Liberal Dark Money Pushes Ranked-Choice Voting as Campaign Gains Momentum Across U.S.

As ranked-choice voting gains momentum across the U.S., the campaign supporting the system is funded by a few liberal dark money groups run by mega-donors who seek to replace the influence of political parties with their own, according to Honest Election Project Action, (HEPA) an election integrity advocate.

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High Energy Costs Drive Revolt Against States’ Climate Policies but Commitments Hard to Dislodge

Arizona Corporation Commissioners in front of power station

The Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) recently took the unusual step of voting to pull back on the state’s renewable energy targets, over concerns they are too costly and produce few benefits.

Most states are moving in the other direction, following California’s lead, but there are signs of some hesitation as the real costs of these policies are realized.

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Montana Supreme Court Overturns State Voting Reform Laws

Voters casting ballots

Following the 2020 presidential election, which faced allegations of mass voter fraud from former President Donald Trump and his supporters, many states moved to restricting mail-in or absentee voting practices.

The Montana Supreme Court struck down multiple voting reform laws on Wednesday, declaring them unconstitutional.

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Swing State Democrats Receive Money from America’s Largest Lobbying Firms

Senate Democrats

Vulnerable Senate Democrats, who often try to distance themselves from Washington, D.C., have emerged as favorites among employees at the nation’s largest lobbying firms.

Sens. Jon Tester of Montana, Jacky Rosen of Nevada, Bob Casey Jr. of Pennsylvania and Sherrod Brown of Ohio were among the top recipients of donations from people working at the ten firms with the highest lobbying income, a Daily Caller News Foundation review of public records has found. Tester received the second most money of any candidate from America’s top lobbying firms, Rosen was third, Casey was fourth and Brown was fifth, Federal Election Commission (FEC) records show.

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Montana’s Race And Sex-Based Requirements for Key Medical Board Are Unconstitutional, Lawsuit Alleges

Greg Gianforte

A medical watchdog sued the Montana governor Tuesday over race and sex-based requirements for the state’s top medical board.

The lawsuit was filed by the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF), a public interest law firm, on behalf of Do No Harm (DNH), a medical activist organization, in the United States District Court for the District of Montana Helena Division against Republican Montana Gov. Gregory Gianforte. The PLF is representing an unidentified woman affiliated with DNH who cannot apply to the Montana Board of Medical Examiners due to the sex-based requirements, which PLF alleges violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution, according to a DNH press release.

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GOP Rep. Matt Rosendale Ends Reelection Bid, After Dropping Out of Montana Senate Race Last Month

Matt Rosendale

Montana GOP Rep. Matt Rosendale said Friday that he will not continue his run for reelection, citing a death threat and “false and defamatory rumors” about him and his family. The congressman dropped out of the U.S. Senate race for his home state last month. 

“The current attacks have made it impossible for me to focus on my work to serve you,” Rosendale wrote in a statement posted on X. “So, in the best interest of my family and the community, I am withdrawing from the House race and will not be seeking office.” 

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Montana Judge Throws Out Three Laws Restricting Abortion

Montana Planned Parenthood

A Montana judge ruled Thursday that three of the state’s laws limiting abortion were unconstitutional, according to the Daily Montanan.

The laws banned abortion after 20 weeks and by way of telehealth services, as well as required a 24-hour waiting period and two ultrasounds. District Court Judge Kurt Krueger sided with Planned Parenthood of Montana, who filed the lawsuit, arguing that the government should not be able to “infringe” on bodily autonomy any more than it can force someone to have an abortion, according to the Daily Montanan.

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Montana Rep. Rosendale to Seek Reelection After Dropping Senate Campaign

Rep. Matt Rosendale

Montana Republican Rep. Matt Rosendale on Wednesday confirmed that he would seek reelection in the lower chamber after ending a brief Senate campaign to oust Montana Democratic Sen. Jon Tester.

Earlier this month, Rosendale announced his Senate bid, hoping for a rematch after losing to Tester in 2018. He ended the campaign within a week, however, as former President Donald Trump and Senate leadership largely lined up behind businessman Tim Sheehy for the party nod.

