Phillip M. Bailey

Political Editor

Phillip M. Bailey became WFPL's political editor in 2011, covering city, state and regional campaigns and elected officials. He also covers Metro Government, including the mayor's office and Metro Council. Before coming to WFPL, Phillip worked for three years as a staff writer at LEO Weekly and was a fellow at the Academy of Alternative Journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.

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Politics
4:52 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

Louisville Councilman Jerry Miller Running for New State House Seat

Republican Louisville Councilman Jerry Miller
Credit Louisville Metro Council

Republican Louisville Metro Councilman Jerry Miller is running for a newly drawn state House district seat in next year's election.

District 36 is an open seat that was created during the special legislative session as part of the long-delayed redistricting plan based on the 2010 census.

According to the map, District 36 covers parts of east Louisville such the Eastwood, Fisherville and Lake Forest areas, and extends to south Pewee Valley in Oldham County.

Miller says he will serve out the remainder of his council term, but wants to take his advocacy for more fiscal responsibility and lower taxes to the General Assembly.

"I really felt that the issues that I cared most deeply about, which are pension reform, education, ethics. And particularly if we move down the path toward the local option sales tax it’s got to go through Frankfort before it can happen. So I want to be there," he says.

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Politics
11:06 am
Fri August 23, 2013

Matt Bevin Calls on Republican Leaders Not to Retreat on Defunding Obamacare

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Matt Bevin
Credit mail.com

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Matt Bevin is criticizing House Speaker John Boehner, R-Oh., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., for not taking the lead on de-funding President Obama's health care law.

The pressure comes a day after Boehner told House Republicans he does not support threats to shut down the federal government over Obamacare.

In an earlier letter signed by 80 GOP House members, including Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., conservative lawmakers urged House leadership to reject any spending bill that funds the new health care law.

Bevin has been appealing to Kentucky conservatives in his bid against McConnell in next year's primary election that this is another example of McConnell not doing enough to stand up against the president.

"As the leader of the Republican Party, Sen. McConnell should be leading the charge to de-fund Obamacare not retreating with his tail between his legs," says Bevin. "Kentucky voters have a right to know: Will Mitch McConnell join Rand Paul, Mike Lee and Ted Cruz in fighting for taxpayers or will he join Speaker Boehner in caving to President Obama?"

But just this week, Paul stood with McConnell in Kentucky to say shutting down the federal government over Obamacare was a "dumb idea."

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Politics
2:57 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Louisville Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton Proposes Ending Liquor Sales After 2 a.m.

Louisville Metro Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton, D-5, is proposing an ordinance to end alcohol sales after 2 a.m. at retail package stores as a way to help reduce crime.

But some community activists argue council members are using liquor sales as a scapegoat.

Over two-dozen liquor stores carry special licenses that allow alcohol sales up to 4 a.m., and the vast majority are concentrated in west Louisville.

The bill would exempt businesses such as bars and restaurants, and is likely to affect 24-hour convenience stores.

Hamilton did not respond to our request for comment, but one of the bill's five co-sponsors, Councilman David James, D-6, says police statistics do show a heavy concentration of crime surrounding stores that sell alcohol for extended hours.

"Eighty-nine percent of the businesses that sell alcohol in retail package form after 2 a.m. are located in west Louisville. And around those areas we have a high number of alcohol related criminal offenses," he says.

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Politics
11:38 am
Thu August 22, 2013

Matt Bevin Asks: Why is Mitch McConnell so Unpopular?

Sen. Mitch McConnell and businessman Matt Bevin
Credit File photos

In an increasingly bitter primary race, Republican Senate candidate Matt Bevin is releasing a new web video blasting incumbent Mitch McConnell for being one of most unpopular lawmakers in Washington.

The online ad says McConnell has a history of voting for "liberal policies" and comes as Bevin faces intense scrutiny for supposedly exaggerating educational ties to MIT on his LinkedIn resume.

McConnell and Bevin's campaigns have been increasing their attacks against one another this week in online exchanges, one of which involved real estate mogul Donald Trump at one point.

Bevin's 50-second ad pounds McConnell for votes on abortion, immigration reform and the bank bailouts among other issues.

Watch:

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Politics
3:56 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Kentucky House Democratic Leaders Knew of Sexual Harassment Claims, Filing Says

A Democratic state lawmaker says some of his colleagues told him to keep quiet allegations of sexual harassment and assault against a fellow legislator to protect the party's majority in upcoming elections

After WFPL News reported the accusations against state Rep. John Arnold, D-Sturgis, early Wednesday, Rep. Tom Riner, D-Louisville, took to the House floor to speak out against what he described as a culture of intimidation and sexism in the legislature.

In separate ethics complaints filed last week, two longtime Frankfort staffers, Cassaundra Cooper and Yolanda Costner, outline a pattern of alleged harassment by Arnold dating back to 2010.

According to both women, they brought these issues to the attention of the Legislative Research Commission and top House Democratic leaders.

In a statement to ethics officials, Cooper alleges that on Feb. 14 Arnold walked up behind her and slapped her buttocks. She said she told House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins and his chief of staff about the incident, but Arnold continued visiting her office and attempted to hug Cooper, the complaint said.

Costner's statement alleges that Arnold grabbed her underwear in March 2010, but that House Majority Whip Rep. John Will Stacy told her "(Arnold) was harmless."

