Rescues and Recovery Continue in Kentucky after Deadly Flooding in Appalachia Claims at Least 25 Lives

At least 25 have people died in Kentucky– including four children – in the flooding caused by the torrential rains and flash floods earlier this week, Gov. Andy Beshear said Saturday.

“We continue to pray for the families that have suffered an unfathomable loss,” the Democrat governor said. “Some having lost almost everyone in their household.”

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Judge Blocks Two Kentucky Pro-Life Laws with Claim That the Idea Life Begins at Conception Is ‘Distinctly Christian’

A judge has temporarily blocked two Kentucky laws that would effectively ban abortion in nearly all circumstances, claiming the idea that life begins at conception is a “distinctly Christian” view and that the notion that a disproportionate number of abortions occurs among black women is suggestive of eugenics is “baseless.”

Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Mitch Perry sided with the abortion providers Friday, granting them a temporary injunction against the state enforcing its Human Life Protection Act and Heartbeat Law, referring to the measures as the Trigger Ban and Six Week Ban, respectively.

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Arizona Among the 20 States Freed from Federal Transgender Sports, Bathroom Guidance

A federal judge in Tennessee ruled in favor of Tennessee, Arizona, and 18 other states in their effort to block federal guidelines on transgender athletes and school locker rooms.

The lawsuit, brought by Tennessee, challenged guidance from the United States Department of Education and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that would allow athletes who were marked as males on their birth certificates to compete in girls and women’s sports. The federal guidance also would have prohibited student shower and locker room access from being determined by birth gender and provided guidance on required pronoun use.

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Tennessee Joins Arizona and 10 Other AGs in Lawsuit Aimed to Cleanse Federal Regulations Hampering Washing Machines, Dishwashers

Twelve attorneys general filed an opening brief Friday in a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for changes made this year to energy and water efficiency standards for dishwashers and washing machines.

“These arbitrary washing machine regulations are unlawful, ineffective, and absolutely ridiculous,” Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, co-leader of a suit in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals against the DOE and Secretary Jennifer Granholm, said in a statement. “They should be hung out to dry as soon as possible.”

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Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron Asks State Court of Appeals to Reinstate Pro-Life Laws

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron quickly asked the state’s Court of Appeals to stay a circuit court’s ruling that temporarily blocked the enforcement of two state pro-life laws. Cameron filed a Writ of Mandamus and Prohibition Thursday, requesting the Kentucky Court of Appeals lift a temporary restraining order against both…

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Drug-Plagued State Sees Record Overdoses Thanks to Fentanyl Epidemic

Kentucky has seen a record year of overdose deaths as it continues to deal with fentanyl being trafficked into the state, multiple outlets reported based on state data released Monday.

Kentucky saw 2,250 overdose deaths in 2021, a 14.5% increase from 2020, according to the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy’s report. The state ranked third in the country for the number of overdose deaths due to the high number that occurred in Kentucky during the pandemic, according to WLKY.

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Federal Judge Blocks Kentucky Law That Made the State Abortion-Free

A federal judge has temporarily halted a new Kentucky law that blocked the state’s last two remaining abortion clinics from performing the procedure.

Judge Rebecca Grady Jennings, a Donald Trump appointee, of U.S. District Court of the Western District of Kentucky, Louisville Division, ruled Thursday in favor of Planned Parenthood and other abortion rights groups by issuing a temporary restraining order that blocks Kentucky officials from enforcing its new law that would block the state’s only two abortion clinics from performing the procedure.

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Kentucky Lawmakers Override Dem Governor on Women’s Sports and Abortion

Kentucky legislators banned males from women’s sports and restricted abortions Wednesday, overriding the Democratic governor’s veto.

Lawmakers overrode Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear’s veto of Senate Bill 83, which bars males from participating in girls’ sports from elementary through secondary education. Beshear preferred a policy allowing males to compete in girls’ sports if they underwent certain medical sex change treatments rather than an outright ban, he explained in his April 7 veto letter.

