Georgia Gov. Kemp Used Lieutenant to Block Ban on Zuckerbucks, State Senator Alleges

Geoff Duncan and Brian Kemp

Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan (R), the chair of the state Senate, refused to bring up an election integrity bill for a vote on Monday because Republican Gov. Brian Kemp wanted it scrapped, Senate GOP leadership said, according to state Sen. Brandon Beach.

Senate Bill 89 would have dealt with chain of custody for ballots and prohibited private, “Zuckerbucks”-like donations from going directly to counties by routing them first through the State Election Board for distribution.

However, a vote on the bill was blocked by Duncan on Monday, the last day of the 2022 legislative session.

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Commentary: The State and Local Leaders Who Aren’t Ready to Give Up Pandemic Power

Gavin Newsom, Laura Kelly and Roy Cooper

While many government leaders sound the all clear message on COVID-19, dropping vaccine restrictions and mask mandates, some states and municipalities are clinging to the emergency powers that allowed them to govern people’s behavior in unprecedented ways.

Citing the need to direct emergency funding and oversee hospitals, they have held on to their emergency orders even as many restaurants, shopping centers, and sports arenas are once again packed and lingering pandemic concerns have faded into the background of a more normal life.

Emergency orders at the state level are usually issued in response to temporary threats, especially weather disasters, and are wrapped up in a few days or weeks. Soon after the new coronavirus exploded in March 2020, most governors issued broad executive orders. Under these powers, governors banned crowds, closed businesses, and imposed mask and vaccination mandates. They have also deferred to unelected public health officials in imposing restrictions.

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Wisconsin Hunters Disappointed in Evers’ Hunting, Fishing Vetoes

hunter standing next to his hunting dog at dusk

Add one of Wisconsin’s largest hunting groups to the list of people upset at Gov. Tony Evers’ latest vetoes.

Hunter Nation on Friday said the governor turned his back on hunters in the state by vetoing three proposed laws that would have given people more opportunity to get into the field or out on the water.

“Gov. Evers has sent a clear message that he simply doesn’t care about Wisconsin’s outdoor traditions and would rather partner with anti-hunting groups to trample our long-held traditions,” Hunter Nation CEO Luke Hilgemann said.

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Kevin Nicholson: Lawmakers Should View Service Like National Guard

Kevin Nicholson

One Republican candidate for governor in Wisconsin wants to pay lawmakers less in order to get them to think more about service.

Republican Kevin Nicholson wants to classify the State Assembly and State Senate as part-time jobs, and cut their $55,141 yearly salaries. 

“My feeling is that pay and benefits should be paid out in accordance with work performance,” Nicholson told The Center Square. “Moving to a part-time legislature, a citizen legislature, will allow more people to serve their state and their communities.”

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Commentary: GOP Must Promise Inquisitions, Not Meaningless Task Forces

Ginni Thomas and Mark Meadows

Using the pretext of the so-called insurrection on January 6, 2021, the long knives are out for Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Post-election text exchanges between Mrs. Thomas and Mark Meadows, President Trump’s chief-of-staff, recently were leaked by the January 6 select committee to none other than the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward, who darkly described the communications as proof that “Ginni Thomas used her access to Trump’s inner circle to promote and seek to guide the president’s strategy to overturn the election result.”

The small cache of texts—29 total—shows Thomas expressing frustration at the election’s outcome. There is nothing sinister, and certainly nothing criminal, about the messages.

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Wisconsin Lawmakers May Overturn Rule Forcing Local Fairs to Pay Some Winners

Senator Howard Marklein

The state of Wisconsin wants to stop paying people who win multiple prizes at multiple county or district fairs, but lawmakers in Madison say that could kill those local fairs.

Sen. Howard Marklein, R-Spring Green, said they discovered a new rule from the state’s Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection last week that would limit state-paid premiums to winners at just one local fair. After the first first-prize, other local fairs would be 100% responsible for all prizes for that same winner.

“This means that if someone wins an award at the Elroy Fair, the Juneau County Fair would not be able to be reimbursed for the premium if they won at the Juneau County Fair,” Marklein explained.

