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
4:41 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

Fairness Law to be Proposed in Elizabethtown, Richmond

Joined by a coalition of Kentucky gay rights leaders, residents in Elizabethtown and Richmond are pressuring lawmakers to enact fairness laws in their cities.

The effort is part of a larger grassroots movement across the state to get such legislation passed in other cities such as Shelbyville, Bowling Green and Berea. Both ordinances would prohibit discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations based on a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

In Kentucky, only the cities of Covington, Lexington and Louisville have a fairness legislation.

Louisville Fairness Campaign Chris Hartman says many residents in rural areas of the state don’t know that discrimination against LGBT citizens is still permitted.

"I think that there’s an assumption that these protections already exist or they don’t even know that they are necessary. We found in the survey that indicated 83 percent of Kentuckians support Fairness, that the majority also have no idea that this type of discrimination is still legal in most of Kentucky," he says.

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Politics
12:49 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

Yarmuth: No Time for Entitlement Reform Before 'Fiscal Cliff'

Credit U.S. Congress

Kentucky Third District Congressman John Yarmuth told MSNBC Monday that Democrats are willing to extend the Bush-era tax cut to help avoid the "fiscal cliff" but that Republicans are "dreaming" if they push for entitlement reforms before the new year.

President Obama and congressional leaders are in the midst of negotiating a new budget deal to avoid the $607 billion combination of automatic spending cuts and tax hikes set to take effect in January.

Mr. Obama has proposed an immediate extension of the Bush-era tax rates for incomes at $250,000 or less, but GOP lawmakers want the cuts to remain across-the-board. If a deal cannot be reached then all Americans will see their taxes go up, but the president has stressed that Congress can help 98 percent of Americans avoid an increase while his economic team forecasts going over the cliff would hurt the recovery overall.

Yarmuth says Congress can avoid the burden on middle-class Americans if a small number of the House GOP caucus vote with Democrats and accept a tax increase on wealthier Americans.

"That’s a real easy one if Speaker Boehner can deliver maybe 30 or 35 votes. I’d think we’d be happy to pass that and we’d avert that huge tax increase at the beginning of next year," he says. "And then we can extend the spending limits and delay the across the board cuts until a more comprehensive, balanced approach is negotiated."

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Politics
10:23 am
Mon November 26, 2012

State Spending $3 Million on Tax Amnesty Initiative

The state government of Kentucky is spending $3 million on a tax amnesty program that officials hope will bring $55 million in revenue.

In 2002, Kentucky launched an amnesty initiative that garnered $40 million. Governor Steve Beshear announced this effort in October to help balance the two-year budget that will allow citizens and businesses to make restitution.

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Politics
10:58 am
Wed November 21, 2012

Paul Outlines Stances on Pot, Defense Cuts and Immigration Reform

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

While flirting with a 2016 presidential bid, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., also outlined how the GOP can expand its base by getting behind defense cuts, as well as marijuana and immigration reform.

Since President Obama's re-election, the political narrative has centered on the Republican Party redefining itself in the wake of a poor showing amongst key demographics. The conversation has been described as coming to terms with the party being "too white, too old" and "too male."

In September, Paul told WFPL he foresaw problems with Mitt Romney's electoral map for this reason. And a recent interview shows the Senator wants the GOP to reach out to Hispanic and younger voters.

From ABC News:

We're getting an ever dwindling percent of the Hispanic vote," Paul says. "We have to let people know, Hispanics in particular, we're not putting you on a bus and shipping you home."

(SNIP)

Paul himself does not favor legalizing marijuana, but he says individual states -- such as Washington and Colorado, which both voted to legalize in November -- should be allowed to make marijuana legal.

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Politics
4:25 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

Papa John Blames Media for 'Obamacare' Controversy

Louisville-based Papa John's founder and CEO John Schnatter is backpedaling on criticism of President Obama's health care law, and says his company has no plans to cut jobs as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

Last week, Schnatter told the Naples Daily News that President Obama's health care law would force him to reduce employees' hours. The comments ignited a backlash and support, with the conservative Super PAC Freedomworks urging people to take part in "National Papa John's Appreciation Day" last Friday.

But now Schnatter says those remarks were taken out of context by reporters.

