Two Arizona Corporation Commission Members Demand Meeting to Vote on Repealing COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for Utility Employees

Two Arizona Corporation Commission Members Demand Meeting to Vote on Repealing COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for Utility Employees

Arizona Corporation Commissioners Jim O’Connor and Justin Olson want to hold a meeting to vote on whether utilities, known as Public Service Corporations, can force their employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine. They sent a letter to their fellow commissioners on November 18 expressing their concerns.

O’Connor and Olson cite the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision on November 12 putting a stay on the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for businesses with 100 or more employees. They quoted the opinion where it said the mandate “raises constitutional concerns” and “grossly exceeds [its] statutory authority.” 

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Report Shows Lowest Florida Jobless Claims Since Before the Pandemic

Report Shows Lowest Florida Jobless Claims Since Before the Pandemic

The four-week average number of Florida jobless claims reached its lowest mark since before the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. Department of Labor (USDL) released the information on Wednesday.

The data reflected 5,343 first-time unemployment claims filed in Florida during the week that ended Nov. 20, which dropped the four-week average to 6,045 claims.

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Michigan State University Employees Seeking Back Pay from COVID Reductions

Michigan State University Employees Seeking Back Pay from COVID Reductions

Michigan State University (MSU) employees are asking the university to restore pay cuts that were issued during the coronavirus pandemic.

According to a resolution passed by the Faculty Senate, employees were forced to take 10-month salary cuts of 1-8%, an 18-month, 50% cut in retirement match, and at least a 36-month gap between merit raises for all non-union academic management, faculty, and academic staff.

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Florida Supreme Court Calls for Additional State Appeals Court

Florida Supreme Court Calls for Additional State Appeals Court

The Florida Supreme Court is calling for creating a sixth state appeals court. One of their reasons for making the call is “serious underrepresentation” of appellate judges from Jacksonville.

“The creation of a new district court, like any other significant change in the judicial system, would be accompanied by some degree of internal disruption, but we conclude that any such internal disruption in the district courts associated with the creation of a sixth district court would be short-lived and would be outweighed by the benefit of enhanced public trust and confidence,” said the Florida Supreme Court’s majority opinion shared by Chief Justice Charles Canady and Justices Jorge Labarga, Alan Lawson, Carlos Muniz and John Couriel.

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Gov. DeWine Says ‘Disruption of Line 5 Operations Would Have Devastating Impact on Economy of Northwest Ohio’

Gov. DeWine Says ‘Disruption of Line 5 Operations Would Have Devastating Impact on Economy of Northwest Ohio’

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted joined a growing list of officials increasing the pressure on President Joe Biden and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to keep open a pipeline that affects fuel supplies across Ohio, along with 20,000 jobs.

DeWine and Husted sent a letter to Biden seeking to keep the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline operating, saying a closure would cause significant issues in supply chains, unemployment and fuel costs.

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King George Board of Supervisors Votes to Relocate Confederate Monument

King George Board of Supervisors Votes to Relocate Confederate Monument

The King George County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday three to two to relocate the county’s confederate monument, with Historyland Memorial Park as a tentative destination for the monument.

“To me this is not doing away with the monument. This is a relocating of a monument,” Vice-Chair Jeff Stonehill said. “It’s on public property, it’s right in front of the courthouse. I think I would not be in favor of having religious symbols in front of the courthouse. I’m big believer in the separation of church & state and justice. If this is offensive to parts of society and to other people in our community, I think it needs to be relocated.”

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Georgia Secretary of State Candidate Jody Hice Releases New TV Ad Featuring Donald Trump

Georgia Secretary of State Candidate Jody Hice Releases New TV Ad Featuring Donald Trump

U.S. Representative Jody Hice (R-GA-10) has released a new television ad — featuring former President Donald Trump — in his campaign to replace Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. In the ad, Trump endorsed Hice. Trump said Hice will “fight for free, fair, and secure elections in Georgia.” The former president also called Raffensperger one of the worst secretaries of state in America.

