Justice Thomas: ‘We Are in Danger of Destroying the Institutions Required for a Free Society’

It’s been two weeks and there’s still no word on who leaked the U.S. Supreme Court draft brief indicating that the court was set to overturn Roe V. Wade and returning the issue of abortion back to the states.

At a recent event in Dallas, Texas, hosted by the American Enterprise Institute, the Hoover Institution, and the Manhattan Institute, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas spoke about the leak and his concern for the rule of law and credibility of the court.

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Maricopa County Wants Property Tax Rate Cut amid Skyrocketing Values

Maricopa County Board of Supervisors has responded to the rising cost of goods and services with a property tax rate cut.

The board approved a tentative FY 2023 budget aiming to mitigate the impact of inflation in the county by using hundreds of millions of dollars in American Rescue Plan funds for financial assistance and resources to residents and businesses.

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Majority of Americans Say They Are ‘Falling Behind’ Rising Cost of Living

The majority of Americans feel they cannot keep up with the cost of living as inflation and the price of goods continue to rise, according to new polling data.

A poll from NBC News asked Americans, “Do you think that your family’s income is … going up faster than the cost of living, staying about even with the cost of living, or falling behind the cost of living?”

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Arizona Calls on Social Media Companies to Crack Down on Cartel Activity

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is calling on social media companies to protect youth from cartels recruiting them into transnational human smuggling activity. 

In a letter to the leaders of four social media companies, Ducey urged the companies to start doing a better job of stopping people from being exploited by cartels.

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Buyers Need 40 Percent More Income to Buy a Home in Top Metro Areas: Report

Demand for homes in certain areas of the country has caused supply to dwindle, prices to skyrocket and buyers needing nearly 50% more income than they would have last year to even enter top markets, according to a report by the real estate brokerage firm, Redfin.

“Housing is significantly less affordable than it was a year ago because the surge in housing costs has far outpaced the increase in wages, meaning many Americans are now priced out of homeownership,” Redfin Deputy Chief Economist Taylor Marr said.

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CBP’s Air and Marine Operations Interdicted 62 Tons of Drugs in First Three Months of Year

Customs and Border Protection’s Air and Marine Operations interdicted 62 tons (124,000 pounds) of illicit drugs in the first three months of this year, CBP reports, working with international, federal, state and local partners.

“Collaboration keeps us all safer,” CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus said of their efforts. “CBP AMO works with U.S. and international partners to stem the flow of illicit narcotics. Through the end of March, AMO has contributed to the seizure of over 124,000 lbs of narcotics by partner agencies.”

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Arizona Sees Uptick in Drug Overdose Deaths

Arizona saw an uptick in drug overdose deaths in the 12-month period from December 2020 to December 2021. 

The state saw a 4.39% increase in drug overdose deaths in that span; the increase was below the 15% national increase, according to a new provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

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‘Shocking Discovery:’ Biden Knows Drug Cartels Control, Profit from Illegal Immigration, DHS Memo Shows

Crowd of immigrants

Border patrol agents are preparing for “a possible increase in migrant activity due to an increase in large group activity” as a result of Biden administration immigration policies, an internal Department of Homeland Security document released by Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody says.

It specifically sites suspending the Migrant Protection Protocols, otherwise known as the Remain in Mexico Policy, and terminating the public health authority, Title 42, as contributing to an influx of people coming to the U.S. southern border from Central and South America through Mexico.

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Businesses Fail to Find Workers, and Experts Say Federal Policies Have Made It Worse

A new labor market survey found that a majority of employers, particularly restaurants, still cannot find enough workers.

The new report from Alignable said that 83% of restaurants can’t find enough workers. Overall, the report found that “63% of all small business employers can’t find the help they need, after a year of an ongoing labor shortage.”

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Biden Administration Cancels New Oil Leases as Gas Prices Hit Record Highs

President Joe Biden canceled three pending oil and gas drilling leases in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico this week as gas prices hit record highs.

Biden has taken heavy fire for blocking new leases and pipelines as energy costs have surged but has defended his record. This latest development intensified that criticism.

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Despite Soaring Property Values, a 10-Year-Old Ballot Initiative Keeps Arizona Taxes Lower

A decision by voters 10 years ago is keeping most Arizonans’ property taxes from skyrocketing as the market values on their homes rise as fast as anywhere else in America.

Property analytics company CoreLogic released its monthly Home Price Index last week showing U.S. home prices increased a record 20.9% in March compared to a year prior.

