The Tennessee Star
Governor Lee Joins Blackburn and Hagerty, Questions Biden Administration over Afghan Refugee Resettlement
October 7, 2021
Governor Bill Lee (R) on Wednesday joined Senators Marsha Blackburn(R-TN) and Bill Hagerty (R-TN) and demanded answers from the Biden Administration over Afghan refugee resettlement. Over the past several months, thousands of refugees from Afghanistan have been relocated across the United States after President Joe Biden's chaotic withdrawal.

The Factory at Franklin Will Be Transformed into a 'Little City' Following Developer Purchase

The Factory at Franklin has been purchased for $56 million by the Nashville office of Holladay Properties, led by Allen Arender. The company plans on transforming the property to create what it believes will be a national model for adaptive re-use of early 20th Century industrial structures.


New Tennessee License Plates Unveiled Following Statewide Vote

On Tuesday, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee unveiled the state’s next standard license plate design chosen by Tennesseans through optional statewide participation. The new plate sports a navy blue background with white letters and numbers. In its center is the state's Tri-Star emblem with the words “The Volunteer State” in the top left corner.


Tennessee Attorney General Slatery Credited with National Role in Anti-Social Media Effort

The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) has credited Tennessee’s top prosecutor with a major role in leading NAAG's support for the U.S. Senate’s inquiry into social media's impacts on mental health and safety.  The association announced Tuesday it sent a letter to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation’s Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security backing that subcommittee's efforts to probe Facebook and other companies regarding their effects on children and teens.


Nashville Indoor Mask Mandate Deferred Indefinitely

On Tuesday night, Metro Nashville City Council members’ attempt to impose an indoor mask mandate was indefinitely deferred. Councilmember Joy Styles, chief sponsor of bill BL2021-872, moved to indefinitely defer the legislation that would have imposed a mask mandate in all indoor spaces in Nashville.


Nashville Police Report Kidnapping, Carjackings, and Shooting in Recent Days

Officers with the Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) have been plenty busy the past few days, due to several high-profile crimes, including a suspect who allegedly forced himself into another man’s car and kidnapped the man. “Around 4 a.m. a 28-year-old victim was stopped at a red light on Haywood Lane near I-24 when he said the suspect entered the passenger side. The suspect held the victim and driver of the car at knifepoint,” MNPD officials said in a press release.


The Arizona Sun Times
Treasury Department Prevents Ducey from Awarding Grants to Schools That Do Not Have a Mask Mandate
October 7, 2021
The U.S. Treasury Department on Tuesday blocked Arizona Governor Doug Ducey from utilizing federal COVID-19 aide toward grants for school systems in the state that do not have mask mandates. Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo penned a letter to Ducey, informing the Republican governor that the grants were "not a permissible use" of the relief aide.

Arizona State Treasurer Kimberly Yee Sends Letter to Sinema, Kelly Opposing Legislation to Allow IRS to Monitor Americans' $600 or More Withdrawals and Deposits

Arizona State Treasurer Kimberly Yee sent a letter to Arizona’s Democratic Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly urging them not to vote for legislation that would allow the IRS to monitor Americans’ bank accounts for transactions of $600 or more in withdrawals and deposits. The proposal is part of the Biden administration’s $3.5 trillion American Families Plan, the so-called “human infrastructure” bill. Scott Earl, the CEO & President of Mountain West Credit Union Association, also signed the letter, representing multiple credit unions.  Yee, who is running for governor of Arizona, said, “As it stands now, this proposal would threaten the financial security of more than 100 million Americans from all demographics. If it passes, the government will conduct one of the largest data mining exercises in American history, risking the security of the banking system.”


Arizona Establishes New Cyber Command Center to Prevent Attacks

Governor Doug Ducey on Monday established the state's new Cyber Command Center at a ceremony at the Department of Public Safety’s Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center (ACTIC) in Phoenix. The new cyber center will serve as Arizona's main headquarters for managing statewide cybersecurity operations for officials at each level of government.


FBI: No Word on Suspects in Tucson Train Shooting That Left DEA Agent Dead

A Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent and one suspect were killed after a shootout on an Amtrak train in Tucson Monday.  According to Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus, the Counter Narcotics Alliance, which is comprised of local and federal agents, boarded the train for a routine spot-check for contraband like illegal weapons and narcotics when the train stopped in the city. 


