Feds: Illegal Immigration Continued to Worsen in May

Temporary soft sided facilities are utilized to process noncitizen individuals, noncitizen families and noncitizen unaccompanied children as part of the ongoing response to the current border security and humanitarian effort along the Southwest Border in Donna, Texas, May 4, 2021.

The surge in illegal immigration at the southern border continues to worsen, May numbers show, as the Biden administration takes more criticism for its handling of the issue.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection released new data on the crisis at the southern border, showing the federal law enforcement agency encountered 180,034 people attempting to illegally enter the country last month.

May’s numbers were a 1% increase from the previous month, but illegal immigration since Biden took office has soared.

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High Court Hears Arguments on Tennessee’s School-Choice Program

ORNL Traveling Science Fair at the TN 4th Annual Tennessee STEM Innovation Summit and STEMx Event, Nashville, TN

Tennessee’s highest court heard arguments on a disputed school choice program.

Tennessee’s Education Savings Accounts (ESA) pilot program, approved by the state Legislature in 2019, would provide state-funded scholarships of about $7,100 to low-income students in Nashville and Memphis – home to the state’s two lowest-performing school districts. Students would be able to use the funds to attend nonpublic schools of their choice.

A district court ruled the program unconstitutional when the two counties sued the state to stop the program. The state Court of Appeals upheld that ruling, and the state Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.

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Gov. Lee’s Signature Makes Tennessee a Second Amendment Sanctuary

Guy shooting hand gun at gun range

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed a bill Wednesday that makes the state a Second Amendment sanctuary.

Senate Bill 1335 prevents any “law, treaty, executive order, rule, or regulation of the United States government” that violates the Tennessee Constitution or the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution from being enforced in the state.

That violation would have to be determined by either the Tennessee or U.S. Supreme Court. The stipulation was added during debate of the bill in the Tennessee House, and the Senate concurred.

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Texas State Border Officials Fear Large Spikes in Overdose Deaths with Drug Traffic Increases

Texas Department of Public Safety SUV

Texas officials said Thursday they’re worried about dramatic spikes in drug overdose deaths in some areas of the state as illegal border crossings and drug trafficking have picked up since President Joe Biden took office.

Gov. Greg Abbott joined Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steve McCraw and Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn on Thursday in Fort Worthto provide an update on the border crisis.

“We’re heading for a 50 percent increase in overdose deaths in Tarrant County alone,” Waybourn warned, noting that the amount of drugs flooding into Tarrant County has skyrocketed even with DPS intervention.

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Ohio City Income Tax Law Continues to be Challenged

Robert Alt

An Ohio think tank’s fight over the state’s municipal income tax laws, which continue to be an issue during the COVID-19 pandemic, has moved to the state court of appeals.

The Buckeye Institute, a research and education think tank based in Columbus, has filed four lawsuits challenging the state law that requires taxes to be paid to the city where work is actually done. During the pandemic, however, more and more people were working from home but still paying taxes to cities where their office was located, rather than where they actually worked.

The Buckeye Institute appealed Thursday to the Ohio Tenth District Court of Appeals its case of three of its employees who worked from home after the state’s stay-at-home order but continued paying taxes to city of Columbus. A Franklin County judge dismissed the case Tuesday.

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Law Professor May Be Fired After Personal Blog Post Criticized Chinese Government

Tom Smith

The University of San Diego is formally reviewing a law professor who made a blog post critical of the Chinese Communist Party.

“If you believe that the coronavirus did not escape from the lab in Wuhan, you have to at least consider that you are an idiot who is swallowing whole a lot of Chinese cock swaddle,” wrote Professor Tom Smith on his blog The Right Coast. He later clarified that the reference was to the Chinese government, not the people in the country.

When he first published the March 10 post, the USD Law School placed him under investigation, citing complaints of bias. Now, the law school has sent his case to administration for a formal review.

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Ohio Attorney General Continues Court Fight Over American Rescue Plan Taxing Provision

Dave Yost

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost says Congress crossed a line and U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen struggles to explain whether states retain authority to set their own tax codes if they accept money from the recently passed American Rescue Plan.

Yost responded Thursday with a motion in support of his lawsuit for a temporary restraining order to stop the federal government’s tax mandate in the ARP. Yost believes the mandate holds states hostage and takes away Ohio’s control of its tax structure and economic policy.

