Commentary: Biden Must Reverse Course on Iran Before It’s Too Late

President Joe Biden walks along the Colonnade with the Combatant Commander nominees U.S. Air Force Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost and U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Laura Richardson on Monday, March 8, 2021, along the Colonnade of the White House.

Media outlets around the world recently reported on leaked audio comments in which Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif admitted that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps controls all of Iran’s foreign policy decisions.  Although President Joe Biden was careful to mention neither Zarif nor Iran in his speech before Congress last month, Zarif’s embarrassingly candid revelations have direct implications for Biden’s entire Iran policy: namely, it underscores that reducing economic sanctions in order to moderate the Iranian regime cannot work.

For decades, U.S. policy toward Iran has produced disappointing results, largely because American administrations have underestimated the entrenched ideology of Iran’s theocratic dictatorship and mistakenly assumed the regime can be tamed by conciliatory diplomacy.  Western efforts to placate Tehran have failed consistently since the revolutionaries took power in 1979, yet recent reports indicate President Biden is in the process of repeating this failure. 

Just as the Obama administration did with its disastrous 2015 Iran nuclear deal, the Biden administration is now seeking to lift economic sanctions against Iran in exchange for temporary commitments from Tehran to curb its nuclear program.  A senior State Department official recently revealed that the Biden administration is reviewing all U.S. terrorism and human rights sanctions on Iran since 2017 to assess whether those sanctions were “legitimately imposed,” and that some sanctions will need to be lifted to ensure Tehran is “benefiting” from the nuclear deal.  Like Obama, Biden hopes that relaxing economic pressure can convince the regime to put aside its nuclear ambitions, focus on Iran’s economy and people, stop bankrolling terrorist proxies, and become a normal member of the international community. 

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McConnell Says He Supports $800 Billion Package Focusing on ‘Traditional’ Infrastructure

Sen Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell suggested that Republicans could back an infrastructure package costing up to $800 billion, a higher total than a plan Senate Republicans put forward in April.

Speaking with Kentucky Educational Television Sunday, McConnell reaffirmed Republicans’ opposition to President Joe Biden’s sweeping $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan, which covers both traditional infrastructure and Democratic priorities like child care, affordable housing and climate change. McConnell said that any package must be limited to “traditional” infrastructure items like roads, bridges and ports to gain GOP support.

“The proper price tag for what most of us think of as infrastructure is about $600-800 billion,” McConnell said.

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Wyoming Becomes Latest State to Ban Vaccine Passports

People walking in airport

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon on Friday issued a directive blocking state agencies from using vaccine passports.

The directive requires state agencies, boards and commissions to “provide full access to state spaces and state services, regardless of a constituent’s COVID-19 vaccination status.”

The directive also urges local governments and private businesses to align their policies and practices with the state.

“Vaccine passport programs have the potential to politicize a decision that should not be politicized,” Gordon, a Republican, said in a statement. “They would divide our citizens at a time when unity in fighting the virus is essential, and harm those who are medically unable to receive the vaccine. While I strongly encourage Wyomingites over the age of 16 to get vaccinated against COVID-19, it is a personal choice based upon personal circumstances.”

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Hundreds of Millions in Paycheck Protection Program Loans Went to CCP-Backed Firms, as U.S. Small Businesses Went Under

U.S Small Business Administration

The Golden Horseshoe is a weekly designation from Just the News intended to highlight egregious examples of wasteful taxpayer spending by the government. The award is named for the horseshoe-shaped toilet seats for military airplanes that cost the Pentagon a whopping $640 each back in the 1980s.

This week, our award is going to the United States Small Business Administration and Treasury Department for awarding at least $200 million, but as much as $420 million, to Chinese Communist Party-linked businesses by way of the Paycheck Protection Program, intended to assist U.S. small businesses that were devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, widely believed to have originated in China.

A report from the Horizon Advisory strategic consulting group illustrates how negligible congressional oversight allowed at least 125 Chinese firms to “take advantage of the international disaster” by benefitting “directly from U.S. investment and relief measures.”

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American Medical Association CEO Calls Laws Banning Kids Trans Surgeries ‘Dangerous Governmental Intrusion’

Doctors performing surgery

The American Medical Association urged governors Monday to take a stand against laws banning transgender surgeries and procedures for minors.

