Arizona Democratic State Lawmakers Demand Special Session to Legalize Abortion

Democrats in the Arizona state legislature have a request for Governor Doug Ducey: to hold a special legislative session to legalize abortion. Ducey’s office says the votes aren’t there.

Thirty-eight Democrats in the Arizona state legislature – led by Senate Minority Leader Rebecca Rios and House Minority Whip Reginald Bolding Jr, D-Laveen –penned a letter to Governor Ducey this week requesting that the state repeal its 1864 abortion ban that went back into effect last month. 

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Trump in Arizona to Push for Lake, Masters

Former President Donald Trump plans to visit Arizona for the second time in three months. 

Trump, who lost Arizona’s electoral votes in his re-election bid, plans to headline a rally on Sunday, Oct. 9, at Legacy Sports Park in Mesa. In Trump’s announcement, he said the rally will be in support of “Kari Lake, Republican Nominee for Governor of Arizona and Blake Masters, Republican Nominee for U.S. Senate in Arizona, and the entire Arizona Trump Ticket.”

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Gas Prices Rise for Two Straight Weeks, OPEC Expected to Drive Them Higher

Gas prices have continued to rise over the past two weeks, and now OPEC has announced a major decision that will likely drive those prices higher.

OPEC said Wednesday that it would reduce oil production beginning in November by 2 million barrels per day. OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries largely based in the Mideast, said in a statement it made the decision “in light of the uncertainty that surrounds the global economic and oil market outlooks, and the need to enhance the long-term guidance for the oil market, and in line with the successful approach of being proactive, and preemptive…”

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‘Nearly Doubled’ Foreign Investment in U.S. Farmland Comes Under Scrutiny

A coalition of 130 lawmakers sent a letter to a top federal watchdog raising the alarm about a spike in foreign ownership of U.S. farmland.

The letter calls for the Government Accountability Office to conduct a full review of that foreign ownership, its potential impact on trade, national security, food security and what the federal government is doing about it, if anything.

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States Deploy About 2,500 National Guard Troops to U.S.-Mexico Border

Nearly two dozen states are sending National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border to help federal immigration officials grapple with an unprecedented surge of undocumented migrants.

The deployments, which were requested by the U.S. Department of Defense, call for up to 2,500 National Guard members from Republican-led states like Kentucky, South Carolina and Arkansas, as well as Democratic-led states such as Rhode Island and Illinois.

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Proposed Federal Legislation Would Establish Independent Oversight over Federal Prisons

Proposed bipartisan federal legislation would establish independent oversight of the nation’s 122 federal prisons and require the Department of Justice’s inspector general to report its findings and recommendations publicly.

The move follows a U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations probe that found the DOJ’s tally of how many people died while in custody missed hundreds of deaths over the past couple of years. The investigation found that the problems spanned many years over multiple administrations, and committee staffers said there is widespread blame for the oversight.

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Poll: Americans Say Grocery Prices Will Affect Their Vote in November

High grocery prices are top-of-mind for voters with a little over a month until the midterm elections, according to a new poll. 

Convention of States Action, along with Trafalgar Group, released the poll, which found that 68.3% of surveyed voters say that the “increase in the price of groceries is impacting their motivation to vote in the 2022 election.”

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Eastern Washington Legislators Urge Biden to Lift Vaccine Mandate for Border Travel

Two U.S. Representatives from Eastern Washington have signed onto a letter that urges the Biden Administration to drop all vaccine requirements for people entering the United States from Canada.

Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane, and Dan Newhouse, R-Sunnyside, say the decision to send the letter follows Canada lifting vaccine mandates for international travelers entering the country despite Biden’s refusal to follow suit.

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Arizona School District Gave Out $68 Million in Bonuses Using COVID-19 Emergency Money

Tucson Unified School District gave employees $68 million in retention bonuses and vaccine stipends, according to Superintendent Gabriel Trujillo in a document given to the school board.

Trujillo made the statement in a Sept. 13 report, which stated, “Over $68 million invested in our employees through the payment of retention and vaccine stipends.”

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Researchers Say Better Data Is Needed to Verify Claims, Extent of Teacher Shortages

New research on the demand for teachers highlights the lack of information about teacher shortages at all levels of government.

A working paper from Brown University found that “teacher shortages are still poorly understood, and it remains unclear whether there is a shortfall of teachers on the national scale or if shortages are localized – a key component of the current debate around teacher shortages.”

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Maricopa County Announces ‘Election Command Center’ to Combat Misinformation

Maricopa County, Arizona, has formed what it refers to as an “election command center” in hopes of combatting election misinformation, adding officials will vet journalists who they deem qualified to participate in the events.

A group of six elected officials plus elections and communications professionals have worked together to establish the “2022 Elections Command Center”, according to a press release from the county’s office.

