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— Publisher’s Note —
Good morning! Interesting parallel: as the weather warms back up, things in Frankfort also begin heating up today. After being out for most of last week due to snow and ice, the General Assembly meets today, with committee meetings starting early this morning.
One committee to pay attention to is the House Impeachment Committee. They meet today at 2 PM, and if past is prologue, they will once again ignore open meetings laws and do all their work behind closed doors. They have dismissed all the impeachment petitions except the ones against Governor Beshear and Attorney General Cameron.
The best outcome would be for them to also dismiss those two petitions and be done with these distractions from their work. I worry, though, that with as much time and attention as they have given this, that the four Republicans on the committee will outvote the three Democrats and bring the Beshear impeachment to the floor. And if it gets to the floor, all bets are off, in my opinion.
Outside of that sideshow, there are many bills moving through the process – a number of bad bills, a few really bad bills, and even a few good ones. I’ve done two articles listing some of those bills (bad bills here, good bills here), and will do one or two more this week.
Trying to keep up with all the bills in the General Assembly is somewhat impossible. So, use our Bill Trackers, especially the Key Legislation one, and the Visual Bill Tracker. All of these are under the Track menu on the site.
As always, stay safe, stay engaged, and read Forward Kentucky.
See you tomorrow.
Today’s Five Things to Know
2/21 update — New cases drop for 6th straight week; positivity rate drops for 4th day in row
Though case numbers are on the decline in Kentucky and most of the nation, Kentucky again ranks in the top 10 states for the number of cases per 100,000 population, according to the The New York Times. (Forward Kentucky)
Bill would broaden definition of animal torture in Kentucky
State representatives are looking to revise a Kentucky law to broaden the definition of animal torture. House Bill 57 would allow animal control officers to press charges for more extreme cases of starvation and neglect, said state Rep. Chris Freeland, one of the bill’s 44 co-sponsors.
Animal torture is already a Class D felony, but House Bill 57 would make it easier to charge people with felonies for starving or constraining dogs or cats with the purpose of the animals dying. (WDRB)
In the age of COVID, there’s a new normal for lobbying in Frankfort
Because of the pandemic, our lives have changed, and lobbying the legislature is no different. What is the new normal for our legislators, and how can we have an impact? Rep. Joni Jenkins and Sen. Morgan McGarvey share their insights and advice. (Forward Kentucky)
Former state Rep. Charles Booker scores book deal for a new memoir
Booker confirmed on Twitter that he’s set to write a memoir called “From the Hood to the Holler” — the phrase he used as a rallying cry during his congressional campaign. (Courier-Journal via Forward Kentucky)
This Kentucky city plans to build a church with public money. Objections raised.
The city of Versailles plans to use public funds to build a worship center for a local church that would double as an emergency shelter, sparking objections from a national atheist group and concern among local farmland preservationists.
It is unconstitutional for the Kentucky city to spend public money to construct a building that will have the primary purpose of holding religious services, says the Freedom From Religion Foundation based in Madison, Wis. (Herald-Leader)
Calendar Items to Know
Taken from the ForwardKY event calendar
“We Stand with Andy” Petition Delivery (info)
The grassroots group Progress Kentucky joins Owensboro resident Emma Latta in a virtual event to present their thousands of petition signatures in support of Governor Andy Beshear to members of the House Legislative Impeachment Committee. We will also call for the recusal of a committee member we believe to be compromised. All nine members of the Impeachment Committee are invited.
TODAY ● 3 PM ● Zoom
Today’s Legislative Calendar (info)
Committee meetings and session schedule, including listed agenda items for committees.
Recent Content on Forward Kentucky
[new] indicates item not in a Forward Five before
🔥indicates high # of reads, social media shares, or both
[New] With KentuckyWired ‘substantially complete,’ exclusive provider looks to attract customers – After years of delays, the KentuckyWired project is just about ready to deploy broadband to a larger base of customers — and a Louisville-based company led by a former telecommunications giant executive is planning to lead the charge. (Brief)
[New] Open letter on HB 84, the “pregnant inmates” bill – A personal letter can often make a real difference to your legislators who are considering a bill. Here’s one real-life example of just such a letter. (Commentary)
[New] House Bill 273 is an obstacle to the truth – In an attempt to protect families, HB 273 actually empowers official corruption and misconduct. Public agencies will use it to hide incriminating evidence of misconduct. It is a bad bill. (Commentary)
[New] A final plea to lawmakers on HB 273 – HB 273 is a model of poor draftsmanship and ambiguity. It will inevitably lead to misuse, abuse, and confusion. It is the proverbial green light to public agency secrecy under the most damning circumstances. HB 273 disserves the public — including families. (Commentary)
[New] We’ve pulled the ads. Here’s why. – I took down the ads on the site. Here is why. (Meta)
🔥 Seven good bills that might actually pass KYGA21 this year – Believe it or not, here are some GOOD pieces of legislation that might actually get passed by this year’s General Assembly. #KYGA21 (Commentary)
Judge in lawsuit over governor’s emergency powers tells Beshear and legislature to end ‘communications gap’ and compromise – Republican legislative leaders and Gov. Andy Beshear need to compromise on their dispute about the governor’s emergency powers, Judge Shepherd said Thursday. (News)
🔥 Why are Democratic presidents so good for the economy? – The pattern is clear. The economy performs much better under Democratic presidents than Republican. Here are some reasons why – and why Biden’s plan is the right plan for this moment. (Commentary)
🔥 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. (Commentary)
🔥 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)
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)
🔥 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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