The Forward Five – Thursday, 1/16/20

12 mins read

Five Things to Know Today

Republican lawmakers join the fight to ban conversion therapy in Kentucky
Led by a Republican legislator, a bipartisan group of Kentucky state senators proposed a bill that would effectively ban conversion therapy, a practice that attempts to change one’s sexual orientation or gender identity, in the commonwealth. (Forward Kentucky)

McConnell reports raising $4.6 million, keeps slight fundraising lead over McGrath
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s campaign announced Tuesday that it raised $4.6 million in the final quarter of 2019 and entered 2020 with $11.5 million on hand, giving him a slight overall fundraising lead over Democrat Amy McGrath in a campaign that has already attracted buckets of money.

McConnell has raised $17.8 million for his campaign thus far, less than a million more than McGrath’s $16.9 million, but has been outraised by McGrath since she entered the campaign in July. McConnell has about $2.4 million more on hand than McGrath heading into 2020. (Herald-Leader)

Watchdog group files ethics complaint against McConnell
Government watchdog group Public Citizen has filed a formal complaint with the Senate Ethics Committee against Senator Mitch McConnell. The complaint focuses on McConnell’s assertion that he will not be impartial in the impeachment trial against President Trump, and asks the Ethics Committee to force McConnell to recuse himself. (Forward Kentucky)

Five takeaways from Gov. Beshear’s ‘State of the Commonwealth’ speech
Gov. Beshear delivered a State of the Commonwealth address that stressed the need for unity. Here is a rundown of the top takeaways from Tuesday’s address. (Forward Kentucky)

West Kentucky election roundup – some “interesting” races
Here’s a look at some of the races in West Kentucky, including a “scorecard” of show is running where, and thoughts by activist Daniel Hurt. (Forward Kentucky)

KYGA20 Run-Down
It’s early days in this year’s Kentucky General Assembly, but bills are already being filed left and right. Rather than pull any of these into the “five things to know” section, we’re simply listing some of the stories in the media. Note that some of these may never even be heard in committee, while others may wind up on a fast track for passage.

Bill that allows betting on UK, U of L sports advances in legislature – A bill to legalize sports betting in Kentucky was amended Wednesday to allow betting on the sports teams of in-state public universities. House Bill 137, which would legalize sports betting at horse racetracks and the Kentucky Speedway, was unanimously approved by a House Committee Wednesday. It now goes to the full House of Representatives for a vote. (Forward Kentucky)

McCoy proposal would abolish death penalty for mentally ill – Rep. Chad McCoy has introduced a proposal in this year’s session to end the death penalty for mentally ill defendants convicted of capital crimes. (KY Standard)

Police must detail asset seizure or lose training money under proposed bill – A bill filed this week in the General Assembly would require law enforcement agencies to disclose more details about cash and property seized through asset forfeiture or be subjected to financial penalties. Rep. Reginald Meeks, a Louisville Democrat, is sponsoring the measure, which would beef up existing reporting requirements. Agencies that don’t comply would lose $4,000 reimbursements from a state fund for individual officers who complete continued training.

Law enforcement agencies are already required to file annual reports detailing how much cash and property they seize, but not all do. State data analyzed by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting found just 11 percent of law enforcement agencies submitted required reports each year between fiscal years 2013-2017. In that time, the agencies that did submit the required reports seized about $36 million. (KY Center for Investigative Reporting)

Bill to raise Kentucky’s smoking age to 21 advances – A bill to up Kentucky’s smoking age to 21 has cleared its first hurdle. The legislation sponsored by Republican Senator Ralph Alvarado of Winchester would move the minimum age to purchase tobacco and vaping products to 21, putting Kentucky in line with the recently passed federal legislation with a similar purpose. A similar bill was presented in the 2019 session but it did not clear committee. The bill now goes to the full senate. (West Kentucky Star)

Senate president suggests creating pardons commission – After a much-criticized flurry of last-minute pardons by ex-Gov. Matt Bevin, Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers predicted Wednesday that lawmakers will try to modify the pardon process. (Kentucky Today)

Not all stories on Forward Kentucky make it to the top “Five Things” section of the Forward Five! Many stories only show up in the yellow section below, which is a running list of pretty much everything published. So, be sure to scan the lower section each day as well, so you don’t miss anything.

