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Category Archives: Fiscal Freedom

11 Conferences Every Entrepreneur Should Attend in 2020 –

Posted: January 18, 2020 at 10:01 am

Photo: Startup Grind | Facebook

11 Conferences Every Entrepreneur Should Attend in 2020

One of the best ways to boost your status as an entrepreneur is to go to the right entrepreneur conference. Conferences not only allow you to get insight from some of the fields biggest names, they also afford you the opportunity to connect with people in the same boat as you. No one succeeds in business alone, and conferences are a great way to make valuable connections.

Over the past 10 years Ive attended thousands of conferences. At one point, would sometimes attend three to four conferences a week. That all changed when I had my daughter. I then had less time to travel. It changed even more when my team started to grow from a two- or three-person team to a multi-company team with hundreds of different employees. I could no longer take off so many days to attend all these conferences. I had to whittle them down to the best conferences that drove the most amount of revenue. I wanted to limit myself to 12-18 conferences that really moved my bottom line.

Here are the top conferences every entrepreneur should attend in 2020 that will actually move their bottom line:

February 11-12; Silicon Valley

Startup Grinds annual global conference dedicates two days to relentless innovation and learning by every single attendee. Featuring over 100 speakers and dozens of corporate partners, Startup Grind has made this conference a valuable experience for entrepreneurs of all shapes and sizes. Of particular interest is the Startup Program, an opportunity for 300 startups to exhibit to some of their industrys greatest minds and investors.

Date and location TBA

Mastermind Talks is an invitation-only event that is exactly what it sounds like: a venue for some of the worlds most dynamic innovators to share their insights. Just because the speakers are notable, however, doesnt mean the conference has lost sight of its attendees the intimate and congenial nature of Mastermind Talks ensures that downtime is minimal and networking opportunities plentiful.

Date and location TBA

EYs CEO-focused event may be invitation-only, but the Strategic Growth Forum hasnt lost its forward-thinking mindset in the years since its founding. 2019s speakers included Lindsey Vonn, Alex Morganand Nicole Kidman and 2020s lineup is likely to be just as impressive. Each forum concludes with the awarding of the Entrepreneur of the Year Award, a fantastic ceremony that should inspire any attendee to keep pushing in the coming year.

March 4-5; Santa Monica, CA

The Montgomery Summit is an opportunity for cutting-edge leaders to connect and share insights theyve gleaned from the front line of business. Attendance is offered by invitation only, and this exclusive atmosphere allows The Montgomery Summit to seem less like a conference and more like a get-together for some of businesss brightest minds. Most conferences dont offer one-on-one meetings with top-level executives from across the business world, but The Montgomery Summit isnt most conferences.

date and location TBA

Possibly the business worlds flashiest conference, Worldz is an annual event focused on blurring the lines between innovation, recreation, and connection. By featuring speakers that run the gamut from Jonah Peretti to Shaquille ONeal, Worldz guarantees that every attendee has the opportunity to hear from someone they can learn from. With its 2019 iteration featuring a complete transformation of the Long Beach Performing Arts Center, Worldz 2020 is bound to leave a lasting impression.

September 30-October 3; Long Beach, CA

Designed as a conference and community, FinCon brings together financial influencers, decision makersand brands. Throughout the conference and beyond, this community collaborates on the best methods to generate and share content that audiences can use to create financial freedom. FinCon has become the largest financial content conference in the world, drawing podcasters, influencers, bloggers, and financial experts to share their knowledge and exchange ideas. The conference agenda grows every year with additional panels, workshopsand networking events.

Date and location TBA

Ontraport has become nearly ubiquitous in the business world, and OPLZA is the perfect opportunity to master your skills with the software. Tech isnt the conferences only focus, though OPLZA is also an opportunity to get away and use the Ontraport platform as a way to think about how you can grow and evolve your business going forward.

Events throughout the year in Mexico, Utah, Italy, and New Orleans

Baby Bathwater events are just about as unprofessional as it gets ...and thats a good thing. The focus of Baby Bathwater is to provide a casual, community feel that focuses on unplugging, having genuine experiences, and making lasting connections; their ban on pitching also allows all attendees to breathe a bit more easily. Taking place in scenic locations all around the world, Baby Bathwater is a great opportunity to push your business and career to the next level while getting some time off in the process.

Date and location TBA

Deloittes Entrepreneur Summit is a unique, networking-focused event open to all entrepreneurs. Though the summit covers all bases of entrepreneurship, mergers and acquisitions (M&A) is a particular focus of the event making it a must-attend for anyone working in M&A. Deloitte collects yearly, detailed conference feedback from its partner and attendees, ensuring that 2020s event will be even more impactful than 2019s.

10. SaaStr

March 10-12; San Jose, CA

SaaStr is for those founders, executivesand investors involved in SaaS and the business cloud environment. This annual non-vendor SaaS conference provides three days of panel discussions, sessions, small group meetings, one-on-one mentoring sessions, networking and parties. As part of the three-day event, one entire day is devoted to pitches from venture capitalists. SaaStr is strictly about learning, business and professional development, and collaboration. Featured speakers include leaders of Airtable, Box, Github, Google Cloud, Zoom and more.

May 1-3; St. Louis, MO

Every entrepreneur, regardless of their field or status, wants to achieve financial freedom at some point, and FinCons Financial Freedom Summit is geared towards giving you the tools you need to get there. Focusing on both business and personal finance, the event is designed to help everyone move to the next level of fiscal independence, regardless of where theyre at in their journey.

Entrepreneurs face new hurdles every day ones that arent always easy to prepare for. By learning from the best and connecting with other leaders in your field, you can safeguard against whats to come and give your business a boost along the way.

