The Forward Five – Friday, 2/26/21
Five Things to Know Today
— Publisher’s Note —
Good morning! And happy TGIF, as well!
Our leges are just as glad as the rest of us to come to a Friday. There are certain advantages to having a part-time legislature, but one big disadvantage is that you ask the members to work at least two jobs: their day job, and the legislative work.
So, they grab some time when they can. Normal legislative days begin at 8 AM with committee meetings, the session at 2 PM, and often more committee meetings once the session ends for the day. Then, either drive back home, or go to the apartment you have rented in Frankfort for the duration of the session. And do it all again the next day.
However, Fridays are (usually) different. The chambers convene at 9 AM, not in the afternoon, and there are usually few or no committee meetings. So, get your session over, and get home for the weekend!
We gripe often about what comes out of Frankfort (and usually with good reason), but we should never forget that these are our neighbors giving extra time to do the work. “Thanks for your service” is almost always deserved, for members of any party.
So, let’s hope they do more good than bad, and then get to go home for a few days. Monday at 8 AM will get here soon enough.
Today’s Five Things to Know
Election bills gain approval from House committee
Three election-related bills won easy approval from a legislative committee on Thursday, including one that would keep many of the changes made during the 2020 election cycle due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Forward Kentucky)
2/25 update — Beshear says 119 new vaccine sites will bring total to 410; positivity rate keeps dropping
The share of Kentuckians testing positive for the virus in the past seven days was 5.67%, the lowest that rate’s been since Oct. 24. Cases were up, though. And, there’s a map of all the vaccination sites. (Forward Kentucky)
Kentucky Senate passes ban on many, but not all, no-knock warrants
The Kentucky Senate passed legislation Thursday that would ban many — but not all — no-knock warrants. The bill was sponsored by Senate President Robert Stivers. Note: This is NOT “Breonna’s Law,” a bill sponsored by Rep. Attica Scott that would ban all no-knock warrants. That bill has not moved in the House. (Courier-Journal via Forward Kentucky)
U.S. Senate parliamentarian rules minimum wage increase not allowed in relief bill
Once in each budget year, the U.S. Senate is allowed to bypass the filibuster rule and pass a spending bill with a simple majority, a process called “reconciliation.” That is the process the Democrats plan to use to pass President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief package, so they can pass it without any Republican votes if necessary.
The catch is that everything in the bill has to be directly related to the budget. Who decides that? The Senate Parliamentarian. And on Thursday, that person said that the increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour was not directly tied to the budget, so it couldn’t be included. End of raising the minimum wage, since Republicans will never vote for it and you’ll never get it past the filibuster rules.
Or is it? As was recently pointed out, the ruling of the parliamentarian is advisory. Which means, the Senate president (VP Kamala Harris) can overrule the parliamentarian. Will Harris do that? Remains to be seen. But she has long been a proponent of raising the minimum wage. Watch this space.
House advances constitutional amendment to declare no right to abortion in Kentucky
The legislation seeks to create a new section to the Kentucky constitution declaring: “To protect human life, nothing in this Constitution shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.” (Courier-Journal via Forward Kentucky)
Use our daily update to keep up with KYGA21
Every day that the General Assembly meets, we post an update. It includes:
- What actions were taken on key bills the day before
- What actions on key bills are planned for today
- The entire published calendar for the day, including committee meetings with agenda items
The daily update is a good way to see in a few minutes what’s going on in Frankfort. Use it to stay informed, and share it with your friends and on social media. Here’s the latest: KYGA21 Update for Feb. 26
Recent Content on Forward Kentucky
[new] indicates item not in a Forward Five before
indicates high # of reads, social media shares, or both
[New] Rep. McKenzie Cantrell on unemployment; Robert Stivers and West Louisville; and the end of impeachment – This week on the show, McKenzie Cantrell talks about her work to reform the UI system, incl her attempts to get the Repub majority to take up the issue. Also, two bills from Robert Stivers which specifically impact Black people in Louisville. (Podcast)
Repub bill gives half a loaf to Louisville – but with poison pill inside – House Bill 309 SOUNDS like what was needed: subpoena power for the civilian police review board. But the more you look, the worse it seems — not to mention the poison pill inside. (Analysis)
SOS Adams praises new election bills. But how good are they, really? – Two new voting bills have been filed in Frankfort, and SOS Adams says they are great. But how good are they, really? Both Adams and Dr. Josh Douglass weigh in. (News)
Rep. Nemes — If this is “open,” we’d hate to see closed – The House impeachment committee said that its proceedings “represented a major change” and would not be conducted “behind closed doors.” We are not convinced. (Commentary)
“Good riddance to bad rubbish” — reactions to dropping of Beshear impeachment – After the House impeachment committee announced they are recommending “no action” on the Beshear impeachment petition, reactions were swift in coming. Here are two sent to Forward Kentucky. (News)
A new organization, CAVE, is growing from a seed to a sapling – There’s a new organization in Kentucky that pulls together a wide range of groups to affect change. Learn more about this new organization, CAVE, and what it is up to. (News)
It’s Trump’s party — white supremacy, fascism, the Big Lie, and all – The Republican Party is now Donald Trump’s party, which also makes it the party of the Big Lie, white supremacy, and proto-fascism. (Commentary)
What’s in the House economic aid bill – The House Budget Committee began marking up the $1.9 trillion economic aid bill today. Markups are expected to be minor, so here’s some of what’s in the bill as of now. (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)
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)
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