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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Denver Schools Facing ‘Unprecedented Challenge’ with Influx of Migrant Students

Alex Marrero

Denver’s public school system has been taking in as many as 250 new students a week since the new year, which it attributes to the increase in the number of migrants arriving in the city.

Denver Public Schools Superintendent Alex Marrero called the situation an “unprecedented challenge” in a message to the community posted on the district’s website. The district said the influx of new students will cost an additional $837,000 “to support additional needs across the system.”

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Auto Executives: Chinese EVs Could ‘Demolish’ U.S. Production

BYD Electric Vehicle

Detroit placed the U.S. on wheels but if Motor City wants to go electric it faces fierce global competition.

Chinese electric vehicle maker BYD outsold Tesla in the fourth quarter of 2023. The foreign automaker said it produced more than 3 million new energy vehicles in 2023 compared to Tesla’s 1.8 million.

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Domestic Oil Production in U.S. Reached Record Levels

Oil Drilling

Domestic oil production in the U.S. reached a new record in November of 2023, hitting 13.31 million barrels per day, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The previous record was 13.25 million barrels per day. That was set in September 2023.

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Americans Unhappy with Biden’s Handling of Immigration

Illegal Immigrants

Immigration has become a toxic issue for President Joe Biden, with many voters citing it as their top problem with the president, according to newly released survey data.

Gallup released the poll, which was taken in January and found that only 41% of Americans approved of the job Biden is doing as president while 54% disapprove. Among those disapproving of Biden’s work, 19% cite immigration as the reason, far more than any other specific issue.

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Former CEO: High Interest Rates ‘Killing’ Companies as Layoffs Continue

Bob Nardelli

President Joe Biden is blaming corporations for high prices and “shrinkflation.” Business executives and many economists disagree, arguing the real problem is inflation created by federal deficit spending policies.

Ahead of the Super Bowl, Biden posted a video on X saying, “While you were Super Bowl shopping, did you notice smaller-than-usual products where the price stays the same? Folks are calling it Shrinkflation and it means companies are giving you less for every dollar you spend. I’m calling on the big consumer brands to put a stop to it.”

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Q1 2024: Most Illegal Border Crossers Apprehended at Northern Border in U.S. History

Illegal Immigrants

In the first quarter of fiscal 2024, more foreign nationals were apprehended illegally entering the northern border than at any time in U.S. history.

They totaled 60,602, according to new data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

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Wisconsin Speaker: Medical Marijuana Not Going to Happen This Year

Robin Vos

Wisconsin’s assembly speaker is not calling his proposal for medical marijuana dead, but he says it’s not going to happen this year.

Speaker Robin Vos told reporters Thursday there are too many different views of marijuana to find a consensus on a strict-medical only plan.

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Nearly 243,000 Illegal Border Crossers Reported in January

Illegal Immigrants Desert

There were nearly 243,000 illegal border crossers reported in January nationwide, according to new data released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

They include 176,205 illegal border crossers along the southwest border. The majority, 124,220, were apprehended between ports of entry.

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Wisconsin Elections Commission Clarifies Absentee Ballot Rules

Absentee Ballots

Wisconsin’s election managers say as long as there is a house number and a street name, absentee voting witness slips don’t need a city, the state, a zip code or anything else.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission clarified the rule for absentee ballot witnesses address information.

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U.S. Senate Passes $95 Billion Foreign Aid Bill to Ukraine, Israel

Chuck Schumer

The U.S. Senate passed a $95 billion foreign aid bill for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan after days of delay from Republicans who did not want to pass the funding without provisions to secure the southern border.

The legislation passed early Tuesday morning after a filibuster largely led by U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., ended. Now the legislation goes to the House, where it remains unclear if they can get the votes.

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South Carolina House Republicans Plan Clean ‘Constitutional Carry’ Measure

The South Carolina House Republicans plan to introduce a clean “Constitutional Carry” measure after declining to proceed with an amended version the state Senate passed, exposing a rift within Republican ranks over one of the party’s top priorities.

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Biden Defends His Mental Fitness After DOJ Report Calls Him ‘Elderly Man with Poor Memory’

Biden Speaking

A visibly upset President Joe Biden addressed the nation late Thursday to respond to news that the special counsel tasked with investigating his handling of classified documents had chosen not to charge him, but also detailed numerous examples of his memory loss.