Related:Top 5 Must-Attend Events for Startups11 Conferences Every Entrepreneur Should Attend in 20205 Leadership Conferences You Can't Afford to Miss in 2020

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LETTER: You likely lean conservative and you dont know it –

Posted: at 10:01 am

People with conservative political beliefs are consistently misrepresented. That has been an idea simmering on the back burner of my mind. Over the Christmas holidays it boiled over. The catalyst was a CBC tweet with a link to a story that read: As conservatives across the country resist efforts to reduce emissions, Island PCs chart a different course. Anyone familiar with the Conservative Party of Canada and all provincial conservative parties, including the PCs in P.E.I., know conservative policies support lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

As this example shows, the greatest political achievement of Liberals, NDP and Green (or those left of centre on the political spectrum) over the last two decades was to cause conservatives (or those right of centre on the political spectrum) to be consistently misrepresented; worst of all, Conservatives allowed it to happen. Whether misogyny, racism, homophobia, bigotry, Islamophobia or the environment, conservatives as a whole have been associated with negative terms such as alt or far-right, science denier, white nationalist and more when discussing these topics. Many political discussions for conservatives in recent decades have revolved around what they do not stand for.

Today, freedom of speech is being stifled in the name of political correctness. As George Carlin said, political correctness is fascism with manners and comes disguised as tolerance. Canadian society will never accept hate and intolerance. Therefore, disagreeing or being offended by a perspective or opinion should never be acceptable grounds to label or personally attack a person, even a conservative.

Any time you have a large number of people associated with an ideology or political party, there will always be a very small percentage that embarrass the entire group. In the last federal election, the Liberals ran a candidate who made anti-Jewish and anti-Israel statements. Does this mean the entire Liberal party, or someone who identifies as or votes Liberal, is anti-Semitic?

So, lets establish that a conservative is not a racist, misogynist, Islamophobic, science denying, homophobic, Bible-thumping bigot.

Now, if that is what a conservative is not; what is a conservative? Writing as a proud conservative I can tell you conservatives:

1) Believe in dignity and equality of all people, including the LGBTQ+ community.

2) Believe the environment is to be protected by each generation for the next.

3) Believe all Canadians should have access to quality health care.

4) Believe in a balance between compassionate social policy and fiscal responsibility that promotes self-reliance.

5) Believe individuals are responsible to provide for themselves, their families and their dependents, while recognizing that government must respond to those who cannot.

6) Believe the purpose of government is to create an environment where initiative is rewarded while security and privacy are protected.

7) Believe individual prosperity is best achieved by the freedom to pursue legitimate interests within a competitive economy; to enjoy the fruits of ones labour to the greatest extent possible; and the right to own property.

8) Believe in the freedom of the individual, including freedom of speech, worship and assembly.

9) Believe Canada should support a well-armed military, honour those who serve, and promote our history and traditions.

10) Believe in a sovereign and united country governed by the Constitution of Canada, its parliamentary institutions, and the rule of law.

If you share many of these beliefs, congratulations you likely lean or are conservative. In recent years, social media, news and popular culture have treated conservatism as a condition worthy of quarantine. But it has been under the above principles Canadian technology, innovation and natural resources have thrived, and, as a result, so too has our economy and standard of living.

I hope this letter leads to a discussion on why Canada needs conservative leadership now more than ever. Based on conversations Ive had with people in my everyday life and from my experiences during the last federal election as a Conservative candidate in Avalon, many lean Conservative in their political beliefs despite voting anything but. With new Conservative Party of Canada leadership and better messaging, 2020 looks to be the year people realize Canada, and in particular Newfoundland and Labrador, needs a conservative-led government.

Matthew Chapman,Paradise


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Amashs Donors Are Snubbing Him Now That Hes an Independent and Thats Bad for Everyone – National Review

Posted: at 10:01 am

Rep. Justin Amash speaks at CPAC 2013(Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)It seems to suggest, after all, that there is no place for an independent in politics.

For years, fiscally conservative advocacy groups were giving then-Republican representative Justin Amash awards, praise, and donations. Now that hes an independent, however, many of those same groups are snubbing him entirely.

Yes : Although Amash remains the most fiscally conservative member of Congress, his departure from the Republican party and support of impeachment have apparently made him a leper in the eyes of the exact same groups who claim to want to fight for fiscal responsibility.

Take, for example, the libertarian/conservative group FreedomWorks. As Matt Welch notes in a piece for Reason, the group gave Amash a FreedomFighter award every single one of his first eight years in Congress, lauding his commitment to the fight for individual liberty and fiscal responsibility. By all accounts, Amash is still very much fighting for those things. The only difference, really, is that hes now doing so as an independent rather than as a Republican and now, FreedomWorks is saying it doesnt plan to continue supporting him.

We dont have any plans to get involved in MI-03 at this time, seeing as were focused on some other key races to help regain the GOPs House majority, a FreedomWorks spokesman, Peter Vicenzi, told The Dispatch. Were going to support some incumbents as well, mainly [House Freedom Caucus] members.

(Note: Amash had actually co-founded the Freedom Caucus, but left it just last June, only weeks before leaving the Republican party altogether.)

FreedomWorks, unfortunately, isnt alone in changing its mind on Amash. As Welch notes, the Club for Growth which brags on its website that it is the only organization that is willing and able to take on any Member of Congress on policy who fails to uphold basic economic conservative principles . . . regardless of party used to be Amashs biggest campaign contributor. Like FreedomWorks, the Club for Growth also gave Amash awards during his first eight years in office, and it still gives him an impressive 99 percent lifetime rating. Given all of this, youd think that the group would continue to support a representative that is so closely aligned with its stated mission.

But youd be wrong. When The Dispatchs Declan Garvey asked if theyd be supporting Amash this time around, he reportedly received an indignant no.

The DeVos family also announced that it would stop supporting Amash last year, and the self-described conservative/libertarian Americans for Prosperity said that they have nothing to announce regarding Amash at this time.

As Welch notes, Amash is indeed facing a tough battle in 2020. Whats more, Welch is also correct that the loss of Amash as a member of Congress would be a loss for the groups that are now refusing to support him. He does, after all, represent many of the exact values that they claim to be fighting for.

The truth is, though, I think that whats happening to Amash here represents a huge problem for our country overall whether you agree with his specific views or not. It seems to suggest, after all, that there is no place for an independent in politics.

Like him or not, you really should respect the fact that Justin Amash makes his political decisions based only on his principles which is truly refreshing in our hyper-partisan era. All too we often, we see politicians on both sides desperately twisting themselves into partisan-hack pretzels, for the sole purpose of defending their own team or attacking the other, without any thought to principles or values whatsoever. This is incredibly harmful, because the people in power over us are not interested in searching for the truth. Instead, theyre viewing everything through their partisan lenses, concerned only with how they can spin things to make their side look better than the other.

