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
2:03 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Trey Grayson Weighs-in on Tea Party Finding Viable Challenger to Mitch McConnell

Former Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson
Credit harvard.edu

Former Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson says Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell will likely have a primary battle, but questions if that candidate will provide a viable challenge.

In an interview with Politico this week, McConnell acknowledged he might have a GOP opponent but boasted "there is not any chance" he could lose such a race.

Tea Party leaders in the state have promised a challenger is forthcoming who will take on McConnell's positions from a more conservative viewpoint, but no one has stepped up at this time.

Grayson was a McConnell protégé who lost to Rand Paul in the 2010 Republican primary.

He says McConnell has done a good job of keeping the state GOP unified and made solid partnerships with libertarian and tea party leaning lawmakers.

"I think the question is there going to be somebody out there who can give him a real run for the money, and it doesn’t look like it. There’s certainly a group of folks—some tea party leaders and others, David Adams for example—who are trying to find a candidate who can take him on. And everyday that candidate’s not in the race it becomes that much harder of a proposition," he says.

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Politics
1:01 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

Congressman Thomas Massie: U.S. Intelligence Agencies Exploiting Patriot Act

Congressman Thomas Massie, R-Ky.,
Credit U.S. Congress

Joining nearly two dozen other members of Congress, Republican Thomas Massie is asking intelligence agencies to clarify their position on the Patriot Act in light of the National Security Agency obtaining millions of U.S. citizen's phone records.

The 2-page letter signed by 22 lawmakers was drafted by fellow GOP Congressman Justin Amash of Michigan, and it raises concerns that the NSA is using the law to "sweep up volumes of data about American's every day telephone calls."

It asks the NSA and FBI how long the agencies store the information and how many companies have been subjected to the order, among other questions.

Last week, the Republican lawmaker who authored the Patriot Act said the NSA went too far by collecting phone data on Americans, and has misinterpreted what the law was meant to do.

"I campaigned against the Patriot Act for this precise reason," Massie said in a statement. "It appears that the FBI and the NSA are exploiting the Patriot Act to authorize a dramatic and unconstitutional expansion of domestic surveillance."

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Politics
11:16 am
Mon June 10, 2013

Louisville Free Public Library Ignores East End, Councilman Says

Credit Louisville Free Public Library

Louisville's free public library system is ignoring East End residents and facilities according to one Metro Council member.

Statistics show libraries in neighborhoods such as St. Matthews, Middletown and Jeffersontown have some of the highest visitor and book checkout rates.

For instance, the St. Matthews location has approximately 435,000 checkouts per year behind only the main branch in downtown. But suburban patrons have complained they’re being underserved, and lawmakers representing the areas are raising their voices, saying the structures are too small and in need of major renovations.

"If you factor in the facilities or if you factor in square footage, practically anyway you look at it we get one half the service, the library space and one half the access. The people east of (Browns Lane) line, that is where the growth has been. In the census, some districts grew 30 percent," says Councilman Jerry Miller, R-19.

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Politics
1:25 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Republican and Democratic Campaign Groups Pouncing on Kentucky U.S. Senate Race

Alison Lundergan Grimes and Mitch McConnell
Credit Kentucky Secretary of State/U.S. Senate

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes are being scrutinized by each others national political parties in a pair of stinging messages this week.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee put out dueling press releases on Friday, going after Grimes and McConnell respectively.

Grimes is being chastised by the GOP for comments made at the state Democratic Party's annual Wendell Ford Dinner. During her speech, Grimes alluded to need Democrat's support in the "coming months" and said voters are tired of McConnell's obstruction and misleading politics.

The NRSC said the dinner was a "liberal love fest" that shows Grimes backs President Obama's agenda.

"Alison Lundergan Grimes sounded like a Massachusetts liberal as she advocated for higher taxes on Kentuckians, more federal spending, and policies that will hurt middle class families and workers," NRSC spokeswoman Brook Hougesen said.  "The true inner Grimes was on full display last night - her views mirrored those of Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama and she showed no tolerance for those who disagree with her out of touch perspective. With such liberal views, it's no wonder Lundergan Grimes remains the most reluctant candidate in the country."

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Politics
8:24 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

Louisville Metro Council Approves City Purchasing Colonial Gardens

Colonial Gardens
Credit preservationlouisville.org

The Louisville Metro Council approved an ordinance that will allow the city to purchase the Colonial Gardens property by a 16-3 vote.

Mayor Greg Fischer asked lawmakers in April to allocate $430,000 to buy the historic South End property, which was the site of Louisville's first zoo and is now owned by an out-of-state trust.

For over a decade the structure has been idle and vacant, due in part to its out-of-state owners and historic preservation status.

City lawmakers were initially hesitant about the idea, and sought more information about the viability for private development. But its easy passage means the mayor can now move forward and sell Colonial Gardens to a developer.

