The Forward Five – Tuesday, 3/17/20

14 mins read

Five Things to Know Today

Good morning! As we all practice social distancing, and wash our hands more than we ever have, the news continues apace. The legislature is taking some heat for continuing to meet and work on non-budget bills, two of Mitch McConnell’s opponents have released new ads, and Governor Beshear announced more closures yesterday. In fact, in looking through the news, I couldn’t keep it to just five items today.

Take a moment to read the summary story on the site; it’s a good way to keep up. And, if you think we’re missing anything, feel free to tell me using the links below.

Thanks for being an email subscriber, and for reading.

Bruce Maples, publisher
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Last night’s Beshear update – summary and video
Rather than try to post each individual story, which would be overwhelming, here in one place is a summary of Governor Beshear’s afternoon update from Monday, provided in bullet form by Kentucky Health News. In this update, they have also included some news items from other sources. Also, we have included the entire Beshear press conference video for viewing. (Forward Kentucky)

Beshear calls on leges to choose 1 of 2 options; House Dems agree
In response to a question at his press conference, Governor Beshear said Republican leadership had two options: Pass a budget now and go home, or go home and later he would call a special session to deal only with the budget and coronavirus legislation.. House Dems released a statement echoing the governor’s remarks. (Forward Kentucky)

Gyms, theaters, concert venues and salons must close by 5 p.m. Wednesday, Beshear announces
Gyms, theaters, hair salons, nail salons, concert venues and other businesses where people congregate must close by 5 p.m. Wednesday, Gov. Andy Beshear announced at a press conference on Tuesday. His order applies primarily to entertainment and recreational facilities. It will not include grocery stores, pharmacies, retail businesses, auto repair shops, health care facilities, gas stations, vet clinics or pet stores, among other establishments. Malls, too, are permitted to stay open, but food courts must have tables removed, Beshear said at the news briefing.

Day cares, he added, will have to close by the end of the week. Asked about weddings and funerals, Beshear said gatherings need to be “just the closest of family.” (Courier-Journal)

Massie blasts coronavirus precautions; opponents blast Massie for comments
Cong. Thomas Massie compared various government actions to the Japanese internment. His opponents responded with critiques of Massie’s comments. (Forward Kentucky)

Broihier releases hard-hitting ad against #CoronaMitch
Mike Broihier has released a new ad attacking Senator Mitch McConnell for his support of Donald Trump and his inaction on the coronavirus pandemic. Watch it here. (Forward Kentucky)

Report: Congressional leadership blames Rand Paul over delayed coronavirus legislation
The Senate did not vote on a $100 billion coronavirus stimulus House bill Tuesday night, and leadership reportedly is placing the blame on Sen. Rand Paul. Senators were ready to vote for the legislation Tuesday but delayed the vote because of an amendment Paul proposed, according to NBC News, which cited two leadership sources.

Paul’s amendment would “require a Social Security number for purposes of the child tax credit, and to provide the president the authority to transfer funds as necessary, and to terminate United States military operations and reconstruction activities in Afghanistan,” the sources told NBC News, adding that the amendment will be taken up for a vote Wednesday. (Courier-Journal)

Congressman Barr secures supply of personal protective equipment for Kentucky
Congressman Andy Barr, R-Sixth District, has just informed the Kentucky Department for Public Health that two trucks carrying Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) are on in route to Kentucky. Last week, Kentucky epidemiologists contacted Rep. Barr with concerns that PPE stock in local hospitals would run low in the wake of increased health care needs due to the outbreak of COVID-19, a release from Barr’s office notes. PPE includes items such as masks, gloves, gowns and other critical supplies in high demand for healthcare workers. Rep. Barr contacted Dr. Robert Kadlec, the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), to relay these concerns last week and requested that Kentucky be given access to the Strategic National Stockpile, the nation’s largest supply of potentially life-saving pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, including masks and PPE, for use in a public health emergency. (Richmond Register)

KYGA20 Run-Down

ACLU calls out legislators for meeting behind closed doors – The ACLU of Kentucky called out the General Assembly for continuing to meet, even as the Capitol is closed to Kentucky’s citizens. (Forward Kentucky)

Senate President Robert Stivers back after brief self-quarantine, tests negative – Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers is back in the legislature after a brief self-quarantine amid coronavirus concerns. “Yesterday, I had a low-grade fever,” Stivers said on the Senate floor, so he removed himself from the facility. “I was tested yesterday,” Stivers said of the coronavirus. “The test came back. It’s negative.” (Courier-Journal)

Top lawmaker talks of ending Kentucky session next week – Setting out a potential legislative timetable amid the coronavirus outbreak, Senate President Stivers outlined a plan to pass priority bills with a goal of ending this year’s session next week. (WUKY)

State House passes bill to improve financial aid access – A bill that would require high school students to complete Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) documents before graduation passed on the House floor Tuesday. House Bill 87, legislation aiming to improve access to higher education, would provide awareness of costs and opportunities for aid when students consider continuing their education after high school. (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] 🔥 Rep. Attica Scott: WHY are we reconvening when we don’t have to? – As our elected representatives were thinking about going back to Frankfort to meet in session, even though doing so could present health risks to many, Rep. Attica Scott took to Twitter to point out what logic and the state Constitution had to say about it. (read)

[new] McGrath releases new ad, places more ad buys; McConnell campaign calls her out – Amy McGrath’s campaign has made new ad buys and has a new ad out. The McConnell campaign is calling her out for running ads during the coronavirus outbreak. (read)

[new] Repub leadership announces KYGA plan; Dems release statement – In a statement released this afternoon, the Republican leadership of the two chambers of the legislature announced their plans for the General Assembly going forward. Two hours later, the Democratic leadership in the House released their own statement regarding the plan. (read)

Coronavirus could get U.S. to vote by mail – As we deal with a pandemic as well as an important election, states and Congress are looking at an option already practiced in some places: vote by mail. (read)

🔥 KYforKY unveils new state seal – A moment to lighten your day – The web site Kentucky for Kentucky has unveiled a new state seal appropriate for our current coronavirus reality. (read)


[new] 🔥 What’s more important than a budget or even people’s health? The SANCTUARY bill! – Coronavirus, budget, people’s health – none are as important as addressing a non-existent problem. Those Republicans surely have their priorities straight. (read)

[new] Sunshine Week: Fighting a virus with truth and transparency – Governments, business, organizations – all are using a common weapon in dealing with the coronavirus: the disinfectant of the truth. (read)

Beshear, coronavirus, and the Y2K Paradox – As Governor Beshear and his administration take on the coronavirus pandemic in Kentucky, they (and all of us) need to remember the Y2K paradox. (read)


🔥 New video show “The State of Kentucky” begins – We’ve added a new content channel to the Forward Kentucky family: a live video show called “The State of Kentucky.” Here’s our first episode, with guest Anna Whites! (view)

[podcast] House GOP passes budget, HB 475 failure fallout, and COVID-19 response – This week, E.A. Duncan joins Robert to talk through some major issues in a huge week for news: the budget, the LOST bill, and Beshear’s response to COVID-19. (listen)


[new] 🔥 The urgent items that brought everyone back to Frankfort – Since leadership insisted on bringing everyone back to Frankfort, I thought I’d see what urgent items were on the agenda for today. Here’s what I found. (read)

Good decisions vs right decisions – an important distinction – Years ago I read a book about military decision-making, and the author made a point I have never forgotten: the difference between “good decisions” and “right decisions.” As we work through the coronavirus pandemic, that distinction seems especially important. (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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