The blockbuster special counsel report, while clearing Biden, sparked questions about Biden’s mental fitness when it called him an “elderly man with a poor memory.” Biden is 81 years old.

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Gov. Evers Promises Help for Chippewa Valley Health Care Workers, Wisconsin Congressman Wants More

Derrick Van Orden

Western Wisconsin’s congressman wants the governor to help with the planned hospital closures in the Chippewa Valley.

Republican Congressman Derrick Van Orden asked Gov. Tony Evers to use any state or federal resources that can be tapped to make sure the people who use HSHS’ hospitals or Prevea’s clinics in and around Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls are not left without medical care.

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Poll Shows Wisconsinites Oppose Electric Vehicle Mandates

Tesla on Road

Polling from the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, the leading trade association of fuel, shows seven states oppose gas car bans.

Polling from the presidential and senate battleground states of Arizona, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, shows most registered and likely general election voters oppose government efforts to ban new gas cars and impose electric vehicle mandates.

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States File Brief in Lawsuit to Force VA to Cover Gender Affirming Surgery

Doctors performing surgery

A group of states filed a friend of the court brief supporting a transgender veterans group that filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs seeking gender-confirmation surgery for 163,000 transgender veterans.

The Transgender American Veterans Association lawsuit, filed last month, seeks an order that the Department of Veterans Affairs act on the group’s 2016 rule-making petition for gender-confirmation surgery.

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Wisconsin Supreme Court Experts Reject Republican, Democratic Maps

Experts hired by Wisconsin’s supreme court to redraw the state’s political maps say there won’t be anymore Republican gerrymandering.

The court’s outside experts rejected maps drawn by Republican lawmakers and the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty. The experts said both maps continued to gerrymander the state for Republicans.

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Supreme Court to Hear Arguments in Federal Bump Stock Gun Case

Gun Range

The U.S. Supreme Court is considering a federal ban on bump stocks later in February, the latest opportunity for the high court to rule on gun violence and 2nd Amendment rights.

The case in question, Garland v. Cargill, came after the Trump administration banned bump stocks, attachments added to semiautomatic weapons to make them fire more quickly, classifying them as “machine guns,” which are banned by federal law.

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WILL Sues to Preserve Act 10

Rally for Union

Act 10, the law that fundamentally weakened Wisconsin’s public school teachers’ unions, is headed back to court. And again there is an effort to save it.

The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty on Monday filed a motion to join the new case that seeks to end Act 10. That case claims there was “no conceivable rational basis” for Act 10 to begin with.

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Texas Sheriffs to Trucker Convoy Heading to Border: ‘Don’t Come to Texas’

Texas sheriffs and some residents have a message for a trucker convoy scheduled to come to the Texas border on Feb. 3: “Don’t come.” Organizer of the “Take Our Border Back Southern Border Convoy & 3-state Rally” are calling on “all active and retired law enforcement and military, veterans, mama bears, elected officials, business owners, ranchers, truckers, bikers, media and law abiding, freedom-loving Americans” to travel to rural, hard-to -reach areas near Eagle Pass, Texas, Yuma, Arizona, and San Ysirdo, California.

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Impeachment Articles Target Mayorkas’ ‘Parole Programs’ that Released Tens of Thousands of Illegal Aliens into the United States

As part of making their case to impeach U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, House Committee on Homeland Security Republicans identified more than a dozen parole programs they argue Mayorkas illegally created to circumvent laws established by Congress.

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Denver Program That Pays Homeless People a Monthly Income is Open to Migrants

Denver Skyline

A program partially-funded by the city of Denver that pays homeless people a regular stipend is eligible to migrants as long as they meet the criteria, according to the city.

The Denver Basic Income Program, which was started in 2021 with the aid of $2 million from the city of Denver, announced it will go at least six months more beginning in February 2024.

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Natural Gas Industry Wants to ‘Break the Poverty Cycle’

Natural Gas Plant

The natural gas industry plans to push for more support of a federal program to cover energy costs for low-income families in 2024 while talking up safety and reliability.

“We need to break the poverty cycle by working together,” Jerry Norcia, chairman of the board of the American Gas Association, said in a press call on Monday. “Government, nonprofits and corporations can remove the barriers that prevent access to a prosperous future.”

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Inflationary Woes: More Chain Stores Closed in 2023, Continuing into 2024

Macy's Store

More chain stores closed in 2023 as a result of high inflationary costs, with the trend continuing in 2024 led by the iconic department store, Macy’s.

