Senate Confirms John Ratcliffe as Director of National Intelligence

The Senate confirmed Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX-04) on Thursday as President Trump’s top intelligence official in a vote straight along party lines.

Ratcliffe became Trump’s second permanent Director of National Intelligence (DNI) in a 49-44 vote, with all Democrats opposed. The vote along party lines was the first since the position was created following the 9/11 attack as generally there are never more than a dozen senators voting against a confirmation for the position, according to CNN.

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Pakistani Doctor Indicted on Charges of Attempting to Provide Material Support to ISIS

A man in Minnesota has been indicted by a federal grand jury on an attempt to provide a terrorist organization with material support, according to a statement from the Department of Justice.

Muhammad Masood has been charged with one count of attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization. Initially, the 28-year-old Pakistani national was charged in a criminal complaint in March, 2020.

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More Than 40,000 File for Unemployment in Minnesota, State Totals Nearly 700,000

More than 40,000 filed for unemployment insurance in Minnesota, bringing the state total to nearly 700,000, according to recent data.

Data from the U.S. Department of Labor showed that 40,427 people filed for unemployment insurance benefits in the week ending May 9. That number is down a little more than 1,000 applicants from the week prior.

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Minnesota Organization for Retired Americans Sue To Keep Voting Rights for Quarantined Residents

The Minnesota Alliance for Retired American Educational Fund, along with three of its members, filed a lawsuit to protect voting rights of those who may be self-quarantining without a legal adult.

The lawsuit alleges that those who are quarantining alone — or without a voting-age member of the household — essentially lose their ability to cast a vote, as mail-in absentee ballots require a witness signature.

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Gov. Tim Walz Signs Six Bills, Skips Mail-in Election Bill

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz signed six bills into law on Tuesday on legislative topics ranging from health to underage marriage.

One law extends the funding used to increase testing capacity for the coronavirus pandemic, as well as ensure there are hospital beds and personal protective equipment. Another requires drug makers to provide a “detailed rationale to the state” for large price increases for drugs that cost $100 or more for a 30-day supply. A third prohibits marriage by residents in the state under age 18.

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Cherry Health, CBS News Slammed for Adding Staffers to Coronavirus Testing Line

A Michigan health system and CBS News have come under fire after Project Veritas revealed that a line for a COVID-19 testing site was staged for television cameras.

Cherry Health and CBS News denied directing staffers to form a line to appear as patients for a coronavirus testing site before later reversing their statement and saying that the staffers were in line to “provide a visual backdrop.”

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Senators Ask State Department to Monitor Free Speech Violations Concerning Coronavirus in China, Other Countries

Several senators across the United States have called on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the U.S. Representative to the United Nations Kelly Craft to address concerns about free speech violations in several countries around the world.

Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), John Cornyn (R-TX), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) submitted the letter on Monday, pointing to crackdown on free speech concerning the coronavirus in China, as well as in Turkey, Bangladesh, Niger and Cambodia, as a reason for concern.

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Delaware Says It Reports Negative Cases to CDC, Will Report to Public

The Delaware Department of Health has confirmed that it is reporting both positive and negative test results of coronavirus testing to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, despite not making that information available to the public.

“Yes, we are reporting both positive and negative results to the CDC,” a spokesperson said in an email to The Michigan Star on Wednesday. “We absolutely understand the interest in knowing the number of negative test results received, as well as the number of positives.”

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Alabama Now Provides Negative Coronavirus Testing Data

Alabama is now providing aggregated data for the coronavirus pandemic, state officials told The Michigan Star earlier this week.

Per Section 1702 of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requires states to provide “aggregated data on testing and results from State and local public health departments.” Aggregated data includes both positive and negative test results.

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Trump Praises Education Freedom Scholarships and Opportunity Act During State of the Union Address

President Trump voiced support during his State of the Union Address earlier this week for the Education Freedom Scholarships and Opportunity Act, which would create a $5 billion annual tax credit for donations to state-based, locally-controlled scholarships. The act aims at giving one million children the opportunity to attend their school of choice.

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Michigan Trump Republicans Hold Rally at Rep. Slotkin Community Conversations Event

Supporters of President Trump held a rally at a “community conversation” event held by U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-8-MI) at Oakland University on Monday. The representative recently published an editorial in the Detroit Free Press voicing her support for the impeachment, as well as a follow up piece defending her decision.

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House Ethics Committee Extends Investigation into Rep. Tlaib Over Misused Campaign Funds

The Ethics Committee from the U.S. House of Representatives released a report on Thursday recommending an extension of the investigation into Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI-13), saying there is “substantial reason to believe” the representative misused campaign funds.

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Dip in Test Scores Correlates with Enactment of Common Core

Fourth and eighth grade students in the U.S. again showed no to little improvement in their average reading and mathematics scores, according to a report released this week, a decrease that correlates with the enactment of the Common Core.

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