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Missouri bill would require educators to register as sex offenders if they encourage transgender students

A new bill introduced in the Missouri legislature would classify assistance to transgender students under 18 in their "social transition" as a felony, making the legislation the first of its kind in a slew of culture war bills introduced by state Republicans. 

The bill defines a social transition as "the process by which an individual adopts the name, pronouns, and gender expression, such as clothing or haircuts, that match the individual's gender identity and not the gender assumed by the individual's sex at birth."

The Missouri bill, introduced by Republican state Rep. Jamie Gragg, would also require the educators to register as sex offenders if they're found encouraging students to further embrace their preferred gender identity. This could effectively terminate educators' careers, since sex offenders in Missouri are prohibited from being within 500 feet of a school or day care. 

"This is kind of that missing link, when it comes to really making sure that we protect our children and protecting their relationship between them and their parents," Gragg told Fox News Digital in an interview. "We have parents that are completely being bypassed, and there's been a narrative that has grown leaps and bounds."

CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL DIRECTOR CLAIMS 'INFINITE' GENDERS, TRANS KIDS CAN IDENTIFY AS 'TOOTSIE ROLL POPS'

Support for a student's social transition would be considered verbal discussion of their sexual orientation, pronouns or gender identity, or it could be in the form of written materials, resources and signs. 

"A person commits the offense of contributing to social transition if the person is acting in his or her official capacity as a teacher or school counselor and the person provides support, regardless of whether the support is material, information, or other resources to a child regarding social transition," the bill text reads. 

Gragg argued "with kids being in that age group, that's the most confusing time of human development, and there are so many different hormones and chemicals in your body."

"To have the social warriors in our school system pushing the [LGBTQ+] agenda, saying you'll be accepted in this group, we need to safeguard our children from that kind of thing because they're so easily influenced," he said. 

CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL DIRECTOR CLAIMS 'INFINITE' GENDERS, TRANS KIDS CAN IDENTIFY AS 'TOOTSIE ROLL POPS'

If the bill becomes law, teachers, counselors or other school educators who aid in a student's social transition could face up to four years behind bars and fines up to $10,000.

The bill has not been referred to a committee reading yet, but Gragg said he's not had "any negative feedback" from his Republican colleagues. He expects the cosponsor list to grow in the coming days as the bill garners more attention.

Most Republican-led bills nationwide typically focus on banning medical transitions for minors through the use of puberty blockers or other hormone treatments. Gragg's bill in Missouri is the first of its kind that creates a penalty for social transitions specifically. 

He also introduced another bill recently that would bar the state from earmarking funds for libraries that carry "obscene" book materials for children. 

Missouri has been leading the charge in introducing a wave of transgender culture war bills aiming to protect kids from progressive gender ideologies. Last year, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson signed into law a bill banning gender-transition surgical procedures for minors, and another prohibiting biological men who identify as trans women from participating in women's sports teams.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), there have been 13 bills advanced in the Missouri legislature targeting other transgender culture war issues, such as bathroom access in schools or other public facilities for young people. Critics of these bills argue it will further put transgender kids at risk and marginalization.

2024/03/04 16:40

Trump leads Biden among voters who favored Biden by 10 points in 2020: poll

Voters in a new poll who favored President Biden by 10 points in 2020 have shifted their support to former President Donald Trump, who now leads among the same voters by five points.

The poll, which was conducted by the New York Times and Siena College from Feb. 25 to 28, shows Trump with a 48-43 edge over Biden, a slightly larger lead than two-point edge the former president held in the same poll when it was conducted in December.

The lead comes despite many of the registered voters sampled indicating they voted for Biden in 2020, with 44% of respondents saying they voted for the president in the last election, compared to 33% who indicated they voted for Trump.

TRUMP LEADS BIDEN AMONG HISPANICS, REGISTERED VOTERS OVERALL: POLL

The poll shows that Trump has done better work shoring up his base, with 97% of respondents who indicated they voted for him in 2020 saying they plan to do the same this year. Meanwhile, Biden is only garnering the support of 83% of those who say they voted for him in 2020, while 10% indicated they plan to vote for Trump this time around.