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Groups Weigh In on Montana Supreme Court Case of Minors Challenging Permit Laws

Oil Drilling

A Montana think tank and special interest groups have filed an amicus brief in the state supreme court case known as Held v. Montana.

The coalition is asking the Montana Supreme Court to overrule a lower court’s decision that struck down recent changes to state environmental permitting laws and said 16 minors had standing to sue over Montana’s contribution to climate change.

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Ranked-Choice Voting Proves to Be Lightning Rod Issue in Several States

Bills to ban ranked-choice voting are causing passionate debate over a method to cast ballots that some say is fairer and some say is confusing and could lower voter turnout.

Ranked-choice voting allows people to rank the candidates, with “one” being their favorite. The votes are tallied in rounds. After the first round, the candidate with the lowest votes is eliminated. The voter’s second preference is then added to the tally. The process continues until a winner is determined.

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Trump Endorses Tim Sheehy for Montana GOP Senate over Matt Rosendale

Trump Montana

Former President Donald Trump weighed in on the GOP Montana Senate primary, endorsing former Navy SEAL Tim Sheehy over Republican Rep. Matt Rosendale.

“I LOVE MONTANA! Tim Sheehy is an American Hero and highly successful Businessman from the Great State of Montana,” Trump wrote on Truth Social. “He is strongly supported by our incredible Chairman of the NRSC, Steve Daines, and many other patriotic Senators and Republicans who have endorsed our Campaign to, MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”

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Montana Attorney General Shoots Down Proposal to Enshrine Abortion in State Constitution

Austin Knudsen

Attorney General Austin Knudsen of Montana stopped an abortion ballot proposal from going through on Tuesday, claiming it was “legally insufficient,” according to the Montana Free Press.

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Montana launched the ballot initiative in November 2023, which would prevent “the government from denying or burdening the right to abortion before fetal viability,” according to the Idaho Capital Sun. Knudsen dismissed the proposal, arguing in a memorandum that it was “legally insufficient” and “logrolls multiple distinct political choices into a single initiative,” the Montana Free Press reported.

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Judge Hands Major Defeat to Transgender Lawmaker Suing Montana over ‘Unconstitutional’ Censure

A Montana judge dismissed a lawsuit Tuesday by Democratic state Rep. Zooey Zephyr, who is transgender, against the state’s House of Representatives after Zephyr was censured in April, according to court documents.

Zephyr was disciplined by House officials on April 26 for breaking legislative protocol after Zephyr held up a microphone to support protesters, several of whom were arrested at the demonstration several days prior. Zephyr filed a lawsuit against Republican state House Speaker Matt Regier and the House’s Sergeant of Arms Bradley Murfitt for allegedly violating Zephyr’s right to freedom of speech, but District Judge Mike Menahan argued that the legislature does have the right to discipline members who violate the rules, according to court documents.

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Federal Judge Blocks Montana’s TikTok Ban

Montana TikTok Ruling

A federal judge in Montana has blocked an upcoming state-wide ban on using the social media app TikTok, calling it unconstitutional. 

U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy said Thursday the ban on the app, whose ownership has ties to Communist-led China,  “oversteps state power and infringes on the Constitutional right of users and businesses.”

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Report: Mountain States Among ‘Most Free’ in North America

Mountain states rank among the “most free” in North America, according to a new report from the Fraser Institute.

The Canadian think tank employs 10 variables for its Economic Freedom of North America 2023 reports and scores states based on categories such as government spending, taxes, labor market freedom, legal system and property rights, sound money, and freedom to trade internationally.

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Commentary: The Uncommon Ella Knowles Haskell

Praise for the “common man” is all too common in the world. It’s the “uncommon” man (or woman) for whom we ought to be most grateful.

Who in their right mind tells their children to aspire to nothing more than common or average? Good parenting is nothing less than encouraging children to become better than simply “run of the mill.” Since when is it a virtue to blend in with the mob, indistinguishable from the mediocre? Who itches to see a movie if the reviews suggest it’s just ordinary and unexceptional?

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Dem-Appointed Judge Blocks Montana Ban on Sex Change Treatments for Minors

A state judge appointed by former Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock ruled Wednesday to temporarily halt the enforcement of a Montana law that would have banned sex-change medical procedures for minors, according to The Associated Press.