American Medical Association (AMA) CEO James Madara sent an open letter to the National Governors Association Monday calling laws banning transgender surgeries for minors “a dangerous governmental intrusion into the practice of medicine,” noting that transgender and nonbinary gender identities “are normal variations of human identity and expression,” according to NBC News.

“As with all medical interventions, physicians are guided by their ethical duty to act in the best interest of their patients and must tailor recommendations about specific interventions and the timing of those interventions to each patient’s unique circumstances,” Madara wrote, the publication reported.

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GOP Senator Demands Watchdog Investigate Energy Secretary’s Involvement with Electric Car Company

Senator John Barrasso

Republican Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso asked the Department of Energy’s watchdog to investigate Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm’s continued involvement with an electric car company.

Sen. John Barrasso, the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, wrote a letter of concern to Department of Energy Inspector General Teri Donaldson Tuesday, warning of the potential conflict of interest. Barrasso said Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm continues to own millions of dollars worth of stock in Proterra, a company that has a direct stake in her department’s work.

“Proterra, Inc. is a leading manufacturer of electric buses, batteries, and charging stations — and has been described as such by officials within the Biden Administration,” Barrasso wrote.

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Ron DeSantis Signs Bill Scrapping All of Florida’s Covid Restrictions

Gov. DeSantis discussing COVID-19 bill.

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order Wednesday scrapping all COVID-19 restrictions throughout the state and an accompanying bill that limits localities’ ability to enforce emergency precautions.

“I think that’s the evidence-based thing to do,” DeSantis said during a press conference Tuesday announcing the executive order. “I think folks are saying they need to be policing people at this point, if you’re saying that, then you’re really saying you don’t believe in the vaccines.”

DeSantis signed SB 2006, which says that any emergency orders can last no longer than six weeks. It gives him the authority to overrule cities that adopt restrictions deemed too harsh or unnecessary, and gives city and county commissions the power to overrule mayors.

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Battle Brews Between Conservative Authors and Mainstream Publishers in Era of Cancel Culture

Simon and Schuster

It’s a contentious time for conservatives in the publishing industry, and it’s a contentious time for publishing houses working with those in the conservative industry.

“As the cancel culture has revved up, the pressure has heated up on all of these big New York publishers,” says Marji Ross, the former president of conservative Regnery Publishing.

In recent months, New York publishing house Simon & Schuster has canceled Missouri GOP Sen. Josh Hawley’s forthcoming book about Big Tech, decided not to distribute a book written by the Louisville police officer who was shot while executing a no-knock warrant at the home of Breonna Taylor, signed a $3-4 million deal with former Vice President Mike Pence, and received a letter from more than 215 members of its staff demanding that the company not publish any books written by members of the Trump administration.

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Prior to Youth Sports Pause, Minnesota State Officials Admitted to Lack of Evidence, Emails Suggest

Young boy hitting a baseball

In the weeks leading up to Gov. Tim Walz’s “pause” on youth sports, state officials were privately scrambling for evidence to support the restrictions, at times admitting that “there isn’t much,” emails released Monday reveal.

“Here’s the way it should work: There is data, then there is a decision, then there is communication,” Sen. Michelle Benson, R-Ham Lake, explained at a Monday Senate hearing. “It’s not, ‘We need a message. Go find me the data that matches it.’”

Benson and her Republican colleagues published a trove of emails between state health officials and members of Gov. Walz’s staff ahead of Monday’s informational hearing.

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Commentary: President Biden’s Tax Hike Hits Keep on Coming

Joe Biden

Just over three months into his presidency, Joe Biden has been nothing if not active. Fresh off proposing two bills that could end up costing taxpayers $5 trillion over the next decade, the President is now proposing yet another $1.5 trillion spending package. This plan, intended to fund expanded childcare and education initiatives, would include huge tax hikes that would act as yet another sucker punch to a still-rebounding economy.

About the only tax increases the President hasn’t supported thus far arewealth taxes and financial transaction taxes. But just because the tax hikes in this package are less exotic doesn’t mean they wouldn’t prove to be harmful.

In keeping with Biden’s ongoing efforts to undo the 2017 tax reform law, the first tax increase proposed is the restoration of the top tax bracket to 39.6 percent, the level it was at before the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) lowered the rate to 37 percent. The top individual rate isn’t the most influential piece of the tax code on economic growth — as the Tax Foundation estimated prior to the passage of the TCJA — but it’s also far from the only tax hike that Biden is proposing.

