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— Publisher’s Note —
Good morning! Even though it looks like a lot of political theatre, keep your eyes on the news coming out of Washington regarding this next relief package.
The House passed their own relief package weeks ago, but McConnell has refused to take it up. Now he and the White House and other Senate Republicans are trying to come up with their own bill.
Except, they are running into three competing realities:
- The need for a massive bill to stave off economic disaster in the midst of a pandemic. The House bill was $3 trillion; McConnell is talking about $1 trillion, which is not nearly enough.
- The impact on their re-election chances if they don’t do enough (losing votes from those in need) OR if they do too much (from their base)
- Their members who are supposedly “deficit hawks” (which, of course, is a lie, since all those members voted for the huge tax cuts for the wealthy that gave us our current deficit).
And, looming on one side of them are Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, the Dem leaders in Congress, and looming on the other side is Trump, erratic and egotistic as ever.
It is going to be interesting to see how McConnell navigates this mess. And of course, if they don’t go big, we’re going to have economic disaster for many, many people. Let’s hope they realize that.
Hospitalizations and positive-test rates increase – 7/22 update
More Kentuckians are testing positive and more are being hospitalized, but state officials say the surge can be stopped if Kentuckians wear masks, keep six feet from each other, and practice good hygiene. (Forward Kentucky)
State ends budget year in black but outlook grim for next fiscal year, Gov. Beshear warns
Despite predictions of a multimillion-dollar shortfall, it appears Kentucky will have a balanced budget for the fiscal year that ended June 30, Gov. Andy Beshear announced Wednesday.
“This is preliminary, we don’t have all the numbers in, but when the books close once and for all next week, I actually believe I will end the first fiscal year I have been governor without a shortfall whatsoever,” Beshear said at his daily news conference.
Next year, though, looks grim without additional federal aid, Beshear said. Because of ongoing declines in revenue attributed to the pandemic, the state is looking at a shortfall of about $1.1 billion in the fiscal year that began July 1. Without additional federal aid to states, Kentucky would be forced to slash spending by as much as 30%, which would devastate basic services including health, education and public safety, Beshear said. “We will be looking at the largest budget cuts in our history,” he said. (Courier-Journal)
Kentucky voters reject every McConnell stance on COVID-19 relief
The voters of Kentucky roundly support the key provisions of the HEROES coronavirus relief bill from House Democrats, and roundly oppose Sen. Mitch McConnell’s push to reopen schools in the middle of the pandemic. That’s what Public Policy Polling (PPP) found in a poll conducted July 17-18 in Kentucky for Protect Our Care. (Forward Kentucky)
Beshear administration asks court to demand Bevin pardon records from solicitor general
Gov. Andy Beshear’s administration is asking a judge to compel state Solicitor General Chad Meredith to turn over records related to pardons and commutations from when he served as chief deputy general counsel under former Gov. Matt Bevin.
In a motion and supporting memorandum filed Wednesday in Fayette Circuit Court, Finance and Administration Cabinet Secretary Holly Johnson seeks for the court to order Meredith to turn over public records related to potential pardons, which he previously declined to provide in response to an open records request in May and a subpoena in June. (Courier-Journal)
Kentucky Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul at odds over new coronavirus relief package
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is working to win his Republican colleagues’ support for a new coronavirus relief package, but Kentucky’s other senator, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, is balking at the potential $1 trillion price tag.
“The majority of Republicans are now no different than socialist Democrats when it comes to debt,” Paul said Tuesday on Twitter. “They simply don’t care about debt and are preparing to add at least another trillion dollars in debt this month, combined with the trillions from earlier this summer.” (Courier-Journal)
Many young people, from high school to young adults, are increasingly active in both politics and protests. On this Friday’s The State of Kentucky, we talk with two citizen journalists who are doing live-streaming of protests and have gathered large followings. Then, we interview some high school students and their teacher about their involvement, including making a documentary about their activism. Join us!
Did you miss any of these?