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Shrinking Food Supplies, Soaring Prices Could Trigger Global Unrest, Key GOP Lawmaker Warns

Rep. Austin Scott

With U.S. and world food prices set to soar due to inflation and supply shortages stemming from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a key GOP lawmaker is asking the Pentagon to study the potential for conflict if the global food supply shrinks by 5%.

U.S. farmers will pay $300-$400 more per acre to grow crops this year due to inflation and costs associated with the war in Europe, Georgia Republican Rep. Austin Scott warned Monday on the Just the News TV show.

Shipping is another issue, as trade is throttled by war-related disruptions and tough economic sanctions against Russia.

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Missouri’s Auto Inspections Phased Out in Proposed Bill

Steering wheel of a Honda

After gradually reducing requirements for automobiles to pass a mechanic’s inspection before obtaining a registration, a bill in the Missouri state legislature would eventually end the program.

Currently, motor vehicles with more than 150,000 miles and 10 years from their manufacturing model year must pass a biennial safety inspection. House Bill 2499, sponsored by Rep. J. Eggleston, R-Maysville, changes the law to exempt motor vehicles with less than 150,000 miles and manufactured after Jan. 1, 2012.

During testimony on Wednesday before the House Downsizing State Government Committee, Eggleston said legislators in 2019 considered eliminating the inspection program but compromised instead and loosened requirements.

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Lawmakers Call for Investigation, Criticize Federally-Funded Critical Race Theory Program

Gus Bilirakis

Republican lawmakers blasted a federally funded education program that trains researchers and teachers in critical race theory after The Center Square’s investigation broke news of the program. Now, one Florida U.S. Congressman is calling for an investigation into whether the program violates state law.

Newly uncovered Department of Education grant documents show that the department awarded $1,020,800 in a 2017 grant and $1,498,620 in a 2021 grant to a Florida-based program called Partners United for Research Pathways Oriented to Social Justice in Education (PURPOSE).

The taxpayer-funded program – led by Florida State University, which has partnered with Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University – offers participants one-year fellowships. Participants receive training in a range of issues, including critical race theory, during the fellowships.

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Pelosi Evasive on Extending Individual Stock Trading Ban to Spouses of Lawmakers

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Democrats are weighing whether to extend an individual stock trading ban to spouses of lawmakers.

The Ban Conflicted Trading Act “prohibits a Member of Congress or certain congressional officers or employees from (1) purchasing or selling specified investments, (2) entering into a transaction that creates a net short position in a security, or (3) serving as an officer or member of any board of any for-profit entity.”

The legislation in its current form would not apply to the spouses of lawmakers. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband Paul has made headlines over the years with his millions of dollars in stock purchases, particularly with technology companies.

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State Budget Makers Approve $194 Million for Childcare in Wisconsin

three kids holding hands

Republican lawmakers and Gov. Tony Evers are, perhaps surprisingly, on the same page when it comes to spending more money on childcare in Wisconsin.

The state’s budget-writing panel, the Joint Finance Committee, on Wednesday unanimously approved a plan to spend $194 million in federal funds to support childcare across the state.

“$194 million is a lot of money,” Rep Amy Loudenbeck, R-Clinton, told lawmakers. “This is our job as a committee and members of the legislature to have a voice in how these programs are supported or created or expanded. Or in some cases not created and not expanded.”

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Politically Incorrect Professor Faces Firing After Lawmakers Show Up on Law School’s Doorstep

University of Pennsylvania professor Amy Wax

University of Toronto psychologist Jordan Peterson, who famously opposed Canadian gender pronoun mandates, disclosed Wednesday that he had resigned as a tenured professor years earlier than planned.

In a lengthy and impassioned account of his decision for the National Post, the bestselling author argued that the “radical leftist Trinity” of diversity, inclusion and equity (DIE) is reducing his students to their race and ignoring their merit. He faulted colleagues for “going along with the DIE activists.”

Meanwhile, an Ivy League law professor who is even more politically incorrect than Peterson may not have a choice in whether she keeps her job of two decades.