Those numbers weren't the only bad news for the president in the poll, which also showed Trump as having a six-point lead (46%-40%) among Hispanic voters, a demographic that until recent years had been a dependable bloc for Democrats. 

POLL SHOWS BIDEN'S LEAD OVER TRUMP SHRINKING IN 2024 MATCHUP AS CONCERNS OVER PHYSICAL FITNESS GROW

Biden is also struggling with working-class voters of color, who according to exit polls, voted in large numbers (72%) for the president in 2020, with only 22% of the group supporting Trump. But that gap has shrunk significantly, the poll found, with Biden only holding a 47%-41% advantage among the same group today.

The president also faces an enthusiasm gap compared to Trump, with only 23% saying they would be enthusiastic if Biden were to become the Democratic nominee. Meanwhile, 48% of respondents indicated they would feel enthusiastic about Trump securing the Republican nomination.

But the news wasn't all bad for the president, who polled better with critical independent voters, who currently are split 42%-42% on who they would support between Biden and Trump. Voters also showed concerns about the criminal cases playing out around Trump, with 53% indicating they believe the former president committed serious federal crimes.

The New York Times/Siena College poll sampled 980 registered voters nationwide, with a margin of sampling error at plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

2024/03/04 16:17

Jim Banks calls on Biden to 'publicly acknowledge' Laken Riley at SOTU

FIRST ON FOX: Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., penned a letter to President Joe Biden on Monday, calling on him to acknowledge the death of Georgia college student Laken Riley during his State of the Union address Thursday night. 

Riley, a 22-year-old nursing student at Augusta University, was killed last month and the suspect charged in relation to her death is Jose Ibarra, who was found to have illegally immigrated into the U.S. in 2022. 

"At just six years old, Laken knew she wanted to be a nurse so she could help people. She was living her dream until it was shattered by Joe Biden’s wide open border," Banks told Fox News Digital in a statement. "This was a totally avoidable tragedy. President Biden owes it to her family and the American people to say her name."

Banks implored Biden in the letter to "publicly acknowledge the Riley family’s tragedy" by speaking about their daughter Laken's death during the annual address to Congress. 

GOP CONGRESSMAN INTRODUCES 'LAKEN RILEY ACT' TO REQUIRE ICE TO DETAIN MIGRANTS ARRESTED FOR THEFT

The White House did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital's request for comment. 

"As Commander-in-Chief, it is your duty to protect American citizens, and this tragedy highlights the urgent need to address the surge in crime resulting from your negligence at our southern border," Banks wrote. 

The Indiana Republican, currently running for the Senate seat being vacated in 2025 by Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., further listed what he considered Biden's failures on the issues of the southern border and immigration. Banks noted Biden's reversals of Trump-era policies such as "Remain in Mexico," Title 42, and the building of a border wall. 

"Your failure to publicly acknowledge this tragedy is unacceptable," Banks added. 

Last week, the White House provided a statement to Fox News Digital regarding Riley's death. "We would like to extend our deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of Laken Hope Riley," a spokesperson said. "People should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law if they are found to be guilty. Given this is an active case, we would have to refer you to state law enforcement and ICE."

Biden, himself, has not addressed the death of Riley, despite being asked during a press conference if he bears any responsibility for it following a speech last week. 

MIGRANT ENCOUNTERS AT SOUTHERN BORDER SURPASS 21,000 IN 72 HOURS, CBP SOURCES SAY

"You have a great opportunity to respect the wishes of Laken Riley's mother by breaking your silence and saying her name at the upcoming State of the Union address on Thursday, March 7, 2024," Banks told Biden in the letter. 

Riley's mother, Allyson Phillips, recently changed her Facebook profile picture to a heart in UGA's colors of Red and Black, with the hashtag "#SayHerName."

In addition to asking Biden to acknowledge Riley at his SOTU address, Banks also called on the president to "take swift and decisive action to secure the border. You can prevent further tragedies and ensure a safer future for all Americans."