Senate Bill 99 was signed into law by Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte in April and was set to take effect on Oct. 1 until the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Montana filed a lawsuit with the plaintiffs in July arguing that the law was “inhumane,” according to a press release. Judge Jason Marks claimed in his ruling that the law was likely unconstitutional and would result in harm to those with gender dysphoria, according to the AP.

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Poll Shows GOP Establishment’s Montana Senate Pick Getting Clobbered in Primary Matchup

A poll released Thursday indicates the Senate GOP campaign arm’s pick to unseat Montana’s incumbent Democratic senator in 2024 is not faring well in a potential primary.

Former Navy SEAL Tim Sheehy, who was recruited by the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), is losing by double digits to Republican Rep. Matt Rosendale, who’s considering a bid, according to a J.L. Partners survey. Sheehy garnered only 21% support compared to Rosendale’s 52%, with 28% of GOP primary voters remaining undecided as to which Republican should take on Democratic Sen. Jon Tester.

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Montana Judge Rules in Favor of Climate Activists in First-of-its-Kind Trial

On Monday, a far-left climate activist group scored a legal victory when a judge in Montana ruled in their favor, declaring that state agencies are legally obligated to protect citizens from so-called “global warming.”

As ABC News reports, District Court Judge Kathy Seeley determined that the state of Montana’s current policy of evaluating requests for fossil fuel permits is unconstitutional, as it does not include a provision forcing agencies to consider greenhouse gas emissions. If it stands, it could set a similar precedent for the entire country.

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Commentary: Tax Relief Is Coming to Millions of Red-State Residents in Ohio, Connecticut, and More

July marked the beginning of Fiscal Year 2024 for 46 of the 50 states. It also closes the books on most state legislative sessions in what was an incredible 2023 for hard-working taxpayers.

In recent years, we’ve seen significant income tax relief in the states. Notably, 10 states – Kentucky, West Virginia, Montana, Utah, Arkansas, North Dakota, Indiana, Nebraska, Connecticut, and Ohio – have cut personal income taxes (PIT) in 2023. With the new addition of West Virginia, North Dakota, and Connecticut, 22 states have cut personal income taxes since 2021, with several of these states cutting taxes multiple times during that period.

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Commentary: Montana Leaves Marxist-Led American Library Association

Local libraries have become a fierce battleground in the cultural revolution sweeping America.

“Drag Queen Story Hour” and the promotion of pornographic materials in children and teens sections have prompted parents around the nation to push back—and some families to withdraw entirely.

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Montana Republican Lawmakers the Latest to Receive Threatening Letters with White Powder

Montana Republican legislators are the latest GOP state officials to be targeted, receiving threatening letters containing white powder after Tennessee and Kansas Republicans received similar suspicious mail in recent days, officials say. 

Meanwhile, four days after the Cordell Hull Building legislative offices in Nashville were locked down upon Republican leaders received threatening mail, an FBI official tells The Tennessee Star that the incident remains under investigation and that the agency has no comment at this time.

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Nearly Half of U.S. States Now Have Measures Limiting Transgender Surgery for Minors, but Lawsuits Abound

At least 20 states have either restricted or banned transgender procedures for minors, with many of them facing lawsuits and temporary blocks by courts as a result, while future litigation is possible in states considering adopting such laws. 

The states that have enacted legislation against such procedures are: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and West Virginia – essentially all conservative-leaning.

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TikTok Sues Montana over Total Statewide Ban

Chinese social media platform TikTok on Monday filed suit against a Montana law barring the platform from operating within the state and forbidding app marketplaces from offering it for download.

“We are challenging Montana’s unconstitutional TikTok ban to protect our business and the hundreds of thousands of TikTok users in Montana. We believe our legal challenge will prevail based on an exceedingly strong set of precedents and facts,” the company wrote in a complaint filed to the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana, per Politico.

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Montana Becomes the First State to Completely Ban TikTok

Republican Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte signed a bill Wednesday that bans TikTok from the state, becoming the first one to completely outlaw the social media app.