In 2023, retail stores, pharmaceutical and fast-food chains continued a trend of previous years: declaring bankruptcy and closing their doors or shutting down some locations to cut costs, citing inflation, higher costs, and profit losses.

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Continued Inflation Tops List of Worries for Democrats, Republicans

Grocery Shopping

A new poll shows that Democrats and Republicans are concerned more about inflation than other potential crises, but voters from the two parties don’t see eye to eye on other concerns, including the potential of a terrorist attack on U.S. soil or potential chaos after the 2024 election.

The Center Square Voters’ Voice Poll conducted in conjunction with Noble Predictive Insights found that Republicans (45%) were more concerned about inflation than Democrats (32%). Concerns that inflation could continue and further drive up prices were highest for voters with children under 18 (47%) and those 45 to 54 years old (47%).

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Maine’s Highest Court Dismisses Trump Ballot Case Appeal

Trump Maine

Maine’s highest court has declined to take up an appeal of a ruling over a move to take former President Donald Trump’s name off the state’s GOP primary ballot.

In a decision issued Wednesday, the Supreme Judicial Court dismissed an appeal by Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, asking justices to overturn a lower court ruling delaying a decision on the ballot challenge. The court said it would be improper to rule on a case that has yet to be decided.

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Report: Wisconsin Choice Schools Score Better in Reading, Math

School Work

The latest report on school choice in Wisconsin again shows choice schools outperform public schools in Milwaukee’s biggest cities and rural areas.

The Apples to Apples report from the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty compares proficiency rates in math and English language arts in public schools, charter schools and private schools part of Wisconsin’s voucher program.

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SCOTUS Sides with Open Borders Biden Admin, Clears the Way for Feds to Remove Razor Wire Barrier in Eagle Pass, Texas

A divided U.S. Supreme Court sided with President Joe Biden’s administration on Monday, clearing the way for federal authorities to remove razor wire installed in Eagle Pass along the U.S.-Mexico border by Texas law enforcement.

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Poll Finds Americans Worried About National Debt

Congress Spending

Americans are worried about the national debt, according to the results of a new poll.

Americans have the national debt crisis as one of their top concerns along with war, inflation and crime. Those polled think the overspending has a direct impact on their personal security and also has an impact on the security of the United States, according to a recent study commissioned by Main Street Economics, a nonprofit group designed to educate Americans on the nation’s debt crisis.

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Wisconsin Assembly Approves Doomed Parental Bill of Rights

Parents Child Learning

The latest version of a Parental Bill of Rights has cleared its first major hurdle at the Wisconsin Capitol, but it’s not expected to get much further.

The State Assembly on Thursday approved AB 510, which spells out the rights that parents in the state have over their own children.

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Maine Secretary of State Appeals Superior Court Decision

Maine Secretary of State

Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows has appealed to the state’s Superior Court decision to pause on a ruling to remove former President Donald Trump from the primary ballot.

Bellows is appealing the Superior Court’s ruling to not decide on the ballot case to the Maine Supreme Court. The court is awaiting the U.S. Supreme Court decision on Colorado.

Earlier this week, Kennebec County Superior Court Justice Michaela Murphy issued the stay on the Maine secretary of state’s decision to disqualify former President Donald Trump from the primary ballot, citing the 14th Amendment. 

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Poll: Only 22 Percent of Likely Voters Confident Biden Is Innocent of Corruption Allegations

Joe Biden

One-third of Americans say that President Joe Biden is guilty of corruption and should be impeached, including some Democrats, according to a new poll.

The Center Square Voter’s Voice Poll found that 34% of likely voters say “Joe Biden is guilty of corruption and should be impeached.” An additional 35% said it’s not clear if the president did anything wrong but that a Republican-led House investigation into the president should continue.

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Reformers Look for Apprenticeship Opportunities for New Teachers in Wisconsin

Teacher Teaching

A reform group in Wisconsin wants to take what works for plumbers and get it to work for teachers.

The Institute for Reforming Government has been working since last spring to create teacher apprenticeships in the state.

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Lawmakers, Veterans Say ‘Woke Diversity Initiatives’ Cost Taxpayers, Hurt Military

A growing concern about progressive ideology on race and gender at all levels of the U.S. military has sparked outrage and became the center of a Congressional hearing. Critics have launched a barrage of attacks on the progressive ideology they say is infiltrating the ranks, calling it a waste of taxpayer dollars and arguing it hurts morale, breeds division among troops, and hurts recruitment.

