Five Things to Know Today
First ‘Action Alert’ sent Tuesday – did you get it?
We emailed our first Action Alert of 2020 on Tuesday, asking people to make two urgent calls about bills in Frankfort.
- If you got it and haven’t called yet, please take about four minutes and make those calls. They really do matter!
- If you didn’t get it and want to read it, you can go here.
- If you aren’t on the Action Alert list and want to be, update your email profile and add Action Alerts to your subscriptions.
Our goal is not only to report and comment – it is also to make a difference! Making these calls helps change things in our state. Join us in taking action!
Beshear speaks at Fairness rally; advocates for LGBTQ-rights bill, against ‘conversion therapy’
Gov. Andy Beshear said he was proud to be the first sitting governor of Kentucky to attend the annual LGBTQ-rights rally, saying “it took too long” to happen.
Beshear threw his support behind legislation banning discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, which has failed to pass either chamber in each legislative session over the past decade.
A statewide fairness bill and a bill banning “conversion therapy” have been filed in both chambers. While the dozens of sponsors of the House bills are all Democrats, several sponsors of the Senate bills are Republicans, including Sen. Julie Raque Adams (R-Louisville). (Courier-Journal)
Can Kentucky protect LGBTQ youth and end ‘conversion therapy’ when many deny it exists?
Two bills would ban conversion therapy, but wouldn’t apply to informal, unlicensed counseling. And, opponents who fear the legislation could impede religious freedom — especially organizations that support the right of those “struggling with unwanted homosexuality” to seek Christian-based counseling — have lobbied against it in Frankfort. (Forward Kentucky)
Moms Demand Action rally at Capitol (photo gallery)
Photographer Del Ramey rode to the event from Louisville on the Moms chartered bus, and took photos the whole way. Here are some of the moments he captured. (Foward Kentucky)
Louisville becomes first Ky. city to pass renewable-energy resolution; goal is 100 percent in 20 years
The Louisville Metro Council has voted to commit to reaching 100 percent renewable energy use for city operations within the next two decades. According to the resolution, the city will work to shift public transit and other operations to run on clean forms of energy, such as electricity and solar power. The Metro Council vote was 15-4 in support of the resolution.
Gretchen Milliken, director of advanced planning and sustainability for Louisville Metro, said the city already has been focused on reducing its carbon-emissions footprint. She added that Louisville’s summer temperatures are projected to rise between seven and 12 degrees in the next half-century. (Kentucky Forward)
Former congressman, suspended for lying about anti-lesbian smear, kept practicing law
Former Congressman Carroll Hubbard, whose license to practice law was suspended for lying under oath when he denied calling an opposing lawyer and her wife “pitiful, fat, ugly lesbians,” has been practicing without a license, court records show.
Hubbard was suspended last April for 60 days. But under Kentucky Supreme Court rules, such sanctions don’t expire until the suspended lawyer submits proof he has complied with all their terms and shown he is current on continuing legal education requirements. The Kentucky Bar Association website still lists Hubbard as a suspended “former member.”
Court records from Calloway, Marshall and McCracken counties show that Hubbard filed pleadings and made court appearances for eight clients in five cases while suspended. (Courier-Journal)
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.
Constitutional amendments pass committee – The Senate State and Local Government Committee approved a number of constitutional amendments on Wednesday. Since the bills propose changes to the state constitution, each must pass with 60 percent of the vote in both the House and the Senate and win approval from voters on the ballot in 2020.
Included in the bills passed were:
- A bill to restore felon voting rights, although the timing of that restoration would be set later by the legislature
- A bill to limit the governor’s pardon powers
- A bill of crime “victim’s rights,” also known as Marsy’s Law, which was already approved by voters in an earlier election but struck down in court as too vaguely worded
Stories for more details:
- Herald-Leader story 1 (first two bills)
- Herald-Leader story 2 (more on pardon bill)
- Kentucky Today story (Marsy’s Law)
Bill to strengthen asset forfeiture reporting, penalties advances in legislature – A bill that would penalize law enforcement agencies that fail to report how much cash and property they seize through asset forfeiture is moving through the state legislature.