“Congress crosses the line separating permissible encouragement from impermissible,” Yost’s latest motion reads. “Ohio stands to receive $5.5 billion. In the pandemic-caused economic crisis, Ohio cannot realistically turn that down.”

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Jury Finds Derek Chauvin Guilty on All Counts in the Death of George Floyd

Derek Chauvin

Less than a year after the death of George Floyd in police custody, a jury found former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.

Anger from the tragic death in police custody  on May 25, 2020, was fueled by a bystander filming part of the arrest, showing Floyd pinned under Chauvin’s knee for 9 minutes and 45 seconds, while he pleaded “I can’t breathe.” Floyd was declared dead later that day.

The video caused protests worldwide and pushed discussion of police accountability and proper levels of force for minor crimes, as Floyd was arrested for allegedly attempting to spend a fake $20 bill.

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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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Ohio Bill Would Reduce Requirements for School Districts to Arm Employees

Hand gun with ammunition

An Ohio lawmaker, whose father served a school resource officer who chased an active shooter from a building, wants to make it easier for school districts to arm its employees.

Rep. Thomas Hall, R-Madison Township, introduced legislation that requires school employees to complete only concealed carry weapon training to be able to carry on gun on campus. School employees currently must complete more than 750 hours of peace officer training.

Conceal carry training is six hours of classroom instruction and two hours of on-range training.

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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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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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DeWine Signs Partial Repeal of Ohio’s Controversial Nuclear Power Bailout

Nuclear power plant

A little more than eight months after the billion-dollar government bailout of the state’s nuclear energy industry led the arrest of former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder, Gov. Mike DeWine officially put it to rest.

DeWine signed House Bill 128 into law late Wednesday. It repeals the nuclear provisions of the infamous House Bill 6.

Gone is the bailout for the Perry and Davis-Besse nuclear power plants in northern Ohio. Also eliminated was the ability for FirstEnergy to have its revenue levels relatively the same even during years when energy consumption decreases. HB 128 directed refunds of money already collected under the guarantee.

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Law Enforcement Agencies Meeting Ohio’s New Minimum Standards

More than 500 agencies in Ohio have adopted the state’s new law enforcement minimum standards to be state certified, Gov. Mike DeWine announced Wednesday.

Ohio changed its standards after the death of George Floyd in Minnesota last spring and the subsequent protests.

The Ohio Department of Public Safety’s 2021 Law Enforcement Certification Report showed 529 Ohio agencies have adopted fully the primary standards, which include new ones created last year. Eleven agencies are in the process of adopting and being certified.

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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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Ohio House Sends Message to Michigan Governor to Keep Pipeline Open

The Ohio House has sent a message to Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, urging her to abandon her plan to force a company to close a pipeline that could threaten Ohio energy supplies and jobs.

Whitmer, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and Michigan Department of Natural Resources Director Dan Eichinger filed a lawsuit Nov. 13 in Ingham County Court demanding Enbridge Inc. cease Line 5 operations by May. The easement has been in place since 1953.

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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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Ohio Lieutenant Governor Says Federal ‘Tax Mandate’ Could Harm Job Creation

Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted says restrictions in the recently passed federal American Rescue Plan will limit economic development and job growth in the state.

Husted, responding to a federal lawsuit filed by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost that asks for the plan’s “Tax Mandate” be stopped, said the restrictions could affect the state’s ability to attract jobs with tax credits and other means.

“The precedent Congress is attempting to set here is that anytime the federal government sends money to state and or local governments, they could add strings to control the tax policies of all 50 states. This is both arrogant and unconstitutional,” Husted said in a statement. “At a practical level, this could affect economic competitiveness of the state attempting to attract jobs with job creation tax credits or other tax-based economic incentives.”

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Eleven States File Motion to Intervene in Ninth Circuit Case over Public Charge Rule

Eleven states, led by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, have filed a motion to intervene in a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals case over challenges to a 2018 public charge rule change that required immigrants coming to the U.S. to prove they could financially support themselves.

The Biden administration removed the rule change, effective March 9. Subsequently, the Department of Homeland Security announced on March 11 it will no longer apply the rule.