From The Huffington Post:

Many in the media reported that I said Papa John's is going to close stores and cut jobs because of Obamacare. I never said that. The fact is we are going to open over hundreds of stores this year and next and increase employment by over 5,000 jobs worldwide. And, we have no plans to cut team hours as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

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Politics
3:54 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

Columnist Rips Yarmuth Over McConnell Comments

Congressman John Yarmuth
Credit U.S. Congress

In a stinging editorial, Louisville Courier-Journal columnist John David Dyche rips Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth for his recent attacks on Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.

Yarmuth made a recent television appearance on MSNBC, saying McConnell will do what's in his best interest in the face of the looming fiscal cliff. Dyche is a Louisville attorney and McConnell biographer, who is considered by man to be the Senator's unofficial spokesman in the city.

From The C-J:

It must also gall Yarmuth that McConnell ignores him. Yarmuth is to McConnell as a yapping toy poodle is to an oblivious Great Dane.

So why doesn’t Yarmuth put his practically infinite money where his practically incessant mouth is and channel his jealousy of McConnell into his own race against him? He might then get the debate with McConnell for which he mewls. Meanwhile, McConnell negotiates directly with the president, not insignificant congressmen.

Ouch!

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Politics
3:39 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

Report: 92,000 Louisvillians Can't Afford Housing; $450,000 Raised for Trust to Help Them

Credit Wikipedia Commons

Leaders with the Louisville Affordable Housing Trust Fund have secured about $500,000, but the fund's advocates are urging Mayor Greg Fischer to do more to secure annual funding.

The trust fund is meant to give grants and loans for affordable housing activities, such as new construction, home rehabilitation, payment assistance and emergency repair.

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Politics
1:03 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

Local Activists React to Israel-Gaza Conflict

The escalating violence in the Middle East and has sparked a series of pro-Palestinian protests in Louisville.

Last week, the Israeli government launched airstrikes that killed top Hamas military leaders in response to rocket launches that killed three civilians, and the conflict has approached full-scale war.

Several local peace groups, such as Students for Justice in Palestine and Louisville Committee for Peace in the Middle East, have pointed out that over 90 Palestinian civilians have been killed thus far and that densely populated areas are being targeted by the Israeli military.

At least two protests have been held in Louisville, including one Monday at the University of Louisville.

Pro-Palestinian activist Ibrahim Imam has helped organize the local demonstrations. He says residents should be aware that the U.S. gives Israel $3 billion in foreign aid, and are therefore complicit in the country's military actions.

"I want people to realize that the crimes that are being committed are being committed against Palestinians," he says. "The Palestinians are the victims in this, and I want people to look deeply into this and not buy the cliche that are being fed to them. And Israel should not be rewarded for its aggression at the tune of $15 million a day."

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Politics
10:30 pm
Sat November 10, 2012

Noise and Notes: Robin D. G. Kelley on the 'War on Youth' & Art of Thelonious Monk

Professor Robin D.G. Kelley
Credit UCLA

Noise and Notes

UCLA Professor Robin D. G. Kelley is a historian and social justice advocate, and a bit of a jazz scholar.

The award-winning author was in Louisville this week for the annual Anne Braden Memorial Lecture Series to discuss what he believes is a war on youth through punitive economic and education policies.

Kelley is also an outspoken critic of those who worship the free-market in American politics, and he says neo-liberal ideology—which rose to prominence in the 1990s—poses a threat to all progressive movements.

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Politics
5:19 pm
Wed November 7, 2012

McConnell Congratulates Obama on Re-Election, But Advises President Move to Center

Credit File photo

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, has extended congratulations to President Obama on his re-election, but argues the White House needs to moderate and that voters have not given the president a mandate.

Mr. Obama defeated Republican nominee Mitt Romney on Tuesday in the popular vote and soundly in the Electoral College, winning most of the battleground states. It was two years ago when McConnell said that his main objective was to ensure that Mr. Obama would be a one-term president.

But now McConnell says Republicans are eager to hear from the president on how to resolve problems such as the looming fiscal cliff, but he

warns Mr. Obama should propose a way for both parties to work together.

"Now it’s time for the president to propose solutions that actually have a chance of passing the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and a closely-divided Senate, step up to the plate on the challenges of the moment, and deliver in a way that he did not in his first four years in office," he says.

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