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
7:00 am
Mon March 18, 2013

Council Democrats Urge ‘Religious Freedom’ Bill Veto; Opponents Note Fischer's Absence

Joining dozens of civil rights groups, six Democratic members of the Louisville Metro Council have signed a letter asking Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear to block the ‘religious freedom’ bill.

The bill allows individuals to ignore laws and regulations that violate tenets of their faith, and it passed overwhelmingly in both chambers of the General Assembly. Supporters point to court decisions that have made it easier for the government to infringe on First Amendment rights for religious beliefs.

But opponents argue the measure is too broad and therefore could threaten protections for racial minorities, women and members of the LGBT community.

The Louisville Fairness Campaign circulated the petition to council members, but did not approach any council Republicans to sign it.

Councilwoman Attica Scott, D-1, says she signed the letter to Beshear because the bill compromises civil rights laws in Kentucky.

"I’m very disappointed that people in our state legislature fail to think more about the people across the state who may identify differently than they do and who definitely need these additional protections from any kind of discrimination," she says.

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Politics
10:30 pm
Sat March 16, 2013

Noise and Notes: Recaps and Leftovers from the 2013 Kentucky General Assembly

Credit Louisville Public Media

The 2013 Kentucky General Assembly is nearing its end, but there are plenty of important issues still haven't been addressed.

At the beginning of the legislative session much was said about the improved personal relationships between Gov. Steve Beshear and state lawmakers—particularly the GOP-controlled Senate. But if Frankfort is more collegial it hasn't improved productivity.

With two days left for veto days, thorny matters such as pension reform and redistricting haven’t been resolved. No deals are in sight, and there is talk of a special session to sort those priorities out.

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Politics
6:25 pm
Sat March 16, 2013

Rand Paul Wins CPAC Presidential Straw Poll

Credit U.S. Senate

  Republican U.S. Senator Rand Paul won the presidential straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference, beating several high-profile names among his party's potential 2016 White House contenders.

Paul edged out GOP rival and fellow Senator Marco Rubio of Florida in the largely symbolic survey among a crowded field of two dozen candidates. Those Paul bested include former Republican vice presidential nominees Sarah Palin and Paul Ryan. 

Kentucky's junior senator won with 25 percent of the vote, ahead of Rubio who had 23 percent and former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania who came in was third place with 8 percent.

From USA Today:

Lauri Dabbieri, a high school teacher from Fairfax County, Va., said she voted for Paul when she heard the senator say he would abolish the federal Department of Education, which she called "completely useless.' Education is a local issue, she said.

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Politics
8:25 am
Fri March 15, 2013

Council Members Laud Metro Police for Impounding Roofing Company Truck Over Illegal Dumping

Louisville Metro Council members are praising Metro Police for impounding a dump truck allegedly involved in illegal dumping in the Fairdale neighborhood.

According to council staff, police received a complaint on Wednesday of shingles and roofing materials being illegally dropped off on Manslick Road.

Officers arrived at the scene and found a truck belonging to Elkins & Sons of Louisville that was later impounded.

"I applaud the quick work of the officer who answered this call about illegal dumping," Councilwoman Marianne Butler, D-15, said in a news release. "I am also glad to see the public is getting involved in stopping people who believe they can use our streets, alleys, vacant fields and roadways as their own personal dumping ground."

Last year, city lawmakers strengthened an ordinance to empower law enforcement to seize vehicles caught illegally dumping.

The council also added funding to the budget for 19 new cameras targeting problem areas where there have been repeated cases of trash and other junk items being dropped off improperly

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Politics
7:03 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Senator Rand Paul Calls for New GOP at CPAC

Rand Paul
Credit U.S. Senate

Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky said the GOP has "grown stale and moss covered" and needs to embrace libertarianism.

"The new GOP will need to embrace liberty in both the economic and the personal sphere. If we're going to have a Republican Party that can win, liberty needs to be the backbone of the GOP," he said.

For many conservatives, Paul's nearly 13-hour filibuster of CIA director John Brennan in protest of President Obama's drone policies puts him at the head of the line for presidential contenders in 2016.

The high-profiled speech gave Paul a chance to court the so-called "Facebook generation" on privacy matters, and explain why he favors limits on presidential power.

Paul's remarks also gave him a chance to rebuke GOP rival and fellow Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, who right before Paul's speech said the party didn't need new ideas.

