The Forward Five – Wednesday, 1/22/20

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Five Things to Know Today

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McGrath, Broihier, and Booker on McConnell’s impeachment actions
On the day the Trump impeachment trial started in the Senate, we contacted the three Democrats running against Mitch McConnell, asking them for statements on his actions so far in the trial. Here are those statements. (Forward Kentucky)

McConnell called #MidnightMitch for controversial proposed impeachment trial rules
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell just earned his first new nickname of 2020: #MidnightMitch. Responding to McConnell’s proposed rules for the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, Carl Bernstein, one of the reporters who uncovered the Watergate scandal, referred to the Kentucky Republican as “Midnight Mitch.” (Forward Kentucky)

Kentucky high court asked to fix ‘badly broken’ bail system
Calling Kentucky’s pretrial release system “badly broken,” a state agency has asked the state Supreme Court to set “clear constitutional rules” to fix the process used to collect bail money from the accused.

In a petition to the state’s highest court, the Department of Public Advocacy raised numerous challenges to pretrial release practices across the state. The petition said Supreme Court action is needed to protect defendants’ rights to reasonable bail.

The request comes amid Gov. Andy Beshear’s push for state lawmakers to pass sweeping criminal-justice reforms. The new Democratic governor says overcrowded prisons and jails are soaking up large amounts of taxpayer funds that are needed to support education and health care. (Herald-Leader)

Andy Beshear says Kentucky might buy private prisons, needs to reduce inmate squeeze
Gov. Andy Beshear said Friday that his administration is exploring the possible purchase of two private prisons as part of its ambitious plan to address the steadily rising inmate population that drains hundreds of millions of dollars from Kentucky’s state budget each year and dangerously overcrowds local jails that hold the spillover. (Forward Kentucky)

Booker backs universal basic income as he runs left of McGrath in U.S. Senate race
State Rep. Charles Booker (D-Louisville) has made clear he thinks the only way a Democrat can beat U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell this November is to take clear, bold, unapologetic stances on policy issues.

Booker did just that on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in a newspaper column that supported establishing a basic universal income. Tying his support of the policy to King’s work with the Poor People’s Campaign, Booker called the idea an investment in Kentuckians.

“I believe it is time for Kentucky and the country to commit to a universal basic income,” Booker wrote in the Courier-Journal. “We must do this with the full understanding that by investing in people and ensuring they have financial means to make decisions in their lives, it would tangibly benefit Black Kentuckians in the most marginalized communities, who have been hard hit by decades of oppression and discrimination.” (Herald-Leader)

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.

Ky. lawmaker drops ‘Stop-And-Identify’ proposal, citing hostile response – A controversial bill granting Kentucky law enforcement the ability to temporarily detain anyone who refuses to identify him or herself has been withdrawn by the sponsor, who says he was “personally threatened” after posting the bill.

Under Senate Bill 89, anyone stopped by police on “reasonable suspicion” of criminal involvement could be asked to produce identification and explain what he or she is doing. Republican Sen. Stephen Meredith, the bill’s sponsor, withdrew the measure Tuesday – lamenting a public response he deemed “trial by social media.”

“No testimony, no discussion, no searching for the truth,” the legislator said. “Just inflammatory rhetoric and indictment.” (WUKY)

Bill dealing with Kentucky hemp industry first to pass House – Legislation affecting Kentucky’s burgeoning hemp industry is the first to clear the Kentucky House during the 2020 General Assembly. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Matthew Koch, R-Paris, told his colleagues it has the endorsement of The Kentucky Hemp Association and Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles. 

“This bill incorporates language and recent guidelines issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture relating to hemp,” he told his colleagues on the House floor. “It also allows the University of Kentucky lab to contract with other labs to meet all the USDA standards for Kentucky hemp testing.  It sets requirements for transporting hemp and hemp products, with at least a 24-hour notice, and it can be emailed to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.” (Kentucky Today)

Bill to assist UofL with acquisition clears House panel – The University of Louisville’s request for a $35 million state loan to assist in its purchase of Jewish Hospital started advancing in the Kentucky legislature on Tuesday. The measure cleared the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee with bipartisan support. The bill has plenty of political clout behind it with Republican House Speaker David Osborne and the chamber’s top-ranking Democrat, Rep. Joni Jenkins, as its lead sponsors. (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)


[new] McConnell‘s rules for the impeachment trial are a cover-up wrapped in obstruction – Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has delivered his resolution proposing the rules by which Donald Trump’s impeachment trial will be conducted. And it’s not as bad as many expected—it’s far worse. (read)

[new] Jazmin Smith looks at the Voter ID bill – SB 2 would require a photo ID to vote. What are the details, and are there any problems with this bill? Jazmin Smith digs into the details. (read)

[new] KFTC calls on Congress to “Fix What’s Broke” – The campaign’s message is that Congress must “Fix What’s Broke” by passing bills to clean up abandoned coal mines and polluted waterways and by extending funding for the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund for an additional ten years. (read)

[new] This week’s Good Bill (HB 88) and Bad Bill (SB 2) – Each week during the session, Robert Kahne and Jazmin Smith of My Old Kentucky Podcast list their Good Bill and Bad Bill of the week, along with why those bills are good or bad. This week’s bills are HB 88, the Maternal Care bill, and SB 2, the Voter ID bill. (read)

🔥 Robert Kahne on the 2020 candidate filings – With the early filing deadline, we already know who is running this year. Robert Kahne looks at the overall picture, and digs into certain races as well. (read)


Martin Luther King Jr. had a much more radical message than a dream of brotherhood – Martin Luther King Jr. has come to be revered as a hero who led a nonviolent struggle to reform and redeem the United States. But from my perspective as a historian of religion and civil rights, the true radicalism of his thought remains under-appreciated. The “civil saint” portrayed nowadays was, by the end of his life, a social and economic radical, who argued forcefully for the necessity of economic justice in the pursuit of racial equality. (read)

All will be well in Trumpistan – The so-called “trial” in the Senate reminds Berry Craig of the Scopes “Monkey Trial,” with the outcome just as pre-ordained. (read)


70% of Americans say U.S. economic system unfairly favors the powerful – A majority of U.S. adults say the economic system unfairly favors powerful interests. Wide majorities also say politicians, large corporations, and people who are wealthy have too much power and influence in today’s economy. (read)

Heading into Iowa: Where do the Democratic candidates stand on health care coverage? – For many Americans, health care remains one of the most important topics in the 2020 election. Here is an excellent analysis of the positions of the Dem candidates. (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)


🔥 [new photo gallery] MLK Day in western Kentucky – Berry Craig was at both the Paducah and Mayfield celebrations of Martin Luther King, and shares this story and photo galleries from the events. (view)

[podcast] Senate Bill 2, filing deadline, and interview with Martina Jackson – An interview w/ Martina Jackson, running for House 81. Also, Jazmin on Senate Bill 2, Robert on candidates who have filed, and “Good Bill/Bad Bill.” (listen)

Posts with Most Social Media Shares in Past Fourteen Days

(🔥 vindicates 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.

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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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