The Forward Five – Thursday, 2/6/20

13 mins read

Five Things to Know Today

Kentucky’s sports betting bill is stalled in the House of Representatives. How come?
By all measures, a bill to legalize sports betting in Kentucky sailed through the early part of the 2020 legislative session. There was little debate over the bill in committee and the vote was unanimous. By mid January, House Bill 137 was waiting to be voted on by the full House of Representatives. Then it stalled. Why? (Forward Kentucky)

KHIP: New poll shows most Kentucky adults favor legalizing marijuana for medical purposes
Nine in 10 Kentucky adults favor legalizing marijuana for medical purposes, according to the latest Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP) report, and nearly six in 10 say pot should be legalized under any circumstances. In addition, four in 10 Kentucky adults said they know someone who regularly uses marijuana.

KHIP, an annual telephone poll of Kentucky adults about health and health policy issues, is sponsored jointly by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and Interact for Health. This report follows the Foundation’s September 2019 health policy conference, which focused on the public health impacts of loosening legal restrictions on marijuana.

“What we heard at the forum – and what this poll confirms – is that support for medical marijuana is very strong, but we also learned that it’s well ahead of the science showing that marijuana is safe and effective for most of the medical conditions claimed by pro-legalization advocates,” said Ben Chandler, president and CEO of the Foundation. “Despite the continuing lack of evidence, dozens of states have legalized medical marijuana. If Kentucky follows suit, our goal must be to put in place measures to protect the public health going forward.” (Northern Kentucky Tribune)

Guns in the Capitol
Gov. Andy Beshear: Rules weren’t followed when gun activists entered Kentucky Capitol – While guns can be brought into the Kentucky Capitol, Gov. Andy Beshear says rules against masks and requiring weapons be secured were not enforced. (Courier-Journal)

Kentucky Sen. Morgan McGarvey to file bill banning guns and masks in state Capitol – McGarvey said it makes no sense to allowed masked people with guns in the Capitol, as gun-rights activists did last week. (Courier-Journal)

Iowa caucuses did one thing right: Require paper ballots (unlike Kentucky)
Amid everything they did wrong, the Iowa Democratic Party did one thing right: It required that votes be counted on paper, and then tallied electronically. (Forward Kentucky)

This fired KY state worker wasn’t a Beshear donor. Her replacement is.
The executive director of a state agency who was fired last month without the knowledge of the agency’s governing board says her replacement with a campaign donor of Gov. Andy Beshear’s was politically motivated.

Donna McNeil was executive director of the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority from 2017 until she was fired by Dennis Keene, the commissioner of the state’s Department for Local Government and the chair of the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority’s board, in late December. He replaced her with Edith Halbleib, who was the Jefferson County Master Commissioner from 2010 to 2018, overseeing foreclosure sales, according to her LinkedIn page. Halbleib did not respond to multiple requests for an interview.

In a personnel appeal, McNeil accused Keene of overstepping his authority by acting without the approval from the infrastructure authority’s board when he fired her — contrary to the bylaws and the board’s past practice — and hired Halbleib, who has ties to Beshear but little experience in water infrastructure systems. (KY Center for Investigative Reporting)

KYGA20 Run-Down
More bills are being filed, and more bills are moving, even as work gets underway on the budget. 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.

Kentucky lawmakers advance Medicaid-related bills – Legislation aimed at shaking up some inner workings of Kentucky’s Medicaid program won initial approval from a state Senate committee on Wednesday.

One measure clearing the Senate Health and Welfare Committee would cut out the role of pharmacy benefit managers in handling prescription drug claims. A second bill would limit the number of managed care companies contracted by the state to handle billions of dollars in Medicaid business.

Sponsors say both measures would cut administrative costs and make health care more efficient for Kentuckians who need medicine or get their health insurance through Medicaid. Opponents said the bills could make things worse for low-income patients. (Herald-Leader)

Bill that would allow Kentucky superintendents to hire principals passes Senate committee – Advocates worry the Republican-backed bill would weaken Kentucky’s school councils of parents and teachers. (Courier-Journal)

Daylight Saving Time resolution moves to Senate – States that want to spring forward and never turn their clocks back just got some help from the Kentucky House. By a vote of 92-2, the state House on Wednesday passed a resolution urging Congress to allow Kentucky and other states to permanently adopt daylight saving time, or DST. House Concurrent Resolution 53, which also requires the state Senate’s approval for final passage, now goes to that chamber for consideration. (Glasgow Daily Times)

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.

Only a few days left – are you a paying member?
Members and friends – Our winter membership drive ends THIS WEEK. 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.

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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] Rand Paul names alleged whistleblower in Senate speech – After Chief Justice John Roberts refused to read Paul’s question naming the person who Republicans believe to have been the whistleblower on Donald Trump’s impeachable Ukraine call, Paul took matters into his own hands. (read)

[new] Bill requiring armed school resource officers passes House committee – The House Education Committee approved a school safety measure Tuesday that requires school districts to have armed school resource officers. (read)

🔥 [new] Some Kentucky schools still paddle students. Bill advances that would ban spanking. – Kentucky would no longer be one of 19 states that still spanks children at school under a bill that was approved by a legislative panel in KYGA20. (read)

[new] Bi-partisan Senate bill proposes statewide fairness law – Eighteen municipalities across Kentucky have adopted nondiscriminatory LGBTQ “fairness” ordinances, and now, nine senators want to make it statewide. (read)

Bill to let physician assistants prescribe passes first hurdle – A bill to allow physician assistants to prescribe drugs, a step advocates say is needed to improve health-care access in rural Kentucky, is finally moving through the legislature. (read)


The unbridgeable chasm – We are now a nation, as we were in 1860, with two completely different and completely incompatible views of America. (read)

Bill to eliminate public notices is penny-wise and pound-foolish – HB 195 seeks to eliminate public notices in local newspapers. It would lower transparency, and make it harder for the public to hold officials accountable. It’s a bad bill – here’s why. (read)

🔥 Are Dems about to hand Trump a second term? – Murray State University historian Brian Clardy warns that Democratic disunity could hand Donald Trump a second term. (read)


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)


 What you won’t hear (but should) in Trump’s SOTU – Brave New Films brings us a #SOTU video outlining how Trump is looting taxpayers, doing back door deals, and using the presidency as a marketing tool. (view)

🔥 [podcast] Budget address and legislative update with Cassie Chambers Armstrong – Cassie Chambers Armstrong joins Jazmin as the pair discuss Governor Beshear’s budget address and an update to the legislative session. (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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