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Immigration Case Backlogs Reach Record Levels Despite Big Increase in Spending

The cost of processing applications of immigrants by the Department of Homeland Security has increased from $345 million in 2022 to $765 million in 2023 while the number of pending cases continues to increase.

The number of backlog immigration cases reached 3 million for the first time in November 2023, a 50% increase from the previous year. That increase comes despite the Department of Homeland Security doubling the number of full-time positions to address the issue since the first time in November 2023.

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Wisconsin Supreme Court Rejects Remap Reconsideration

Wisconsin’s Supreme Court will not reconsider its ruling that tossed out the state’s political maps.

The new liberal-majority court ruled 4-3 against a request from Republican lawmakers to listen to arguments again.

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Poll: Democrats Would Rather See Michelle Obama in the White House than Biden

If Democrats had a magic wand, they’d put Michelle Obama in the White House.

The former first lady has more political star power than incumbent President Joe Biden and other famous and not-so-famous Democrats ahead of the November election, according to The Center Square Voters’ Voice Poll, conducted Jan. 2-4.

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Inflation Rose More than Expected in Latest Data

Grocery Shopping

Consumer costs increased at an elevated level again in December, according to newly released federal economic data, raising new concerns about spiking inflation.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on Thursday released the Consumer Price Index, a key marker of inflation, showing the cost of a range of every day goods and services for Americans rose more than expected.

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Court Blocks Biden Effort to Tighten Regulations on Washing Machines, Dishwashers

Dishwasher

The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals pushed back on a Biden administration effort to tighten regulations on dishwashers and washing machines.

In 2022, President Joe Biden issued an executive order on his first day in office that led to the Department of Energy replacing a less strict Trump-era rule on those appliances with a more stringent rule for energy and water use.

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Gov. Evers Open to Tax Cut for Wisconsin Retirees

Tony Evers

Wisconsin’s governor may be softening on a tax cut for retirees in the state.

Gov. Tony Evees was a guest on Capital City Sunday on television in Madison. He said he’s open to the idea of a tax cut for retirees in the state.

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Milwaukee Sales Tax Increase Has Mayor, Washington County Executive at Odds

Sales Tax Difference

Milwaukee’s new 2% sales tax has spawned a war of words between the city’s mayor and the county executive in Washington County.

It began New Year’s Day when Washington County Executive Josh Schoemann posted a message on social media welcoming people to shop in his county.

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Trump’s Legal Team Says Prosecutors are Harassing Ex-President to Help Biden

Trump Courtroom

Former President Donald Trump’s legal team alleged Thursday that federal prosecutors have deliberately violated a stay order in his Washington D.C. case to thwart his presidential bid.

In the defense’s clearest attack yet, they alleged special counsel Jack Smith and his team were trying to interfere with the 2024 presidential election.

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Police Officers Shot on the Job in 2023 Hit New High, Report Says

A new report shows the number of police officers shot on the job hit a new high in 2023.

The National Fraternal Order of Police, a national police group with nearly 400,000 members, released the report, which showed 378 officers were shot in the line of duty in 2023, up 14% from the previous year, when 330 were shot.

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Border Residents to Congress: ‘Stop Holding Press Conferences, Shut Down the Border’

Illegal Immigrants

As another Republican congressional delegation arrived in Eagle Pass, Texas, Wednesday to hold another news conference and meet local residents, many Texans living at the border say they are fed up and want Congress to shut down the border.

If Congress continues to use taxpayer dollars to fund policies that facilitate the border crisis, they argue, Congress is complicit in creating it and a national security threat.

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Judge: Wisconsin Absentee Ballots Without Complete Addresses Can Be Counted

A judge in Dane County says absentee ballots in Wisconsin don’t need a full address to be counted this year.

Judge Ryan Nilsestuen ruled local election managers need not reject absentee ballots if the absentee witness’ address is incomplete.

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Democratic Senator Charged with Aiding Qatar in New Corruption Charges

Bob Menendez

Embattled U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez is facing new federal charges alleging that he worked as an agent for Qatar in exchange for monetary bribes.

Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, was charged with receiving gifts from Qatar in a new superseding indictment made public Tuesday by the U.S. Justice Department that alleges the bribery and extortion scheme continued into 2023, nearly a year longer than initially alleged by federal prosecutors. 

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