Long-overdue rules to limit coal ash exposure coming after court settlement

Posted by: KFTC staff on January 29, 2014

In response to legal action by a broad coalition of national and local groups, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency must finalize first-ever federal standards for the disposal of coal ash by December 19, 2014.

The settlement does not dictate the content of the final regulation, but gives the agency a deadline to finalize standards after years of delay.

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What's happening with Appalachian Transition

Posted by: KFTC Staff on January 23, 2014

The public conversation about the urgent need to shape a just economic transition in eastern Kentucky is evolving fast.

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A day in the life of a first-time citizen lobbyist

Posted by: Doug Peach on January 21, 2014

Last week, I began my internship with the Madison County chapter of KFTC. I am currently a student at Eastern Kentucky University, where I will complete my B.A. in their Criminal Justice next semester. As I am one of a seemingly small minority in that program that does not intend to seek employment in a law enforcement career, but would rather find a more social justice focused vocation, I find that KFTC and I share a great many ideas and opinions on our current criminal justice system.

In this blog entry I hope to show exactly what the average lobbyist experiences, and what anyone can help to accomplish by joining an organization like KFTC.

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Voting Rights – grassroots persistence leads many to believe this is the year!

Posted by: KFTC staff on January 16, 2014

Optimism was high as people from all over Kentucky participated in a Voting Rights Lobby Day and Rally at the capitol on Wednesday.

“We met with a couple of senators and representatives. The attitude was totally different today than it was last year,” said Rev. Alonzo Malone of Louisville. “The whole theme today was hope. I was really encouraged. The whole day symbolized hope.”

Malone was one of dozens of people who met with nearly 50 legislators during morning lobbying. They reminded House members of an upcoming floor vote on House Bill 70 (as early as today), which passed out of committee on Tuesday. They pushed senators to see that the bill gets a hearing and vote in the Senate this year.

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Voting Rights amendment passes unanimously out of house committee

Posted by: Erik Hungerbuhler on January 14, 2014


HB 70, a constitutional amendment restoring voting rights to most former felons, just passed unanimously through the Kentucky House Committee on Elections and Constitutional Amendments. It has passed the House chamber seven times before with wide bi-partisan support, but has stalled in the Senate. Momentum is building for this to be the year. Thanks to bill sponsor Rep. Jesse Crenshaw and committee chair Rep. Darryl Owens for their leadership in advancing this important measure. As minority floor leader Rep. Jeff Hoover said today, the bill is "a matter of fairness." We look forward to seeing many of you tomorrow in Frankfort for a lobby day and rally in support of voting rights in Kentucky.
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KFTC members respond to Promise Zone designation

Posted by: KFTC staff on January 9, 2014

KFTC members welcomed today’s announcement by President Barack Obama designating eight counties in eastern Kentucky as a "Promise Zone."

The designation will give the counties priority in applying for federal funding for programs that increase job training, access to affordable housing, educational opportunities, and more.

“The idea of the Promise Zone is encouraging,” said Elizabeth Sanders, a KFTC member from Letcher County, one of the Promise Zone counties. “We have a vision for a future for eastern Kentucky and know we have a lot of promise here in the mountains. If the resources from the federal government through the Promise Zone will coordinate with things like the SOAR Initiative and other existing and future programs, we may begin to see some steps toward the change the people of eastern Kentucky have been ready for and working toward.”

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Fall Fundraising Campaign Wrap-up

Southern Kentucky chapter members Jeanie Smith and Dana Beasley Brown at their Democracy Party Fundraiser
Posted by: Jessica George on January 6, 2014

2013 was a remarkable year for KFTC on many fronts. One of our biggest achievements was surpassing 8,000 members. More than any other year, we as an entire membership built the kind of organization that it takes to make the change we want to see. 

KFTC members held 25 house parties and events across the state and hosted almost 100 Powerbuilder personal fundraising pages. What happens when members participate in fundraising like this (apart from a total Facebook takeover)? We recruit more than 1,347 new members — including 738 during the last quarter of the year — and raise over $500,000. 

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Affordable housing tops central Kentucky KFTC's holiday wish List

Posted by: Beth Howard on December 23, 2013

This year, affordable housing was at the top of the Central Kentucky KFTC chapter’s holiday wish list. Central Kentucky KFTC members asked Santa Claus to deliver an important message to Lexington Mayor Jim Gray: It is time to prioritize an affordable housing trust fund for Lexington.
On Friday morning, Dec. 20th, Santa delivered a stack of Christmas cards to the mayor’s office urging the mayor to take action on the trust fund in 2014.

The cards were created by Central Kentucky KFTC members, as well as members from the BUILD (Building a United Interfaith Lexington through Direct Action) organization who has been working toward the trust fund for the past five years.Upon delivering the cards, Santa said,  “I believe people shouldn’t have to pay money just to have a good place to live, and they certainly shouldn’t pay more than they can afford. Mayor Gray should take urgent action on making affordable housing a reality for all the residents of Lexington.”

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Jefferson County co-hosts Citizen Lobbying 101

Posted by: Elijah McKenzie on December 17, 2013

How does a bill become a law in Kentucky? What’s the best way for people to arrange a meeting with their legislators? How can ordinary citizens hold lawmakers accountable?

These questions, and more, were brought to the forefront during Jefferson County's citizen lobbying training on Wednesday, December 11, which took place at the First Unitarian Church in Louisville.

Images that are often associated with the word “lobbyist” are those of corporate lackeys treating policymakers to expensive drinks over a round of golf. It’s a misconception that was quickly broken as community organizers from throughout the state shared their lobbying experiences on both local and state levels.

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Groups challenge EPA decision allowing Kentucky officials to gut clean water protection

Posted by: KFTC staff on December 13, 2013

Spinal deformities in fish resulting from selenium exposure. Photo: Wake Forest University.

On Friday, community and environmental groups took legal action against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for a recent decision allowing Kentucky to weaken its water quality standards for selenium, a pollutant common to mountaintop removal coal mines.

"KFTC and our allies have worked for years to make EPA fully aware of the systemic failures of Kentucky’s Energy and Environment Cabinet to protect our commonwealth’s people, waters and environment,” said Doug Doerrfeld, a member of KFTC’s litigation team. “In light of this history it is disgraceful that EPA would approve a weakened selenium standard that will not only leave aquatic life at risk but will make citizen enforcement all but impossible."

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