The Forward Five – Tuesday, 3/23/21

Five Things to Know Today

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— Publisher’s Note —

Good morning! The bill signings have started in Frankfort, with the governor signing a number of health-related bills yesterday.

The vetoes have also started.

Beshear vetoed a number of bills yesterday that the Republicans passed to take power away from the governor and give it to various Republicans in government: the state treasurer, the ag commissioner, the fish and wildlife commission, and more.

Asked what he would do when the legislature overrides these vetoes, as they are sure to do, Beshear said they might go to court to block the bills … or, “other people” might go to court. He didn’t say who those “other people” might be.

He also said that he was dealing with bills in “buckets,” with yesterday being the “health care bucket.” More buckets are coming, including education.

Yesterday was this year’s session in miniature: a number of good bills, that move the state forward, and some bad bills, that are just partisan gamesmanship.

But, don’t blow it all off as political theatre; these bills can have a direct impact on your life sometimes, such as the insulin bill. Keep paying attention, and reading the stories on the site.

There will be bill signings (and vetoes?) every day this week, and we’ll try to give you a list each day. So, check in each evening to see what happened that day.

See you tomorrow.

Bruce Maples, publisher
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Today’s Five Things to Know

Governor signs 13 health-related bills into law, including one that caps insulin co-payment at $30/month

Gov. Andy Beshear signed 13 health bills into law Monday, highlighting one that caps insulin costs for about 30 percent of Kentuckians who need the life-preserving hormone. (Forward Kentucky)

Beshear vetoes bills shifting executive powers

Kentucky’s Democratic governor has vetoed Republican-backed bills seeking to shift authority away from his office. Gov. Andy Beshear summed it up Monday as a partisan attempt at “playing switcheroo with executive powers” held by governors. House Speaker David Osborne responded that Kentuckians elected Republican supermajorities to serve as a check on the governor’s authority.

Two vetoed bills would shift authority to Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles and another would give more power over state money to Treasurer Alison Ball. Quarles and Ball are Republicans. (Herald-Leader)

3/23 update — Beshear blames high prison case numbers on testing, but death rate among state prisoners is third in U.S.

Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday that Kentucky’s coronavirus case number in state prisons “sometimes look higher than other states” because “We’re committed to testing when there’s an outbreak” like the one in progress at the Kentucky State Penitentiary.

But Kentucky doesn’t just have the second-highest rate of cases. It has the third-highest death rate among state prisoners from COVID-19, according to The Marshall Project, a nonprofit news organization that deals with criminal-justice issues and has tracked prison cases and deaths during the pandemic. (Forward Kentucky)

Death threats against Daniel Cameron move KY lawmakers to spend $500,000 for security

Kentucky lawmakers put in the state budget this week $500,000 for around-the-clock security for Attorney General Daniel Cameron after they heard he has received numerous death threats, the state Senate budget chairman said in defending the expense.

“We have heard that there were more death threats against Daniel Cameron last year than any other elected official in the country except President Trump,” said Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Taylor Mill. “We figured it would take five people to do the job with salaries and benefits so we appropriated $100,000 a person.” (Herald-Leader)

Beshear administration investigating juvenile justice chief but not saying why

LaShana Harris, who was appointed state juvenile justice commissioner in December 2019 by Gov. Andy Beshear, is under investigation and has been placed on leave.

The state Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, which oversees the juvenile justice department, acknowledged its “ongoing investigation” of Harris in response to a request by the Lexington Herald-Leader for records regarding her months-long leave of absence. When the newspaper asked for any complaints filed against Harris and any document alleging unprofessional behavior, the cabinet denied the request. (Herald-Leader)

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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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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