Featured Content on Forward Kentucky
([new] indicates new since last Forward Five; 🔥 indicates lots of reads)
— News —
[new] AG Cameron intervenes in KRS lawsuit – In an unexpected move, Attorney General Daniel Cameron has filed a motion to be added as an “intervening plaintiff” in the lawsuit filed by persons with retirement funds held by the Kentucky Retirement Systems (KRS). (read)
[new] McGrath calls on McConnell to pass voting rights bill in honor of John Lewis – In a letter sent out by her campaign, Democratic senatorial candidate Amy McGrath called on Senator Mitch McConnell to honor John Lewis by calling up and passing the Voting Rights Advancement Act. (read)
Thursday – KFTC hosts virtual training on how to do voter registration – This Thursday evening, KFTC will host a virtual training session on how to do voter registration the right way. Details in the story. (read)
Second highest case number, most patients in intensive care in one day – 7/21 update – Also – Beshear defends statewide approach, rejects county-by-county; discusses travel advisory; Stack talks about medical impacts of the virus. (read)
🔥 ‘The total and absolute idea of unconditional love’ – Judy Tuggle put out her American flag Saturday in honor of Congressman John Lewis. “I feel the weight of great grief at the passing of a moral giant,” said Tuggle, a Mayfield resident who will be 77 this week. (read)
— Commentary —
🔥 West End ignorant – I’ve been Black since December 28, 1994. However, I didn’t learn what it was like to live in a Black community until I went to college in 2013. (read)
🔥 McConnell and Gilded Age 2.0 are “déjà vu all over again” – Mitch McConnell’s smirk, his self-proclaimed moniker “the Grim Reaper,” and his well-deserved “Moscow Mitch” nickname make him a perfect “Boss Tweed” of Tammany Hall fame for this second Gilded Age. (read)
Betsy DeVos isn’t serious about reopening schools; here’s how we know. And what we should do anyway. – DeVos has yet to suggest any measures to open schools. Why? Because every dollar spent on schooling children is a dollar less for her corporate allies. But we know what to do. Here’s the list. (read)
🔥 Cameron has begun chipping away at our open records laws – We no longer labor under the delusion that Kentucky’s open records laws are safe in the hands of Attorney General Daniel Cameron. The sound you hear is the chipping away of your rights by our Attorney General. (read)
— Policy —
[new] Georgia’s election disaster shows how bad voting in 2020 can be – Georgia’s presidential primary election on June 9 was a nightmare mix of inefficiency and discrimination. It has implications beyond Georgia, and carries warnings for problems with the presidential election and the legitimacy of the results. (read)
🔥 Research on voting by mail says it’s safe – from fraud and disease – Voting by mail is rarely subject to fraud, does not give an advantage to one political party over another, and can in fact inspire public confidence in the voting process, if done properly. (read)
— Media —
[photo gallery] Louisville Kids’ March – A Kids’ March was held on Friday, July 17, in Louisville as part of the ongoing racial justice and Breonna Taylor protests in that city. Del Ramey was there and captured these photos of the event. (view)
[show] TSOK – Reports from the Front Lines – In this week’s The State of Kentucky, a CEO gives us updates from nurses and doctors, hospital managers, and his own high-tech firm, as they all deal with COVID-19 and its effects. (watch or listen)
[podcast] Protests in Daniel Cameron’s yard, new education commissioner, and interview with Cherlynn Stevenson – On the show: The two major stories of the year: COVID-19 (which is getting worse) and the ongoing protest movement. Also, the new education commissioner. Then, Cherlynn Stevenson joins us for the interview. (listen)
🔥 [photo gallery] “Heads Up, Phones Out!” – a rally for citizen journalists – We stand with citizen journalists! Here is a photo gallery from a rally supporting the live streamers who have been covering the protests in Louisville. (view)
Posts with Most Social Media Shares in Past Fourteen Days
(🔥 indicates post with surge of recent shares)
- AG Cameron sues to negate all Beshear orders; Dem leaders call actions ‘immoral’ (972 shares)
- Republicans propose eliminating speed limits, seat belts (686 shares)
- What Donald Trump is doing in Portland is just as big a threat to America as COVID-19 (603 shares)
- Mitch McConnell is a failed leader (548 shares)
- Cameron has begun chipping away at our open records laws (539 shares)
- A tribute to Brandi Harless (507 shares)
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