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— Publisher’s Note —
Good morning! The lege reconvenes this afternoon, and that means the Forward Five is about to get longer and more valuable, as we will be including the schedule for each day at the bottom of the newsletter. (It will be at the bottom so if you don’t really care about it, you don’t have to scroll that far.)
We’re also going to do a daily update on “what happened yesterday, what to expect today.” We won’t include that in the Forward Five, but we will link to it so you can read it on the site.
How are we (actually, ME) able to add this to our already-overloaded plate? Because an organization gave us a grant to increase our coverage of the session, and we were able to hire two part-time staffers to do the work. (Big thanks to the org for the grant!)
People sometimes ask me “It looks like you’re finally breaking even; why do you need more members and more money?” THIS is why – writing more stories, doing more digging, interviewing more people, and really covering politics in Kentucky like we would like.
Yesterday, on the first day of our New Member Month, we had one new member sign up. If we could have a new member every day this month, that would be excellent. So, if you find all of this to be valuable, now would be a great time to become a paying member.
Finally, even while there’s lots of news out of Frankfort, there are other news stories on the site. And, there are a number of really good commentaries. I would encourage you to take the time to read those as well, and to share them. They are worth your time.
Okay, all for this morning. Things are about to get crazy, but remember what the Gov says: we will get through this, together. Stay safe.
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Today’s Five Things to Know
2/1 update — Leges tell Beshear they can talk after overriding vetoes; he says ‘See you in court’
The dispute between Democratic Gov. Beshear and the Republican-controlled General Assembly over legislators’ efforts to limit his emergency powers during the pandemic is headed to court. Republicans will surely override his vetoes this week, as they refused to meet with him before the votes. Meanwhile, even as the pandemic seems to be easing somewhat in Kentucky, Beshear warns that undoing his executive orders at this point will almost surely cause a fourth surge. (Forward Kentucky)
AG files motion, impeachment petitioners file three
Over the weekend, the legal team for AG Cameron filed a lengthy motion to dismiss the impeachment petition. Monday morning, the petitioners responded with three motions of their own. Our story outlines the pertinent points of all four motions, with quotes from the filings and complete copies of the filings at the bottom.
The Cameron petition was particularly petulant, snarky, and dismissive. One of the petitioners’ motions, therefore, was to strike parts of the Cameron motion, have them refile, and sanction the Cameron lawyers for using such language. (Forward Kentucky)
Coalition sends letter to KYGA calling for higher tax rate on HHR slot machines
Did you know that Kentucky taxes “historical horse racing” slot machines at MUCH LESS than other states? And that HHRs are experiencing explosive growth? As legislators prepare to pass a law ensuring the machines are legal in Kentucky, It’s time to tax them at a fair rate. See the story for more details, including a surprising graph showing the growth of HHR revenue surpassing the lottery. (Forward Kentucky)
Sen. Mitch McConnell blasts GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene for her ‘loony lies’
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell issued a sharp rebuke of Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, calling her views a “cancer for the Republican Party” (Courier-Journal)
Budget, gambling among issues for lawmakers in 2nd part of session
Lawmakers return to Frankfort on Tuesday, to begin the second part of the 2021 General Assembly with a state budget, gambling, and veto overrides among items to be addressed. They have only 22 working days left in the session, and the budget HAS to be finished by the end of the session. (Normally, the budget is done in the 60-day “long” session, but last year’s lege only passed a one-year budget due to the pandemic.)
There is a push to get something passed to make “historical horse racing” slot machines legal again, after SCOKY said they weren’t legal as “pari-mutuel betting” machines (the fig leaf the horse industry used to get them into the state). And of course, there are the various veto overrides.
There are also a set of good bills, and a set of bad bills. Whether any of them get heard remains to be seen. You can track them on the Forward Kentucky trackers, especially the Key Legislation tracker. (Forward Kentucky)
Recent Content on Forward Kentucky
[new] indicates item not in a Forward Five before
🔥indicates high # of reads, social media shares, or both
[New] PSA – Volunteers needed to lobby on behalf of Breonna’s Law – Marine vet Sherman Neal is looking for a few good men or women. (Action)
[New] Lawsuit: Court changed eviction hearings without telling tenants, then ruled against them – Via the C-J: District court changed the login for a virtual eviction meeting, then didn’t tell the defendants. Now the court is being sued. (Brief)
[New] 🔥 The GOP has lost its mind – and its soul – Part of the Republican party has become disconnected from reality. Another part has given up on the rule of law. And the rest of the party refuses to call them out on it. (Commentary)
[New] Will the GOP finally outlaw conversion torture in Kentucky? Will Christendom? – Will the GOP legislature finally outlaw the barbaric and widely-discredited practice of trying to change a person’s sexual orientation? How about Christians across the state? (Commentary)
[New] From Know-Nothings to QAnon – A major American political party embraces conspiracy theories and gains power, even though the theories are demonstrably false. Has it happened before? And what happened to that party? (Commentary)
🔥 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. (Analysis)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
🔥 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)
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)
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)
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)
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