DeSantis Said He Disagreed with Trump’s Lockdown Decisions

DeSantis Said He Disagreed with Trump’s Lockdown Decisions

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) last week said he disagreed with former President Donald Trump’s (R) decisions to shut down the economy in the early stages of the COVID pandemic. The latest comments from the governor indicate a growing split between DeSantis and Trump as the rumors of the 2024 presidential election swirl.

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Florida House Panel to Hear Abortion Bill

Florida House Panel to Hear Abortion Bill

This week, the Florida House Professions & Public Health Subcommittee will take up a piece of legislation that could ban abortions in Florida after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The bill, HB 5, is sponsored by Florida State. Rep. Erin Grall (R-FL-54).

The bill is similar to a Mississippi abortion law that is currently being heard by the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS). Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has said that he would likely support the legislation.

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Twelve Tennessee Counties Qualify for Federal Recovery Assistance from December Tornadoes

Twelve Tennessee Counties Qualify for Federal Recovery Assistance from December Tornadoes

Governor Bill Lee’s office announced Friday that the Biden administration has qualified twelve counties to receive Major Disaster Declaration relief after a tornado-producing storm front tore through the state in early December. 

“I appreciate the hard recovery work we’ve already accomplished with our local, state, and federal partners,” Governor Lee said. “We will continue working to make sure Tennesseans have every resource necessary for a full, swift recovery.”

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State Sen. Reeves Introduced Youngkin Legislation to Cut Virginia Veterans’ Income Tax, Expand Child Care Subsidy Eligibility

State Sen. Reeves Introduced Youngkin Legislation to Cut Virginia Veterans’ Income Tax, Expand Child Care Subsidy Eligibility

Governor Glenn Youngkin is enacting some of his policies by executive order, but he’ll have to work with legislators to get other initiatives passed. Senator Bryce Reeves has introduced two bills focused on the governor’s goal to make Virginia more veteran friendly.

“The bills, carried by Senator Reeves on behalf of Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin, signal that Governor-elect Youngkin’s administration values military and veteran families across the commonwealth and recognizes that Virginia must compete to retain its recognition as one of the most military and veteran-friendly states,” a Friday Reeves press release said.

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Head of Atlanta’s Transit System Kills Self by Stepping in Front of Commuter Train

Head of Atlanta’s Transit System Kills Self by Stepping in Front of Commuter Train

The top executive of Atlanta’s MARTA transit system has died by suicide after stepping in front of a commuter train, officials said.

Jeffery Parker, 55, the CEO and general manager of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority since 2018, was hailed by MARTA Board Chairwoman Rita Scott as a dedicated civil servant and leader in a statement Saturday announcing his death.

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Nikki Fried Compares DeSantis to Adolf Hitler

Nikki Fried Compares DeSantis to Adolf Hitler

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried (D) compared Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) to Adolf Hitler, the infamous Chancellor of National Socialist controlled Germany from 1933 to 1945.

Fried claims that she has studied Hitler and how he came to power.

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Tennessee Becomes First State to Sponsor Teacher Apprenticeship Program

Tennessee Becomes First State to Sponsor Teacher Apprenticeship Program

The Tennessee Department of Education announced in a press release it has pioneered a new way to develop teacher pipelines. As of Thursday, Tennessee is the first official state to be approved by the U.S. Department of Labor to establish a permanent Grow Your Own model, with the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System and Austin Peay State University’s Teacher Residency program becoming the first registered apprenticeship program for teaching in the country.

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Businesses Could Sue Over Local Ordinances Under New Florida Proposal

Florida lawmakers are considering a legislative proposal that would permit businesses to sue local governments over ordinances or mandates that lead to a revenue loss of 15 percent or more. SB 280 would require local governments to do business impact analyses when considering imposing ordinances.

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Knoxville Man Sentenced to Prison for Defrauding COVID-19 Economic Relief Programs

The Department of Justice announced this week a Knoxville, Tennessee man was arrested for defrauding COVID-19 economic relief programs. James Waylon Howell pled guilty to “engaging in more than $150,000 in fraud related to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, and to committing money laundering.” He was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

“This prosecution highlights the Department of Justice’s commitment to aggressively prosecute those who have defrauded these important programs enacted to provide economic relief to those who have suffered financially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said United States Attorney Francis M. Hamilton III.  “Fortunately, the quick and capable work of our federal partners permitted the recovery of a substantial amount of stolen funds.”

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Speaker Gilbert, Senator McDougle to Serve Again on Republican Legislative Campaign Committee Executive Committee

Senator Ryan McDougle (R-Hanover) and Speaker of the House of Delegates Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah) will again serve on the Republican Legislative Campaign Committee (RLCC) Executive Committee. Gilbert is also in a new role at the RLCC as finance chair.