This is bad news for all of us. The best policy, after all, is always going to be whats based on actual facts. Whats more, the prevalence of blind partisan loyalty makes government corruption much easier. Think about it: If politicians know that, no matter what they do, theyll have a whole team backing them up and defending them, its going to make it easier for them to get away with more.

I want to see Justin Amash win, and thats not only because I happen to agree with him on most things its also because, even when I dont agree, I can rest assured that at least hes being guided by something greater than the thoughtless partisan hackery.

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Navy Littoral Combat Ship Will Soon Be Armed With A Laser Weapon System – The Drive

Posted: at 10:01 am

The U.S. Navy says the Freedom class Littoral Combat Ship USS Little Rock will get a 150-kilowatt class laser weapon system from Lockheed Martin this year. This would make Little Rock the third of the service's warships to be fitted with a high-power laser of some kind, following the installation of two different designs on the Arleigh Burke class destroyer USS Dewey and the San Antonio class landing platform dock amphibious ship USS Portland last year. The War Zonewas first to report that both of these vessels had gotten their respective lasers.

U.S. Navy Vice Admiral Richard Brown, Commander of Naval Surface Forces, told reporters about the impending laser installation on Jan. 13, 2020, as first reported by USNI News. At around this exact time last year, the officer had announced plans to have Little Rock deploy in early Fiscal Year 2020, which officially began on Oct. 1, 2019. If that schedule remains the same this ship notably suffered damage after smacking into a moored vessel in Canada last year shortly after the Navy took delivery of it the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) could be receiving its laser very soon, if it hasn't already, and be preparing to deploy. It is most likely headed for a cruise in Latin American waters, where its primary mission could be chasing drug smugglers, according to USNI News.

Vice Admiral Brown did not say what laser the Navy would install on Little Rock, but the most likely candidate would seem to be a variant or derivative of Lockheed Martin's High Energy Laser and Integrated Optical-dazzler and Surveillance system, or HELIOS. Previous reports have said this laser is in the 60-kilowatt class, but that the manufacturer was looking to increase its power to the 150-kilowatt class.

As its name implies, HELIOS blends an optical dazzler, which can blind and confuse optics on hostile ships, aircraft, and drones, as well as optical seekers on missiles and other munitions, together with a high-energy laser capable of actually disabling and destroying certain targets, such as small unmanned aircraft and swarms of small boats.

Integrating HELIOS onto Little Rock would make good sense as it is one of two remaining lasers in the Navy Laser Family of Systems (NLoS) that have yet to find their way onto a ship. In November 2019, USS Deweyemerged equipped with what appeared to be the Optical Dazzling Interdictor, Navy (ODIN) system. USS Portlandis now armed with the prototype developed under the Solid-State Laser Technology Maturation (SSL-TM) program. The service has also said that there is no immediate plan for an at-sea demonstration of a design developed under the Ruggedized High Energy Laser (RHEL) effort, the last of the four NLoS efforts.

However, if this is the case, it would also represent an important acceleration of the Navy's plans for HELIOS, which it also refers to as the Surface Navy Laser Weapon System (SNLWS) Increment 1. Previously, the service had said that it would install this laser onto an Arleigh Burke class destroyer sometime in Fiscal Year 2021.

The big thing were looking at is, what is that opportunity to pull things in so for instance with directed energy, between the HELIOS, being able to get that onto a DDG [Arleigh Burke], and then some scalable laser technology that weve been working on, whats our opportunity to deploy a laser sooner on an LCS, and the opportunity to potentially use one of those weapons modules to do that as opposed to having to design it someway into the ship?" Joe DePietro, Lockheed Martin's Vice President and General Manager of Small Combatants and Ship Systems, told USNI News in August 2019. "Use some of that power, space, and weight of the mission package to be able to field another capability which was inherently the thought process behind the design of LCS, to be able to integrate those new technologies faster because of the modularity of the ship."

USNI Newshas also reported that Lockheed Martin may have been able to accelerate the integration of HELIOS, or a derivative thereof, onto a Freedom class LCS because of the ship's purpose-built modular design, which means it has significant available space and power generation. This was originally intended to support various mission modules, which have become a saga unto themselves that you can read about more in this past War Zone piece. Lockheed Martin's shipbuilding division also designed and continues to build the Freedom class ships, giving it a deep existing knowledge of the capabilities and limitations of these vessels.

Still, DePietro's mention of "scalable laser technology" raises questions about whether a Freedom class LCS would actually be able to support a 150-kilowatt class system, such as HELIOS, which the Navy has previously indicated would require the power generation capabilities of a significantly larger ship. So, it's also possible that Vice Admiral Brown misspoke and the Lockheed Martin laser Little Rock is getting will be something else, perhaps with more limited capabilities, such as ODIN, which is just an optical dazzler.

Adding a laser to Little Rock could be a stepping stone to adding them to other ships in the Freedom class, as well as other similarly sized ships, such as the Independence class LCSs and the Navy's future FFG(X) frigates. The service has already indicated that it is interested in integrating 150-kilowatt class lasers onto whatever frigate design it chooses in the end and Lockheed Martin has already bailed on competing with a ship of its own to focus on providing key systems for the remaining entrants.

DePietro had told USNI News that he saw adding a laser to one of his company's LCSs another way to counter complaints about the ships' limited capabilities and vulnerabilities, even in lower-risk scenarios, as well. The Navy has similarly been rushing to add RGM-148A Naval Strike Missiles to both classes of LCS to improve their offensive punch.

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LIGON: 2020 Legislative Session Begins – All On Georgia

Posted: at 10:01 am

The following column is an opinion piece and reflects the views of only the author and not those of AllOnGeorgia.

By: State Senator William Ligon

Sen. William Ligon serves as Chairman of the Banking and Financial Institutions Committee. He represents the 3rdSenate District which includes Brantley, Camden, Glynn, and McIntosh counties and portions of Charlton County. He can be reached by phone at 404.463.1383 or by email

This Monday, legislators met back at the State Capitol to begin the start of the second session of the 155thGeorgia General Assembly. We were able to accomplish a lot of substantial work during the last session, and I believe this momentum has translated into our first four legislative days. In fact, during the first day of session, House Bill 276 was transmitted to the House where a conference committee was appointed. HB 276 will be pivotal in generating a greater revenue source for the state by addressing the collection of taxes from marketplace facilitators. Rather than creating an additional tax, this bill will ensure that Georgia brick-and-mortar businesses do not have an unfair disadvantage compared to e-retailers and other larger providers. As Chairman of the Banking and Financial Institutions Committee, one of my top priorities is to ensure that Georgia maintains a fair business climate.

