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Federal judge issues temporary injunction stopping Biden’s Title IX rules | National

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www.thecentersquare.com – By Steve Wilson | – 2024-06-13 17:00:00

(The Center Square) — A federal judge issued an injunction on Thursday that put a temporary hold on new Title IX rules issued by the Biden administration.

U.S. District Court Judge Terry Doughty issued the order in a lawsuit brought by the states of , Mississippi, Montana and Idaho. The injunction keeps the final rules from going into effect pending a by the U.S. District Court of the Western District of Louisiana. 

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The new rules finalized by the Department of Education and which are supposed to go into effect Aug. 1 expand the definition of sex discrimination to include gender identity and pregnancy, but the agency didn't issue any rules relating to transgender athletes. Among the changes include a prohibition on single-sex bathroom and locker rooms and requirements that a school use pronouns based on a student's preferred gender identity.

Doughty said in the order that the new rule violated the speech and free exercise clauses of the First Amendment along with the spending clause and “is arbitrary and capricious.”

The judge also said in his ruling that for one of these injunctions to be issued, the plaintiffs must show a substantial of on the merits of their case, a threat of irreparable harm that must outweigh any that would result if the injunction weren't issued and it must be in the public interest. Doughty said the plaintiffs did so successfully. 

Doughty also said that the plaintiffs were able to prove that the harassment standard created by the rule is contrary to Title IX and he said they “made compelling arguments for how it can violate the free speech right of the First Amendment.”

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Louisiana Attorney General Liz Murrill, who brought the Title IX , praised the ruling. 

“This a victory for women and girls,” Murrill said in a statement. “When Joe Biden forced his illegal and radical gender ideology on America, Louisiana said NO! Along with Idaho, Mississippi, and Montana, states are fighting back in defense of the , the safety and prosperity of women and girls, and basic American values.”

Title IX prohibits educational institutions that receive federal funds from discriminating on the basis of sex in both educational programs and activities.

Federal courts have already acted against the Biden administration's rules. 

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On Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Reed O'Connor granted the 's motion for summary judgement in a case over a mandate issued by two federal agencies before the administration amended Title IX to redefine biological sex to include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” 

He also denied the Biden administration's request to dismiss and vacated the guidance nationwide and issued a permanent injunction against its enforcement in .

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The Center Square

Tax revenues $181M above estimate | Mississippi

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www.thecentersquare.com – By Steve Wilson | – 2024-07-09 08:00:00

(The Center Square) – Mississippi tax revenues were $181.7 million above the estimate for fiscal 2024, according to data released by the Department of Revenue.

For June, the same release showed collections were $46.9 million more than the presession estimate at $7.7 . This year's total collections at $7.7 billion were $18.4 million more than last year, an increase of 0.24%.

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The state's new fiscal year started July 1. 

This came despite a nearly 6% decrease in collections of the state's income tax. In fiscal 2023, the state collected $2.39 billion versus $2.25 billion this year, a decrease of $141.8 million. For the month of June, receipts were $6.2 million above the estimate at $206.2 million. 

In 2022, Gov. Tate Reeves signed into an income tax cut that gradually reduces the state's graduated bracket system into a 4% flat tax. 

According to the report, sales tax revenues for fiscal 2024 ($2.82 billion) were nearly 3% more than the year prior ($2.73 billion). In June, sales tax receipts ($244 million) were $2.1 million over the estimate. 

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Collections of the state's corporate income tax were down by 6.7%, shrinking from $1.04 billion to $968 million, a decrease of $69.5 million. Collections in June were $8.6 million at $148.5 million. 

Use tax receipts were up by 4.87%, growing from nearly $389 million in fiscal 2023 to $407.9 million in fiscal 2024. The state's use tax is assessed on all out of state sales, online purchases. June collections added up to $33.8 million, $2.1 million greater than the estimate. 

The state's so-called “sin” taxes on tobacco and alcohol, including revenue from the state's wine and liquor warehouse and distribution system, showed a decrease as well, falling by 1.69%. In fiscal 2023, the state took in $262.1 million to $257.7 million this year, a difference of $4.42 million. 

Revenue from the state's gaming tax was also down by 4.3% for the year to date, falling from $162 million to $155 million, a difference of nearly $7 million. In June, gaming collections were $1.6 million greater than the estimate.

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Oil and gas severance taxes also took a dive, falling by 11.66% from $36.4 million to $32.2 million. 