20 Arizona Republican Legislators Denounce ASU Video of White Students Kicked Out of Multicultural Center, Considers Defunding

Arizona State Rep. Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek) and 19 other legislators issued a statement following a video that went viral of three black students kicking two white students out of Arizona State University’s multicultural center. They demanded accountability and threatened to withhold funding from the university. They announced, “It has come to light following the racially-motivated harassment of two students and their subsequent removal from one of the campus’ study facilities that ASU has allowed a culture of institutionalized racism and neo-segregation to take hold on its campus. The racially-charged removal of these students from the multicultural center begs the question of why Arizonans are being forced to spend tens, potentially hundreds, of millions of their hard-earned tax dollars on a building at a public university that some of our citizens are not allowed to use?”


Arizona Democrat Attorney General Candidate Defends Left-Wing Activists That Harassed Senator Sinema in Bathroom

Arizona State Representative Diego Rodriguez (D-Phoenix), who is running for Arizona Attorney General, on Sunday seemingly defended left-wing activists who followed and harassed U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) in a public restroom. The individuals ambushed and followed Sinema while she was leaving her classroom at Arizona State University, where she teaches a class.


The Georgia Star News
Williamson County Schools Now Suspending Students for Not Wearing COVID-19 Masks on Campus
October 7, 2021
A Nolensville mother says Williamson County School (WCS) System officials suspended her two children indefinitely because they won’t wear their COVID-19 masks on campus. Both children attend Mill Creek Middle School.

Fulton County School Administrators Fight New TikTok Trend While They Also Want to Keep COVID-19 Mask Mandates

Fulton County School System officials are currently fighting to keep a COVID-19 mask mandate in place while they’re also trying to clamp down on reported vandalism and violence within the schools. The Atlanta-based Reporter Newspapers said late last week that several parents want a Fulton County judge to issue a temporary restraining order and restrict the schools from imposing a mandatory mask mandate.


11 Months After 2020 Election Georgia Secretary of State Missing Chain of Custody Documents for 6,995 Absentee Ballots Deposited in Fulton County Drop Boxes

A review of transfer forms provided to The Georgia Star News in response to an open records request reveals that the Secretary of State’s office in Georgia is missing chain of custody documents for 6,995 absentee ballots deposited in drop boxes in Fulton County during the November 2020 election. The number of absentee ballots for which the office has no evidence of the origination of the ballots represents 9 percent of the 79,460 total that Fulton County has recorded as being deposited into drop boxes during the more than month-long early voting and election day period.


Georgia Democrat Prefers to Honor Confederate Soldiers Instead of Clarence Thomas

One member of the Georgia General Assembly wants a statue of Clarence Thomas on the state capitol grounds, but one Democrat vigorously opposes the idea and the way she stated her opposition left some people shocked. Georgia State Representative Donna McLeod (D-Lawrenceville) stated those remarks when she spoke to The Atlanta Journal Constitution late last week. “I’d rather them keep a Confederate monument than a statue of [Supreme Court Justice] Clarence Thomas,” McLeod reportedly told the paper.


11 Months After 2020 Election Georgia Secretary of State Missing Chain of Custody Documents for 6,995 Absentee Ballots Deposited in Fulton County Drop Boxes

A review of transfer forms provided to The Georgia Star News in response to an open records request reveals that the Secretary of State’s office in Georgia is missing chain of custody documents for 6,995 absentee ballots deposited in drop boxes in Fulton County during the November 2020 election. The number of absentee ballots for which the office has no evidence of the origination of the ballots represents 9 percent of the 79,460 total that Fulton County has recorded as being deposited into drop boxes during the more than month-long early voting and election day period.


Two Candidates Declare for Burt Jones' Georgia State Senate Seat

Two candidates have announced to run for the seat currently held by Georgia State Senator Burt Jones (R-Jackson). Jones announced in August that he will run for lieutenant governor.


The Virginia Star
Doctor with arms folded, holding stethescope
Virginia Ranks Among Top States Most Prepared for Public Health Emergencies
October 7, 2021
Virginia's preparedness for public health emergencies ranks it among the top four in the U.S., according to the 2021 National Health Security Preparedness Index (NHSPI). The index looks at data from 64 sources across the public and private health sectors, creating an overview of health protections in place in each state; the national preparedness level is 6.8, but Virginia scored 7.4 out of ten. "The COVID-19 pandemic has been a real-world stress test of the readiness of Virginia governmental, health care delivery, and emergency management systems to respond to a major public health threat. Throughout this time, Virginia’s hospitals, public health and emergency management agencies, and other public and private sector stakeholders have effectively navigated this unprecedented crisis while facing many pandemic-related challenges," states a Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association (VVHHA) press release.