This session, I also continue to serve as Vice-Chairman of the Ethics Committee and of the Reapportionment and Redistricting Committee. I am also a member of the Appropriations, Health and Human Services, and Judiciary committees, and Ex-Officio of the Science and Technology Committee.

In addition to HB 276 and its emphasis on marketplace fairness, the Majority Caucus will work to advance rural broadband infrastructure, to reform price transparency in our healthcare industry, and to increase public safety through additional opportunities for our retired law enforcement officers.

Governor Kemp outlined his own initiatives during his State of the State Address onThursday. In his address, the Governor brought up his plans to advance legislation that will combat human trafficking, provide more resources to our law enforcement to reduce gang activity, fund our education systems, and create better adoption laws. The Governor also recognized our states incredible success in job creation, thus reducing unemployment. Georgia is a strong and prosperous state run by a Governor who has vocally supported pro-life legislation. I appreciate the fact that Gov. Kemp highlighted last years huge legislative win for our state, the Heartbeat Bill. The Governor demonstrated his conservative beliefs last session, and I am interested to see how these values continue to be showcased in this years legislation.

We must not forget that the budget will be one of the key topics we look at as the Senate approaches a week of committee hearings. Georgia has a constitutional obligation to keep our budget balanced, and it is important that we remain fiscally responsible, while securing a substantial percentage of growth and allocation of resources for this Fiscal Year.

This week served as a reminder that while there are a number of new legislative initiatives to take place during the next 36 days, there are still important discussions that have not yet been finished from last session. We must continue to fight for the conservative ideals that best serve our citizens. Furthermore, we must be vigilant to protect our constitutional freedoms. The First Amendment, particularly the free exercise of religion and the freedom of speech, and the preservation of our Second Amendment right to bear arms are under increasing pressure from left-wing socialists. We cannot allow American freedoms to wither and die by a thousand cuts. We must be pro-active in order to pass a heritage of liberty to the next generation.

I would like to end by asking for your prayers for Sen. Greg Kirk and his family. Sen. Kirks death has been difficult on many of us, but far more so for his family. He will be greatly missed. He was a man of enormous faith who put his commitment to God, his family, and his constituents.

Thank you for the privilege I have of serving you in public office. I want to make sure that the issues important to our Third District are well represented in the legislative process. If you have any questions or would like to talk about issues under the Gold Dome, please dont hesitate to contact my office.

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Opposition grows to Nepal government’s move to curtail social media – World Socialist Web Site

Posted: at 10:01 am

Opposition grows to Nepal governments move to curtail social media By Rohantha De Silva 17 January 2020

Resistance is increasing in Nepal to the proposed Information Technology Bill (ITB), which curbs freedom of expression and social media. Senior journalists, prominent intellectuals and law professionals have voiced their opposition to the draconian nature of the bill, which is part of the ruling Stalinist Nepal Communist Partys (NCP) turn toward autocratic rule.

The Federation of Nepali Journalists, Nepal Bar Association, NGO Federation of Nepal and other organisations have condemned the attack on free speech. Addressing a meeting last week in Kathmandu, Nepals capital, constitutional expert Bhimarjun Acharya said the bill must be scrapped entirely.

The parliamentary Development and Technology Committee passed the bill on December 29. It will be presented to parliament for passage to replace the current Electronic Transactions Act, which the NCP government has used already to arrest people for making improper social media posts.

The ITB sets heavy fines of up to 1.5 million rupees ($US13,145), or jail terms of up to ten years, or both, for harassing, bullying or defaming others via social media. Though the government claims this would not stifle freedom of expression, the bills vague language would put social media users at high risk for criticising business leaders, politicians and bureaucrats.

Under the bill, the government would be able to block social media platforms if they are not registered in Nepal, including Facebook, Viber, and WhatsApp. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) would also come under scrutiny. The bill authorises the federal, state and local governments in Nepal to direct ISPs to withdraw improper online content, without any court ruling. Equipment and software can be deemed illegal.

Cases will be heard by an Information Technology Court, chaired by a legal expert and with IT and commerce experts as members. Acharya said this would be a kangaroo court designed to bypass the judiciary, violating the Nepal constitution.

Expressing the concern of sections of the Nepali elite, the Himalayan Times wrote on December 31: Democracy will die in the absence of freedom of expression or opinion. A Kathmandu Post opinion piece noted that authorities could block social media, threatening to curtail freedom of speech online as well as increase surveillance of personal data.

Responding to widespread public hostility, the countrys main opposition party, the Nepali Congress (NC), was forced to demand that the government revise the bills regressive provisions. However, the last NC government also attacked basic democratic rights and was widely discredited before it was voted out in the December 2017 general elections.

A day before the parliamentary committee approved the bill, NCP chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal branded the press as the bourgeois media. This is a cynical attempt to justify the attack on basic democratic rights by a government that serves the interests of the capitalist class.

Since its election, the NCP government has sought to gag free expression. The police have filled 106 cases in Kathmandu Valley, where the majority of Nepalis live, for improper posts on social media in the last three years.

The ICB is not the only measure proposed by the Nepal government to attack media freedom. Under the Media Council Bill (MCB), the Nepal Press Council can fine editors, publishers and journalists up to one million rupees if found guilty of damaging someones reputation. Under the current legislation, the council can ask for clarifications and apologies, and blacklist press organisations, but must go to court for compensation orders.

On December 30, the government tabled the Special Service Bill, which authorises Nepals intelligence agencies to intercept telephone and digital conversations under the basis of countering threats to national security, sovereignty and integrity.

With more than half the planets population now using the internet, governments everywhere are increasingly taking measures to gag social media platforms, fearing their use to organise the struggles of workers and youth. At least 29 countries carried out deliberate internet shutdowns last year.