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Commentary: The Pathetic and Political Sedition Case Against the Oath Keepers

Facing intensifying criticism from Democratic lawmakers, journalists, and even some federal judges for not seeking harsher punishment against January 6 protesters, Attorney General Merrick Garland finally produced charges to appease his detractors. Last week, more than a year after the so-called insurrection, Garland charged 11 members of the Oath Keepers with seditious conspiracy.

The star of the new indictment, handed down by a grand jury on January 12, is Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the alleged militia group. (His co-defendants were charged with several other offenses months ago.)

Rhodes, described only as “person one” for nearly a year in numerous criminal indictments related to his organization, has been a free man since January 6, 2021, raising plausible suspicions that he may have been a government informant at the time. After all, the FBI has a longstanding pattern of infiltrating fringe groups such as the Oath Keepers and moving them to commit indictable crimes.

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Wisconsin’s Democrat Governor Vetoes Five Anti-Abortion Bills Passed by GOP Lawmakers

Tony Evers

On Friday, Democratic Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers vetoed five bills restricting abortion that were passed by the Republican-majority state legislature.

“I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again today: as long as I’m governor, I will veto any legislation that turns back the clock on reproductive rights in this state—and that’s a promise,” Evers tweeted.

He said he firmly opposed all five bills, which would have restricted abortion by allowing third parties to pursue damage claims in cases of unwanted abortions and requiring more stringent reporting requirements on patients and providers, according to The Hill.

One of the bills, the Shield the Vulnerable Act, would have banned abortions performed on the basis of race, sex, or disability diagnosis of the unborn baby. It would have also allowed third parties such as a spouse, partner, or family member of a woman to bring damages to court if they did not want her to have the abortion, the news outlet reported.

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Kenosha’s Democratic Lawmakers Want Wisconsin’s Weapons Law Changed Following Rittenhouse Case

Todd Ohnstad, Bob Wirch and Tip McGuire

In response to the Kyle Rittenhouse case, Kenosha’s three Democratic lawmakers have introduced a plan to make it illegal for anyone under 18 to carry a rifle or a shotgun unless they are hunting.

“While Wisconsin law generally prohibits a minor from possessing a dangerous weapon, there is an exception which allows a minor to possess a long gun or rifle if the barrel is longer than 16 inches,” Sen. Bob Wirch, D-Somers, along with Reps. Tod Ohnstad, D-Kenosha, and Tip McGuire, D-Kenosha, said in a statement. “The exception was made to respect Wisconsin’s sporting heritage. This bill simply clarifies that a minor may only possess a long gun or rifle if they are legally hunting and in compliance with hunting laws.”

Prosecutors in the Rittenhouse case tried to charge him with illegal possession of a firearm, but that charge was dropped because Wisconsin law allows some teenagers to carry certain rifles and shotguns.

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Lawmaker Offers New Solution for Surge of Illegals: Send Them to Wealthy Democrat Enclaves

ASouth Carolina congressman has introduced legislation to open a dozen new ports of entry in America, seeking to shift the burden of President Joe Biden’s border crisis from Texas to wealthy enclaves favored by Democrats like Martha’s Vineyard, New York’s trendy suburbs and Silicon Valley.

Rep. Ralph Norman, a Republican, said he introduced the Stop the Surge Act last week as a companion to similar Senate legislation sought by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). It would require all future illegal aliens captured at the border to be shipped to the wealthy, liberal enclaves.

“All these prosperous areas that you see, you know, million dollar houses, let’s send them there,” Norman told John Solomon Reports podcast. “And let’s let them exercise what they claim to be compassion on illegals.

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White House Says Reconciliation Bill Will Spend More on Climate Than Entire Energy Department

The Democrats’ reconciliation package will likely include more than $500 billion worth of climate provisions, more than the entire Department of Energy budget, the White House said, according to The Hill.

The budget represents an opportunity for “historic investment in climate change,” White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said during an event hosted by The Hill on Tuesday evening. The likely price tag for climate programs included in the bill is likely to fall somewhere between $500 billion and $555 billion, Axios previously reported.

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Commentary: Tennessee Legislature Must Pass Big COVID Test in ‘Special Session’

The red state/blue state dichotomy is not simple.