The Montana Legislature introduced Senate Bill 419 in late February to respond to the increasing national concerns over TikTok’s ties with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the fear the app could be used to steal sensitive information, according to the measure. SB419, sponsored by Montana Republican state Sen. Shelley Vance, passed the Legislature in April.

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Montana Lawmakers Censure Transgender Representative over ‘Blood on Your Hands’ Remark

The Montana state House on Wednesday voted to censure Rep. Zooey Zephyr, the state’s first transgender legislator, following the Democrat’s opposition to a statewide ban on so-called gender affirming care for minors. The House voted on Wednesday to censure Zephyr in a 68-32 vote, ABC News reported. The vote bars Zephyr from being recognized for the remainder of the legislative session.

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Protesters Storm Montana Capitol over Censure of Transgender Lawmaker

Protesters entered the Montana House of Representatives on Monday in support of a transgender lawmaker whom state Republicans censured over contentious remarks during a debate over a ban on certain gender-related treatments. Democrat State Rep. Zooey Zephyr, a transgender individual, said that supporters of the bill would have “blood on their hands.”

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Montana Lawmakers Vote to Ban TikTok Statewide

Montana lawmakers on Friday passed legislation to ban TikTok within the start and block downloads of the app entirely, becoming the first state in the nation to do so.

Both the federal government and numerous states have already barred the social media platform’s use on official devices, but those bans have stopped shy of outright forbidding the app on personal devices.

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17 State Attorneys General Declare Support for Florida Trans Guidance

by Eric Lendrum   On April 7th, an amicus brief was filed in favor of Florida’s current ban on using state funds to support “transgender” treatments, with 17 state attorneys general voicing their support for the law. According to the Daily Caller, the brief’s filing was part of an ongoing legal…

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Tie House GOP Energy Production Agenda to Debt Limit, Budget Negotiations, Urges Montana Lawmaker

Montana Republican Rep. Matt Rosendale told Just the News that an effort is underway to connect legislation the GOP-led House passed dealing with the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to a legislative package that raises the debt limit.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is locked in negotiations with the White House over a deal that increases the debt limit. He’s pushing for spending reductions in exchange for the GOP-led House voting to raise the debt ceiling.

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Montana AG Threatens Legal Action over ESG Investments Made by Non-Profit Attorneys General Group

Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen has threatened to take legal action over Environmental, Social and Governance investments made by the nonprofit organization National Association of Attorneys General.

ESG investment strategies, increasingly prevalent among large-asset management firms, try to leverage investors’ assets to steer corporate decision-making to promote progressive social and environmental priorities.

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Half of the US No Longer Requires a Permit for Concealed Carry

Half of the states in the U.S. no longer require residents to hold a concealed carry permit to carry firearms in public after Alabama, Indiana, Georgia and Ohio passed laws in 2022 removing permit requirements.

On Monday, Alabama began enforcing its permitless carry law, becoming the 25th state to do so, while Indiana, Georgia and Ohio also passed laws this year allowing residents to concealed carry firearms without a permit. Over the last two years 10 states have moved to permitless carry, including Utah, Montana, Iowa, Tennessee, Arkansas and Texas.

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Tennessee, Georgia, and Virginia Among 18 States Banning Social Media App TikTok from State Devices

Following South Dakota GOP Gov. Kristi Noem’s lead, nearly half of U.S. states have put restrictions on or banned the use of Chinese-based social media app TikTok.

At least 19 states have banned TikTok on government-issued devices – Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Idaho, Iowa, Maryland, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utha, Virginia and West Virginia.

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Commentary: Young Montana Entrepreneur Is Being Legally Barred from Hauling Trash Because Established Players Don’t Want the Competition

When Parker Noland launched his trash-hauling business at age 20 in the summer of 2021, he was excited about the opportunities that lay before him. After taking out a loan from a local bank, the Montana native bought a truck and some dumpsters and got to work promoting his services. The business plan was simple: he would deliver dumpsters to construction sites looking to get rid of debris and then transport the dumpsters to the county dump once they were full.

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Early Returns Show Voters in Five States Defending Abortion-Related Measures

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision that returned the question of abortion limits back to the states, unofficial election results in five states show voters opted to codify abortion as a constitutional right, defend expanded access to abortion, and deny lifesaving care to infants born alive despite an abortion attempt.

