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.

Pages

Politics
12:09 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer Announces Re-Election Bid

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer
Credit File photo

In a message to supporters, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced he is running for re-election in 2014.

The mayor had avoided the question when asked about seeking a second term in recent weeks, and the timing of the announcement had changed from January to mid-summer.

At the time, there were rumors Fischer was considering a bid for Kentucky's U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Mitch McConnell, but the mayor later said he was leaning towards running for re-election.

Fischer acknowledged at a press conference Tuesday afternoon that the decision to run for a second term was based in part on continued rumors he was thinking about the U.S. Senate race in 2014 or the 2015 gubernatorial contest.

"I felt it was best to go ahead and make my intentions clear that I want to be mayor for a second term. There’s an awful lot of work that still needs to be done. We’ve got good momentum as a city. My family’s excited and has been fully behind me so I felt like now was a good time to make the statement," he says.

Read more
Politics
3:59 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

Legal Debate Over Boston Terror Suspect's Miranda Rights Continues

Credit Shutterstock.com

The White House announced on Monday that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will not be treated as an enemy combatant, which adds more nuance to the legal debate regarding the 19-year-old terror suspect's legal rights.

After being taken into custody, federal authorities said Tsarnaev, who is a naturalized U.S. citizen, was not read his Miranda rights. Law enforcement cited the public safety exception, which was first carved out in a 1984 U.S. Supreme Court decision in the New York v. Quarles case.

In that situation, police questioned an assailant about the location of a weapon  before reading his Miranda rights.

University of Louisville Law Professor Russ Weaver told WFPL the exception defined in the Quarles case is rarely used and remains legally controversial

"There have been very few decisions applying that ruling since then so nobody really knows what it means. The question is when is it going to be applied and what does it mean? I don’t think anybody really knows," he said.

"You can make an argument for a case like this, saying ‘Look there may be a bombing ring or could be other things being plotted so there is a public safety reason for not applying Miranda in this situation.'"

Read more
Politics
11:55 am
Mon April 22, 2013

In Wake of Boston Bombings, Senator Rand Paul Wants to Delay Immigration Reform

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

In a letter to the Senate majority leader, Republican Rand Paul says national security questions surrounding the Boston bombings need to be addressed before Congress deals with comprehensive immigration reform. 

The terror attacks at the Boston Marathon last week were allegedly perpetrated by the Tsarnaev brothers, who are ethnic Chechens and immigrated to the U.S. a decade ago.

For some that is reason to be cautious on who the country is allowing in as lawmakers deliberate overhauling the immigration system. Others argue conservatives are only seizing on their ethnicity of the accused bombers to stoke nativist fears and derail reforms.

Paul is urging Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid to incorporate various national security concerns first and is openly asking if systemic failures allowed the two men to enter the U.S. without further background checks.

From Paul's office:

The facts emerging in the Boston Marathon bombing have exposed a weakness in our current system. If we don't use this debate as an opportunity to fix flaws in our current system, flaws made even more evident last week, then we will not be doing our jobs.

Read more
Politics
11:08 am
Mon April 22, 2013

Senator Mitch McConnell Addresses Progress Kentucky, Defends Record on Mental Health Issues

Senator Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.,

In a new op-ed piece, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell finally addresses a liberal super PAC accused of recording of his campaign office.

McConnell has personally avoided talking about Progress Kentucky directly, but his re-election campaign and surrogates have focused on the groups in TV ads and news releases. 

Some observers have said the issue at hand isn't how the secret recording of the McConnell campaign was obtained, but aides talking about Ashley Judd's struggles with depression as a part of opposition research.

The GOP leader takes time to respond to newspaper columnist Merlene Davis, who wrote McConnell owed Judd an apology for strategizing on how to attack the Hollywood actresses's past mental health problems but not before taking a swipe at the "partisan zealots" at Progress.

From The Lexington Herald-Leader:

Shortly after the FBI began investigating a criminal recording at my campaign headquarters, Davis penned an opinion column here echoing the framework of the left-wing journalist who obtained the illegally recorded audio in the first place.

Read more
Politics
3:28 pm
Sun April 21, 2013

Senator Dan Coats Discusses Boston Terror Suspect's Injuries, Miranda Rights

U.S. Senator Dan Coats, R-In.,

Appearing on ABC's 'This Week', Republican U.S. Senator Dan Coats of Indiana says the 19-year-old terror suspect apprehended in the Boston Marathon bombing cannot share any information at this moment due to a bullet wound to the neck.

"The information we have is that there was a shot to the throat. And it’s questionable whether — when and whether he’ll be able to talk again," Coats told 'This Week' host George Stephanopoulos. "Doesn’t mean he can’t communicate, but right now I think he’s in a condition where we can’t get any information from him at all."

Coats is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee and was on the Sunday morning politics program to discuss the Boston attacks.

He was also asked whether the alleged bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is a naturalized U.S. citizen, should have been read his Miranda rights after being arrested.