Nowhere is that more apparent than Tennessee where—despite having one of the most conservative electorates in the country—the leadership has been passive at best in responding to the wishes of their supporters during these days of great crisis.

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Another Whistleblower Files SEC Complaint Alleging Facebook Didn’t Do Enough About ‘Hate Speech’, ‘Misinformation’

Person looking on Facebook with trending topics

Another former Facebook employee filed a whistleblower complaint Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission alleging that the tech giant misled its investors by failing to combat the spread of hate and misinformation on its platform, The Washington Post reported.

The former employee, whose name is not yet public, alleged that Facebook executives chose not to pursue adequate content moderation policies related to hate speech and misinformation for the sake of maximizing profits. The complaint also alleges that Facebook did not do enough about alleged Russian misinformation on the platform for fear of upsetting former President Donald Trump.

In particular, the complaint alleges that Trump and his associates received preferential treatment, according to the Post.

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Top House Antitrust Lawmakers Held Meeting with Facebook Whistleblower

David Cicilline and Ken Buck

Top lawmakers in the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee met with Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen on Thursday, a person familiar with the matter confirmed to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Democratic Rep. David Cicilline, who chairs the subcommittee, and Republican Rep. Ken Buck, who serves as ranking member, held a meeting with Haugen to discuss Facebook and issues related to social media competition, Politico first reported, citing two sources. A person familiar with the matter confirmed the meeting to the DCNF, and said the lawmakers also discussed potential antitrust reforms, as well as matters related to privacy and social media algorithms.

Buck and Cicilline worked together to advance a series of antitrust bills targeting major tech companies out of the House Judiciary Committee in June, and have both advocated for breaking up Facebook and other large platforms. The antitrust bills are currently set to reach the House floor in November.

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Wisconsin Democrats Renew Efforts to Rollback Act 10

Chris Larson

Ten years after Act 10 became law and changed what Wisconsin school teachers can include in their school contracts, Democratic lawmakers in the state continue to try and roll it back.

Sen. Chris Larson, D-Milwaukee, and a handful of Democrats this week introduce what they are calling the Collective Bargaining for Public Education Act.

“Wisconsin’s public education sector has a unique and critical role to play in our state. To ensure the effectiveness of these institutions, we rely on highly qualified individuals and their talents to move our state forward,” Larson said in a statement. “The legislation we have introduced establishes the right of employees of school districts, CESAs, technical college districts, and the UW System to collectively bargain over wages, hours, and conditions of employment.”

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Pennsylvania Leaves Schools in the Lurch on Enforcement of Masking, Quarantine Policies, Educators Say

Teacher up front, giving lecture to students in a school classroom

A number of Pennsylvania educators said Thursday the Department of Health hands down COVID-19 mitigation orders and doesn’t back them up when it comes to enforcement, leaving schools in a difficult spot.

Michael Bromirski, superintendent of Hempfield School District in Lancaster County, told the Senate Education Committee that since pandemic mitigation rules lifted earlier this summer, school districts no longer handle quarantine orders for students exposed to the virus after the department told them it’s the state’s responsibility – and authority – to do so.

Except, parents rarely receive such instructions, generating confusion and frustration.

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Group of State Attorneys General Urge Passage of House Bills Targeting Big Tech

Smartphone with display of social media apps

A bipartisan group of 32 state attorneys general sent a letter to leading lawmakers in the House and Senate on Monday urging the passage of a series of antitrust bills targeting major technology companies.

The letter, led by attorneys general Phil Weiser of Colorado, Douglas Peterson of Nebraska, Letitia James of New York, and Herbert H. Slatery III of Tennessee, was addressed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The attorneys general urged Congress to modernize federal antitrust laws and enhance consumer protections by passing a series of bills introduced in the House Judiciary Committee in June that target big tech companies.

“A comprehensive update of federal antitrust laws has not occurred in decades,” the attorneys general wrote. “The sponsors of these bills should be commended for working to ensure that federal antitrust laws remain robust and keep pace with that of modern markets.”

