The Forward Five Monday, 3/29/21

9 mins read

Five Things to Know Today

— Publisher’s Note —

Good morning! I like how Daniel Desrochers starts his story on the reconvening of the General Assembly:

“Like Jack Nicholson in The Shining … they’re back.”

Considering the damage our Republican-controlled legislature could do over the next two days, it’s probably an apt metaphor.

Or, maybe not. There are some signs of hope, including comments about budget discussions between the leges and the Beshear administration. And, there seems to be enough pressure on lawmakers that they may fail to get enough votes to override the veto of the so-called school choice bill.

But, there is little doubt that they will override some, if not most, of the Beshear vetoes. And when they do, off to the courts we will go.

So, even though it can seem arcane and distant, pay attention over the next few days. If you need a scorecard, there are lists of bills to watch in all the major news outlets. The big ones are HB 563, the school vouchers bill; the budget bills, including what to do about the rescue funds; SB 228, the Mitch McConnell Replacement bill; HB 258, which moves new teachers into a hybrid retirement system and requires them to work longer for less benefits; and HB 312, that does serious damage to our open records laws.


On another note, there will be an all-subscriber newsletter later this week that will contain some important news about Forward Kentucky. When you see it, please open and read it.

Bruce Maples, publisher
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Today’s Five Things to Know

Black voter suppression – how we got here

In addition to racism itself, what events in the past led to today’s suppression of Black voters? Heather Cox Richardson lays out the history that led to today. An important read. (Forward Kentucky)

3/28 update — Eleventh week of fewer new cases, but positivity and new-case averages went up a little

Two key measures of the pandemic took a turn upward Sunday, even as Gov. Beshear pointed out that the Monday-to-Sunday reporting week was the 11th in a row with a smaller number of new cases. (Forward Kentucky)

This ‘trick’ lets the KY legislature pass contentious bills with less public scrutiny

They come by many names. An act relating to reorganizations. An act relating to insurance. An act relating to education, or banking, or economic development, or agriculture. They all purport to do one of two things: add gender-neutral language or make a “technical correction” to a Kentucky statute.

There is not a raft of he/him pronouns in the Kentucky Revised Statutes. Instead, these are shell bills, sometimes called mule bills. They are filed and given all the necessary readings and assignments purely so lawmakers can strip them and put in something new at the last minute, with little public input. They are fish waiting to be gutted and turkeys waiting to be stuffed.

“It’s called trick the public,” said Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, D-Louisville. “You get a whole new bill that nobody’s had a chance to read and the public hasn’t had a chance to look at.” (Herald-Leader)

Gov. Andy Beshear vetoes parts of six budget bills

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear issued line-item vetoes of six budget and appropriation bills Friday evening, including the executive branch budget bill for the next fiscal year.

The governor axed one provision of the budget bill limiting what he could do with the $2.6 billion of federal funds soon to come to state government through the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act.

Beshear struck through several sections of House Bill 405, including a provision that would fine the governor’s budget office if he spent any American Rescue Plan Act funds without the explicit permission of the legislature. (Courier-Journal)

Five things to watch when the Kentucky General Assembly resumes Monday

Like Jack Nicholson in The Shining: they’re back.

The Kentucky General Assembly will resume the final two days of the 2021 legislative session on Monday and Tuesday, having already passed more than 150 bills over the course of their short 30-day legislative session.

While most of the time is set aside for overriding any vetoes issued by Gov. Andy Beshear — he has already vetoed more than 18 bills this session — lawmakers will still have time to pass a few items remaining on their agenda.

  • What to do with the federal stimulus money in the American Rescue Plan
  • No-knock warrants (Stivers’ bill, not Scott’s)
  • Protection from COVID-19 liability for businesses
  • The transportation budget (not passed because they ran out of time)
  • Election reform bill (needs concurrent on changes made in Senate)


Recent Content on Forward Kentucky
[new] indicates item not in a Forward Five before


indicates high # of reads, social media shares, or both

[New] HB 563 is the REAL steal we must stop. – You’ve heard of the fake “Stop the Steal” campaign from a few months ago? Stopping HB 563 is the REAL Stop the Steal from our public schools. (Commentary)

[New] 🔥Mitch’s threats – Our senior senator, Mitch McConnell, has been making dire, dire threats about what would happen if the Senate got rid of the filibuster. Unfortunately for Mitch, his threats are coming across differently than he probably assumes. Aaron Smith captures the difference. (Cartoon)

Making it easier to vote does not threaten election integrity – The success of last year’s election proves it: The often-claimed trade-off between election integrity and reasonable measures to make it easier for people to vote is, in fact, largely false. (Analysis)

Chuck Corra and Big John Isner of Appodlachia, plus Andy Beshear’s vetoes – This week – the hosts of Appodlachia on the role of Kentucky in the wider Appalachian context. And, Robert and Jazmin on Beshear’s vetoes, as well as the bills left unpassed by the legislature currently. (Podcast)

🔥The real reasons for Kentucky’s GOP voter “reforms” – Some liberals are praising KY Repub lawmakers for making it easier to vote, instead of passing laws to suppress minority votes. The GOP will never admit it, of course – but they approved voting “reform” legislation because it helps THEM. (Commentary)

Beshear vetoes 2 education bills; signs 5 others into law – Beshear vetoed HB 563, the so-called “school choice” bill, and HB 258, which makes new teachers work longer for less guaranteed benefits. (News)

The anti-hate vigil on Sunday — a photo gallery – Hundreds of people attended a vigil on Sunday in Louisville, to stand AGAINST hate and to stand WITH the Asian-American community. Del Ramey attended the vigil, and shares this photo gallery. (Photo Gallery)

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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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