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— Publisher’s Note —
Good morning! I’m going to assume that you have at least a passing interest in politics and government, since you read this newsletter. So, on this TGIF, looking-forward-to-the-weekend, issue of the Forward Five, here are some story lines to watch over the coming days:
- Trump impeachment – There are hints and rumblings that more Republicans are considering voting to convict Trump – some because they actually believe he is guilty, and others because they want the party to be done with him.
- Third and fourth parties – Trump has talked for a while about starting his own Patriot party, made up of his supporters. (So, further to the right still.) Now there is a group of never-Trump Republicans who are considering starting a center-right party, committed to “traditional conservative values and the rule of law.”
- Lincoln Project scandal – The never-Trump group that ran devastating anti-Trump videos all through the election season (and before) is now dealing with its own scandal. One of the co-founders is alleged to have had inappropriate text conversations with young men for some time, and even though the LP has disassociated themselves from him, some of the staffers for the LP have asserted that the leadership knew of this problem long before they did anything about it.
- KYGA actually passing some good bills – I will update the Visual Bill tracker later today, and write one or more stories about this as well. But in the midst of watching our Republican leges pass some really bad bills, it’s a small point of gratitude that they can also pass bills that actually do some good. More to come on this.
So, in light of all these story lines (plus some I didn’t have room for), here’s my advice: read the Forward Five every day, scan the Read page on the site regularly, pick a few other good sources to follow … and get your popcorn ready.
Wear those masks. (Maybe two!) Stay safe. Enjoy your weekend. And reach out to someone you haven’t talked to in a while, as we continue to hunker down to avoid COVID. In the midst of all this political stuff, relationship continue to be more important.
Thanks for reading this, thanks for reading the site, and thanks for supporting the work. See you Monday.
Today’s Five Things to Know
House passes Historical Horse Racing 55-38 after contentious debate; Governor says he’ll sign
After months of uncertainty following an opinion by the Kentucky Supreme Court, historical horse racing in the state has gained legislative approval to continue operation. (Forward Kentucky)
Additional information not in the above story:
- The Republican caucus in the House was evenly divided on the bill; Democratic votes helped it to pass.
- The Republican leadership in the House was also divided, with some supporting and some opposing.
- Multiple amendments to raise the tax rate on HHR (which is “egregiously low” according to KY Policy) were filed, but all were ruled out of order, since the bill originated in the Senate and anything affecting revenue has to start in the House.
- However, multiple legislators (including some Republicans!) agreed that the rate is too low, and promised to deal with it in next year’s session. Also, Churchill Downs and other beneficiaries of the bill said they supported raising the tax rate.
2/11 update — State announces more vaccination locations; health chief clarifies CDC mask guidance
MUCH news on vaccination sites (now 156 sites). Good explanation on proper masking, including double masking. Numbers continue going down, but state still a hot spot compared to other states. (Forward Kentucky)
Sen. Rand Paul equates deadly US Capitol insurrection with Louisville’s civil unrest
Sen. Rand Paul told Kentucky legislators Thursday the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump was comparable to violence in Louisville last summer. (Forward Kentucky)
Related: Rand Paul urges KY lawmakers to pass election security measures that already exist.
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul Thursday called on the Kentucky General Assembly to pass a law enhancing the security of Kentucky’s elections, while raising concerns about how the 2020 general election was conducted in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Paul said his top concern was that making sure that only the state legislature can change how elections are conducted, not the Secretary of State, which could be seen as a criticism of what happened in Kentucky.
Paul also said he felt Kentucky law should encourage in-person voting over mail-in voting (Kentucky already has restrictive mail-in voter laws, as the provisions for the 2020 election were temporary) and suggested that there should be a law requiring the automatic removal of voters who have died or moved away from the voter rolls. Both state and federal law already require the purging of the voter rolls and former Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes was put under a consent decree from the Department of Justice for not following the law.
“It’s not really clear why he was speaking to this committee,” said Josh Douglas, an election law expert at the University of Kentucky. “He didn’t really provide any insights that I found were meaningful takeaways.” (Herald-Leader)
Impeachment committee dismisses numerous petitions, but keeps ones against Beshear and Cameron
The House ad hoc impeachment committee met for hours on Thursday after the chambers adjourned, partially in executive session and partially in open session, and wound up officially dismissing numerous impeachment petitions that had been filed.
Before going into closed session, the committee heard from two legal professors, Sam Marcossan of UofL and Josh Douglass of UK, on various questions related to impeachment. Both professors noted that the petition against Robert Goforth, a state representative, was out of order, because legislators could only be censured or expelled, but not impeached.
At the end of their meeting, the committee voted 7-0 to dismiss the Goforth petition, as well as three Beshear petitions that had been received in recent weeks. The committee did not dismiss the original petition filed against Governor Andy Beshear, although they did allow one of the petitioners to withdraw. The committee also kept alive the petition against AG Daniel Cameron.
A bullet list of “things to know” today
Rather than pick one of these to be the fifth “thing to know” for this Friday, here is a list of items, each of which could be its own story (and may be later today).
- House managers rested their case against Trump. Everyone believes they proved their case (some have called it “open and shut”), but everyone also believes the Republicans will vote to acquit. However, Bill Kristol published a list last night of Repubs he thinks may vote to convict – enough to reach the 67 senators needed.
- The KY Senate passed the juvenile justice bill, which prevents juveniles from automatically being transferred to adult court for certain crimes.
- The Louisville Metro Council passed a resolution instructing city departments to consider “equity” when crafting programs and regulations. The concept of “equity” is becoming a movement on the left, and is not the same as “equality.” We’ll have an article explaining the difference up on the site this weekend.
- The Rand Paul story above is part of a larger story: the committee he was addressing is planning on bringing forward an election bill next week. Republicans on the committee have been working on it, but no Democrats on the committee have been included, and in fact have no idea what is in the bill.
Stay up to date with the General Assembly
Here are links to all our resources for staying current on what’s happening in Frankfort.
- 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] Lawmakers resurrect ‘conscience’ bill that would let doctors refuse to treat patients – A controversial proposal that would let medical workers and insurance companies refuse to perform or pay for health care services that violate their conscience is back before the Kentucky legislature. (Brief)
[New] Cameron impeachment petitioners file motion to question expert witness – Rep. Jason Nemes, the chair of the House ad hoc impeachment committee, announced on Wednesday that there would be an “expert witness” before the committee on Thursday. The petitioners in the Cameron impeachment therefore filed the following motion. (News)
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. (Analysis)
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)
🔥 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)
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)
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