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Hawley Plan Gives ‘Marriage Bonus’ to Married Parents with Young Children

Josh Hawley

Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley introduced a bill Monday aimed at providing support for families with young children.

Hawley’s plan would give single parents with children under 13 $6,000 in parent tax credits and married parents with children under 13 $12,000 in parent tax credits, according to a press release.

“Starting a family and raising children should not be a privilege only reserved for the wealthy,” Hawley said in a statement. “Millions of working people want to start a family and would like to care for their children at home, but current policies do not respect these preferences.”

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Senate Foreign Relations Committee Overwhelmingly Approves Bill That Orders Assessment Into Lab Leak Theory

Joe Biden signing order

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee overwhelmingly approved a wide-ranging and bipartisan bill on Wednesday that lays out a unified strategic approach towards the threat China poses to America’s national and economic security.

Among the measures in the 281-page Strategic Competition Act of 2021 is a provision ordering the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to produce a report assessing the likelihood that COVID-19 could have entered the human population due to a lab leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) and other origins theories such as zoonotic transmission and spillover.

“It is critical to understand the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic so the United States can better prepare, prevent and respond to pandemic health threats in the future,” the bill states. “Given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on all Americans, the American people deserve to know what information the United States possesses about the origins of COVID-19, as appropriate.”

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Commentary: Senate Republicans Just Handed Matches to Arsonists

One of the most fateful decisions of Donald Trump’s presidency happened just weeks after Inauguration Day.

In March 2017, Republican lawmakers joined Democrats to demand Jeff Sessions, a former Senate colleague and Trump’s new attorney general, recuse himself from anything related to the investigation into alleged Russian election collusion. Sessions’ two brief meetings in 2016 with Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak—a figure who appeared often in collusion-related drama—amounted to evidence of collusion, collusion perps insisted.

Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) were just a few top Republicans who asked Sessions to step aside—so he did.

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Kansas Governor Vetoes Ban on Biological Males on Women’s Sports

Laura Kelly

The governor of Kansas has vetoed a bill that would have banned biological males from participating in women’s sports.

Democratic Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly vetoed the “The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” Thursday, saying in a news release that the legislation “sends a devastating message that Kansas is not welcoming to all children and their families, including those who are transgender — who are already at a higher risk of bullying, discrimination, and suicide,” according to local outlet KMBC.

“As Kansans, we should be focused on how to include all students in extracurricular activities rather than how to exclude those who may be different than us,” Kelly said. “Kansas is an inclusive state and our laws should reflect our values. This law does not do that.”

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Election Integrity Bill Fails in Arizona Senate After One Republican Betrays Party

Kelly Townsend

Abill that was set to strengthen election integrity in Arizona by cracking down on voter fraud failed in the Republican-led State Senate, after a Republican member went against the party and voted it down, as reported by ABC News.

The bill, SB 1485, would have made it easier to remove inactive names from the state’s early voting list by removing the word “permanent” from the state’s definition of said list. Following this change, anyone on the list who did not vote in the state’s elections after a certain period of time could have their names removed completely. Inactive names remaining on a state’s voting rolls, such as in Arizona, can lead to a greater chance of voter fraud when those names are used to sway an election in a crucial swing state.

But a single Republican state senator, Kelly Townsend (R-Ariz.), voted with the Democrats against the bill. Her reasoning, ostensibly, was to wait for the results of a GOP-led audit of all 2.1 million ballots in Maricopa County from the 2020 election.

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Poll: Majority of Americans Oppose Expanding the U.S. Supreme Court

U.S. Supreme Court

Democrats enthralled their base and alarmed Republicans with the recent announcement of a new push to add four justices to the U.S. Supreme Court, but the latest polling suggests the majority of Americans don’t favor expanding the highest court in the land.

New polling released by Rasmussen Tuesday found that only a third of likely voters support adding justices to the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, 55% of likely voters oppose expanding the bench, which has remained at nine justices for over 150 years.

The poll surveyed 1,000 likely voters between April 15 and April 18 of last week. Respondents were asked:

“The U.S. Supreme Court as defined by law has nine members – a chief justice and eight associate justices, all appointed to lifetime terms. Do you favor or oppose increasing the number of justices on the U.S. Supreme Court?”

