Congress Addresses Private Equity, Corporations’ ‘Predatory Purchasing’ of Homes as Americans Struggle with Rising Prices

Americans are finding it increasingly difficult to purchase an affordable home as large investors increase their market share. The House Financial Services Committee held a hearing Tuesday to address private equity ownership of single-family rentals and the impact it’s having on average Americans. 

“Today’s hearing will examine troubling issues regarding the mass predatory purchasing of single-family homes by private equity firms,” said Rep. Al Green, D-Texas.

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California Leaks Personal Information of Legal Gun Owners

A new dashboard from the California Attorney General’s office has leaked the personal information of thousands of the state’s gun owners.

The California Department of Justice launched its 2022 Firearms Dashboard Portal on Monday. The portal featured data on the state’s gun purchases as well as concealed carry license holders. 

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Governor, Attorney General Sue to Prevent Wisconsin’s Abortion Law from Taking Effect

Wisconsin’s governor says recent updates to the state’s 1849 law banning abortions means it cannot be enforced.

Gov. Tony Evers and Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul on Tuesday filed a lawsuit to stop the state’s near total ban on abortions from taking effect.

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Bill Would Give Drone Pilots Same Tax-Free Status as Soldiers in Combat Zones

New federal legislation would give drone operators stationed on American soil the same tax benefits given to soldiers stationed in a combat zone. 

U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., along with Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., announced legislation Wednesday that would expand the Combat Zone Tax Exclusion to remotely piloted aircraft crews operating missions in combat zones. The eligibility would allow Air Force remotely piloted aircraft missions flown out of Nevada’s Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs to qualify. 

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Appeals Court Grants Temporary Stay in Juul Fight Against FDA Banning Its E-Cigarettes

A federal appeals court on Friday granted a request for a temporary stay to vape manufacturer Juul Labs Inc. in its fight against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s ban of its e-cigarettes from being sold in the U.S.

The FDA issued marketing denial orders (MDOs) Thursday and said JUUL’s current inventory being sold in the U.S. “must be removed, or risk enforcement action.”

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Individuals Call for Assassination of Justice Clarence Thomas after Roe v. Wade Ruling

Individuals have been calling on social media for the assassination of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas after he issued a separate concurring opinion on Friday in a ruling that struck down Roe v. Wade. Abortion activists have also published his home address, and others have called to burn down the Supreme Court.

The U.S. Supreme Court overturned two landmark abortion cases, Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, returning the legality of abortion to the states. Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the majority and Justice Thomas wrote a solo concurring opinion in which he argued that the Supreme Court should also reconsider rulings on contraception, same-sex relationships and marriage.

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26 Attorneys General Urge Supreme Court to Reverse California’s Agricultural Animal Confinement Law

Attorneys general from 26 states are urging the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a lower-court decision upholding a California law banning the raising or importing pork, veal or eggs if the animals are confined.

The Supreme Court announced on March 28 that it would hear the pork industry’s challenge to California’s Proposition 12, a law restricting confinement practices in animal agriculture. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments on Oct. 11.

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Judge Weighing Options After Gableman Admits to Tossing Some Election Investigation Records

The state is waiting to see what comes from the latest hearing into Wisconsin’s investigation into the 2020 election.

Former Supreme Court justice and current special election investigator Michael Gableman spent about an hour testifying in Dane County Court on Thursday.

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Biden Signs Bipartisan Gun Control Measure Supported by 29 Republicans

President Joe Biden on Saturday signed bipartisan gun control legislation meant to take guns out of the hands of individuals deemed a threat, though critics say that’s a violation of due process rights. The measure also imposes more thorough background checks on buyers under the age of 21.

It does not include a ban on AR-15-style weapons or limit the number of bullets in magazines.

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End of Roe Now a Campaign Issue in Wisconsin

The overturning of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court and the future of legalized abortion in Wisconsin is now part of the political conversation in this fall’s races.

Wisconsin is one of two dozen states where abortion is now illegal without Roe.

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Wisconsin Democrats Condemn, Republicans Celebrate End of Roe

The reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade and the end of abortion in Wisconsin is clear and split by political party.

Wisconsin is one of nearly two dozen states where abortion is now illegal because Roe is no more as a result of its decision in the case, Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.  

