Legislative Updates – Pray for America's Leaders

Legislative Updates

Tennessee | October 26, 2021

Preschool park in South Nashville overtaken by homeless: ‘This is a drug-use issue’

Tennessee | October 26, 2021

A beautiful, state-of-the art park for preschoolers in one of the poorest parts of Nashville has been dramatically altered because homeless people and drug users were taking over the park.

Azafrán Park on Nolensville Pike is a case study in how the city of Nashville is struggling with a growing homeless problem.

The park is a public private partnership. $1.5 million in fundraising, another half million from Metro Parks and you had the prettiest little pre-school park in low-income South Nashville.

Then the homeless discovered it and trouble followed.

“Some people were living under the pavilion and they were using the water splash for their own bathroom needs and then we all together took action to see how we could bring the park back to safety. Many people of course felt unsafe,” said Marta Silva, Interim Executive Director of Conexion Americas…. (Excerpts from Fox 17 Nashville)

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Arizona | October 7, 2021

Arizona Launches ‘Cyber Command’ Center After Logging 800,000 Security Attacks in September

Arizona | October 7, 2021

Arizona’s counter terrorism efforts received a boost this week with the launch of a new computer security facility to combat ongoing cyber attacks on state information technology. On Oct. 4, Gov. Doug Ducey announced the creation of a new Cyber Command Center at a ceremony at the Arizona Department of Public Safety’s Counter Terrorism Information Center in Phoenix. “Cybersecurity is homeland security. Our society is becoming increasingly interconnected through technology, and cybersecurity has become one of the most important issues facing Arizona,” Ducey said in a statement. In fiscal 2020, Arizona set aside $2.9 million to enhance cybersecurity controls and prevent threats on state IT equipment…. (Excerpts from Epoch Times)

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Texas | September 26, 2021

Texas Governor Vows to Hire Any Border Patrol Agent Fired by Biden Administration

Texas | September 26, 2021

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said he would hire any Border Patrol agent fired by the Biden administration after several top White House officials said the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would investigate images of agents on horseback blocking Haitian illegal immigrants from entering the United States.

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said his agency would probe claims that the agents whipped Haitian aliens with the horse’s reins, despite Border Patrol union officials and the Getty photographer who captured the images saying they didn’t whip anyone.

Those agents, Abbott said, “wouldn’t have been in that situation had the Biden administration enforced the immigration laws.”

If President Joe Biden “takes any action against them whatsoever—I have worked side by side with those Border Patrol agents—I want them to know something,” Abbott said. “If they are [at] risk of losing their job by a president who is abandoning his duty to secure the border, you have a job in the state of Texas. I will hire you to help Texas secure our border.”… (Excerpts from the Epoch Times)

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New York | September 23, 2021

Why is New York Still Harassing This Christian Adoption Provider?

New York | September 23, 2021

New Hope Family Services in New York is a faith-based adoption provider that places babies with married couples: one man and one woman. But a government agency says they’re discriminating against homosexuals. New Hope believes placing children with married couples is in the best interests of the child and in accordance with its Christian faith and mission.

The New York Division of Human Rights has threatened New Hope, even though two federal courts found the state’s efforts to force New Hope to comply with the agency’s idea of non-discrimination likely violated the provider’s First Amendment rights. The New York legislature never passed a law that forces faith-based adoption providers to change their adoption policies.

In the complaint (PDF), New Hope says it doesn’t reject unmarried or homosexual couples; rather, it “politely and respectfully informs them that because of its beliefs as a Christian ministry, New Hope cannot be the agency to serve them” and provides referrals.

New Hope cited the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia (2021). The city ended a contract with Catholic Social Services because it refused to place children with homosexual couples. The court held that the city’s non-discrimination requirement imposed a burden on CSS’s free exercise of religion and doesn’t qualify as a generally applicable provision… (Excerpt from Black Community News)

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Texas | September 16, 2021

Austin ISD looks to raise property taxes, send nearly half of local revenue to state

Texas | September 16, 2021

Homeowners in the Austin school district could see their taxes go up by an average of almost $300 under the district’s new proposed tax rate.

The proposed tax rate of $1.0617 is 4 cents lower than last year’s rate and the district’s lowest in 20 years, but it will translate to an average tax increase of $276.12 for the average home valued at $472,823.

The school board is expected to vote on the tax rate at its Sept. 23 meeting.

Average home values in the district increased by an estimated 10% over the past year, according to the district’s Chief Financial Officer Eduardo Ramos.

The tax impact would have been significantly higher — an average increase of $469.97 — if not for a 2019 law that directs more state money toward local school funding… (Excerpts from Austin American-Statesman)

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Maryland | September 13, 2021

Maryland Judge Dies of Apparent Suicide Before He Could Be Arrested on Charges of Child Sexual Exploitation

Maryland | September 13, 2021

Maryland state judge died by apparent suicide on Sept. 10 shortly before he was set to be arrested at his home on federal charges of sexual exploitation of a child, officials said.

Caroline County Circuit Judge Jonathan Newell, 50, was pronounced dead at 6:43 a.m. Friday morning, the Department of Justice said in a statement.

FBI agents had visited Newell’s residence to arrest him on a federal criminal complaint filed on Sept. 9, 2021. When they arrived, they found him “suffering from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound,” the statement said.

Maryland State Police will lead the investigation into the apparent suicide.

Newell was facing one federal charge of sexual exploitation of a child, according to court records unsealed Friday (pdf)…. (Excerpts from the Epoch Times)

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