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The Forward Five 3/19/21

Five Things to Know Today

— Publisher’s Note —

Good morning! While we wait to see which bills the governor vetoes, and which other bills the General Assembly passes next week, the Kentucky political world turns its attention to two things:

  • Analyzing what KYGA21 did in the 100+ bills it passed in the vote-a-rama on Monday and Tuesday.
  • Watching DC to see what happens with the filibuster in the U.S. Senate.

As people dig into the language of the bills passed earlier this week, and as more details come out, you will see some follow-up stories that are newsworthy – such as the revelation that the hedge fund that now owns the Seelbach got $6 million from the state to pay for renovations. (Still can’t pay for textbooks, though.)

And, if the Senate doesn’t fix the filibuster, we’re going to have four more years of Mitch McConnell blocking everything, so it’s kind of a big deal to fix it.

So, even as you begin working in the yard (or driving around to watch everyone else work in their yard), keep one eye open for news on these two fronts. They don’t have the hair-on-fire immediacy of this week’s vote-a-rama, but in the end, they may turn out to be more important.

Bruce Maples, publisher
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Today’s Five Things to Know

3/18 update — State opens priority vaccinations to ages 50-59, announces new vax sites and audit that found 604 missing deaths from Covid-19

Gov. Beshear announced expansions of the state’s vaccination program, and said bars and restaurants could stay open an hour later because the state’s positivity rate has fallen sharply, especially Thursday. (Forward Kentucky)

Indivisible group puts up new billboard about HR1

The Indivisible group in western Kentucky has put up another billboard in Padacuh, this timing raising support for HR1, the “For the People Act.” (Forward Kentucky)

Seelbach owner funded legislative lobbying, campaigns ahead of $6M hotel tax credit

Leaders of an Ohio-based private equity firm that just scored a multimillion-dollar state tax credit to renovate Louisville’s Seelbach Hotel spent heavily on lobbying Kentucky’s legislature for such tax breaks in the past two years. They’ve also given thousands in campaign contributions to Republican legislative leaders and budget committee chairmen, according to public records.

The Kentucky General Assembly passed a revenue bill on Tuesday with $100 million of refundable tax credits for historic renovation projects, specifically carving out up to $6 million for an unnamed hotel — which Sen. Chris McDaniel, the Republican chairman of the Senate budget committee, said Thursday is The Seelbach. (Courier-Journal)

Kentucky has millions to stop evictions. Some landlords won’t take it

Uncooperative landlords have blocked hundreds of tenants in Kentucky from accessing money intended to keep a roof over their heads. Federal regulations allow renters to receive the funding directly, if landlords won’t cooperate. But local administrators for the state’s three public funds have opted not to distribute the money directly to Kentucky tenants.

Last year Louisville received 1,916 applications for a diversion program that offered emergency aid to renters facing eviction. But 353 applications — nearly a fifth — were denied because the landlord refused to cooperate, according to data from the city’s Office of Housing. (KYCIR)

Jameson Cable of the Kentucky History podcast, & the deluge of crap at the end of the session

Jameson Cable of the Kentucky History Podcast joined Robert this week to talk about his show and the importance of history education. Kentucky History Podcast is great, and if you like MOKP, you should definitely check them out as well!

Everything in the legislative session except the two days after the veto session has now concluded. LuTisha Buckner joined Robert to talk through more than a dozen bad bills (as well as a few good ones). (Forward Kentucky)

Recent Content on Forward Kentucky
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🔥Good bills, bad bills, who-knows bills — 18 bills that just made the cut-off – Here are 18 bills that passed in the last two days. Some are good bills (in our opinion), some are bad bills (some are REALLY bad), and some are either a mix of good and bad or a “who knows?” situation. (News)

Seven bills that DIDN’T pass KYGA21 (so far) – As lawmakers rushed to pass bills over the final two days of the session before “veto days,” some bills just didn’t make it. Here are seven such bills. (News)

🔥Cameron demands tax cuts, threatens lawsuit – AG Daniel Cameron sent a letter to the chair of the Federal Reserve demanding that Kentucky be allowed to use the relief money for tax cuts. If not, he and 20 other Repub AGs are going to sue. (Commentary)

General Assembly sends a resolution on emergency orders and several other pandemic-related bills to the governor – The General Assembly has sent Gov. Beshear a list of which COVID-19 emergency orders should stay in place if the legislature wins its legal battle over the governor’s emergency powers. (News)

🔥 KY legislators rushed state tax breaks worth hundreds of millions to Beshear’s desk – As the clock neared midnight Tuesday, Kentucky legislators hurriedly shoveled more state tax breaks toward Gov. Andy Beshear’s desk, adding to the many billions of dollars in state tax breaks already on the books. (Brief)

🔥 Massie among 12 who voted against awarding medals to Capitol police – Rep. Thomas Massie was among twelve Republicans who voted against awarding medals to law enforcement officers who defended the chamber during the Capitol riot. (Brief)

🔥Remembering Breonna Taylor — a story in photos – A memorial and demonstration was held on March 13 in Louisville to mark the one-year anniversary of the killing of Breonna Taylor at the hands of Louisville police. Del Ramey was there with his trusty camera, and gathered this story in pictures. (Photo Gallery)

Filibuster THIS! – The U.S. is again approaching a crucial point in our right to vote. The result will either be the biggest advance since the landmark Civil Rights Act, or the biggest setback since the start of Jim Crow in the 1870s. (Commentary)

Watch out for Republicans trying to claim credit for American Rescue Plan’s state and local aid – Everyone, and especially the local media who will likely be getting those Republican press releases taking credit, needs to be clear: Democrats made this happen. (Commentary)

Government has abandoned these four duties for too long – and the consequences are deadly – The functions of government are precisely those which are not the functions of business or the markets. Here are four areas where government must step up and lead. (Commentary)

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Forward Kentucky is an independent media organization focused on progressive news and issues in Kentucky. Our objectives are to provide journalism that is objective, policies that are effective, and commentary that is progressive. Our goal is to help Kentucky become all that it can be through government that works, for all. We are "the progressive voice for Kentucky politics."

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