Republican leaders at the Wisconsin Capitol celebrated the 6-3 SCOTUS decision.

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Federal Reserve Chair Powell Says During Senate Hearing That a Recession Is Possible

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the U.S. could enter into a recession when questioned Wednesday during a Senate Banking Committee hearing.

Confronted about 40-year-high inflation and the Fed raising interest rates in response, Powell said he couldn’t know for sure but said a recession, defined as a significant decline in economic activity over time, is possible.

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U.S. Senate Reaches Agreement on Gun Control Bill

The U.S. Senate voted late Tuesday to advance a gun control bill with 14 Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, joining Democrats to approve the measure.

The vote was reached after weeks of negotiating a bipartisan bill in response to the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, in which a gunman shot and killed 19 children and two teachers.

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Poll: Majority of Republicans, Independents Fear Abuse of ‘Red Flag’ Laws

The majority of Republican and Independent voters think “red flag” gun laws that allow judges to confiscate individuals’ firearms can be abused for political reasons, according to a new poll.

Convention of States Action, along with the Trafalgar Group, released polling data Wednesday that shows that 72.2% of Republicans and 52.3% of Independents “believe that ‘red flag’ gun control laws that are designed to temporarily take guns away from individuals have the potential to be abused by local authorities and government officials to disarm their political opponents and/or citizens who disagree with them.”

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Wisconsin Dairy Farmers Worry About SEC Climate Change Reporting Plan

There is growing worry among Wisconsin dairy farmers about a new climate change plan for investors.

The Venture Dairy Cooperative is sounding the alarm about the Climate-Related Disclosures for Investors. The Securities and Exchange Commission is looking to require companies to report information about their “greenhouse gas pollution and be transparent with investors about climate-related risks.”

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Report: World’s First Trillionaires Could Be from Texas

The world’s first trillionaires could be from Texas, according to a new analysis of the 30 richest people in the world.

A new report published by the software company Tipalti Approve estimates that newly relocated Texas resident, Tesla CEO and billionaire Elon Musk, could become the world’s first trillionaire by 2024. Houston native and Dell Technologies CEO Michael Dell could become a trillionaire by 2033.

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Lawmakers Say Documents Show DHS Head Misled Congress About Disinformation Board, Demand Hearing

Several Republican senators are demanding a hearing saying they received documents from a Department of Homeland Security whistleblower about the agency’s new disinformation governance board that allegedly show DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas misled a Senate committee when he testified about the board last month.

The lawmakers sent a letter this week to Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee asking for a hearing on the issue where Mayorkas could come back for questioning.

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More Teachers, Fewer Students Nationwide Despite Claims of Teacher Shortage

The number of teachers in the U.S. has increased from 2013 to 2020 while the number of students has decreased, according to data from the National Education Association, the nation’s largest public-school union.

While total enrollment has dropped 1.4% over those seven years, there has been a 2.3% increase in the number of public-school teachers.

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Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce Boss: Energy Policies Driving Record-High Inflation

The latest inflation snapshot has the head of Wisconsin’s largest business group talking about energy policy.

Kurt Bauer,  Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce president and CEO, on Wednesday said the latest numbers show the Producer Price Index is up almost 11% year-over-year. He said that’s not sustainable for manufacturers and producers in Wisconsin.

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Total Southern Border Encounters, ‘Gotaways’ Greater Than Population of 23 U.S. States

President Joe Biden and his administration insist the southwest U.S. border is closed and federal immigration laws are being enforced.

But since Biden took office, more than 3 million people have been encountered/apprehended entering the U.S. illegally from over 150 countries, according to Customs and Border Patrol data. And that number doesn’t include so-called “gotaways,” the term used for those crossing the border illegally who evade capture.

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DeSantis: Texas Should Be Sending Illegal Immigrants Back to Mexico

Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says Texas shouldn’t be allowing illegal immigrants to enter the state, echoing sentiments conservative Texans have been arguing for over a year.

“What Texas needs to do is just send them [illegal immigrants] back across the border,” Gov. DeSantis said at a recent press conference in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. “Who cares what the Feds are saying. They aren’t doing their job.

