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The Wisconsin Senate passed several Republican-backed bills on June 9 that would place more restrictions on absentee balloting—which GOP lawmakers have described as measures designed to safeguard elections in the state, while Democrats claim they’re designed to suppress voter turnout.

A measure approved by voice vote included placing restrictions on ballot drop boxes, which were widely used in Wisconsin during the general election on Nov. 3. The new bill would stipulate that municipalities won’t have more than four drop boxes, depending on population.

“This bill enables the voters to have another option to vote, and it’s in a secure place,” Republican Sen. Alberta Darling said about the legislation, according to WPR. “I think people care about the integrity of elections.”

Another bill passed by the Senate would require individuals who are deemed “indefinitely confined” to provide identification before getting ballots in the mail for future elections. An indefinitely confined voter, according to Wisconsin state law, is someone who is “confined because of age, physical illness or infirmity or is disabled for an indefinite period.” Such a person “may by signing a statement to that effect … [and] require that an absentee ballot be sent to the elector automatically for every election.”

Republican Sen. Duey Stroebel said that a large number of people took advantage of the “indefinitely confined” status during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s important that we accommodate truly indefinitely confined voters, but unfortunately in the last election, we saw other people who weren’t truly indefinitely confined, and they were abusing that system,” Stroebel said, WPR reported.

Republican senators also voted to approve a bill that would prohibit clerks from accepting grant money and equipment from outside groups.

A bill that would place new requirements for voting at nursing homes was also approved. That bill would implement notification requirements for family members of residents about the days that voting assistants could visit.

The measure would create a felony penalty for employees of nursing homes who try to influence a resident’s voting behavior during the election.

Democrats alleged that state Republicans are trying to suppress voters, and claimed that such restrictions were racist. Several GOP senators also joined Democrats on several of the election bills.

“These bills are in seek of a problem that does not exist in the state of Wisconsin,” said Rep. Melissa Agard, a Democrat, The Associated Press reported. “They’re making it harder for our friends and neighbors across the state to vote, especially our seniors, especially our people with disabilities, especially people of color. … Plain and simple, this is voter suppression, and that to me is not OK.”

But Darling said her GOP colleagues aren’t attempting to overturn the 2020 election.

The measures, if approved by the state Assembly, will likely be vetoed by Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat who has previously signaled opposition to previous GOP-backed election bills. Evers has said he won’t sign anything that makes it more difficult for people to vote.

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BLM

‘I Was Stunned’: Minnesota Girl Speaks out Against BLM Poster in Classroom

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A 9-year-old girl from Minnesota has gone viral online after confronting her local school board, which she said had contradicted its own “no politics” policy by displaying a Black Lives Matter (BLM) poster in a classroom.

The girl, who only identified herself as “Novalee,” is a student at an elementary school in Lakeview Area Schools, which serves the Dakota and Scott Counties in the southern suburbs of Minneapolis. She gained popularity on social media because of a video in which she called on the school district to remove the BLM posters.

Speaking at a June 8 board meeting, the student said she saw posters of BLM and Amanda Gorman on her teacher’s wall at the school. “I was so mad. I was told two weeks ago at this very meeting spot: no politics in school,” she told the board members. “I believed what you said at this meeting.”

The student said she asked her principal to take down the posters, citing a school board policy prohibiting displays of political messages including Black Lives Matter. The principal allegedly refused to remove the posters, and told her that the school board members were the ones who made them.

“I was stunned. When I was here two weeks ago you told us to report any BLM in our schools,” she recalled. “Apparently you know they are in our schools because you made the signs.”

“Doesn’t matter what color you make the posters and the fonts you use, we all understand the meaning. It is a political message about getting rid of police officers, rioting, burning buildings down while king Governor [Tim] Waltz just sits on his throne and watches,” the girl added. “Changing the colors or the fonts of posters does not change the meaning. I am nine years old and I know that. You expect me to believe that you did not know what you were doing by making these posters? Come on people!”