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Proposed Florida Vote-By-Mail Restrictions Scaled Back, But Opponents Not Swayed

Dennis Baxley

A key Senate panel Wednesday amended a controversial bill imposing a range of restrictions on the state’s vote-by-mail (VBM) laws but did not vote on the measure after an exhaustive debate.

The Senate Rules Committee ran out of time before it could issue a verdict on Senate Bill 90 during a fiery marathon meeting that began with an hours’-long fracas over a proposed bill preempting local governments from regulating ports in areas “of critical state concern.”

Committee chair Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, concluded the meeting without calling for a vote on SB 90, saying the panel could take up the measure in its Friday meeting or next week. The bill was not on panel’s Friday agenda as of Thursday afternoon.

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Commentary: Keep Nine to Keep the Independent Judiciary

Congressional Democrats have introduced legislation that would add four more justices to the U.S. Supreme Court, boosting the number of justices on the bench from nine to 13, as Democrat congressional leaders are going all-in on packing the Supreme Court.

This is just more evidence that the very slender, far-left Democrat majority intends to seize and maintain power using any tactic available, even if it means destroying the independence of the judicial branch of government.

Given that court packing is now actively in play, every GOP Senator and House Member along with any rational Democrat members of Congress must push back by cosponsoring the Keep Nine constitutional amendment by Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), S.J. Res. 9, and Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.), H.J. Res. 11.

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Biden’s Court Packing Committee Contains an Army of Professors Open to Altering Supreme Court

Joe Biden walking with his administration, wearing masks

President Joe Biden unveiled a new commission to explore the possibility of packing the Supreme Court. Although the commission does contain some constitutional originalists, it is heavily staffed by legal professors with revisionist views on the nation’s top judicial body.

The Biden administration unveiled a “Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States,” which will “provide an analysis of the principal arguments in the contemporary public debate for and against Supreme Court reform” — including “the length of service and turnover of justices on the Court” and “the membership and size of the Court.”

Although the White House insists that the commission is meant to be “bipartisan,” several of its members — both right-leaning and left-leaning — appear to hold some degree of revisionist views on the Supreme Court.

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West Virginia Governor Will Not Veto Bill Banning Biological Males from Women’s Sports

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice

The governor of West Virginia signaled that he will not veto a bill banning biological males from women’s sports.

Republican West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice discussed HB 3293 during a coronavirus briefing Wednesday saying that he would either “let it become law or sign it,” according to The Hill. The governor also said that he would “absolutely not” veto the bill, the publication reported.

“From the standpoint of how I feel about it personally… I just can’t possibly get through my head that it is the right thing for us at a middle school level or a high school level in our state for me not to support the bill,” Justice said, according to the Hill. “So, I do support the bill.”

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Andrew Yang Has Commanding Lead in NYC Mayoral Race, Poll Shows

Andrew Yang

Former presidential candidate Andrew Yang holds a commanding lead over his Democratic opponents in New York City’s mayoral race, according to a Thursday Data for Progress poll.

The poll found Yang with 26%, double the support of Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. City Comptroller Scott Stringer was third with 11% and MSNBC analyst Maya Wiley was fourth with 10%, while every other candidate had single-digit support.

Yang leads among virtually every demographic, according to the poll: black, Asian, Hispanic and white voters as well as men, women and voters with and without college degrees.

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Report: Three-Fourths of All 2019 Property Insurance Suits in U.S. Were Filed in Florida

In 2019, Florida homeowners accounted for 8.16 percent of the nation’s property insurance claims, but more than 76 percent of property insurance lawsuits lodged against insurers.

Pointing to this “disparity,” Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier in a five-page April 2 letter to House Commerce Committee Chair Rep. Blaise Ingoglia, R-Spring Hill, outlined four proposals to reduce property insurance litigation.

Insurers cite rampant litigation, ballooning reinsurance costs, “loss creep” from 2017-18 hurricanes and coastal flooding as a “perform storm” of coalescing factors leading to double-digit property insurance rate hikes that Florida businesses and 6.2 million homeowners are seeing or will see when renewing policies.

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Arkansas Legislature Passes Bills Tightening Signature Verification, Absentee Ballot Requests

Asa Hutchinson

Arkansas became the latest state to pass a series of voting reforms this week, sending multiple bills to Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s desk.

The bills, overwhelmingly passed by the state’s Republican legislature, focus on in-person and absentee voting, while a third transfers additional authority to county election commissioners instead of local clerks. Hutchinson has not publicly said whether he plans to sign them.