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Three More Counties Want Texas to Declare Invasion at Southern Border; Total at 32

Three more counties are the latest to express support for Texas declaring an invasion at the southern border, bringing the total to 32.

The judge and county commissioners of Ector County, in the Permian Basin, signed a Declaration of Local State of Disaster on Sept. 27 stating the “health, safety, and welfare of Ector County residents are under an imminent threat of disaster from the unprecedented levels of illegal immigration, human trafficking, and drug smuggling coming across the U.S. border from Mexico.”

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Maricopa County Announces ‘Election Command Center’ to Combat Misinformation

Maricopa County, Arizona, has formed what it refers to as an “election command center” in hopes of combatting election misinformation, adding officials will vet journalists who they deem qualified to participate in the events.

A group of six elected officials plus elections and communications professionals have worked together to establish the “2022 Elections Command Center”, according to a press release from the county’s office.

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Major Government Unions Lose over 200K Members

The top four public labor unions in the U.S. lost hundreds of thousands of members since a 2018 Supreme Court case that ruled government employees could not be forced to pay a union to keep their job, a new report shows that.

The Commonwealth Foundation released the report, which found that the top four public labor unions – AFT, AFSCME, NEA, and SEIU – lost nearly 219,000 members altogether since the Janus v. AFSCME ruling.

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21 Attorneys General Want U.S. Supreme Court to Uphold Immigration Law

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich is leading a group of 21 attorneys general in an amicus brief regarding federal immigration law.

The attorneys general are asking the Supreme Court of the United States to uphold a federal statute to enforce federal immigration law in United States v. Hansen.  

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Inflation Rose More than Expected in August, Federal Data Shows

Inflation rose more than expected in August, leaving Americans facing even higher prices on a range of everyday purchases, according to newly released federal inflation data.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis released the pricing data, which showed the Personal Consumption Expenditure excluding food and energy, a key marker of inflation, rose 0.6%, higher than expected by Dow Jones.

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Poll: 79 Percent of Americans Are Dissatisfied with America’s Direction

Only a fraction of Americans is satisfied “with the way things are going in the U.S.,” according to a new poll.

Gallup released the survey data, which showed that 79% of Americans are dissatisfied with the direction the country is headed, compared to only 21% of Americans who say the opposite.

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Maricopa County Attorney Says She Won’t Prosecute Women Who Have Abortions

Will Maricopa County prosecute women who have abortions under the state’s old abortion ban?

Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell posted a video on Facebook Tuesday clarifying Arizona state law regarding abortion and that she will not prosecute women who have the procedures.

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Government Agencies Buying Cellphone, Internet Data to Track Americans

In a little noted trend, law enforcement agencies at every level of government are increasingly buying data from private, third-party data brokers on Americans’ phone and internet activities in order to track them, often without a warrant.

While proponents say this practice provides critical help for investigations, critics argue it poses a serious violation of civil liberties that needs to be addressed through legislation.

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Poll: Arizona Democrats Riding on Abortion Rights to Make Up for Poor Biden Approval

Democrats in Arizona say they’re more interested in November’s election, with abortion laws becoming their battle cry. But, they will have to outwork President Joe Biden’s mid-term approval ratings.

A recent Arizona Public Opinion Pulse poll from OH Predictive Insights found that 59% of Arizona voters think there should be limits on which abortions should be legal in the state, while just 9% say it should be illegal in all instances; the latter category supports a stricter law than the one that is currently on the books in Arizona. Meanwhile, 41% of voters said abortion should be legal in all circumstances.

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Group Sues U.S. Department of Education over Biden’s Student Loan Cancellation Plan

A nonprofit legal group filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the U.S. Department of Education to block its move to cancel up to $20,000 in student loan debt for some borrowers.

“Congress did not authorize the executive branch to unilaterally cancel student debt,” Pacific Legal Foundation attorney Caleb Kruckenberg said. “It’s flagrantly illegal for the executive branch to create a $500 billion program by press release, and without statutory authority or even the basic notice and comment procedure for new regulations.”

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Republican Leadership Pledges to ‘Repeal’ IRS Auditor Expansion if GOP Wins Majority

President Joe Biden sparked controversy for pushing through Congress increased federal funding for 87,000 new IRS employees to audit Americans, but Republican leadership has pledged to overturn that expansion if they win the majority.

House Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., pledged at a Pennsylvania event to “repeal” the IRS expansion.

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Federal Judge Strikes Down Vaccine Mandates from Biden

Sandy Brick felt her freedom was on the line. The Head Start teacher taught through the pandemic and opposed a federal “jab-or-job” mandate from the president.

