The Forward Five – Monday, 2/17/20

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14 mins read

Five Things to Know Today


House Speaker David Osborne says final vote on medical marijuana likely to come this week
The House could take final action this week on a measure that would legalize medical marijuana in Kentucky while there is no sign of a vote on sports wagering, according to House Speaker David Osborne.
The medical marijuana bill, sponsored by Rep. Jason Nemes, R-Louisville, cleared the House Judiciary Committee on a 17-1 vote on Wednesday with one abstention, which sent it to the full House. Osborne, R-Prospect, told reporters Friday that it will be discussed in caucus on Tuesday where they will “develop a plan.” (Kentucky Today)


Federal appeals court strikes down Medicaid work requirements
A federal appeals court ruled Friday against the work requirements that then-Gov. Matt Bevin tried to impose on Medicaid enrollees who were not “medically frail” and had no dependents. (Forward Kentucky)


DSCC puts thumb on scales, endorses McGrath
In a statement on Thursday, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee endorsed Amy McGrath for the Democratic nomination to take on Mitch McConnell this fall. The endorsement statement makes no mention of the other two Democrats in the face, Mike Broihier and state Rep. Charles Booker. (Forward Kentucky)


Stivers: Senate unable to confirm 3 university appointees
Senate President Robert Stivers, a Republican from Manchester, tells the Lexington Herald Leader that the Senate will be unable to confirm Republicans former governor Bevin appointed late last year because it would improperly throw off the political makeup of the board.

According to a Kentucky law, university board appointments by the governor must reflect proportional representation of the two leading political parties based on the state’s voter registration. Bevin appointed three Republicans and one Democrat before leaving office in December. Democrats currently outnumber Republican in Kentucky.

“Gov. Bevin did put people on there that takes it out of political balance and I have informed the governor’s office we do not plan to confirm individuals who take it out of balance contrary to the statute,” Stivers said. (Kentucky Today)


Election News

Reed announces plans to withdraw from state rep. race
David Reed plans to withdraw his candidacy for 50th District state representative, citing financial difficulties involving a lawsuit that challenged his bid for the seat.

Reed field as a Democrat in January. His candidacy, however, was challenged in a lawsuit from the Nelson County Democratic Party filed Jan. 24, taking issue with Reed’s abrupt change of political party. Reed had been registered as a Republican until Dec. 30 and was a former member of the Nelson County GOP’s executive committee. (Kentucky Standard)

County GOP endorses Thrasher over McCoy
The executive committee of the Nelson County GOP voted this week to endorse a challenger to its incumbent for state representative.

Calling this May’s nomination a “historic paradigm-changing primary,” the committee endorsed four candidates seeking nomination, including Don Thrasher, who is challenging state Rep. Chad McCoy, R-Bardstown. As far as anybody can recall, this is the first time in recent history the county GOP has endorsed in a primary.

McCoy said Tuesday night he was taking the endorsement of his opponent in stride. (Kentucky Standard)


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.

Bills about transfers — both juveniles and money – From the “My Old Kentucky Podcast” newsletter come two stories about bills dealing with transfers: transfers of juveniles to adult court, and transfers of money from dedicated funds to the general fund. (Forward Kentucky)

House Bill 413 creates greater accountability and transparency for tax breaks – HB 413, sponsored by Representative Tipton, is a good government bill that establishes a structure for the General Assembly to know more about and better consider the purpose, cost, and impact of tax expenditures.

HB 413 addresses two specific weaknesses in the current system – the lack of good data to use in evaluating tax expenditures, and the lack of a coherent, regular process for doing so. With regard to the process, the bill establishes: (a) A five-year sunset for all new tax expenditures; and (b) The creation of a 17-member Tax Expenditure Oversight Board to review, analyze, provide oversight, and report to the General Assembly on tax expenditures. (KY Policy)

LRC Summary
Robert Weber of the Legislative Research Commission provided this update of last week’s KYGA action. (KY Forward)

Diabetes – House Bill 12 would limit patient costs for a 30-day supply of insulin to $100. The legislation was approved by the House Health and Family Services Committee and is awaiting a House vote.