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Minnesota Schools Are Canceling Classes, Extending Breaks and Moving to Distance Learning

Minnesota Schools Are Canceling Classes, Extending Breaks and Moving to Distance Learning

Several school districts in Minnesota have implemented various measures to minimize in-person learning once again.

In the face of a COVID spike and the coming of winter, some districts are opting to temporarily switch back to distance learning, while others are canceling classes or extending breaks.

On Monday the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District announced a transition to distance learning for “most students” that will last until at least Friday, Dec. 3.

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Arizona House Member Introduces Bill to Teach Ills of Communism in Schools

Arizona House Member Introduces Bill to Teach Ills of Communism in Schools

A member of the Arizona House of Representatives is introducing legislation meant to teach Arizona’s K-12 students the ills of communism. 

“This is very personal to me, as someone who has survived a communist war,” said State Rep. Quang Nguyen (R-District 1) in a Tuesday press release.  “I have lost very close family members to the evil ideology of communism. I know what it feels to lose a nation to communism and that’s why I do not want my fellow Arizonans to ever go through what I have.  It is up to us to ensure that future generations have an honest understanding of what communism truly is and the horrors it has produced for mankind.  Otherwise, it is likely to be repeated.  The victims and survivors of communism deserve to have their voice heard.” 

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Judge Denies Stay on Seminole Gaming Compact Ruling

Judge Denies Stay on Seminole Gaming Compact Ruling

A federal judge has denied a stay on the Seminole Tribe of Florida’s sports betting compact with the State of Florida. A ruling earlier in the week blocked the agreement between the tribe and the state.

As of Thursday, the Seminole Tribe’s Hard Rock Sportsbook was still operational and accepting sports bets.

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Thousands Formerly Incarcerated Get Michigan IDs, Driver’s Licenses

Thousands Formerly Incarcerated Get Michigan IDs, Driver’s Licenses

The Michigan Department of State (MDOS) has provided more than 5,000 state identification cards and driver’s licenses to parolees through its joint initiative with the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC).

The program offers newly paroled Michiganders a driver’s license or state ID has boosted these transactions by more than 10 times the prior amount.

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More Headlines…

Florida Men Charged with Falsifying Voter Registration Forms

Two Jacksonville men have been charged with registering dead people to vote. Devin Deangelo King and Jordan Rayeshaun Daniels have both been arrested, and the motive does not appear to be political, but personal financial gain.

“This was a group working with what we call a third-party organization,” said Duval County Supervisor of Elections Mike Hogan. “… We did not see anything political about it. It was, I think, people who were greedy. There’s an incentive there to get as many as you can in.”

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Ohio State House Rep Crusading Against Traffic Cameras

One Ohio lawmaker is on a crusade to do away with traffic cameras across the state, and especially in the small town of Linndale, described as “Northeast Ohio’s most notorious speed trap.”

“Speed cameras are not law enforcement. Speed cameras are not a public safety measure. Speed cameras are only a cash register for the cities or villages involved,” State Rep. Tom Patton (District 7) told WJKW. “I have four bills I am going to drop that deal with cities and the use of speed cameras.”

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Catholic University Responds to Claims of ‘Blasphemous’ George Floyd Painting

Catholic University of America (CUA) in Washington, D.C., has responded to several reports of a painting of George Floyd depicted as Jesus that hangs in its law school.

“The painting was put in place last February in a ceremony outside the law school’s Mary Mirror of Justice chapel. The press began covering it this week, leading to criticism on social media and a substantial number of emails and phone calls,” President John Garvey said in an open letter. “Some critics called the image blasphemous because they saw it as deifying or canonizing George Floyd. Some comments that we received were thoughtful and reasonable. Some were offensive and racist. Much of the criticism came from people unconnected to the University.”

