The Forward Five – Monday, 2/10/20

11 mins read

Five Things to Know Today

State lawmakers move ahead with possible impeachment of judge accused of sexual misconduct
Kentucky County Family Court Judge Dawn Gentry could become the fifth individual to ever be impeached by Kentucky’s legislature. 

Rep. Joseph Fischer, a Republican, filed a resolution Friday to appoint a committee to determine whether there’s sufficient evidence to impeach the judge who faces nine misconduct charges from the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission. Fischer, who represents parts of Campbell County, relied on the commission’s charges to make his case for impeachment against his fellow Republican. 

In December the commission made public its investigation into the judge’s conduct and claimed the judge used sex, campaign contributions, and retaliation as tools in her judgeship.   

Only four impeachments have ever occurred in the state’s history, according to a 1991 report on impeachment from the Legislative Research Commission. (Courier-Journal)

Critics worry this bill could leave customers of local electric utilities in the dark
The way local public utilities buy electricity could change, and possibly become less transparent, under a bill pending in the Kentucky General Assembly.

House Bill 247 would allow local public utilities to buy wholesale electricity without a public bidding process, which is currently required, and without posting their intent to buy electricity in a local newspaper.

Critics warn this could damage ratepayers’ ability to hold their utilities accountable for power purchases, which in turn could impact their monthly electricity bills. The bill also has renewed concerns about the practices and legitimacy of one of its supporters, the Kentucky Municipal Energy Agency, which came online as a power provider for several utilities last year. (Herald-Leader)

Rep. Hal Rogers joins Democrat in filing bill to recreate rural council abolished by Trump
Two House members from Appalachian districts carried by Donald Trump have filed a bipartisan bill to restore the White House Rural Council, which the president disbanded soon after taking office.

Democratic Rep. Matt Cartwright of eastern Pennsylvania’s 8th District and Republican Rep. Hal Rogers of eastern Kentucky’s 5th District said in a joint press release that their legislation “would create new economic opportunities in rural areas.” They dubbed it the Transforming Hiring in Rural Industries and Vital Economies (THRIVE) Act. (Kentucky Forward)

Kentucky Capitol get its first life-size statue of a woman
For the first time in Kentucky’s 228-year history, a life-size statue of a woman will be displayed in the state Capitol this summer.

The nearly 7-foot bronze statue will be that of Nettie Depp of Barren County, a pioneer in Kentucky education in the early 1900s. She became an elected school superintendent in 1913, seven years before women got the right to vote.

The sculptor, Amanda Matthews, of PROMETHEUS Foundry in Lexington, told the state Historic Properties Advisory Commission that Depp’s statue is “a proxy for all women who have contributed large or small to Kentucky.” (Kentucky Today)

Lt. Gov. Coleman welcomes baby girl
Lieutenant Governor Jacqueline Coleman and her husband Chris O’Bryan welcomed the newest member of their family on Saturday. (Forward Kentucky)

Dear Dems – Stop fighting each other and focus on the REAL enemy
Berry Craig has written an important commentary for this election year. We want to be sure it gets read and shared, so we’re highlighting it in the Forward Five. (Forward Kentucky)

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.

Bill to require guns on school resource officers goes to Beshear – A bill requiring Kentucky school resource officers to carry guns is the first piece of education legislation to head to Gov. Andy Beshear’s desk. (Forward Kentucky)

Spanking is still legal in Kentucky schools. A bill passed in the House may change that. – A bill to ban physical discipline of students in Kentucky passed the state House on Friday, but not before one legislator recounted being paddled by another legislator while he was in school. (Forward Kentucky)

Lawmakers propose cost-of-living raise for state workers, besting Beshear’s offer – A bipartisan group of lawmakers is proposing a long-delayed pay raise for roughly 33,000 state workers that would top the one that Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear included in his budget plan. (Forward Kentucky)

Bill would install cameras on school bus arms to catch illegal passers – HB 34 would allow any school district to use third-party vendors to install cameras on school bus stop arms to catch violators who unlawfully pass buses. (Forward Kentucky)

Kentucky’s overcrowded county jails would get relief under two bills in Frankfort – Faced with dangerously overcrowded county jails across Kentucky, two lawmakers are sponsoring bills that would make it easier to transfer prisoners to jails with open beds and to give larger state payments to jails that offer rehabilitation programs and more rigorous standards. (Forward Kentucky)

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)


Beshear: Rules weren’t followed when gun activists entered Kentucky Capitol – Gov. Andy Beshear said gun-rights activists who brought their weapons into the state Capitol last week were allowed to do so, though security did not properly enforce rules prohibiting masks and requiring the weapons be safely secured. (read)

🔥 Anderson County BOE member calls out clerk on voter ID stance – A member of the Anderson County Board of Elections is calling out Anderson County Clerk Jason Denny for comments he made in last week’s Anderson News about voter ID legislation in Frankfort. (read)


[new] Guns are OK at the Capitol, but don’t try to get in with your grandfather’s wrench – If you go to the state Capitol, take your gun. But for God’s sake, don’t take a wrench. I tried. (read)

🔥 [new] ‘Codifying hate and fear.’ Why are KY legislators targeting transgender kids? – The General Assembly is considering an entire “Slate of Hate” against gay and transgender kids, including a bathroom bill and a bill to punish transgender athletes. But House Bill 321, filed by Rep. Savannah Maddox (R-Dry Ridge) is in a league of its own in attacking vulnerable children. (read)

🔥 In impeachment, McConnell and Paul are the embarrassments that keep Kentucky blushing – Could there be anything more embarrassing and depressing than being from Kentucky this week? (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)


[new podcast] HB 1, Bouchard out at Braidy, and Margaret Plattner interview – In this week’s show, we cover House Bill 1 (complicated!), Bouchard’s ouster at Braidy, and pension relief for quasis. And, we interview Margaret Plattner, running in House District 33. (listen)

 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)

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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