Atlanta Police Got More Money, Not Less, After George Floyd’s Death

The head of an Atlanta suburb made national news when he said that his neighborhood is considering seceding from Atlanta due, in part, to the “defund the police” movement’s impact on public safety.

Buckhead City Committee CEO Bill White said June 28 on Fox & Friends First that an increase in crime was the reason for wanting to leave and criticized then-Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms for supporting the defund the police movement. Buckhead has a population of approximately 100,000 people.

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Congress Addresses Private Equity, Corporations’ ‘Predatory Purchasing’ of Homes as Americans Struggle with Rising Prices

Americans are finding it increasingly difficult to purchase an affordable home as large investors increase their market share. The House Financial Services Committee held a hearing Tuesday to address private equity ownership of single-family rentals and the impact it’s having on average Americans. 

“Today’s hearing will examine troubling issues regarding the mass predatory purchasing of single-family homes by private equity firms,” said Rep. Al Green, D-Texas.

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California Leaks Personal Information of Legal Gun Owners

A new dashboard from the California Attorney General’s office has leaked the personal information of thousands of the state’s gun owners.

The California Department of Justice launched its 2022 Firearms Dashboard Portal on Monday. The portal featured data on the state’s gun purchases as well as concealed carry license holders. 

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Bill Would Give Drone Pilots Same Tax-Free Status as Soldiers in Combat Zones

New federal legislation would give drone operators stationed on American soil the same tax benefits given to soldiers stationed in a combat zone. 

U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., along with Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., announced legislation Wednesday that would expand the Combat Zone Tax Exclusion to remotely piloted aircraft crews operating missions in combat zones. The eligibility would allow Air Force remotely piloted aircraft missions flown out of Nevada’s Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs to qualify. 

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Appeals Court Grants Temporary Stay in Juul Fight Against FDA Banning Its E-Cigarettes

A federal appeals court on Friday granted a request for a temporary stay to vape manufacturer Juul Labs Inc. in its fight against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s ban of its e-cigarettes from being sold in the U.S.

The FDA issued marketing denial orders (MDOs) Thursday and said JUUL’s current inventory being sold in the U.S. “must be removed, or risk enforcement action.”

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Individuals Call for Assassination of Justice Clarence Thomas after Roe v. Wade Ruling

Individuals have been calling on social media for the assassination of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas after he issued a separate concurring opinion on Friday in a ruling that struck down Roe v. Wade. Abortion activists have also published his home address, and others have called to burn down the Supreme Court.

The U.S. Supreme Court overturned two landmark abortion cases, Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, returning the legality of abortion to the states. Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the majority and Justice Thomas wrote a solo concurring opinion in which he argued that the Supreme Court should also reconsider rulings on contraception, same-sex relationships and marriage.

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26 Attorneys General Urge Supreme Court to Reverse California’s Agricultural Animal Confinement Law

Attorneys general from 26 states are urging the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a lower-court decision upholding a California law banning the raising or importing pork, veal or eggs if the animals are confined.

The Supreme Court announced on March 28 that it would hear the pork industry’s challenge to California’s Proposition 12, a law restricting confinement practices in animal agriculture. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments on Oct. 11.

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Biden Signs Bipartisan Gun Control Measure Supported by 29 Republicans

President Joe Biden on Saturday signed bipartisan gun control legislation meant to take guns out of the hands of individuals deemed a threat, though critics say that’s a violation of due process rights. The measure also imposes more thorough background checks on buyers under the age of 21.

It does not include a ban on AR-15-style weapons or limit the number of bullets in magazines.

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Georgia Republicans Hopeful That State Can Reinstitute Fetal Heartbeat Law That Restricts Abortion

Friday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling on abortion could allow Georgia to reinstitute its fetal heartbeat law that bars most abortions after about six weeks.

On Friday, the nation’s highest court overturned Planned Parenthood v. Casey and Roe v. Wade, a ruling that established abortion as a constitutional right. The opinion comes in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a challenge to Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban.

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Federal Reserve Chair Powell Says During Senate Hearing That a Recession Is Possible

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the U.S. could enter into a recession when questioned Wednesday during a Senate Banking Committee hearing.

Confronted about 40-year-high inflation and the Fed raising interest rates in response, Powell said he couldn’t know for sure but said a recession, defined as a significant decline in economic activity over time, is possible.

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U.S. Senate Reaches Agreement on Gun Control Bill

The U.S. Senate voted late Tuesday to advance a gun control bill with 14 Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, joining Democrats to approve the measure.

The vote was reached after weeks of negotiating a bipartisan bill in response to the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, in which a gunman shot and killed 19 children and two teachers.

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Poll: Majority of Republicans, Independents Fear Abuse of ‘Red Flag’ Laws

The majority of Republican and Independent voters think “red flag” gun laws that allow judges to confiscate individuals’ firearms can be abused for political reasons, according to a new poll.