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St. Paul Police Union Files Lawsuit Opposing COVID Vaccine Mandate

The union for St. Paul police officers filed a lawsuit over a COVID vaccine mandate that will be in place in the new year. The mandate does not allow for testing and masking as a substitute for getting vaccinated, however they will allow medical and religious exemptions, sources say.

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Virginia Department of Corrections Vacancy Rate Has Grown to 27.4 Percent Since Start of Pandemic

The Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) had a vacancy rate of 27.4 percent, or 1,680 correctional officer vacancies by September 30, 2021, according to a November 15 report from the Public Safety Compensation Work Group. That’s an increase from the average number of vacancies between fiscal years 2018 and 2020, which ranged between 650 and 682 each year.

“There was a dramatic increase since the beginning of the pandemic,” House Appropriations Committee Analyst Michael Jay told the Joint Committee of the House Health, Welfare and Institutions and Public Safety and Senate Judiciary on Tuesday.

“Since then it has gone up about 60 each month and it is now at almost 1,700 vacancies. Some individual facilities have seen higher vacancies, with one correctional facility having turnover of 54 percent in the last calendar year,” Jay said.

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Cook Political Report Shifts Democrat-Held Georgia, Arizona and Nevada Senate Seats to ‘Toss Up’

  The Senate and governors editor for The Cook Political Report told The Star News Network the collapse of popular support for President Joseph R. Biden Jr., was one of the critical factors driving the political prognosticating site's decision to move Senate races in Georgia, Arizona and Nevada to 'Toss Up.' "We never start an incumbent out in 'Toss Up,' until they have an opponent," said Jessica Taylor, about the changes to move the three Democrats, Arizona's Sen. Mark A. Kelly,...

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Minnesota Restaurants to Pay Thousands in Fines for Violating COVID Lockdowns

Two Minnesota restaurants, Boardwalk Bar and Grill and a chain named Shady’s, will need to fork over $25,000 and $30,000 in fines respectively for violating COVID lockdown orders in 2020.

The restaurants are obligated to pay the fines after settling lawsuits filed against them by Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, according to a press release.

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Arizona Attorney General Brnovich Responds to Reporter Asking If He’s Had the Vaccine: ‘Have You Had an STD?’

During a press conference announcing his lawsuit with police officers and firefighters against the City of Phoenix over its COVID-19 vaccine mandate, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich was asked by Arizona’s Family political editor Dennis Welch whether he was vaccinated. His press secretary waved the question off as “inappropriate.” 

However, Brnovich, who is running for U.S. Senate, responded, “Do you have an STD?” After a brief pause with some laughter from those present, he went on, “It’s not a ridiculous question. The question should be, once you allow or cede this authority to the federal government, where does it stop? And my own health information is my own health information.” 

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Florida Man Pleads Guilty to Don Gaetz Extortion Effort

A Florida man, Stephen Alford, has plead guilty regarding his involvement in attempting to extort $25 million from Congressman Matt Gaetz’s (R-FL-1) father, former Florida Senate President Don Gaetz.

The latest development is part of a sex trafficking investigation where Stephen Alford attempted to secure a presidential pardon for Matt Gaetz, as Gaetz continues to face questions surrounding his friendship with former Seminole County, Fla. tax collector Joel Greenberg and Gaetz’s involvement into allegations that he had sex with a 17-year-old arranged by Greenberg.

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University of Florida President Supports Testimony by Political Science Professors

After months of back and forth between University of Florida (UF) and three of its political-science professors who were blocked from participating in a high profile lawsuit against Florida’s new election law, UF President Kent Fuchs approved a report Tuesday that called for that decision to be reversed.

In a separate report sent to an accrediting organization, UF denied that its Board of Trustees or any outside forces influenced their previous decision to prevent professors, Sharon Austin, Michael McDonald and Daniel Smith, from testifying against the law that was approved by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis during the 2021 legislative session that ended in April.

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