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Inflation Slowed in April, but Prices Continued Their Steady Increase

Inflation continued its steady rise in April, when the Consumer Price Index increased 8.3% over last year, according to data released Wednesday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

For the month, the CPI rose 0.3%. That’s down from the 1.2% spike in March, but higher than analysts expected. The 8.3% increase over last year remains near 40-year highs, the bureau reported.

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States That Legalized Marijuana Are Bringing in More Tax Revenue on Marijuana Sales than Alcohol

A majority of the states that legalized recreational marijuana for recreational use are collecting more tax revenue from pot sales than alcohol sales.

The first two states to legalize pot are profiting the most, Colorado and Washington. Across the country, the total revenue for taxes on weed amounted to nearly $3 billion, according to a report on “sin taxes” by The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP).

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Lake Powell Operators to Withhold Water to Protect Hydroelectric Power

The Bureau of Reclamation will reduce the amount of water released from Lake Powell in response to a drought situation threatening the water supply of millions of residents in several western states and hydropower generation.

The federal agency said Tuesday Lake Powell’s water surface elevation is currently at 3,522 feet, the lowest since it was first filled 60 years ago. The critical elevation is 3,490 feet and would be the lowest point where Glen Canyon Dam can generate hydropower, according to the bureau.

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Democratic State Attorneys General Ask Biden to Fully Forgive All Student Loan Debt

Joe Biden

Seven state attorneys general, and an eighth from Puerto Rico, have called upon President Joe Biden to fully cancel federal student debt estimated at more than $1.6 trillion.

The U.S. Education Department reports more than 43 million borrowers on average owe $37,000 in student loan debt. The USED already has forgiven $17 billion in student loan debt held by 725,000 borrowers since the beginning of the Biden administration.

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Democratic Governor’s Group Pledges $75 Million to Reelect Seven Governors

The Democratic Governors Association on Wednesday pledged $75 million for ad buys on behalf of reelection efforts for seven Democrat incumbent governors.

Tony Evers’ reelection campaign gained $21 million in Wisconsin. The group is also promising to spend $2.5 million to reelect New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham; $4.5 million to reelect Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz; $5 million to reelect Colorado Gov. Jared Polis; $5 million to reelect Maine Gov. Janet Mills; $10 million to reelect Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak; and $23 million to reelect Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

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Arizona Lawmaker Calls for Federal Action on Telegraph, Woodbury, and Tunnel Fires

Arizona state Rep. David Cook, R-Globe, sent a letter to Michiko Martin, Southwestern Regional Forester for the U.S. Forest Service, on Monday asking for an official Facilitated Learning Analysis (FLA) to be conducted on three fires that have burned in Arizona in recent years.

The three fires in question; Woodbury (2019), Telegraph (2021), and Tunnel (2022), charred more than 300,000 acres. The Woodbury fire covered 123,875 acres, the Telegraph fire covered 180,757 acres, and the Tunnel fire burned 20,924 acres.

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Biden: Women Have a ‘Fundamental’ Right to an Abortion

President Joe Biden on Tuesday called a woman’s right to abortion “fundamental” after a draft of a U.S. Supreme Court opinion leaked to Politico indicates a majority of justices will rule to overturn Roe v. Wade.

“I believe that a woman’s right to choose is fundamental,” Biden said in a statement. “Roe has been the law of the land for almost fifty years, and basic fairness and the stability of our law demand that it not be overturned.”

The 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade established abortion as a constitutional right.

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Florida U.S. Rep. Gaetz Blasts DHS Sec. Mayorkas at Congressional Hearing

Florida Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz blasted Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas at a recent House Judiciary Committee hearing on border security.

In his line of questioning, Gaetz asked Mayorkas about the removal process of 1.2 million people who are in the U.S. illegally who’ve been given deportation orders by judges and haven’t been removed.

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Six Governors Hit Taxpayers with $90,000 Bill for U.N. Climate Conference Travel

Gov. Jay Inslee brought his wife to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, sticking Washington taxpayers with the bill, which included more than $12,510.08 for business class airfare for the couple, something no other governor did at taxpayer expense.

Inslee led a delegation of subnational governments to the conference. The total travel tab for Washington taxpayers cost $25,955.32, more than any other U.S. state examined by The Center Square. The higher cost was due in part to the governor’s decision to fly with his wife in business class while other governors who attended at taxpayer expense flew in less expensive seats.

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Law Enforcement: Border Patrol Agents Have Lost Operational Control, Awareness at Border

While Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas claims the southern border is secure and he has a plan in place for increased surges, those in law enforcement say the opposite is true. Not only have Border Patrol agents lost operational control of the border, they’ve also lost operational awareness and have no idea who is coming through, current and former Border Patrol agents told The Center Square.

