The Forward Five – Thursday, 1/30/20

12 mins read

Five Things to Know Today

Key Kentucky lawmaker calls for criminal justice fixes
A key Kentucky lawmaker previewed an effort to make changes to a criminal justice system he said is “out of kilter,” reflecting a growing resolve among some Republicans and Democrats to grapple with surging inmate populations.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jason Petrie said Wednesday that the bills will likely deal with the bail system, persistent felony offender laws, felony thresholds for theft crimes and probation, among other issues.

Petrie, a Republican, previewed the potential reforms amid concerns about surging incarceration rates in Kentucky — a trend that is placing increasing strain on the state’s budget. He said criminal justice reform is not a partisan matter. (Herald-Leader)

Kentucky abortion law ruled unconstitutional is back in federal court
A federal appeals panel on Wednesday heard arguments on whether Kentucky can ban a type of abortion performed later in a pregnancy that opponents claim is barbaric but advocates say is safe and commonly used.

Matthew Kuhn, a lawyer for Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who is defending the 2018 Kentucky law, insisted it doesn’t ban the type of abortion known as dilation and evacuation, or D & E. “All it does is change how the abortion must be performed,” Kuhn told the three-judge panel, adding that the law offers a “reasonable alternative.”

But Andrew Beck, a senior trial attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, told the judges the law would effectively ban some abortions because of its requirement that physicians induce fetal demise prior to the procedure. That is medically unproven and poses a greater risk of complications, said Beck, whose organization is challenging the law. (Courier-Journal)

Beshear recommends no tax increase to fund Kentucky road projects
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear is not seeking any additional dollars for the state’s $1.5 billion Road Fund but has some major road projects in mind. (Forward Kentucky)

Hemp problems catch lawmakers’ attention
State lawmakers questioned Ag Commissioner Ryan Quarles about hemp production and sales Tuesday, and expressed concerns that some hemp growers were unable to sell their crops, or weren’t being paid. (Forward Kentucky)

Rand Paul impeachment news
Our junior senator was in the news twice yesterday for his actions during the impeachment trial of President Trump.

Paul prevented from revealing name of whistleblower – In one of the written questions he submitted, Rand Paul included the name of the whistleblower that initially revealed the Ukraine scheme. Revealing that name is illegal, as whistleblowers have protections against that. Chief Justice John Roberts, who reviews all questions that are submitted, ruled the question out of order. (Politico)

Rand Paul attacks Elizabeth Warren in a tweet … during the Trump impeachment trial – Paul sent the tweet at 3:12 p.m. during impeachment trial proceedings — when he was presumably in the Senate, where cell phones are prohibited. This comes after he was seen doing a crossword puzzle and making a paper airplane during earlier sessions. (Courier-Journal)

KYGA20 Run-Down
“Moar bills!” Rather than pull any of these stories 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 Republicans unveil bill to help people move from public assistance to paying jobs – HB1 would allow the state to pay health insurance premiums for low-income workers, and could eventually apply work requirements to Medicaid recipients. (Forward Kentucky)

Lawmaker pushes proposal to restore felon voting rights – A state legislator is proposing a Constitutional Amendment automatically restoring voting rights to all convicted felons when their sentence is completed.

Rep. Charles Booker (D-Louisville), the sponsor of the legislation, asked at a press conference on Wednesday: “What if I told you your voice doesn’t matter?  What if I told you that if you made a mistake, or you didn’t make a mistake and were convicted of one, that your voice would be taken away for the rest of your life?”

According to the National Center for State Courts, Kentucky and Iowa are the only states that have a permanent ban on voting, although rights can be restored in Kentucky by a pardon from the Governor. About 9% of Kentuckians that would otherwise be eligible to vote are not allowed to do so because of felony convictions, even though they have completed their sentence. (Kentucky Today)

Bill to address legislator pension spiking passes through state Senate – A bill to stop the spiking of pension benefits of legislators who go on to serve in a government role at a higher salary passed through a Senate committee Wednesday and through the full Senate with only two pass votes on the floor. (Lane Report)

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.

A word from publisher Bruce Maples
Members and friends – We are in the second week of a three-week membership campaign. As you already know, almost all of our budget comes from our paying members. And because of our paying members, we have gone from a startup funded primarily out of my pocket to an ongoing and almost-breaking-even media outlet.

If you are already a paying member, thank you! And if you are not, please consider becoming one. The Basic Monthly membership is $3 a month, or less than one large coffee from Starbucks. Your support will help us do morecover more, and reach more.

Here’s an article I wrote on “The three subscriptions you should purchase right now.” Read it to learn more about the importance of independent journalism and commentary. And if you are ready to become a member, just click the link below to go to the memberhip page. Support the value you get from Forward Kentucky – become a member today.

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

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


[new] Beshear budget address: The basics – Gov. Andy Beshear delivered his first budget address last night, proposing a budget that “ends 14 years of cuts.” Here are the basics of that budget. (read)

[new] Beshear budget address: The reactions – Via Twitter and other channels, here are some of the reactions to Governor Beshear’s budget address. (read)

[new] Need a job that makes a difference? KFTC is hiring. – Kentuckians for the Commonwealth is hiring Voter Empowerment Staff in the run-up to this year’s election in November. They’ve got both part-time and full-time positions open, with the work beginning March 6 and ending at the beginning of November. (read)

🔥 Bills go after transgender young people … and their doctors – Multiple bills have been introduced in this year’s General Assembly that target transgender young people, their doctors, and their parents. (read)

🔥 ‘Bye, Mitch’ — Democrats vying to unseat McConnell jab him on impeachment – Four of the ten Dems running to face Mitch McConnell spoke at a forum on Saturday morning, their message was simple: it is time to say “Bye Mitch.” (read)


[new] KCEP releases initial analysis of Beshear budget – The staff at the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy worked way into the night to produce this initial analysis of Governor Beshear’s proposed budget. (read)

Repubs don’t want you to vote. Here’s 7 ways they try to stop you. – Republicans don’t like voting, especially for certain groups. Are YOU one of the ones they want to stop? Here are 7 tactics to watch for. (read)


[new] Family farmers speak out against Family Separation Bill – We run a mid-sized farm in Kentucky, and we are deeply concerned about the impact SB1 could have on the immigrant employees who make our business a success. (read)


[new] Mitch McConnell takes care of the miners – Senator McConnell likes to talk about how much he has done for the coal industry and coal miners in Kentucky. Aaron Smith has some insight into just how that has worked out for those miners. (view)


[podcast] Sports gambling bill & school safety bills, Linda Story Edwards interview – Linda Story Edwards, a Democratic Candidate in House District 6, joined Robert and Jazmin this week. Before that, they analyzed bills: the Sports Betting bill, the School Safety bill, and SB 3, a constitutional amendment which would move the election of constitutional officers to Presidential years. (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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