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Maine Gov. Mills nominates new state Supreme Court justice

Maine Gov. Mills nominates new state Supreme Court justice

A judge who has served for two decades at the Superior Court and District Court levels was tapped Wednesday by Democratic Gov. Janet Mills to serve on the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.Justice Wayne Douglas, of Old Orchard Beach, was first nominated to serve as a judge by former Gov. Angus King in 2002.PENNSYLVANIA DEMOCRATS ENDORSE PHILLY APPELLATE JUDGE FOR STATE SUPREME COURT SEAT”Justice Douglas’ sharp legal mind, measured temperament, and dedication to the fair and impartial administration of the law position him well to serve the people of Maine on the Supreme Judicial Court,” Mills said.
Maine Gov. Janet Mills appointed Justice Wayne Douglas to the state’s Supreme Court on Wednesday.
(AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)The nomination must be confirmed by the Maine Senate, which is controlled by Democrats.WISCONSIN SUPREME COURT RACE TO DETERMINE MAJORITY CONTROL HIGHLIGHTED BY ABORTION, REDISTRICTINGDuring his time on the Superior Court, Douglas has presided over the York County Treatment and Recovery Court, which provides monitored treatment and supervision of people facing criminal charges who are committed to addressing their substance use disorder and mental health issues.He also initiated a mental health docket in York County to expedite cases involving people experiencing mental health issues.CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPDouglas, 71, holds degrees from Bates College and the University of Maine School of Law.

NY Gov. Kathy Hochul raises cigarette tax, increases state school aid as part of budget proposal

NY Gov. Kathy Hochul raises cigarette tax, increases state school aid as part of budget proposal

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul proposed increasing state school aid by 10%, tuition hikes for public universities and raising cigarette taxes to a nation-high $5.35 per pack as part of her budget proposal Wednesday.The $227 billion spending plan also includes a proposal to yet again revise state bail law, which is expected to be resisted by liberal state lawmakers. The proposal kicks off weeks of intense negotiations with state legislative leaders as they try to agree on a finalized budget by the April 1 deadline.The budget would raise the state cigarette tax from $4.35 to $5.35 per pack. Washington, D.C., currently has the highest excise tax nationwide at $4.50, according to the Federation of Tax Administrators.The budget also would prohibit the sale of all flavored tobacco products, as opposed to just flavored vaping products. The administration said the moves will reduce the number of young smokers.HOCHUL FLAMED FOR ASKING PEOPLE TO STOP ‘LEAVING’ NEW YORK AFTER TELLING REPUBLICANS TO ‘GET OUT’ MONTHS PRIORThe governor is proposing a record 10% increase in school aid, to $34.5 billion.Under Hochul’s proposal, state and city colleges could increase tuition by either 3% or an amount tied to the Higher Education Price Index, whichever is less. The state’s university centers would have the flexibility to raise tuition 6 percentage points above the system’s base tuition rate each year for the next five years for in-state students.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul is shown presenting her executive state budget at the state Capitol on Feb. 1, 2023, in Albany, New York.
(AP Photo/Hans Pennink)Blair Horner of the New York Public Interest Research Group said the proposed tuition hike made little sense amid declining enrollment.SUSPECT IN NYC POLICE STABBING MAY HAVE ISLAMIC EXTREMIST TIES”The last thing in the world you want to do is make it more expensive to go,” he said.Hochul also wants to make more revisions to the state’s bail law, which was changed in 2019 to do away with pretrial incarceration for people accused of most nonviolent offenses.The law has been tweaked since, but Republicans and some moderate Democrats continue to argue the rules have deprived judges of a tool they could use to hold people likely to commit new crimes.Budget briefing documents say Hochul wants to give judges greater discretion by removing the “least restrictive means” standard to ensure a defendant returns to court, as opposed to considering how dangerous they appear.CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPHochul has said she favors eliminating that “least restrictive” standard for serious crimes.This is the first spending plan Hochul has crafted since winning an election in November by a tighter margin than Democrats are accustomed to in the reliably blue state. Republicans made gains in New York after hammering Democrats on bail and public safety.

