Ten States Ban Ranked-Choice Voting as Others Push for It in November Ballot Measures

As the number of states banning ranked-choice voting (RCV) is increasing, some are facing ballot measures this November that would implement the voting system.

While 10 states have banned RCV and more may join them this November if voters vote for the ballot measures, six other states will have ballot measures to switch their elections to RCV.

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Reports: California Exodus Continues, Southeastern States as Primary Destinations

Austin, Texas

As the California exodus continues, a new migration trend is occurring, with southeastern and Appalachian states taking the top spots as inbound migration destinations, according to new reports.

According to a new Consumer Affairs 2024 Migration Trends report, “California’s mass exodus continues to ensue,” with the South and Southeast region of the country being the “hottest regions for people moving.”

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‘Operation Rainmaker’ Arrests Result in Dozens Charged in Alleged Cartel-Affiliated Drug-Trafficking Ring

Seized Drugs

Agents arrested 23 people in relation to a cartel-linked drug operation in Texas that dealt in cocaine, fentanyl, heroin and meth. 

The arrests came after a five-year investigation that started in 2019. Prosecutors said the drug ring operated in the Houston and Galveston areas and was under the control of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG).

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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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Indiana Expands School Choice to Nearly All K-12 Students as Republican-Led States Continue Momentum

Indiana scored the latest school choice victory with nearly all, save for 3.5 percent of families with school-age children, qualifying for the state’s new voucher program, The Wall Street Journal editorial board noted last week.

“The hits keep coming on school choice in Republican-run states,” The Journal editors observed, detailing:

The new law raises the income cap to 400% of the free- and reduced-price lunch income level, which is now about $220,000 for a family of four. The bill also removes the other criteria for eligibility so that any family under the income limit can apply. Tens of thousands of additional students could qualify, and a legislative analysis projects that some 95,000 students might use the program in 2025, up from about 53,000 in 2023.

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Republican States Weigh Rejecting Federal Education Funds to Block Federal Interference

Republican states are beginning to consider rejecting federal funding for K-12 education in order to keep out federal interference in the form of the strings attached to the monies.

In February, Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton said he had introduced a bill to create a task force to weigh the idea of the state rejecting the roughly $1.8 billion of federal monies it receives for K-12 education.

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Music Spotlight: Casi Joy

NASHVILLE, Tennessee- Casi Joy has been singing publicly since she was 5 years old. Her first performance was a talent at her hometown’s local talent show near Kansas City, Missouri. Not being from a musical family, her parents were a little confused by her desire to become a singer.

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Chris Janson Releases ‘All I Need Is You’

NASHVILLE, Tennessee- Before I got the email, I thought it was about time for some new Chris Janson music because it had been a few years since he put new music out. Fueled by Mountain Dew®, Janson’s high-octane show puts this human hummingbird right at the top of my all-time favorite live performers.

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Pennsylvania Set to Receive Part of a Nearly $400 Million Settlement from Google over Location-Tracking Probe

Google agreed to a $391.5 million settlement with 40 states after an investigation found that the tech giant participated in questionable location-tracking practices, state attorneys general announced Monday.

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong called it a “historic win for consumers.”

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Music Spotlight: Mackenzie Carpenter

NASHVILLE, Tennessee – Those who follow my column know I find a lot of my new artists from the Song Suffragettes or SiriusXM’s The Highway. On The Highway, They feature new artists who are often named as their “Highway Finds.” And while I’m not always crazy about every new musician they feature, when I heard Mackenzie Carpenter’s “Can’t Nobody” a few months back, it was love at first listen.

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Leftist Author Jon Meacham Named to Board of University of Tennessee’s Institute for American Civics

Author and former MSNBC contributor Jon Meacham was named to the Board of Fellows of the University of Tennessee’s newly established Institute for American Civics last week by University of Tennessee President Randy Boyd.

German-owned Politico reported that Meacham helped President Joe Biden “frame” his now infamously divisive “speech from hell” delivered in Philadelphia last week in which he attacked the 74 million Americans who voted for former President Donald Trump as a “threat to American democracy.”

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Three More States Are Poised to Ban Abortion Amid Court Battles

Idaho, Tennessee and Texas are moving to enact “trigger bans” restricting abortions after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade June 24, ending the precedent which had banned states from restricting abortion throughout the first six months of pregnancy.

The bans in these three states will take effect 30 days after the Supreme Court officially transmitted its ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Association July 26, according to The Hill. Another 10 states had trigger bans go into effect after elected officials enacted them, and trigger abortion bans went into effect immediately after the court overturned Roe in three other states.

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Gov. Bill Lee Begins Tennessee National Guard COVID-19 Vax Purge

Neil W. McCabe, the national political editor of The Star News Network, reports from Washington about how states like Tennessee are dealing with Big Army’s June 30, 2022, deadline for National Guardsmen to be 100 percent compliant with the President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s military COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

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McCabe on WarRoom: National Guard Set to Lose Thousands of Guardsmen over COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

Stephen K. Bannon welcomed Washington correspondent and the national political editor for The Star News Network and The Tennessee Star, Neil W. McCabe to discuss the vaccine mandate that’s stripping the National Guard of guardsmen in record numbers Thursday morning on War Room: Pandemic.

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Music Spotlight: Michael Rix

NASHVILLE, Tennessee – The first time I recall seeing Michael Rix was when he played banjo in the Bank of America marketing campaign commercial for Ken Burns’ PBS documentary Country Music. Even though the banjo originated in Africa, seeing a black, banjo-playing country musician in the 21st century is/was not very common.

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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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State Attorney Generals Launch Investigation into Instagram’s Effects on Kids

Young person on Instagram

A bipartisan coalition of state attorneys general launched a probe into Instagram on Thursday to examine whether the company violated state-level consumer protection laws.

The states are investigating whether Meta (formerly known as Facebook), which owns Instagram, promoted the image-sharing platform “to children and young adults” despite being aware of its negative effects, according to statements from the attorneys general. The probe cites internal Facebook communications and research leaked by former Facebook employee Frances Haugen and published by The Wall Street Journal showing Meta was aware that use of Instagram could contribute to body image and mental health issues among teens.

“When social media platforms treat our children as mere commodities to manipulate for longer screen time engagement and data extraction, it becomes imperative for state attorneys general to engage our investigative authority under our consumer protection laws,” Republican Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson said in a statement.

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