Convention of States Action, along with the Trafalgar Group, released polling data Wednesday that shows that 72.2% of Republicans and 52.3% of Independents “believe that ‘red flag’ gun control laws that are designed to temporarily take guns away from individuals have the potential to be abused by local authorities and government officials to disarm their political opponents and/or citizens who disagree with them.”

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Report: World’s First Trillionaires Could Be from Texas

The world’s first trillionaires could be from Texas, according to a new analysis of the 30 richest people in the world.

A new report published by the software company Tipalti Approve estimates that newly relocated Texas resident, Tesla CEO and billionaire Elon Musk, could become the world’s first trillionaire by 2024. Houston native and Dell Technologies CEO Michael Dell could become a trillionaire by 2033.

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Lawmakers Say Documents Show DHS Head Misled Congress About Disinformation Board, Demand Hearing

Several Republican senators are demanding a hearing saying they received documents from a Department of Homeland Security whistleblower about the agency’s new disinformation governance board that allegedly show DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas misled a Senate committee when he testified about the board last month.

The lawmakers sent a letter this week to Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee asking for a hearing on the issue where Mayorkas could come back for questioning.

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Georgia Ports Authority Moved Record Number of Containers in May from Port of Savannah

The Georgia Ports Authority moved a record number of twenty-foot equivalent container units in May, eclipsing the previous record set in October 2021.

The movement of 519,388 TEUs at the Port of Savannah in May topped the 504,347 TEUs moved in October 2021. GPA’s May volumes grew by 40,768 TEUs, or roughly 8.5%, compared to May 2021.

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More Teachers, Fewer Students Nationwide Despite Claims of Teacher Shortage

The number of teachers in the U.S. has increased from 2013 to 2020 while the number of students has decreased, according to data from the National Education Association, the nation’s largest public-school union.

While total enrollment has dropped 1.4% over those seven years, there has been a 2.3% increase in the number of public-school teachers.

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Total Southern Border Encounters, ‘Gotaways’ Greater Than Population of 23 U.S. States

President Joe Biden and his administration insist the southwest U.S. border is closed and federal immigration laws are being enforced.

But since Biden took office, more than 3 million people have been encountered/apprehended entering the U.S. illegally from over 150 countries, according to Customs and Border Patrol data. And that number doesn’t include so-called “gotaways,” the term used for those crossing the border illegally who evade capture.

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DeSantis: Texas Should Be Sending Illegal Immigrants Back to Mexico

Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says Texas shouldn’t be allowing illegal immigrants to enter the state, echoing sentiments conservative Texans have been arguing for over a year.

“What Texas needs to do is just send them [illegal immigrants] back across the border,” Gov. DeSantis said at a recent press conference in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. “Who cares what the Feds are saying. They aren’t doing their job.

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Border Patrol Records Another Record High of Apprehensions, Encounters at Southern Border in May

Crowd of immigrants

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol published official data Thursday for apprehensions and encounters May: the highest monthly total in recorded U.S. history of 239,416.

CBP published the data after The Center Square published preliminary numbers received from a Border Patrol agent.

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Republican Attorneys General, 26 of 27, Challenge New Sex-Based Discrimination Federal Guidance

Half of the state attorneys general in the country want the Biden administration to walk back new federal guidance on sex-based discrimination for schools and other organizations that receive federal money for food programs.

The AGs, 26 of the 27 Republicans in those offices across the country, claim in a letter to President Biden the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s guidance means states, local agencies and programs that receive federal food dollars through the Food and Nutrition Act and the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program could lose funding if they don’t comply, including in hiring practices.

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Retail Sales Fall in May as Prices Continue to Rise

The U.S. Census Bureau Wednesday released advance estimates of U.S. retail sales which showed those sales fell 0.4% in May.

Motor vehicle and parts dealers took the biggest hit, with sales dropping 3.5%. Electronics and appliance stores sales decreased 1.3%. Furniture and home furniture stores, as well as health and personal care stores, also experienced a decrease in sales.

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Largest Pork Packer Leaving California

Another company is leaving California, this time the largest pork packer in the U.S.

Smithfield Foods, Inc., announced it is closing its Vernon, California, facility and reducing its hog production in the western U.S. region, citing as its reason the “escalating cost of doing business in California.”

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IRS Destroyed 30 Million Tax Filing Documents, Lawmakers Demand Answers

Outside of IRS building

The Internal Revenue Service has been under fire for delays and millions of backlogged returns, but now lawmakers are raising the alarm after the federal agency “destroyed” millions of Americans’ tax documents.

Republicans on the House Oversight Committee sent a letter to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig this week asking for answers about why these records were destroyed.