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Ocasio-Cortez Hit with Second Ethics Complaint over ‘Tax the Rich’ Met Gala Appearance

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in her "Tax the Rich" Met Gala dress

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez may have violated a myriad of House ethics rules for attending the ritzy Met Gala on Monday evening while wearing a “tax the rich” dress, a conservative watchdog group alleged in a complaint obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The watchdog group, National Legal and Policy Center, alleged in a complaint filed with the Office of Congressional Ethics on Thursday that Ocasio-Cortez’s acceptance of free tickets to the event, which reportedly run at $35,000 apiece, for both herself and her boyfriend violated House Gift Rules. The group also alleged that Ocasio-Cortez received a prohibited gift from a paid attendee of the Met Gala by sitting at a sponsored table during the event, which are reportedly valued at up to $300,000.

In addition, the watchdog group alleged that Ocasio-Cortez may have accepted prohibited in-kind gifts due to her use of her custom-designed “tax the rich” dress and other services and amenities.

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New Poll Suggests Little Change among Californians in Recalling Governor, But Large Partisan Divide

Anew poll on the recall election for California Gov. Gavin Newsom shows voters appear essentially locked into their position on whether to remove the embattled Democrat lawmaker.

The poll released Thursday by the nonpartisan The Public Policy Institute of California found 58% of likely voters surveyed oppose removing the governor from office, compared to 39% who support recalling him.

The numbers are largely consistent with those the pollsters collected in March and May – 40% to 56% and 40% to 57%, respectively, in the largely Democrat-leaning state.

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Lawmakers Sound Alarm over Americans Stranded in Afghanistan

The State Department is endangering the lives of Americans and others still in Afghanistan, lawmakers and others allege, even as the State Department claims it has accomplished an unprecedented, global evacuation effort.

Military veteran Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) who has called on President Biden to resign over Afghanistan, is calling on Americans to demand that Secretary of State Antony Blinken get stranded Americans out of Afghanistan immediately.

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‘We’re on a Mission’: Advocacy Groups Behind Push to Save Women’s Sports Campaign Against Trans Surgeries for Minors

The battle to “Save Women’s Sports” resulted in a slew of legislation banning biological males from girls’ sports and conversations on the national stage about gender, sex, individual dignity, and much more. Now the advocacy groups behind this push are assembling to battle the next burgeoning culture war issue — transgender sex change surgeries and procedures for minors.

Progressive activists, media, lawmakers, and even some medical professionals call such procedures “gender affirming medical care” and protest that denying an individual this “care” is cruel, regardless of age. Republican Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson vetoed the state’s SAFE Act in April, arguing that the legislation was a “vast government overreach” and that it shouldn’t jump into every ethical issue.

But advocacy groups like the Family Policy Alliance (FPA) insist these procedures irrevocably hurt children. And backed by a network of about 40 independent, state-based family policy councils, FPA aims to multiply the number of states across the nation that legally protect children from gender transition.

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States, Not Congress, Could Pose the Biggest Threat to Tech Companies

Despite calls for increased regulation of the tech industry, Congress has yet to pass any major legislation, leaving it up to the states to take action curbing tech companies’ power and influence.

Meanwhile, state legislatures have introduced and enacted legislation on data privacy, antitrust, and content moderation, while state attorneys general have issued a number of legal challenges alleging anticompetitive business practices.

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House Lawmakers Set to Square off with White House, Treasury Department over ‘Stifling’ Crypto Tax Plan

House lawmakers are set to return from recess Monday and will likely take up the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill the Senate passed last week — and with it, a controversial and last-minute cryptocurrency tax provision.

The bill contains a tax reporting mandate forcing cryptocurrency “brokers” to disclose gains and transactions to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as part of a scheme designed to help cover part of the infrastructure bill’s cost. However, the bill’s definition of “broker” has been criticized by the cryptocurrency community and pro-crypto lawmakers as vague, expansive and potentially unworkable, with many fearing it could stifle the industry and force crypto companies to collect personal information on their customers.

The provision defines a broker as “any person who is responsible for regularly providing any service effectuating transfers of digital assets on behalf of another person,” and forces brokers to report transactions to the IRS in a form similar to a 1099. This means brokers have to collect and report customer information such as names, addresses, and taxpayer identification numbers.

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