Judge Terry A. Doughty, on the bench of a U.S. District Court in Louisiana, on Wednesday agreed. He ruled the federal government cannot require Head Start program teachers, staff and volunteers to be vaccinated against COVID-19, nor can it require adults or students to wear masks. His order “permanently enjoins the vaccine and mask mandate in 24 states,” a release from the Liberty Justice Center says, and impacts 280,000 teachers, staff and volunteers.

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Democrats Block Release of Hunter Biden Financial Documents in Probe

Democrats on the House Oversight and Reform Committee voted to block a resolution proposed by Republicans to coax out documents related to the investigation of Hunter Biden’s financial affairs.

Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., the ranking member of the committee, spearheaded the resolution, saying he has tried multiple times to get the relevant Suspicious Activity Reports on the Biden family’s financial dealings from the U.S. Treasury Department but has been unable to obtain the documents.

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Gov. Abbott Declares Mexican Drug Cartels Terrorists, Calls on Biden to Do the Same

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday issued an executive order officially designating certain Mexican drug cartels as foreign smuggled into the U.S. to kill Americans at an alarming rate.

In one year’s time, fentanyl killed nearly 20 times more people than those killed in terrorist attacks over decades.

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Inspector General: Denying Religious Exemptions to Service Members Who Refuse COVID-19 Vaccines Violates Federal Law

A Department of Defense Office of Inspector General report has found that officials in the U.S. military who issued widespread denials of religious exemption requests by service members who refused to take the COVID-19 shots violated federal law.

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Arizona’s Senior Voters Disapprove of Biden’s Student Loan Forgiveness Plan More than Younger Voters

What do Arizona voters think of President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan?

The answer depends on how old they are, according to OH Predictive Insights’ (OHPI) latest Arizona Public Opinion Pulse (AZPOP).

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Report Reveals ‘Shocking Long-Term Gaps in Federal Oversight’ over Prison Deaths

The Department of Justice’s tally of how many people died while in custody missed hundreds of deaths over the past couple of years, a 10-month U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations probe revealed.

The problems spanned many years over multiple administrations, and committee staffers said there is widespread blame for the oversight. The investigation found that changes to the methods for collecting the data and a transition of the agency within the Justice Department responsible for carrying out the act’s requirements led to the problems.

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Clinton, Obama Economist Says U.S. ‘Has a Serious Inflation Problem’

Two top economists from Democratic presidential administrations are raising the alarm about inflation this week even as the Biden administration touts its progress on the issue.

Lawrence Summers, who served as Secretary of the Treasury for President Bill Clinton and Director of National Economic Council for President Obama, pointed to the latest consumer price inflation data, saying the U.S. “has a serious inflation problem.”

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Report: Transit Agencies May Turn to Taxpayers for More Money When COVID-19 Funds Dry Up

Transit agencies could turn to taxpayers for more money when federal COVID-19 money runs out.

With federal money dwindling, some mass transit agencies are preparing to seek more tax dollars at a time when fewer people are riding, according to a report from a credit rating agency.

Some workers never plan to return to the office, creating uncertainties for mass transit agencies and the taxpayers who fund them, especially those more dependent on riders for fare revenue. A new report from S&P Global Ratings said transit systems could seek additional tax dollars when federal COVID-19 money runs dry in 2025.

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Biden: Republican Officials Shouldn’t Interfere with His Immigration Policies

President Joe Biden doesn’t want Republican officials interfering with his immigration policies, saying their initiative to send people north from the border is “playing politics” and “un-American.”

Speaking at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute gala in Washington, D.C., Thursday night, he said, “Instead of working with us on solutions, Republicans are playing politics with human beings using them as props. What they are doing is simply wrong. It’s un-American. It’s reckless.”

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Republican U.S. Reps Urge Defense Department to End Military Vaccine Mandate

A group of 47 members of Congress are urging the Secretary of the Department of Defense to “immediately revoke” the COVID-19 vaccine mandate he issued last August for all service members, civilian personnel, and contractors. They’ve also asked him to re-instate those who’ve already been discharged for noncompliance.

In a Sept. 15 letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, they wrote “to express our grave concern over the effect of the Department of Defense’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate on the readiness of our Armed Forces, particularly the U.S. Army.

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Florida and Connecticut Attorneys General Lead Bipartisan Effort to Classify Illicit Fentanyl as Weapon of Mass Destruction

fentanyl pills on the hood of a vehicle

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody and Connecticut Attorney General William Tong are leading a multistate, bipartisan effort urging President Joe Biden to classify illicit fentanyl as a weapon of mass destruction (WMD).

“I first called for President Biden to take swift action in July and call fentanyl what it is – a weapon of mass destruction,” Moody said. “Now, I am leading a bipartisan coalition of 18 attorneys general demanding the president take action now, declare fentanyl a WMD and join us in our fight to prevent the death and destruction caused by this highly-lethal substance from getting even worse.”