More than 133,000 Vermont voters – about 72 percent – appear to have supported a ballot measure that made the state the first to enshrine abortion in its constitution. Nearly 42,000 voters, or about 22 percent, voted against the measure, while 9,000, or about 5 percent, left the ballot question blank, The Hill reported.

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Montana to Vote on Referendum That Protects Infants Who Survive Abortions

A pro-life referendum takes center stage in Montana as state residents are set to decide whether to give additional legal protections to babies who survive abortions.

Montana LR-131, also known as the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act, says that infants born alive after an abortion are legal persons and that healthcare providers must take “necessary actions to preserve the life of a born-alive infant.” These “necessary actions” include “the right to appropriate and reasonable medical care and treatment.”

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Music Spotlight: Michael Shaw

NASHVILLE, Tennessee- After interviewing nearly 200 artists, you think I would learn not to be surprised when I delve into someone’s “How they got to Nashville” story, but hearing country-western singer/songwriter Michael Shaw’s story even stunned me.

Michael Shaw was born in Indiana but remembers growing up in Kentucky and Michigan, and later, Ohio.

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New Study Shows Red States Handled COVID-19 Better Than Blue States

A new study by the Committee to Unleash Prosperity found that states led by Republicans did a better job than Democrat-led states at managing the coronavirus and keeping their states from slumping into an economic and social recession.

As reported by The Daily Caller, the three states that ranked the worst in mortality, economy, and schooling during the COVID pandemic were New Jersey, New York, and California, all of which had implemented some of the strictest lockdown measures in the nation. By contrast, the states that ranked the highest were Utah, Vermont, and Nebraska.

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21 States Join Lawsuit to End Federal Mask Mandate on Airplanes, Public Transportation

Twenty-one states have filed a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s continued mask mandate on public transportation, including on airplanes.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Attorney General Ashley Moody are leading the effort. Moody filed the suit in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida along with 20 other attorneys general. DeSantis said the mask mandate was misguided and heavy-handed.

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Sixteen States File New Lawsuit Against Federal COVID Vaccination Mandate

Sixteen states again are challenging a federal COVID-19 vaccination mandate for health care workers who work at facilities that receive Medicare and Medicaid funding.

Friday’s filing in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana comes after the issuance of final guidance on the mandate from the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS), arguing the guidance is an action that is reviewable.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled by 5-4 vote Jan. 13 against the original Louisiana challenge to the mandate and a similar Missouri filing.

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Montana the Latest State to Begin Recreational Marijuana Sales

Montana became the latest state to sell legal recreational marijuana, with its law going into effect on New Year’s Day.

While Montana residents adopted the law on Election Day in 2020 with 57% of the vote, the state legislature-passed law, which came a year later, includes provisions limiting where in the state the substance can be purchased. Under the law, those in “green counties,” where a majority of residents voted in favor in 2020, are allowed to sell the drug for recreational use, while those in “red counties,” where a majority of residents voted against legalization, are not, according to the Montana Department of Revenue.

Red county vendors are not able to sell recreational marijuana, unless they put the matter up to a county-wide vote and a majority of residents support the provision, according to the department. Licenses are required for both the sale and use of the substance.

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Biden’s Head Start Vaccination Requirement Could Have Detrimental Effects on Montana’s Rural Students

President Joe Biden’s administration put a policy in place that requires all employees in a federal education program to get the COVID-19 vaccine, which program directors argue will have a detrimental effect on Montana’s programs that assist underserved communities in the state.

If enforced, the requirement will have a negative impact on Montana’s Head Start program, according to program directors and information provided to the Daily Caller News Foundation by the state’s Department of Justice (DOJ). The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), along with the White House, has mandated the vaccine for teachers and staff who work for Head Start and Early Head Start programs nationwide.

Head Start includes preschool programs for 3 and 4-year-old children, while Early Head Start programs are for infants, toddlers and pregnant women to “promote the school readiness of children ages birth to 5 from low-income families by supporting their development in a comprehensive way,” according to its website.

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