'Not a partisan issue': McCarthy pushes back against Biden allowing biological men in female sports

'Not a partisan issue': McCarthy pushes back against Biden allowing biological men in female sports

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy addressed the rising concern over biological men competing in women’s sports during a Girls and Women in Sports Day event Wednesday, alongside a panel of House Republicans and women who were forced to compete against men who identify as transgender.McCarthy sought to draw attention to the growing number of women who are being forced to compete against men identifying as female in competitive sports, saying it is “not a partisan issue,” but an issue of “fairness.”The speaker was joined by several guests, including freshman Rep. Jen Kiggans, R-Va., and NCAA All-American Swimmer Riley Gaines who are addressing the issue of female-identifying biological males being allowed to compete in female athletics.The professional athlete described the seriousness of not only competing against biological men, but also being forced to change in a locker room with grown males.I AM A 12X NCAA ALL-AMERICAN SWIMMER. FEMALE ATHLETES SHOULD COMPETE ON THE BASIS OF SEX, NOT GENDER
Lia Thomas is a male athlete who competed as a female when she tied with Riley Gaines.
(Mary Schwalm)”It is so wild that you can turn around and see a 6’4″ biological man pull down his pants down watching you undress, and no one is willing to stick up for you?” Gaines said in an emotional statement.Gaines tied with transgender athlete Lia Thomas during an NCAA Championship tournament in the 200-yard NCAA championships.”Being forced to play against a biological male is not something I would wish on my worst enemies,” Macy Petty, Young Women for America ambassador and NCAA athlete, said during the panel.”It’s not about hatred, but protecting our rights as biological women,” she stated, referring to when she was forced to compete in a volleyball tournament against a biological male.
During the event Wednesday, Speaker McCarthy listened to athlete Riley Gaines share her story of having to compete against a biological male during a swimming competition.
(Tom Williams/Rich von Biberstein)The women stressed the importance of more politicians standing up for the issue rather than forcing female athletes into these positions, describing some as being “blinded by their political ideology,” in their refusal to protect women.VIRGINIA BILL WOULD BAN TRANSGENDER ATHLETES FROM WOMEN’S SPORTS”It’s a sad day in America when we have to introduce a bill to say men will play on means teams and women will play on women’s teams,” Rep. Greg Steube, R-Fla., wrote in a statement read by McCarthy at the event.Kiggans described the effort to tackle the issue as “frustrating.”In January 2021 President Joe Biden issued an executive order that students should play on sports teams and use bathrooms based on their gender identity rather than their biological sex.
Former University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines speaks during a rally on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023, outside of the NCAA Convention in San Antonio. 
(Darren Abate)McCarthy is leading the charge to pushback against the Biden administration advocating for biological men competing in women’s sports.House Republicans introduced the “Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act,” legislation that seeks to recognize that in athletics, sex is “based solely on a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth.”On Monday, the Virginia House of Delegates advanced a bill to ban female identifying men from competing in women’s sports in Virginia schools. CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP”The purpose of House Bill 1837 is to protect our girls and young women from being forced to compete against biological males,” Karen Greenhalgh, Republican Delegate of Virginia Beach said. “Similarly gifted and trained males will always have the physical advantage over females, which is the reason we have women’s sports.”

Air Force warns Chinese company's North Dakota mill would be 'significant' national security threat

Air Force warns Chinese company's North Dakota mill would be 'significant' national security threat

