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.


1:00 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

Occupy Louisville, Justice Resource Center Rally Against Domestic Spending Cuts

Occupy Louisville and the Justice Resource Center are holding a demonstration at Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's office to protest against any domestic spending cuts as part of the fiscal cliff negotiations.

The negotiations in Washington to avoid the $607 billion combination of automatic spending cuts and tax increases continue with the end of the year deadline approaching.

This week the White House threatened to veto Speak John Boehner’s "plan B," which includes raising tax rates on Americans making over $1 million annually. House Republicans argue their plan avoids tax hikes on most income earners, but the Obama administration says it doesn't raise enough revenue and burdens the middle-class.

Ike Thacker is an Occupy Louisville spokesman. He says the groups oppose any cuts to social programs that help the poor and would prefer cuts to the defense department.

"The things that need to be cut are not social programs. We spend in the neighborhood of $20 to $30 billion on welfare and around $70 billion on food stamps, which means roughly speaking $100 billion. While we spend well over $1 trillion every year in one form or another on our military," he says. "If we want to go where the spending is to do the spending cuts it does not need to be in social programs, but in the military."

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11:45 am
Wed December 19, 2012

Beshear Encourages Moment of Silence Friday for Newtown Shooting Victims

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear
Credit Kentucky Governor's Office

Governor Steve Beshear is encouraging fellow Kentuckians to observe a moment of silence on Friday morning to honor the victims of the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut last week.

The governor of Connecticut called for the observance earlier this week and asked that all other states join in the remembrance.

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10:57 am
Tue December 18, 2012

Rand Paul: Tim Scott Appointment Will Help GOP, Tea Party Among Black Voters

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul
Credit U.S. Senate

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., says the appointment of Congressman Tim Scott, R-S.C., to the Senate could help Republicans and the Tea Party among African-Americans.

Scott will succeed retiring Sen. Jim DeMint, who is leaving for the Heritage Foundation. The appointment will make Scott the only black senator in the chamber next year.

As observers note, Scott's prominence is due in large part to the Tea Party wave that elected him in 2010.

From NPR:

Scott touts a Tea Party message of drastically smaller government, and beyond that he has endeared himself to many conservatives with his willingness to criticize President Obama.

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4:56 pm
Mon December 17, 2012

McConnell: The Nation Stands With Newtown

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell
Credit U.S. Senate

Speaking on the Senate floor Monday, Republican Leader Mitch McConnell expressed sympathies for the victims and survivors of the shooting massacre Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

McConnell says the murder of so many children shatters America’s heart, and that President Obama spoke for the nation when he talked about the importance of bond parents have with their children.

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2:03 pm
Mon December 17, 2012

Mitch McConnell Praises Tim Scott Appointment to Senate

Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and U.S. Rep. Tim Scott
Credit U.S. Congress

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is praising the appointment of Congressman Tim Scott, R-S.C., to the succeeded retiring Sen. Jim DeMint.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley announced her decision Monday, making Scott the first African-American senator from the South since Reconstruction.

The 47-year-old congressman was the favorite among conservatives to take DeMint's seat, and McConnell noted the history in Haley's decision.

From McConnell's office:

"I want to congratulate Congressman Scott on his appointment to the United States Senate. As a solid conservative who fights hard for the values and principles he believes in, Tim will help us find real, lasting solutions to the economic challenges facing our nation in the 113th Congress. This is truly an historic moment for the Palmetto State from a Governor who’s broken more than a few barriers in her own career."

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1:01 pm
Mon December 17, 2012

Yarmuth Calls for Comprehensive Gun Control in Wake of Sandy Hook Shooting

U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky.,
Credit U.S. Congress

Kentucky Third District Congressman John Yarmuth, D-Ky., says lawmakers need to get behind comprehensive gun control in the aftermath of a elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

Last Friday, a gunman entered Sandy Hook Elementary School with an assault rifle and two semi-automatic pistols, killing 20 children and six adults. The shooting has sparked a national debate about the Second Amendment, and gun control groups have been pushing for stricter laws.

