A “guinea pig.” That is what Sandy, Utah Mayor Monica Zoltanski said that “ranked-choice voting” (RCV) made of her hometown. The town opted into Utah’s controversial RCV pilot program, but the experiment has not gone well. The cost-saving promised by proponents never materialized, but the real alarm bells should have sounded when the experiment produced voter confusion and voter disengagement.Read More
Review of 2020 Election Continues as Texas, Pennsylvania Counties Find Ballot Total Discrepancies
An audit of the 2020 election found a discrepancy of nearly 600 absentee votes in a Texas county, while a hand recount in a Pennsylvania county found a far smaller disparity, as more states seek to implement election reviews.
In Smith County, Texas, an audit of the 2020 election showed 584 more absentee voters than absentee ballots, according to KLTV, a local ABC News affiliate. Seven county races were within the 584-vote margin of error, including council races and propositional elections. The audit also found five different totals for absentee ballots.Read More
Half of the US No Longer Requires a Permit for Concealed Carry
Half of the states in the U.S. no longer require residents to hold a concealed carry permit to carry firearms in public after Alabama, Indiana, Georgia and Ohio passed laws in 2022 removing permit requirements.
On Monday, Alabama began enforcing its permitless carry law, becoming the 25th state to do so, while Indiana, Georgia and Ohio also passed laws this year allowing residents to concealed carry firearms without a permit. Over the last two years 10 states have moved to permitless carry, including Utah, Montana, Iowa, Tennessee, Arkansas and Texas.Read More
Tennessee, Georgia, and Virginia Among 18 States Banning Social Media App TikTok from State Devices
Following South Dakota GOP Gov. Kristi Noem’s lead, nearly half of U.S. states have put restrictions on or banned the use of Chinese-based social media app TikTok.
At least 19 states have banned TikTok on government-issued devices – Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Idaho, Iowa, Maryland, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utha, Virginia and West Virginia.Read More
Commentary: Republicans Can Thank the Federal Government’s Bungled 2020 Census for Their Razor-Thin House Majority
Republicans will soon take control of the House of Representatives, but with a margin so narrow it may prove difficult to achieve their legislative and oversight objectives. That margin might have been larger, were it not for egregious errors made by the U.S. Census Bureau in the 2020 census.
Come January, House membership will consist of 213 Democrats and 222 Republicans. A party must hold 218 of those seats to control the House. Thus, Republicans will have only a four-seat majority. That extremely narrow majority means that GOP leadership can lose any vote on any issue if only four Republicans defect and the Democrats stay united in opposition.Read More
Utah to Emphasize LGBTQ and Minority Communities in Middle School Social Studies Classes
The Utah Board of Education passed social studies standards on Thursday for middle schoolers, emphasizing LGBTQ and minority communities, according to Fox 13 News.
The standards for fifth and sixth graders reflect an emphasis on diversity with a focus on minority and LGBTQ communities, John Arthur, a Utah middle school teacher who helped craft the standards said, according to Fox 13 News. The revisions, the first in more than a decade, faced backlash from parental rights in education groups such as Utah Parents United, who said the standards are “indoctrinating” students and promoting “social justice.”Read More
Georgia Set to Receive Part of a Nearly $400 Million Settlement from Google over Location-Tracking Probe
Google agreed to a $391.5 million settlement with 40 states after an investigation found that the tech giant participated in questionable location-tracking practices, state attorneys general announced Monday.
Connecticut Attorney General William Tong called it a “historic win for consumers.”Read More
Republican Treasurers Pull $1 Billion from BlackRock over Alleged Anti-Fossil Fuel Policies
Republican state treasurers are withdrawing $1 billion in assets from BlackRock’s control due to the asset manager’s alleged boycott of the fossil fuel industry, according to the Financial Times.
Republican South Carolina State Treasurer Curtis Loftus is pulling $200 million from BlackRock by the end of 2022, and Louisiana treasurer John Schroder said on Oct. 5 that he is divesting $794 million from the company, according to the FT. Utah treasurer Marlo Oaks said he removed $100 million in funds from BlackRock’s control, and Arkansas treasurer Dennis Milligan pulled $125 million from the company in March.Read More
Commentary: ESG Cancel Culture Comes for State Financial Officers
As the leader of a nonprofit group whose mission is to promote economic freedom, sound public policy, and responsible financial management at the state level, I’m honored to help our nation’s financial officers practice good stewardship of taxpayer dollars. Their work often includes managing pension funds that are vital to millions of Americans’ retirement security. Over the past few years, a growing threat called ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) has been negatively impacting state pension systems, ultimately putting retirees at risk. Sadly, our nation’s state financial officers and the retirees they have a fiduciary responsibility to protect are increasingly under siege by ESG ideologues who are motivated by politics rather than economics.Read More
Utah School District Gives Parents Option to Identify Their Children as Transgender or Non-Binary
Parents in a Utah school district are being given the option to choose if their elementary-school-aged children are transgender or non-binary when registering their students for school, according to a screenshot obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.Read More
21 States Join Lawsuit to End Federal Mask Mandate on Airplanes, Public Transportation
Twenty-one states have filed a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s continued mask mandate on public transportation, including on airplanes.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Attorney General Ashley Moody are leading the effort. Moody filed the suit in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida along with 20 other attorneys general. DeSantis said the mask mandate was misguided and heavy-handed.Read More
Sixteen States File New Lawsuit Against Federal COVID Vaccination Mandate
Sixteen states again are challenging a federal COVID-19 vaccination mandate for health care workers who work at facilities that receive Medicare and Medicaid funding.