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The Center Square

Federal judge pauses Biden’s partial liquefied natural gas export ban | National

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www.thecentersquare.com – By Dan McCaleb | – 2024-07-01 20:00:00

(The Center Square) – A federal judge on Monday temporarily blocked the Biden administration's ban on new exports of liquified natural gas exports to non-free trade agreement countries.

Judge James Cain Jr. of the Western District of Louisiana issued a preliminary injunction against the U.S. Department of Energy's partial LNG export ban after more than a dozen states sued, arguing the ban was illegal.

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“It appears that the DOE's decision to halt the permit approval process for entities to export LNG to non-FTA countries is completely without reason or logic and is perhaps the epiphany of ideocracy,” Cain wrote in his ruling.

The ban was put in place, according to the Biden administration, because the exports “no longer adequately account for considerations like potential energy cost increases for American consumers and manufacturers beyond current authorizations or the latest assessment of the impact of greenhouse gas emissions.”

After the Department of Energy announced the ban in January, 16 states filed suit, Louisiana.

“This is great for Louisiana, our 16 partners in this fight, and the entire country,” Louisiana Liz Murrill said in a statement following the judge's decision. “As Judge Cain mentioned in his ruling, there is roughly $61 dollars of pending at risk to our state from this illegal pause. LNG has an enormous and positive impact on Louisiana, supplying clean energy for the entire world, and providing good here at home.”

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Louisiana was joined by Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, , Utah, Virginia and Wyoming in the lawsuit. 

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Gulf states could benefit from bills to provide offshore green energy revenues | Louisiana

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www.thecentersquare.com – By Steve Wilson | – 2024-06-28 08:19:00

(The Center Square) — Louisiana voters will cast ballots in November to determine whether the state will participate in a possible royalty system for offshore renewable energy production, but federal action is required before the money starts to flow. 

Over the past several years, bills have been submitted to allow the alternative energy revenues, such as wind leases, to be sent to the  states of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas to fund coastal restoration and resilience projects.

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All of these bills would reform the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act by increasing the revenue-sharing distribution from offshore oil and gas activities from 37.5% to 50% and eliminating the existing state revenue-sharing cap of $375 million for Gulf Coast states.

It's of dire importance to Louisiana as the funds from the BP oil spill settlement, which is the primary source for coastal restoration projects, will run out in 2031. The projects are designed to repair and rebuild the state's wetlands which shield inland areas from hurricane storm surges and important nurseries for marine

U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., filed a bill last year called the Reinvesting in Shoreline Economies & Ecosystems Act with U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I. Congressman Steve Scalise, R-La., has a bill called the Budgeting for Renewable Electrical Energy Zone Earnings that he has filed twice in the last two years. U.S. Rep. Lizzie Fletcher, D-Texas, has also filed her version of the measure. 

The National Ocean Industries Association is the trade organization for the offshore industry and supports this type of legislation. President Erik Milito told the Center Square that if the bill becomes , Louisiana could see $1.96 over the next 10 years if the RISEE Act or other similar legislation becomes law.

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“Well, it should, over time, you're gonna see more revenue flowing to the from offshore wind power, and if states are able to share in that then it becomes fairly obvious to the local taxpayers and the local constituency that this much money is now coming into our state because of offshore wind,” Milito said. “You haven't needed that in the Northeast Atlantic, Pacific. Those state governments have taken independent action to promote offshore wind because they're more progressive when it to wanting to have you know, climate goals in place. When it comes to the oil and gas sector, you know, the Gulf Coast has been it really for the past several decades.

“And Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama have all been supportive because of the employment base and the investment base that you have along the coastline with hundreds if not thousands of companies contributing to the local economies.”

The bills have bipartisan , as several environmental groups such as the Citizens Climate Lobby, the Coastal Conservation Association, the National Audubon Society, the National Wildlife Federation and the Environmental Defense Fund among others have weighed in support for the legislation. 

Voters will decide on Nov. 5 whether to add two amendments to the state constitution governing offshore energy royalty distribution. The two bills authored Rep. Joseph Orgeron, R-Cut Off, were signed into law by Gov. Jeff Landry on June 19. Right now, any offshore wind or other renewable revenues would be split between the state's General Fund (75%) and the remainder with the state's mineral fund

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House Bill 300 would place a constitutional amendment on the ballot to redirect federal revenues from “generated from Outer Continental Shelf alternative or renewable energy production sources, wind energy, solar energy, tidal energy, wave energy, geothermal energy, and other alternative or renewable energy production or sources.”

The companion bill, House Bill 305, that would codify the shift of federal royalties to the coastal protection fund from the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act program if the measure is passed by voters.

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