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— Publisher’s Note —
Good morning! Did you get a lot of rain over the weekend? Some parts of the state got up to seven inches of rain. That’s a LOT of rain for a short period of time. Overwhelming.
And speaking of overwhelmed, that’s how our leges are feeling in Frankfort about now.
Since this is an odd-numbered year, it’s a “short session” year. That means they only have 30 working days to get everything done. At this point, they are over halfway through those 30 days … and they haven’t even brought out the budget yet.
So where’s the “overwhelming” part? The number of bills that are filed. Here we are in a short session, and there have been 881 bills filed – 286 in the Senate, and 595 in the House. Wow.
And remember, for a bill to become law, it has to go through this process:
- Be assigned to a committee
- Be heard and passed in that committee
- Be heard and passed on the floor of the chamber where it was filed
- Be assigned to a committee in the other chamber
- Be heard and passed in that committee in the other chamber
- Be heard and passed on the floor of that other chamber
- If the version passed in the second chamber is different from the version passed in the first chamber, reconcile the differences
- Be signed or vetoed by the governor
- If vetoed, have the veto overridden
So, it’s not really a surprise that out of that 800+ bills, only a small portion will be heard and passed.
But still, if you are a part-time legislator, for these 30 working days you have to feel overwhelmed. A LOT of rain (bills) in a short period of time.
The process is picking up. The Senate passed more bills last week than it has in any week so far. And more are on the way. Plus, at some point, a budget.
We’ll do our best to keep you informed about it all. Some of the bills that get passed are narrow and not too newsworthy. Others are broad and have major impact, such as the election bill that passed on Friday. If they’re important, we’ll let you know about them.
Today’s Five Things to Know
Election measure makes it through House with ease
A measure to make permanent many of the changes made because of the COVID-19 pandemic during the 2020 elections passed the House on Friday. Included in the provisions are three days of early voting, vote centers, and the online portal for requesting an absentee ballot. (Forward Kentucky)
Kentucky House votes to weaken open records law and shield lawmakers from inquiries
The Kentucky House voted Friday to weaken the state’s Open Records Act in several ways, such as letting state lawmakers shield themselves from inquiries and blocking information requests from outside Kentucky.
The House voted 71-to-27 for House Bill 312, which was originally introduced as a minor technical correction in the law about financial institutions. But at a House State Government Committee hearing on Thursday, the sponsor introduced a last-minute substitute version of the bill that would rewrite portions of the open records law that citizens use to request information from public agencies. (Herald-Leader)Related: “Mule bill” used to gut Kentucky’s open records law(Forward Kentucky)
2/28 update — Beshear says new vaccine is ‘game changer,’ end of pandemic is in sight – but masks and distancing still needed
Also, Beshear appeared on “Face the Nation,” and his major premise was his high priority for vaccinating teachers and other school personnel. (Forward Kentucky)
House COVID relief bill is the response Kentuckians need
We call on the Senate to pass this bill quickly, before vital pandemic unemployment benefits for over 100,000 Kentuckians expire on March 14. Here’s why it is so important. (Forward Kentucky)
Child poverty in the U.S. could be slashed by an idea proposed by a prominent Republican decades ago
Which former president pitched a Family Assistance Plan to the American people that would have provided many families with children a monthly stipend? And how would it work today? (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 Mar. 1
Recent Content on Forward Kentucky
[new] indicates item not in a Forward Five before
🔥 indicates high # of reads, social media shares, or both
[New] Bills for local control of tobacco haven’t even been assigned to committees, though advocates say they would pass on the floor – With less than two weeks left in the 2021 legislative session, bills to let local governments regulate tobacco products are among the many that legislative leaders haven’t even assigned to a committee. (News)
[New] A gilded Trump statue — idol, spoof, symbol, or metaphor? – A golden statue of Donald Trump showed up at CPAC this week, and one had to wonder about what it meant. Was it an idol to worship, a spoof, an appropriate symbol, or a metaphor? One thing was clear – it got absolutely slammed on social media. (Commentary)
[New] What is keeping Kentucky from having an equitable budget? – Crafting a comprehensive budget for a state government is no small task. The budget doesn’t just allocate funds; instead, it is a living example of the policy outcomes that lawmakers value for our state. Can it also be made equitable? (Policy)
[New] This organization is getting it done in Frankfort – Can you name this organization? It’s 40 years old. It has over 12,000 members. It has grown into a multi-issue organization with staff in all corners of the state. It lobbies our legislators constantly, working for justice and equity. (Feature)
[New] Protect journalists, activists from vindictive lawsuits – It’s one thing for government agencies to deny open records requests from the press or public. It’s quite another for those entities to file lawsuits in retaliation against the requesters. (Commentary)
[New] ACLU statement on the no-knock bill passed by the Senate – The ACLU of Kentucky issued a statement after the Kentucky Senate passed Senate Bill 4, a bill that limits (but doesn’t end) no-knock warrants. (Press Release)
[New] 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.” (Brief)
[New] 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. Note: This is not the bill known as Breonna’s Law, which was filed by Rep. Attica Scott and has not moved forward. (Brief)
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)
“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)
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)
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