The U.S. Air Force has stepped into the debate surrounding a Chinese company’s proposed North Dakota corn mill, declaring it a national security risk.Mayor Brandon Bochenski of Grand Forks, North Dakota, announced Tuesday his intention to stop the development of a Chinese-owned corn mill due to concerns voiced by the federal government.REPUBLICANS SOUND ALARM OVER CHINESE GOVERNMENT-LINKED FARMLAND PURCHASE NEAR NORTH DAKOTA AIR BASE
Grand Forks Air Force Base
(Fox News)The Chinese-owned Fufeng Group paid $2.3 million to purchase the 300 acres of land just 12 miles from Grand Forks Air Force Base. The company plans to invest $700 million to open the mill.”The federal government has requested the city’s help in stopping the project as [geopolitical] tensions have greatly increased since the initial announcement of the project,” Bochenski announced Tuesday.He continued, “The only remedies the city has to meet this directive is to refuse to connect industrial infrastructure and deny building permits. As mayor of the city of Grand Forks, I am requesting these remedies be undertaken and the project be stopped, pending City Council approval.”NORTH DAKOTA COMMUNITY FIGHTS TO STOP CHINESE COMPANY FUFENG FROM OPENING CORN MILL NEAR AIR FORCE BASEREAD THE AIR FORCE LETTER – APP USERS, CLICK HERE:Local officials and federal authorities have warned that Fufeng has deep ties to the ruling Chinese Communist Party.North Dakota’s senators released on Tuesday a letter they received from Air Force Assistant Secretary Andrew Hunter in which the military official warned against the Fufeng project.In the letter, Hunter pointed to the proposed corn mill’s proximity to Grand Forks Air Force Base as a major risk.CLICK TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
Local officials and federal authorities have warned that Fufeng has deep ties to the ruling Chinese Communist Party.
(Reuters / Thomas Peter / File)”Grand Forks Air Force Base is the center of military activities related to both air and space operations,” Hunter wrote.He continued, “While [the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States] concluded that it did not have jurisdiction, the Department’s view is unambiguous: the proposed project presents a significant threat to national security with both near- and long-term risks of significant impacts to our operations in the area.”Fufeng would be the largest foreign private sector investment in the history of Grand Forks. The city said the plant would bring in at least 200 jobs and millions in tax revenue.

Rep. Carlos Giménez pushes DHS Secretary Mayorkas for answers on border crisis

Rep. Carlos Giménez pushes DHS Secretary Mayorkas for answers on border crisis

Republican Rep. Carlos Giménez of Florida is pushing Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for answers on the crisis at the southern border.Giménez’s Tuesday letter to Mayorkas comes two days after his in-person meeting with the DHS Chief in Miami, along with Reps. Maria Salazar and Mario Diaz-Balart, where they discussed, among other things, the DHS’ new parole program. Fox News Digital was told that during the meeting Mayorkas could not answer basic questions posed by the GOP members in attendance, including the number of illegal migrants currently residing in the U.S.
Carlos Gimenez, then-mayor of Miami-Dade, Florida, speaks during a rally with Venezuelans living in Miami, Florida, U.S. February 1, 2020.  
(Reuters)In his letter, Giménez requests that Mayorkas, “within all applicable rules and regulations” answers the questions lawmakers had during the Sunday meeting. “During our meeting, we discussed critical information regarding the humanitarian crisis at our southern border,” Giménez says. “You may remember that there were questions that you were unable to answer at that time, but that your Department would get that information to us.” BIDEN ADMIN KEEPS PUSHING FOR SWEEPING IMMIGRATION BILL, INCLUDING AMNESTY, TWO YEARS INTO MIGRANT CRISISIn his letter, Giménez asks Mayorkas how many of the 4.5 million migrant encounters at the Southwest border since Biden took office, are currently residing in the U.S. He also seeks answers on the DHS’ process for choosing a location to release these individuals and the information that’s given to those localities. Giménez questions how many of these migrants have work permits and, among those that do, how many are receiving federal government assistance. Additionally, he asks, how many of those that do not have authorized work permits have received federal government assistance. 
U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas speaks during the United States Conference of Mayors 91st Winter Meeting January 19, 2023 in Washington, DC. 
(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)He cites U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) 1.2 million figure for “gotaways” who have evaded border authorities. Of these, Giménez wants to know how many have been located by CBP. He also asks Mayorkas how many migrants who were unknown to DHS have been detained and deported over the past two years. CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPGiménez gave Mayorkas until next Wednesday, February 8, 2023, to respond to these questions. Fox News Digital has reached out to DHS for comment. Fox News’ Adam Shaw contributed to this report. 

