Five Things to Know Today
— Publisher’s Note —
Good morning! A few unrelated items to start the day:
Today is the beginning of the Trump impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate. The question is clear, at least for most of us: Did Donald Trump incite the insurrection on January 6th, either directly through planning, or indirectly through his words? The Republicans, on the other hand, are focusing on a different question: Can you impeach and convict a president that is no longer in office? (Of course you can; otherwise, any president could do whatever they wanted in the last weeks of their term, then say “neener neener” once they left office and face no repercussions for their actions.) We’ll see what happens.
I usually bend over backwards to give Repubs some slack, honoring the “we’re all fellow human beings” mantra and not painting with a broad brush. But I broke that rule yesterday with an editorial entitled Remember — Repubs DON’T want you to vote … but they don’t care if you get the virus. I’m pretty fed up (as you can tell) with the voter suppression tactics of the GOP, as well as their attempts to sabotage public health. So, I wrote the piece. Read it, and if you agree, share it. (Link)
And finally – sometimes I need to put a break into my writing to change subjects, without actually using a heading. I picked up a habit from other blog writers of using a double colon to do that. So, that’s why you see them up above, in case you were wondering. 🤔
All for this morning. Tomorrow’s Forward Five will go to everyone on the mailing list, just so they can see it and perhaps want to subscribe to it. And as always, you can share this newsletter with others by using the links below.
Stay safe, wear your masks, and be careful with this weather. And if you are looking for info on vaccinations, read Berry Craig’s story below. See you tomorrow morning.
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Today’s Five Things to Know
2/8 update — As key metrics fall for 4th week in a row, Beshear says Ky. is still ‘hot’ due to strategy that kept hospitals from being overwhelmed
For the first time in the pandemic, new cases of the novel coronavirus have dropped in Kentucky for four weeks in a row. Likewise, the state’s positive-test rate has also declined for the last four weeks. (Forward Kentucky)
Senate OKs bill for refusal of mandatory vaccination in epidemic, after removing broader exemption for required school shots
A bill that would give Kentuckians the ability to opt out of a mandatory vaccination during an epidemic passed out of its committee and the full Senate in just two days; it now heads to the House for consideration. (Forward Kentucky)
White supremacists target UofL campus; students fight back
Students at UofL have seen acts of vandalism, racially-motivated hostility, and flyers and stickers promoting the right-wing extremist group Patriot Front. But the students are fighting back. (Forward Kentucky)
In op-ed, KY House Democrats call for legalizing historical horse racing and also taxing it appropriately
From the op-ed: “The Kentucky Supreme Court’s recent ruling that historical horse racing (HHR) slot machines do not meet the definition of parimutuel wagering puts responsibility on the General Assembly to act and clarify their legality. We must do so this session, and ensure continued support for our valued horse industry.
“At the same time, we must also correct a mistake of the past and increase the outrageously low tax rate on these machines so that our schools, health, and other vital services benefit as well. That low rate has allowed large casino corporations to make enormous profits from HHR even while our essential public investments are shortchanged.” (Herald-Leader)
Three new ways to stay up-to-date on KYGA21
Our new KYGA21 data person, Parker McGuffey, is on the job, and is now producing three new ways for you to keep up with what’s going on in Frankfort.
- Daily KYGA21 Update – This daily article contains a table of key bills that saw action in the previous session, as well as what key bills will be acted on today. Here’s today’s version: KYGA Update for 2/4 and 2/9
- Daily KYGA21 Calendar – This is the committee calendar for that day: KYGA Calendar for 2/9
- Visual Key Bill Tracker – This is a visual representation of the bills we consider important as they make their way through the legislative process (or not): Visual Key Bill Tracker
Take advantage of these tools to stay current on this year’s General Assembly. They are there for you to use, and to share.
Recent Content on Forward Kentucky
[new] indicates item not in a Forward Five before
🔥 indicates high # of reads, social media shares, or both
[New] Remember — Repubs DON’T want you to vote … but they don’t care if you get the virus – And before you think that is either hyperbole or harsh, let’s take a look at the facts. (Commentary)
[New] House Democrats file resolution to declare racism a public health crisis in Kentucky – Two House Democrats have filed a resolution to declare systemic racism a public health and safety crisis in Kentucky, demanding redress across all branches of government in the state. (Brief)
[New] Don’t know where to get vaccinated? You’re one click away from finding out – When I became eligible for my COVID vaccination, I wanted to find a place to get it soon and close. By using the KY web site, I got my shot sooner and closer than I expected. Here’s my story. (News)
[New] Senate OKs bill for refusal of mandatory vaccination in epidemic, after removing broader exemption for required school shots – A bill that would give Kentuckians the ability to opt out of a mandatory vaccination during an epidemic passed out of its committee and the full Senate in just two days; it now heads to the House for consideration. (News)
[New] Mitch just wanted Greene to clam up – This isn’t a battle for the soul of the GOP. McConnell and the rest of the party leadership don’t want to lose the loons, they just want them to be quiet. (Commentary)
Across the U.S., Republicans have already introduced over 100 voter suppression bills this year – Ari Berman reports on the GOP’s ongoing nationwide push to make voting more difficult — particularly for communities of color and other Democratic-leaning constituencies — and in some cases to empower state legislatures to overturn election results. (Backgrounder)
House impeachment committee dismisses two of three impeachment petitions against Gov. Beshear – The Kentucky House Impeachment Committee met behind closed doors for about three hours on Friday, then emerged to announce two of the three impeachment petitions filed against Gov. Andy Beshear have been dismissed. (News)
KY House votes for plan requiring new teachers to work longer, pay more for retirement – The Kentucky House on Thursday overwhelmingly approved a Republican-backed bill that would change the teacher pension system for new hires, sending it to the Senate for consideration. (News)
🔥 With leadership AWOL, future of Republican Party hangs in the balance – Reports about the impending death of the Republican Party are, as Twain once remarked about his own alleged demise, an exaggeration. But make no mistake, a reckoning is in the offing, the outcome of which will ultimately carry huge consequences. (Commentary)
🔥 The performative politics of AG Cameron – an interview with Rep. Attica Scott – Rep. Attica Scott says that instead of “performative politics” by the AG and the legislature, we need real reform. It’s time for all the lawmakers, including Republicans, to step up and pass Breonna’s Law and the Maternal Care Act. (News)
🔥 KY Repubs stand w/ QAnon supporter in House vote; chair of KDP responds – All five Republican members of the U.S. House from Kentucky voted in support of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green in her fight to keep her committee assignments. (News)
🔥 Why this year’s KDP reorganization is so important – The KY Democratic Party is in the process of electing new leaders, from local to state levels. This member of the KDP Executive Committee explains why this is so critical this year. (Commentary)
🔥 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)
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