The House Judiciary Committee passed the bill on Wednesday, despite concerns from law enforcement advocates that the legislation would bring undue financial and workload burdens on local agencies. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Savannah Maddox from Dry Ridge and Rep. Jerry Miller from Louisville, both Republicans. If passed, it would prohibit law enforcement agencies from spending their forfeiture proceeds if they don’t file required annual reports to the state detailing their seizures. The bill also imposes a $500 fine for agencies that fail to report each year. (KY Center for Investigative Reporting)
Bill requires police pursuit policies – “Police pursuit” policies would be required at law enforcement agencies statewide under a bill on its way to the Kentucky House. House Bill 298 sponsor Rep. James Tipton (R-Taylorsville) told the House Judiciary Committee that his bill is intended to prevent innocent bystanders from being killed during police chases. He dedicated the bill to 18-year-old Jill Tyler Hurst, a Lawrenceburg teen who died last fall days after she was thrown from a vehicle that was hit by a car being pursued by police in Anderson County.
Under HB 298—which would be titled “Jill’s Law” should it become law—every law enforcement agency in Kentucky would be required to have a police pursuit policy that would be reviewed annually. And no law enforcement officer could be involved in a police pursuit without specific training, which would be completed as part of their required in-service training. (Glasgow Daily Times)
KY 911 service fee bill advances to Senate – A bill that would restore over $1 million a year in funding to 911 service centers across the state has passed the Kentucky House. House Bill 208, sponsored by Rep. Rob Rothenburger (R-Shelbyville) is expected to safeguard 911 service-center funding by requiring wireless providers of Lifeline federal-assistance telephone service to make monthly 911 service fee payments to the state. Some Lifeline providers had stopped paying the fees to the state in recent years, said Rothenburger. (Richmond Register)
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] Braidy Industries founder Craig Bouchard sues company after being ousted – Braidy Industries’ founder Craig Bouchard filed a lawsuit against the company he formed and several of its stockholders — including a limited liability company owned by Kentucky’s state government. (read)
🔥 [new] Flurry of amendments create another barrier for Kentucky sports betting bill – Lawmakers filed nearly a dozen “unfriendly” floor amendments last week to the bill seeking to legalize and tax sports betting in Kentucky. (read)
[new] #PresidentWarren trends on Twitter – Even though she is still third in the delegate count, Elizabeth Warren has been largely ignored by the media over the past week. So, her supporters decided to do something about it. (read)
[new] House Democrats quiet over consultant, FBI target – House Democrats are staying quiet over whether they will cut ties with a campaign consultant who was targeted in an FBI probe. (read)
🔥 Bills to help health departments with pension costs pass House – Two bills that were presented as part of a “three-phase approach” to create a sustainable solution to local health departments’ pension crisis passed the state House Feb. 13. The third part of the plan involves the state budget. (read)
🔥 Almost 100 organizations come out against House Bill 1 – From the editorial: “The theory that punitive measures are needed to get people off public assistance and into work is not backed by data.” (read)
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)
[new] ‘A demagogue seeking to destroy freedom and the rule of law’ – Both sides in Trump’s impeachment trial quoted the Federalist Papers in their arguments. But Trump’s GOP is actually what the papers warned against. (read)
[new] Financial engineers ravage American newspapers — now it’s McClatchy’s turn – Friday’s news reports played the story as McClatchy, parent of the Herald-Leader, filing for bankruptcy. But that’s not the deeper story. (read)
🔥 No, Republicans aren’t ‘knuckling under’ to Trump – Republicans are not cowering in fear of Trump. They clearly feel empowered by Trump. He frees them to reveal their darkest desire — which is to end democracy as we know it, and to cut any corners or break any laws necessary to get the job done. (read)
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)
🔥 [photo galleries] Anti-Mitch rally pix from TWO ForwardKY photographers – This past Saturday, an anti-Mitch McConnell rally was held in Louisville, put on by Mayday America and featuring special guests Cleanup Carl and the Trump Chicken. It also had a number of excellent speakers and musicians. Here are two photo galleries of the event, taken by Del Ramey and Nick Lacy. (view)
Posts with Most Social Media Shares in Past Fourteen Days
(🔥 indicates post with surge of recent shares)
- In impeachment, McConnell and Paul are the embarrassments that keep Kentucky blushing (4,000 shares)
- Dear Dems – Stop fighting each other and focus on the REAL enemy (3,000 shares)
- YouTube censors Rand Paul by removing whistleblower video, and he’s not happy (1,000 shares)
- Kentucky GOP leader says Matt Bevin hoarded road funds as reelection tool (915 shares)
- DSCC puts thumb on scales, endorses McGrath (614 shares)
- McGrath rejects progressive policies in new TV ad (543 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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