DOJ searches Biden Delaware beach home amid classified document investigation

DOJ searches Biden Delaware beach home amid classified document investigation

FBI agents searched President Biden’s vacation home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, on Wednesday for three-and-a-half hours but did not find additional classified documents, the president’s attorney Bob Bauer said. “Today, with the President’s full support and cooperation, the DOJ is conducting a planned search of his home in Rehoboth, Delaware. Under DOJ’s standard procedures, in the interests of operational security and integrity, it sought to do this work without advance public notice, and we agreed to cooperate,” Bauer said in a statement. “The search today is a further step in a thorough and timely DOJ process we will continue to fully support and facilitate. We will have further information at the conclusion of today’s search,” he added.The search concluded around noon, Bauer said. There was no warrant.FBI SEARCHED PENN BIDEN CENTER IN MID-NOVEMBER, SOON AFTER CLASSIFIED DOCS DISCOVERED, SOURCES SAY
President Biden’s Delaware vacation home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, is seen in July 2022.
(Fox News Photo/Joshua Comins)
President Biden walks to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on his way to his Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, home, on Aug. 7, 2022.
( AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)HOUSE OVERSIGHT CHAIRMAN COMER BELIEVES HUNTER BIDEN WAS ‘IN PROXIMITY’ TO PRESIDENT’S CLASSIFIED DOCSThe search was carried out on Special Counsel Robert Hur’s first day on the job at the Justice Department. Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Hur as special counsel to investigate the Biden documents on Jan. 12. Hur has been briefed on the investigation over the past few weeks but today is his first actual day in the office at the DOJ in his capacity as special counsel.Sources tell Fox News Digital Hur will be briefed on the Rehoboth Beach search.  The FBI and Special Counsel Hur did not comment.Justice Department prosecutors were reportedly weighing a search of Biden’s Rehoboth Beach home last month after several sets of classified documents were found at his residence in Wilmington, Delaware. FBI agents have searched the Wilmington home, as well as Biden’s old offices at the Penn Biden Center in Washington, D.C., where a handful of other documents with classified markings were discovered. The Biden team has consented to each search and is working with the Justice Department to find and turn over all classified documents in Biden’s possession dating to his time as vice president, though some date to when he was a senator. So far, between 25 and 30 documents with classified markings have been recovered from Biden’s possession and turned over to the National Archives and the Justice Department. BIDEN DOCS: WHITE HOUSE REQUESTED FBI SEARCH THAT UNCOVERED LATEST BATCH OF CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS
U.S. attorney Robert Hur arrives at U.S. District Court in Baltimore on Nov. 21, 2019.
(AP Photo/Steve Ruark, File)Biden, like his predecessor Donald Trump, is under special counsel investigation for his retention of classified records.The White House has repeatedly declined to comment on the contents of the classified records, as well as the levels of the classification, saying instead that the records “have been turned over to proper authorities and will be part of the ongoing investigation.” Lawmakers have pressed for more transparency on the content of those documents, but to no avail, and have accused the Biden administration of attempting to “stonewall” their efforts. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre had assured reporters in mid-January that the search for new documents was over. Then new documents were found at Biden’s Wilmington home on Jan. 14 and again on Jan. 20, and now Biden’s Rehoboth Beach home was searched as well. CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPHouse Republicans are gearing up to launch an investigation into Biden’s handling of classified materials, with Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., telling Fox News that “nothing that Joe Biden’s done with respect to mishandling these classified documents is normal.” Fox News’ Anders Hagstrom, Ronn Blitzer, Brooke Singman and Bradford Betz contributed to this report.

Biden needs 'firewall' between him and Hunter Biden's legal defense, former White House ethics chief says

Biden needs 'firewall' between him and Hunter Biden's legal defense, former White House ethics chief says