2024/03/04 14:42

Jewish students from across US describe rampant campus antisemitism at House hearing: 'Wasteland of hatred'

Jewish students from across the country testified about the rampant antisemitism they are facing at their college campuses at a congressional hearing last week.

The House Committee on Education invited students to testify about their experiences on Thursday. The students described vicious antisemitic incidents happening at Harvard, Columbia, UC Berkeley and several other universities.

"Dirty. Dirty Jew monster. Colonizer. Child killer. These are the names we were given at Stanford. Labels that strip us of our humanity, our dignity and our identity. These are the names a dozen Stanford students hurled in my face one night in November as they surrounded me," Kevin Feigelis of Stanford University told lawmakers.

"They called my people dirty Jews that were disgusting monsters, that makes them sick to look at me. Me, who has been to Israel only once. Me, who grew up in New Jersey, one of the most diverse states of the country. Me, who was raised in a broken household by a single mother. Me, who had to fight tooth and nail to get where I am today. Why? They know nothing about me besides the fact that I wear a kippah on my head. That I am a Jew," he continued. 

He added: "It's open season for Jews on our campuses." 

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Another student, Joe Gindi, said antisemitism was surging at Rutgers University as well, arguing that some of the university's staff and administrators are "complicit" in the spread due to their inaction, and – in some cases – encouragement.

LOS ANGELES HIGH SCHOOL SUED OVER 'RACIALLY DIVISIVE, ANTI-SEMITIC' IDEOLOGY

"It is time to wake up America and understand what is happening on our college campuses," he said.

Shabbas Kestenbaum, a student at Harvard, said he and his classmates are resorting to legal measures.

"The situation at Harvard is so bad that we really only had two options. One was to come here, which we are doing, and the other was to hold them accountable in a court of law. We filed a lawsuit. I'm one of six plaintiffs who are making sure that if Harvard won't amend the terrible plague of antisemitism, that a court of law will. In terms of what you can be doing as United States Congress, number one subpoena, subpoena, subpoena. You would be horrified to see what is going on behind the scenes," he said.

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The students asked to participate in the hearing were Kestenbaum, Gindi and Feigelis as well as Noah Rubin, University of Pennsylvania; Talia Khan, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Eden Yadegar, Columbia University; Hannah Beth Schlacter, University of California, Berkeley; Yasmeen Ohebsion, Tulane University; and Jacob Khalili, Cooper Union.

Their testimony came just days after California high school students walked out in protest after a Jewish student was called a "dirty Jew" and attacked last week.

Danielle Eshed, 15, said a student screamed antisemitic comments before attacking her in late February.

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"He called me a dirty Jew, and then I said something out of defense," Eshed told KTLA-TV Channel 5. "He said he was going to beat me up, and I didn’t believe him until he got up, pushed me and started punching me repeatedly in the neck and the back."

2024/03/04 14:19

Rise in Maryland juvenile auto thefts motivates lawmakers to pass juvenile justice bills

The Maryland House approved a measure on Friday designed to improve accountability and rehabilitation in the juvenile justice system in response to an increase in some crimes like auto theft and handgun violations in parts of the state.

The House, which is controlled by Democrats, voted 126-6 for the measure, with six Democrats opposing it. The Senate is moving forward with a largely similar bill, with some differences that the two chambers will need to work out.

Part of the bill that has been getting a lot of attention relates to how the state would handle auto theft cases involving children between 10 and 12, as authorities in Baltimore have cited an increase in juvenile auto thefts.

MARYLAND JUVENILE JUSTICE AGENCY NOW FACING 200 SEX ABUSE SUITS

Now, children under 13 can only be charged with violent offenses. Earlier in the session, lawmakers were considering expanding the jurisdiction of the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services to children under 13 for firearms-related offenses, auto thefts, third-degree sexual offenses and aggravated animal abuse.

While the measures moving forward in the House and Senate are largely similar, they have made some changes in how they would handle cases involving children between 10 and 12 for auto thefts.

