On Friday, Tennessee became the seventeenth state to pass legislation that protects women’s sports.
Senate Bill 2153 bars male athletes from competing in women’s divisions at the middle school, high school, and collegiate levels.
The legislation, which goes into effect Jul. 1, “requires each institution of higher education to adopt and enforce a policy to ensure compliance with the provisions of this bill that are applicable to intercollegiate and college intramural sports,” according to the bill summary.
The bill was signed by Governor Bill Lee on May 6 after it passed the Senate in a 27-4 vote on Apr. 11. The House subsequently approved it 70-14 on Apr. 25.
Republicans have a majority in both chambers.
Tennessee has followed in the footsteps of 16 other states who have adopted similar laws to protect the integrity of women’s sports at different levels of athletic competition.
Campus Reform has reported on identical bills that have been tried and failed to be signed in states like Indiana and Kansas.
In April, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf preemptively promised to kill an up-and-coming bill that would ban men from women’s sports in the state.
Additional states are taking action this year to propose their own regulations for ensuring fairness in women’s athletics.
Below are three additional states attempting to level the playing field for gendered sports:
South Carolina made headlines last month as state Democrats attempted to delay voting on House Bill 4608 by proposing over 1,000 amendments to the legislation. As Campus Reform reported, lawmakers deliberated on the Save Women’s Sports Act for nearly 8 hours before approving it 82-28.
On May 4, the state Senate passed the bill in a 30-10 vote.
It is not yet known whether Governor Henry McMaster (R) will sign the bill.
Senate Bill 44 passed the state’s upper chamber in a 29-6 vote on Apr. 19. It now moves on to a vote in the state’s House of Representatives.
Republicans have a 68-34 majority in the House.
The Louisianna bill applies to both K-12 and collegiate sports.
A similar campaign was pushed through the legislature to the executive desk last year, however, Governor John Bel Edwards (D) refused to sign the bill into law.
Edwards said his reasoning for not wanting to enact such legislation is due to the issue not being relevant to Lousianna, The Center Square reports.
“I would hope it doesn’t reach my desk,” he stated, according to the news outlet. “It’s pretty sad because it’s theoretically a bill about unfairness, but that unfairness, it isn’t happening in Louisianna.”
An amendment to Senate Bill 140 is making the legislation applicable only to the K-12 level.
As a result, the bill would not apply to the University of Alaska, Alaska’s News Source reports.
The outlet also reported that the university expressed opposition to potential fiscal ramifications the enacted legislation could have on the public university.
“The university also noted that the National Collegiate Athletics Association might not allow post-season sports competitions from taking place in Alaska and the state of California might prohibit teams from competing with the University of Alaska Fairbanks,” Alaska’s News Source reported.
Bill Gates and the World Economic Forum are planning to replace your food with gene-edited produce and lab-grown meat.
European Union Ends Mask Mandates for Flights and Airports
The European Union has dropped their mask mandates for passengers on flights and in airports, in a further global relaxing of pandemic restrictions.
In a statement, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) announced that from Monday, they would no longer be recommending mask mandates on airplanes or in airports in the 27 member countries.
The mask mandates were removed by the European Union agencies due to not only the “levels of vaccination” on the continent, but also the levels of “naturally acquired immunity” to COVID-19.
“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel,” said EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky. “Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them,” he added, “and a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”
ECDC Director Andrea Ammon also cautioned that while the mask mandates were lifting, it was still “important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene,” wearing a facemask is “one of the best methods of reducing transmission.”
Airlines have also been recommended to be “pragmatic” when it comes to physical distancing limits set in airports, saying they should “avoid imposing distancing requirements if these will very likely lead to a bottleneck in another location in the passenger journey.”
The recommendations follows moves from many countries across the West and the European Union to reduce or completely remove their mask mandates or other requirements, such as passenger locator forms. However, the organisations noted that airlines should “keep their data collection systems on standby” in case a new “variant of concern” emerges.
Individual airlines can still choose to implement mask mandates if they wish, although most major airlines are not doing so, apart from in cases where their destination country still requires it.
The United Kingdom was one of the first countries to remove mask mandates on public transport, with major airlines such as British Airways and Virgin Atlantic announcing in early to mid March they would be dropping theirs.
The Biden administration seemed likely to continue to push for mask mandates up until this month, but the federal mandate was struck down at the end of April, after a judge ruled that the CDC had failed to justify the extension.
Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, continue to enforce mask mandates on flights and airports; the three countries had instituted some of the most stringent restrictions in the West during the pandemic.
Lawsuit against Orlando Gudes alleges sexual favors for political access, pedophilia and feeling immune from punishment
A new lawsuit against Orlando Gudes accuses him of willingness to accept sexual bribes, considering himself above the law and not living in the District he was elected to represent.