"When running for office I promised my constituents I would work to develop the property. I am appreciative of the mayor and his economic development team for being such great partners as we continue to improve south Louisville together," says Councilman David Yates, D-25, who supported the ordinance. "While it has been a bumpy road we are very excited about the commitment to this shared goal."

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Politics
3:02 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

Louisville Democratic Chair Would Like Grimes to 'Make Her Mind Up' on Senate Race

Louisville Democratic Party Chair Bill Ryan
Credit louisvilledem.com

The chair of the Louisville Democratic Party says he'd prefer Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes to make a quick decision on challenging Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell next year.

Grimes is scheduled to appear at the party's annual Wendell Ford Dinner in Louisville on Thursday evening, but an announcement on the U.S. Senate race is not expected.

Pressure is mounting on Grimes to decide and attacks from a pro-McConnell super PAC have already been launched in newspaper ads.

Last month, Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth told WFPL Grimes needed to make an immediate decision on running or risk hurting the party.

Louisville-Jefferson County Democratic Party Chair Bill Ryan says he doesn’t agree Grimes is doing the party a disservice, but that it would be bet better to know the secretary of state's intentions now rather than later.

"I would like to see her make her mind up in the next few weeks. That would make it a whole lot simpler for the Democratic Party to find other candidates ... that are considering to go ahead and say they’re going to run," he says. "But as far as bullying her, no I’m not going to say she should or should not get into the race. If she wants to take up to January to decide that’s her business."

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Politics
12:20 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

Senator Rand Paul Outraged Over NSA Collecting U.S. Citizen's Phone Records

U.S. Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky.,
Credit U.S. Senate

In a blistering statement, U.S. Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky., says President Obama has "sunk to a new low" after reports the National Security Agency has collected millions of U.S. citizen's telephone records.

A story in The Guardian revealed the practice and shows a court order requiring Verizon to provide the NSA with information about calls in its system on an "ongoing, daily basis" from inside county as well as between U.S. customers and people in foreign countries.

The White House is defending the practice as a tool to combat terrorism, but civil liberties advocates say the practice is similar to NSA overreach under President George W. Bush in 2006.

Paul says the president is abusing his executive power, but that the Democratic-controlled Senate failed to put Fourth Amendment protections in the post-9/11 surveillance laws.

From Paul's office:

The National Security Agency's seizure and surveillance of virtually all of Verizon's phone customers is an astounding assault on the Constitution. After revelations that the Internal Revenue Service targeted political dissidents and the Department of Justice seized reporters' phone records, it would appear that this administration has now sunk to a new low.

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Politics
8:25 am
Thu June 6, 2013

Congressman John Yarmuth: Immigration Talks Will 'Move Forward' Despite GOP Members Exit

John Yarmuth
Credit U.S. Congress

Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth downplayed the exit of Republican Raul Labrador from a bipartisan group of lawmakers working on immigration reform.

The House "Gang of 8" was made up of four Republicans and four Democrats, including Yarmuth.

Lawmakers had been meeting in secret negotiations for months, but Labrador's departure came down to whether undocumented immigrants should be required to pay for their own health care on their pathway towards citizenship.

From Politico:

The problem, Labrador said, was an impasse over how the pending legislation would address the issue of health care for undocumented immigrants. That issue had recently emerged as a major sticking point between Democrats and Republicans, and the negotiations had teetered on the edge of collapse at least three times in the last several weeks before drawing closer to an agreement again.

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Politics
6:18 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

Congressman John Yarmuth Decries Lack of Pay Equity for Women

Speaking on the House floor, Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth of Kentucky called on Congress to update the 1963 Equal Pay Act and guarantee pay equity for women in the workplace.

The law was first enacted by President John F. Kennedy and is aimed at abolishing wage disparities between the sexes.

Fifty years ago, women made 59 cents for every dollar earned by a man. Recent studies show women are growing as the chief breadwinners in U.S. households, but still make just 77 centers compared to their male counterparts.

Yarmuth says that fact women have made only 18 cents worth of progress in half a century shows the need for lawmakers to close loopholes in the law.

Watch:

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Politics
11:51 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Louisville Budget Committee to Hold Public Comment June 13

Louisville City Hall
Credit wikimedia.org

The Louisville Metro Council Budget Committee is reminding residents about their opportunity to comment on Mayor Greg Fischer's proposed 2013-2014 budget.

Lawmakers are holding hearings on the mayor's spending plan throughout the month of June. The have been meeting with Metro department directors and non-profit groups.

The public comment portion is scheduled for June 13 at 6 p.m., and residents are being asked to sign-up at City Hall an hour in advance.

"The budget committee believes it is very important that we hear from the public when it comes to spending tax dollars for the coming year," says Councilwoman Marianne Butler, D-15, who chairs the committee.

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