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— Publisher’s Note —
Good morning! We’ve taken advantage of this unexpected hiatus in the General Assembly to catch up some of our tracking tools, so I want to be sure you know about each of them.
Bill Trackers – These are automatically updated each morning about 6 AM from whatever happened the day before. There are four bill sheets: all bills, bills that are actually in committee, bills that have passed one chamber (crossed over), and bills that we think are key legislation. You can sort, filter, and group the bills, and search for keywords. Really handy, and free to use. (Bill trackers)
Visual Key Bill Tracker – Sometimes it’s nice to have a visual that you can just scan to see where things are. That’s what the Visual tracker does. For each bill on our key bills list, it has a bar showing how far the bill has gotten in the process. It’s got green for “good” bills (bills we support), and red for the bills we’d rather not see passed. You can sort and filter this as well. (Visual tracker)
Legislator Scorecard – This tool keeps track of each legislator’s votes on bills, as well as sponsorships of bills, assigning a point value to each. It then totals the scores for each legislator and ranks them according to whether their votes and sponsorships are aligned with ForwardKY positions, or not. This is a very full-featured tool, with lots of ways to dig into the data. There are explanations on how to use it on the page, so give it a try. (Legislator scorecard)
Lots of ways to keep up with what’s going on in Frankfort, including good and bad bills. Hope you find these useful!
Today’s Five Things to Know
2/17 update — Cases keep going down but 7-day rate still among top 10; positivity rate up slightly
Gov. Beshear announced 1,017 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Wednesday, a number that is still high when compared with the whole of the pandemic, but that continues to creep down. (Forward Kentucky)
Rep. Andy Barr, Kentucky coal group falsely blame wind power as Texas power outage culprit
As Texas deals with a power crisis caused by a winter storm, many are spreading misinformation about the cause, including Rep. Andy Barr and Friends of Coal. (Courier-Journal via Forward Kentucky)
Amendment tacked onto KY education bill would require in-person classes at all schools by March 1
An amendment tacked onto an important piece of pandemic-related education legislation could force all school districts in Kentucky to completely return to full-time, in-person classes by March 1. Rep. Felicia Rabourn (R-Turners Station) filed the floor amendment to House Bill 208, which many state lawmakers expect to receive a House vote next week in Frankfort. (WLKY)
Will Trump ever be stopped?
From Teri Kanefield: I think the question is whether what Trump has unleashed can be contained. The answer is that it will be difficult, and will take time. (Editor’s note: As always, Kanefield is worth reading.) (Forward Kentucky)
Goforth’s hearing pushed to April
A pre-trail hearing for Rep. Robert Goforth was set to take place on Wednesday, but was pushed off the docket until April 14 — almost a year after charges were filed. Goforth was indicted in September by a grand jury in Laurel County on one count of first-degree strangulation and fourth-degree assault. The representative is accused of choking Amy Goforth, his wife, and hitting her in the head causing an injury on April 21. (Richmond Register)
Recent Content on Forward Kentucky
[new] indicates item not in a Forward Five before
🔥indicates high # of reads, social media shares, or both
[New] Governed by the stupid – “But as always, we are “governed by the stupid” who think they’re the smartest people in the room, think preparation is for wimps, laugh at science, and are more concerned about lowering taxes than public safety.” (Commentary)
🔥 Twelve crappy bills that need to be burned with fire and die – Here’s a short list of twelve bad bills in this year’s General Assembly. We could write an editorial about each one, but we’re just going to give you the list and a summary of what the bill does. (Commentary)
General Assembly cancels remainder of week – As Kentucky digs out from the latest winter storm and braces for yet another one on Wednesday and Thursday, leaders of the General Assembly have canceled all activities this week. (News)
Donald Trump bashes Mitch McConnell after the Kentuckian blamed him for Capitol riot – Former President Donald Trump lambasted Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in a lengthy statement Tuesday afternoon. (Brief)
What having no income tax gets a state during a pandemic – What happens to your state’s budget — and everything it pays for — when it depends on the ups and downs of sales? And how does that apply to Kentucky? (Commentary)
The insurrectionist next door – What made these seemingly average American folks vulnerable to being sucked into the rabbit holes of radicalism and persuaded to assault our nation’s seat of government? (Commentary)
The most important bill in Frankfort – There are hundreds of bills already filed in this year’s General Assembly. But Neal Turpin says that of all of these bills, THIS is the most important – and the one that would change our politics and state the most. (Policy)
🔥 Trump’s acquittal is a sign of ‘constitutional rot’ – partisanship overriding principles – The Senate’s decision to acquit former President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial may have been a victory for Trump, but it is a clear sign that democracy in the U.S. is in poor health. (Analysis)
🔥 ForwardKY contributors win six awards – Every year, the Kentucky Press Association holds a contest to grant various awards: best editorial writer, best breaking news photo, and so on. And in this year’s contest, contributors to Forward Kentucky won six of those awards. (News)
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