The Arkansas Senate passed HB 1715 Tuesday, which prohibits clerks from sending unsolicited absentee ballots to voters and requires them to report how many absentee ballot applications they receive each day. It also requires a voter’s signature to match their signature from when they first registered to vote, and forbids county clerks from providing a ballot if they do not match.

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U.S. Supreme Court Overturns California’s Restrictions on In-Home Religious Activities

Group of people singing at a worship service

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled late Friday that California’s COVID-19 restrictions on in-home religious gatherings, limiting worship to families from a maximum of three households, could not continue.

In the 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court reversed a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling allowing California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s limits on people exercising their First Amendment rights to freely practice religion at home.

In its written order, the court noted that it was the fifth time it has “rejected the Ninth Circuit’s analysis of California’s COVID restrictions on religious exercise.”

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Senator Josh Hawley Introduces Antitrust Legislation Aimed at Big Tech

Joh Hawley

Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) introduced a new bill on Monday that would break up several large companies in the United States, with a particular focus on the Big Tech companies, as reported by the Daily Caller.

The bill is called the “Trust-Busting for the Twenty-First Century Act,” and aims to combat “anti-competitive big business” such as “Big Banks, Big Telecom, and Big Pharma.” In his press release announcing the new legislation, Hawley said that “a small group of woke mega-corporations control the products Americans can buy, the information Americans can receive, and the speech Americans can engage in.”

“These monopoly powers control our speech, our economy, our country,” Hawley continued, “and their control has only grown because Washington has aided and abetted their quest for endless power.”

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16 States That Want to Ban Trans Surgeries for Minors

Surgical tools in doctors room

At least 16 states have taken action to ban doctors from performing transgender surgeries and procedures on minors.

Arkansas became the first state to ban the surgeries and procedures for minors when the legislature over rode Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s veto of the “Save Adolescents From Experimentation Act.”

Polling conducted by the conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation found that 57% of Americans oppose allowing minors with gender dysphoria to receive gender transition surgery, puberty blockers or cross-sex hormones.

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Liberal Activists Pressure Justice Breyer to Retire Because He’s Against Court-Packing

Justice Breyer

Liberal activists increased calls for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer to step down Friday after he spoke out against packing the court.

Breyer spoke with Harvard Law School Students earlier this week and warned them that packing the court could negatively affect the United States rule of law.

“Proposals have been recently made to increase the number of Supreme Court justices. I’m sure that others will discuss related political arguments,” he said, Fox News reported. “This lecture reflects my own effort to be certain that those who are going to debate these questions … also consider an important institutional point. Consider it. Namely, how would court packing reflect and affect the rule of law itself?”

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State Redistricting Deadlines in 2021, 2022, and 2023

U.S. Census 2020

The U.S. Census Bureau announced in February that it would deliver the detailed datasets needed for redistricting to the states by Sep. 30, 2021, after the original April 1, 2021, deadline. Some states’ own redistricting deadlines predate the Census Bureau’s projected data delivery date, prompting states to consider postponements or alternative data sources.

State redistricting deadlines generally take one of three forms:

Constitutional deadlines are set out explicitly in state constitutions. Altering these deadlines typically requires either a constitutional amendment or a court order.
Statutory deadlines are set by state legislatures. They are subject to change at the legislature’s discretion.
Redistricting deadlines can also be inferred from candidate filing deadlines. For example, if a state sets its filing deadline for congressional candidates for Feb. 1, 2022, it can be inferred that the congressional maps must be fixed by that point.

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Wyoming Governor Signs Born Alive Act

Mark Gordon

Republican Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon has signed the Born Alive Act into law, legislation that requires doctors to care for babies born alive in botched abortions.

Senate File 34, which passed the Wyoming House 48-11, requires doctors to use “commonly accepted means of care” for “the treatment of any infant born alive.”

“Any physician performing an abortion shall take medically appropriate and reasonable steps to preserve the life and health of an infant born alive,” the legislation said. It will go into effect in July.

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Arizona State Legislature Opposes Federalized Elections, Passes Strong Election Integrity Bills

State Rep. Jake Hoffman

In the wake of Georgia’s passing of a sweeping anti-voter fraud bill into law, Arizona is among the states that has followed suit and passed similar measures to strengthen election integrity, as reported by Breitbart.

