Pennsylvania Gov. Wolf Vetoes Education-Transparency Bill

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) this week vetoed legislation that would have directed school districts to publish their curricula online.

State Rep. Andrew Lewis (R-Harrisburg) sponsored the bill to provide a “standardized, simple and user-friendly” means for residents to review the general lesson plans and the titles of textbooks to which children in their districts are subject. New or revised plans would have had to appear online within 30 days of their approval. The representative has observed that many parents have publicly voiced frustration about their inability to ascertain their kids’ curricula ahead of time, with some speaking to him directly about the issue.

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All Star Panelist Clint Brewer Weighs in on Beacon Center Pork Report and Partisan School Board Primary Elections

Friday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed all-star panelist Clint Brewer in studio to weigh in on the 2021 Pork Report and Shelby County’s Republican and Democrat Party’s decision not to have partisan primary elections.

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Phill Kline Commentary: It’s Not Good When Public Officials Fear Transparency

Politics is getting in the way of government transparency, preventing the sort of accountability on which our governing institutions depend for maintaining public trust and legitimacy.

In Wisconsin and elsewhere around the country, public officials are steadfastly refusing to answer basic questions about their official conduct from the people’s elected representatives. These are not salacious questions about their personal conduct, or fishing expeditions designed to stir up political scandal. Legislators are merely seeking to better understand how appointed bureaucrats and elected officials administered the 2020 elections amidst a pandemic and an unprecedented, and in many cases unlawful, infusion of private monies into public election offices.

Pennsylvania’s Attorney General, for instance, has sued to block a legislative subpoena seeking voter information as part of an investigation of the state’s voter registration system, known as SURE. Even though there is ample precedent for disclosing this type of information, the AG’s lawsuit argues that it would violate citizens’ right to privacy, as though allowing lawmakers to access government records would automatically compromise the security of that information.

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Republican Legislators Introduce Accountability Bills for Arizona’s School Boards

A Republican State Senator wants partisan school board elections in Arizona, which she says will encourage accountability. 

“It’s more to make a statement about the process,” State Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita (R-Scottsdale) told The Arizona Sun Times. “Right now the process for electing school boards lacks in the accountability and transparency department. Candidates don’t have to be accountable to a party. Voters don’t have a clear understanding of the political lens these candidates are going to be basing decisions on.”

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Congress Wants to Make Big Tech Responsible for Online Speech

Person on space gray iPhone

While there is agreement between large factions of both Republicans and Democrats that social media companies should be liable for certain third-party content hosted on their platforms, the parties differ on what that content should be, and why platforms should be liable in the first place.

Congress appeared no closer to finding common ground following a House Energy and Commerce hearing Wednesday, in which lawmakers considered several bills seeking to reform Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

“Wednesday’s hearing made clear that Republicans and Democrats have drastically different solutions to hold Big Tech accountable,” Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who serves as Ranking Member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Republicans are fighting for free speech, while Democrats continue to push for more censorship and control. Bipartisanship will not be possible until Democrats agree that we need less censorship, not more.”

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‘It’s a Felony:’ A New Lawsuit, with Video Evidence, Alleges Delaware County, Pennsylvania Election Officials Destroyed Voting Records

A lawsuit alleging multiple violations of federal and state election laws as well as Pennsylvania’s “Right to Know” statute was filed in Pennsylvania Wednesday night, according to sources familiar with the litigation.

In early 2021, a whistleblower working for the Delaware County Bureau of Elections began inquiring why it was apparent to her that multiple documents pertaining to the Nov. 3, 2020 elections were being destroyed in the southeastern Pennsylvania county, the sources said. The name of the whistleblower has not yet been made public.

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‘Hard to Know Where Pandemic Relief Money Went,’ Admits Federal Spending Watchdog

Woman in mask in the dark looking at computer screen

This week’s Golden Horseshoe goes to a broad sweep of federal agencies for a systemic lack of transparency that is hampering efforts to monitor many billions of dollars in COVID-19 relief spending, according to a report by the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee.

The PRAC was established in 2020 by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to “promote transparency and conduct and support oversight” of more than $5 trillion in pandemic relief funds.

In a report released Wednesday, the watchdog details its difficulty in determining how funds are being spent due to federal agencies’ poor reporting on the government spending website, USAspending.gov.

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Real Clear Foundation’s Kalev Leetaru Talks Transparency, Section 230, First Amendment, and the Mainstream Media

Wednesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Kalev Leetaru of the Real Clear Foundation to the newsmakers line to discuss Section 230 transparency and the First Amendment.