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Arizona Expands Right to Try

Arizona will now allow patients the right to try medical remedies that could save their lives but have not been given government approval for use.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed the Right to Try for Individualized Treatments (SB1163) on Monday this week. This came one week after the bill passed in the Arizona House of Representatives with bipartisan support.

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Arizona Ensures In-Person Clergy Visitation to Long-Term Care Facilities

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill into law on Monday that requires the accommodation of in-person spiritual care visitations for residents of long-term care facilities, including nursing homes and hospices.

The bill, HB2449, had bipartisan support. It passed 57-2 in the House of Representatives and 18-10 in the Senate.

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Wisconsin 2020 Election Investigation to Continue

Robin Vos

The investigation into Wisconsin’s 2020 election won’t end until lawmakers are certain about the legal authority to issue subpoenas by the state’s special investigator.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos on Tuesday issued a statement explaining why he is extending former Supreme Court Justice Mike Gableman’s special investigation once again.

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Arizona Doubles Victim Protection Order Duration

Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill to protect the victims of crime.

Ducey on Friday signed House Bill 2604, sponsored by Rep. Shawnna Bolick, R-Phoenix. The bill increases the length of protection, letting victims of crime have more time to protect themselves. It passed with unanimous support in both chambers of the legislature.

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U.S. Supreme Court Hears Arguments in ‘Remain in Mexico’ Lawsuit

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday in a major immigration case, one of several key legal battles working their way through the federal judicial system as illegal immigration soars.

In Biden v. Texas, the attorneys general of Missouri and Texas sued after the Biden administration ended the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy.

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State Supreme Court Reaffirms Arizona’s Nation-Lowest Flat Income Tax

Arizona’s high court has pulled a ballot question from the November election that could have erased the state’s largest-ever income tax cut.

The Arizona Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a veto initiative to repeal a gradual change from Arizona’s progressive income tax to a flat 2.5% wasn’t appropriate for the ballot process. The court didn’t immediately offer an analysis of the opinion.

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Record Number of Hispanic Republicans Are Running for State House in Border State

A record number of Hispanics in New Mexico are running for state House seats as members of the Republican Party, Axios reported Tuesday.

The state, which has the highest percentage of Hispanics in the country, has 18 Hispanic Republicans campaigning to be elected to the Democrat-controlled state House of Representatives, Axios reported. The candidates are largely running competitive districts, both urban and rural.

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‘Detransitioners’ Come Out Against Sex Change Procedures and Gender Ideology

Young women who regretted undergoing sex changes in their adolescent years spoke about their experiences and the adults who allowed them to transition in a Tuesday Substack article by Suzy Weiss.

The women, sometimes referred to as “detransitioners,” were given extreme biomedical interventions ranging from hormones and puberty blockers to double mastectomies in adolescence to relieve their gender dysphoria, according to the article. Several blamed the adults in their lives for failing them.

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Fed Report: Inflation Passed on to Consumers, Will Continue for Months

Newly compiled data from the Federal Reserve shows that inflation is hurting businesses, costing consumers, and likely not going away anytime soon.

The Federal Reserve released its “Beige Book,” a report that compiles reports from “Bank and Branch directors and interviews with key business contacts, economists, market experts, and other sources” from the 12 Fed districts around the country.

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Feds Offering 80 Percent Less in Oil and Natural Gas Lease Sales, Increasing Royalty Rate

The U.S. Department of Interior announced it is making only 20% of eligible acreage for oil and natural gas production available for leasing on federal lands to comply with a federal court order.

In his first week in office, President Joe Biden issued an executive order directing new oil and natural gas leases on public lands and waters to be halted by the Interior Department. The agency was also tasked to review existing permits for fossil fuel development.

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Biden Administration Will Fight to Keep Mask Mandate for Planes, Trains and Airports

The U.S. Department of Justice has appealed a federal judge’s ruling overturning the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) mask mandate on planes, trains and in airports.

In her ruling to overturn the mandate, U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle called the CDC mandate “unlawful,” saying the Biden administration did not follow proper procedures and went beyond its authority in making the rule.

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Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Appoints New County Attorney

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors appointed county prosecutor Rachel Mitchell as its County Attorney on Wednesday in a unanimous vote.

Mitchell has served in the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office for 30 years. Most recently, she served as the head of the Criminal Division.

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Feds Could Limit Water Flow to Arizona, Other Western States

The federal agency that regulates water in Lake Powell warns that it may have to limit downstream water flow, affecting drinking water in Arizona and other western states.

Tanya Trujillo, Assistant Secretary for Water and Science for the U.S. Department of the Interior, wrote governors’ offices of seven states about the continually falling water level in Lake Powell.

