The Forward Five – Friday, 1/17/20

15 mins read

Five Things to Know Today

Rep. Thomas Massie (‘Mr. No’) faces a Kentucky reckoning in 2020
Rep. Massie values his independence, voting with Trump less than any other KY Republican in DC. Now he’s got a challenger claiming to support Trump more. (Forward Kentucky)

House Republican caucus names Rudy temporary majority leader
The House Republican caucus has chosen a new member to act as temporary majority leader while Rep. John “Bam” Carney, R-Campbellsville, remains hospitalized. Carney has been hospitalized since shortly before Christmas with a severe case of pancreatitis.

Rep. Steven Rudy, R-Paducah, who also serves as chairman of the House Budget Committee, was chosen to act in that role by the House majority caucus. Rudy will open daily proceedings and handle the introduction and reading of bills on the House floor. Members of majority leadership will continue to work together to make decisions regarding bill assignments and other issues. (Kentucky Today)

Beshear administration vows to complete troubled KentuckyWired project by October
The governor’s office is vowing to finish KentuckyWired, the state’s much-delayed internet project, by October, despite continued funding woes. “This is one that simply can’t fail,” J. Michael Brown, secretary of the governor’s executive cabinet, told The Courier Journal Thursday.

Begun under former Gov. Steve Beshear, KentuckyWired is currently two years behind schedule, and some rural residents are losing hope that the plan to hang more than 3,000 miles of fiber-optic cable in every Kentucky county will ever deliver them better internet service. (Courier-Journal)

Weeks after saying ‘I’m not an impartial juror,’ McConnell pledges impartiality in oath

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his 99 fellow senators took oaths Thursday afternoon to “do impartial justice” as the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump formally began. After Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts was summoned to preside at the trial and sworn in at 2 p.m., McConnell and his Senate colleagues each took the following oath that is spelled out in the U.S. Constitution:

“I solemnly swear (or affirm, as the case may be) that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of Donald John Trump, now pending, I will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws: So help me God.”

The oath’s language marked a contrast from what McConnell said in December before the House voted to impeach Trump, charging the Republican president with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. “I’m not an impartial juror,” McConnell said in December after a reporter asked him what his message is to Americans who might have concerns about his ability to be impartial during an impeachment trial. (Courier-Journal)

Carroll: Changes being made to immigration bill
Employees on the front lines of helping the sick or victims of sexual assault in Kentucky would be exempted from a high-profile immigration bill under changes its lead sponsor is making. Republican Sen. Danny Carroll announced pending changes Thursday in response to meetings with an immigration attorney and stakeholder groups.

One planned change would expand the number of employees exempted from a requirement to cooperate with federal immigration officials. Carroll says employees of domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers, public defender offices, and public health departments are among those being added to the exemption. (West Kentucky Star)

Related: SB 1 — Dog-whistle, or distraction? – SB 1 doesn’t address a significant problem and is a really bad bill. WHY, then, did Senate Repubs decide to introduce it as their #1 priority this session? (Forward Kentucky)

KYGA20 Run-Down
Bills are still being filed, and bills are moving through the process. 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.

Renters could face criminal charges for damage – Senate Bill 11 has been introduced in this new session in attempts to discourage tenants at rental properties from damaging properties after they have been evicted by criminally charging them. The legislation advanced out of the Senate Committee Tuesday and passed the Senate Thursday by a 29-5 vote. It will now go to the House for its consideration. The bill would clarify criminal mischief statutes by creating a category in Kentucky’s criminal code for damaging rental properties. (Richmond Register)

Senate OKs proposal to move election for governor, constitutional officers – A proposed constitutional amendment to move Kentucky’s election for governor and other constitutional officers is the first bill to clear a chamber during the 2020 session. (Kentucky Today)

Measure adds sexual harassment as ethics code violation – A bill to add sexual harassment as a violation of the Legislative Code of Ethics passed the House State Government Committee on Thursday. (Kentucky Today)

Bill would replace Bible courses in Ky. schools with ‘variety of religious texts’ – Approximately 10 to 15 school districts in Kentucky are currently offering Bible literacy courses, but a bill introduced in the 2020 General Assembly would replace them with classes on ‘various religious texts’ of the many religions practiced in the state.

State Rep. McKenzie Cantrell, D-Louisville, said she introduced House Bill 243 this week after hearing from the leader of a large Buddhist temple in the district that she serves. (Herald-Leader)

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)


“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 on Saturday. (read)


[new] McConnell reports raising $4.6 million, keeps slight fundraising lead over McGrath – Mitch McConnell’s campaign 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. (read)

🔥 [new] 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. (read)

🔥 [new] 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. (read)

🔥 [new] 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. (read)

🔥 [new] 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. (read)

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

🔥 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 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 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)


[new] Here are some GOOD voting bills to support. – While SB 2 is getting a lot of attention, there are actually a number of GOOD voting bills that we should tell our leges to vote for. Here’s a list. (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)


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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