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— Publisher’s Note —
Good morning! I’ve got two quick things to share, one of which is an ask:
(Thing One) Well, I’ve gone and done it – I’ve put ads back on the site. The company doing the ads promises oodles of money (yeah, right), and they’re not TOO ugly.
Important thing to remember, though: If you are a member at the Supporting level and you are logged in, you will see less ads. And, if you are a member at the Sustaining level and are logged in, you will see NO ads.
So, if you aren’t currently a member, now would be a good time to jump in at the Supporting or Sustaining level. (And remember, the Basic level gets access to all the content, which non-members do not.)
(Thing Two) I’ve been approached by a company that sells a custom texting service. It’s used by other news outlets to have direct communication with readers, and to let them reply privately if they choose. (Not every reader would get the text; only those who opt in to the service.)
Two examples of how it could be used:
- A PM text bulleting the important news of the day, such as a “here’s what happened in KYGA21 today.”
- A text about an important issue, with a way for people to give feedback or vote on a poll.
So, here’s the question: Would you be interested in such a service? And, would you be willing to PAY some small amount each month for it? (Some outlets charge for it, some include it in a membership.)
Click here to send me your feedback on this idea. I really do want to know what you think.
Stay safe, wear your mask (or masks), and have a good weekend. See you on Monday!
Today’s Five Things to Know
1/28 update — 69 more COVID deaths, a record; other metrics down; four regional vaccine sites to open
Thursday saw the most deaths reported in one day, but also saw other metrics trending downward. The bulk of the press conference, though, was taken up with news about vaccines, including new sites. Many details were shared about vaccine distribution and sites, all of which are in the story on the site. (Forward Kentucky)
Voucher bill would take millions in resources from our public schools
Once again, there’s a voucher bill up for consideration in the legislature … and once again, over time it will blow a gigantic hole in our public school budgets. The amount spent on vouchers would increase 25% a year, forever. (Forward Kentucky)
Repubs in KYGA21 will move bill quickly to restore “historical horse racing”
When the Kentucky Supreme Court slapped down the state’s $2 billion gaming industry in a surprise ruling in September, the high court also seemed to leave clear instructions: Only legislators, not judges, can formally legalize the state’s roughly 3,500 “historical horse racing” machines.
The machines, which are basically slot machines, generate some revenue for the state budget, but much more revenue for the horse racing industry in Kentucky. Now the legislature says they are going to do just what SCOKY said to do: pass a bill to once again make the machines legal.
But, even as proponents say Kentucky’s “signature” horse industry will be crippled without the hundreds of millions of dollars generated by the gaming machines, many social conservatives remain reluctant to endorse any expansion of gambling.
Nevertheless, a bill is going to be filed next Tuesday when the legislature reconvenes, and Senate President Stivers is reported to be a co-sponsor. (Much more detail on WDRB)
Impeachment panel asks Beshear for communications on State Police monitoring of churches
The chairman of the House impeachment committee considering a petition to remove Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear from office has requested the governor provide all communications regarding monitoring of churches by the Kentucky State Police.
The letter submitted by Rep. Jason Nemes (R-Louisville) Thursday said the committee’s “investigation has raised some questions” by members, specifically petitioners’ references to Kentucky State Police monitoring churches “at the direction of the Office of the Governor” in April of last year. (Courier-Journal)
Kentucky bill to ease immunization standards for children, others alarms health advocates
A bill pending in the Kentucky General Assembly that would significantly relax requirements for childhood immunizations has alarmed health officials who say it could reduce immunity to dangerous and highly infectious diseases such as measles and chickenpox.
Senate Bill 8, sponsored by Sen. Mike Wilson, a Bowling Green Republican, would put Kentucky “dramatically out of step with the rest of the country” in terms of childhood immunizations, Dr. Scottie Day, president of the Kentucky Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said in an email.
Day, a Lexington pediatrician, said his organization is urging lawmakers to “immediately table any bills seeking to weaken existing immunization laws.”
SB 8 is among five pending bills, all filed by Republicans, aimed at restricting or outright banning mandatory vaccines in Kentucky. (Courier-Journal)
Recent Content on Forward Kentucky
[new] indicates item not in a Forward Five before
🔥 indicates high # of reads, social media shares, or both
[New] Marijuana legalization, plus Cameron’s task force and Kentucky’s UI system – An interview with Jim Higdon to talk about marijuana legalization in Kentucky, and all the different branching paths it might take. Also, Daniel Cameron’s search warrant task force, censuring McConnell, and an update on KY’s UI system. (Podcast)
[New] Honoring Hazel Demery – “If Wendell Ford is the patriarch of the Democratic Party in Kentucky, Hazel Demery is the matriarch.” Numerous people look back on the life and activism of Hazel Demery, who died this week at 98. (News)
[New] Felon voting rights — better, but not enough. Constitutional amendment needed. – The League of Women Voters of KY has released their annual report on the loss of voting rights for felons in Kentucky, and while it shows improvement from previous years, Kentucky is still an outlier state on this issue. (Press Release)
Impeachment committee meets in private, reaches no final decision – The House impeachment committee met today to consider the impeachment petition against Governor Andy Beshear, and adjourned without a final disposition of the petition. (News)
Death threats and intimidation of public officials signal Trump’s autocratic legacy – Trump is out of office, but his legacy remains: a deteriorating democracy and a rise in political violence, led by right-wing groups and especially affecting the Republican party. Why did this happen, and what is next? (Backgrounder)
Accountability and unity – The country deserves healing and unity following the Trump presidency, but that won’t come from ignoring the destruction of norms and laws. Accountability — a public reckoning for Trump and for those who enabled his abuses — is the way forward. (Commentary)
Dear commenters – Sign your stuff. I do. – I’m glad to have comments on my work, both pro and con. Comes with the territory. But, if you’re going to comment, sign your name. Don’t hide behind your keyboard. (Commentary)
Dropping the ball – Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has had a rough twelve months, with some accusing him of dropping a number of balls along the way. Aaron Smith wonders, is Fischer’s latest action another dropped ball? (Editorial Cartoon)
🔥 Incitement to violence is rarely explicit – here are some techniques people use to breed hate – Scholars who study speeches and propaganda that precede acts of violence find direct commands to violence are rare. Other elements are more common. Here are some of the red flags. (Analysis)
🔥 Recusal motion filed against Rep. Jason Nemes – A motion has been filed requesting the immediate recusal of Rep. Jason Nemes from chairing, or even being a member of, the House impeachment committee. (News)
Image: “Freedom of Speech” painting (Norman Rockwell [public domain] via Wikimedia Commons)
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