After Backing McAuliffe in 2013, Virginia Black Caucus Endorses Youngkin

The Hampton Roads Black Caucus (HRBC), a group that endorsed former Gov. Terry McAuliffe in his successful 2013 campaign, has now endorsed McAuliffe's opponent Glenn Youngkin as the for the same position.   “I am so honored and humbled, and it just reflects the fact that there is broad-based support for a platform that’s going to bring down our cost of living and cut taxes so people can keep more of their paycheck,” Youngkin said of the endorsement. 


Senator Kaine Votes Against Richmond Casino

Richmond voters are currently deciding if the ONE Casino +Resort proposal will be approved or not, and Senator Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) has said that he voted against the proposal. "Senator Kaine voted on Monday, September 20. He voted against the casino proposal. He believes there are better ways to enhance economic development in Richmond," Kaine's office said in a statement.


Republicans Competitive to Retake Virginia House of Delegates Majority

Republicans have a good chance to retake the majority in Virginia's House of Delegates, powered by historically-Republican voters in swing districts who were alienated by former President Donald Trump. To win the majority, Republicans need to protect what they have and take six seats. They see opportunities in Northern Virginia, metro Richmond, Virginia Beach, and downstate Virginia. "We feel that with the environment that's going on right now, we've got great opportunities to pick up five to nine seats to take over," Delegate Terry Kilgore (R-Wise) told The Virginia Star. "That's one thing you don't have any control of, but the environment, you know, of Biden and just the overreach by a lot of the Democrats' bills last year has really focused the independents back our way."


Report: Virginia Employment Growth Falls Below National Average

Over the past five months, Virginia’s year-over-year employment growth has ranked well below the national average, according to a report published by economist A. Fletcher Mangum. Mangum, who is the CEO of Mangum Economics and serves on Virginia’s Joint Advisory Board of Economists, found Virginia’s employment growth fell outside of the top half in April through August of this year.


McAuliffe-Tied Law Firm Sues Special Ed Parents for Posting Embarrassing Public Records

"Idon't think parents should be telling schools what they teach," Virginia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe said in a recent debate. A wealthy Virginia school district outside Washington, D.C. went even further this week, with the help of a law firm tied to the former governor. Represented by Hunton Andrews Kurth, Fairfax County Public Schools is suing two parents for learning about its dirty laundry from a state Freedom of Information Act request. It filed an emergency motion for a preliminary injunction Tuesday.


The Florida Capital Star
Florida Gov. DeSantis Blasts Justice Department for Investigating Parents Like Domestic Terrorists
October 7, 2021
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said he will defend Floridians after Attorney General Merrick Garland began “weaponizing” the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate supposed threats against school board members.

Enterprise Florida CEO Jamal Sowell Announces Resignation

President and CEO of Enterprise Florida Inc. (EFI), Jamal Sowell, announced that he will be stepping down at the position in late October to follow an order by the U.S. Navy Reserve to prepare for and participate in specialized military training. Enterprise Florida is a public-private partnership of business and government leaders whose goal is to promote Florida as a premier business destination and expand the state’s economy through private-sector job creation.


Florida's First Lady Casey DeSantis Diagnosed with Breast Cancer

Yesterday, the office of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis has been diagnosed with breast cancer.


Florida Senate President Proposes Prison Shutdowns

To combat staffing shortages and high turnover rates of correctional officers in the state, Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson proposed prison shutdowns in a recent interview. Simpson said that the Florida Department of Corrections should shut down prisons to save money, rather than ask for more resources from the Florida legislature.  In the interview with The News Service of Florida, Simpson criticized the state prison system by blaming the staff shortages and high turnover rates on the “lack of vision” by state prison leaders.  “We are not just going to write a bigger check because they think they need it. That is not going to happen. They’re going to have to do the right thing. We are not going to waste the taxpayers’ dollars,” Simpson said.


Group Seeking to Legalize Marijuana by Amending the Florida Constitution

A group behind a proposed ballot initiative to Florida’s Constitution in 2022 is seeking to legalize marijuana growth for personal, recreational use. However, the plan would only afford for 18 plants grown per household. The organization behind it, Sensible Florida, filed the ballot measure and has a long way to go before it can be validated for approval to the 2022 general election ballot.