A lawsuit filed Monday in Hillsborough County Court levied startling accusations against a Tampa City Council Member already embroiled in a sexual harrasment investigation that corroborated allegations he abused a former legislative aide.
That aide and her teenage daughter are suing Orlando Gudes over defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The suit adds to the 18 instances Trenam Law found more than likely to have occurred in an independent investigation by accusing Gudes of wanting to exchange sexual favors for political access; engaging in “pedophiliac” behavior and feeling immune from punishment, while creating a hostile and abusive work environment.
The suit comes just under two months after Trenam reported the results of its independent investigation into accusations of harassment by Gudes to the City of Tampa. Gudes refused the call from multiple council members to step down. Instead, he relinquished his role as Council Chair with only a few weeks left in his term and remaining on the City Council.
According to the lawsuit, Gudes at least once refused to “discuss community issues with local activists and leaders residing in District 5 who were not providing sexual favors to him.” In one instance, Gudes’ former aide said he refused to meet with a local pastor, telling the aide “What do I need to meet with her for? I’m not f–king her. She’s not bl–ing me. So, I don’t have to listen to her.”
The suit outlines a “nightmare” scenario under which the aide was forced to work 24/7, even though Gudes did not. According to the suit, Gudes once told his aide he was hungover and forced her to explain an absence by saying his mother was sick.
The former aide is a Black woman and single mother of two. She worked with Gudes from May 2019 until August 2021. The suit said she took the job with Gudes despite a checkered history of misconduct and reprimands during his career as an officer with the Tampa Police Department. He promised her he had changed and wanted to be good for the residents of District 5 whom he was elected to represent. According to the suit, lies and gaslighting started there. Gudes, it said, resides in District 7, where he previously ran unsuccessfully for City Council but ran in District 5, against the city’s charter.
Gudes’ response to findings in the investigation claimed the harassment was a misunderstanding between old friends who had a new dynamic to their relationship. But the lawsuit challenges Gudes assessment. According to the suit, Gudes and his former aide had no relationship prior to her employment and knew each other through a mutual friend who recommended she seek the job. Once in the role, the aide was allegedly forced to engage in unethical work like communicating on behalf of others and using private email accounts to circumvent open records laws.
Some of the harassment and abuse came in the form of comments about the aide’s body, telling her she needed liposuction in one instance and in another pulling up next to her and leaning out of his car to sniff her groin area and say “smells like a man’s been in there today.”
“On separate occasions, Mr. Gudes told S.H. (the aide) that she needed liposuction around her midsection, wore attire that was too professional (and not sexually suggestive), did not wear her hair in a certain way that was sexually suggestive, and behaved like someone going through menopause,” attorney Ethan Loeb wrote in the suit. “Mr. Gudes’ inappropriate and outrageous behaviors made S.H. uncomfortable. Indeed, S.H. began to fear being alone with Mr. Gudes because she thought he was a pervert.”
Some of the alleged abuse came in the form of misogynistic and sexually explicit comments about others. Gudes is accused of homophobic comments regarding the mayor and other members of the police department; commenting on the size of a city finance worker’s rear end and sexual activity; and calling women who complained about him “overly sensitive.”
But the abuse wasn’t limited to the aide, according to the suit. The aide’s daughter, who was 13 at the time, was allegedly sexualized and body shamed by Gudes. According to the suit, he told her to stand up straighter because she had large breasts and they would sag otherwise. According to the suit, the girl became embarrassed and ashamed of her body, especially around Gude, whom she was required to be around due to her mother’s demanding work schedule. He also made comments about former President Barack Obama‘s then-minor daughter to a woman intern from Duke University, saying Sasha Obama had a “hot body” and he “bet she’s wild.”
According to the suit, the aide tried to resolve the issues a number of ways, including addressing Gudes directly and City Council Attorney Martin Shelby when Gudes refused to change his behavior. Shelby allegedly told the aide he didn’t want to “get involved with that” and accused another legislative aide of “trying to throw me under the bus.”
Shelby could not be reached for comment.
The aide also attempted to elevate the concerns and sought help from a mental health professional. She left her position as Gudes’ aide on the advice of a mental health professional, the suit said. In August of 2021 Gudes allegedly yelled at his former aide so fiercely “Councilman Luis Viera, former Councilman John Dingfelder, and various legislative aides sent text messages to S.H. asking if she was OK and stating they were praying for her to recover and someday come back to work.”
But she didn’t come back to work. Loeb said Gudes then went on a smear campaign, calling his former aide a liar and trying to frame her as a problem employee, despite giving her near-perfect scores on her employee evaluations.
“Mr. Gudes falsely published statements to the City, the press, and members of the community asserting that S.H.’s allegations of sexual harassment were false and unsupportable,” Loeb wrote. “In addition, Mr. Gudes falsely asserted in his statements published to the City, the press, and members of the community, that S.H. was incapable of performing her job duties and poorly performed as his legislative aide. Mr. Gudes’s statements were made with knowledge that they were false, and with the intent that such statements damage S.H.’s reputation, livelihood, and well-being.”
