The Forward Five – Wednesday, 9/16/20

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Five Things to Know Today

— Publisher’s Note —

Good morning! Let’s talk for a moment about what deficits, relief, and what Congress should be doing right now.

Some things to note: cThe Federal budget year ends on September 30. If Congress doesn’t pass a budget (not gonna happen) or at least pass a “continuing resolution” (keep spending at current levels), we get a government shutdown.Congress is scheduled to be on recess for the entire month of October, back home campaigning or whatever. They can’t pass legislation while they are on recess.The House passed a pandemic relief package months ago, but McConnell refuses to even give it a vote. So, no relief package has been passed.Without a robust relief package, many families will have to declare bankruptcy, homelessness will rise, health insurance will disappear for many during a pandemic, more businesses will close, and state and local government budgets will be shredded, leading to cuts in schools, colleges, law enforcement, health services, and much more.Congress has 14 days to deal with both the federal budget AND pass a relief package. If they don’t deal with the federal budget, we get a shutdown. And if they don’t pass a robust relief package, the soonest a relief package could come would most likely be January.What should the Senate do? Pass the House’s relief bill from earlier this year, which is robust and takes care of many of the issues noted above (and more). But, McConnell and others claim it is “too much money.” (Note they didn’t say that when they gave billions to corporations in tax cuts a few years ago.)

Here’s the point I want to make: While state and local governments are required by law to be balanced, the federal government has no such requirement. It can create the money it needs to do things, especially in a crisis. (Like it has done multiple times in the past.)

And if anyone starts comparing the federal budget to your checkbook, or your family budget, it simply shows they don’t understand it.

Congress can pass a continuing resolution, AND they can pass a relief package that actually provides relief, unlike McConnell’s starvation-skinny bill that failed recently. And they can do both before they leave.

If they don’t, it is because McConnell and the Republicans in the Senate refused to. And that lack of caring for their constituents should hound them from now on, including when they are at home.

Let’s hope they do the right thing.

Bruce Maples, publisher
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PS – For more on this, read Jason Bailey’s op-ed on our site: Congress can’t go home with passing a strong aid package.

Today’s Five Things to Know

9/15 update — Positivity rate under 4%; bars can stay open till midnight

Kentucky’s positive-test rate for the coronavirus dropped to the lowest level in two months Tuesday, but Gov. Beshear said wearing a mask continues to be crucial as more schools move to in-person instruction. (Forward Kentucky)

Louisville to pay millions to Breonna Taylor’s mom, reform police

Months after the police killing of Breonna Taylor thrust her name to the forefront of a national reckoning on race, the city of Louisville agreed to pay the Black woman’s family $12 million and reform police practices as part of a settlement announced Tuesday. But Taylor’s mother and others who have taken up her cause said much more must be done to right the wrongs of racial injustice in America.

Taylor’s death sparked months of protests in Louisville and calls nationwide for the officers to be criminally charged. The state’s attorney general, Daniel Cameron, is investigating police actions in the March 13 fatal shooting.

The settlement includes reforms on how warrants are handled by police, Mayor Fischer said. Other reforms seek to build stronger community connections by establishing a housing credit program to encourage officers to live in certain low-income areas in the city. Officers will also be encouraged to perform two paid hours of volunteer work every two weeks in the communities where they serve. The city will also track police use-of-force incidents and citizen complaints.

The city has already taken some other reform measures, including passing a law named for Taylor that bans the use of the no-knock warrants. Police typically use them in drug cases over concern that evidence could be destroyed if they announce their arrival. (Herald-Leader)Related: As you might imagine, the Courier-Journal has much more on this story, including response from protesters outside the news conference, and a story about next steps for AG Daniel Cameron. We encourage you to visit their site to read more – and if you aren’t a subscriber, to go ahead and subscribe. (Courier-Journal)

State Board of Elections votes to settle with top staffer who blew whistle on Grimes

The Kentucky State Board of Elections unanimously voted Tuesday to settle a wrongful termination lawsuit with a former top staffer who was fired after raising complaints about former Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.

“This is not an admission of guilt,” said Luke Morgan, outside counsel for the State Board of Elections. “Rather this is just for resolution of this. The state board has remained firm that it has no liability, it is not admitting that it has done anything improperly.”

Matt Selph, who was fired in 2017 and filed a lawsuit in civil court a month later, claimed he lost his job because he reported suspected mismanagement and violations of the law by Grimes. Selph claimed he was protected as a “whistleblower” because he had filed formal complaints with the Executive Branch Ethics Commission and four members of the State Board of Elections. (Herald-Leader)

ForwardKY contributor holds “book launch” event

Paul Wesslund, long-time ForwardKY contributor, has just finished a book about “The Cafe” restaurant and its owners, and is holding a virtual book launch on Sept. 15 on his FB page. (Forward Kentucky)

Gretchen Hunt chosen to lead Emerge Kentucky

Said board chair Susanna French, “The Emerge Kentucky Board of Directors could not be more excited to have Gretchen Hunt onboard to lead the premier training organization.” (Forward Kentucky)
NOTE: Hunt will be on The State of Kentucky this Friday – see below.

This Friday on “The State of Kentucky”

Gretchen Hunt has had a varied and distinguished career in public service. Now she takes the reins of the premier political training program for women. What are her goals? What does she see for 2020 and beyond? We’ll ask her about this, and much more, on The State of Kentucky on Friday, 9/18, at noon. Join us!
YouTube link   ●   Facebook link

Recent Content on Forward Kentucky
[new] indicates item not in a Forward Five before

[new] Congress can’t go home without passing a strong aid package – We’re at a fork in the road, but one direction is a dead end. There’s only one way forward, and that’s adequate federal aid. All we need is a willingness from our leaders to do what’s right. (Policy)

[new] Patagonia isn’t playing around with its clothing tags: ‘Vote the ***holes out’ – Patagonia has been openly in opposition to every terrible move made by the current Repub administration. On Tuesday, photos went viral across the internet, purporting to show a new label on a Patagonia item of clothing. (News)

[new] IBEW union members include McGrath staffers – Louisville International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 369 represents more than 2,600 workers. And now, that union includes the staff of Amy McGrath’s campaign for Senate. (News)

[new] Even before COVID-19, the rate of uninsured in Kentucky was rising – Even before the pandemic and the accompanying loss of jobs, the number of Kentuckians without health insurance was on the rise. What is being done about it? (Policy)

Mitch McConnell is defunding the police. – Mitch McConnell is clutching his pearls over the phrase “defund the police” – but he has eagerly pushed to defund the “police” charged with protecting us from the world’s most dangerous and powerful corporate criminals. (Commentary)

Employee with COVID shuts down Fayette election office – The Fayette County Clerk’s Elections Department had to temporarily shut down during a busy time due to an employee testing positive for COVID-19. (News)

Trump and McConnell hid the truth — FDR and Barkley told the truth – FDR told the truth to the American people, and rallied them victory. Trump lied about the virus, saying he didn’t want to “panic” us, and McConnell enabled him. How will we respond in November? (Commentary)

Apocalyptic Kentucky – Sometimes it’s hard to conceptualize the news we hear. So, I decided to make some maps to show what it would look like if these catastrophes had happened just in Kentucky. (News Analysis)

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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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