The Forward Five – Wednesday, 2/26/20

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12 mins read

Five Things to Know Today


Special elections: Dems hold one seat, lose other due to one county’s turnout
In two special elections held Tuesday, Democrats held one blue seat, but lost the other due to Dem turnout in one county. (Forward Kentucky)


Critics: ‘Conscience’ bill lets Kentucky providers refuse abortions, trans care
Any health care worker could refuse to provide treatment that violates his or her conscience under a bill pending in the state Senate. (Forward Kentucky)


In court documents, Bouchard says allegations false
Bouchard claims he was wrongfully removed as the CEO and Chairman of the Board of Braidy Industries, and is suing for reinstatement. The Braidy defendants responded in court, raising several red flags regarding Bouchard’s financial decisions.

Bouchard, however, says all of the apparent findings resulting from an internal investigation conducted by CFO Julio Ramirez — among them personal expenses on the company account, unsubstantiated travel and meal charges, other travel-policy violations, personal bonuses, and legal work conducted on the behalf of Bouchard billed to the company — are false.

On the contrary, Bouchard said he has been traveling internationally and “working tirelessly on behalf of the company for two years to develop relationships with potential strategic aluminum investors to fund the $1.8 billion of cash needed for construction of the Atlas mill, among other things,” according to court documents. (Kentucky Today)


KY education board denies appeal from first-ever charter school applicant
The Kentucky Board of Education on Tuesday unanimously denied an appeal from the proposed River Cities Academy, the first group that wants to open a charter school in the state.

The board’s final order, read aloud during a meeting on the appeal, said that the Newport Independent School District Board “was legally barred” from approving the application and did not err in its decision because River Cities Academy failed to meet the requirements of state law. The school board’s decision was not contrary to the best interest of the students or community, it said.

The order said the charter school group wrongly relied on public funding in its 5-year budget projections. The General Assembly has not approved a funding mechanism for charter schools. (Herald-Leader)


Anti-abortion measures fail after McConnell, ‘Grim Reaper’ of bills, forces Senate to vote
Although he has been previously against “show votes” on measures that have little chance of passing, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made his colleagues vote Tuesday on two bills related to abortion, a divisive issue that Republicans are focusing on ahead of the 2020 elections. Both bills failed. 

The Kentucky Republican’s move to hold a vote on the two anti-abortion measures, which have failed to pass in previous years, is seen as an effort to force vulnerable Democrats into voting on a hot-button issue with elections looming. (Courier-Journal)


KYGA20 Run-Down

Kentucky Senate approves Marsy’s Law in second attempt to expand crime victims’ rights – The Kentucky Senate advanced a proposed constitutional amendment on Tuesday known as Marsy’s Law, which would provide new rights for crime victims.

The General Assembly first passed another version of Marsy’s Law in 2018 by a near-unanimous vote, which was approved by 63% of the vote in a statewide referendum that fall. However, the Kentucky Supreme Court struck down that constitutional amendment in a unanimous decision last summer, ruling it was invalid because its entire text was not on the ballot approved by voters. (Courier-Journal)

Bill to assist rural Kentucky hospitals clears House panel – A bill aimed at protecting rural health care in Kentucky by creating a loan program to assist financially struggling hospitals cleared a House committee Tuesday. Hospitals situated in counties with fewer than 50,000 people would be eligible for the loans. The state economic development cabinet would administer the loan program. The bill sailed through the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee without any opposition. It goes to the full House. Its cosponsors include House Speaker David Osborne. (Herald-Leader)

Bill restoring 911 funding headed to Senate floor – Legislation that restores more than $1 million in funding to local 911 call centers is now headed to the Senate floor for consideration. The Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee passed House Bill 208 Tuesday morning, which clarifies that mobile service providers are responsible for paying the 911 service fee connected to Lifeline subscribers. (KLC City Limit)

KYGA Resources on Forward Kentucky
All of these are under the KYGA20 menu on the web site.

  • KYGA20 Story Page – All stories about the 2020 General Assembly on one page (go there)
  • Bill Trackers – Four bill trackers covering everything filed in Frankfort, including trackers for bills that have crossed over and bills that we consider “key bills” (go there)
  • Visual Key Bill Tracker –  Each bill has its own row, and shows the progress of the bill through the legislative process. Updated each morning. (go there)
  • Find My Legislators – Enter your address, and this tool finds all your state and federal elected officials, including contact information. (go there)
  • The Legislative Process – If you are confused by how a bill becomes law in Kentucky, this simple guide will make it all clear.
    (go there)
  • How to Be an Effective Activist – This PDF is chock-full of helpful information, including contact numbers, the basics of activism, and various tools you can use. (go there)

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] Cold Spring becomes 19th city to approve a Fairness Ordinance – With a vote of four to one tonight, the city of Cold Spring, population 6,370, became the 19th municipality in Kentucky to approve a Fairness Ordinance, adding sexual orientation and gender identity to discrimination protections in employment, housing, and public accommodations. (read)

[new] Bill to stop ‘shenanigans’ of Medicaid drug middlemen passes Senate – A bill to address Medicaid payment issues between pharmacy benefit managers and pharmacists passed the Senate unanimously. (read)

[new] Public-assistance bill (HB 1) passes House – details from KY Health News – Most of the bill is aimed at cracking down on fraud, but a major part of it would provide a temporary state health-insurance option for Kentuckians who stop being eligible for Medicaid because their income exceeds 138 percent of the federal poverty level. (read)

🔥 [new] More taxing powers, including on restaurants, could be coming to Kentucky cities – Two bills were filed Friday in the General Assembly that advocates say could help ease the strain of ballooning pension payments on municipal budgets by giving cities more ways to collect money — something Louisville and others have pleaded for this session. (read)

Under pressure, KY House Democratic leaders dump consultant targeted by FBI – Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives said Friday they have cut ties with a campaign consultant who was targeted by the FBI and granted federal immunity as the key witness in a campaign finance case against former Democratic Party Chairman Jerry Lundergan. The move comes more than a week after Gov. Andy Beshear said he will not raise any campaign cash for candidates who use Jonathan Hurst as their consultant. (read)

Commentary

[new] The depressing cynicism of Repubs’ priority bills – Given a chance to address real problems, Republican leadership instead chose to use their priority bill slots to make political statements and set up “gotcha” votes. They put their campaigns over their constituents, and wasted time and money to play political games. (read)

Media

🔥 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 Tips@ForwardKY.com. 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)


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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