Biden Has An Ambitious Agenda. What Will It Mean For The Ohio Valley?

21 hours ago
illustration by NPR

After an extraordinary inauguration ceremony marked by heightened security and coronavirus safety measures, President Joe Biden started his first day in office signing executive actions on climate change, immigration, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even before taking the oath of office, Biden was already addressing the nation about his ambitious plans to fight the twin crises of a pandemic and a flagging economy.

“We understand what you are going through,” Biden said in an address about what he called a rescue plan for the nation. “We will never ever give up and we will come back. We’ll come back together.”

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Andy Beshear is asking a legislative committee to dismiss an impeachment petition against him. Petitioners say Beshear violated the Kentucky Constitution when he imposed restrictions during the pandemic, including mandatory closures of non-essential businesses.

In a 45-page response to the petition, Beshear notes that the courts have upheld many of his restrictions, and describes the petitioners as “political activists ostensibly unhappy with the Governor’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and their lack of success in court.”

“The Petition cites no facts and little law in a last-ditch effort to upend our constitutional separation of powers, hoping the General Assembly will ignore the judgments of the judicial branch as well as the will of the people in electing their chief executive,” the response reads.

Stephanie Wolf

Kentucky’s governor paid tribute Friday to the more than 3,300 Kentuckians who have died from coronavirus.

Flags to represent each one of those individuals were placed on the lawn outside the State Capitol Building in Frankfort. 

Gov. Andy Beshear, along with First Lady Britainy Beshear and Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman placed the final three flags during the ceremony, making for 3,301 in total.

Rev. Tonya Kenner of First United Methodist Church opened the ceremony with a prayer.

“And as we think of these lives, God, we realize that these flags also flow across our nation [for other COVID victims] and… across the world, as the pandemic has affected so many people,” Kenner said. “So we ask that you help us get that glimmer of hope, that hope that this vaccine will make a difference.”

Ryland Barton

Gov. Andy Beshear has allowed the so-called “born alive” abortion bill to become law without his signature.

Senate Bill 9 will require doctors to provide life-saving care if a baby survives an abortion attempt, making it a felony if doctors refuse to.

Such situations are exceedingly rare and supporters haven’t documented any cases in Kentucky.

Kentucky law dictates that bills become law if a governor doesn’t sign or veto them within ten days of passage from the legislature.

During an interview Friday morning, Beshear said that he’s not endorsing the bill and emphasized that it seeks to prevent “something that never happens.”

Kevin Willis | WKU Public Radio

Three grand jurors from the Breonna Taylor case have filed an impeachment petition against Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, alleging he misled the public about the case and misrepresented the grand jury’s actions.

They also argue he misused public funds to join a multi-state lawsuit against Pennsylvania’s election results and supported unlawful actions as a member of the National Association of Attorneys General’s executive committee, which funded robocalls urging people to march to the U.S. Capitol on January 6.

The grand jurors have remained anonymous, though the petition was filed by Louisville attorney Kevin Glogower on their behalf.

Baptist Health Hardin

Kentucky is now into phase 1-B of its COVID-19 vaccination plan, and that has triggered an overwhelming number of requests from people ages 70 and older who make up a large part of that priority group. 

Baptist Health Hardin, based in Elizabethtown,  serves 10 counties in central Kentucky. It's one of the healthcare providers that's been flooded with calls requesting a vaccination.

WKU Public Radio reporter Rhonda Miller talked with Steve White, assistant vice president of operations at Baptist Health Hardin, who says vaccinations are already scheduled into February. 


Hopkins Co. Schools

More than 969,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to long-term care workers, teachers, and additional frontline health care workers around the Ohio Valley. But a surprising number of workers in some key sectors are hesitant or are refusing to get a shot, including some rural school staff in Kentucky, nursing facility workers in Ohio, and correctional facility employees in West Virginia.

In western Kentucky, some school districts are finding 50% to nearly 70% of school staff are declining the vaccine, for example, and some Ohio nursing facilities struggle to get more than half of the staff to get a shot.

Ohio Health Care Association Executive Director Pete Van Runkle said nursing facilities have begun peer-to-peer counseling to help staff encourage each other to get vaccinated.

Facebook/Owensboro Middle School

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused Owensboro Middle School to transition back to virtual only learning.

In announcing the change Thursday, the district said the closure is due to an increase in the number of students and staff who have to isolate, affecting the school’s ability to maintain operations.

It’s part of the roller coaster of scheduling that schools across Kentucky, and the nation, have to deal with in response to the pandemic. 

The district began this month with virtual learning, then transitioned to a hybrid schedule with students divided into “A” and “B” groups, with each group attending in-person two days a week. 

Updated at 6:58 p.m. ET

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the sole article of impeachment for incitement to insurrection against former President Donald Trump will be delivered to the Senate on Monday and a trial against the Republican will begin the week of Feb. 8.

"The Senate will conduct a trial on the impeachment of Donald Trump," Schumer said Friday on the Senate floor. "It will be a fair trial. But make no mistake, there will be a trial."

Kyeland Jackson

Attorney General Daniel Cameron has created a task force to review Kentucky’s search warrant policies in the wake of the Breonna Taylor shooting.

The announcement comes more than 10 months after Louisville police shot and killed Taylor in her apartment while executing a search warrant related to a drug investigation. No drugs or cash were found at the apartment.

Cameron said the task force fulfills a promise he made “to develop best practices for the effective and safe execution of search warrants.”

“We’ve assembled a group representing every aspect of the search warrant process to conduct a top to bottom review and provide recommendations. Our goal is to establish Kentucky as a national model for how search warrants should be pursued and executed,” Cameron said in a statement.

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