Wisconsin Lawmakers Look at Opt-out Option for Parents on Gender and Sex Classes

Girl student standing and holding books in hand in a classroom

Wisconsin lawmakers are wrestling with the question of who should talk to their kids about sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Assembly Committee on Education on Thursday held a marathon hearing on a plan that would allow parents to opt their kids out of classes on both.

“This is merely just a way to give parents a choice,” Rep Bob Whitke, R-Racine, said. “Because there are a lot of concepts now that are coming out in school … it’s being done in a way that parents don’t understand, and parents aren’t notified.

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Thousands of Public Workers Seek Vaccine Exemptions in Washington

Doctor with mask on holding COVID-19 Vaccine

Some 4,800 state employees in Washington have already requested medical or religious exemptions from Gov. Jay Inslee’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

According to information released this week by the state, those requests amount to nearly 8% of the 60,000 state workers who fall under Inslee’s 24 cabinet departments. As of Sept. 6, less than 50% of all employees in those agencies were verified as being fully vaccinated.

Inslee last month issued an executive order that all state employees, as well as K-12 and state university staff, must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18 or face dismissal.

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Poll Shows Support for Charter School Expansion in Georgia

More than half of Georgia voters support an expansion charter schools in the state, according to a new poll.

The poll, which was conducted on behalf of the Georgia Charter Schools Association, showed 56% of registered voters in Georgia favor increasing the number of public charter schools in Georgia. Support for public charter schools also is strong with more than 6 out of 10 surveyed in favor of the schools.

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Oil Supply Losses from Hurricane Ida Reach 30 Million Barrels, Impacting Gas Prices

Hurricane Ida has already caused oil supply losses of 30 million barrels, the International Energy Agency (IEA) reports, resulting in the first decline in global oil supply in five months.

Hurricane Ida shut in 1.7 million barrels per day of oil production in the Gulf at the end of August, “with potential supply losses from the storm approaching 30 mb. An uptrend in supply should resume in October as OPEC+ continues to unwind cuts, outages are resolved and as other producers increase,” the agency stated in its September Oil Market report.

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Report: 74 Percent of Professors Targeted for Unpopular Speech or Research End Up Punished by Administrators

Attempts to sanction scholars for their speech, research or teaching practices has skyrocketed since 2015, with about three in four campaigns leading to some form of professional sanction – including termination – according to a new report by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

Such attacks are “on the rise and are increasingly coming from within academia itself—from other scholars and especially from undergraduate students,” FIRE research fellows Komi German and Sean Stevens state in their report.

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Americans Support Governors’ Revolt Against Federal Vaccine Mandate, Poll Shows

New polling shows that the majority of Americans do not approve of President Joe Biden’s new vaccine mandate.

Biden announced the mandate last week, which includes requirements that any business with more than 100 employees ensure they are vaccinated or be tested weekly. Biden’s announcement included a range of other federal rules that are estimated to affect 100 million Americans.

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Legal Challenges Await Biden’s Vaccine Mandate

President Joe Biden’s controversial vaccine mandate has sparked major pushback and talks of legal challenges, likely setting up a tense court battle that could go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Biden announced the new mandates in a speech Thursday, saying his executive changes will affect 100 million Americans. Notably, his new rules would require all federal employees to get the vaccine and require that any employers with 100 or more employees ensure their employees are vaccinated.

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Georgia Experiences $11 Million Increase in Airport Income

The economic impact of Georgia’s airports increased by more than 18% over nearly a decade, data shows.

Travis Vallin, the vice president of aviation construction planning firm Jviation, presented the data Wednesday to the General Assembly’s Joint Study Committee on Airport Infrastructure & Improvements.

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Biden Withdraws Controversial Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Nominee After Bipartisan Concern

David Chapman

President Joe Biden on Thursday announced the withdrawal of his controversial nominee, David Chipman, to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Several leading Republicans were outspoken opponents of Chipman for his past anti-gun comments and more aggressive gun control policies as well as connections to gun control groups. No new nominee has been announced.