On Tuesday, the Arizona State Senate passed HB 2569, which bans the use of private funds for election administration and management. The bill passed in a party-line vote after having previously passed through the State House of Representatives in a similar party-line vote. The bill now heads to the desk of Governor Doug Ducey (R-Ariz.) for his signature.

On Wednesday, the State Senate passed a resolution, HCR 2023, which reaffirmed Arizona’s opposition to the provisions in the federal bill H.R. 1, introduced by Democrats in the United States Congress in an effort to dramatically increase federal control over the nation’s election process. The resolution had already been approved by the State House, with its passage in the State Senate officially codifying it as a formal resolution by the Arizona state legislature.

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Bill Aims to Ban Minnesota Vaccine Passports

Senator Michelle Benson

As Minnesota returns to a semblance of normalcy with an increasing number of injected COVID-19 vaccines, one Republican aims to ban “vaccine passports.”

 SF 1589 aims to ban forced COVID-19 vaccinations, forced digital contact tracing, and required proof of COVID-19 vaccination before entering a government business.

“Your personal health information should not be made public. I stand against the special interests that want your private health information,” Senate Health Committee Chair Michelle Benson, R-Ham Lake, posted on Facebook.

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GOP Probes $35 Million in Tax Dollars to ‘Team Biden’ Firm in California

House Republicans say they still want to know why $35 million in taxpayer dollars went to a Democrat-aligned consulting firm to boost voting last year in California—and whether it was even legal.

The federal agency that oversees related issues seems uninterested in investigating why federal money sent to California was used in part to pay for election safety measures in a $35 million contract with a political consulting firm that touted itself as part of “Team Biden.”

At least $12 million of the total came from federal taxpayers, while the remainder was from California taxpayers.

Using federal funds for a get-out-the-vote operation or to help one political party over another would violate federal law, Republican lawmakers say.

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Commentary: Put the Woke Corporations to Sleep

Georgia finally enacted some laws to protect ethical voting. My American Spectator colleague, David Catron, refers to these laws as “election integrity laws” — and that is what they are.

“Jim Crow”? What on G-d’s Earth are the leftist Crazies talking about? What are the Leftists saying?

… that Blacks and Hispanics do not want election integrity?

… that Blacks and Hispanics, 158 years after slavery ended, do not have access to a photo ID?

… that Blacks and Hispanics, 158 years after slavery ended, cannot figure out how to vote honestly and need vote harvesters?

… that Blacks and Hispanics, 158 years after slavery ended, do not want integrity at the voting booth? 

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Arizona House Passes Bill Banning Abortions Based on Genetic Abnormality

Susan B. Anthony List State Policy Director Sue Liebel

The Arizona House passed a bill Thursday that bans abortions based on diagnosis of genetic abnormality, such as Down syndrome.

S.B. 1457 states that the rights of “an unborn child at every stage of development” must be acknowledged and prohibits abortions based on the sex, race, or genetic abnormality of the child. The bill makes exceptions for medical emergencies.

“A person who knowingly” performs such an abortion “is guilty of a class 3 felony,” according to the legislation.

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Minnesota Senate OKs COVID-19 Learning Loss Recovery Bills

Roger Chamberlain and Chuck Wige

The GOP-led Minnesota Senate recently approved several bills that aim to support families and teachers in recovering from learning loss suffered during COVID-19-related school closures.

Senate File 628 seeks to require the Department of Education to administer in-person statewide Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments during the spring of 2021, regardless of the current learning format. MCAs measure student progress in core academic subjects and were canceled last year.

“At this point, we are all familiar with the pain and hardship that school closures have caused students,” Sen. Roger Chamberlain, R-Lino Lakes, said in a statement. “The Senate is taking the smart steps necessary to help students catch their breath and recover from some of the worst side effects of COVID.”

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Landlords Struggle Under Extended CDC Eviction Ban, Class-Action Lawsuit Argues

John Vecchione

Landlords are struggling after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) extended a national ban on certain evictions apparently to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The CDC extended the moratorium, first enacted in Sept. 2020, through June 30.

The New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA), a nonpartisan, nonprofit civil rights group, filed a class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa on behalf of Asa Mossman of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and other housing providers. 

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Minnesota Bipartisan Bill Aims to Reduce Prescription Drug Costs

A bipartisan bill claims it would reduce the cost of prescription drug costs to save taxpayers a potential millions – if not billions – of dollars.