The measure approved by the House would direct them into a diversionary program for a first offense, instead of oversight by juvenile services, in hopes of changing their behavior without putting them into the juvenile justice system.

"To be clear, we are still in the midst of this process," said Del. Luke Clippinger, a Baltimore Democrat who chairs the House Judiciary Committee and co-sponsored the legislation. "The Senate has passed this in a different way from the House, and there are going to be further conversations that are going to be ongoing."

For auto thefts, the Senate would use the state's Child in Need of Supervision process, in which people file complaints about children to the juvenile services department. Sen. Will Smith, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Proceedings Committee, said the CINS process does not allow for informal adjudication. The courts are involved, but children would not go to a detention center.

"We think this is the more elegant and proper and balanced approach, but we are going to conference and we’ll see where we land, but that’s where we are right now," Smith, a Montgomery County Democrat, said, referring to the negotiating process the two chambers enter to bridge differences in legislation.

On firearms, Smith said the Senate bill opens up some gun offenses to delinquency jurisdiction, which is discretionary.

"Firearms are inherently dangerous, and there are some very limited circumstances in which someone has to be in supervised housing, because their home situation is not good or because the individual is a threat to themselves or our society," Smith said.

Del. Jason Buckel, the House minority leader from western Maryland, said while the House measure isn’t perfect, it makes progress in addressing problems in the current law.

"It’s not perfect for me. It’s not perfect for a lot of others here, but I appreciate the work of those that put their time and effort into this to try to come up with something to acknowledge that there’s an issue, that there’s a problem, that we can do better, and I hope and encourage people to support the bill," Buckel said.

Opponents of the legislation contend lawmakers already are eroding reform efforts from just two years ago that limited the crimes children under the age of 13 could be criminally charged in order to address the disproportionate numbers of young minorities mired in the system.

2024/03/04 14:10

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He will greatly expand government and raise taxes for most Americans.


Obama would uncap Social Security tax, which is currently capped at $102,000. This would have a dramatically negative effect on small business owners and those self-employed, and may literally drive thousands of American business out of business. Furthermore, Obama will increase the Social Security tax up to 12.4% which would increase the top marginal tax rate from 44.6% to a whopping 62.8%.

As Kimberly Strassel wrote in the Wall Street Journal: "Mr. Obama is hawking a tax policy that would take the nation back to the effective marginal tax rates of the Carter days. He wants to further tax income, payroll, capital gains, dividends and death. His philosophy is pure redistribution."

By simultaneously increasing payroll taxes and capital gains taxes, Obama would ensure a rush of small and mid-sized businesses off our shores and into the hands of welcoming foreign countries that would support the flourishing of same business and offer them much more favorable tax incentives. That loss of business in America would drastically increase the unemployment rate which would further drag down aggregate GDP.

Contrary to Obama's claims, Obama actually will raise aggregate taxes more on poor people than rich people. The following are conclusions of a study done by the non-partisan tax watchdog group, Americans for Tax Reform:

On earned income tax, Obama will only tax the rich slightly more than would McCain, with McCain's plan calling for a 35% top rate and Obama's calling for a 39.6% top rate. However, the lowest tax rate under the Obama plan will increase by 50% - from 10% to 15%; whereas McCain would keep it at its current 10%.

On Capital gains from the sale of stocks and real estate, McCain would keep the rate at 15% and Obama would raise it to 20%. This will take a disproportionate toll on the upper-middle class, which has most of its liquid assets in stocks and other securities.

On dividends, McCain would keep the current tax at 15% and Obama would increase it to a whopping 39.6%.

McCain would eliminate the marriage penalty for household incomes under $150,000; Obama would apply a full marriage penalty from dollar one.

On the death tax, McCain would make the first $5 million exempt, and anything above that would be taxed at a rate of 15%. Obama would only exempt the first $1 million, and the remainder would be subject to a whopping 55% tax rate.

Obama's tax plan would decimate small businesses. Whereas McCain would keep the self-employment maximum tax rate at 37.9%, Obama would drastically increase it to 54.9%!