The Forward Five – Thursday, 2/11/21

Five Things to Know Today

14 mins read
The Historical Horse Racing venue at the Red Mile gaming center. (Photo from Twitter)

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— Publisher’s Note —

Good morning! After sharing the Forward Five with our entire mailing list yesterday, we gained a number of new FF subscribers. Welcome to all of you!

And, we continue to pick up new paying members this month. If you want to learn more about that, just scroll down to the story at the bottom of this email.

As a progressive in Kentucky, it is easy to be depressed, especially during General Assembly time. With Republicans in completely control of both chambers — and, it seems, far-right true believers in control of the Republican party — it’s easy to say “all is lost” and give up.

And yet, even though there is certainly a far-right caucus in the Republicans in the legislature, there are actually some good bills making their way through. Some of those are in the stories on the site, such as increasing the felony threshold. Some of them are so specialized that we normally don’t cover them. But, encouragingly, there is hope for some good to come out of Frankfort.

Of course, there are also the bad bills, the very bad bills, and the “are you kidding me?” bills. And, there is the impeachment petition, which should have been dropped like a soiled diaper the first time it was heard in committee. So, all is not sweetness and light.

But, even as we rail against bad bills and stupid bills and destructive bills, we also need to call out the good bills that are moving and may yet pass. So, watch for our “good bill” stories that we will being posting later today.

Hope you are safe this morning, and don’t have to get out on these slick roads. Take care, and I’ll see you tomorrow.

Bruce Maples, publisher
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Today’s Five Things to Know

2/10 update — Positivity rate drops again, deaths still high; CDC says two masks better than one

Despite the persistently high deaths from COVID-19 in Kentucky, Gov. Beshear sees hope in the state’s declining rate of residents testing positive for the novel coronavirus in the last seven days. And, the CDC has issued new guidance on masks, based on research using dummies. (Forward Kentucky)

House passes open-records attack without understanding what it does

The Kentucky House passed an open records bill 92-1 thinking they were doing something good. Instead, they have created a giant loophole in our open records laws. (Forward Kentucky)

Historical horse racing clears House committee; full floor vote up next

Legislation that would allow historical horse racing in Kentucky won passage in a House committee on Wednesday, just one day after the full Senate gave its approval. (Forward Kentucky)

First day of Trump trial: dramatic testimony, childish tweeting

The first day of the trial of Donald Trump in the Senate featured a series of House impeachment managers laying out, in detail, the events of January 6th, including video of the insurrection that had not been previously shown.

Two of the more dramatic moments came from a combination of maps and video, shown together over a timeline. The first showed the location of Mike Pence and his family along with video of persons searching for Mike Pence, saying they were going to hang him. It was obvious how close Pence and his family came to being discovered and captured.

The other was video showing Officer Eugene Goodman running into Senator Mitt Romney in the hallway and turning Romney around and to safety, and Romney unknowingly was about to run right into the mob. After seeing the video, Romney told reporters it was “obviously very troubling” and that he hadn’t known he had come that close to the rioters. “It tears your — your heart and brings tears to your eyes. That was overwhelmingly distressing and emotional,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sen. Rand Paul sent tweets attacking one of the House managers, Rep. Jamie Raskin, saying Raskin was a hypocrite, and attacking Rep. Eric Swalwell.. The tweets were sent as the hearing was ongoing, even though senators are not supposed to use their phones as the trial is underway.

Biden rescue plan continues to move forward

The House Ways and Means Committee announced yesterday that they have begun writing and passing various sections of the American Rescue Plan. Among the measures approved by the committee on Wednesday was a component of the relief package expanding pandemic unemployment insurance from $300 to $400 per week and extending the program through Aug. 29.

Stay up to date with the General Assembly

Here are links to all our resources for staying current on what’s happening in Frankfort.

  • KYGA21 Daily Update – A daily post listing actions on key bills, and the complete calendar for that day. (Today’s post)
  • ForwardKY Bill Trackers – A set of bill trackers, from all bills to key legislation. Sort, group, track, and research the bills that matter to you. (Link)
  • Visual Bill Tracker – A simple way to see our key bills move through the process. (Link)
  • Legislator Scorecard – See which legislators are supporting progressive bills, and which ones are not. Explore their voting records, and see how they voted on individual bills. (Link)

Recent Content on Forward Kentucky

[new] indicates item not in a Forward Five before
🔥 indicates high # of reads, social media shares, or both

[New] Kentucky lawmakers advancing bills to give legal liability shield over COVID-19 infections – Kentucky lawmakers are advancing two different legal liability measures intended to block lawsuits over COVID-19 infections during the pandemic. (Brief)

[New] US Capitol riots: Kentucky ranks among top states for most arrests in Jan. 6 insurrection – The states with the most citizens arrested for participating in the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol are, naturally, states with huge populations — except for Kentucky. (Brief)

[New] House advances bill realigning felony theft threshold – A bill that would raise the threshold at which a theft becomes a felony in Kentucky was approved by the House on Wednesday. (News)

[New] QAnon, the Millerites — and delusion, lies, and hate – The Millerites waited for the second coming of Christ. The QAnon faithful await the second coming of Donald Trump – even as he continues to fleece them. (Commentary)

[New] Hey Larry, Moe, and Curly — Put up or shut up – Corporate stooges Cruz, Hawley, and Jordan remind me of an old Kentucky expression: “Put ’em in a barrel, roll it down a hill, and there’d be a liar on top every time it rolled over.” (Commentary)

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)

Ky. bill would let people with felonies access KEES scholarships – State House lawmakers are trying, again, to pass a bill allowing students with felony convictions to use their Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship, or KEES, funding. (Brief)

Audit: Kentucky unemployment office ignored 400,000 emails, violated federal rules – In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and skyrocketing joblessness, Kentucky’s unemployment office failed to read more than 400,000 emails asking for help with claims, a state audit has found. (Brief)
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)

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)

🔥 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. (News)

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)

🔥 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)

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Forward Kentucky is an independent media organization focused on progressive news and issues in Kentucky. Our objectives are to provide journalism that is objective, policies that are effective, and commentary that is progressive. Our goal is to help Kentucky become all that it can be through government that works, for all. We are "the progressive voice for Kentucky politics."

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