Riner said a third woman is coming forward and that protecting staffers, who have little job security, matters more to him than who controls the state House.

"You cannot put this off until the next election," he said. "You cannot put this off until tomorrow. There are some things that are more important than which party gets in power. And one of those things is how we treat people that we have power over."

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Politics
9:01 am
Wed August 21, 2013

EMILY's List Endorses Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky Senate

Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes

The powerful pro-choice group EMILY's List is endorsing Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky's 2014 U.S. Senate race.

The group had encouraged Grimes to get in the Senate race as early as March, and has been helping the first-term secretary of state raise money in a bid to unseat Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell next year.

In an e-mail to supporters, EMILY's List President Stephanie Schriock called Grimes an "energetic rising star" who can beat McConnell.

"Mitch McConnell is one of the least liked senators in the country for a reason—he’s hopelessly out-of-touch with the needs of his state," Schriock said. "Alison is working tirelessly to make sure that Kentuckians’ voices are being heard."

EMILY's List is a political action committee that works to elect Democratic women who support reproductive rights. Last year, the group raised close to $52 million and is known to have an extensive national campaign network.

Grimes has avoided hot button national topics for the most part and her campaign website doesn't address social issues but rather focuses instead on jobs, veterans issues and protecting entitlements.

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Politics
7:30 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Louisville Councilman Brent Ackerson Unveils Drastic Changes to Discretionary Spending

Councilman Brent Ackerson, D-26
Credit Louisville Metro Council

After an hour long deliberation of the Louisville Metro Council's ethics committee Democrat Brent Ackerson unveiled a 19-page draft of broad changes to discretionary spending rules on Tuesday.

The committee discussed a number of possible reforms including tighter rules for neighborhood grants and a resolution asking the General Assembly for a change in state law that would give the Metro Ethics Commission subpoena powers.

But the proposals Ackerson is outlining call for a drastic shift in policy such as blocking the use of neighborhood grant funding for community picnics and festivals unless there is a public purpose such as a health fair.

"At the end of the day I hope it will be equally offensive to all of us because that’s what it’s going to take here. This can’t be a situation where we say don’t touch my project or this or that," says Ackerson. "Let’s just vomit the ideas out there and flush through. If we’re going to bring out real change then let’s really do it."

He says it's important lawmakers put bold ideas out for the public to debate in the wake of Barbara Shanklin’s expulsion trial, which in part centered on the use of discretionary funds.

The plan also would forbid a single council member from spending over $15,000 on a single event. It would effectively stop the funding district events such as Newburg Day, which has received grants over $20,000 from Shanklin's office in years past.

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Politics
2:12 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Donald Trump to Matt Bevin: 'You're Fired!'

Mitch McConnell and Matt Bevin
Credit File photos

The campaigns representing Kentucky Republicans Mitch McConnell and Matt Bevin have been trading barbs over Twitter in the wake of a McConnell attack ad questioning Bevin's ties to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

"I wonder what McConnell has on his LinkedIn page. Oh, wait, he's never had a job in the private sector so why would he need one," Bevin's Twitter page jabbed in response.

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Politics
2:00 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Councilman Brent Ackerson Promises to Introduce 'Major Reforms' to Discretionary Spending

Councilman Brent Ackerson, D-26
Credit Louisville Metro Council

A Louisville Metro Council committee is set to review a series of so-called "sweeping changes" covering discretionary spending introduced by city Republicans, but one Democrat argues they don't go far enough.

The council GOP outlined a number of amendments to the neighborhood and capital accounts last week to funds that lawmakers receive annually.

Among the more drastic changes are putting a $15,000 cap on the $75,000 neighborhood funds that go towards non-profit groups.

Republicans argue those taxpayer funds would be better spent towards infrastructure needs, but Democrats say their poorer district rely on social service and other groups programming.

Other proposed changes would  tighten the definition of family members prohibited from benefiting from taxpayer-funded programs and bar the use of discretionary funds for constituent meals, cash incentives and employee bonuses.

But Democratic Councilman Brent Ackerson compared those reforms to "putting lipstick on a pig," in an effort to grab headlines in the wake of the Barbara Shanklin expulsion trial.

"Everyone’s talking about the need for sweeping reforms and if we’re going to do sweeping reforms then let’s do some real ones not just some little feel good, rah-rah put the (public) back at ease when we’re really not doing anything," he says. "If this were a car engine we’re talking about a complete tune-up and overhaul. And what I’ve heard from a number of other folks, I call it an oil change and a kick in the tires."

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Politics
12:30 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Alison Lundergan Grimes Scolds Mitch McConnell Ad Targeting Matt Bevin

Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes
Credit Creative Commons

Highlighting an appearance at the Kentucky State Fair this week, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes is scolding the latest attack ad by Republican Senator Mitch McConnell against his primary opponent Matt Bevin.

The Grimes campaign says instead of "mudslinging" she is working with Kentucky's military service members.

From a Grimes spokesperson:

"As Senator McConnell turns to mudslinging his Republican opponent yet again, Alison Lundergan Grimes honored our men and women in uniform at the State Fair's Military Monday.

Kentuckians are ready for a leader in the U.S. Senate—not a career politician who has wasted decades in Washington playing political games."

It's the first comment from Grimes's people regarding the GOP battle. It also seeks to promote the "Grannies for Grimes" arm of her campaign in an effort to get attract senior votes.

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