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— Publisher’s Note —
Good morning! You can tell we are back into the political maelstrom, simply by looking at the number and variety of new stories on the site.
Beyond the top five items, I want to point out a few other stories in the yellow “other stories” section below:
- A poll showing Beshear with strong support, including for his handling of the virus
- A commentary by John Pavlovitz about what defeated America
- The video of the KY 120 interview show, which we are now going to be cross-posting each week
- The story on the new “patriotic education” commission set up by Trump
- And, if you haven’t already read it, the “death of the GOP” piece by Steve Schmidt
One other point to note: As we move through KYGA21, we’ll be doing short stories to keep up. If you haven’t been using the Read menu on the site, you may want to start; it’s a good way to scan to see what’s new.
These are critically important days, at both the state and national levels. Let’s hope Dems win in Georgia, the counting of the electoral votes completes without too much drama (or violence), and that the Repubs in Frankfort don’t go crazy with their super majorities.
Keep washing those hands, wearing your mask, and staying safe. See you tomorrow morning.
Today’s Five Things to Know
KYGA21 starts today; three issues appear to be priorities
The Kentucky General Assembly session for 2021 begins today at noon. The original schedule (available on the ForwardKY event calendar) said that legislators would meet for four days this week, then adjourn until February (which is customar for a “short” session.) However, there are already indications that they may meet this Saturday, and possibly even next week as well, in order to get bills heard in committee and moved as quickly as possible.
Early indications are that three issues will be priorities:
- Passing a budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Normally the short session doesn’t have to do this, but because of the pandemic last year’s session only passed a one-year budget. So, they have to do this, no matter what.
- Limiting the governor’s emergency powers. Multiple bills have been filed to deal with this, even in the face of the ongoing pandemic. You can read more about this in the story below.
- Passing some sort of no-knock warrant bill. Both sides of the aisle say they want to ban these warrants, but the devil will be in the details.
1/4 update — Plans made to increase pace of vaccinations and who’s next in line to get it; meanwhile, cases and positive-test rates increase
Beshear and Dr. Stack said that people 60 and older, all essential workers, and those in the highest risk groups will be next in line to get the vaccine. Meanwhile, the latest pandemic numbers are high. Story includes details on the vaccination phases. (Forward Kentucky)
Repubs coming after Beshear’s emergency powers; Beshear responds
Legislative leaders made it clear that they intend to do something to limit the governor’s emergency powers, possibly including a constitutional amendment. Included in their ideas is a provision for the legislature to call itself into session. The governor pointed out that this would make it possible for the legislature to become a year-round legislature, with the attendant costs. The legislators made their comments in an hour-long show on KET, which was followed by a separate hour-long interview with Governor Beshear. (Forward Kentucky)
Beshear’s “State of the Commonwealth” address (w/ budget address included) is on Wednesday
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear will deliver his combined State of the Commonwealth Address and Budget Address on Wednesday. The governor delivers his annual message to a joint session of the General Assembly, but this year it will be done virtually. The address will be presented at 6 pm on Wednesday. It will be streamed on Beshear’s Facebook page and YouTube channel, and will be broadcast on Kentucky Educational Television. (West Kentucky Star)
Balance of power in U.S. Senate on the line today in Georgia
The current balance in the Senate, after last November’s elections, is 50 Republicans and 48 Democrats (including two Independents who caucus with the Dems). The two Georgia seats will be decided by two run-off elections, both of which conclude today.
There are indications that Democrats have done better in early voting and absentee voting, but Republicans are known to have most of their vote show up on election day. Turnout for both sides will be the key, as the state is basically evenly split. Note that not all votes will be counted by tonight, as there are still absentee ballots to count. If the two Dems win, the Senate will be 50-50, with VP Harris casting the tie-breaking vote. Thus, the Democrats would be the majority party, and Mitch McConnell would no longer be majority leader.
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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] Lawmakers required to wear masks during Kentucky legislative session – Republican leaders of the Kentucky General Assembly say they will require lawmakers to wear masks during this year’s legislative session amid the coronavirus pandemic. (News)
[New] The KY120 Rundown — KYGA21 preview with Rep. Angie Hatton and Rep. Cherlynn Stevenson – KY 120 United did a live Facebook interview with two Democratic state reps to talk about KYGA21. Watch the episode to be ready for the session, which kicks off on Tuesday! (Video)
[New] Are our students being “brainwashed by leftists”? Or lied to by right-wing propagandists? – Trump has set up a “commission” to “fix” our history education. There’s nothing wrong with a commission to discuss how we teach and present the past. But when Trump calls for “patriotic education,” that’s nothing more than propaganda. (Commentary)
[New] Poll shows strong support for Beshear. Repub leges? Not so much. – A recent poll shows continued strong overall support for Beshear, as well as for COVID actions. The same poll, however, showed a low level of approval for the Republicans running the state legislature. (News)
[New] The virus didn’t defeat America. MAGA freedom did. – We have been the planet’s most egregious cautionary tale on what not to do, how not to navigate this crisis – on how patriotism can become nationalism and nationalism can become deadly to a nation. (Commentary)
[New] Top Ten open govt stories — numbers #7 and #6 – We continue our series of the Top Ten open government stories of 2020 with today’s installment of numbers 7 and 8: Gov. Beshear and AG Daniel Cameron. (Commentary)
[New] All living former defense secretaries condemn GOP attempts to overturn election, involve military – All of this nation’s living former secretaries of defense, including Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, are publicly opposing any military involvement in Republicans’ ongoing attempts to overthrow the results of November’s presidential elections. (News)
🔥 When Trump leaves, will the GOP swear off Trumpism? – Think again, warns Bill Straub, a Kentucky Journalism Hall-of-Famer. “The Republican Party is the party of Donald Trump. It has transformed entirely from the Reagan profile to the Trump profile.” (Commentary)
🔥🔥 Steve Schmidt: “January 6th will be the beginning of the end of the GOP” – Steve Schmidt, the former Republican strategist and newly minted member of the Democratic Party, explains how the January 6th episode will spell doom for the Republican Party. (Commentary)
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