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Kleefisch Slams Evers Following Emails Showing Union Influence on School Reopenings

There are new questions about who is running public schools in Wisconsin following the release of emails between Gov. Tony Evers and the state’s largest teachers’ union.

Empower Wisconsin on Wednesday broke a story showing the Wisconsin Education Association Council, or WEAC, was in regular contact with Evers’ office about the plan to reopen schools in the summer of 2020.

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Border Patrol Records Another Record High of Apprehensions, Encounters at Southern Border in May

Crowd of immigrants

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol published official data Thursday for apprehensions and encounters May: the highest monthly total in recorded U.S. history of 239,416.

CBP published the data after The Center Square published preliminary numbers received from a Border Patrol agent.

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Republican Attorneys General, 26 of 27, Challenge New Sex-Based Discrimination Federal Guidance

Half of the state attorneys general in the country want the Biden administration to walk back new federal guidance on sex-based discrimination for schools and other organizations that receive federal money for food programs.

The AGs, 26 of the 27 Republicans in those offices across the country, claim in a letter to President Biden the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s guidance means states, local agencies and programs that receive federal food dollars through the Food and Nutrition Act and the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program could lose funding if they don’t comply, including in hiring practices.

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Retail Sales Fall in May as Prices Continue to Rise

The U.S. Census Bureau Wednesday released advance estimates of U.S. retail sales which showed those sales fell 0.4% in May.

Motor vehicle and parts dealers took the biggest hit, with sales dropping 3.5%. Electronics and appliance stores sales decreased 1.3%. Furniture and home furniture stores, as well as health and personal care stores, also experienced a decrease in sales.

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Largest Pork Packer Leaving California

Another company is leaving California, this time the largest pork packer in the U.S.

Smithfield Foods, Inc., announced it is closing its Vernon, California, facility and reducing its hog production in the western U.S. region, citing as its reason the “escalating cost of doing business in California.”

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Wisconsin NFIB Head Says Worker Shortage, Inflation Have Caused ‘Mess on Main Street’

The ongoing difficulty of finding workers in Wisconsin is just part of the problem for small businesses in the state.

A new report from Help Advisor said Wisconsin is ranked third in the nation when it comes to the trouble of finding workers. Only Missouri and Vermont are ranked worse.

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IRS Destroyed 30 Million Tax Filing Documents, Lawmakers Demand Answers

Outside of IRS building

The Internal Revenue Service has been under fire for delays and millions of backlogged returns, but now lawmakers are raising the alarm after the federal agency “destroyed” millions of Americans’ tax documents.

Republicans on the House Oversight Committee sent a letter to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig this week asking for answers about why these records were destroyed.

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Foreign Investment in U.S. Farmland May Be a National Security Issue, According to Expert

Foreign investment in U.S. farmland has tripled in the past 10 years, reporters at a non-profit investigative journalism group found.

Investigate Midwest used U.S. Department of Agriculture data to call attention to this trend. Farmer Joe Maxwell, co-founder of the group Farm Action, told The Center Square that control of U.S. farmland by foreign investors is worrisome on a number of fronts.

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Taxpayer Funding for NFL, Other Pro Sports Stadiums Grows Exponentially

Over the next nine years, more than half of the stadiums in the National Football League will reach 30 years of age, or the age at which stadiums are generally replaced, according to economist J.C. Bradbury of Kennesaw State University in Georgia.

The model for replacement is trending more toward the taxpayer-supported efforts being pitched for the Tennessee Titans and Buffalo Bills than it is strictly team-owner funded stadiums such as the $5 billion SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, home of the Chargers and Super Bowl-champion Rams.

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Unfunded State Pension Liabilities Grow to $8.28 Trillion

Unfunded state pension liabilities have climbed to $8.28 trillion, or nearly $25,000 for every person in the United States, according to a new report from the American Legislative Exchange Council.

The American Legislative Exchange Council released the latest edition of its report on pensions in all 50 states Thursday. The report, “Unaccountable and Unaffordable 2021,” shows just a handful of states with outsize pension liabilities account for a large share of overall pension debt in the U.S. 

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LGBTQ Group Urges Wisconsin Schools to Continue Misgendering Investigation

There is a call for more gender, harassment, bullying, and Title IX investigations in Wisconsin schools.

