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Kentucky solar movement continues to grow despite setback in legislature

Posted by: Andy McDonald, Earth Tools Inc. on May 15, 2019

The Solar Celebration at West 6th Farm on April 28 near Frankfort was a bittersweet event. Following the passage of the anti-net metering bill, SB 100, in the 2019 General Assemnbly, it seemed a bit strange to be celebrating.

SB 100 was definitely a significant setback for the solar movement in Kentucky. However, in the past few years there has been a great surge in support for solar energy in Kentucky and to me, this is what we were all celebrating. SB100 passed in spite of overwhelming popular opposition to the bill. Despite spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on lobbying and campaign contributions to the Republican Party, it took the utilities three years to cram their anti-solar bill through the legislature. 

The support we received from many legislators was another hopeful sign. During the House floor debate, many representatives spoke out against SB 100 and in support of solar energy and the need to grow a clean energy economy in Kentucky. There were even several legislators who cited the urgency of climate change as a reason to oppose SB 100. So while the utilities still have deep pockets and powerful influence in Frankfort, there is a growing tide of support for solar and a clean energy future.

 I started working as an advocate for solar energy in Kentucky in 2003 with Appalachia – Science in the Public Interest and the Kentucky Solar Partnership. Back then, it seemed there were just a handful of people scattered around the state who were passionate about solar energy.

It was inspiring for me to arrive at the Solar Celebration at West 6th Farm and find that the parking lot was filled and overflowing. One month after suffering a difficult defeat in the legislature, hundreds of people gathered at an out-of-the-way farm to celebrate their continuing enthusiasm for solar energy. This gives me hope.

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Raise your voice for a fair and equitable Louisville budget

Posted by: KFTC Staff on May 14, 2019

No matter your zip code, we all want whole, thriving communities. Governor Bevin’s recent changes to Kentucky’s pension system have created budget shortfalls in communities across the commonwealth, including here in Louisville. This month the Louisville Metro Council needs to hear from you about what a fair and equitable budget could look like in the midst of these massive cuts.

Metro Council is hosting two more public hearings where you can attend and speak about your vision for our city budget on Thursday, May 16 and Monday, May 20 at 6 p.m. at City Hall (601 West Jefferson Street).

You can join KFTC members across the Jefferson County chapter in raising your voice for a fair and equitable budget by attending and/or speaking at a hearing, calling your Metro councilperson, writing a letter to the editor, and sharing with your friends and family.

Below are the Jefferson County KFTC Economic Justice Team's views on local progressive taxation, criminal justice reform, and tax increment financing. You can use these talking points when contacting your Metro Councilperson, writing a letter to the editor, or speaking at an upcoming public hearing.

Kentuckians are ready for a Just Transition and Green New Deal

Posted by: KFTC Staff on May 13, 2019

An enthusiastic and diverse crowd turned out on May 11 at an event in Frankfort in support of a Just Transition to a clean energy economy and a Green New Deal for workers and communities. 

Rep. Attica Scott and Cassia Herron

The main event, a stop on a eight-city tour organized by the Sunrise Movement, was planned in partnership with KFTC and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 32BJ. The event featured State Rep. Attica Scott, KFTC members Kevin Short, Cassia Herron and Scott Shoupe, Sunrise Louisville Hub member Jenny Bencomo Suarez, Sunrise Executive Director Varshini Prakash, Erin Bridges, who plays a leading role in the Sunrise Louisville Hub and on the national Sunrise Steering Committee; and music by Appalatin.

Clarifying who can vote and who can't in Kentucky

Posted by: KFTC Staff on May 11, 2019

gIMG_5084To register and vote in Kentucky, one needs to be at least 18 years old by Election Day (Tuesday, November 6), you have to live in Kentucky (temporary student housing works), and you have to be a U.S. citizen.

Those are the basics, but things get a little trickier in Kentucky because our criminal justice system plays an unusual role in taking away people's right to vote.

People with felonies in their past –  Can't (generally) Vote.

Kentucky disenfranchises people with felonies in their past and is harsher than almost any state in the US in that regard.  People can request their rights be restored after they've served their time through this form, but few people know about the process and Governor Bevin denies many requests.  People who have had their record expunged of felonies can also vote.  KFTC's long-term goal is to change Kentucky's Constitution so that people get the right to vote back when they've served their debt to society including prison time, probation, and parole, but for now, this remains a barrier for over 312,000 Kentuckians.

People with misdemeanors in their past – Can Vote!

If someone has a misdemeanor in ther past, that doesn't stop them from voting in Kentucky.  Many people in this situation may have been told that they can't register and vote, but they absolutely can

People currently in jail serving for a misdemeanor – Can't Vote

This disenfranchisement comes from section 145 of the Kentucky Constitution along with felony disenfranchisement.

People serving probation and parole for a misdemeanor – Can Vote!

Even though you're still serving your time, there's nothing stopping you from registering and voting in this case.

People in jails pre-trial who were charged with either a felony or a misdemeanor – Can Vote!

If you're in jail because you're awaiting trial or sentencing for any offense (and you've never been convicted of a felony), you do have the right to vote.  That's a big deal, because in many Kentucky jails about 70% of the population is pre-trial.

How Absentee Voting works in Kentucky (May 2019 Primary)

Posted by: KFTC Staff on May 7, 2019

29626112627_8f4825f8ec_oOn election day, Tuesday, May 21, 2019, polls in Kentucky will be open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Unconditional Early Voting isn't allowed in Kentucky (as it is in many states), but in most cases, if you won't be in the Kentucky county where you're registered to vote on election day, you can vote absentee.

To vote absentee, there are several hoops to jump through, so it's good to start early:

1. You have to be registered to vote and you have to know what county you're registered in.  You can check that at GoVoteKY.com

RECLAIM Act is approved by U.S. House committee

Posted by: Appalachian Citizens Law Center on May 2, 2019

After reintroduction in April, the bipartisan RECLAIM Act was debated and voted on during the May 1 House

What is the Green New Deal?

Posted by: KFTC Staff on April 23, 2019

KFTC members are involved in conversations on the local, state and national level about the Green New Deal, a bold and broad proposal to address climate change, set the country on a susta

Voter registration deadline is TODAY (Monday 4/22)

Posted by: KFTC Staff on April 22, 2019

GeorgetownVoterReg4-18-19Today (Monday 4/22) is the deadline to register to vote or update your voter address for purposes of voting in the Primary Election. 

You should check your voter registration status just to be safe by visiting KFTC's own www.KentuckyElection.org and click "check my registration" in the bottom right.  If you need to register or update your address, click on "Register to vote online" on the same page.

Not many people know this, but 17 year-olds can register to vote now and even vote in the May primary as a 17-year-old if they will by 18 on or before November 5 (Election Day).

Note that students who are away from home going to school have the right to either use a permanent home address or temporary local address as their voting address. If you're a student, consider being registered where you'll actually be living on May 21.

Poor People's Campaign Truth & Poverty Tour in Kentucky

Posted by: KFTC staff on April 20, 2019

The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival’s National Emergency Truth & Poverty Bus Tour will visit western Kentucky on April 29, making stops in Eddyville, Hopkinsville and

Talking about the Black experience in Kentucky with Dr. George Wright

Posted by: Judi Jennings, Jefferson County Chapter on April 17, 2019

On Saturday, March 30, Dr.

KFTC members speak out about Louisville budget crisis

Posted by: Connor Allen, Judi Jennings, Anastasia Kaufmann, K.A. Owens, Steven Schweinhart on April 17, 2019

No More Business As Usual

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