In a statement, it said it had “closed the book on the public charge rule and is doing the same with respect to a proposed rule regarding the affidavit of support that would have placed undue burdens on American families wishing to sponsor individuals lawfully immigrating to the U.S.”

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Ohio AG Files Lawsuit Against Health Care Giant for Overcharging Medicaid

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost claims in lawsuit filed Thursday a health care giant raised prices for taxpayer-funded care to maximize company profits.

Yost said Ohio sued Centene Corp. in Franklin County Common Pleas Court, alleging its subsidiary, Buckeye Health Plan, used a web of subcontractors for the provision of pharmacy benefits to be able to misrepresent pharmacy costs. That, Yost said, resulted in millions of dollars of overpayments by the Ohio Department of Medicaid.

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Lawmakers Say Legislation Would Curb Ohio Unemployment Fraud

Unemployment line

As legitimate and fraudulent unemployment claims rose over the past year, and with additional federal jobless assistance most likely on the way, Ohio lawmakers have introduced legislation they hope cracks down on system abuse.

If the bill passes and is signed into law, Ohioans would be required to provide proof of identification at a local employment office before state or pandemic unemployment assistances would be paid.

Senate Bill 116 outlines proof as either a driver’s license or any of the two documents required to obtain an Ohio driver’s license that contain the applicants name and address, including a birth certificate, Social Security card and proof of Ohio residency, legal presence or name change.

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Ohio Prosecutors Support Bill to Force Convicted Rioters to Pay for Damages

Last summer, millions of dollars in taxpayer money were spent in response to protests that turned violent throughout Ohio. A bill proposed in the Ohio Senate looks to make sure those responsible will pay for it.

Senate Bill 41, currently being discussed by the Senate Judiciary Committee, calls for restitution from those who are convicted of property damage during riots, including vandalism. The restitution would pay the expenses of police and emergency crews who have to respond to riots. The bill also allows the government to take possession of any property left behind by those who end up convicted.

State Senator Tim Schaffer, R-Lancaster, is sponsoring the bill. Lou Tobin, the Executive Director of the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association, offered his support before the committee recently.

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Ducey Removes Arizona’s COVID-19 Restrictions on Businesses

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has rescinded the business restrictions he put in place last year to stem the spread of COVID-19. 

Ducey’s latest executive order, which he signed Friday, removes the capacity limits on businesses he had put in place July 9, effective immediately. 

“We’ve learned a lot over the past year,” Ducey said. “Our businesses have done an excellent job at responding to this pandemic in a safe and responsible way. We will always admire the sacrifice they and their employees have made and their vigilance to protect against the virus.”

Ducey said Arizona, unlike many other states, never shut down.

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Federal Judge Blocks Part of Ohio Law Banning Second Trimester Abortion Procedure

A Federal Judge has ruled that portions of an abortion-limiting bill, signed into law late last year, cannot be enforced as the law is written. As previously reported: On December 13, 2018, then-Governor John Kasich signed Senate Bill 145 (SB 145), commonly referred to as a Dismemberment Abortion Ban into…

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Labor Union Representing Lordstown Auto Workers Rocked By Scandal

The labor union solely responsible for the future of Ohio’s Lordstown Auto Complex was blasted Wednesday in Tennessee for the myriad of scandals that have plagued the organization over the past several years. The International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace, and Agricultural Implement Workers of America, commonly known as the United…

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DeWine Officially Signs Heartbeat Bill as National Groups Prepare for Legal Battle

Gov. Mike DeWine signed Ohio’s heartbeat bill into law Thursday afternoon, and advocacy groups and legal teams nationwide are all preparing for what is sure to be a major political and legal battle. For the third time in the last decade, a bill that would ban all abortions after a fetal heartbeat…

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Ohio Medicinal Marijuana Sales Lagging: Price and Availability Cited as Chief Concerns

The Ohio Medicinal Marijuana Control Program released it’s weekly sales figures Monday for Medicinal Marijuana throughout Ohio. Since the controversial drug became available on Jan. 16, it has sold just under three million dollars worth of medicinal marijuana. These low numbers are raising questions about the drug’s future viability in the Buckeye…

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New Bill Provides Tax Exemption for Ohio’s Disabled Veterans

