The Forward Five – Monday, 12/21/20

Five Things to Know Today

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12 mins read
Copyright: ©2020 Steve Greenberg

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— Publisher’s Note —


Good morning! An old saying posits that “time is money.” Never has this been more true than the time it took Mitch McConnell to finally agree to a relief bill, and what that delay meant to thousands of Kentuckians and people across the nation.

There is little doubt in my mind that McConnell planned to block any relief bill forever, in order to further knee-cap the Biden administration from the beginning. Wrecking everything, then handing the wreckage to Biden, has been Mitch’s obvious plan ever since the election.

However, his hand was forced by the run-off elections in Georgia, and the fact that leaving without doing something about COVID relief could hurt the chances of the two Repubs running there. So, we have a relief bill, at the absolute minimum that Dems would agree to.

It’s months and months too late to help the many who have fallen into poverty since March, but Mitch never cared about them anyway. As always, the only thing he cared about was his own power.

Nevertheless, a bill is going to be passed. It is not enough, but it’s much better than the zero help situation we were in a few days ago.

If the Dems can win both races in Georgia on January 5th and give control of the Senate to the Democrats, we should see another relief bill next year. Let’s hope that happens, both for the difference it would make in people’s lives, and for the good news of Mitch McConnell no longer being in control of everything in DC.

Bruce Maples, publisher
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Today’s Five Things to Know


Congress reaches deal on COVID relief, finally

Congressional negotiators from both sides of the aisle reached agreement Sunday on a COVID relief package, after months of non-action and delay by Republicans, particularly Mitch McConnell. The package is not nearly as much as the bill passed by the House months ago, but it does contain help for many. Our story has the basics of the bill, including what was left out. (Forward Kentucky)


Weekend COVID updates

12/19 update — Beshear cites second straight week with fewer cases as proof his restrictions worked

As Kentucky ended a second week with fewer cases of the virus, Gov. Beshear took credit. But, his daily report also showed that the immediate legacy of the surge he was trying to stem was the largest number of deaths in one week. (Forward Kentucky)


12/20 update — Moderna vaccine arrives in KY; 26 deaths push 7- and 14-day means to new highs

As the second coronavirus vaccine arrived in Kentucky, new cases and hospitalizations for COVID-19 kept falling, but 26 more deaths continued a surge. (Forward Kentucky)

Beshear tells lawmakers to be ‘bold’ and pass betting bills, medical marijuana

Gov. Andy Beshear called on state legislators to approve sports betting and historical horse racing in their upcoming session to generate revenue for more investment in education, infrastructure and other needs.

He also urged lawmakers in the 2021 General Assembly that begins Jan. 5 to approve medical marijuana, expand access to broadband and telehealth, protect the Affordable Care Act, support efforts to grow the agritech industry in the state, provide relief to businesses hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic, and replace an antiquated unemployment insurance system that has caused backlogs in the pandemic.

Saying the opportunities are incredible for a post-COVID-19 economy, the Democratic governor said lawmakers need to be “bold” in the 2021 session. (Herald-Leader)


What Biden’s plan for “Building Back Better” could mean for the Ohio Valley

President-Elect Joe Biden’s sweeping $2 trillion infrastructure plan could have a profound impact in the Ohio Valley region. The plan would invest in rural broadband, clean energy industries, and struggling water systems. (Forward Kentucky)

Any action on proliferating slot machines must raise artificially low tax rate

A recent state Supreme Court ruling has threatened the operation of thousands of slot machines across Kentucky because they do not meet the definition of “pari-mutuel wagering” associated with the lawful conduct of horse racing in Kentucky. The General Assembly may attempt action to keep these machines in business in the upcoming legislative session.

If so, the legislature should ensure these slots are appropriately taxed, like in other states, instead of maintaining the deeply inadequate tax levels Kentucky now allows. Doing so could raise at least $60 million annually in additional state revenues for investments in schools, health and other vital services. (KY Policy)

Any action on proliferating slot machines must raise artificially low tax rateA recent state Supreme Court ruling has threatened the operation of thousands of slot machines across Kentucky because they do not meet the definition of “pari-mutuel wagering” associated with the lawful conduct of horse racing in Kentucky. The General Assembly may attempt action to keep these machines in business in the upcoming legislative session.

If so, the legislature should ensure these slots are appropriately taxed, like in other states, instead of maintaining the deeply inadequate tax levels Kentucky now allows. Doing so could raise at least $60 million annually in additional state revenues for investments in schools, health and other vital services. (KY Policy)


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Recent Content on Forward Kentucky

[new] indicates item not in a Forward Five before
🔥  indicates high # of reads, social media shares, or both

[new] The Peach and the Pit – If Georgia voters elect the two Dems in January, Biden will be able to get his agenda through Congress. If not, McConnell will obstruct progress for years. Steve Greenberg explains the situation in simple, Georgia-specific, terms. (Cartoon)

[new] Happy COVID Christmas – Our first year in Coronaville is coming to an end. The virus has affected all major holidays since March, so why should Christmas be any different? But perhaps, we can all learn something from this year. (Commentary)

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[new] Can Trump still steal the election? And why are Repubs still supporting him? – The Electoral College has voted, and it’s over, right? Then what’s up with Congress counting votes on January 6? Could Trump still steal it then? Join us as we talk with lawyer and analyst Teri Kanefield about that date, as well as why Republicans are still supporting Trump. (Video and podcast)

[new] Good riddance to the grifter-in-chief – Trump’s populism was as phony as his hair hue. The whole thing was a schtick, carefully calculated to mask what he really is: a liar and a cheap hustler of the I’ve-got-mine-screw-you persuasion. (Commentary)

U.S. Supreme Court, 7-2, allows Beshear’s ban on in-person schooling to apply to religious schools, at least for the time being – The U.S. Supreme Court declined Thursday to reinstate a Kentucky federal judge’s order exempting religious schools from Gov. Beshear’s ban on in-person teaching, on grounds that the case was largely moot. (News)

🔥 New bill would obliterate open records laws, create extreme level of state secrets – A new bill filed by Rep. John Blanton would “turn open records upside down,” with some experts calling it “an extraordinarily extreme state secrets bill.” (News)

🔥 Rand Paul is angry: “If you solicit votes from typically non-voters, you might affect the outcome” – Rand Paul is angry because Georgia is sending voting information to registered voters, and – horrors! – people might actually VOTE. How un-democratic! (Commentary)

Vaccines arrive, the KY budget, and Angie Hatton interview – This week, Jazmin and Robert talk about the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic. Robert also went through a report by KY Policy about the one-year budget the legislature must pass, and Jazmin updated the policing and protests situation in Louisville. Then, they interview Democratic House Whip Angie Hatton, who talked about Democrats in Appalachia and the difficulties faced by Democrats running outside of urban areas. (Podcast)

🔥 The seditious (yes I said it) acts of the Republican Party – When a group wants to overturn a legitimate election and take over the government, what do you call that? Sedition. Marshall Ward calls it out, and looks at what to do about it. (Commentary)

League of Women Voters fights for fair maps, releases examples – The Kentucky League of Women Voters is working to get the word out about the need to push for fair maps in the upcoming redistricting process. As part of that effort, the League released example maps based on 2010 census data. (Backgrounder)

🔥 No-knock warrants and the “Castle Doctrine” – If someone pounded on your door and kicked it open in the dark of night, what would you do? In Kentucky, it is legal to use lethal force to defend your home. What does this mean for no-knock warrants? (Commentary)


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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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