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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.

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Three More States Consider Bills Banning Men from Women’s Sports

Arizona, Kentucky and Oklahoma are the latest states considering bans on biological males participating in girls’ and women’s sports, with all three states passing legislation Thursday addressing the issue.

The Arizona legislature passed two bills addressing transgender issues that currently await Republican Gov. Doug Ducey’s signature. If enacted, one bill will ban biological males from girls’ sports teams while the other will ban gender reassignment surgeries for minors.

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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.

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Biden, Influential Climate Scientist/Activist Use Deadly Tornado to Push Climate Change Narrative

President Joe Biden surveyed the damage from a deadly weekend tornado in Mayfield, Ky., on Wednesday and said, “We’ve got $99 billion worth of damage just this year — just the year — because of foul weather and climate change.”

In Dawson Springs, Ky., he reiterated the cost of damages and then, in a possible reference to his Build Back Better Act, he said: “I promise you: You’re going to heal. We’re going to recover. You’re going to rebuild. You’re going to be stronger than you were before. We’re going to build back better than it was.”

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Dr. Christopher Weiss, Professor of Atmospheric Science at Texas Tech, Talks Tornados in Out of Season December

Dr. Christopher Weiss of Texas Tech

Monday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at Texas Tech, Christopher Weiss to the newsmakers line to talk about last Friday’s out of season tornados that ravaged Kentucky and parts of Middle Tennessee.

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State Attorney Generals Launch Investigation into Instagram’s Effects on Kids

Young person on Instagram

A bipartisan coalition of state attorneys general launched a probe into Instagram on Thursday to examine whether the company violated state-level consumer protection laws.

The states are investigating whether Meta (formerly known as Facebook), which owns Instagram, promoted the image-sharing platform “to children and young adults” despite being aware of its negative effects, according to statements from the attorneys general. The probe cites internal Facebook communications and research leaked by former Facebook employee Frances Haugen and published by The Wall Street Journal showing Meta was aware that use of Instagram could contribute to body image and mental health issues among teens.

“When social media platforms treat our children as mere commodities to manipulate for longer screen time engagement and data extraction, it becomes imperative for state attorneys general to engage our investigative authority under our consumer protection laws,” Republican Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson said in a statement.

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Flooding Could Wipe Out 25 Percent of Critical Infrastructure: Report

About 25% of critical infrastructure in the U.S., or 36,000 facilities, is at serious risk of being rendered inoperable as a result of flooding over the next three decades, according to an industry report released Monday.

American infrastructure such as police stations, airports, hospitals, wastewater treatment facilities, churches and schools were all considered in the analysis, according to First Street Foundation, the group that published the first-of-its-kind report. The U.S. is “ill-prepared” for a scenario where major flooding events become more commonplace, the report concluded.

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State Lawmakers Strip Four Democrat and Two Republican Governors’ Power After Overreach During COVID-19 Pandemic

State legislatures in six states limited their governors’ emergency powers wielded during the COVID-19 pandemic, arguing executives have overextended their authority.

As of June 2021, lawmakers in 46 states have introduced legislation stripping governors of certain emergency powers, according to USA Today. Legislatures justified their actions as necessary to restore a balance between the branches of state government, pointing to examples of executive overreach and the centralization of power in the hands of governors.

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Arizona Attorney General Brnovich Leads Challenge at SCOTUS Related to Hobbs

Mark Brnovich

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich filed an amicus curiae brief Monday in the U.S. Supreme Court with 22 states signing on, demanding the court overrule a decision by the Sixth Circuit allowing state officials to surrender in lawsuits challenging state laws they don’t want to defend.  The move comes as Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, is refusing to appeal adverse decisions striking down Arizona’s elections laws.

The brief relates to Kentucky v. EMW Women’s Surgical Center, where Democratic Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear failed to appeal a court decision striking down a Kentucky law banning dismemberment abortions during the second trimester of pregnancy. Kentucky’s Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron is trying to intervene in order to defend the law.

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