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Whitmer Vetoes Bill Exempting High Schools from Capacity Limits at Graduation

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) will not allow full capacity at high school graduation ceremonies this year, despite rapidly declining COVID-19 cases and deaths nationwide. 

Thursday, she vetoed legislation that would have exempted high schools from the state’s 50 percent capacity limit on indoor gatherings, according to Detroit News.

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Rutherford County Mayoral Candidate Joe Carr, ‘We Are More Than Middle Tennessee’s Trash Can’

Rutherford County courthouse

Wednesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Rutherford County Mayoral candidate Joe Carr to the
newsmakers line to announce his candidacy and why he’s running.

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Surveys: 46 Million People Can’t Afford Health Care, Majority of Hospitals Not Providing Pricing Transparency

Assorted color syringes.

An estimated 46 million people — or 18% of the country — would be unable to pay for health care if they needed it today, a recent poll conducted by Gallup and West Health found.

In another survey by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, the majority of hospitals in the U.S. have yet to comply with a transparency ruling implemented this year that would help patients shop around for the most affordable prices.

Gallup’s findings are based on a poll conducted between February 15 and 21 among 3,753 adults with a margin of error of 2%.

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Michigan Business Groups Oppose Some House Health Care Reform Bills

A health care reform package the House passed Wednesday is creating a rift between the state’s business groups and the GOP.

Michigan business leaders formed a new Michigan Affordable Healthcare Coalition that aims to reduce health care costs without raising costs on small businesses.

In a Thursday afternoon press conference, business leaders voiced opposition to House bills 4346 and 4354, claiming they would raise health insurance premiums that are already a heavy burden for many businesses.

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Whitmer Faces Bipartisan Criticism over Lack of Transparency

Embattled Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), who faced backlash for her overbearing COVID-19 shutdown orders, and who is now facing scrutiny for her COVID-19 nursing home policies, has a new issue to contend with: growing calls for transparency from her administration. 

“Michigan is not just out of the mainstream. We’re out of the universe, basically, on limiting the access for our citizens to better know how its government works,” state Sen. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) told Michigan Live.

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Rep. Green Introduces Bill to Open Federal Reserve Board Meetings Once More

U.S. Rep. Dr. Mark Green wants the governing board of the Federal Reserve to resume meeting in public to comply with the Sunshine Act.

The CARES Act has allowed the board of governors to meet in secret for the most part, Green said. So, he and U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI-02) this week introduced the Federal Reserve Sunshine Act, HR 8007, to make the board transparent once again.

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Guest Host Ben Cunningham and Laura Baigert Discuss the Media’s Glorification of Protesters and the Need for Government Transparency

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. – guest host Ben Cunningham welcomed Kevin and Laura Baigert to the studio.

During the third hour, Cunningham and the Baigerts discussed the protesters at Legislative Plaza who broke their deal with the Tennessee Highway Patrol yet manage to be fawned over by media outlets. The Baigerts added that there is now a large class of people whose job is of political theater by provoking the police and manipulating the news media.

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Public Policy Group Files Records Request to Allow Ohioans Access to the Math Behind Health Department’s COVID-19 Model

The Ohio Roundtable filed a Freedom of Information request with Dr. Amy Acton of the Ohio Department of Health to allow all Ohioans to “see the math” behind the construction of Dr. Acton’s latest model which is controlling public policy decisions in Ohio.

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The Tennessee Star Report: Which Republicans Have Called for a Meeting of the House GOP Caucus?

  On Thursday morning’s Tennessee Star Report with Steve Gill and Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 am to 8:00 am – the duo spoke about the recent call for a meeting of the Tennessee Republican House Caucus to discuss the controversies…

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Commentary: Trump Picks the Right Fight With Pelosi and Schumer

by George Rasley   Yesterday, President Trump surprised White House reporters by calling them into the Oval Office conversation with Democrats that was originally designated as closed to the press. During the debate, both House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer protested that it was taking…

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No Transparency in ECD Deal to Give Tyson Foods $18 Million FastTrack Grant

Noted in the Governor’s 2018-2019 Budget is an $18 million dollar FastTrack grant for Tyson Foods that may be part of a deal to bring a chicken processing plant to Humboldt, Tennessee after plans for a similarly described project in Kansas met with “staggering” opposition from citizen activists. This year’s…

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