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
12:03 pm
Fri May 3, 2013

Mitch McConnell Releases New Ad Celebrating Kentucky Derby

Senator Mitch McConnell
Credit File photo

In a new online ad, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell says the annual Kentucky Derby demonstrates the focus and determination of the state he represents.

The spot is being released on the eve of the Triple Crown and is narrated by the GOP leader, who compares the horse race to the spirit of Kentuckians.

"The twin spires of Churchill Downs host the world's finest horses. But it's a race where the horses tell us as much about a people as they do about themselves. If you listen closely, you can hear the story of Kentucky in the thunder of their hooves. Each stride reflects the focus of a people determined to succeed," says McConnell.

Watch:

McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton says it is the latest example their "commitment to being the most innovative Senate campaign in history."

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Politics
3:57 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Occupy Louisville Member Running for Mayor

Longtime social justice advocate Ike Thacker announced this week he is running for mayor of Louisville as an independent.

Thacker is a local writer and community activist who serves on the boards of the Kentucky Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression and the Fellowship of Reconciliation. He also served as a spokesman for Occupy Louisville, which held a six month long protest in downtown against U.S. economic policies.

Thacker says he is running to help the poor, and plans to advocate for cuts to military spending as mayor to help invest in low-income parts of the city.

"I simply believe that all 7 billion of us on this planet and the 750,000 or so of us in Louisville are absolutely, equally human regardless of everything. That’s every black or brown person in west or south Louisville just as much as the Ivy League east enders," he says.

Democratic Mayor Greg Fischer announced last month he is seeking re-election.

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Politics
4:04 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

State Rep. Warns African-Americans to Avoid Fourth Street Live Until Osborne Case Settled

State Rep. Darryln Owens, D-Louisville, says he tries to avoid Fourth Street Live

A Kentucky lawmaker is questioning if African-Americans should continue to patronize Fourth Street Live in the wake of a former University of Louisville basketball player’s arrest.

As WFPL reported this week, 38-year-old Jason Osborne was arrested by Metro Police on Sunday outside of Sully's restaurant. He has been charged with criminal trespassing and resisting arrest, and a hearing is scheduled for May 24.

Osborne is a former Mr. Basketball who played for the Louisville Cardinals in the early 1990s.

Several African-American elected officials from the Metro Council and General Assembly were present at Osborne’s arraignment, and at least one lawmaker is now telling black residents to avoid the entertainment district until these mattes are settled.

"All of us have received complaints of perceived harassment and disrespect at Fourth Street Live. I might go down for lunch during the day, but I don’t go down there after 5 o’clock. You run a risk," says state Rep. Darryl Owens, D-Louisville. "The record is clear and my mama told me where there’s smoke there is fire. There’s a whole lot of smoke coming out of Fourth Street Live as it relates to African-Americans."

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Local News
11:38 am
Wed May 1, 2013

Jason Osborne's Arrest at Fourth Street Live Sparks Black Leaders' Concerns About Discrimination

Credit Wikipedia Commons

Several African-American lawmakers are concerned about a potential "pattern of discrimination" at Fourth Street Live after a former Louisville Cardinals basketball star was arrested at the entertainment district.

Jason Osborne, 38, was arrested Sunday night on Muhammad Ali Boulevard at Fourth Street Live after an altercation at Sully's with security, an arrest report says. Another person, Jacquelynn N. Russell, 32, arrested at the entertainment district. Charges for both include  criminal trespassing and resisting arrest.

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Politics
12:30 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Senator Rand Paul Endorses Mark Sanford for Congress

U.S. Senator Rand Paul
Credit U.S. Senate

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky is endorsing fellow Republican Mark Sanford's bid for the South Carolina's First Congressional District seat.

The special election is next week and features Sanford, a former governor, in a tight contest against Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, a political newcomer who is the sister of comedian Stephen Colbert.

Sanford gained national notoriety for having a extra-marital affair while in office, and it was recently reported he was accused of trespassing on his ex-wife's property.

Despite those controversies Paul says Congress needs strong and consistent voices that will support fiscal responsibility, adding Sanford has a history of sticking up for the taxpayer.

"What we absolutely cannot afford is someone like his opponent, who will be yet another vote for a return to the Pelosi speakership, for disastrous programs like Obamacare, and for more spending and debt," says Paul.

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Local News
3:56 pm
Mon April 29, 2013

Local Gay Rights Leaders, Sports Commentators React to Jason Collins Coming Out

Credit Sports Illustrated

Louisville gay rights leaders are praising veteran NBA player Jason Collins publicly announcing that he is gay, but area sports commentators say the revelation will do little to change the game.

