The Forward Five – Friday, 3/20/20

12 mins read

Five Things to Know Today

Good morning! Welcome to the end of the week. It lasted about 20 days, right? (Certainly feels like it. 😉)

The General Assembly has finally decided to adjourn, albeit temporarily. Later today or tomorrow, we will do a summary of where the major bills stand, so watch for that.

Today at noon is our live video stream called “The State of Kentucky.” We’ve got Senate candidate Mike Broihier and economic analyst Dustin Pugel. Watch it live on Facebook or YouTube, or watch it later on our site.

Finally, we sent out our general newsletter last night. If you haven’t read it, please do so; it’s got other updates in it.

Take care of yourselves,

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 Thursday, provided in bullet form by Kentucky Health News. They also include some news items from other sources. Also, we have included the entire Beshear press conference video for viewing. (Forward Kentucky)

Bill would allow KYGA to call itself into special session, bypassing governor
A bill has been filed to amend the state constitution to allow the General Assembly to call itself into special session, bypassing the need for the governor to issue the call. (Forward Kentucky)

Kentucky lawmakers adjust schedule amid coronavirus outbreak
Kentucky’s legislature will take a weeklong break because of the coronavirus outbreak, top Republican lawmakers said Thursday. Here’s the schedule they announced:

  • 3/19 (yesterday) – Adjourned
  • 3/26 – Reconvene for one day
  • 4/1 – Reconvene for one day to (hopefully) pass the budget
  • Later – Reconvene to deal with any gubernatorial vetoes

A conference committee will continue meeting between those sessions to work out the budget. (Herald-Leader)

Beshear rips into Senate budget proposal as Kentucky lawmakers hit pause on session
Moments after the Kentucky General Assembly announced it would hit pause on its 2020 session, Gov. Andy Beshear on Thursday ripped into the state Senate for proposing a budget he said cuts health care “in the middle of a national and international pandemic.”

“People’s health is on the line,” said Beshear, railing against a Senate budget bill that scrapped Beshear’s proposal to appropriate $2 million of funding over the next two years to sign up more poor children for Medicaid. (Courier-Journal)

Secretary of State says counties using electronic ballot machines should move to paper ballots
Secretary of State Michael Adams told a House committee that counties using electronic ballot machines should move to using only paper ballots as soon as fiscally possible. Adams spoke in favor in House Bill 638, sponsored by Rep. Nancy Tate of Meade County. The measure would require all Kentucky counties to select paper-balloting machines when they next replace their existing voting machines. (KY Forward)

KYGA20 Run-Down

Voter photo ID bill passes Kentucky legislature, heads to Gov. Beshear’s desk – The bill requiring voters to present photo identification in order to vote now heads to Gov. Beshear’s desk for his signature or veto. (Courier-Journal)

Stressing medical care needs in pandemic, lawmakers OK $35M U of L Jewish Hospital loan – The legislature passed a bill this week that authorizes a $35 million state loan the University of Louisville requested to support its recent acquisition of Jewish Hospital and other Louisville-based health care facilities. (Courier-Journal)

Kentucky lawmakers pass bill to ease burden on schools amid coronavirus closures – Kentucky school districts may be able to stay closed as long as they need to curb the spread of the coronavirus, following legislation passed Thursday evening. To expedite the legislative process, lawmakers gutted Senate Bill 177 — a beauty services bill that already cleared that chamber — and replaced it with language from House Bill 461.

HB 461, and now SB 177, lets districts use as many nontraditional instruction days during closures sparked by the coronavirus as they deem necessary. Typically, schools get 10 NTI days each year — a limit districts are likely to hit. Kentucky’s education commissioner would also be able to waive days taken off if needed. (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] 🔥 Here’s what made the Trump admin take the coronavirus seriously – After reading a report from the Imperial College of Medicine, the Trump administration got much more serious about COVID-19. What is in that report? (read)

[new] Amid COVID-19 school shutdown, KY will ask to cancel spring K-12 statewide tests – Kentucky will submit a waiver to the federal government to avoid K-12 testing this spring since all public schools are in a coronavirus shut down. (read)

McGrath announces online health website matching volunteers with needs – Senate candidate Amy McGrath has launched a statewide initiative to match healthy Kentuckians with those needing help during the current coronavirus crisis. (read)

ACLU calls out legislature 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. (read)

🔥 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. (read)


[new] ‘It all comes down to electability.’ – So while we “Feel the Bern” in our hearts, we’ve got “Joementum” in our noggins. “It all comes down to electability,” said another Kentuckian who likes what Sanders says but is backing Biden. “Bernie can’t get elected. Biden can, though Trump will be tough.” (read)

🔥 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] Trump’s right: Congress should give Americans $1,000 right now to fight the coronavirus recession – Direct payments are just what low-wage Americans suddenly without a paycheck need to endure the crisis, which could last many months. (read)


[new podcast] Coronavirus and Kentucky – Jazmin and Robert practice social distancing by recording from their individual homes while discussing Kentucky’s response to coronavirus and its impact on elections and the legislature. (listen)

 🔥 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. (view)


[new] Don’t means-test up front; instead, tax the wealthy later – Do the stimulus now, and take care of the means-testing by taxing the wealthy on the back-end. It’s faster, it’s easier, and it makes sense. (read)

🔥 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)

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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