Eating disorders – Senate Bill 82 seeks to offer better treatment options to those with eating disorders by establishing the Kentucky Eating Disorder Council. The council would oversee the development and implementation of eating disorder awareness, education and prevention programs. It would also identify strategies for improving access to adequate diagnosis and treatment services and made recommendations on legislative and regulatory changes. The bill passed the Senate 34-0 on Monday and has been delivered to the House.

Expungement – House Bill 327 would require the automatic expungement of records in acquittals or cases in which criminal charges were dismissed. The bill passed the House 91-0 on Monday and has been delivered to the Senate.

High school vocational education – Senate Bill 156 would require the state to develop plans to transition state-operated secondary vocational education centers to local school districts by July 1, 2024. The bill was approved on Thursday by the Senate Education Committee and now awaits action from the full Senate.

Medical marijuana – House Bill 136 would legalize medical marijuana in Kentucky. The bill would establish policies for the cultivation, processing, sale, distribution and use of medical marijuana. Users would be required to have a prescription and would not be able to use medical marijuana in a form that could be smoked. Counties would be able to opt out of the state-regulated-program. The bill passed the House Judiciary Committee and now awaits consideration of the full House.

Transportation secretary – Senate Bill 4 would no longer make the selection of the state transportation secretary a decision solely for the governor. Instead, the bill would create a Kentucky Transportation Board to be responsible for submitting a list of transportation secretary candidates from which the governor would make a selection. The governor’s choice would have to be confirmed by the Senate. The bill passed the Senate Transportation Committee on Wednesday and awaits action by the full Senate.

Vaping – House Bill 32 would place a 25 percent excise tax on vaping products. The bill was approved by the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee on Tuesday and now awaits consideration by all House members.


Reminder
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)

News

[new] Multiple groups demand Beshear veto “guns in schools” bill – Senate Bill 8, mandating that all school resource officers be armed, has passed the General Assembly and is on Governor Beshear’s desk. A number of activist groups are calling on the governor to veto the bill and send it back to the legislature for changes. (read)

🔥 YouTube censors Rand Paul by removing whistleblower video, and he’s not happy – If you want to see a video of Sen. Rand Paul reading a question that outs the Ukraine whisteblower’s alleged identity, you won’t be able to find one on YouTube. (read)

Beshear tells House Democrats to drop campaign consultant who was target of FBI probe – Beshear has told Democratic lawmakers that he will not raise campaign money for any candidates who use Jonathan Hurst as their campaign consultant. (read)

🔥 Bill would limit Kentucky to 3 companies to run the state’s Medicaid program – Frustrated by Medicaid bureaucracy, Sen. Steve Meredith (R-Leitchfield) pushed a bill through the Kentucky Senate on Wednesday to limit the number of outside companies the state can hire to manage its sprawling Medicaid program. (read)

Commentary

🔥 Dear Dems – Stop fighting each other and focus on the REAL enemy – Berry Craig is worried that Dems don’t realize what they’re doing, and uses an old meme to call it out. (read)

Policy

AI algorithms intended to root out welfare fraud often end up punishing the poor. – The evidence suggests incidents of user fraud in government welfare programs are rare. Mistakes in computer programs are not so rare. (read)

[new] Should we move elections for statewide office to presidential election years? – SB 3 moves statewide office elections to presidential election years. Neal Turpin lays out the benefits, a few concerns, and some tactical questions. (read)

🔥 HB 1 is misguided at best, an attack on the poor at worst. Here’s why. – HB 1 is supposed to “improve” our help for the poor. But, some of it is misguided, and some of it is an outright attack on the people it is trying to help. (read)

Media

[podcast] Automatic transfers, fund transfers, & other bills — plus Mike Eaves interview This week: automatic transfer of juveniles to circuit court, fund transfers to balance the budget, and an interview of candidate Mike Eaves. (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.


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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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