The Forward Five – Friday, 3/6/20

13 mins read

Five Things to Know Today

House releases budget plan
It makes changes from governor’s budget (employee raises, social workers, Rainy Day Fund) and contains no new revenue.

The House budget plan includes many of the same priorities that the governor proposed, but contains a different emphasis in how much money should go to a variety of areas.

Compared to the governor’s budget, the House budget proposes

  • a smaller raise for teachers
  • a 1% raise for other school district employees not included in the governor’s plan
  • fewer new social workers but higher social worker salaries
  • more money for the rainy day fund

Unlike the governor’s proposal, the House budget includes no new revenue.

Both proposals stop the trend of budget cuts, but in many areas funding will continue to erode due to inflation, which is projected at approximately 2.5% a year according to the Congressional Budget Office. (KY Center for Economic Policy)

In first debate, KY Democratic candidates set their real target: Mitch McConnell.
On Thursday night in Newport, four of the 10 candidates in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate took part in Indivisible Kentucky’s Democratic U.S. Senate Candidate Forum. The candidates fielded questions ranging from healthcare, to foreign policy, to money in politics and how they would attempt to reconnect with rural Democrats. Most of their answers boiled down to one thing: their desire to get rid of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Republican incumbent.

Participants included Amy McGrath, Mike Broihier, Charles Booker, and Jimmy Ausbrooks. (Herald-Leader)

Beshear seeks to reassure Kentuckians on coronavirus, chides Rand Paul for vote
As neighboring Tennessee announced its first coronavirus case, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and agencies across the state sought to reassure residents on Thursday that they are prepared for whenever the state gets its first case.

At the press conference, and earlier in the afternoon at the House Committee on Health and Family Services, Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack touted the state laboratory’s new ability to test for coronavirus, which began Monday.

Beshear spoke about an hour after the U.S. Senate gave final approval to an $8.3 billion emergency response package to deal with the virus. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul cast the lone vote against the measure, saying that the country should not borrow the money and should instead reduce foreign aid.

When asked about Paul’s vote, Beshear chided the senator. “We need every U.S. senator and Congressman and woman to vote for this funding,” he said. “This is a time to put aside partisanship.” (Courier-Journal)

Adams, Nemes introduce bill to expand voting, lower election costs
Rep. Jason Nemes, with the support of Secretary of State Michael Adams, has introduced a bill to expand voting access while at the same time lowering election costs for counties. The bill moves poll closing time from 6 PM to 7 PM, makes it easier to get an absentee ballot, and allows counties to consolidate some polling locations. (Forward Kentucky)

Kentuckians who served felony sentences can now check online about voting rights
Gov. Beshear announced a new website where those who have completed their sentences for non-violent felonies can see if they can now register to vote. (via H-L) (Forward Kentucky)

KYGA20 Run-Down

Bill to allow state audits of abortion reports advances after heated debate – The state auditor would get expanded powers to audit reports about abortions under a bill passed Thursday by the House Health and Family Services Committee. But it prompted a heated debate, largely along party lines, about its true purpose.

House Bill 391, sponsored by Rep. Stan Lee, R-Lexington, would authorize the state auditor to perform an audit of whether facilities such as hospitals or abortion clinics are following state requirements to report all abortions to the state Office of Vital Statistics.

Rep. Tom Burch (D-Louisville) questioned whether the measure is a Republican “method of harassing providers” by the party of Ronald Reagan, the president who argued for small government. (Courier-Journal)

Senate Republican leaders go after Andy Beshear’s power with three new bills. – Republican leaders used their last day to file bills to take aim at Gov. Beshear, a Democrat, by filing bills limiting the powers of the governor. (Forward Kentucky)

Bill banning paddling in Kentucky schools idle but not dead yet, education chairman says – A bill banning paddling in Kentucky schools is still in play, according to the senator in charge of its immediate future. (Forward Kentucky)

Broadband deployment bill passes Ky. House – A bill that would create a framework for future funding of broadband deployment grants in the commonwealth has advanced to the Senate. The bill allows government agencies or private entities to apply for state grants for broadband infrastructure projects in defined unserved and underserved areas of the state. (Lane Report)

Bill to rein in surprise medical billing advances – Legislation to offer patients some protection from surprise medical bills passed the state Senate Wednesday. The measure, Senate Bill 150, seeks to stop the practice by requiring insurers to cover surprise billing, sometimes called balanced billing. It happens when a patient receives medical care – often unwittingly – outside of their insurer’s network. Subsequently, the doctor or hospital bills the patient for the amount insurance didn’t cover. (Lane Report)

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] Could a restaurant tax help Kentucky cities fix budget woes? Why some are opposed – A bill backed by the mayors of Kentucky’s two largest cities would give more cities and counties the option of imposing a local restaurant tax. (read)

🔥 Superintendents alarmed by law accelerating expansion of officers in schools – School district leaders are raising concerns after Gov. Andy Beshear recently signed into law a bill that requires at least one armed police officer to be assigned to each school campus in a district – all with no specific state funding set aside to make that feasible. (read)

🔥 Over 300 faith leaders condemn anti-immigrant bills in letter to KYGA – Faith leaders from across the state have signed a letter calling on the legislature to stop progress on two bills seen as attacks against immigrants. (read)

🔥 Wheeler condemns drag queens; KDP condemns Wheeler – State Senator Phillip Wheeler called out Gov. Beshear for posing with drag queens at the Capitol. Now the KDP is calling for Wheeler to resign, and Republicans to condemn his remarks. (read)


[new] Beshear takes moral high road after senator’s ‘homophobic’ comments – “It’s time to move beyond the hatred and the division and treat everyone the way that they’re supposed to be treated.” We couldn’t have said it better. (read)

🔥 Biden, Bernie, and Liz – some thoughts – When I analyze a candidate, I look at three things: their policies, their effectiveness as a candidate, and their effectiveness in the office if elected. So, with only hours until Super Tuesday, here are my thoughts on the three leading candidates. (read)


[new podcast] School choice movement, local sales taxes, Democratic presidential primary, and Lamar Allen interview – This week’s show includes discussion of bills the Trump admin thinks KY should pass about school choice, local taxes, the Dem presidential primary, and an interview with Lamar Allen, a Dem candidate in the 56th District. (listen)


What’s with the “via” add-on? – Here’s why you might see “via some-outlet-or-another” at the end of our posts on social media. (read)

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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