Trump Addresses Potential Match-up with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis

Former U.S. President Donald Trump made comments about Florida Governor Ron DeSantis' potential presidential run in 2024, suggesting that he does not believe DeSantis will be able to compete against him, and that he will most likely drop out. Although Trump has not officially announced his campaign for 2024 and was "coy about his intentions" during an interview with Yahoo Finance, he did not shy away from discussing the hypothetical matchup with Governor DeSantis.


The Ohio Star
Report: Gov. DeWine Selling Out to Democrats in Ohio Redistricting Battle
October 7, 2021
According to a report in Breitbart News, sources familiar with Ohio's Republican Gov. Mike DeWine plans for the state's redistricting battle include DeWine supporting a map that would help Democrats gain U.S. House seats in 2022. That report also says that Republican state auditor Keith Faber and Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose are supportive of the new left-leaning map. 

Ohio GOP Committee's Bainbridge Charges Ex-Chair Timken with Mismanagement, Conflict Amid 'Financial Trainwreck'

A leader of the Ohio Republican Party State Central Committee's reform caucus has offered more details regarding the poor integrity of the state GOP's financial records and practices as well as a warning to fellow members in a recent letter sent to the Committee's 66 members. The latest salvo from Mark Bainbridge, a District 16 SCC member from suburban Columbus, specifically calls out U.S. Senate candidate and former ORP Chairwoman Jane Timken for failing to put in place internal financial controls and practices necessary during her tenure and what he considers a conflict of interest in the selection of an auditor for the party books earlier this year.


Ohio Taxpayers Owe $5,400 Each to Pay State’s Bills, Report Finds

Ohio again found itself receiving a near-failing grade in an annual report by Truth in Accounting that reviews financial information for all 50 states. The 2021 Financial State of the States report, released earlier this week, showed the state finished the 2020 fiscal year needing $20.7 billion to cover all of its obligations. That represented a taxpayer burden of $5,400, a representation of what the state owes per taxpayer.


New Ohio Vaccine Incentive Program Expands Prizes, Age Group

Ohio’s newest COVID-19 vaccination incentive program doubled in size Friday when state officials announced a total of $2 million in scholarships will be given way and age ranges will expand. The program that originally targeted 12- to 25-year-olds now will include those age 5-11 once the vaccine is authorized for their use. Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff said authorization should come by the end of the month.


Ohio Judge Allows Municipal-Income-Tax Challenge to Go Forward

A judge has ruled a lawsuit challenging the city of Cleveland’s ability to collect income tax from a doctor who had not worked in the city during the pandemic can go forward. Dr. Manal Morsy’s lawsuit, one of several filed against Ohio cities by The Buckeye Institute, tests a state law that was altered during the COVID-19 pandemic to continue to allow cities to collect taxes from workers who did not work in those cities. Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Judge Dick Ambrose denied Cleveland’s motion to dismiss Wednesday.


Ohio Landlords Could Receive Help with Unpaid Utility Bills

Ohio landlords burdened with unpaid water and sewer bills assessed to tenants could get relief from legislation recently introduced in the Ohio House. Ohio law puts the responsibility for debts accrued on property owners rather than tenants who actually contracted for the services but default. Municipalities can place a property tax lien on those properties.


The Minnesota Sun
Minnesota Rep. Hagedorn Says Attorney General Garland's Memo 'Attempt to Intimidate'
October 7, 2021
Minnesota Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R-MN-01) called Attorney General Garland's memo regarding law enforcement responses to alleged harassment toward public education officials an “attempt to intimidate.” Hagedorn said, “Parents should always be allowed to openly express their opinions and concerns when it comes to their children.”

Minnesota GOP Elects New Chair to Replace Former Chair Carnahan

The Minnesota Republican Party elected a new chair on Saturday, to replace the former Chair Jennifer Carnahan. The newly elected chair, David Hann, was a former state senate minority leader.


Shakopee School Board Chair Reported Single Mother to Employer for Criticizing the School Board

The Shakopee School Board Chair reported a single mother to her employer for her criticism of actions of school board members. The mother is now on unpaid suspension and is anticipating that she will be fired.


Brainerd High School to Remove Homecoming King and Queen for Inclusivity

A Brainerd area high school is going to remove the existence of a homecoming king and queen in order to be more inclusive. According to an article by KSTP, they will be replacing the homecoming court with the “Above and Beyond Award.”


