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Friday News & Notes

Stories about Damon Thayer, a gun bill, black lung, and more.

Longtime Kentucky Senate leader Damon Thayer says he won’t seek reelection in 2024

Damon Thayer, a mainstay in the Kentucky Senate who played a key role in legalizing sports wagering and helped shape rafts of conservative policies, said Wednesday that he won't run for reelection next year. Thayer has spent more than a decade as majority floor leader in the GOP-led Senate, putting him at the forefront of the chamber's activities. He is the longest-serving Republican to serve in that leadership post in Kentucky history, according to a release announcing his decision not to seek another term. (Herald-Leader)

Westerfield backs bill to remove guns from Kentuckians at risk of hurting selves or others

A Republican-backed draft bill aimed at removing firearms from Kentuckians at risk of harming themselves or others garnered mixed reactions from the Interim Joint Committee on Judiciary Friday morning. Sen. Whitney Westerfield (R-Fruit Hill) will introduce t​he Crisis Aversion and Rights Retention Orders bill, or CARR, in the 2024 legislative session, which begins Jan. 2. He’s motivated by shootings that left children dead and people injured. (Hoptown Chronicle)

McGarvey, coal miner advocates renew push to ease burden of proof for black lung benefits

Kentucky’s lone Democrat in Congress is joining a renewed push to expand benefits for coal miners suffering from black lung and their families and to ease the burden of seeking such benefits. 

Rep. Morgan McGarvey of Louisville during a Wednesday afternoon press conference with coal miner advocates from several states said he’s introducing the Relief for Survivors of Miners Act, a version of legislation put forth in recent years that seeks to help families of coal miners presumed to have died from black lung receive monthly payments. (Kentucky Lantern)

After mistrial, feds move to retry ex-Louisville cop who fired shots in Breonna Taylor raid

Federal prosecutors told a judge Wednesday they intend to retry former Louisville officer Brett Hankison after a jury deadlocked last month over charges he used excessive force the night Breonna Taylor was killed by police in 2020. A judge declared a mistrial Nov. 16 after the jury deliberated for several days but could not reach a unanimous decision. Hankison fired 10 shots the night of the deadly raid but did not strike anyone. His shots went into Taylor's apartment and into a neighboring unit, where a child was sleeping. Federal prosecutor Michael Songer said during a status conference that “the government intends to retry the case.” (Herald-Leader)

Travel for abortions, mainly from states like Kentucky, has doubled following Supreme Court decision, and can pose many difficulties

This week, Kate Cox got an abortion, but had to leave Texas, where she lives, to get it. She joined more than 9.3 million Americans who got a legal abortion in the past 10 years, of which 8,300 (0.9%) got one after 20 weeks of gestation. (Texas and Kentucky have similar, near-total bans on abortion.—Editor.)

I’ve seen many on social media wonder: What’s the big deal? She found the health care she needed after all; and this cross-state journey is rare, right?

Forced abortion travel has doubled following the U.S. Supreme Court's Dobbs ruling. And if you’re one of the lucky few who can travel, this journey isn’t without very real challenges that may not be apparent to the unseen eye. (KY Health News)

And from the Twitterverse ...

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The editorial board of Forward Kentucky. Articles under this author name have been written, edited, and approved by a number of the contributors on this site, as well as the publisher.

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