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
1:19 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Opposing Obama's CIA Nomination, Mitch McConnell Says Rand Paul Deserves Answer on Drones

Sens. Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell at a Tea Party rally in Kentucky
Credit Kenny Colston / Kentucky Public Radio

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is praising his Kentucky colleague Rand Paul’s nearly 13-hour filibuster, and is now opposing President Obama's nominee to run the Central Intelligence Agency.

Paul held up the confirmation of John Brennan for CIA director using an old-school filibuster. He continually asked for the administration to promise they will not use armed unmanned aircrafts to kill American citizens on U.S. soil.

In a letter sent Monday, Attorney General Eric Holder told Paul the administration had "no intention" to use drones on suspected terrorists in the U.S., but could do so in "extraordinary circumstances."

As the filibuster gained national attention and bipartisan support, McConnell and a number of GOP senators joined Paul's effort last night.

Speaking on the Senate floor Thursday, McConnell says the White House has a responsibility to answer Paul’s questions  before the nomination goes forward.

"The United States military no more has the right to kill a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil who is not a combatant with an armed unmanned aerial vehicle than it does with an M-16. The technology is beside the point. It simply doesn’t have that right and the administration should simply answer the question," he says.

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Politics
3:48 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Rand Paul Old-School Filibusters Nomination of CIA Director for 13 Hours

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

Speaking on the Senate floor, Republican Rand Paul is actively filibustering the nomination of John Brennan as director of the CIA, citing concerns over President Obama's policy on drones and civil liberties.

Earlier this week, Kentucky's junior senator received a controversial response from Attorney General Eric Holder about the administration’s use of unmanned aircrafts.

Holder told Paul the president could theoretically authorize deadly force to be used against a citizen on U.S. soil without due process.

Since Wednesday morning, Paul has been delaying Brennan's nomination and pledged to talk until he couldn't anymore.

Paul says the White House is continuing the controversial policies of former President George W. Bush, which candidate Obama spoke out against in 2007.

"We had a president who ran for office saying your phone shouldn’t be tapped without a warrant. I happened to agree with candidate Obama. But what happened to candidate Obama who wanted to protect the right to privacy of your who doesn’t care much about your right not to be killed by a drone without any kind of judicial proceeding," he says.

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Politics
9:12 am
Wed March 6, 2013

Team Mitch Does the Harlem Shake

Credit YouTube.com

The viral video dance craze of the new Harlem Shake hit the 2014 Kentucky U.S. Senate campaign trail.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's re-election campaign released their version of the meme. It begins with a person wearing a McConnell mask dancing to the song outside Churchill Down, and well...just watch below.

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Politics
4:22 pm
Tue March 5, 2013

Councilwoman Marilyn Parker Declines Government Pension Benefits

Louisville Metro Councilwoman Marilyn Parker
Credit Parker campaign

Louisville Metro Councilwoman Marilyn Parker, R-18, is forgoing her government pension benefits, citing the lack of real reforms in the 2013 General Assembly.

By declining the benefits Parker is saving the city an estimated $8,500 annually and Metro Government will not have to contribute to the state pension system on her behalf.

Parker says the decisions is meant to send a message to state lawmakers, and alert taxpayers on how serious the pension problem is for Kentucky.

"It is an issue that deeply concerns me for our state and city budgets. I'm concerned that we're not seeing a fix coming out of Frankfort," she says. "And as time goes on it is going our state and local budgets at risk and government at risk."

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Politics
2:19 pm
Tue March 5, 2013

Will Kentucky 'Religious Freedom' Bill Gut Protections for Women, Minorities and Gay Residents?

Kentucky Commission on Human Rights Executive Director John J. Johnson
Credit Kentucky Commission on Human Rights

Joining other civil rights group, the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights is urging Governor Steve Beshear to block a bill that would allow people to ignore laws and regulations violating their religious beliefs.

Last week, the Democratic-controlled House overwhelmingly approved HB 279 by an 82-7 vote. It has now moved on the state Senate, where observers predict it is likely to pass in the GOP-controlled chamber.

Supporters say the bill strengthens the rights for people of faith and clarifies religious freedom in state law. But civil rights groups such as the ACLU of Kentucky and Louisville Fairness Campaign argue it will gut protections for women, racial minorities and gay residents.

John Johnson, executive director of the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights, tells WFPL the commission agrees "wholeheartedly" with civil rights proponents, adding there is a potential risk for people to use their faith to discriminate.

