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— Publisher’s Note —
Good morning! For some time, I have thought about making this newsletter (the Forward Five) no longer free, but instead making it a perk for paying members. This newsletter alone takes around 400 hours a year to produce, and giving it away for free seems counter-intuitive.
I’ve decided, though, to keep offering it for free, and to instead look for sponsors for it. This is what The Skimm does with their Daily Skimm (which is where I got the idea for this, by the way).
Our sponsorship plans are pretty simple, and definitely inexpensive. The cost is based on how many opens an issue gets, and is 10 cents an open. So, if 200 people open the Forward Five, the cost for the sponsorship message is $20. (If we get enough uptake, or someone purchases multiple sponsorships, I may lower the cost per open.)
So, if you know of an organization or business that might want to sponsor the Forward Five, point them to https://forwardky.com/sponsor. It’s all explained there.
Oh, and by the way – individuals can purchase sponsorships as well, including their own message. So if you want to, say, tell people about some event or celebrate some occasion, this might be a way to do it.
I’m interested to see what happens with this. It will be another way to bolster the financial future of Forward Kentucky, as well as helping organizations get the word out about what they are doing.
Today’s Five Things to Know
12/3 update — COVID hospitalizations in Ky. and U.S. at new highs; positive-test rate passes 10%
As the pandemic set more records in Kentucky and the nation, Gov. Andy Beshear announced allocations of the first doses of the first coronavirus vaccine expected to be approved.
“Today we’ve passed some tough milestones both in the country and here in Kentucky,” Beshear said. “Today is the toughest day this country has ever seen in COVID-19,” from deaths and hospitalizations. “It ought to show us and tell us that it is more important right now now than ever that we do the right things to protect ourselves and those around us.”
The good news, Beshear said, is “We believe that we could be vaccinating people here in Kentucky as early as December 15,” starting with 38,000 doses for frontline health-care workers and residents of nursing homes. The vaccine will come from Pfizer Inc., which could get federal approval Dec 10. (Forward Kentucky)
Repubs called out for not wearing masks at the Capitol
Today was orientation for all the newly-elected members of the General Assembly. The orientation was done in-person, with not enough room for good social distancing. So, you would expect everyone to wear masks, right?
Apparently, though, if you are a Republican, wearing a mask is optional, because this whole COVID thing is a hoax. Even after being asked to put one on, most on that side of the aisle would not.
The Democrats present have called them out for it. (Forward Kentucky)
Restaurants vs Beshear
KY restaurants’ petition defies governor
Some restaurant owners in Kentucky are circulating an online petition that says they plan to reopen on December 14 even if Governor Andy Beshear does not rescind his restaurant closure order. Restaurant owners have formed a group called the Kentucky Restaurant Rescue Coalition. Their petition states, If Governor Beshear does not rescind restaurant closures, restaurants will reopen on December 14 at 50 percent capacity. On their website, group members said there was concern the current restriction including a ban on indoor dining may extend beyond the December 14 reopen date. (West Kentucky Star)
County attorney investigates Beans Cafe
The Grant County Attorney’s Office is investigating after Beans Café and Bakery in Dry Ridge violated Gov. Andy Beshear’s executive order to cease indoor dining until Dec. 13. According to County attorney Stephen Bates II, there is no court hearing scheduled and nothing has been filed, but Bates is currently reviewing documents submitted from the Northern Kentucky Health Department regarding the issue and is planning to make a decision within the next several days. (Grant County News)
Shift money from contact tracing to relief for Kentucky businesses? This top Republican says yes
Despite a growing contact tracing staff of over 1,600 that has reached out to more than 47,000 people about potential COVID-19 exposure, health officials acknowledge Kentucky’s contact tracers’ mission has changed from one of containment to mitigation.
“[The virus] hasn’t been contained, but we can limit it and we can do an effective job of doing that over the coming weeks and months until we get a vaccine deployed,” Mark Carter with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services reported this week.
