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— Publisher’s Note —
Good morning! Today’s Forward Five could be called the “Rule-Breaking Edition.” Here’s why.
For some time, I have tried to adhere to the rule that we cover Kentucky politics and related stories, and not national ones. My stated exception was if the national stories had a clear Kentucky impact.
But, with the historic events happening in DC and around the country, I’ve felt compelled to include them both on the site and in this newsletter. So, I’m more or less breaking that rule.
The other “rule” is in the name of this newsletter – the Forward Five, listing “five things to know today.” Well, guess what: I’ve not been able to keep it to five. Even with grouping related stories under a top headline, there are still many more than five items you need to know. I even had to resort to an “other headlines” section.
I don’t think it will be this way forever. KYGA21 will end at some point, Biden will be sworn in, and the news firehose will hopefully shrink to more of a garden hose.
But for now, please accept my apologies for breaking these two “rules.” I hope you find the content valuable enough that you won’t hold it against me.
Keep washing those hands, wearing your mask, and staying safe. Somehow, we are going to get through ALL of this together.
Today’s Five Things to Know
Governor releases budget proposal, issues statement outlining priorities
Governor Beshear delivered his State of the Commonwealth and budget address on Thursday night. Here is a statement about that address from his office, outlining the major points. The text of the addres is available as well. (Forward Kentucky)
Reactions to Beshear’s “Better Kentucky Budget”
Here are various reactions to Beshear’s budget address, including all legislative leaders, and other leaders across the state. (Forward Kentucky)
Video of Governor Beshear State of the Commonwealth and Budget Address
Here is the video of Governor Beshear’s virtual address on Thursday night, followed by remarks by legislative leaders. (Forward Kentucky)
Resignations continue, including Cabinet members
As calls grow for VP Mike Pence and Trump’s cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office, two members of the cabinet have resigned: Betsy Devos, secretary of education; and Elaine Chao, secretary of labor and wife of Mitch McConnell.
The resignations are being characterized as less an act of honor and more an act of self-preservation, as both of them are full cabinet members and not “acting” cabinet members, unlike many other members of the Cabinet. There is some speculation that acting members cannot vote on invoking the 25th, thus the resignations of DeVos and Chao lower the possitility of using that vehicle for removing Trump.
Meanwhile, other resignations are happening across Trump’s administration, usually with statements attached calling the Wednesday insurrection the “last straw.” Most of these are also seen as self-serving, in an effort to wash away the stain of serving in the Trump administration while still only giving up two weeks of pay.
And, in the aftermath of Wednesday’s events, the head of the Capitol Police and both the House and Senate seargents-at-arms have resigned.
Calls for removal of Trump continue to grow
Across Congress and across the nation, calls for the resignation or removal of Trump from office continue to grow. Over 200 members of Congress, including some Republicans, have either issued statements or signed onto statements calling for Trump’s removal. Nancy Pelosi said that if the 25th Amendment was not invoked by Pence and the Cabinet, she was prepared to begin impeachment proceedings in the House.
Noted KY philanthropist and activist calls on McConnell to remove Trump from office
Christy Brown, the well-known philanthropist and activist, has circulated a letter to Senator Mitch McConnell asking him to use his “extraordinary power and relationships to facilitate the immediate removal of Donald Trump from the office of President.” (Forward Kentucky)
Yarmuth calls for removal of President Trump
Congressman John Yarmuth of Kentucky called on Vice-President Pence and the cabinet to remove President Trump from office immediately. (Forward Kentucky)
KYGA21 continues fast pace by GOP super-majority
Thursday’s session of the General Assembly saw nine GOP priority bills pass their first chamber and be sent to the other chamber, thus making it possible for the bills to be passed within the next few days.
KYGA21 Bills – January 7 (Day 5)
Here are the major bills that moved during Thursday’s #KYGA21 session (January 7), along with brief explanations of what they do. (Forward Kentucky)
KYGA21 Snippets — January 7 (Day 3)
The “KYGA21 Snippets” series are compilations of small news items, side notes, tweets, and other things from #KYGA21 that don’t need a full story on their own. Included today: adjusted scheduling, comments about budget proposal. (Forward Kentucky)
1/7 update — State has top 2 days of cases, positivity rate 11.9%; Beshear blames holiday gatherings, says ‘Wear your masks’
After reporting the highest number of new coronavirus cases Wednesday, Gov. Andy Beshear reported the second highest number of cases Thursday: 4,911, for a total of 10,653 in just two days. (Forward Kentucky)
A Capitol Police officer died after engaging with terrorists
Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick has died after he was hurt responding to pro Trump riot. Police say he was “injured while physically engaging with protesters. He returned to his division office and collapsed.” Will be investigated as homicide. (Fox 5 DC)
For the first time ever, the US reported more than 4,000 COVID-19 deaths in one day
It’s the third day in a row of record daily deaths from the disease, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. (WLKY)
Reports: Trump asking aides about pardoning himself, Ivanka, Donald Jr., Eric
A self-pardon has never been tried by a president and could face legal challenges. (WHAS)
Facebook, Instagram extend block on Trump accounts ‘indefinitely’
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on Thursday both Facebook and Instagram have suspended President Donald Trump’s accounts “indefinitely.” “The shocking events of the last 24 hours clearly demonstrate that President Donald Trump intends to use his remaining time in office to undermine the peaceful and lawful transition of power to his elected successor, Joe Biden,” (Nexstar)
Critics call Louisville’s new police chief a ‘tone deaf’ choice
One critic said the choice showed a lack of empathy from city leaders as residents continue to seek healing after Breonna Taylor’s killing. (WFPL)
TODAY on “The State of Kentucky”
We talk with the journalists from the Courier-Journal who created the series “Beyond Breonna,” which looks at systemic racism in Louisville. This is a critical topic, not only for Louisville but for our state. Join us!
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 – The 2021 session has begun and Louisville has a new police chief – This week Jazmin and Robert talk about the first two days of the shorter 2021 legislative session, the firing of two officers involved in the Breonna Taylor killing, and the new LMPD chief. (Podcast)
[New] 🔥 American Fascism – It’s way past time to call Trumpism what it is: American fascism. (Commentary)
[New] NAACP calls for immediate impeachment of Donald Trump – The NAACP calls for President Trump’s immediate impeachment so that he will never again be able to harm our beloved country, and more importantly, its people. (Press Release)
[New] SPLC calls for impeachment, arrests, and “de-platforming” – From the president of the SPLC Action Fund: “To protect and ensure democracy, we must expose and root out the seeds of this violence. To address the dangerous situation at hand immediately, SPLC demands the following:” (Press Release)
[New] Rural Blog: Fact-checking what’s been said about the Capitol riot – Rumors and misinformation are thick on the ground after yesterday’s events at the Capitol (which leadership at The Associated Press says may be called a riot or insurrection). Here’s some fact-checking. (Analysis)
[New] 🔥 Raise a glass and propose a toast — to Georgia, and to McConnell’s new sobriquet – Let’s all say this together, just to see how it sounds: Senate MINORITY Leader Mitch McConnell. Go ahead – Savor it. Sip it slowly, like fine Kentucky Bourbon. (Commentary)
[New] Top 10 open govt stories — numbers #3, #2, and #1 – We conclude our series of the Top Ten open government stories of 2020 with the top three: public agencies, the effect of the pandemic, and student journalists. (Commentary)
Repubs coming after Beshear’s emergency powers; Beshear responds – Legislative leaders made their comments in an hour-long show on KET, which was followed by a separate hour-long interview with Governor Beshear. (News)
🔥 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)
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