Kentucky Action Items for Week of February 20, 2017
A weekly guide to action at the state and local level for Democrats, Independents,
and Republicans of conscience in Kentucky.
When you want to call your Kentucky
State Senator or Representative, call the LRC line: 1-800-372-7181
If you would like to receive this update via email each week,
Questions? Corrections? KentuckyActionItems@gmail.com
Learn About Your Legislature: Senate Leadership Edition
Senate President Senate President Pro Tempore
The Senate President is the highest-ranking officer in the Senate and presides over all of its proceedings. The President Pro Tempore is second in command and presides over the Senate when the President is not present. As Senate President, Robert Stivers is a member of some of the most influential committees and has influence over determining the members of Senate committees. Both Stivers and Givens are members of the powerful Rules Committee (Chair and Vice Chair), which decides what bills are heard on the floor, and which bills stay in committee. Who run the KY Senate? These two guys.
Majority Floor Leader Majority Caucus Chair Majority Whip
Floor Leaders are elected for both the Majority and Minority party. They serve as spokespeople for their caucus.
Caucus Chairs run meetings for their caucus and develop the policy agenda alongside the members of caucus leadership.
Whips are traditionally powerful figures within each caucus. Their job is to make sure members are showing up and voting in line with caucus priorities.
Minority Floor Leader Minority Caucus Chair Minority Whip
Simple Actions to Take This Week
Monday – Holiday
Bible Literacy in Public Schools: House Bill 128 will be discussed in the Education Committee today. This bill requires the Kentucky Board of Education to create an elective “Bible Literacy” course that teaches the old and new testament, along with Hebrew scriptures.
The bill is sponsored by:
Sign a Petition to Encourage Mayor Fischer to Make Louisville a Sanctuary City: https://action.mijente.net/petitions/tell-mayor-greg-fischer-to-defy-trump-defend-louisville-expand-sanctuary
Participate in a Conference Call brought to you by Showing Up for Racial Justice: Racism 101. This workshop is meant for people who are interested in the basics: what is racism, how it operates, what is white privilege, what do we mean when we use the words “white supremacy,” and what can we do about it. This is part 1 of a 4 part series.
Charter School Bill: House Bill 520 makes an appropriation for the establishment of charter schools in Kentucky. It looks like this bill will be heard by the Education Committee on Wednesday. This is the third charter school bill introduced this session. It’s sponsored by Campbellsville’s Rep. John Carney (R-District 51). Call him at 502-564-8100 ext 660. Email him at Joh.Carney@lrc.ky.gov. Fun fact: He goes by “Bam” Carney. He is also a social studies teacher in a public school.
Support Criminal Justice Reform: It looks like Senate Bill 120 will be coming up for a vote in the Judiciary Committee on 2/23 and it does some positive things for individuals who have been convicted of felonies. From the Courier-Journal: “Senate Bill 120 would give people with felony convictions the opportunity to obtain professional licenses for jobs like nursing and would allow inmates to earn wages from private employers.” The inmates would make federal minimum wage for their work. Individuals who have committed violent offenses or sex crimes would not be permitted to participate in these benefits. The bill enjoys the support of Governor Bevin as well as the ACLU.
Ask Bevin to Check Mitner: Governor Bevin’s UofL Board appointee, Angela Minter, assaulted escorts at the EMW Women’s Clinic on Saturday. Mitner is the Executive Director of Sisters for Life, an anti-choice organization that doubles down on the stupid by spreading falsehoods about the safety of abortion and pushes abstinence only training on teenagers. According to escorts present, Mitner told women as they entered, “There is no guarantee you will walk out of there alive.”
Mitner has a long history of assaulting and intimidating both the escorts who work at EMW and the women coming to obtain a legal medical procedure. In January, Governor Bevin appointed her to the seven person committee responsible for pulling together the list of candidates for the new UofL Board of Trustees.
Let’s write Bevin, his press secretary, and let’s CC Angela Mitner as well as Courier Journal Reporter Deborah Yetter. Below is the letter I sent.