“David Chipman is an erratic, anti-gun radical who planned to outlaw nearly every single sporting rifle in America,” said Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark. “He is wholly unfit to run the ATF, and I’m glad to see President Biden has withdrawn his nomination.”President Joe Biden on Thursday announced the withdrawal of his controversial nominee, David Chipman, to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Several leading Republicans were outspoken opponents of Chipman for his past anti-gun comments and more aggressive gun control policies as well as connections to gun control groups. No new nominee has been announced.

“David Chipman is an erratic, anti-gun radical who planned to outlaw nearly every single sporting rifle in America,” said Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark. “He is wholly unfit to run the ATF, and I’m glad to see President Biden has withdrawn his nomination.”

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End of Federal Unemployment Benefits Raises Questions About Fraud, Joblessness

Jobless Claims Surge

Federal unemployment benefits ended over the holiday weekend, raising questions about how the payments’ expiration will affect the job market and whether Congress will renew the benefits.

Congress passed the $300 weekly unemployment payments as a remedy to joblessness during the COVID pandemic when government restrictions forced the layoffs of millions of Americans, but critics have since said the federal benefits are contributing to an economic quandary: elevated unemployment alongside widespread job availability.

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Feds Say California Too Expensive to Welcome Afghan Refugees

Hashoo Foundation (HF) is implementing a project for the Afghan Refugees residing in I-12 Islamabad who were deprived from the basic needs of life. Hashoo Foundation with the support of United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and Gesellshaft Technische Zusamenarbeit (GTZ) has been able to establish two basic health units for males and females, initiate primary education system for the children and equip young people with some marketable skills such as tailoring, embroidery, motor winding and electrician.

by Cole Lauterbach   Afghan refugees looking to resettle in the U.S. are being discouraged from picking California as a destination, despite the state having significant Afghan population centers. In the days after the U.S. announced it would resettle refugees fleeing a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, governors across the country…

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Wisconsin Charter Schools Growing, Overcoming Law and Misperceptions

Wisconsin charter schools are on the rise despite legal hurdles and widespread myths.

First established in 1993, Wisconsin charter schools now number 235 with 14 schools listed as new since last year. That’s a 6% upward trend.

One of the schools listed as new is the Carmen Middle School of Science and Technology South Campus. The school was categorized as new because of a location move.

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Community Leaders Say Pandemic Widens Disparities in Rural Georgia

Georgia’s rural leaders said communities continue to face a lack of support from the state as the COVID-19 pandemic deteriorates the qualify of life in rural areas.

David Bridges, interim director of the Center for Rural Prosperity and Innovation, said the pandemic has exacerbated hurdles in educational attainment and health care access and shortages in the workforce in rural Georgia. Bridges stressed the need for aid in smaller towns and cities this week to the Georgia Legislature’s House Rural Development Council.

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Virginia Universities Start Kicking Out Unvaccinated Students

Some Virginia universities have started kicking out students who refused to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and other institutions may start following suit.

Virginia Tech disenrolled 134 students this week who did not receive the vaccine. Before that, the University of Virginia disenrolled 288 students, and William & Mary withdrew 42 students for the same reason. All three universities require students be vaccinated against COVID-19 unless they receive a medical or religious exemption.

“Of the approximately 37,000 students enrolled at Virginia Tech, 134 students were not in compliance with the COVID-19 vaccination requirement, meaning that they did not submit vaccination documentation or receive a medical or religious exemption,” a statement on Virginia Tech’s website read. “These students have been disenrolled. The university does not know whether any of these students were not planning to return for reasons unrelated to the COVID-19 vaccine requirement.”

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Biden Defends Withdrawal, Declares End of War in Afghanistan

President Joe Biden addressed the nation Tuesday afternoon, presenting a detailed defense of his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan and once again honoring the lives of the 13 U.S. service members killed in a terrorist attack last week.