As part of the Nepal governments increasing surveillance against the masses, 165 more CCTV cameras were installed by police in the capital Kathmandu during October. This takes the total number of CCTV cameras in Kathmandu Valley to 1,414, and to more than 3,000 throughout Nepal. A number of schools and colleges in Kathmandu are under CCTV surveillance also.

These developments underscore the NCPs fear of the development of a mass movement against the government. In by-elections held in November for the parliament and provincial assemblies, the NCP lost most of the seats it had held. In an attempt to shield itself from the discontent, the Rastriya Janata Party withdrew its support from the government last March.

Nepal is a social tinderbox. On average, the richest 10 percent of people now own property worth an astounding 26 times more than the poorest 40 percent, and the top 10 percent earn three times more than the poorest 40 percent.

Nepali migrant workers in the Middle East and elsewhere sent home over $7 billion to their families in the last fiscal year, but they endure significant hardships, including 12-hour work-days in desert heat and gruelling hours in factories with no days off. Many are virtual slaves trapped in private homes as domestic helpers. Around 1,000 Nepali migrant workers die every year, mainly in the Gulf region, because of these appalling conditions.

Mass opposition to the ongoing poverty and social problems under the previous Nepali Congress government resulted in the victory of Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Olis administration in the 2017 election. But the NCP government has carried forward the same pro-market program of international finance capital, which is intensifying social devastation and political opposition.

2019 has been a year of mass social upheaval. We need you to help the WSWS and ICFI make 2020 the year of international socialist revival. We must expand our work and our influence in the international working class. If you agree, donate today. Thank you.

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First Recipients of U of A Chancellor’s Humanities and Arts Grant Named – University of Arkansas Newswire

Posted: at 10:01 am

University Relations

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. University of Arkansas projects designed to combat "fake news," bolster Holocaust studies, address Spanish language education, and create a student-led record label are among nine inaugural initiatives selected to receive more than $500,000 in seed funding from the Chancellor's Fund for Humanities and Performing Arts.

Chancellor Joe Steinmetzannounced the formation of the new $1 million seed fund in the fallas a wayto encourage interdisciplinary collaboration and spark creative activity in faculty-led initiatives in the humanities and performing arts.

"Providing seed funding to this incredible first batch of humanities and performing arts grant recipients will increase collaboration and innovation, help tackle pressing issues in creative ways, and enhance our research and discovery mission while providing support to our students, surrounding community, and beyond," Steinmetz said. "These projects are our guiding priorities in action."

The total combined award amounts to $532,245, with $500,000 being funded from the Chancellor's grant, and an additional $32,245 being funded by theJ. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences. An additional $500,000 from the fund will be distributed in fiscal year 2021.

A total of 39 projects were submitted for consideration 20 in humanities and 19 in performing arts.

Projects were evaluated by two committees made up of leading faculty in the humanities and performing arts. Fulbright College associate dean Calvin White Jr. led the Humanities Committee and associate dean Jeannie Hulen led the Performing Arts Committee.

White and Hulen said the proposals in this first year were very competitive, and that many of the proposals that were not funded this year could be expanded to re-apply in the future.

"I want to thank Calvin and Jeannie for leading us through this process and making sure each committee represented multiple departments and perspectives from across the university," said Todd Shields, dean of Fulbright College. "We were especially pleased by the collaborative approach and big thinking represented in the proposals. Deciding on these nine initiatives was a tough call as there were so many amazing projects, but we are confident this first group of grantees will fulfill our goal of enhancing our university's discovery, innovation, creativity and scholarly work."

Proposals were evaluated on:

The nine projects that were awarded grants beginning spring 2020 include:

Arkansas Participation in a 500 Million Person Community:Building Capacity for Innovation in Spanish Teaching StatewideLuis Restrepo, principal investigator; Brenda Magnetti, Rebecca Foote, Raquel Castro Salas and Betina Arellano (Fulbright College)

Through pioneering research and public programming, this project aims to putthe U of A at the lead in addressingprofound growth of Spanish-speaking populations in ourcommunity, state and nation.

In Arkansas alone, there are now more than 60,000 Hispanic students in public schools and more than 9,000 at higher education institutions. This project has the potentialtomake Arkansas amodel in Spanish language teaching through a research programthat will harness widely dispersed datain hopes of shapingpolicyandsymposiawith public school teachers, university faculty and community leaders.

By building a more multilingual citizenry and workforce through improved language training, colleges and universitiescanbind communitiestogether and better prepare native English speakers for vigorous participation in a globalized economy and energetic engagement in an increasingly diverse world culture.

Holocaust Education Studies CollaborativeJay Greene, principal investigator; Jennifer Hoyer, Matthew Lee and Molly Beck (College of Education and Health Professions and Fulbright College)

Currently, only 10 states include the Holocaust in their education curricula, but scholars have hypothesized that students exposed to it have a stronger commitment to civil liberties and are more likely to speak out in defense of them.

This project will draw on the work of an interdisciplinary group at the U of A and the University of Illinois at Chicago to evaluate and improve Holocaust education in American schools. They will conduct research into Holocaust education in the classroom and in museums to fully discern how Holocaust education benefits students' civic values, tolerance, empathy and sense of justice, and regularly present their findings through papers, conferences and policy briefs.

Armed with this research, they will also collaborate with local schools to increase access to quality Holocaust education. This initiative will establish the U of A as a nationally recognized center for Holocaust education.

ICORN-Fayetteville:Welcoming At-Risk International Writers and Artists to NWAPadma Viswanathan, principal investigator (Fulbright College)

The plan to have Fayetteville designated as an International City of Refuge would bring global recognition to both the U of A and to the city of Fayetteville, which would become one of only 70 such cities around the globe and only two in the United States.

This ambitious project powerfully speaks to the intrinsic value of the humanities to work in the service of human life and to attend to larger issues of health and academic freedom.

The outcomes will be multiple: ICORN status would illuminate the work of a nationally ranked M.F.A. program in creative writing and translation (and, in the future, offer collaborations with the School of Art and Department of Music), enable scholarly work to be produced with global circulation, and create diverse teaching and learning opportunities while also opening up a myriad of possibilities for interagency partnerships, community collaborations and future grants.