Watch the full speech:

Politics
4:04 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Lexington Reporter Pulled from Democratic Club Meeting After Call from Mitch McConnell's Office

Democratic sources are alleging Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s office pressured the Lexington Herald-Leader to stop a reporter from addressing a political club, but the newspaper's editor denies any such demands were made.

Journalist John Cheves was invited to speak before the Louisville Metropolitan Democratic Club this week to talk about an investigative series he wrote on Kentucky's senior Senator in 2006.

The event caught the attention of McConnell’s office after being promoted by Progress Kentucky, a liberal super PAC that was denounced by Democrats and Republicans over racially insensitive Tweets about the senator's wife.

A source tells WFPL McConnell’s office questioned the newspaper's "journalistic integrity" and requested Cheves not appear.

Herald-Leader editor Peter Baniak says a McConnell spokesman did ask about the event, but no political pressure was applied.

"I gather they had seen something on social media mentioning the meeting and they just asked the simple question of whether it was accurate that John was the speaker. They didn’t make any demands of any kind," he says. "It was from that point the editors at the Herald-Leader did not know this meeting had been scheduled."

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Politics
9:55 am
Thu March 14, 2013

Congressman John Yarmuth: Ryan Budget Plan is the Enemy of Growth

Speaking at the House Budget Committee this week, Kentucky Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth said government should be a partner with business and the Republican-crafted 2014 budget will hurt economic growth.

Among the highlights GOP lawmakers have touted are $6.4 trillion in deficit cuts and reducing the corporate tax by 10 percent.

But Yarmuth told his congressional colleagues on Wednesday the GOP proposal is an "enemy" to growth, adding cuts to education, infrastructure and child-care programs are not what business leaders in Louisville are asking for.

"They want Washington's help, not its avoidance," he says. "I think the Ryan-Republican budget is a dismal failure. All of the things that are businesses are crying out for the Ryan budget would emphasize or in fact dramatically reduce."

Watch:

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Politics
7:34 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

Mitch McConnell Congratulates Pope Francis

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is praising the selection of Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio to head the Catholic Church as the new pope.

From McConnell's office:

"Catholics across Kentucky and the entire U.S. celebrate the election of Pope Francis I, and I join Americans of all faiths to congratulate him on becoming the spiritual leader of the world’s more than one billion Catholics.

As a voice of clarity and force on the great moral challenges of our time, the Pope plays a uniquely constructive role in world affairs, and as a herald of the Christian message of charity and reconciliation he calls all of us to a greater recognition of the inherent dignity of all men and women.

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Politics
2:38 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

Congressman John Yarmuth: Democrats Trying to ‘Sabotage’ Ashley Judd Are Making a Mistake

Actress Ashley Judd
Credit Salon

Kentucky Congressman John Yarmuth is defending actress Ashley Judd against fellow Democrats who he says will regret trying to "sabotage" the Hollywood star's candidacy against Republican Senator Mitch McConnell.

For weeks, state Democratic consultants and donors have voiced caution, arguing Judd is too liberal to win in Kentucky and could cost the party seats in the General Assembly. And national Democratic groups are reportedly having second thoughts about Judd running in 2014 as well.

Yarmuth says those naysayers have often been wrong and haven’t presented a viable candidate of their own to take on the GOP leader, adding many should accept Judd is running.

"I absolutely think that some of the Democrats who are trying to sabotage an Ashley Judd campaign are making a very big mistake. There is no alternative to Ashley Judd right now. She is widely popular in Kentucky. She has generated an unprecedented excitement in the media both locally and across the country," he says. "And I think a lot of these people are going to be very embarrassed and have to eat a lot of crow when they have to support her—and they will aggressively support her—in the general election."

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Politics
9:55 am
Wed March 13, 2013

Mitch McConnell's Wife Slams Progress Kentucky in First TV Ad

Credit YouTube.com

In the first TV ad of the 2014 Kentucky Senate race, Republican Mitch McConnell's wife jabs a liberal super PAC for attacking her ethnicity.

As WFPL reported last month, Progress Kentucky sent out a number of messages via Twitter attacking former Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, with a focus on her race.

The national backlash forced the group to eventually apologize, and in the 30-second spot Chao says that represents the overall tone of the campaign.

"You've seen the ads attacking my husband.  As Mitch McConnell's wife, I have come to expect them," Chao says in the ad.  "Now, far left special interests are also attacking my ethnicity, even attacking Mitch's patriotism because he's married to me. That's how low some people will stoop."

Watch:

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