FIRST ON FOX: President Biden needs to set up a “firewall” between him and first son Hunter Biden’s legal woes as his allies weigh a legal defense fund for the younger Biden, law professor and former President George W. Bush’s chief White House ethics lawyer Richard Painter told Fox News Digital. Painter said that Hunter Biden is “a private citizen, so he’s going to disclose whatever he has to disclose,” but the first son is “probably going to get away with not disclosing any of it.””Just like with these paintings he’s selling and he should be disclosing who’s buying the artwork, but he’s not,” Painter said. “And it will probably follow the same approach to the legal defense fund.”HUNTER BIDEN SEEN AT RITZY NYC ART GALLERY SELLING HIS PAINTINGS FOR UP TO $200K, DESPITE ETHICS CONCERNS
University of Minnesota law professor Richard Painter told Fox News Digital that President Biden needs to set up a “firewall” between himself and his son Hunter Biden’s legal defense.
(CQ-Roll Call/Getty Images)”The only thing I think the president and the White House can do is set up a firewall here, distance themselves from Hunter Biden’s defense,” the University of Minnesota law professor continued.Painter, who has been actively involved in recent years as a vice chair and board member of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a liberal watchdog group, said that the president’s son is “a grown-up” with attorneys he can speak with and “shouldn’t be talking to his dad, the President of the United States, about his criminal defense.”The law professor also said that the Bidens’ legal teams should not coordinate if a potential legal defense fund for the first son does not disclose its donors.”If I were the president’s legal team, I’d say, ‘Look, if Hunter Biden won’t disclose the name of the donors to the legal defense fund, we are going to have to not coordinate with his legal team. We do our thing, they do their thing,'” Painter said.Craig Holman, a government affairs lobbyist specializing in ethics, told Fox News Digital that there “are very few rules in place for legal defense funds for executive branch employees, let alone family members of executive branch employees.””While Congress has stringent contribution limits, source prohibitions and disclosure requirements for legal defense funds of members of Congress, even these rules do not apply to family members who are not congressional employees,” Holman said.OBAMA ETHICS CHIEF BLASTS BIDEN’S ‘INEXCUSABLE NEGLECT OF THE MOST BASIC SECURITY PROTOCOLS’
First son Hunter Biden hired a team of attorneys to represent him as he faces down his longtime federal tax investigation as well as a slew of incoming probes from congressional Republicans.
(NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)”The Office of Government Ethics (OGE) is currently considering establishing rules for executive branch employees, the agency has not done so yet,” he continued. “And the rules under consideration would not extend to family members.”Holman said that “Hunter Biden certainly could voluntarily disclose major donors to his legal expense fund,” noting that “Bill Clinton voluntarily disclosed his donors back in the 1990s, even though he was under no requirement to do so.””Given Hunter Biden’s relationship to the President of the United States, and the political controversies that have surrounded Hunter, it would be prudent for Hunter to voluntarily disclose his major donors,” Holman added.Tuesday saw reports of Biden’s allies throwing around the idea of a defense fund as the first son racks up estimated millions of dollars in legal debt.Hunter Biden hired a team of attorneys to represent him as he faces down his longtime federal tax investigation as well as a slew of incoming probes from congressional Republicans.Anonymous sources familiar with the matter told the Washington Post on Tuesday that the idea has been pitched because of the growing debt incurred by the first son as he goes for a more aggressive legal strategy.The sources also noted that Hunter Biden’s resources are stretching thin — even amid his ritzy art career with five- and six-figure price tags. It is unclear exactly how much he owes, but it is expected some fees will be discounted or pro-bono.His legal woes have been the subject of much political discussion, with the Washington Post noting in December that his defense team is “almost frantically” assembling, “not fully coordinating” and running the risk that it will “not share a unified approach” when the investigations begin.The piece detailed “a strategy session last September” where Hunter Biden’s lawyer Kevin Morris pushed “Hunter Biden’s camp to be more aggressive” against conservatives preparing to investigate Biden over allegations of corruption.
Sources also noted that Hunter Biden’s resources are stretching thin — even amid his ritzy art career with five- and six-figure price tags.
(Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)According to the outlet, his legal defense is split into several distinct teams: “Hunter Biden has been working with Morris, his friend and sometime financial benefactor, and a team of researchers. The younger Biden has also hired several other lawyers — Chris Clark, who is handling a federal criminal investigation into his business dealings and other matters.”CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPThey wrote how Morris has already “attracted the attention of House Republicans, who sent him a letter in June asking about reports that he gave Hunter Biden some $2 million to help pay off a tax bill that is a subject of the federal investigation.”As such, “Some involved in these efforts argue that Hunter Biden and Morris should stay out of the limelight so Democrats can focus on painting the Republican investigations as a partisan political exercise.”The White House did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.Fox News Digital’s Gabriel Hays contributed to this report.

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