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
10:45 am
Sun February 10, 2013

Karl Rove Promises More Ashley Judd Attack Ads

Republican strategist Karl Rove is promising more attack ads targeting actress Ashley Judd.

Judd is flirting with a bid against Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who is up for re-election in 2014.

In a brutal online ad, American Crossroad tagged the actress-activist as an out-of-touch Hollywood liberal, and criticized her for living in Tennessee. Rove is the super PAC's founder, and he says there's plenty more to come.

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Politics
6:00 am
Sun February 10, 2013

Stumbo, Stivers Oppose Local Option Sales Tax; Fischer Undeterred

Greg Fischer
Credit Louisville Metro Government

Kentucky's top two legislative leaders are throwing cold water on a proposal to create a local option sales tax for city and county governments.

The plan would give local voters the ability to decide whether to fund special projects through a temporary increase to the state sales tax. It would typically be used for infrastructure, supporters say, but could also be applied to long-term investments.

Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo, however, says cities already have alternatives for such projects.

"There's a lot of options that they have, that they haven't used for local option taxes if they want to utilize them. So I don't necessarily favor it," he says.

The measure is heavily supported by Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, both Democrats. 

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Politics
10:30 pm
Sat February 9, 2013

Noise and Notes: Kentucky State President Mary Evans Sias on Historically Black Colleges' Challenges

Dr. Mary Evans Sias

Kentucky State University President Mary Evans Sias is warning the 127-year-old institution faces serious challenges, and will have to change to survive.

Located in the bosom of the commonwealth’s capital, K-State is a historically black college with a proud tradition that counts the late Urban League President Whitney Young among its alumni.

As of late K-State has seen a significant drop in enrollment as it has weathered state budget cuts and the national recession.

As Sias writes:

As we expected, in May of 2012, our graduation rate hit a low of 14 percent, down substantially from 2003. That enrollment decline resulted in a $4.8 million loss of revenue for the year.

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Politics
4:00 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

Judge Dismisses Shanklin Suit Against Mayor’s Office to Halt Ethics Case

Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin
Credit Louisville Metro Government

A Jefferson Circuit judge dismissed a lawsuit against Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer’s office filed by embattled Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin, D-2, that sought to halt an ethics case against her.

The suit alleged Fischer violated Kentucky’s open records law because his office refused to provide documents explaining what authority the mayor had to close an upholstery program Shanklin sponsored.

Shanklin’s attorney Aubrey Williams asked for a temporary injunction in the ethics case until the records were produced. But Judge Audra Eckerle ruled the councilwoman would not be harmed if the ethics proceedings continued.

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Politics
11:27 am
Wed February 6, 2013

Karl Rove's Super PAC Targets Ashley Judd in New Attack Ad

Actress Ashley Judd
Credit Salon

The Super PAC American Crossroads has released a stinging ad targeting actress-activist Ashley Judd, who is considering a bid against Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

The digital spot portrays Judd as an out-of-touch Hollywood liberal and criticizes her for being a supporter of President Obama, living in Tennessee and progressive politics.

Watch:

The ad is called "Ashley's Story" and cost the group $10,000.

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Politics
6:56 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

Democrats Halt Resolution Requesting Ethics Commission Be Given Subpoena Powers

After a 30-minute debate, the Louisville Metro Council’s government accountability committee put off a vote asking state lawmakers to give the city’s ethics commission subpoena power.

The non-binding measure had bipartisan support initially with leaders on both sides of the aisle saying it made common sense. But during discussion, Democrats raised concerns that state lawmakers could give the commission too much power and that the council should deliver a more specific proposal.

Councilman Jerry Miller, R-19, is chairman of the committee and filed the resolution. He says he was surprised by the decision to table to measure because no council members objected to the matter beforehand, adding Democrats have sent a troubling message.

"The non-partisan metro council of Lexington is supporting passage of a resolution, which urges passage of this. Our partisan council in Louisville seem to have issues and it’s troubling, but we are where we are," he says.

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Politics
2:53 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

Vacant Properties Committee Goes Mobile, Seeks Input in West Louisville

The Metro Council ad hoc Vacant Properties Committee is holding a special meeting in west Louisville to hear from community groups and neighborhood leaders.

Committee members are specifically looking to spotlight organizations with small budgets, and are urging groups to make 2 to 3 minute presentations.

Vacant Properties Vice-Chair Attica Scott, D-1, says she wants to introduce the community to city initiatives related to abandoned and vacant properties, and give non-profits a chance to showcase their own ideas to lawmakers.

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Politics
1:41 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

Gun Control Group Aims TV Ads at Mitch McConnell

A liberal group is attacking Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell in a new television ad over his opposition to gun control measures.

The group Progressive Change Campaign Committee is launching the commercial, which will air in Kentucky and Washington, D.C. area. It features gun owner and former military marksman Rodney Kendrick from Berea, calling on McConnell to support a ban on assault weapons and background checks on gun purchases.

Watch:

"On pretty much every major issue Mitch McConnell sides with his big campaign contributors over everyday people in Kentucky," PCCC co-founder Adam Green told WFPL. "Right now the gun debate is front and center, and therefore we’re elevating the fact that after the gun industry has spent (hundreds of thousands of dollars) to elect Mitch McConnell. He is opposing the will of the people in Kentucky and basic things like background checks to buy a gun."

In response McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton condemned the commercial, adding PCCC is far outside the mainstream of Kentucky voters and is backed by liberal billionaire George Soros.

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Politics
5:29 pm
Mon February 4, 2013

Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin Sues Mayor Greg Fischer Over Upholstery Program Records

Barbara Shanklin
Credit Louisville Metro Council

Louisville Metro Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin has filed suit against Mayor Greg Fischer's office.

Shanklin, D-2, is seeking public records regarding an upholstery program for ex-offenders that her office funded, which is part of a recent ethics investigation against her.

In September 2012, Shanklin requested records related to Fischer's "involvement in the investigation," and what authority the mayor's office had to close the program.

The councilwoman alleges the mayor is violating the state's open records law and depriving her of evidence needed for her defense in the ethics case.

"Basically we asked for what authority or rule or policy the mayor relied on to terminate the upholstery program," says attorney Aubrey Williams, who is representing Shanklin.

Williams is requesting the ethics commission delay its ruling until this matter is settled.

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Politics
2:20 pm
Mon February 4, 2013

Councilwoman Marilyn Parker to Tea Party: Don't Play 'Russian Roulette' With Mitch McConnell's Seat

Credit Parker campaign

Louisville Metro Councilwoman Marilyn Parker, R-18, is urging fellow Tea Party activists to think twice before taking on Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell in 2014.

McConnell opened his re-election headquarters in Louisville over the weekend, and promised a vigorous campaign. In recent weeks, more than a dozen Tea Party groups from around the state have warned they are lining up an opponent to take on the GOP leader.

Parker attend the opening and told WFPL many in the Tea Party are upset with McConnell's leadership, particularly when it comes to federal spending.

But the East End Republican says McConnell’s position is too important to risk, and that he has stood up against President Obama's agenda in Washington.

"I think we are at a very tenuous time in the country, and it’s important that’s not jeopardized at this time,” she says.

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