The 34-year-old Collins is a free agent who reveals his sexual orientation in the upcoming issue of Sports Illustrated, which makes him the first active professional male athlete to disclose his homosexuality.

Collins cited the recent NBA lockout and his friendship with Demcoratic Congressman Joe Kennedy III of Massachusetts as the reasons he came out.

From SI:

Why am I coming out now? Well, I started thinking about this in 2011 during the NBA player lockout. I'm a creature of routine. When the regular season ends I immediately dedicate myself to getting game ready for the opener of the next campaign in the fall. But the lockout wreaked havoc on my habits and forced me to confront who I really am and what I really want. With the season delayed, I trained and worked out. But I lacked the distraction that basketball had always provided.

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Politics
7:01 am
Mon April 29, 2013

Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell Running for Re-Election

Jefferson County Attorney Mike O'Connell
Credit louisvilleky.gov

Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell will seek a second term in office.

The 64-year-old O’Connell is a Democrat who was first appointed to the position by former Mayor Jerry Abramson in 2008. He was elected to serve a full term two years later after defeating Republican Michael Wilson.

The county attorney’s office is responsible for representing the legal interests of Metro government and prosecuting Jefferson County District Court cases. It also covers issues such as child support collection and DUI cases.

O'Connell says since merger it has taken on additional roles and a greater responsibility has come with the office.

"I think it’s a great, important office that does so much important work for the citizens of this community both on the criminal justice side and on the civil side for all the work we do for Metro government. And since the merger it’s just become an office that has so many facets to it," he says.

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Politics
10:30 pm
Sat April 27, 2013

Noise and Notes: Is Kentucky Compatible With Gay Marriage?

Credit Shutterstock.com

When it comes to gay marriage, America is moving in a direction of growing acceptance while Kentucky remains steadfastly opposed.

National figures show a majority in the country back the idea, which has changed at a rapid pace in the past decade.

Rhode Island took a historic step and is set to become the 10th state to legalize same-sex marriage. A new lobbying group founded by prominent conservative donor Paul Singer is pushing for gay marriage legislation as more Republicans join the cause to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act.

Even two prominent Kentucky Democrats—Auditor Adam Edelen and Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson—came out in favor or marriage equality.

But new poll numbers indicate Kentuckians are still overwhelmingly against same-sex couples getting hitched with 65 percent opposed. The opposition isn't based on political party either because the PPP survey shows 54 percent of Democratic voters are against the idea.

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Politics
7:54 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Louisville Metro Council Expands Sunday Liquor Sales for Restaurants

Credit File photo

In a bipartisan 16-7 vote, the Louisville Metro Council approved an ordinance expanding liquor sales on Sundays to 10 a.m. for local restaurants.

There are around 300 restaurants licensed to sell alcohol in the city on Sunday by the drink. Businesses are required to wait until 1 p.m. before serving customers, however. 

State law allows for local governments to amend those restrictions, and a sharp debate ensued on the council.

Councilman David Tandy, D-4, who represents parts of downtown where many sit-down restaurants are located, is the chief sponsor of the bill.

Some city lawmakers and many religious leaders expressed concerns about increased crime and incremental steps to allow Sunday liquor sales at other types businesses.

But Tandy says the legislation was aimed at helping restaurants that wanted to serve brunch ahead of the Kentucky Derby.

"With the passage of this legislation we have taken steps toward furthering economic growth in Louisville through our hospitality industry. This helps our economy keep dollars circulating in our community by allowing Louisville restaurants to compete with their Southern Indiana counterparts," he says.

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Politics
12:30 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

City Won't Pay Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin's Attorney for Ethics Appeal Work

Louisville Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin
Credit Louisville Metro Council

The lawyer representing embattled Louisville Metro Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin, D-2, will not be paid with taxpayer money during the appeal of her Ethics Commission case.

The panel ruled last month that Shanklin violated five sections of the city’s code of ethics and recommended her removal from office.

Attorney Aubrey Williams is appealing that decision in circuit court, but in a letter the Jefferson County Attorney’s office advises it will not pay for continued representation of the councilwoman.

Williams did not return WFPL's request for comment on Wednesday, but he told The Courier-Journal's Andrew Wolfson the city is trying to "squirm out of its obligations" and force him to drop Shanklin as a client.

Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell says the decision was based on the Metro Council amending the ethics ordinance to forbid tax dollars going toward any appeal process.

"The amendment provides that counsel will be provided to council members during an appearance before the ethics commission only. Any appeals of that or any removal hearings counsel is not provided to the council member," he says.

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