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— Publisher’s Note —
Good morning! With the General Assembly not in session and Trump finally out of Washington and off of Twitter, the news firehose slowed down somewhat over the past week. Even so, there are a bunch of new stories on the site from over the weekend. (See the yellow content section for the list.)
BUT – KYGA21 resumes tomorrow, so the news cycle will get turned up to 11 for sure.
So, here are a few things you can do to get ready:
- There’s an item below about our various trackers and updates for the lege. Read it and use them.
- Read the newsletter I sent out last night, if you haven’t already.
- Use the READ menu on the site to quickly scan everything published in chronological order, so it’s easy to keep up.
- Be aware of the new Briefs feature (discussed in the newsletter).
And, one last thing: February is New Member Month. It’s all explained below, so I’ll just say: If you aren’t a paying member, please become one.
All for now. I’m off to take my Super-Plenamins and rest up for tomorrow. Stay safe; see you in the morning!
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Today’s Five Things to Know
1/31 update — Sharp drop in hospital cases, every measure declines – but variants loom
Every common measure of the pandemic in Kentucky declined Sunday, perhaps most notably the number of COVID-19 patients in Kentucky hospitals. Still, with the increased transmission rate of some variants, we still need to be vigilant in our prevention tactics. (Forward Kentucky)
Trump defense team quits, new team signs on
With a little over a week until his impeachment trial begins in the U.S. Senate, former president Donald Trump had his defense team walk off the job. According to CNN:
A person familiar with the departures told CNN that Trump wanted the attorneys to argue there was mass election fraud and that the election was stolen from him rather than focus on the legality of convicting a president after he’s left office. Trump was not receptive to the discussions about how they should proceed in that regard.Soon after, a new defense team was announced. According to the AP:
The two representing Trump will be defense lawyer David Schoen, a frequent television legal commentator, and Bruce Castor, a former district attorney in Pennsylvania who has faced criticism for his decision to not charge actor Bill Cosby in a sex crimes case.
Other states impeaching their govs – but KY’s looks further along
Governors in at least four other states have had impeachment petitions filed against them. And yet, none of those seem to have gotten as far as Kentucky’s, even though their legislatures are also controlled by Republicans. (Forward Kentucky)
Biden invites GOP lawmakers to White House virus relief talk
President Joe Biden has agreed to meet a group of 10 Republican senators who have proposed spending about one-third of the $1.9 trillion he is seeking in coronavirus aid, though congressional Democrats are poised to move ahead without Republican support. Democrats can use the budget reconciliation process to pass the relief bill without any Republican votes and without facing a filibuster. (Kentucky Today)
With KYGA21 resuming tomorrow, it’s time to use our tracking tools
This year’s General Assembly resumes tomorrow, and with this year being a short session, things are going to be hectic and move fast. To help you keep track of it, here’s the Forward Kentucky tools you can use:
Calendar – Each day’s committee and session calendar will be in the Forward Five as well as posted on the site
Bill Trackers – There are four bill trackers on our site under the Track menu (go here to view):
- All bills
- Bills in committee in the originating chamber
- Bills passed in one chamber and “crossed over” to the other
- Forward Kentucky’s Key Legislation tracker
Since you can sort by the date of the last action, you can use all of these to see what happened recently.
Visual Bill Tracker – We take the bills in our Key Legislation list and show them moving through the process. Bills are indicated as “good” or “bad” bills through color coding (go here to view).
Daily Update – We are working to do a daily summary listing important actions on that day, and important things coming the next day. We’re still working on how that will look, but it should be posted on the site each morning.
Obviously, all of these take time and money to produce. So, if you find them valuable, please help support them by becoming a member during our February New Member Month!
Recent Content on Forward Kentucky
[new] indicates item not in a Forward Five before
🔥 indicates high # of reads, social media shares, or both
[New] Briefs — Which KY politicos might challenge Andy Beshear and Rand Paul? – With no elections in 2021, politicians are spending their time elbowing, jostling, and positioning themselves for potential candidacies in 2022 and beyond. (H-L via Forward Kentucky)
[New] Young Kentuckians call on lawmakers to invest in kids – Young people and their advocates are participating in a weeklong series of virtual events urging Kentucky lawmakers to prioritize kids’ safety, health, education and economic well-being in this year’s legislative session. (News)
[New] Dear legislators — We need voting districts that make sense. – We need better voting maps. If one looks at the current map for Congress, for example, it would not be beyond the pale to question what kind of idiocy prevailed that produced it. (Commentary)
[New] PSA — Take the internet speed test. It’s important. – The folks in Frankfort want you to go take an internet speed test on their site. Why? So they can map which parts of the state need better internet, and begin working on it. Read this to learn more AND to go take it. (Public Service Announcement)
[New] Need for LMPD transparency apparently doesn’t extend to open records – While everyone acknowledged the importance of transparency when the LMPD audit was released, there is not a single reference to the open records law, and LMPD’s flouting of it, anywhere in the 155-page report. (Commentary)
[New] Why KY teachers should care who the Commerce secretary is – Rhode Island governor Gina Raimondo has been tapped to be the new Commerce Secretary. Why should KY teachers care? Because of what she did to Rhode Island’s pension funds. (Commentary)
[New] JCTA elections wrap up this week – As one of the largest unions in the state, the elections for officers of the Jefferson County Teachers Association are always important. So, as a service to the JCTA members, here are the candidates for this year’s elections. (News)
[New] Waiting for the New Normal … or for Godot? – Do we really want to get back to normal? The actual normal we had? Or, are we waiting for some “new” normal, without taking action to make it happen? (Commentary)
[New] Desecration in Washington and Frankfort – Our Kentucky politics, just like our national, has now distilled itself down to just two kinds of people and two political parties that attract them. One is selfish, the other is compassionate. Which side are you on? (Commentary)
🔥 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. (Policy)
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)
🔥 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)
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