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Poll: Voters Say Biden Has Further ‘Divided’ Country

The majority of Americans say President Joe Biden has further divided the country, according to a new poll.

Convention of States Action, along with the Trafalgar Group, released the polling data, which showed that 58.7% of surveyed voters say that “Biden has divided the country during his time as president.”

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Tentative Deal Reached to Avoid National Rail Strike

The freight railroad industry reached a tentative deal with rail worker unions Thursday morning to avoid a national rail strike that threatened to cripple the nation’s already stressed supply chain.

The tentative agreement still must be ratified in a vote of the unions’ workers.

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Two More Texas Counties Declare Invasion at Southern Border, Bringing Total to 29

Two more Texas counties have declared an invasion at the southern border, bringing to 29 the total that have done so so far, with more expected to follow.

The judges and county commissioners of Wharton and Burnet counties this week signed resolutions calling for “additional measures to secure the border, stop the invasion at the border, and protect our communities.”

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Four More Texas Counties Declare Invasion at Southern Border, Bringing Total to 22

The judges and commissioners of four more Texas counties have declared an invasion at the southern border, bringing to 22 the number of counties that have done so.

Jasper, Madison, Throckmorton and Wichita counties are the latest to declare an invasion.

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Appeals Court Hands Air Force Class Action Plaintiffs a Win in Vaccine Mandate Lawsuit

A panel of three Sixth Circuit judges have denied the Air Force’s attempt to overturn class certification granted to all members of the Air Force by a federal district court judge in July. In doing so, they handed another win to roughly 10,000 airmen and women fighting against the Department of Defense’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

The appeals court judges denied an emergency motion made by the Air Force requesting it stay the class certification and injunction granted in Hunter Doster, et al. v. Hon Frank Kendall, et al., by U.S. District Judge Matthew W. McFarland of the Southern District of Ohio. In July, McFarland granted class status and issued a preliminary injunction preventing retaliation against those in the Air Force who don’t comply with the mandate as the lawsuit continues. His order remains in effect.

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Report: Record 63 Percent of Small Businesses Freeze Hiring

Small businesses are increasingly unwilling to hire because they can’t afford to take on new costs, according to a newly released survey.

The small business network company Alignable released the survey Wednesday. It found that 63% report putting hiring on hold “because they can’t afford to add staff, and 10% of that group is laying off workers.”

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GOP Governors to Biden: Student Loan Plan Will Be Costly for American Taxpayers

President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan will be costly for American taxpayers, a coalition of GOP governors said in a letter sent Monday to the White House.

The letter, signed by 22 GOP governors, tells Biden to “withdraw” the plan, citing cost estimates of up to $600 billion, or $2,000 per American taxpayer.

“As governors, we support making higher education more affordable and accessible for students in our states, but we fundamentally oppose your plan to force American taxpayers to pay off the student loan debt of an elite few,” the coalition wrote.

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Chipmakers Receiving Taxpayer Subsidies Under New Law Can Resume Business in China After 10 Years

Chipmaking companies that receive U.S. taxpayer funding under the $280 billion CHIPS Act of 2022 will be able to do business with foreign countries like China after a 10-year waiting period, according to guidelines released by the U.S. Department of Commerce on Tuesday.

The legislation that President Biden signed last month was designed to build a domestic supply chain for computer chips, used for electronic devices and vehicle technology, as a way to reduce reliance on other countries like China and Taiwan.

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Merchant Banking Organization: Gun, Ammunition Purchases by Credit Card Will be Coded

An unloaded handgun sitting on the center console of a vehicle with the magazine clip next to it

The international organization responsible for creating merchant category codes for credit card purchases has given its approval to establish one for transactions made at gun stores.

The International Organization for Standardization’s Registration and Maintenance Management Group met on Wednesday to discuss a request made by Amalgamated Bank to set up such a code.

An ISO spokesperson told The Center Square that RMMG members could not decide whether to approve the application. That elevated the discussion to the ISO leadership that oversees standards for retail financial services.

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Border Patrol Agents Seize Record Amounts of Deadly Fentanyl, Meth in Arizona, Texas

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents are seizing record amounts of fentanyl and meth in Arizona and Texas brought in by Mexican cartel operatives and foreign nationals trying to enter the U.S. illegally.

In just five separate inspections ahead of Labor Day weekend, for example, officers seized 625,000 pills in Nogales, Arizona, which borders Sonora, Mexico, Michael Humphries, CBP Director of the Nogales Port of Entry, said.

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Number of Americans Citing ‘Hardship’ from Inflation Rises

The majority of Americans say inflation is causing them financial hardship, according to a new poll.

While the Biden administration heralded a pause in the rise of inflation for the month of July, a new Gallup poll indicates that Americans are feeling the pain more now than at the beginning of this year.

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