"If this bill is adopted people can hide behind religious freedoms and discriminate in anyway they feel. They could say based on my religion I don’t think I should serve people based on interracial marriage. I don’t believe I should serve people because they are of a different religion," he says. "People can hide behind it in anyway, and it just makes it more difficult for the human rights agencies to pursue equality in our state."

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Politics
6:35 pm
Mon March 4, 2013

Bill Granting Ethics Commission Subpoena Powers Passes House Panel

A bill giving the Louisville Metro Ethics Commission subpoena powers sailed through a state House committee on Monday.

In 2011, a report by the commission complained to the Metro Council about its inability to compel witnesses to testify. Last November, Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin, D-2, put that lack of power on display when she twice walked out of her ethics hearing at the instruction of her attorney.

From The Lexington Herald-Leader:

Sen. Julie Denton, R-Louisville, said the bill was in response to alleged ethics violations of council members in Louisville.

SB 117 would give ethics committees administrative subpoena power to gather documents and compel witnesses to testify.

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Politics
5:00 pm
Mon March 4, 2013

Courier-Journal, Daily Caller Raise Questions Over Ashley Judd's Nude Scenes

Actress Ashley Judd
Credit Salon

If you were unaware, actress Ashley Judd is considering a run for U.S. Senate in Kentucky.

It's a big deal given that the Hollywood star could be taking on not just any lawmaker, but Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.

Critics have suggested Judd is too liberal, too close to President Obama and too anti-coal to run in Kentucky. And she still lives in Tennessee.

But this week a new narrative questions whether Judd has been too nude to run.

From The Courier-Journal:

"...Judd has bared her body in several movies.The question is, how does that effect her chances of winning election if she decides to challenge Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell next year.

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Politics
1:57 pm
Mon March 4, 2013

City Leaders, Boy Scouts of America Unveil New After School Program

The Boy Scouts of America is forming a partnership with Louisville Metro Government for a new after school pilot program to help at-risk youth and teach them needed skills to deal with drugs and violence.

Mayor Greg Fischer and other city officials unveiled the NOVA Center on Monday, which will involve the Boy Scouts, Jefferson County Public Schools and Metro Parks in the California neighborhood.

It will take in more than three dozen student from Wheatley Elementary, who will be recommended from the schools' family resource center. NOVA will offer math and science tutoring, as well as life skills and mentoring on how to avoid alcohol, drug abuse and bullying.

Fischer says the task of combating violence starts with the youngest children, but it won’t be successful unless everyone participates.

"And so the Boy Scouts stepping up here should really be applauded. It’s a way they’re going to be directly affecting the lives of these kids one student at a time. And whether you look at 55,000 degrees or 15,000 degrees, people often say ‘how can you get it done?’ And I give them the same answer: you get it done one student at a time. It’s not easy," he says.

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Politics
8:30 am
Mon March 4, 2013

Libertarian Party Leader Says Members Open to Supporting Ashley Judd

Ashley Judd
Credit Creative Commons

  The chairman of the Libertarian Party of Kentucky says his members could be persuaded to vote for Ashley Judd over Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, but the Hollywood actress needs to distance herself from President Obama.

Judd has met with Democratic donors in Louisville and courted state leaders such as Gov. Steve Beshear and House Speaker Greg Stumbo, in recent weeks.

Libertarian Party Chairman Ken Moellman says he isn't sure if they are running a challenger in 2014. But his members would need to know more about Judd’s fiscal views first, adding there is some agreement with the actress's social views such as same-sex marriage.

"From a libertarian perspective on the gay marriage issue, we tend to take more of the approach that the government shouldn’t be sanctioning marriage anyway. The relationship between two people does not need government involved. I don’t need to ask the government if this guy can be my friend or ‘hey, can I move in with this person’,” he says.

Judd is a vocal supporter of same-sex marriage and abortion, and recently gave a speech on women's reproductive rights in Washington, D.C.

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Politics
10:42 pm
Sat March 2, 2013

Noise and Notes: Not-So-Super PAC Progress Kentucky, Yum Center Woes, 'Cannabis Majority'

Credit Louisville Public Media

The Louisville-based super PAC Progress Kentucky made national news this week when WFPL broke the story of them attacking Senator Mitch McConnell’s wife based on her Asian heritage.

Leaders with the group have apologized—twice, but just about every Democrat has denounced them or kept their distance, and McConnell has pounced on the comments since returning home.

Even the senator's harshest critics have cried foul.

From The Courier-Journal:

This is no way to defeat McConnell. If anything, it does what McConnell cannot do for himself. It remarkably casts him in a sympathetic light.

But some observers have pointed out Progress received sparse coverage from the local media to being with while getting plenty from national outlets.

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