Sen. Michelle Benson, R-Ham Lake, held a Friday news conference with Rep. Mike Howard, D-Richfield, highlighting the bill

SF 2178 would allow the state to share bid information submitted by pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) for public employee contracts. The reverse auction process incentivizes PBMs to compete against each other by submitting lower offers in bidding rounds to win a contract, which is meant to achieve cost savings without impacting the quality of state health benefit plans.

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Pentagon Says it Isn’t Biased on Political Violence Despite Rank and File Concerns, Spokesman Says

The Pentagon’s views on political violence following the Black Lives Matter (BLM) and Capitol riots are not biased despite rank and file concerns, a Department of Defense (DoD) spokesman said.

Service members have expressed concerns regarding DoD’s different responses to the political turmoil in the summer of 2020 and the Capitol riot, believing that the Pentagon should take a balanced view on violence in both cases, according to McClatchy. A DoD spokesman said judgements are not based on the causes of political violence when providing military assistance to states and the federal government.

“If a request for assistance is received from state or federal authorities, the Department of Defense reviews it, and considers what support it can provide that would meet the requirements of the request,” Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Chris Mitchell at DoD, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “In doing so, the Department does not make distinctions or judgements about the events that led to the request.”

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Minnesota Senator Seeks to Hold State Cosmetology Board Accountable for Past Debacles

Hair Cut at Hair Salon

A Minnesota senator presented a bill Monday that would disband the Board of Cosmetology and transfer control over the industry to the Department of Health.

Sen. Karin Housley, R-Stillwater, said the Board of Cosmetology has been accused of gross mismanagement and involved in two civil rights lawsuits in past years.

Her bill, S.F. 691, would transfer the Board of Cosmetology’s jurisdiction over licensing requirements to the Department of Health. The states of Vermont and Colorado have both decided to move licensing and regulatory authority from specific cosmetology boards to state agencies as well.

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Minnesota Democrats Respond to ‘Incredibly Harmful’ Voter ID Bill, Call for Permanent Mail-in Voting

Minnesota Senate Democrats announced a sweeping elections platform Monday and attacked their Republican colleagues for introducing “incredibly harmful” voter ID legislation.

“Over the past year, we watched as Republican leaders across the country and here in Minnesota helped spread the big lie that our elections are not fair,” Senate Minority Leader Susan Kent, DFL-Woodbury, said at a Monday press conference, accusing Republicans of participating in a “voter suppression” campaign.

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More Than $4 Billion to Go to Illegal Immigrants Through Biden Stimulus Checks

The Center for Immigration Studies estimates that 2.65 million illegal immigrants have Social Security numbers and, because of their income threshold and number of children they have, are eligible to receive federal stimulus checks.

In a new report, CIS estimates that illegal immigrants could receive an estimated $4.38 billion from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 passed by Democrats along party lines.

Two weeks ago, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said that illegal immigrants would be receiving $1,400 checks through the legislation and introduced an amendment to stop it. Democrats rejected the amendment.

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Elizabeth Warren Calls Filibuster Racist Months After Filibustering Tim Scott Police Reform Bill

Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren called the filibuster racist Thursday, months after she filibustered Republican Sen. Tim Scott’s police reform legislation.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren said the filibuster is both racist and shouldn’t be permitted in the Senate since it gives the minority veto power, according to Axios. The legislative filibuster, which dates back to the 1800s, is a rule that requires 60 votes for most legislation to pass in the Senate.

“The filibuster has deep roots in racism, and it should not be permitted to serve that function, or to create a veto for the minority,” Warren told Axios on Thursday. “In a democracy, it’s majority rules.”

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‘That Is Not Leadership Position’: Pelosi Refuses to Back Effort to Remove Marjorie Taylor Greene from House

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday that Democratic leadership won’t back the effort to remove Republican Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from the House.

California Democratic Rep. Jimmy Gomez introduced a resolution Friday to remove Greene from the House, saying the congresswoman “advocated violence against our peers, the Speaker and our government,” CNN reported. The resolution was backed by 72 House Democrats.

“I’m not gonna get into that,” Pelosi said. “Members are very unhappy about what happened here and they can express themselves the way they do. What Mr. Gomez did is his own view, and that is not leadership position.”

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Poll Shows Overwhelming Majority Support Voter ID Laws

The latest poll by Rasmussen Reports indicates that three-fourths of all Americans support stricter voter ID laws, such as requirements to present photo identification before voting, as reported by Breitbart.