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Foreign Investment in U.S. Farmland May Be a National Security Issue, According to Expert

Foreign investment in U.S. farmland has tripled in the past 10 years, reporters at a non-profit investigative journalism group found.

Investigate Midwest used U.S. Department of Agriculture data to call attention to this trend. Farmer Joe Maxwell, co-founder of the group Farm Action, told The Center Square that control of U.S. farmland by foreign investors is worrisome on a number of fronts.

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Taxpayer Funding for NFL, Other Pro Sports Stadiums Grows Exponentially

Over the next nine years, more than half of the stadiums in the National Football League will reach 30 years of age, or the age at which stadiums are generally replaced, according to economist J.C. Bradbury of Kennesaw State University in Georgia.

The model for replacement is trending more toward the taxpayer-supported efforts being pitched for the Tennessee Titans and Buffalo Bills than it is strictly team-owner funded stadiums such as the $5 billion SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, home of the Chargers and Super Bowl-champion Rams.

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Unfunded State Pension Liabilities Grow to $8.28 Trillion

Unfunded state pension liabilities have climbed to $8.28 trillion, or nearly $25,000 for every person in the United States, according to a new report from the American Legislative Exchange Council.

The American Legislative Exchange Council released the latest edition of its report on pensions in all 50 states Thursday. The report, “Unaccountable and Unaffordable 2021,” shows just a handful of states with outsize pension liabilities account for a large share of overall pension debt in the U.S. 

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Georgia Tax Revenues Continue to Climb as Tax Collections Up by $5.8 Billion

Georgia saw its May tax revenues increase by 1.6% from a year ago as tax collections approached $2.7 billion for the month.

This fiscal year, state general fund receipts exceeded $30.2 billion. That represents a 23.9%, or more than $5.8 billion, increase over collections last fiscal year, which exceeded $24.3 billion at the same point.

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Georgia to Receive $9.1 Million in Federal Funds for State-Owned Railroads

The federal government is sending more than $9.1 million for a pair of rehabilitation projects on Georgia-owned Class III railroads.

The Federal Railroad Administration will provide nearly $6.2 million to the Heart of Georgia and roughly $2.9 million to the Georgia Southwestern Railroad. The Georgia Department of Transportation owns both lines, and the state will provide a 50% match for the projects.

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Nearly 10,000-Person Caravan Heading to U.S. from Mexico, Saying Biden Will Give Them Asylum

A caravan of thousands of people heading to the U.S. has reportedly left from Tapachula, Mexico, a city located less than 10 miles from the Mexico-Guatemala border.

The timing of their departure was planned to coincide with the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, which began Monday. President Joe Biden, who’s still not been to the U.S. southern border, spoke at the summit Wednesday.

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Yellen to Testify on Biden Budget After Admitting She Was Wrong on Inflation

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will testify before the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday, just days after she admitted she was wrong about inflation earlier in President Joe Biden’s term.

The hearing, which is on “the president’s fiscal year 2023 budget” will only feature testimony from Yellen, according to the committee’s website.

Biden’s budget likely will be under extra scrutiny as gas prices continue to hit record highs and inflation rises at the fastest level in decades.

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Second Amendment Foundation Sues over Washington’s High-Capacity Magazine Ban

The Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation on Friday filed a federal lawsuit against Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson and several other officials, challenging the state’s ban on large-capacity magazines for handguns and rifles.

Senate Bill 5078 prohibits the sale of gun magazines with a capacity of more than 10 rounds, along with the manufacturing, distribution or import of such magazines in Washington.

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Average U.S. Gas Price Surges to $4.85 a Gallon

In what has become a seemingly every day occurrence, gas prices rose to a new record high Sunday as the national average approaches $5 a gallon.

Nine states already have surpassed the $5 threshold, and several others are just pennies away.

According to AAA, the average cost of a gallon of regular gasoline reached $4.85 Sunday, up an additional three cents from Saturday and 24 cents from last week.

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As Food Prices Soar with No End in Sight, Americans Change Habits

Americans are changing their shopping habits because of soaring food prices. And disruptions in the international farming community have some worried about the food supply heading into 2023.

The BMO Real Financial Progress Index, a quarterly survey from BMO and Ipsos, shows that 42% of surveyed adults “are changing how they shop for groceries,” including “opting for cheaper items, avoiding brand names and buying only the essentials.”

The report found “46% are either dining out less or consciously spending less when dining out.”

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Georgia Senate Committees to Study Growth of Electric Vehicles Statewide and HBCU Expansion

Several state Senate committees will explore topics ranging from the electrification of transportation to how the state can support growth at historically Black colleges and universities.

The Joint Study Committee on the Electrification of Transportation, established by Senate Resolution 463 and running until the end of the year, will, in part, explore how to build electric vehicle charging infrastructure across the state. Georgia officials have announced more than 20 EV-related projects since 2020.