Biden’s speech came the day of the deadline for withdrawing U.S. forces from the country. All U.S. troops were reportedly evacuated, though at least 100 Americans, possibly several hundred, remain.

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Home-Schooled Children Increased from 13 Thousand in 1973 to 5 Million in 2020

The number of children being home-schooled has grown from an estimated 13,000 in 1973 to 5 million, according to a report by the National Home Education Research Institute.

The home-school population has grown an estimated 2% to 8% annually, but in 2019 home-schooling began to increase dramatically, the report said.

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Commentary: The Puppet Master of the Republic

“Ya know, reality has a way of intruding. Reality eventually intrudes on everything.”

– Joe Biden

During last year’s Democratic primaries when everyone fumbled the ball, the leftist voters turned to socialist Bernie Sanders. Although the DNC figured Sanders would fizzle with baseline Democrats, they misread their comrades. When Sanders won California and Nevada, they hurriedly regrouped. Their strategy was to pair Joe Biden with a babysitter VP, and use them as their progressive shills.

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Questions over Federal Renters’ Assistance Linger After Eviction Moratorium Tossed

Billions of available federal dollars for rental assistance remain in limbo after the U.S. Supreme Court for a second time rejected President Joe Biden’s plans to perpetuate a federal eviction moratorium without Congressional approval.

“If a federally imposed eviction moratorium is to continue, Congress must specifically authorize it,” the court ruled in a 6-3 decision late Thursday, with the court’s three liberal justices dissenting.

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Wisconsin State Superintendent Calls Mask Protests ‘Noise,’ Pushes Masks and Vaccines

Wisconsin’s state superintendent is taking a swipe at parents who don’t want their kids to be forced to mask-up this school year.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Jill Underly on Wednesday wrote an op-ed that dismisses parents who are protesting mask mandates at their local schools.

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San Diego Border Patrol Encounters 7,300 Brazilian Nationals, a 2,200 Percent Increase in One Year

Since Oct. 1, 2020, San Diego Sector Border Patrol agents have apprehended more than 7,300 Brazilian nationals, an increase of more than 2,200% from the prior fiscal year. In all of fiscal 2020, 330 Brazilian nationals were apprehended, the sector reports.

Every month since April 2021, San Diego Border Patrol has encountered more than 1,000 Brazilian nationals who enter the U.S. illegally. In fiscal 2020, the sector apprehended six, the agency states.

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Nearly 8,700 Criminals Arrested at Southern Border in Past 10 Months, Including Repeat Sex Offenders

Crowd of immigrants

Over the past 10 months, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents have arrested 8,691 known criminals who have entered the U.S. illegally through the southern border. Combined, they have committed 12,685 crimes in the U.S., according to federal data.

Because Border Patrol agents do not have access to criminal records from other countries, they rely on information reported in the National Crime Information Center database. Many individuals arrested by Border Patrol are registered sex offenders who were previously convicted and served time in U.S. prisons. They were released and deported only to reenter the U.S. again illegally this year.

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U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Trump-Era ‘Stay in Mexico’ Policy

The U.S. Supreme Court late Tuesday denied the Biden administration’s request to stay a lower court’s ruling reinstating a former President Donald Trump’s “Stay in Mexico” policy.

The Trump-era policy requires immigrants seeking asylum to remain in Mexico while they navigate the court system to legally gain admittance into the U.S.

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Fifth Circuit Upholds Texas Abortion Ban

Woman holding an infant in her arms

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a 2017 Texas law outlawing a second trimester abortion procedure called D&E (dilation and evacuation), or dismemberment.

In 2017, the Texas legislature passed the Texas Dismemberment Abortion Ban with bipartisan support, making D&Es a felony and banning them from being performed except in the case of an emergency. After the law passed and before it went into effect, Whole Women’s Health, several Planned Parenthood groups, several doctors, and others, sued in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas.

The district court ruled in their favor, blocking the law from going into effect. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office appealed, and a three-judge panel on the Fifth Circuit upheld the lower court’s ruling last October.

