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.

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Biologically Male Middle School Student Can Run on Girls’ Cross Country Team, Judge Rules

Man running on a gravel road during the day with a blue shirt on

A biologically male middle school student may run on a girl’s cross country team this fall in spite of West Virginia’s new law banning biological males from women’s sports, U.S. Circuit Judge Joseph R. Goodwin ruled Wednesday.

Lawyers from the ACLU-West Virginia had argued that HB 3293 would unfairly prevent the 11-year-old student, Becky Pepper-Jackson, from participating on a girls cross country team.

Goodwin issued a preliminary injunction Wednesday allowing Pepper-Jackson to “sign up for and participate in school athletics in the same way as her girl classmates.”

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Biden’s DOJ Comes Out Swinging Against West Virginia, Arkansas Trans Laws

The Department of Justice argued in court filings Thursday that transgender legislation passed in West Virginia and Arkansas is unconstitutional.

The DOJ filed statements of interest supporting lawsuits filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) against West Virginia’s House Bill 3293 and Arkansas’ “Save Adolescents From Experimentation Act,” otherwise known as the SAFE Act.

The West Virginia bill bans biological males at public schools from participating in women’s sports in middle school, high school, and college. The SAFE Act prohibits physicians from performing gender transition procedures, such as puberty blockers or “top” and “bottom” surgeries, on minors.

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McConnell Says He Supports $800 Billion Package Focusing on ‘Traditional’ Infrastructure

Sen Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell suggested that Republicans could back an infrastructure package costing up to $800 billion, a higher total than a plan Senate Republicans put forward in April.

Speaking with Kentucky Educational Television Sunday, McConnell reaffirmed Republicans’ opposition to President Joe Biden’s sweeping $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan, which covers both traditional infrastructure and Democratic priorities like child care, affordable housing and climate change. McConnell said that any package must be limited to “traditional” infrastructure items like roads, bridges and ports to gain GOP support.

“The proper price tag for what most of us think of as infrastructure is about $600-800 billion,” McConnell said.

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Census Bureau Announces Michigan Will Lose a Congressional Seat as Florida and Texas Each Gain

Texas and Florida are slated to gain congressional seats during the decennial redistricting process, while California and New York are set to each lose one, the U.S. Census Bureau announced Monday.

The U.S. Census Bureau released the decennial state population and congressional apportionment totals Monday, outlining how many districts each state will have for the next decade. The data also determines how many Electoral College votes each state will have through 2032, and allocates how federal money is distributed to each state for schools, roads and other public projects.

The release was originally scheduled for December, but faced delays due to the coronavirus pandemic and the Trump administration’s unsuccessful effort to exclude non-citizens from the count.

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West Virginia Governor Will Not Veto Bill Banning Biological Males from Women’s Sports

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice

The governor of West Virginia signaled that he will not veto a bill banning biological males from women’s sports.

Republican West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice discussed HB 3293 during a coronavirus briefing Wednesday saying that he would either “let it become law or sign it,” according to The Hill. The governor also said that he would “absolutely not” veto the bill, the publication reported.

“From the standpoint of how I feel about it personally… I just can’t possibly get through my head that it is the right thing for us at a middle school level or a high school level in our state for me not to support the bill,” Justice said, according to the Hill. “So, I do support the bill.”

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13 States Sue Biden Administration, Demand Ability to Cut Taxes

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey

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.”

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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.

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West Virginia School Bus Drivers File Lawsuit Against School Superintendent over Suspensions Related to Capitol Protest

Two veteran school bus drivers from a West Virginia school district have filed a civil lawsuit for suspensions related to their attendance at the January 6 Washington, DC protest.

Tina Renner and Pamela McDonald were suspended by Jefferson County Schools Superintendent Bondy Shay Gibson after receiving word the drivers had “posted threatening and inflammatory posts on their Facebook pages, had been present at the Electoral protest march on Wednesday that erupted in violence, and had violated […] leave policy.”

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West Virginia Site Chosen for High-Speed Hyperloop Travel Facility

Virgin Hyperloop One will build a certification center in West Virginia for the high-speed transportation concept that uses enclosed pods to zip passengers underground at over 600 mph (960 km/h).

The company had received bids from more than a dozen states in the past year to build a 6-mile (9.7-kilometer) testing track and other safety facilities over hundreds of acres for the electromagnetic levitation transportation technology.

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Supremes Revive Permit for Pipeline Under Appalachian Trail

The Supreme Court on Monday paved the way for a critical permit for a proposed natural gas pipeline that would cross under the Appalachian Trail, siding with energy companies and the Trump administration.

The justices ruled 7-2 to reverse a lower court ruling that had thrown out the permit for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. It would bring natural gas from West Virginia to growing markets in Virginia and North Carolina. Its supporters say the pipeline would bring economic development, thousands of jobs and reduced energy costs for consumers.

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