NWA Film Cycle: Seeding a Filmmaking Community in Northwest ArkansasRussell Sharman, principal investigator; and John Walch (Fulbright College)

This interdisciplinary collaboration between the Departments of Communication and Theatre proposes to create three short-form narrative films on the theme of "difficult conversations." Each film could stand alone, but also could operate in the context of a series.

These films would engage with difficult and timely conversations such as those involving sexual violence. The potential scope of this project not only involves students in media production processes, but also produces valuable and culturally relevant media content that could reach far beyond the classroom into the community, region and across the nation.

This collaboration is well conceptualized, feasible, timely, cost-efficient and at the forefront of the humanities field, and is likely to achieve future funding successes with the potential to significantly increase the profileof the U of A.

Reasoning in the Digital Age: Challenges and Implications of an Epistemic CrisisEric Funkhouser, principal investigator; Barry Ward, David Barrett, Xintao Wu, William McComas and Scott Eidelman (Fulbright College, College of Engineering and College of Education and Health Professions)

This wide-ranging, interdisciplinary projectseeks to describe and combat obstacles to critical reasoning in an age in which consumers of information are bombarded with information overload, subjected to manipulation, isolated in "silos" and potentially bewildered by accusations of "fake news."

This project will emphasize the identification of rational, ethical and political norms for processing information under these crisis conditions and the development of realistic and practical strategies for implementing them. Immediate results will include a conference and a volume of conference proceedings; papers and at least one book from the investigators; and the development of new courses in vital areas including critical reasoning and data ethics.

Black Prometheus Bound in the 21st CenturyDaniel Levine, principal investigator, and Michael Riha (Fulbright College)

This interdisciplinary project will feature a reinterpretation of classic literature through a diverse lens and manifest in a performance to be viewed by students across the state and potentially to be showcased nationally.

The theatrical adaptation of the ancient tragedy by Aeschylus,Prometheus Bound, will be developed, rehearsed and presented by a troupe of diverse professional actors and Department of Theatre students as the keystone of a two-day festival of classical literature adaptations. The festival will be presented by the Department of Theatre, the Classical Studies Program and the Department of English.

As part of the event, high school students from across the state will visit the U of A to attend the fully staged adaptation, participate in hands-on workshops, engage in discussions about literature and theatre performance and present their own 10-minute adaptations within the theme of the festival. Participating teachers will also be offered professional development credit.

The Experimental Performance Research EnsembleAdam Hogan, principal investigator;Jacob Hertzog, Chris MacRae and Stefani Byrd (Fulbright College)

The Experimental Performance Research Ensemble is an interdisciplinary collaboration between the Department of Music and the experimental media arts faculty in the School of Art intended to bring together practitioners from a wide array of backgrounds to foster pioneering research and development of experimental forms of performance with particular interest in the intersections between science, technology and perception.

Guided by a core team of researchers, the ensemble will develop a series of new creative works exploring digitally mediated performance methodologies, culminating in three public performances over the course of the two-year project. Each of the performances will be the result of a collection of improvisational research sessions, instrument development/exploration and compositional residencies featuring the core investigative team and guests.

RefleXions: Latin-America Propagating Sound, Expressing,Reversing Dynamics, Carefully Considering, RepresentingLia Uribe, Erika Almenara, Rogelio Garcia-Contreras, Ronda Mains, Catalina Ortega, Eric Troiano and Leigh Wood (Fulbright College and Sam M. Walton College of Business)

This project aims to support the RefleXions music series, a festival of Latinx music that will promote greater understanding and embracing of Latin art and popular music and culture by using music as a bridge and a tool to connect and represent.

The RefleXions music series is a carefully considered program that is the U of A's next step to expanding its performing field to be more inclusive. This project's main goal is to embrace diverse repertoires and music from Latin-America and promote them by providing opportunities at the university and in our community to learn, grow, disseminate, change and teach.

This project will bring Latin-American music to the forefront of activities, while fostering collaborations between different departments, acting as a bridge to our local communities and promoting access and dialogue with our region's LatinX community.

The 21st Century Music Industry: Imagining a New Role for Higher EducationRonda Mains, Jacob Hertzog, Bree McMahon, Mark Lanoue and Frank Liu (Fulbright College, College of Engineering and the Office of Economic Development)

This entrepreneurial, collaborative project will create a new internal unit, Razorback Music, that functions as a student-led 21st century record label, production and entertainment company, and digital music industry platform to bridge the gap between higher education and the music and entertainment industry.

Services will include recording projects, artist management, booking, music placement, merchandising, media campaigns and networking. These projects and services will be united digitally via a new virtual music industry portal that will be a revenue-generating technology and a music industry research unit. Through this enterprise, students will participate in every aspect of the music business.

Participating artists will include U of A students, faculty and alumni, as well as talented Arkansas artists from every genre. The label will also include experienced advisors in the music industry who will utilize their contacts and expertise to create industry connections for the label and attract outside investors.

About the University of Arkansas:The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among fewer than 3% of colleges and universities in America that have the highest level of research activity.U.S. News & World Reportranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.

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First Recipients of U of A Chancellor's Humanities and Arts Grant Named - University of Arkansas Newswire

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Towns can choose the effect solar farms will have on property taxes – The Altamont Enterprise

Posted: at 10:01 am

DUANESBURG New York State has put into place tax exemptions to encourage development of renewable energy, which played out last week in Duanesburg, a rural Schenectady County town, that granted payments in lieu of taxes, or PILOTs, for two solar farms.

New Yorks Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act requires 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2040 and economy-wide, net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Eden Renewables plans to install Oak Hill Solar 1 and Oak Hill Solar 2 on about 65 acres on Duanesburg Road. Last Thursday night, at its regular January meeting, in a unanimous vote, the Duanesburg Town Board approved PILOTs for both projects.

The solar projects were approved in September, and the PILOT applications for tax breaks had first been introduced to the public just two weeks before they were approved, at the last town board meeting, on Dec. 26.

The town had received the documents requesting a tax break for Eden Renewables about four weeks prior to the Dec. 26 meeting, Supervisor Roger Tidball told The Enterprise after the Jan. 9 meeting. The PILOTs were listed on the agenda for the Dec. 26 meeting, he said, and he had held an impromptu public hearing that night, which was held over to Jan. 9.