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Missouri US Representatives, Hawley Push Probes, Bills Targeting Meatpacking Industry

There are more than 95,000 farms in Missouri with the Show Me State placing among the nation’s top 10 in terms of beef, chicken and pork production, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

But consolidation within the meatpacking industry – four firms (JBS, Tyson, Cargill, National Beef) control more than 80% of all the beef slaughtered in the United States – has long frustrated Missouri producers.

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FDA Fully Approves Pfizer’s COVID Vaccine

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave full approval Monday to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, a major step that will likely have significant implications for vaccination mandates nationwide. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines have not yet received full FDA authorization.

The Pfizer vaccine previously received FDA authorization, which allowed its emergency use but did not give the full approval. Pfizer is the first company to receive full approval in the U.S.

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State Senator from Wisconsin: Governor Evers Has Failed to Raise Refugee Concerns

The Wisconsin state senator who represents the towns around Fort McCoy has issued the strongest objection yet to the still murky plan to bring thousands of Afghan refugees to central Wisconsin.

Sen. Patrick Testin, R-Stevens Point, on Friday sent a strongly worded letter to Gov. Evers asking for answers about who the refugees are and where they will go once they arrive.

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Republicans Demand Update on Long-Awaited Durham Report

After two years of waiting for a federal report on allegations of Democratic spying on the Trump campaign, Republicans are demanding answers.

More than 40 Republican U.S. senators sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland Thursday requesting the release of the Durham report, the long-awaited results of an investigation into the controversial origins of the FBI investigation into Russian collusion.

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After Recall, Newsom to Require COVID Vaccine Proof or Negative Test at Smaller Indoor Events

Californians wanting to attend events with more than 1,000 people will have to prove they have received a COVID-19 vaccine.

The California Department of Public Health announced attending indoor events with 1,000 or more guests will require either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within the last 72 hours. The requirement previously was triggered at events with 5,000 or more attendees.

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Whitmer Calls on Michigan Utilities to Boost Payments to Customers Suffering Power Outages

In letter a letter collectively addressed to the state’s electricity providers, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called for increased credits for residents who have endured power outages this summer.

“More than 750,000 Michiganders lost power over the last few weeks, with some outages lasting up to a week on some of the hottest days of the year,” the governor said in a statement. “Outages like these lead to fridges full of spoiled food, interfere with life-saving medical equipment, disrupt the workday, and exacerbate the dangers of unmitigated hot weather. We need tangible, immediate action from Michigan’s three largest utility companies to ensure the production and delivery of affordable, reliable energy to every family, community, and small business.”

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Coalition Files Lawsuit Against Two Arizona Voting Laws, Claiming Voter Suppression

A coalition of groups filed a lawsuit against two voting laws passed in the last session, arguing that the statutes could disenfranchise thousands of voters. 

Mi Familia Vota, Arizona Coalition for Change, Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA), and Chispa Arizona alleged in the lawsuit filed on Aug. 17 that the bills “violate the right of all Arizonans to vote.”

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Wisconsin Republicans Ask Judge to Toss ‘Obstructionist’ Redistricting Lawsuit

Republicans in Wisconsin say Democrats are running to court before they’ve even had a chance to draw a new political map.

The Republican-led legislature on Tuesday filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit from a handful of voters that asks the federal court to draw Wisconsin’s new political map.

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Northam: Virginia Willing to Take in Thousands of Afghan Refugees

As the Taliban continues to take over the government of Afghanistan, Virginia is willing to take in thousands of Afghan refugees, Gov. Ralph Northam announced on Twitter.

“Last week I was honored to meet some of the thousands of Afghan citizens and families who have sought refuge at Fort Lee in Virginia,” Northam tweeted. “I’m coordinating with [Washington] DC and have made it clear: we’re ready and willing to take thousands more. Virginia will continue to serve as [a] safe harbor.”

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Gov. Kemp Signs Order Blocking COVID-19 Mandates on Georgia Businesses

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed an executive order Thursday that blocks local governments from mandating COVID-19 restrictions on businesses.

