Five Things to Know Today
— Publisher’s Note —
Good morning! Take a moment or two to read the story linked below about the health items that got pulled from Beshear’s budget by the Republicans in Frankfort, then help me understand something:
Why take money to help people across the state, and stuff it in a sock called the Rainy Day Fund, when that sock is already pretty full?
To be specific: the state’s rainy day fund was very low a few years ago, but has recovered to the point that it has about $400 million in it. Beshear proposed putting another $100 million in it, but legislators took out most of Beshear’s spending proposals (like the health spending) and instead put over $600 million into the rainy day fund.
They called it being “fiscally conservative.” I like what Colmon Elridge, the head of the KDP, called it: “abandoning us.”
Perhaps some things will change over the next few days, as the governor and the Republicans are supposedly negotiating over some things in the budget. We shall see.
It’s still frustrating, though, to see Republicans putting money into a rainy day fund, when for hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians, it’s been pouring for over a year.
Today’s Five Things to Know
3/21 update — Positivity rate drops below 3% as new cases continue their slow decline, but ICU ventilation rises
The course of the COVID-19 pandemic in Kentucky crossed another threshold Sunday: In the last seven days, fewer than 3 percent of residents tested for the novel coronavirus got a positive result. (Forward Kentucky)
Kentucky Senate approves commission on race despite concerns from Black lawmakers
A Senate bill creating a commission on race has been sent to the governor’s desk for approval — minus the support of the body’s two Black legislators. In a session that’s seen little progress on proposed legislation meant to improve the lives of Black residents, Sens. Gerald Neal of Louisville and Reginald Thomas of Lexington said they initially saw Senate Bill 10 as a positive step. However, after members in the state’s House of Representatives altered the make-up of the commission, Neal and Thomas said they could no longer back it.
On March 11, House members approved removing the executive director of the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights and replacing that person with a nominee from the Prosecutors Advisory Council — a decision Neal said had “raised serious issues of credibility” for the legislation. (Courier-Journal)
PHOTOS: Hundreds gather in Louisville to honor Atlanta shooting victims
Hundreds of people came together in Louisville Sunday evening to honor the victims of last week’s deadly shootings in Atlanta. The observance was one of many that took place across the country this weekend.
State Rep. Nima Kulkarni, the only Asian-American legislator in the General Assembly, hosted Sunday’s vigil along with some community groups at the Big Four Lawn. In a news release, Kulkarni said she wanted to help with the event to honor those killed and wounded in last week’s shootings, and to help raise awareness of a rise in violence against Asian Americans. Kentucky Congressman John Yarmuth and State Rep. Attica Scott were also in attendance. (WFPL)
Reminder: Vaccine eligibillity expands today
Starting today, if you are over 50, you can sign up for your COVID-19 vaccination. This is in addition to all the other groups that could already sign up:
- Residents of long-term-care facilities
- Health-care workers
- Anyone 60 or older
- K-12 personnel
- Child-care workers
- First responders
- Anyone age 16 or older with CDC highest-risk COVID-19 risk conditions
- Essential workers
To learn more, including which vaccine sites are near you, go to vaccine.ky.gov.
In push for casino-like slots, horse racing industry dominates Frankfort lobbyist spending
Going into the 2021 session of the Kentucky General Assembly, the horse racing industry had a goal: Help slot-like historical horse racing machines stay legal. And it was willing to spend big to accomplish it. Racing companies and industry groups dominated spending on lobbying the general assembly in the first two months of the session, collectively spending more than $200,000.
Senate Bill 120 received final passage Feb. 11 after a week of heated debate. It changed the statutory definition of pari-mutuel racing to include the machines resembling casino slots. (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
Veto-proof budget includes health-departments pension reforms, but no money for health-related proposals made by governor – The budget does not include money for the many health-related items that were in Beshear’s proposal, but it does include money for one: pension reform for health departments and quasi-governmental agencies. (News)
Ky. Congressional delegation signs disaster declaration – Gov. Andy Beshear has gotten the backing of Kentucky’s Congressional delegation in his effort to have President Joe Biden issue a major disaster declaration for the state, due to February’s snow and ice. (News)
Dear Repubs – We’ve got your call-out culture right here! – Repubs are worried about being “called out” when they don’t deserve it. But, based on these hair-on-fire statements they’ve made through the years, they actually need to be called out regularly. (Commentary)
LG&E and KU seek regressive residential & commercial rate hikes & restructuring – LG&E has filed another case with the Public Service Commission asking to raise and restructure its gas and electric rates in regressive, anti-consumer ways. Learn more here, including what YOU can do. (Action)
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.” (News)
Beshear helps Kentuckians, while GOP abandons us – Governor Beshear provided the legislature with a budget that would provide relief to so many in need of help right now. Republicans in Frankfort chose to abandon the people of this Commonwealth instead. (Commentary)
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)
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)
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