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ACLU Says Georgia’s New Voting Law Is a Burden for Local Governments, State Officials Disagree

The delayed certification of DeKalb County’s May 24 election is proof that Georgia’s new voting law is burdening local officials, the ACLU of Georgia says.

However, state officials disagree with the organization, saying the state’s new election law has no bearing on local elections issues.

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Quarter of Americans Will Delay Retirement Because of Inflation, Survey Says

Millions of Americans say the likely will have to push back their retirement because of rising inflation, newly released financial survey data found.

The BMO Real Financial Progress Index, a quarterly survey from BMO and Ipsos, showed that a quarter of Americans will likely need to delay their retirement because of higher prices.

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Pedestrian Deaths Increase in Georgia and Officials Blame Speeding and Distracted Driving

Georgia is increasingly dangerous for pedestrians, and a new analysis revealed the state outpaces the increase nationally.

In 2021, the number of pedestrian traffic fatalities in The Peach State increased by 45.6% from 2019 and 23.8% from 2020, according to an analysis from the Governors Highway Safety Association. But it’s not just a Georgia problem; the organization’s review found that the 7,485 pedestrian traffic deaths nationwide in 2021 was a 16.7% increase from 2019 and an 11.5% increase from 2020.

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Congressional Budget Office: Debt to Surpass GDP at Record Level over Next Decade

The Congressional Budget Office released its economic outlook for the next decade and projected record high debt levels compared to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.

The CBO projected a decrease in the deficit compared to the major COVID-era spending spree that helped fuel inflation to its current high levels.

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Universities Reinstate Mask Mandates Around the Country

As the school year draws to an end, American universities around the country are reinstating mask mandates.

The University of California Los Angeles sent out an email to its students on May 26, stating that its mask mandate “will go back into effect beginning Friday, May 27 and remain in place through Wednesday, June 15.”

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Georgia Taxpayers to Provide $3 Million Grant for New Jack Link’s Snack Meat Plant

Georgia awarded a $3 million grant for a new Jack Link’s manufacturing facility in Perry to help upgrade infrastructure.

The company plans to build a 500,000-square-foot snack meat production plant as part of a $450 million investment, a project that officials nicknamed “Project Birdcage.” The new facility is on a 120-acre Georgia Ready for Accelerated Development certified site near Interstate 75 in Houston County.

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Georgia to Create Behavioral Threat Assessment Teams to Improve School Safety

Georgia is working to create Behavioral Threat Assessment Teams throughout the state as a part of a broader school safety effort.

Eight regional Homeland Security Coordinators, all sworn law enforcement officers, will lead the teams and respond to threats or concerning behavior that may be considered a pathway to violence. The BTATs will provide help and guidance to local schools and communities to mitigate potential threats.

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Poll: Families Cancel Vacations, Summer Camp Because of Inflation

A majority of surveyed American families are worried about inflation and are changing their summer vacation plans because of it, according to newly released polling data.

The poll, from Echelon Insights, found that “75% of parents say they are concerned about the rising cost of everyday purchases like food or gas.”

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Kemp Ponders Extending Georgia Motor Fuel Tax Suspension

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has not said whether he would seek to extend the state’s motor fuel tax suspension when it expires at the end of May. However, during a Wednesday morning interview with an Atlanta radio station, the governor indicated an announcement might be looming.

“I know Georgians need it; they’re getting killed at the pump right now, and they’re getting killed at the grocery store because of [President Joe] Biden’s 40-year high inflation, and quite honestly, … just bad policies in Washington, DC, like our domestic energy supply policy,” Kemp, a Republican, told WSB Radio.

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Gas Prices Hit Record High Every Day for Past Two Weeks

Gas prices have soared to new heights this month with the price of unleaded regular gas hitting a record high every day for the past two weeks. With Memorial Day weekend approaching, motorists face steep costs if they plan to travel.

According to AAA, the national average regular unleaded gas price Tuesday came in at $4.60, a record high. Diesel gasoline is at $5.55 per gallon, just below the record set last week.

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Georgia Ports Authority to Spend $430 Million to Improve Container Port in Savannah

The Georgia Ports Authority plans to spend roughly $430 million on infrastructure improvements at the Port of Savannah.

Of the $430 million, GPA is covering $395.4 million, funded through the authority’s proceeds. The federal government is chipping in a $34.6 million grant.

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IRS Under Fire over Wasted Billions of Dollars and Millions in Backlogs

Lawmakers continued to raise concerns about the Internal Revenue Service at a Congressional hearing this week as the agency deals with billions in misspent dollars, hefty processing backlogs, and complaints over poor customer service.

Lawmakers lobbed questions at the tax-collecting agency during the House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee hearing.

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