Private sector businesses and sports teams can follow local COVID-19 requirements if they chose, but Kemp’s order stops them from being required to do so.

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Joblessness Continues Downward Trend

Help wanted sign

The latest federal jobs report shows a dip in new unemployment claims, but those figures still remain higher than pre-pandemic levels.

The Department of Labor reported Thursday that 348,000 Americans filed for first-time unemployment benefits last week, a decrease of 29,000 from the previous week. That number is the lowest since March 2020.

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Wisconsin Leaders React to Afghan Refugees Coming to the State

There are more questions than answers about the likely thousands of Afghans who are coming to Wisconsin.

The Pentagon on Tuesday said 22,000 Afghan refugees will be sent to military bases in Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin. The Wisconsin base is Fort McCoy.

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Michigan Bill Aims to Ban Employers from Requiring Vaccines, Masks

Lawmakers heard testimony on House Bill 4471, which aims to ban employers from requiring certain vaccines and wearing masks.

The bill aims to ban employers from firing or discriminating against employees who choose not to get certain vaccinations, including tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, or COVID-19, or making them wear masks or disclosing vaccination status.

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Biden Gears Up for Renewed Fight Against Oil and Gas

A federal judge has ruled the Biden administration must resume allowing oil and gas leasing on federal land and waters, but the administration is saying it will not go down without a fight.

The Biden administration said it will appeal a court ruling allowing the leases, the latest development in a months-long battle between President Joe Biden and the oil and gas industry, even as gas prices continue to rise.

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Feds: Vaccinated Americans Will Need Booster Shots

The Biden administration announced Wednesday that federal health experts now recommend vaccinated Americans receive a COVID booster shot.

The boosters will be widely distributed to the public after research indicated that the vaccine’s effectiveness declines over time.

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Despite Resigning in Disgrace, Cuomo Stands to Collect Substantial Pension

A majority of New York lawmakers were ready to remove Gov. Andrew Cuomo from office over misconduct allegations, a removal that was only averted by his resignation. But despite the near-universal condemnation of his actions as governor, Cuomo still stands to earn a substantial pension from taxpayers for his time in office.

News reports this week indicate that Cuomo has filed for his pension as the date when he has promised to resign, Aug, 24, draws near.

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Redistricting Lawsuit Filed, Democratic Groups Want Wisconsin Courts to Draw Maps Immediately

Less than 24 hours after the U.S. Census Bureau delivered Wisconsin’s 2020 Census numbers, a handful of voters have filed a lawsuit to toss out the state’s current political map, and have judges skip the legislature and draw new maps on their own.

The lawsuit will be heard in federal court in Madison. It argues that because of the Census data, the state’s current congressional and legislative maps are out of date, and cannot be used in any upcoming elections.

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Michigan’s Tlaib Rakes in Rental Income While Pushing Eviction Moratorium

Congresswoman and “Squad” member Rashida Tlaib, D-MI, is under fire for pushing to cancel rent during the COVID-19 pandemic while at the same time raking in up to $50,000 in rental income. Fox reported Tlaib’s 2020 financial disclosure.

Tlaib has built her brand as a fighter for the people, advocating for eviction moratoriums, saying landlords “prey on single moms” and insinuating landlords unfairly take money from vulnerable people. 

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Federal Court Sides with Biden’s Eviction Moratorium, for Now

Eviction Notice

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., ruled Friday against a challenge to President Joe Biden’s latest eviction moratorium.

U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich denied a request from the Alabama and Georgia association of Realtors to overturn an eviction moratorium from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The 60-day order bans landlords from evicting tenants, even if they do not pay rent, citing concerns over the spread of COVID-19.

“About half of all housing providers are mom-and-pop operators, and without rental income, they cannot pay their own bills or maintain their properties,” National Association of Realtors President Charlie Oppler said. “NAR has always advocated the best solution for all parties was rental assistance paid directly to housing providers to cover the rent and utilities of any vulnerable tenants during the pandemic. No housing provider wants to evict a tenant and considers it only as a last resort.”