Friday’s filing in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana comes after the issuance of final guidance on the mandate from the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS), arguing the guidance is an action that is reviewable.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled by 5-4 vote Jan. 13 against the original Louisiana challenge to the mandate and a similar Missouri filing.Read More
‘Devastating’: Biden Ignores Lawmakers’ Pleas, Orders Massive Expansion of Utah Monuments
President Joe Biden will order the Department of the Interior Friday to vastly expand two Utah monuments which the Trump administration reduced in size.
The president will restore protections for both the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante monuments located in Utah, the White House announced. Biden’s order will re-expand the monuments from their reduced size of slightly more than 1 million acres to 3.2 million acres.Read More
Commentary: Reject Federal Takeover of Elections – Again
Yogi Berra once said, “It’s déjà vu all over again.”
That is exactly how Americans must feel as they learn that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is trying to ram through another bill orchestrating a federal takeover of elections, despite the previous failed attempt in the Senate.
The bill, H.R. 4, is expected to come up in the House of Representatives this week, and it is stunning in its breadth. In short, Pelosi would give broad, sweeping powers to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division to rewrite every state and local election law in the country.Read More
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.Read More
Utah School Board Member Arrested for Soliciting Child Pornography
On Wednesday, a Utah school board member was arrested on charges of using social media to solicit child pornography from students, the Daily Caller reports.
The suspect is 29-year-old Joel-Lehi Organista, who had recently been elected to the Salt Lake City School Board after having previously taught at Horizonte High School. He faces eight felony counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. The authorities were led to him by a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which alleged that Organista had child pornography downloaded onto his Dropbox account. A subsequent search of his computer confirmed this, and Organista was arrested.
Following his arrest, he “admitted to having downloaded, viewed, and kept the images and videos containing child pornography.” One of his chief tactics was to use the social media app SnapChat to message children between the ages of 12 and 17, asking them for nude photos and other inappropriate material. He first started sending such messages and downloading such content in January, shortly after he became the youngest board member in the board’s history upon his election in January.Read More
New Utah Law Requires Biological Fathers to Pay 50 Percent of Mother’s Pregnancy Costs
A new Utah law will require the father of an unborn baby to pay half of the costs of the pregnancy.
HB 113 requires that the father of the unborn baby pay 50% of the mother’s insurance premiums during the pregnancy, as well as “pregnancy-related medical costs, including the hospital birth of the child, that are not paid by another person.”Read More
13 States Sue Biden Administration, Demand Ability to Cut Taxes
Thirteen states sued President Joe Biden’s administration over an American Rescue Plan provision prohibiting states from cutting taxes after accepting coronavirus relief funds.
The 13-state coalition argued that the provision included in the Democrats’ $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package preventing states from cutting taxes if they accept relief from the federal government is unconstitutional. The coalition, led by Republican West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, filed the federal lawsuit Wednesday evening in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama.
“Never before has the federal government attempted such a complete takeover of state finances,” Morrisey said in a Wednesday statement. “We cannot stand for such overreach.”Read More
21 States Sue Biden Admin for Revoking Keystone XL Permit
A group of red states sued President Biden and members of his administration on Wednesday over his decision to revoke a key permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline, The Hill reported.
The lawsuit is led by Montana and Texas, and backed by 19 other states, including Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.Read More
Mitt Romney: 84 Percent Approval Rating with Utah Democrats
Republican Utah Sen. Mitt Romney is far more popular with Democrats and unaffiliated voters than he is in his own party, The Daily Caller reports.
The 2012 Republican presidential nominee has an impressive 84 percent approval rating among Utah Democrats, while only a third of GOP voters approve of what he is doing.Read More
Utah Tribe Calls Biden’s Order on New Oil Drilling a ‘Direct Attack’ on Its Economy
A Native American tribe in Utah said a Biden administration order blocking new permits to drill for oil and gas on federal lands is a “direct attack” on its economy and sovereignty.
The Ute Indian Tribe is seeking a waiver from Order 3395, which Scott de la Vega, the acting secretary of the interior, implemented on Jan. 21.Read More