I am writing to you today out of concern over the actions of one of your appointees to your Post Secondary Nominating Committee, Angela Mitner. On Saturday, February 18th, Ms. Mitner physically intimidated and harassed volunteers and patients outside the EMW Women’s Clinic in Louisville. She pressed a sign to the face of a volunteer and told one woman on her way into the clinic that there was no guarantee she would get out alive.
Harassment of this type is a class B misdemeanor in the state of Kentucky. It is also very likely a violation of the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act.
Although you have a long-time friendship with Ms. Mitner, and have donated to her non-profit, Sisters for Life, I urge you to condemn these actions. Whatever your personal beliefs about abortion are, it is a legal procedure that women have a right to access free from this kind of harassment. It is, of course, Ms. Mitner’s right to protest outside the clinic, but she is not allowed to physically touch volunteers and/or patients, or trespass into the clinic. She has a history of doing both of these things.
I hope you will take this opportunity to tell a friend she is out of line.
Tax Return Bill: Although Senate Bill 253 has a tough road ahead, it’s one of those pieces of legislation you just have to call and express your support for. (Much like Mary Lou Marzian’s bill from last year that required a note from a man’s wife before he would be able to obtain Viagra.)
Senator Morgan McGarvey’s bill would make it a requirement that all candidates for the office of President of the United States must release their tax returns if they wish to be on the ballot in Kentucky.
Because this bill has just been introduced and is not in committee yet (so many Senators may not even know it exists), I would encourage you to call your Senator’s office directly and ask them to look into the bill and support it. This will give you an opportunity to speak to a member of staff about why you think supporting the bill is important. You can look up your Senator’s contact information here. Or, you can always call the LRC line and they can look up your Senator for you and provide you with their direct dial or take the message and deliver it for you. 1-800-372-7181
Here are some talking points:
Keep Frankfort Out of Louisville: In the words of Mariah Carey, “Why you so obsessed with me?” Bevin just can’t keep his mind off Louisville. Now that he’s gutted the UofL Board of Trustees, he’s set his sights on limiting the power of our mayor. House Bill 202 would, among many other things, impose a term limit on the mayor and give the governor the power to appoint a new mayor in the event the mayor resigns or dies. (Currently, the Louisville Metro Council would vote on a new mayor should the current mayor die in office or resign.) The bill is currently in the House Committee on Local Government. Call the LRC and leave a message for all members of the committee that you do NOT support HB 202 and you hope they won’t either. The bill’s sponsors are listed below. If one of them is your representative, call them up and let them know you don’t appreciate this overreach into local control.
Advanced Actions to Take
Participate in the Mitch Hunt:
As most of you know, I am ordinarily the person who tells you to not waste your time calling Mitch McConnell because it will never sway him from his pledge to put party and politics above people.
BUT I feel very differently about opportunities to peacefully confront him and his supporters, and make him look weak and unwanted by constituents in front of media. This is an important tactic in the Indivisible playbook and this week there are several opportunities to take to the streets and show Mitch, and his supporters, that we are tired of being ignored.
Starting to get worried about 2018?
Don’t worry – you’re not alone. It’s never too early to start thinking about the 2018 election. At the state level, every single member of the House of Representatives is up for reelection, along with half of the state’s Senators. If we want to take back our state, it’s time we start getting involved with the Kentucky Democratic Party. Without doing so, we don’t stand a chance of having an impact in any real way. I won’t sugar coat it – the state party is a mess and that usually means the local chapters are also in pretty bad shape. I can only speak for the Louisville Democratic Party chapter, but I can tell you they need our help.
Complete List of Bills from this session to keep an eye on.
News and Policy from the frontline of the Kentucky resistance, courtesy of Forward Kentucky.
The Ally Network has a handy calendar and they are asking for all groups to please post their events. This will help people interested in being active find an event that’s right for them and it will also prevent too many events from being planned on the same day. Please help develop this amazing resource! Bookmark it and check it often!
The Resistance Bible continues to be Indivisible! So much helpful information.
Head spinning from trying to keep up with Trump? Use this handy tracker to see what the hell is happening now. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/us/politics/trump-agenda-tracker.html?_r=1
Questions? Comments? Corrections? Suggestions? Email me at KentuckyActionItems@gmail.com
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I am ALWAYS interested in highlighting events and actions happening outside the Louisville area. Please don’t hesitate to reach out.