The Forward Five – Thursday, 2/27/20

12 mins read

Five Things to Know Today

Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie opposes anti-lynching bill named for Emmett Till
U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie on Wednesday once again burnished his reputation as “Mr. No” in Congress by joining a handful of lawmakers who opposed a measure that would make lynching a federal hate crime.

Congress has tried for more than a century to pass a bill outlawing the practice, which terrorized mostly African Americans across the country in the 19th and 20th centuries. But such proposals have been repeatedly blocked or ignored. The Emmett Till Antilynching Act, however, passed the House by a bipartisan vote of 410-4. The Senate has already passed its version of the bill.

Massie, a Kentucky Republican, joined fellow GOP lawmakers Ted Yoho, of Florida, and Louie Gohmert, of Texas, and independent Justin Amash, of Michigan, in voting against the measure. (Courier-Journal)

Kentucky House passes bill raising taxes on vaping, tobacco products
The state House passed a bill on Wednesday to increase taxes on vaping products and other non-cigarette tobacco products, a measure estimated to raise $50 million of new tax revenue over the next two fiscal years.

Sponsored by Rep. Jerry Miller (R-Louisville), House Bill 32 would add vaping products to the list of smokable tobacco products such as cigars that are subject to a wholesale tax, with that rate increasing from 15% to 25%. The legislation also doubles the per-unit tax on non-smokable and chewable tobacco products, but does not affect the tax rate on packs of cigarettes. (Courier-Journal)

Kentucky Senate passes bill to limit governor’s pardon power, in reaction to Bevin’s orders
The state Senate passed a bill to amend the Kentucky Constitution by limiting a governor’s pardon and commutation power at the end of their term, a reaction to former Gov. Matt Bevin’s controversial clemency orders in his final days in office last year. Senate Bill 58 passed by a 33-4 vote and now heads to the House. If passed by that chamber, voters could approve of the constitutional amendment in a statewide referendum this fall.

Under the bill, the Kentucky Constitution would state that governors may not issue a clemency order in the 30 days prior to a general election and the period between that election and the swearing in of a new governor. (Courier-Journal)

“Bloody Sunday” reenactment scheduled for Sunday in Frankfort
This Sunday, there will be a reenactment of the “Bloody Sunday” bridge crossing in Selma, Alabama – and a corresponding reenactment in Frankfort, Kentucky.

The Kentucky Selma Commemoration Coalition is sponsoring the reenactment in Frankfort to coincide with the event in Selma, memorializing the 55th anniversary of this critical moment in the civil rights movement, and to promote and expand voting throughout Kentucky. (Forward Kentucky)

A short story about a little deal: PubBlog is back
A short story about a little deal: the Publisher’s Blog is back. PS – The latest ones will be listed in the “Featured Content” yellow box at the bottom of the Forward Five. (Forward Kentucky)

KYGA20 Run-Down

Health department survival bill advances in Kentucky General Assembly – HB 129 frees health departments to return to their basic public health missions, backers say. (Courier-Journal)

A rundown of the 7 abortion-related bills pending in Kentucky legislature – Seven 2020 bills filed by Republican lawmakers would restrict or further regulate abortion in Kentucky. (Courier-Journal)

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)

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] KYBOE denies appeal from first-ever charter school applicant – The board rejected the application primarily because it relied on state funding, which has not been approved by the legislature. (via H-L) (read)

[new] Kentucky may vote again on Marsy’s Law. It puts crime victims’ rights in constitution. – For the second time in two years, Kentuckians may get to vote on a constitutional amendment that would create a bill of rights for crime victims. (via H-L) (read)

[new] Beshear says bill to undo his school board doesn’t help ‘change the tone in Frankfort – Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear does not like Republican Senate President Robert Stivers’ efforts to undo his remake of the KY Board of Education. (via H-L) (read)

[new] Broihier adds Universal Basic Income to campaign platform – In a letter, press release, and video, Senate candidate Mike Broihier announced he is adding Universal Basic Income as a platform plank for his campaign. (read)

🔥 [new] 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. (read)

[new] 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. (read)

🔥 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)

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] Medical marijuana is a no-brainer – If you’re looking for an unbiased discussion of the House’s decision to advance legislation to legalize medical marijuana, you’ve come to the wrong place. (read)

[new] Every child deserves a loving home – Every child deserves a loving home. Sadly, some agencies ban people from adoption based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. And to make matters worse, these people who want to discriminate cite their Christian faith as a reason to discriminate. It’s disheartening to see people distort the Gospel to hurt children. (read)

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)


🔥 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)


[new] A word about abbreviations – I recently had someone ask about certain words and abbreviations we use, so I thought I’d explain. (read)

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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