“National Democrats proved in 2021 that they are willing to spend whatever it takes to win state-level races so they can turn the entire country into a socialist utopia,” Gilbert said in a RLCC release Wednesday. “Despite that obstacle, Republicans were able to flip the House of Delegates in the Commonwealth of Virginia while making significant gains in other liberal strongholds like New Jersey. I am excited to continue working with this incredible organization and to act as a resource for my colleagues trying to replicate the success we had in 2021.”

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Governor Youngkin Issues Executive Orders Banning CRT, Ending Mask Mandate Shortly After Taking Office

Governor Glenn Youngkin signed nine executive orders and two executive directives on Saturday shortly after the inauguration. Three of the orders focus specifically on school policy, banning the use of “divisive concepts,” allowing parents to opt their children out of school mask policies, and requesting Attorney General Jason Miyares to investigate the Loudoun County Public Schools.

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Governor Glenn Youngkin Takes Oath of Office, Promises 11 Immediate Executive Actions on CRT, Masks, Vaccines, and Other Campaign Commitments

Governor Glenn Youngkin, Attorney General Jason Miyares, and Lieutenant Governor Winsome Sears took their oaths of office on Saturday afternoon, followed by a howitzer salute from the Army National Guard. Then, Youngkin gave his first speech as governor, with an emphasis on a “common path forward” and with renewed promises from his campaign.

“Our politics have become too toxic. Soundbites have replaced solutions — taking precedence over good faith problem-solving,” he said. “My fellow Virginians, I come to this moment, and to this office, knowing we must bind the wounds of division. Restore trust. Find common cause for the common good.”

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Governor Ralph Northam Pardons Sen. Morrissey for Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor

Governor Ralph Northam announced Friday that he has issued more than 1,200 pardons during his term in office. That includes a January 13 pardon for Senator Joe Morrissey (D-Richmond), who was sentenced in 2014 of contributing to the delinquency of a minor after a relationship with a 17-year-old employee who is now his wife.

“Both Myra and I are extremely pleased and are grateful for the governor’s pardon. And the people who will be most grateful and most appreciative will be my four young children in the ensuing years,” Morrissey told The Virginia Star.

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Florida Will Not Enforce CMS Vaccine Mandate Upheld by SCOTUS

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) issued two decisions impacting vaccine mandates in the United States. SCOTUS issued a stay on the Biden Administration’s OSHA-based vaccine mandate for businesses with over 100 employees, striking a blow to Biden. However, the high court upheld the vaccine mandate put into place by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for healthcare providers.

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Ben Carson Tells Williamson County Audience that Critical Race Theory Violates Martin Luther King Jr.’s Core Philosophy

FRANKLIN, Tennessee — Three days before the federal Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, Ben Carson traveled to Williamson County to tell a packed audience that Critical Race Theory (CRT) defies the teachings of the late civil rights activist. Carson, the former U.S. secretary of Housing and Urban Development, spoke at The Factory in Franklin, only a few miles away from the Williamson County School System’s (WCS’s) main office. Several frustrated parents have long said that the WCS continues to teach CRT, against those parents’ wishes.

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Florida House Committee Approves Two Bills Involving Lobbying Restrictions

Two bills (HB 7001 and HB 7003) that further restrict public officials from lobbying after leaving office were unanimously voted yes upon by the Florida House State Affairs Committee on Thursday.

Both bills, backed by Representative Traci Koster of Tampa, were filed to implement Amendment 12 from 2018 that prohibits lobbying by certain public officers during public service and for a six-year period following vacation of public office – instead of a two-year period as the law previously stated.

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Nashville Metro Councilman Incurs $360,000 Fine for Campaign Finance Violations

The Tennessee Registry of Election Finance fined Nashville Metro Councilmember Jonathan Hall to the tune of $360,000 at their meeting on Thursday.

The Registry found Councilmember Jonathan Hall guilty of campaign finance law violations related to his run for Council in 2018 and 2019. Councilmember Hall represents District One on the Metro Council which covers Bordeaux, parts of North Nashville, Whites Creek and Joelton.

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Law Filed to Make the Assault of a Sports Official a Class E Felony

A new bill was filed this week that would make assaulting a sports official while they’re officiating a Class E Felony. Sponsored by Representative Brandon Ogles (R-Franklin), the bill would also make the assault a Class A Misdemeanor, depending on the nature of the assault. 

The bill stated:

A person commits assault against a sports official who: (1) Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to a sports official while the official is officiating a sporting event; (2) Intentionally or knowingly causes a sports official, while the official is officiating a sporting event, to reasonably fear imminent bodily injury; or (3) Intentionally or knowingly causes physical contact with a sports official while the official is officiating a sporting event and a reasonable person would regard the contact as extremely offensive or provocative.

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