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States Launch ‘Border Strike Force’ to Challenge Biden on Lack of Enforcement

President Joe Biden has faced heavy criticism over the surge in illegal immigration since he took office, and now a coalition of states has formed to challenge the president on the issue.

So far, 26 governors have signed on to the creation of the “Border Strike Force,” a coalition of state leaders working together to fight Mexican cartels and to slow the massive spike in illegal immigration since early last year.

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Arizona Lawmakers Approve Right to Try Expansion

Arizona is inching closer toward enacting new legislation allowing a patient the right to try remedies that could save their lives but not given government approval for use.

The Arizona House of Representatives passed the Right to Try for Individualized Treatments (SB1163) on Monday. The bill passed in the Arizona Senate in February, so now it will soon head to Gov. Doug Ducey’s desk for his signature. 

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Arizona Unemployment Rate Hits 45-Year Low

The unemployment rate in Arizona continues to decline.

In March 2022, Arizona had a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 3.3%. This was slightly lower than the national unemployment rate at the same time, according to data released by the Arizona Commerce Authority this week.

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San Francisco Tech Company Moves Headquarters to Phoenix, Bringing Nearly 1,000 Jobs

Sending management platform Sendoso plans to send its corporate headquarters from San Francisco, California, to Arizona effective November 2022.

The company has a new office at The Grove in Phoenix, Arizona, and plans to bring nearly 1,000 jobs to the area.

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Poll: Voters Skeptical of Effectiveness of Gun Control Laws

Americans are skeptical about gun control measures, according to a new poll.

Rasmussen reports released new polling showing that the majority of Americans do not think criminals will obey federal gun control laws. The poll comes on the heels of a mass shooting in Brooklyn and President Joe Biden’s speech on gun control earlier this week.

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Arizona GOP Senate, Gubernatorial Primaries Remain Tight, Poll Shows

No one is running away in the Arizona Republican gubernatorial and U.S. Senate primaries just yet.

An Arizona Public Opinion Pulse poll conducted by OH Predictive Insights released this week shows that both primaries would be competitive if held this week and that many primary voters haven’t made up their minds.

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CDC Study: Remote Learning Hurt Kids’ Mental Health

When schools pivoted to remote learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the first casualty was kids’ mental health.

A new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analyzed teenagers’ mental health from January 2021 to June 2021. Compared with 2019, the study found that the proportion of mental health–related emergency department visits in 2020 increased by about 31% among kids aged 12–17 years.

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Goliad Sheriff: Cartels Are Preparing for Influx of People Never Seen Before in U.S. History

Border Patrol agents and Texas law enforcement officers are bracing for as many as 500,000 illegal immigrants waiting in Mexico to enter Texas in the Rio Grande Valley Sector once Title 42 is lifted, Goliad County Sheriff Roy Boyd told The Center Square in an exclusive interview.

The Rio Grande Valley Sector, one of 20 U.S. Customs and Border Protection sectors, stretches from the Gulf of Mexico south of Brownsville west to the eastern tip of Falcon Lake in Starr County. RGV Sector Border Patrol agents are tasked with patrolling over 320 river miles, 250 coastal miles and 19 counties equating to more than 17,000 square miles in the busiest sector along the southern border.

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Arizona Schools Must Give Students Moment of Silence Each Day

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed a bill to ensure that students will have time to take a moment of silence at school each day.

Ducey signed House Bill 2707. It’s a bill that requires all public and charter schools to give students a moment of silence at the beginning of the day. The one-to-two-minute moment of silence can be used in a way determined by the student and their parents.

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Maricopa County Allocates $17 Million in Affordable Housing Projects

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors approved $17 million in spending to create more affordable housing units.

The money–given to the state by the federal government through the federal government’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)–will go toward two separate projects. Of it, $8 million will create 50 new housing units by converting a hotel in central Phoenix. Meanwhile, the other $9 million will support the construction of affordable rental units. 

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Consumer Prices Rise 8.5 Percent, the Highest in 40 Years

Newly released federal inflation data show that prices continue to rise at the fastest rate in four decades, continuing the trend of soaring inflation.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its Consumer Price Index, a key indicator of inflation, which showed prices rose an additional 1.2% in March, part of an 8.5 percent spike in the past 12 months.

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Analysis: Famed Bangladesh Mask Study Excluded Crucial Data

With one exception, every gold standard study of masks in community settings has failed to find that they slow the spread of contagious respiratory diseases. The outlier is a widely cited study run in Bangladesh during the Covid-19 pandemic, and some of its authors claim it proves that mask mandates “or strategies like handing out masks at churches and other public events—could save thousands of lives each day globally and hundreds each day in the United States.”

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