However, gun right's advocates such as Congressman Louie Gohmert, R-Tx., have suggested the school’s principal should have been armed as a way to protect the students and staff.

Yarmuth says arming more citizens is not the answer, and that groups like the National Rifle Association ought to be open to reasonable regulations.

"The National Rifle Association has spent untold millions of dollars instilling fear in our citizens and our politicians. That organization, which regularly fails to represent the responsible attitudes of its members, wants us to believe that the best protection against the irresponsible and lethal use of guns is for everyone to be armed," he says. "And while no specific gun regulation may have prevented the deaths of the 20 Sandy Hook Elementary children, 6 and 7-year-old children, the answer simply cannot be a gun in every elementary school lunchbox."

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9:17 am
Mon December 17, 2012

Audit Finds No Agreement Between City, Dismas Charities

An internal audit could not find a signed agreement between Louisville Metro Government and Dismas Charities Inc. regarding the use of inmates from the non-profit’s halfway house at city departments.

The report includes a number of other troubling findings, including that Dismas workers were not consistently signing in or out at their assignments, did have proper monitoring of their activity and that their work logs were incomplete.

(Read the audit report here.)

Dismas is a non-profit group that through the Kentucky Department of Corrections houses inmates at its various halfway houses. While residing at those facilities, inmates are required to participate in community service and many work at Metro agencies as they transition to life outside of prison.

Mayor Greg Fischer's office told WFPL they were surprised to learn the city had no written contract with Dismas, and are working to address the problems and develop a corrective action plan.

"It was new information to us that there wasn’t a signed agreement. Obviously, we’ll get one executed," says mayoral spokesman Chris Poynter. "This audit clearly points out that there are deficiencies and we have developed a corrective action plan to deal with those deficiencies."

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10:35 pm
Sat December 15, 2012

Noise and Notes: Can Anyone Beat Mitch McConnell?

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
Credit U.S. Senate

Respect him or not, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and his leadership role in Washington cannot be ignored.

For weeks speculation has been growing about who will take on the powerful GOP leader two years from now. One Democrat—Owensboro home builder Ed Marksberry—has stepped forward, but with little excitement.

The national media has focused much of its attention on actress Ashley Judd, who would bring Hollywood star power to the race.

But prominent state Democratic leaders have voiced skepticism if not outright opposition to her celebrity candidacy in the commonwealth.

Others point to Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, who many view as the most popular choice. And a recent survey showed Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer is within striking distance.

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11:59 am
Fri December 14, 2012

Mayor Greg Fischer Mum on Re-Election

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer hasn’t made a decision on whether he’ll run for re-election in 2014.

Fischer is among the rumored Democrats to run for Kentucky's U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Leader Mitch McConnell. A survey by the North Carolina-based Public Policy Polling showed Fischer trailing McConnell by 5 points in a head-to-head contest.

Earlier this month, a mayoral spokesman told WFPL Fischer would announce his decision on re-election in January.

But when asked if he intends to run for a second term, Fischer says he will make an official decision next summer.

"I love this job. I'm inclined to do that, but I haven't made a decision yet," he says. "I’ve got a great job here. There’s a lot of work to do, and I plan to do this and hopefully more in future. We get great feedback from people and we got a lot of work to do, and we got a great team too."

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8:02 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Mayor Greg Fischer: Local Sales Tax Option Would Give Louisville 'Independence'

Mayor Greg Fischer
Credit Louisville Metro Government

Addressing the Louisville Metro Council, Mayor Greg Fischer said the city needs additional revenue if it wants to remain competitive and that a local sales tax option would give the city more independence from state government.

The mayor has been pushing lawmakers in Frankfort to allow the city to put temporary sales tax increases up for a public vote. He outlined his plan—dubbed Local Investments For Transformation, or LIFT — for council members Thursday.

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