But GOP Senate President Robert Stivers is advocating that the state reallocate the money it’s spending on contact tracing to struggling businesses, which have dealt with capacity reductions, closures, and quarantined staff. (WUKY)
What to watch for in a federal relief billAfter months of inaction, it appears that the U.S. Senate is finally inching toward some sort of COVID relief package before the end of the year. While a headline like “Relief package approved” might seem like good news, the real question is going to be “relief for whom?”
The House passed a $3 trillion package months ago, but McConnell has ignored it. He then proposed his own “skinny” relief package that contained liability protection for businesses and some other perks for donors, but did nothing for most of the country. It was rejected out of hand by Democrats. (Most people felt it was only an election ploy to say that Repubs had tried to do relief.)
After the election, talks have haltingly resumed, with House Dems coming down to $2.1 trillion, then down to $1.5 trillion. Neither of those proposals were taken up by the Senate.
Now both Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have agreed that a $908 billion package is a “starting point” for negotiations, and it appears there is movement toward getting something done before the end of the year.
Here, then, is what to watch for in the relief package:
- Direct stimulus payments to all citizens
- Increase in unemployment benefits until the pandemic is under control
- Significant aid to state and local governments, whose budgets have been decimated by the pandemic
- Eviction moratorium for some months
- Aid to small businesses (which needs to truly be for small businesses)
Note that Republicans are insisting on a liability shield to protect businesses from lawsuits by their employees over COVID protections (or lack thereof). Democrats have absolutely rejected that in the past, but some form of it (perhaps limited in some way) is almost certain to be in the bill.
And don’t forget – Congress still has to pass either a budget (fat chance) or a continuing resolution to fund the government past December 11.
Recent Content on Forward Kentucky
[new] indicates item not in a Forward Five before
*indicates high # of reads, social media shares, or both
[new] MOKP — COVID-19 court cases and other updates – This week, Jazmin runs down Daniel Cameron’s lawsuit against Andy Beshear’s COVID-19 restrictions and the religious arguments he has been making. Plus, criminal justice quick hits, and talk about some pieces of journalism they’ve been reading lately. (Podcast)
[new] Beshear’s education group aims to help students ‘from cradle to career’ – Gov. Andy Beshear announced Thursday the formation of a multi-agency group to assist students as they transition through the state’s public education system. (News)
[new] *Rep. John Yarmuth reelected chairman of House Budget Committee – Today, Representative John Yarmuth (KY-03) was reelected Chairman of the House Budget Committee by the Democratic Caucus. This will be Chairman Yarmuth’s second term serving as leader of the Committee. (News)
*The tsunami is coming – Like any tsunami, the wave started innocuously enough. Even disconcertingly calmly. Elective surgeries weren’t scheduled over the Thanksgiving holiday anyway, which meant the emergency department, for once, had a manageable caseload. (Feature)
Abortion and Kentucky politicians – “We’ve been told repeatedly that Democrats can’t win because of ‘God, guns and abortion,’” said Nicole Erwin, communications manager for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Indiana and Kentucky. “We’ve got to change the narrative.” (Commentary)
Danville Christian, AG Cameron asks SCOTUS to intervene in dispute over in-person classes at religious schools (updated) – Less than a week after the Supreme Court lifted New York’s COVID-related limits on attendance at worship services, Danville Christian school and AG Cameron asked the Supreme Court to allow in-person classes at faith-based schools. (News)
*Right-wing org sending thousands of emails to legislators, urging them to impeach Beshear – The American Family Association of Kentucky, a right-wing political organization, is using a web form to send thousands of emails to members of the Kentucky legislature, urging them to impeach Governor Andy Beshear when they convene in January. (News)
*COVID in Appalachia: Misinformation is killing people – An NBC reporter interviewed frontline workers in hospitals in Appalachia about treating COVID patients in their area. Bottom line: Misinformation is resulting in unnecessary illness and death. (News)
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