Line 3 Pipleine Construction Completed, Set to Begin Operating Friday in Minnesota

Enbridge has successfully completed its Line 3 replacement project, announcing Wednesday that the pipeline will begin operations on Friday, Oct. 1. Replacement construction on Line 3 began more than seven years ago, according to Reuters, with the project costing $8.2 billion altogether. The replaced pipeline will transport more oil from Canada through North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin than it had previously transported due to its “age and corrosion.”


Minnesota to Sell COVID 'Morgue' After Lack of Use

The State of Minnesota is going to sell the COVID morgue that it purchased in 2020 after a lack of use. State Rep. Jeremy Munson (R-Lake Crystal) called out the state's political leaders on Facebook, saying that leaders in both parties are responsible.


The Michigan Star
Gretchen Whitmer Hints Support for Coronavirus Vaccine Mandate
October 7, 2021
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) hinted Tuesday she may follow President Joe Biden's lead and support a coronavirus vaccine mandate in the state. Whitmer was asked about the federal mandate for federal government employees and employers with 100 or more workers, and the Democrat incumbent did not indicate any concern. In fact, she said she would follow Biden's lead.

Gretchen Whitmer Vetoes Four Election Integrity Bills, Pledges Similar Fate for 35 More

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) on Sunday vetoed four election integrity bills the legislature passed to improve training for election clerks and increase database security. Pandering to a "captive audience," Whitmer rejected the bills during a National Association for the Advancement of Colored People dinner in Detroit. Democrats argue election integrity legislation discriminates against black people, though recent polling found some provisions, such as requiring an ID to vote, are popular with that voting bloc.


Canada Invokes 1977 Treaty to Keep Michigan's Line 5 Flowing

 A 1977 pipeline treaty between Canada and the United States is being invoked by Canada in order to prevent closure of the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline, which has been in operation under the Straits of Mackinac for the past 68 years. On Monday, Gordon Giffin, legal counsel for the Canadian government, issued a letter to the U.S. Western District of Michigan Federal Court on Monday, according to a news report by Reuters. In the letter, Giffin noted the 1977 treaty prohibits Michigan and/or the U.S. government from disrupting the operation of Line 5, and asked U.S. District Judge Janet Neff to delay issuing an opinion to allow treaty negotiations between the Canada and the United States to proceed. Article II of the treaty reads: “No public authority in the territory of either Party shall institute any measures, other than those provided for in Article V, which are intended to, or which would have the effect of, impeding, diverting, redirecting or interfering with in any way the transmission of hydrocarbon in transit.” Article V specifies “an actual or threatened disaster, operating emergency or other demonstrable need” as reasons to shut down the internationally operated pipelines.


Michigan Senate Set for Tuesday Hearing on Anti-CRT Bill

The Michigan State Senate Education and Career Readiness Committee on Tuesday will hold a hearing on an anti-critical race theory bill. The legislation, which was introduced by Education and Career Readiness Committee Chair Lana Theis (R-Brighton), would seek to limit the teaching of critical race theory in schools.


Michigan Redistricting Committee Draws Fire for Canceled Meetings, Limiting Public Comments

The Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Committee (MICRC), charged with redrawing the state’s district boundaries based on 2020 U.S. Census data, has been riddled throughout its inaugural outing with blown deadlines and other missteps. The most recent issue raising public concerns is the MICRC’s apparent lack of transparency, which was prompted by the committee eliminating four of its nine scheduled October public hearings. That means the committee will comply with the minimum number of five meetings called for in the state constitution, but canceling the four meetings will disappoint voters in Novi, Kalamazoo, Marquette and Warren. The five meetings not cancelled will be held in Detroit, Flint, Gaylord, Grand Rapids and Lansing.


University of Michigan-Flint Grant to Support 300 Jobs, $10.4M Investment in Flint

The U.S. Secretary of Commerce's Economic Development Administration (EDA) awarded a $3.8 million Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Recovery Assistance grant to the University of Michigan-Flint, Flint, to construct the university’s new College of Innovation and Technology. The grant, to be matched with $4.9 million in local funds, is expected to create 126 jobs, retain 175 jobs, and generate $10.4 million in private investment. “We are grateful to Secretary Raimondo and the Biden Administration for investing in University of Michigan-Flint's College of Innovation and Technology,” Whitmer said in a statement. “This grant will help us usher in a new era of prosperity by supporting over 300 good-paying jobs and generating $10.4 million in private investment.”  Mayor Sheldon Neeley welcomed the investment.