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— Publisher’s Note —
Good morning! The biggest news of the day, of course, is the imminent passage of the American Rescue Plan in the House today. Even though they passed it originally a few weeks ago and sent it to the Senate, the bill was changed in the Senate, so the House has to vote again to approve the Senate changes.
Obviously, this is an important moment, for any number of reasons. The bill will provide assistance to people who are hurting, from food assistance to unemployment increases to rent assistance. It will boost the budgets of cities and states at a time when revenues have fallen. It will create jobs through infrastructure projects. And, it will speed up our recovery from the pandemic, with money for vaccine distribution and for public health departments.
But perhaps most importantly, it puts forward a view of government that is the antithesis of the “government is the problem” mantra started by Ronald Reagan. It shows a government that is not afraid to be bold, to tackle big problems, and to help everyday people with their issues, instead of only existing for the wealthy. One commentator said that this bill “drives a stake through the heart of Reaganism.”
FDR was elected because Herbert Hoover didn’t rise to the challenge of the Great Depression. One could argue that Biden was elected because Trump didn’t rise to the challenge of the pandemic. It’s too soon to compare Biden to FDR, of course, but it’s not too soon to compare the ARP to some of FDR’s actions. It is big, it is bold, it is comprehensive, and it will make a difference.
As VP Biden told then-president Obama on the passage of the Affordable Care Act, “This is a big f___ing deal.” The same is true today when the House votes on the rescue bill.
Today’s Five Things to Know
Kentucky to receive $2.6 billion in latest stimulus program
“This is a transformational moment for our state,” Beshear said, “and how we use those funds can, I believe, end this recession sooner rather than later, and stimulate our economy in incredible ways.” (Forward Kentucky)
One dramatic chart shows the difference between Biden’s rescue plan and Trump’s tax scam
The chart shows the difference between Donald Trump’s “rescue plan,” which was really a giant tax scam for the wealthy, and the Biden American Rescue Plan, which actually helps everyday people. (Forward Kentucky)
3/9 update — Positivity rate drops below 4%, vaccinations at a new high; Beshear says ‘stay vigilant’
“So everybody out there, stay patient, stay vigilant. Now is not the time to throw away your mask and to behave recklessly. Now is the time where we know that a better tomorrow is just right around the corner.” (Forward Kentucky)
With clock ticking on legislative session, Kentucky lawmakers resume budget talks
Legislators still have little to show for the one-year state spending plan even though they only have about a week before the deadline to send it to Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear’s desk. Part of the holdup is uncertainty over how much aid Kentucky will receive from the federal government as part of the coronavirus relief package making its way through Congress.
Senate President Robert Stivers, a Republican from Manchester, said he’s still not sure how much money the state will get. “We’re trying to get at that as fast as we can and we’re getting briefed on it on a couple of different levels,” Stivers said. (WFPL)
8 of Kentucky Democrat’s 200 bills have advanced this year. Why haven’t more moved forward?
If you’re a Democratic lawmaker, your chances of getting a bill you proposed to pass in the Republican-dominated Kentucky legislature are better than nil — but not by much. Only eight of about 200 bills that have a Democrat listed as the prime sponsor this year have advanced at all, as of Tuesday, with six working days left in the state’s annual legislative session, a Courier Journal analysis found.
Of those bills, only six have passed either the state House of Rep
resentatives or the Senate so far, and none have cleared both chambers. Nearly all of them had at least one Republican cosponsor. Meanwhile, about 250 bills with a Republican prime sponsor have passed at least one legislative chamber.
Rep. Attica Scott, D-Louisville, said last week that none of the 80-plus bills she has filed since joining the legislature in 2017 have even gotten a legislative committee hearing, let alone a vote on the House floor. (Courier-Journal)
Recent Content on Forward Kentucky
[new] indicates item not in a Forward Five before
🔥indicates high # of reads, social media shares, or both
[New] ‘Sounds an awful lot like Jim Crow’ – Voter suppression laws in Georgia evoke another time in the state’s (and the nation’s) history. (Cartoon)
With just six days left in KYGA21, many health-related bills near final passage; here’s a roundup – With just six days left in the General Assembly’s short, odd-year session, many health-related bills remain on the table, and only a few have become law. Here’s a roundup of health-related legislation. (Analysis)
Republicans are standing in a metaphorical schoolhouse door – Today, the cry of the Republican party is “voter suppression now, voter suppression tomorrow, and voter suppression forever.” And across the country, they are standing in a metaphorical door to stop people from voting. (Commentary)
GOP as the “working class party”?!? BWAH-HA-HA-HA!! – The GOP’s attempt to rebrand itself as a blue collar party is the latest sucker play in a 40-year-old con on working people. (Commentary)
Open records shenanigans, abortion amendments, and JCPS reopens – Jazmin and Robert discuss several of the bills making their way through KYGA21, including a bill allowing the AG to prosecute protestors, major changes to the open records law, changes to voting rights, and a constitutional amendment to end abortion in Kentucky. (Podcast)
Not one Republican voted to help Americans in the midst of the COVID Pandemic. Not one. – Let’s scream from the rooftops — Not one Republican voted to help families in dire need. Not one Republican voted to help bring an end to this pandemic. Not one Republican voted to help open schools safely. Not one. (Commentary)
Important bills are moving – here’s a list – As we head into the home stretch of this year’s General Assembly, the pace of legislation has picked up dramatically. Of all the bills getting hearings and votes, here are some of the more important ones and where they stand. (Backgrounder)
House Democrats just passed the most important democracy reforms since the 1965 Voting Rights Act – These reforms face a challenging path in the Senate, given Democrats’ narrow majority and the GOP filibuster. But, their adoption is critical for preserving American democracy amid unprecedented attack by Republican extremists both in and outside Congress. (News)
You can help Eastern Kentucky with your wallet – You can help the people in Eastern Kentucky by donating to one of these three relief funds, or by buying something on an Amazon wish list. (Action)
Editorial cartoon by Jen Sorensen
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