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Illegal immigration, Drug Seizures Spike in July

New federal reporting shows illegal immigration has continued to grow worse as the Biden administration increasingly takes heat for the crisis at the southern border.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection released new immigration data that shows border agents encountered 212,672 undocumented migrants attempting to enter the country illegally in July, the highest number in more than two decades.

“The situation at the border is one of the toughest challenges we face,” Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said. “It is complicated, changing, and involves vulnerable people at a time of a global pandemic.”

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Rising Inflation Could Mean Largest Social Security Increase Since 1983

Person counting cash

Rising inflation and the price increases that come with it may lead to the highest raise for senior citizens in decades.

The Senior Citizens League predicted Thursday that the annual cost-of-living adjustment for 2022 Social Security payments could be the highest since 1983. The prediction comes as federal data this week showed two major signs of inflation, continuing a trend that has worsened this year.

“The estimate is significant because the COLA is based on the average of the July, August and September CPI data,” said Mary Johnson, a Social Security policy analyst for The Senior Citizens League. “With one third of the data needed to calculate the COLA already in, it increasingly appears that the COLA for 2022 will be the highest paid since 1983 when it was 7.4%.”

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Michigan School Charged Parents $400,000 for FOIA Compliance in CRT Battle

A group of Michigan parents was asked to fork over approximately $400,000 by the Forest Hills Public Schools before the district would comply with a Freedom of Information Act request they had submitted. The district later lowered the cost to about $2,200.

The FOIA was sent to FHPS on May 11. The request sought “any and all writings” that used such words as equity, diversity and inclusion.

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‘Pathetic’: U.S. Energy Supporters Blast Biden Administration’s OPEC Request

With gasoline prices up more than $1 a gallon over the past year, the Biden administration took heat Wednesday over a statement from National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan pressuring OPEC nations to increase oil production.

“Higher gasoline costs, if left unchecked, risk harming the ongoing global recovery. The price of crude oil has been higher than it was at the end of 2019, before the onset of the pandemic,” Sullivan said. “While OPEC+ recently agreed to production increases, these increases will not fully offset previous production cuts that OPEC+ imposed during the pandemic until well into 2022. At a critical moment in the global recovery, this is simply not enough.”

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Biden Endorses Vaccine Requirement for Armed Services

A new requirement from the U.S. armed forces has sparked controversy and furthered the debate over mandating the COVID-19 vaccine.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin wrote a memo to Department of Defense employees Monday announcing that the COVID-19 vaccine will be added to the list of required vaccines for all service members.

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Farmers Cry Foul over Biden’s Death Tax Proposal

Woman with ball cap on, out in the fields of a farm

President Joe Biden has proposed amending the inheritance tax, also known as the “death tax,” but farmers around the country are raising concerns about the plan.

In the American Families Plan introduced earlier this year, Biden proposed repealing the “step-up in basis” in tax law. The stepped-up basis is a tax provision that allows an heir to report the value of an asset at the time of inheriting it, essentially not paying gains taxes on how much the assets increased in value during the lifetime of the deceased. This allows heirs to avoid gains taxes altogether if they sell the inheritance immediately.

Under Biden’s change, heirs would be forced to pay taxes on the appreciation of the assets, potentially over the entire lifetime of the recently deceased relative. 

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Atlanta, Dallas, Tampa, and St. Louis Among the Cities Experiencing the Highest Consumer Price Spikes

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Reserve Bank and Congress have taken unprecedented steps to stabilize the economy after entire industries and sectors ground to a halt last year amidst the public health crisis. The Fed has kept interest rates near zero, created lending programs to pump trillions of dollars into the economy, and bought securities to support financial markets. Congress passed three major COVID-19 stimulus packages in response to the crisis: the $2.2 trillion CARES Act in March 2020, the $900 billion Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act in December 2020, and the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan in March 2021.

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