Did you miss any of these?
Featured Content on Forward Kentucky

([new] indicates new since last Forward Five; 🔥 indicates lots of reads)


[new] “No gerrymandering!” — Indivisible SE hosts program on Fair Maps – If you are worried about gerrymandering in Kentucky after the 2020 census, and you live near Jackson, then you need to attend this meeting. (read)


🔥 [new] Woodford County becomes the first Kentucky county in 20 years to pass a Fairness Ordinance – The ordinance passed 5-3, and makes Woodford County only the third county in the state to pass a county-wide ordinance. (read)

🔥 [new] New Kentucky school safety bill would require all safety officers to carry a gun – All school districts in Kentucky would have armed school resource officers under legislation unveiled Monday in the Kentucky Senate. (read)

[new] New House minority leader Joni Jenkins on issues, bills, and Republicans – As Joni Jenkins starts her first term as leader of the Dem caucus in the House, she sat down for a wide-ranging interview with Forward Kentucky. (read)

Group pushes Kentucky to spend additional $1B on education by 2026 – After a decade of plummeting investment in our public schools, an advocacy group has a big request for lawmakers – step up spending by $1 billion. (read)

🔥 Andy Beshear picks nursing home exec as watchdog of troubled nursing home industry – To watchdog the troubled nursing home industry, Gov. Beshear picked an executive from a corporation that owns two dozen low-rated nursing homes around KY. (read)

Pike senator’s bills aimed at high insulin costs – A state senator representing part of Eastern Kentucky has sponsored two bills this legislative session that aim to address high treatment costs affecting hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians with diabetes. (read)


🔥 An open letter from a teacher to Kentucky legislators – In an open letter to all members of the General Assembly, the KY High School Teacher of the Year shares three things teachers need from their legislators. (read)

What do spicy tuna rolls have to do with open records? – There is much to be learned from government records – as long as you can get to them. Including who is spending money on spicy tuna rolls. (read)


Three reasons the Voter ID bill is bad — and what we should do instead – SB2, the Voter ID bill, is a bad bill. Dr. Neal Turpin gives three reasons it is bad, and lays out what we should be doing instead. (read)


🔥  ‘The MAGA Church’ — a video by the Lincoln Project – The Lincoln Project, a group of Republican Never-Trumpers, has just released this video about Donald Trump’s relationship to Evangelical Christians. (view)

🔥 [podcast]Transportation, Booker-McGrath-Broihier, KYGA20 bills – This week, we talked about the state’s SHIFT plan and how it interacts with Metro Louisville’s “Move Louisville” plan. Also, Jazmin and Robert talked about Charles Booker’s decision to run for US Senate and about what the other Democratic candidates for US Senate have been up to recently. The General Assembly started on Tuesday, and Robert talked about the Senate’s priority bills. (listen)

Posts with Most Social Media Shares in Past Fourteen Days

(🔥 indicates post with surge of recent shares)

The Forward 5 is published Monday to Friday by Forward Kentucky, an independent media organization focused on progressive news and issues in Kentucky, and is re-posted with permission. You can sign up for the email version of the newsletter on their website.

DemCast is an advocacy-based 501(c)4 nonprofit. We have made the decision to build a media site free of outside influence. There are no ads. We do not get paid for clicks. If you appreciate our content, please consider a small monthly donation.

Forward Kentucky is an independent media organization focused on progressive news and issues in Kentucky. Our objectives are to provide journalism that is objective, policies that are effective, and commentary that is progressive. Our goal is to help Kentucky become all that it can be through government that works, for all. We are "the progressive voice for Kentucky politics."

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