She then clarified that she judges people by the way they treat her rather than their race, but the school board appeared to be encouraging people to focus on the color of their skin.

“You have lied to me and I am very disappointed in all of you. You cannot even follow your own rules,” the girl concluded. “Get the posters out of our schools. Courage is contagious so be courageous.”

The Epoch Times has reached out to the school district for comment on the matter and will update this report accordingly.

The BLM movement initially emerged in 2013 in response to alleged excessive use of deadly force by law enforcement, which many argue disproportionately affects the black community. The non-profit organization that bears the same name, however, goes much further, advocating for radical left ideas such as the abolition of police and prisons, and the dissolution of the nuclear family. BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors has described herself and fellow co-founder Alicia Garza as “trained Marxists.”

The BLM movement, as well as the BLM organization, gained global attention during the summer of 2020, which was marked by widespread protests in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis police. Many of those protests turned violent, resulting in rioting, looting, arson, and destruction of private and public property.

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Joe Biden

As Biden seeks to limit U.S. oil production, reliance on Russian imports rises

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U.S. imports of crude oil and petroleum products from Russia reached 22.9 million barrels in March, the highest level since August 2010.

Within months of President Joe Biden halting the Keystone Pipeline, pausing new oil and gas leases on federal lands, and imposing further restrictions on U.S. oil companies, U.S. oil imports from Russia set a new record in March.

According to International Energy Agency, U.S. imports of crude oil and petroleum products from Russia reached 22.9 million barrels in March, the highest level since August 2010. They had reached over 25 million barrels in April 2009.

Crude oil imports from Russia in March stood at 6.1 million barrels, making Russia the third-largest oil exporter to the United States.

The spike in U.S. imports of crude oil and petroleum products from Russia began in 2002 and continued to climb in 2010. They dipped down in 2014 and rose significantly in 2020, according to an IEA analysis.

In 2019, the U.S. led the world in crude export with Texas as the largest producing state. Texas remains the largest exporter of crude oil and of total exports in the U.S.

In 2017, the U.S. became a net natural gas exporter on an annual basis, which it continued through 2018, meaning it exported more natural gas than it imported.

However, high levels of oil shipment from Russia have continued since March.

“Last month we saw a record 5.75 million barrels of Russian crude discharged in the US, and we’re projecting a further record this month of 7.5mn bbls,” ClipperData, a commodity intelligence company that monitors cargo shipments worldwide, reported this month.

Biden’s agenda is harming the American producer while “buttressing the Iranian and Russian industries,” Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Western Energy Alliance, said in a statement. He has “tipped us into oil dependence on Russia just a year after complete independence,” providing “a geopolitical gift” to the Kremlin.

Biden’s policies have resulted in U.S. oil production falling by 1.715 million barrels per day from a year ago, a void in large part being filled by Russia, Phil Flynn, senior energy analyst at the Price Future Group wrote in a recent Fox Business op-ed.

“During Trump’s term, America was competing with Russia and Saudi Arabia to be the world’s dominant oil and gas producer, yet under Biden, we are retreating from that race in the name of climate change,” he wrote. Lack of U.S. energy independence and increased oil and gas prices only helps boost Russia’s political dominance, Flynn argues.

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Biden Administration

Biden administraton expands program allowing Central American minors to immigrate legally to US

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The Biden administration restarted an Obama-era program to reunite children with their parents.

The Biden administration says it will expand a program to allow tens of thousands of Central America children and teens to come legally to the United States.

The plan, announced Tuesday, revives of the Obama-era Central American Minors program, according to CBS News.

The administration says the program is designed to deter those coming from such Central American countries as Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua from making the potentially dangerous journey to the U.S.

The expansion also allows immigrant parents and legal guardians of the Central American minors to petition the U.S. government to reunite them in the United States.

“We are delivering on our promise to promote safe, orderly, and humane migration from Central America through this expansion of legal pathways to seek humanitarian protection in the United States,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement Tuesday.

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