The poll shows that 75 percent of likely American voters are in favor of laws that require presenting some form of photo ID, such as a driver’s license; only 21 percent opposed such a proposal. Among the 75 percent, 89 percent of Republican voters approved of such a suggestion, along with 77 percent of independents, and 60 percent of Democrats. In addition, an overwhelming majority of black voters support voter ID, at 69 percent to 25 percent.

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‘Americans Must Be Prepared for What Is Coming’: Pro-Life Lawmakers, Activists Condemn Becerra’s Confirmation to Health and Human Services

Pro-life lawmakers and activists condemned news Thursday that the senate confirmed California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to serve as health and human services secretary, warning that Becerra is both “a culture warrior” and an “extreme left-wing ideologue.”

“Becerra is a culture warrior who made his name in bloody-knuckled politics by bullying nuns,” Republican Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse said Thursday, referring to Becerra’s battles with the Little Sisters of the Poor over an Obama-era contraception mandate.

The Nebraska senator added that Health and Human Services (HHS) should be focused on health during the pandemic — not Becerra’s progressive priorities.

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Minnesota Rep. Introduces Bill That Would Imprison Governor for Unilaterally Declaring Emergencies

Rep. Erik Mortensen, R-Shakopee, introduced a bill that would take away the governor’s power to unilaterally declare a peacetime emergency or to issue executive orders that are treated as law.

The Unilateral Emergency Powers Repeal Act, HF 2204, would require a two-thirds majority vote from the House and Senate to declare a peacetime emergency.

In an email, Mortensen said, “By unilaterally declaring emergency powers, Walz completely eradicated our republican form of government and started becoming the supreme lawmaker of the land.” This bill would take away that ability.

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Senate Confirms Deb Haaland of New Mexico as Interior Secretary

Former U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland of New Mexico, who opposes fracking and oil drilling on federal lands, was confirmed as President Joe Biden’s new Interior secretary Monday in a narrow, 52-40, vote.

Haaland, who will become the first cabinet secretary of Native American descent, was criticized by many Republicans and supporters of the U.S. oil and gas industry as being extreme on climate change.

“America’s energy workers will be disappointed, but this close vote is hardly a ringing endorsement for Deb Haaland and the Biden anti-energy agenda,” Power The Future’s Western States Director Larry Behrens said in a statement. “With 40 Senators voting against her confirmation, it’s clear many across the country don’t trust Deb Haaland to run a critical federal agency.”

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Rep. Ilhan Omar Urges Biden Admin to End Contracts Between ICE and Prisons, Calling Treatment of Immigrants ‘Systemic Abuse’

Rep. Ilhan Omar urged President Joe Biden’s administration in a letter Monday to end Immigrations and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) contracts with prisons and jails.

The letter calls for Biden to issue an executive order to end ICE’s contracts with state, county and local jails due to the treatment of the detained immigrants and the facilities’ conditions. The Minnesota Democrat called the conditions of the facilities “systemic abuse.”

“Conditions in the municipal, county, and state jails and prisons contracting with ICE to detain immigrants mirror the systemic abuses in privately operated immigration detention facilities, including mental neglect, long term use of solitary confinement, sexual assault, and lack of access to legal counsel,” Omar wrote in the letter.

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House Preps to Pass Two Immigration Bills, Dreamer Pathway to Citizenship, Agricultural Worker Visa Reform as Border Crisis Intensifies

The House will vote on two immigration bills this week as the numbers of migrant families and children detained at the southern border surges.

The first bill, dubbed the Dream and Promise Act (DPA) would provide a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, immigrants who have lived in the U.S. illegally since being brought as young children.

The second, the Farm Modernization Workforce Act (FMWA), would create a certified agricultural worker status and streamline the H-2A visa application process. President Joe Biden has also announced a sweeping immigration reform plan in addition to the two bills, though Republicans have labeled it a non-starter.

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Commentary: Breaking the Progressive Union Monopoly on Public Education

It’s hard to imagine a worse time for public education in America. The COVID-19 pandemic has cost millions of K-12 students a year of education, and Joe Biden has been elected president. At a time when innovation in public education is needed more than ever, Biden has appointed Miguel Cardona to serve as Secretary of Education.

To understand why Cardona, who previously served as Connecticut’s education commissioner, is not going to improve schooling in America, just consider the endorsements he’s received.

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