Introduces Constitutional Amendment Requiring Congress to Balance Its Budget

U.S. Rep. Mark Green (R-TN-07) this week proposed a Constitutional amendment that, if enacted into law, would require that Congress pass a balanced budget within 10 years and keep that budget permanently balanced. This, according to a press release that Green’s staff published on his website.

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Recovered Missing Children in Tennessee Were at Risk of Sex Trafficking, TBI Agents Say

Some of the missing 150 children that members of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation helped recover in a special operation are now in state custody after Tennessee officials said they were at risk for sex trafficking. State officials announced this at a press conference last week.

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Nashville Congressional Candidate Quincy McKnight Says Jim Cooper Has Served Long Enough

Nashville businessman and Congressional candidate Quincy McKnight said he wants to replace PayPal, and that U.S. Congressman Jim Cooper (D-TN-05) has served long enough.

McKnight, of Nashville, is a candidate for U.S. House in Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District. The seat is currently held by 10-term incumbent Cooper.

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Tennessee Investigation: COVID-19 Vaccines Possibly Stolen, Children Vaccinated in Shelby County

The Shelby County Health Department director has resigned after a state investigation uncovered potential theft of COVID-19 vaccine doses, evidence that two children were inappropriately vaccinated and a handwritten log as the only record sent to the state documenting expired doses.

Tennessee Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey shared Friday that after a week-long investigation into vaccine waste by the SCHD, the state received only one record of vaccine waste from county health officials: a scrawling six-line, handwritten log labeled “Pfizer waste.”

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Tennessee Legislators Likely to Pass Bill Tackling Gender and Interscholastic Sports

A bill in the Tennessee General Assembly would require that middle school or high school students’ biological gender determine whether they may participate in interscholastic sports specifically tailored either for males or females. Supporters of the bill told The Tennessee Star Friday they believe the bill will pass both the state house and the state senate.

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City Council Considers Declaring Clarksville a Second Amendment Sanctuary

The Clarksville City Council is considering a Second Amendment sanctuary resolution in a meeting this afternoon.

Councilmember Jason Knight is offering “Resolution 56-2020-21 Declaring the City of Clarksville as a 2nd Amendment Sanctuary City.” The meeting starts at 4:30 p.m.

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Democrats Say No to Mark Green’s Efforts to Protect People of Faith on Equality Act Legislation

U.S. Rep. Mark Green (R-TN-07) this week submitted — but was unsuccessful in adding — key amendments to Democrats Equality Act legislation. As written, the Equality Act makes it impossible for organizations to turn away biological males who identify as women from women’s spaces such as restrooms, showers, locker rooms, homeless shelters, and domestic violence shelters.

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Tennessee Reports More Fatalities as Inclement Weather Continues into the Weekend

Tennessee remained at a Level Three State of Emergency Friday night as people in certain counties had no power during extreme winter temperatures, and officials reported more weather-related fatalities. In an emailed press release Friday, officials with the Tennessee Department of Health confirmed two weather-related deaths in Shelby County. TDH officials had previously reported two other fatalities in the county as well one fatality each in Maury, Williamson, Dickson, and Overton counties, bringing the total number of fatalities this week to eight.

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After State of Emergency in Tennesee, National Weather Service Still Forecasts Caution, but Changes Coming

All of that snow and ice is about to thaw or melt, and Middle Tennessee residents may once again travel to the grocery store or other places of interest and not risk having an accident. National Weather Service meteorologist John Cohen updated The Tennessee Star on Thursday about the latest weather conditions and when Middle Tennessee residents will finally get a break.

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Tennessee Valley Authority’s Use of Diverse Power Generation Sources Credited With Keeping Electricity Flowing in Tennessee During Winter Storms

Unlike Texas, Tennessee has been blessed to largely keep the electricity on during the winter storms, with Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) crediting its diverse generation assets.

Although thousands of homes throughout the Tennessee Valley have lost power at different times thanks to issues like trees falling on transmission lines, electric generation in the Volunteer State has held up despite the high demands from below-freezing temperatures.

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Second Round of Winter Weather Keeps Parts of Tennessee Shut Down

Tennessee Department of Health officials reported Wednesday that four people in the state died due to this week’s inclement weather. As of Wednesday, Tennessee officials had recorded two fatalities this week in Shelby County, one in Maury County, and another in Williamson County, according to TDH officials, in an email.

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Report: Former Tennessee Congressman and Zach Wamp Helped Remove Donald Trump from White House

Former Tennessee Congressman Zach is one of many people Time Magazine cited and quoted in a new article that brags about a bipartisan coalition of people who helped defeat former U.S. President Donald Trump. As reported last year, Wamp has previously leveled harsh criticisms at Trump.

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Project to Fund Electric Car-Charging Stations in Tennessee Will Cost $20 Million

Officials with The Tennessee Valley Authority and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation announced Wednesday they will develop more electric car-charging stations in the state, at an anticipated cost of $20 million. TDEC and TVA officials said in a press release that to get the money they “will leverage various funding sources.”