The lawsuit also accuses Gudes of roping in Tampa Bay Times Reporter Charlie Frago by giving him information prior to the investigation so the aide would be intimidated. It also accuses Gudes of looping Frago in again during the investigation. The suit claims Frago contacted the woman at least twice.
“Mr. Frago said that he was writing about the ‘Orlando Gudes matter,’ which was supposed to have been confidential, and stated that ‘a lot of people are asking why the investigation is taking so long and the delay seemed to be a political tactic by the Castor Administration.’ Mr. Frago also told S.H. that Mr. Gudes had already made a statement indicating that S.H. ‘s allegations were false, and noted that her full name was in the statement,” Loeb said in the suit. “This conversation occurred two hours before Mr. Gudes provided his response and statement to the City.”
Representatives from the Tampa Bay Times have not responded to a request for comment.
According to court documents, Loeb and Gudes’ aide are seeking more than $100,000 in damages.
Gudes declined to comment on the allegations.
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America First CD 9 candidate Scotty Moore gets boost from Mark Meadows
Moore’s in a crowded Republican field seeking a shot at Democratic Rep. Darren Soto.
Republican congressional candidate Scotty Moore picked up support from former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows at an Orlando fundraiser for his bid to win in Florida’s 9th Congressional District.
Meadows, a former North Carolina congressman who served as Chief of Staff for the last 10 months of former President Donald Trump‘s administration, delivered an endorsement Monday for Moore and a push for the America First wing of the Republican Party in the Orlando-Kissimmee district in the Aug. 23 Primary Election.
Moore, of Orlando, is one of 11 Republicans seeking a shot at three-term Democratic Rep. Darren Soto of Kissimmee, in the redrawn CD 9. In the map approved in Special Session last month, but now tied up in courts, CD 9 covers Osceola County and a much larger portion of southern Orange County than before. It appears to have a moderate Democratic lean, based on results of the past couple of General Elections.
Moore is a Minnesota native who got his bachelor’s degree at Minnesota State University Moorhead. He is a consultant and former missionary who spent 21 years with with Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ.) He spent six years in Brazil, and traveling throughout Latin America from there. He and his wife Ester Moore, a Brazilian native and naturalized American citizen, have two daughters. They settled in Orlando in 2007.
Moore is an avowed follower of Trump’s America First platform and says he believes the 2020 election was stolen from Trump.
He connected with Meadows after getting involved with Meadows’ Conservative Partnership Institute.
“Ramping up from the 2016 election and beyond, and going into the 2020 election, I had a significant concern for where our country is heading, specifically regarding our kids, my kids, the future of our country,” Moore said. “I was convinced that we need strong people.”
He says the overriding issues going into the 2022 election are election integrity and parental rights.
“Election integrity, what happened in the 2020 election, bringing to surface something that many of us already knew. We need to investigate, talk about what happened in that election. I believe the election was stolen,” he said.
“The other thing is parental rights, what’s happening right now with our kids. I believe government overreach has been significant in so many different ways, very dangerous,” Moore said. “Part of the job of Congress is oversight. What good is it to have checks and balances if they’re not used?”
In campaign fundraising, Moore is leading the Republican field. In the first quarter of 2022, his campaign raised about $158,000, giving him about $192,000 cash on hand on April 1. Bill Olson, who was the Republican CD 9 nominee in 2020, raised about $147,000 in the first quarter, but entered April with only about $27,000 in the bank. Marlin Daniel Anthony entered April with about $29,000 in the bank; Jose Castillo, $17,000; and Sergio Ortiz, $7,000.
Soto raised about $219,000 in the first quarter and entered April with about $649,000 in the bank.
Moore said almost 80 people attended his fundraiser with Meadows in downtown Orlando Monday.
“There was a lot of energy, a lot of momentum in the room. Hearing from former White House Chief Mark Meadows was inspiring, to hear some of his personal stories, but also to hear his personal backing as citizen Mark Meadows, a personal endorsement, it’s very inspiring and encouraging, and it’s just a great momentum builder,” Moore said,
Meadows is one of the witnesses most sought by the Jan. 6 Commission investigating the 2021 insurrection attempt at the U.S. Capitol. The committee voted in December to hold him in contempt of Congress for not testifying after lawmakers revealed a series of frantic texts he received as the attack was underway.
Meadows has remained close with Trump, though they have not always endorsed the same candidates.
Moore is hoping a Meadows endorsement will lead to a Trump endorsement.
“They’re good friends and they listen and I sure would like to earn President Trump’s endorsement. And when that time is appropriate and right, and President Trump feels ready to do that, I’ll be willing to talk with them and connect with them. I sure hope so. But I’m not pressing him for that,” Moore said.
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