Copies of the PILOT applications, attached to the Jan. 9 agenda, said that the owner will make annual payments to the taxing jurisdiction for 15 consecutive fiscal tax years, in lieu of real-property taxes. On each of the two solar farms, the first payment will be $8,125; the annual payments will increase by 2 percent every year.

Eden has a separate PILOT agreement with the Duanesburg Central School District for the same amounts on each of its two projects. Schenectady County has opted not to enter into a PILOT agreement on the Eden projects.

[Related:Duanesburg adopts solar moratorium after already approving big projects]

If Eden Renewables were to pay the real-property taxes, once the solar farms are established, the tax money for Oak Hill 1 and Oak Hill 2 would total more than that, said Duanesburg Assessor Michael McGuire.

However, Duanesburg has not opted out of the tax exemption, under the states Real Property Tax Law, for alternative energy systems such as solar.

From the time that a developer contacts a municipality to say it wants to build a solar farm, a municipality has 60 days to tell that developer that it plans to require a PILOT agreement, McGuire said; the developer can then decide whether to accept that and begin to negotiate, or bring the project elsewhere.

If no PILOT is put into place, a solar farm in Duanesburg would be exempt from property taxes for the first 15 years. The developer must apply to the town for the exemption.

Duanesburg has one existing solar farm, built by Onyx Solar. Onyx was started in 2014 by the investment firm Blackstone Group, whose chief executive officer is Steve Schwarzman, former chairman of Donald Trumps Strategic and Policy Forum. With a net worth of $17.7 billion, Schwarzman is ranked number 29 on Forbes 400, a list of Americas wealthiest.

The Onyx solar farm in Duanesburg does not have a PILOT, McGuire said, and is exempt, for 15 years, from all real-property taxes except for special-district taxes, generally for fire and ambulance. Once the 15 years is up, it would become liable for full taxes.

A developer could try at that point to negotiate a PILOT, McGuire said.

This is all relatively new, and nobody has hit that 15 years, the Duanesburg assessor added.

The town of Guilderland in neighboring Albany County passed a local law in 2017 opting out of the solar exemption, so a solar developer in Guilderland would need to pay property taxes, if it did not have a PILOT agreement.

McGuire does not yet have any numbers for what the assessed value of the Oak Hill solar farm will be; Eden hasnt even broken ground yet, and McGuire hasnt yet received the subdivision paperwork from the county. The tentative assessment roll is released in May based on whatever is there as of March 1, he said. The solar farms at Oak Hill will probably not have a full assessed value, based upon a completed project, until 2021, he said.

McGuire noted that Duanesburgs equalization rate is just 32.8 percent.

An equalization rate is the percentage of full-market value used as the assessment rate. It is set by the state. The rate is meant to equalize taxes among municipalities so that, for example, with county taxes, if someone owns a house worth $100,000 in the city of Albany, that person will pay the same amount of Albany County taxes as a person who owns a $100,000 house in Guilderland.

Guilderlands rate was lowered in 2017 by the state from 88 percent to 75.58, leading residents on the edges of town, in other school districts, to see their property taxes rise precipitously. Last year, the town undertook a town-wide revaluation, bringing its assessed value up to 100 percent, to resolve the problem.

If you looked at a property in Duanesburg with a full-market value of $1,000,000, McGuire said, its assessed value would be $328,000 and taxes due on it would be roughly $28,700. Of that, $19,500 would be due to the school district; $7,750 would go to the town and county combined; and $1,250 would be due to special districts such as fire and ambulance.

On the parent parcel 143 acres owned by Murray taxes last year were $4,400, McGuire said.

Even with a PILOT, Eden Renewables will still need to pay the special-districts tax for fire and ambulance, as well as the property taxes on the land only but not on the solar farm, McGuire said.

The PILOT applications could have been requested prior to the meeting under the Freedom of Information Law by residents who wished to see them, said a woman who answered the phone in the town clerks office late Thursday afternoon. Residents would not be able to stop by the town hall and look through a particular projects file just by asking, the woman said; they would need to fill out a FOIL request.

Under New Yorks Freedom of Information Law, an agency has five days to respond to a request; the agency can take up to 20 business days to produce the documents.

Duanesburg resident Lynne Bruning told The Enterprise that many local towns, including Schoharie, put all of the documentation about proposed projects on their website. Bruning and her mother, who live next to the property where Eden Renewables plans to build a solar farm, have filed an Article 78 proceeding, challenging the towns approval of the project (see related story).

Who has time to come to town hall, then come back again and pay the money for copies? Bruning said to The Enterprise after the meeting about the FOIL-request system. She pointed to a sign the town halls front window, listing the offices hours. You can only come between 8 a.m. and 12 noon, or 1 and 4 p.m., she noted.

Its important that our towns comply with current technology, Bruning said.

Tidball told The Enterprise that people who make FOIL requests might be able to get the material on the spot and might not need to make a second trip if its ready and available.

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Carbon-Emissions Fee on Gasoline Might Tank Regional Economy, Conservative Think Tanks Say | NewBostonPost – NewBostonPost

Posted: at 10:01 am

By Tom Joyce | January 18, 2020, 0:38 EST

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Members of several New England think tanks gathered Friday for a summit focused on one common goal: their opposition to the Transportation Climate Initiative.

The proposed 12-state pact of New England and Mid-Atlantic states would impose fees on fuel providers based on their carbon emissions. This money would then go to expanding public transportation. For drivers, it would increase the price of gasoline by up to 17 cents per gallon.

The event, hosted by the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, featured representatives from fiscally conservative organizations from all six New England states. The group met at the Hampshire House in Boston in the morning and afternoon, holding a press conference midday.

Chris Carlozzi, of the National Federation of Independent Business Massachusetts, said that the increased tax on gas and diesel would have an adverse impact on Massachusetts businesses.

This will increase costs for small businesses and consumers, Carlozzi said. When youre a small business owner oftentimes operating on razor-thin margins whether youre providing goods or a service it increases costs at the end of the day and prices for consumers. If youre transporting goods, that increases prices. That will leave businesses in Massachusetts at a serious disadvantage and that impacts jobs at the end of the day.

Representatives at the event from the northern New England states Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine said the proposal would especially affect those who live in the rural parts of their states and typically drive longer distances.

Posik called the Transportation Climate Initiative a regressive tax. Other members of the summit agreed and explained further when asked by New Boston Post.