"I think we should stay with enemy combatant until we find out for sure whether or not there was a link to foreign terrorist organizations," Coats said.

Watch:

Read more
Politics
10:30 pm
Sat April 20, 2013

Noise and Notes: Anthony Smith's Vision for Safer Louisville Neighborhoods

Safe Neighborhoods Director Anthony Smith
Credit File photo

What makes a Louisville neighborhood safe?

Community activist Anthony Smith hopes to answer that in his new Metro government role aimed at crime prevention.

The city's director of Safe Neighborhoods was created as a result of the violence prevention task force, which submitted a report containing over six dozen recommendations in response to a brazen triple homicide last year.

Since that shooting spree onlookers have awaited to see if the work group's plan will be more than just another study.

Smith is a Louisville native who acknowledges residents are impatient when it comes to previous promises to help improve dangerous areas.

"There's always going to be this idea around are we doing enough as a city and are we moving fast enough," he says. "And I think we've got to understand this is a long-term situation—we didn't get here overnight so it's not something you can just put some programs in place and it's all gone."

Read more
Politics
10:00 am
Thu April 18, 2013

Mitch McConnell Ad Spotlights FBI Probe, al-Qaeda Comparison

Credit Kenny Colston / Kentucky Public Radio

The campaign to re-elect Republican Senator Mitch McConnell launched a new TV ad Thursday, which continues to pummel liberal super PAC Progress Kentucky and other groups for their attacks.

Asking "how dirty" will Democrats get, the narrator says McConnell is President Obama's number one target while highlighting the FBI investigation into a secret recording of a McConnell campaign strategy meeting.  WFPL broke the story that a local Democratic official alleged two activists involved with Progress were behind the recording.

The ad also digs at Americans United for Change, which launched a commercial which said McConnell's position against gun background checks put him in agreement with the terrorist group al-Qaeda.

"The far left is desperate to hurt Senator McConnell and have resorted to some of the dirtiest tactics in memory," McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton said in a release. "Whether it be the left's racist attacks, their spying and illegal recording of our office meetings or comparing Mitch to mass-murderers and Al Qaeda terrorists, Kentuckians are appalled and will not stand for it."

Watch:

Read more
Politics
3:17 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Congressman John Yarmuth Urges Senate to Pass Gun Background Checks

Speaking on the House floor Wednesday, Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth encouraged the Senate to pass legislation creating stricter background checks before purchasing a gun.

Yarmuth cited a constituent's letter in The Courier-Journal that criticized lawmakers for being beholden to the National Rifle Association over common sense gun laws. Poll numbers did indicate a large number of Americans backed tighter gun restrictions, but as NPR reported last month those figures began to wane to pre-Newtown levels in recent weeks.

But Yarmuth says the Senate needs to listen to the "vast majority" of Americans and Kentuckians and pass background checks for gun purchasers.

Watch:

Read more
Politics
11:03 am
Wed April 17, 2013

Senator Rand Paul: President Obama Using Gun Victims, Families As 'Props'

Senator Rand Paul
Credit U.S. Senate

Speaking to reporters at an event organized by the Christian Science Monitor, U.S. Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky., blasted President Obama for using the families of gun violence victims in his push for legislative reforms.

From Huffington Post:

"I think gun control is a legitimate issue for us to debate," Paul said. "I hate to see using people, I think, as props and politicizing people's tragedy. When I see the father and the mothers and them testifying - and I know they're coming voluntarily, and they want to come and be part of this debate - but it still saddens me just to see them, and I think that in some cases the president has used them as props. And that disappoints me.

The president has reached out to family members of victims from the Newtown massacre in the aftermath.

One mother stood in for Obama during one of his weekly presidential addresses. In that speech Francine Wheeler, whose 6-year-old son was murdered during the shooting spree, pleaded for stricter gun control laws.

Read more
Politics
10:28 am
Wed April 17, 2013

Congressman John Yarmuth Joins Bipartisan Group Favoring Immigration Reform

Congressman John Yarmuth and Senator Rand Paul
Credit Phillip Bailey / WFPL News

Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth is joining a bipartisan group of eight House members who are voicing support for fixing the country's immigration system.

Efforts for comprehensive reform in the Senate was backed by President Obama this week after a group of eight senators reached an agreement and unveiled their legislative package.

Among the notable compromises in the measure is giving the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants a pathway to U.S. citizenship, but only after stricter border security standards are made. The legislation would also crack down on American employers who hire illegal immigrants.

The statement from Yarmuth's office says lawmakers in the House are also working on drafting a similar bill with Democratic and Republican support.

From Yarmuth's office:

"Americans want to see the nation’s broken immigration system fixed, and they know it will take bipartisanship to solve this problem in a sensible and rational way. This week, a bipartisan group of Senators stepped forward to introduce their proposal, and we applaud their effort.

Read more

Pages