A bill currently under consideration by the Ohio Legislature would exempt disability service pay, made to honorably discharged veterans, from state income taxes. House Bill 18 (HB 18) was introduced to the Ohio House of Representatives last month. Wednesday, the bill finally came to a vote where it passed by an…

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Report: Ohio Prison Population Still Growing Despite Bipartisan Criminal Justice Reform

Despite bipartisan calls for a reduction in the prison population and a slew of laws aimed at doing just that, a new report released this week has found that the prison population of Ohio has continued to climb over the past decade. Since 2011, the state has passed several new…

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Ohio Attorney General Opposes Scrapping All of Obamacare, Breaking With President Trump

Ohio Republican Attorney General Dave Yost announced Wednesday he would oppose President Donald Trump’s plan to completely repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare. On December 14, 2018, shortly before the 2019 open enrollment period ended, a contentious and controversial case was finally ruled on by the U.S. Supreme…

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Despite Growing Support for Hemp Legalization, Ohio Government Cracks Down

As the Ohio Senate considers legalizing hemp and hemp byproducts in the Buckeye State, the Ohio Department of Health, along with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is simultaneously cracking down on any form of sale of the substance. Currently, hemp is trapped in a complicated legal limbo and while state legalization will alleviate many of…

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Bill Typo, If Unchanged, Would Make Felons Out of Half A Million Ohioan Gun Owners

Ohio Gun Owners, a citizens’ Second Amendment advocacy organization, discovered Thursday that House Bill 228 (HB 228) would make many widely-used firearms illegal throughout Ohio. The bill’s current language defines illegal “dangerous ordnance” as: (7) Any firearm with an overall length of at least twenty- six inches that is approved for…

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Half-a-Million Low-Income Ohioans With Suspended Licences Could Be Eligible for Relief With New Program

For many low-income Ohioans who have lost their drivers licenses for minor or unintentional offenses, there is no greater frustration than paying your debt to society, only to be denied your ability to drive legally because you can’t afford a government fee. Thankfully, relief is in sight for thousands of these…

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Ohio Legislature Reintroduces ‘Heartbeat’ Abortion Ban

For the third and, potentially, final time, the ‘Heartbeat’ Abortion Ban is being considered by the state of Ohio. Tuesday, State Senator Kristina Roegner (OH-27) introduced Senate Bill 23 (SB 23), commonly referred to as the ‘Heartbeat’ Abortion Bill to the Ohio legislature. The bill would make all forms of…

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Sandusky, Ohio Will No Longer Observe Columbus Day, Election Day To Become State Holiday Instead

For the first time since 1934, government workers in Sandusky, Ohio will be working on October 12th. The city commissioners approved a measure that would officially eliminate Columbus Day as a federal holiday. In lieu of the lost holiday, Election Day would officially replace it. In a statement to the Sandusky Register, city manager…

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In-Depth Analysis of Trump’s Policy Proposals in State of the Union Address

by Daniel Davis   President Donald Trump delivered his State of the Union address Tuesday night, and Heritage Foundation experts weighed in with analysis of the president’s policy proposals. Here’s what they had to say. Immigration Economy Law Defense & Foreign Policy Life Energy & Infrastructure Health Care Education Immigration…

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In Final Days as Attorney General, DeWine Files Motion to Dismiss Ohio Redistricting Lawsuit

Gov.-elect Mike DeWine (R-OH) appears to be making every last day of his tenure as Attorney General count. This week, DeWine filed a motion to have an upcoming gerrymandering lawsuit tossed out. The suit would mandate the redrawing of all of Ohio’s 16 congressional districts before the 2020 election. In May of…

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Ohio Governor Kasich Signs Occupational Licensing Reform Bill, Increasing Market Competition

Governor John Kasich signed Senate Bill 255 (SB 255) Friday, reforming Ohio’s occupational licensing laws, some of which are considered to be the most economically crippling in the country. The law will require Ohio’s state legislature to examine every occupational licensing board in the state, assess their value and utility, then…

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Commentary: The Left and the Rule of Lawlessness

by Thaddeus McCotter   Even as the U.S. Senate appears ready to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, the Left has already moved on to the next phase of its battle to destroy the rule of law in America: declaring the Supreme Court illegitimate and, thus, that it…

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