Gasoline is an inelastic good, Stenhouse explained. If you raise the price, people still have to drive to work, sometimes long distances. It comes directly out of their budget and for low-income citizens, thats a higher percentage of their income. Because of that, theyll be forced to cut something else out of their budget because they cant buy less.

Rob Roper of the Ethan Allen Institute in Vermont agreed, noting that with the high cost of real estate in many high-population areas, middle class and working-class Americans may have longer commutes.

Additionally, he noted that the Vermont AFL-CIO, which represents organized labor, opposes the proposed carbon-emissions feem, as VT Digger confirms.

Theyre not ideologically opposed to taxes that would fund greenhouse gas emission. Theyre on board with a Green New Deal for Vermont, Roper said, distinguishing one anti-climate-change proposal from the gasoline fee, but even they see it as a very unfair regressive tax that hurts workers.

When asked if MassFiscal would support an alternative to the Transportation Climate Initiative with similar goals, spokesman Paul Craney said his organization would not.

Rather, Craney stated that Massachusetts ranks 48th among the 50 states in spending efficiency on roads, as the Reason Foundation confirms. He said cutting administrative costs and maximizing efficiency there would provide the state with additional funding for public transit without increasing taxes.

Other attendees at the event Friday, January 17 included Greg Moore of Americans for Prosperity New Hampshire; Jacob Posik of the Maine Heritage Policy Center; Mike Stenhouse of the Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity; and Elisabeth Kines and Louise DiCocco of the Yankee Institute in Connecticut.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, a Republican, and Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo, a Democrat, are the only two governors in New England who are in favor of the carbon-emissions fee on gasoline. Bakers aides say the governor has the authority to implement a carbon-emissions fee in Massachusetts without further approval by the state Legislature, thanks to a law enacted in 2007.

New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu, a Republican, in December came against the proposal in clear terms, shortly after the cost estimate of up to 17 cents a gallon was released. Among those expressing opposition recently have been Vermont Governor Phil Scott, a Republican, and Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, a Democrat.

In Maine, Democratic Governor Janet Mills has sounded unenthusiastic about the proposal.


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Carbon-Emissions Fee on Gasoline Might Tank Regional Economy, Conservative Think Tanks Say | NewBostonPost - NewBostonPost

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Tennessee governor says he will sign anti-gay adoption bill – NBC News

Posted: at 10:01 am

NASHVILLE, Tenn. Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced Tuesday that hell sign into law a measure that would assure continued taxpayer funding of faith-based foster care and adoption agencies even if they exclude LGBT families and others based on religious beliefs.

The GOP-controlled Senate gave the bill final passage on the first day of the 2020 legislative session after it was initially approved by the House last April. The bill was sent to the Republican governor amid warnings by critics of possible negative consequences for Tennessees reputation.

Lees communication director, Chris Walker, confirmed in a statement Tuesday evening that the governor would sign the bill. Earlier, before the Senate vote, Lee declined to weigh in after saying he had not read the two-page bill.

We are off to a fine start this session, state Sen. Steve Dickerson joked while debating against the bill earlier as the lone Republican opposed.

A handful of states to date have enacted similar legislation i ncluding Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Alabama, South Dakota, North Dakota, Virginia, Mississippi and Michigan. But Michigan agreed in settling a lawsuit to no longer turn away LGBT couples or individuals because of religious objections.

Nationally, supporters argue such measures are needed to protect against potential lawsuits hostile to the groups religious beliefs. However, critics counter that the proposals attack LGBT rights and limit the number of qualified families seeking t o adopt or foster needy children.

This bill is solely about freedom, said Sen. Paul Rose, the Republican sponsor of the bill.

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Rose conceded he thought the bill wasnt necessary, pointing out that President Donald Trumps administration is currently proposing a rule that would impose the same protections. Yet he said he advanced the bill this year because there was no guarantee Trump would be reelected later this year.

Trumps proposal would rescind an Obama-era rule that prevented foster care agencies from receiving federal funds if they discriminated against families based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Ultimately, 20 Republicans approved the bill while five other Republican members simply voted present even after some questioned the bills benefits.

Dickerson was the only Republican to join the Senates five Democrats in opposition. He said the bill would allow certain groups to limit the families where children could be sent, adding I expect that waiting list to increase somewhat.

He added, This will have a direct fiscal impact on the state, not to mention the humanitarian impact and emotional impact on those children who ... will now be in a foster setting for a longer time.

In 2011, Illinois declined to renew its state contract with Catholic Charities adoption services due to its policy of refusing child placement to same-sex couples. Catholic Charities has also stopped handling adoptions in Washington D.C., Massachusetts and San Francisco over concerns they would be required to act against their religious beliefs.

If the proposal becomes law as the governor has signaled, current adoption practices in Tennessee arent expected to change. Some faith-based agencies already do not allow gay couples to adopt. But this measure would provide legal protections to agencies that do.

For example, denied applicants couldnt sue an agency for damages if the religious belief or moral conviction was cited as a reason.

The legislation sparked opposition from civil rights and foster advocates.

The foster care system is at a critical juncture where it is required by new federal law to reduce the number of children placed in harmful group homes and to expand family home options for children who cannot safely return to their family of origin, said Currey Cook, counsel and director of Lambda Legal. Children who need more homes, not fewer, should not suffer as part of efforts to chip away at equality for LGBTQ families.

Over in the House, lawmakers had less on tap on opening day though an unrelated political development unfolded.

Republican Rep. David Byrd confirmed he doesnt plan to seek reelection this year. Byrd had been accused of sexual misconduct by three women when he was their high school basketball coach and a teacher decades ago, before being elected. He was reelected in 2018 despite the accusations.

Byrd said he told GOP colleagues in an August closed door gathering that he wouldnt run again, as The Tennessean had reported.

I told my caucus I wouldnt go run, and I hate to go back on my word, even though Im getting a lot of pressure put on me in my district to run, Byrd told The Associated Press.

Byrd had apologized to one of the women in a phone call she recorded in early 2018, but didnt detail his action and denied anything happened with other students.

He said he might change his mind and seek reelection if protests continue over the allegations. Another Republican has filed for his seat.

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Tennessee governor says he will sign anti-gay adoption bill - NBC News

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