The Forward Five – Monday, 2/24/20

14 mins read

Five Things to Know Today

House Democrats dump consultant after Gov. Andy Beshear’s ultimatum
House Democratic leaders are caving to Gov. Andy Beshear’s call for the minority caucus to decline the services of a controversial political consultant in the 2020 election cycle. Democratic strategist Jonathan Hurst was a key witness for the federal government in its case against Jerry Lundergan, a former Democratic Party chairman who was convicted of breaking campaign finance laws in connection to his daughter’s 2014 U.S. Senate campaign.

Beshear met with House Democratic leaders in December to express concerns about them using Hurst, who was not charged in the case, for their campaigns. In a joint statement, released after a Democratic caucus meeting on Friday, state Reps. Joni Jenkins, Derrick Graham and Angie Hatton said they had “severed ties with” Hurst. (Courier-Journal)

Louisville Democratic Party chairman J. Russell Lloyd dies after battle with cancer
J. Russell Lloyd, the sitting chairman of the Louisville Democratic Party, died Sunday morning after a battle with brain cancer, according to a statement from the party. He was 50 years old. Vice-chair Virginia Woodward will serve as acting chair of the party. In a statement, she credited Lloyd with helping elect Democratic candidates statewide during his tenure, including Gov. Andy Beshear.

Lloyd was remembered by colleagues as a “strategic planner” who helped grow the Louisville Democratic Party’s reach in Kentucky. (Courier-Journal)

Impeachment committee hearing case of Kenton County Family Court Judge Dawn Gentry
A special House Impeachment Committee is taking up the matter of a Northern Kentucky judge accused of misconduct. In November, the Judicial Conduct Commission charged Kenton County Family Court Judge Dawn Gentry with nine counts of judicial misconduct.

Rep. Jason Petrie (R-Elkton), who was named Chairman of the Impeachment Committee, says their job is two-fold.  “First of all, to investigate the allegations that were disclosed in the resolution; and second, to make a report back to the full House of whether any action should be taken after we have investigated the allegations.”

The Judicial Conduct Commission has an April 20 hearing date for Judge Gentry, who has been suspended with pay pending the outcome of the hearing. Petrie says this is a separate proceeding altogether. (Northern Kentucky Tribune)

Gov. Andy Beshear signs bill requiring school resource officers to carry guns
Despite calls from civil rights groups to veto the legislation, Gov. Andy Beshear on Friday signed a bill requiring school police to carry guns. All Kentucky schools are now required to have at least one armed police officer under state law, effective immediately. (Courier-Journal)

Kentucky House passes HB 1 to tighten controls over Medicaid and food stamps
The Kentucky House passed a bill on Friday meant to tighten controls over public assistance and crack down on suspected fraud, despite concern from opponents that the legislation is unnecessary and overly punitive.

House Bill 1 passed by a mostly party-line vote of 57-33 after more than two hours of debate, with all Republican members present voting for it and all but one of the Democrats voting against it.

The newly amended version of the bill passed out of the House Health and Family Services Committee just a day earlier. Sponsors say the bill is also designed to encourage people to get off public assistance — such as food stamps and Medicaid —and into jobs.

In addition to kicking people off public assistance who violate new rules on how public assistance cards can be used, the bill subsidizes private health insurance plans for people to move off of Medicaid — intended to encourage those individuals to work more hours or take a higher-paying job without fear of losing their health coverage.

House Minority Floor Leader Joni Jenkins called the bill an attempt to “kill a gnat with a sledgehammer.” (Courier-Journal)

KYGA20 Run-Down
The General Assembly has hit the halfway mark, and bills continue to move. 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.

Introducing our Visual Key Bill Tracker – In an effort to make it easier to track important legislation, we have added a Visual Key Bill Tracker to the web site. Each bill has its own row, and shows the progress of the bill through the legislative process.

We will update the visual tracker each morning, and include a link in the Forward Five. We will also include links to our regular bill trackers, where you can learn more about ALL the bills.

Bill to cap the price of insulin for some to $100 per prescription for a 30-day supply passes House, now moves to Senate – A bill to limit cost-sharing requirements for insulin has passed the state House and gone to the Senate. House Bill 12 would require state-regulated health-insurance plans to cap a patient’s cost for a 30-day supply of each insulin prescription drug at $100 “regardless of the amount or type of insulin needed to meet the covered person’s insulin needs.” The bill does not include Medicaid, Medicare or self-insured government plans.

The bill passed with a committee substitute and a House floor amendment to ensure that an insurer cannot increase its cost sharing requirements if its current requirement is less than $100 for a 30-day supply of insulin. (KY Health News)

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 fires back at Craig Bouchard in court filing, claims ousted CEO misused funds – Braidy Industries is claiming in a court filing that an internal investigation found “red flags” concerning founder Craig Bouchard’s use of company funds. (read)

🔥 [new] Bill would protect doctors, health care workers who deny care because it violates their conscience – A bill to protect medical professionals who decline to perform procedures that violate their conscience won support from a Senate committee Thursday. (read)

[new] Medical marijuana bill easily passes Kentucky House. It now heads to a wary Senate. – The Kentucky House overwhelmingly passed a bill Thursday that would legalize medical marijuana in Kentucky, marking significant progress for a piece of legislation that has long stalled in the legislature. (read)

🔥 [new] Gov. Beshear advocates for LGBTQ-rights bill, against ‘conversion therapy’ – Gov. Andy Beshear spoke at an LGBTQ-rights rally in the Capitol on Wednesday, advocating for a statewide fairness law and a bill banning “conversion therapy.” (read)

🔥 [new] House committee cuts off testimony, passes anti-abortion bill – A House committee on Thursday passed a constitutional amendment that would remove protections and funding for legal abortions, while cutting off testimony of those opposed to the bill. (read)

🔥 Digital strategist Beth Thorpe – Applying her talent to electing Democrats in Kentucky – Beth Thorpe has become a leading digital strategist for Dems in Kentucky. What does that mean, and how did she get started? Cathy Hill has a profile. (read)

🔥 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. (read)

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)

🔥 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)

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)


‘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)

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)


🔥 It’s an experiment! – Our first “State of Kentucky” show as a Facebook Live video! Take a look and let me know what you think. If enough people like it, we’ll do these 2-3 times a week. And, send your suggestions and ideas to Thanks! (view)

🔥 [podcast] KY Wired, vape taxes, school metrics, and Suzanne Kugler – This week: KY Wired legislation, taxes on vaping, school performance metrics, and an interview with Suzanne Kugler, a Democrat running for Kentucky House in southeast Louisville. (listen)

[photo gallery] Moms Demand Action rally at Capitol – 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. (view)

🔥 [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)

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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