The group Fair Wisconsin, which calls itself the leading statewide organization advocating for LGBTQ+ people, on Thursday said local schools need to be supported after what happened with the misgender/sexual harassment investigation into three middle schoolers in Kiel.

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Gov. Evers Calls Special Session on Abortion, Wants Voters to Call Lawmakers

Tony Evers

Gov. Tony Evers is asking abortion supporters in the state to pressure lawmakers ahead of a new special session on abortion.

The governor on Wednesday said he will call the legislature back to Madison on June 22 to overturn what he called Wisconsin’s “criminal abortion ban.”

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Nearly 10,000-Person Caravan Heading to U.S. from Mexico, Saying Biden Will Give Them Asylum

A caravan of thousands of people heading to the U.S. has reportedly left from Tapachula, Mexico, a city located less than 10 miles from the Mexico-Guatemala border.

The timing of their departure was planned to coincide with the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, which began Monday. President Joe Biden, who’s still not been to the U.S. southern border, spoke at the summit Wednesday.

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17 States File Legal Brief in Support of Florida Law Banning Sanctuary Cities

Seventeen Republican attorneys general have filed an amicus brief with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in support of a Florida law banning sanctuary cities.

The brief was filed by the attorneys general of Alabama and Georgia, Steve Marshall and Christopher Carr. Joining them were the attorneys general of Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.

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New Audit Finds Millions in Accounting Mistakes at Injured Patients Compensation Fund

State auditors are once again criticizing Wisconsin’s Office of the Commissioner of Insurance for millions of dollars in accounting mistakes in the state’s fund for medical malpractice claims.

The Legislative Audit Bureau on Tuesday released a report into the Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund for the past three years. The audit found several, repeated accounting mistakes that overstated or understated the fund’s finances, including a $60.9 million mistake for the last two years.

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Yellen to Testify on Biden Budget After Admitting She Was Wrong on Inflation

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will testify before the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday, just days after she admitted she was wrong about inflation earlier in President Joe Biden’s term.

The hearing, which is on “the president’s fiscal year 2023 budget” will only feature testimony from Yellen, according to the committee’s website.

Biden’s budget likely will be under extra scrutiny as gas prices continue to hit record highs and inflation rises at the fastest level in decades.

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Second Amendment Foundation Sues over Washington’s High-Capacity Magazine Ban

The Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation on Friday filed a federal lawsuit against Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson and several other officials, challenging the state’s ban on large-capacity magazines for handguns and rifles.

Senate Bill 5078 prohibits the sale of gun magazines with a capacity of more than 10 rounds, along with the manufacturing, distribution or import of such magazines in Washington.

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Wisconsin Election Commission: Local Election Managers Don’t Have to Respond to Voter Roll Questions

People at a voting location, voting early at polls

Wisconsin’s election managers are telling local clerks that they may ignore questions about their voter rolls if they’d like.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission last week sent a letter to all 1,850 municipal clerks plus the city of Milwaukee’s Election Commission and Milwaukee County’s Election Commission explaining that they have discretion in responding to outside requests for voter registration information.

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As Food Prices Soar with No End in Sight, Americans Change Habits

Americans are changing their shopping habits because of soaring food prices. And disruptions in the international farming community have some worried about the food supply heading into 2023.

The BMO Real Financial Progress Index, a quarterly survey from BMO and Ipsos, shows that 42% of surveyed adults “are changing how they shop for groceries,” including “opting for cheaper items, avoiding brand names and buying only the essentials.”

The report found “46% are either dining out less or consciously spending less when dining out.”

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Average U.S. Gas Price Surges to $4.85 a Gallon

In what has become a seemingly every day occurrence, gas prices rose to a new record high Sunday as the national average approaches $5 a gallon.

Nine states already have surpassed the $5 threshold, and several others are just pennies away.

According to AAA, the average cost of a gallon of regular gasoline reached $4.85 Sunday, up an additional three cents from Saturday and 24 cents from last week.

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Kiel Schools Close Misgendering Investigation

There are some unanswered questions about the end of the misgendering investigation in Kiel Schools.

The school district on Thursday sent a letter to parents explaining that it has closed the case.

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