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Comedian Jesse Peyton Talks About His Comedic Stylings and Upcoming Show at the Franklin Marriott February 12

Tuesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed comedian Jessie Peyton to the newsmakers line to talk about his comedic style and upcoming show on February 12 at the Franklin Marriott.

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Tennessee Government Officials Want Funding for More Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

Officials with the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation are scheduled to unveil a plan Wednesday to develop and fund more charging networks across the state to power electric vehicles. The Tennessee Star on Tuesday asked officials with both agencies if enough Tennessee residents are driving electric vehicles to justify investing public resources into this infrastructure.

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Tennessee Ranks 33rd Among States in Percentage of COVID-19 Vaccine Doses Administered

Tennessee ranks 33rd of the 50 states for the percentage of COVID-19 vaccines it has distributed versus the number of doses it received, data show.

The ranking was revealed by Becker’s Hospital Review, and is available here. Becker’s updated the data on Tuesday.

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Speculation Arises That Former U.S. Sen. Bob Corker May Run for Governor of Tennessee

One Memphis media outlet has sparked speculation that former U.S. Sen. Bob Corker may run for governor of Tennessee. This, the same month that Corker, a Republican, granted an interview to PBS and seemed to make patronizing remarks about former President Donald Trump’s supporters. Corker referred to those individuals as ‘the base.’

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Tennessee Widens Groups Available to Receive COVID-19 Vaccine Even as Distribution Lags for Seniors

Tennessee has added people living in households with medically fragile children to Phase 1c of the state’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan, but doses remain extremely limited for seniors.

The Tennessee Department of Health announced the updated distribution plan Friday.

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Tennessee Group Calls New COVID-19 Education Bill ‘Huge Waste in Spending’

Members of the Williamson County-based Tennessee Stands said this week that a new education bill in the Tennessee General Assembly will waste a lot of money and the state does not need it. State Sen. Jack Johnson (R-Franklin) is sponsoring the bill, the Tennessee Learning Loss Remediation and Student Acceleration Act. The COVID-19 pandemic, and its effects on public schools, prompted the legislation.

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New Charges Filed Against Tennessee State Sen. Katrina Robinson in Fraud and Memphis Money Laundering Case

State Sen. Katrina Robinson (D-Memphis), already in legal trouble for embezzlement and wire fraud charges, learned Monday that her legal problems have only intensified. Federal officials have charged Robinson, 40, in a new case, along with two other co-defendants, with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering. This, according to a press release that officials with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Tennessee published on their website Tuesday.

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Sports Betting Company Action 24/7 Says ‘When Tennesseans Win Big, They Want Their Money Fast . . .Our Digital Withdrawals Only Take 15 Seconds’

Sports Book Betting

This week officials with the Tennessee-based Action 24/7 online sports betting company said that they, unlike their competitors, do not delay withdrawals or offer bonuses for players to cancel withdrawals. New Jersey officials, according to The Minnesota Star Tribune, this week threatened to act against sports book operators who ask customers to cancel requests to cash out money.

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Tennessee Legislature Re-Elects Randy McNally, Cameron Sexton as Speakers of Senate, House

Tennessee Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) on Tuesday was re-elected for his third term as Speaker of the Senate, while State Representative Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) returned as House Speaker.

The Tennessee House Republican Caucus tweeted, “The 112th General Assembly convened today in Nashville! Congratulations to our re-elected Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton, newly elected Speaker Pro Tem Pat Marsh, and all our members as they were sworn into office. @CSexton25 @marsh4tn”.

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Tennessee Department of Education Gives $1 Million to Left-Leaning PBS

Officials with the Tennessee Department of Education announced late last week that they will give $1 million of taxpayer money to Tennessee’s six PBS stations to help educate students throughout the state. As reported last year, several organizations, including the Family Research Council, have faulted PBS’ educational materials for what they call a left-leaning bias.

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Tennessee Residents Who Traveled to Washington, D.C. This Week Say The Vast Majority of People There Were Peaceful

Williamson County Republican Party Chair Cheryl Brown said this week that members of the mainstream media unfairly depicted supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump as people “who stormed the Capitol” and wanted to destroy Washington, D.C. But Brown, who was one of hundreds of Tennesseans who traveled to Washington, D.C. Wednesday, said she came only to make the case for a free and fair election.

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FBI Raids Locations Tied to Former Tennessee House Speaker Glen Casada, Plus Additional Lawmakers and Staff

The FBI on Friday reportedly raided locations tied to former Tennessee House Speaker Glen Casada (R-Franklin) and Republican allies over allegations of possible public corruption.

Current Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) issued a statement about the raid that took place at the Cordell Hull Building in Nashville.

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Tennessee Senate Considers Bill to Allow First Responders to Live Outside the Jurisdictions They Serve

State Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) on Wednesday filed SB 29 which would allow first responders to live where they choose, the Tennessee Senate Republican Caucus said in a statement.

Kelsey posted on the caucus’ Facebook page, “This is a public safety bill. It will enable us to hire more police officers, which will help us fight our rising crime rates.”

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