The Forward Five – Wednesday, 3/11/20

14 mins read

Five Things to Know Today

Beshear calls on Kentucky nursing homes to restrict visitors
Kentucky’s nursing homes should severely restrict visitors to combat the new coronavirus from spreading to a vulnerable population, Gov. Andy Beshear said Tuesday. Those restrictions will take effect at state nursing and long-term care facilities, Beshear said. For other facilities, the state issued “very strong guidance” for operators to follow, he said.

“It is critically important that it is followed,” the governor said. “When we look around the country, and the fatalities that we are seeing are in large measure those that are vulnerable.” (Herald-Leader)

Lawmakers discuss how to proceed with session amid concerns over coronavirus
Lawmakers met Monday to discuss how to proceed with the legislative session amid concerns over coronavirus, which has already infected four Kentuckians and health experts say will continue to spread.
“The legislature has unique challenges in that we bring people from every corner of Kentucky and people from every age group, from senior citizens to elementary school students, into the same building,” said Senate Minority Floor Leader Morgan McGarvey (D-Louisville).

Lawmakers typically don’t come to Frankfort until the afternoon on Mondays, as they travel to the Capitol from their respective districts. But in several meetings throughout the day, they discussed how to keep the session going in a safe and responsible way. (Herald-Leader)

Two days after state’s first covid-19 case is confirmed there, weekly paper sends a special edition to everyone in its county

A weekly newspaper in Kentucky is setting a great example for the rest of the nation of how to deliver reliable information about the new coronavirus. After working through the weekend, The Cynthiana Democrat sent a special edition to every postal patron in Harrison County, where the first case of covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, was confirmed Saturday. Another was announced Sunday.

The idea arose as Editor Becky Barnes traveled with Cynthiana Mayor James Smith and County Judge-Executive Alex Barnett on Saturday from a state Capitol press conference that Gov. Andy Beshear held to announce the first case.

“I said, there’s just so much information that needs to get out there,” Barnes recalled, “because there’s so much misinformation.”

Barnett said he told Barnes and Smith, “Let’s get it in every mailbox in the county and we’ll come up with a way to pay for it.” Smith said, “We talked about what should be in there, and decided how it should go to every household in the county,” which has 18,000 people and “probably 6,000 households.”

Smith said he thought it was a good idea because “Not everyone, especially in a rural county like Harrison County, has internet connection; not everybody is on Facebook; not everybody listens to the local radio,” and some watch TV stations based in Cincinnati, not Lexington. “Some people in the county didn’t even know we had a case in the county.” (KY Health News)

Kentucky House passes bill specifying women have no constitutional right to abortion
The Kentucky House passed a bill Tuesday seeking to amend the state constitution to specifically state that women do not have a legal right to an abortion.

House Bill 67 passed by a 71-21 vote and now heads to the Senate. If approved by three-fifths of that chamber, the proposed constitutional amendment would be approved or rejected by voters in a state referendum this fall.

The chamber also passed House Bill 451 by a 70-23 vote on Tuesday, which would expand the power of Kentucky’s attorney general to regulate abortion facilities, including bringing civil or criminal penalties for violations. (Courier-Journal)

War on Louisville returns with a vengeance
As if the leges in Frankfort don’t already have enough to do, they’ve decided to re-open the War on Louisville. A bill moving through the legislature would dramatically change how Louisville elects its leaders. And all of this is being done in Frankfort, without any input or vote by the citizens of Louisville. (Forward Kentucky)

KYGA20 Run-Down

House passes bill to change pension structures – The House overwhelmingly passed House Bill 484 Tuesday afternoon, sending the measure that creates a separate Board of Trustees for the County Employees Retirement System (CERS) to the Senate for consideration. The legislation maintains one administrative structure, the Kentucky Public Pensions Authority (KPPA), and establishes two separate boards of trustees with decision-making authority. The Kentucky Retirement Systems (KRS) Board of Trustees would manage the Kentucky Employees Retirement System (KERS) and the State Police Retirement System (SPRS) while the CERS Board of Trustees would manage the CERS trust. (KLC City Limit)

‘Now Is the time’: Gas tax hike advocates urge action as prices slide – Kentucky lawmakers are once again pushing to boost the gas tax to help shore up the state’s struggling road fund. Monday’s sharp drop in oil prices could convince holdouts to move forward with the long sought-after tax hike.

House Bill 580 would tack an extra 9 cents in taxes on every gallon of gas for the average driver, increase registration fees, and alter the formula used to allocate state infrastructure dollars to local communities. Supporters argue it’s crucial to get road maintenance and construction projects back on track. (WUKY)

House budget cuts state aid to Kentucky libraries. Some might have to close. – House Republicans cut $2.5 million in direct aid for local libraries from their version of the state budget, unveiled last Thursday, potentially closing small libraries that depend on it in some of Kentucky’s poorest rural communities. (Forward Kentucky)

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)


How much do KY college students pay to support their sports teams? – How much of your tuition is going to support your school’s athletic dept? And, how dependent is the athletic dept on that money? We’ve got the numbers. (read)

🔥 Three anti-abortion bills advance out of legislative committees – Three abortion bills advanced in the legislature last week, one to give the state’s attorney general more power to enforce abortion laws, one to require fetal remains to be buried or cremated after the procedure, and one to give the state auditor power to audit reports about abortions. (read)

States have ‘immense’ powers to fight coronavirus – Local and state public health officials wield extraordinary powers in emergency situations such as the current coronavirus outbreak: close schools and private businesses, shut down mass transit, cancel concerts and sports events, call up the National Guard, and forcibly quarantine individuals or groups. “The authority is immense, and it is extensive.” (read)

🔥 “We do count” – Dems blow up vote on const amendment on taxes – The Democratic minority in the Kentucky House made a point on Friday, and the Republicans didn’t like it. (read)


[new] Lawmaker Rudy deals blow to government transparency – Hidden in the budget bill is a law to allow local governments to bury public notices in the bowels of their web sites, instead of publishing them where all can see them. It’s one more blow to government transparency. (read)

[new] THIS is why you want a functional, competent government. – It’s easy sometimes to make fun of the government, and to claim that “good government” is an oxymoron. Guess what? This is not one of those times. (read)


[new video] Mitch McConnell and the Do-Nothing Republicans – Want to know just how bad Mitch McConnell has been for our country and our democracy? Want to know just how much he has blocked, and how little he and the Republican majority have actually done? Then watch this video from Robert Reich, as he outlines the low-lights of the McConnell reign over the Do-Nothing Republicans. (watch)

 🔥 Watch, then SHARE this new Bloomberg ad – Mike Bloomberg may be out of the race, but his communications team is still putting out solid stuff – except now it’s aimed squarely at taking out Trump. Watch the latest below, then either use our sharing buttons or YouTube’s to get it out there. (view)

[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)


Should we be taking bigger coronavirus actions? – I have a simple question: Should we be taking bigger actions in regard to the coronavirus? For many, it seems the answer is still “No.” (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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