Noise & Notes

On Noise & Notes, WFPL's Phillip M. Bailey doesn't just discuss the issues, he dissects them. From city government to national politics, Phillip has covered it all. 

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Politics
4:02 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

Tea Party 'RINO Refund' Site Targets Kentucky GOP Congressmen

Kentucky Second District Congressman Brett Guthrie

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell isn't the only Kentucky Republican facing Tea Party criticism for the plan ending the shutdown.

Tea Party Leadership Fund launched RINORefund.com this week targeting nearly 100 House Republicans for their Oct. 16 vote to re-open the federal government.

The site encourages donors to withdraw their support and asks for their contributions to be returned, including from Republicans Ed Whitfield, Brett Guthrie and Hal Rogers of Kentucky.

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Politics
2:15 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

With Labor Support, Grimes Knocks McConnell's Right to Work Measure

Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes
Credit Creative Commons

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes has received a major labor endorsement ahead of next year's election.

The AFL-CIO of Kentucky announced before a packed house of union members in Louisville that it is formally backing Grimes in the 2014 race, citing her commitment to workers and their families.

"Labor has literally lifted millions out of poverty and it is labor that is the way we're going to continue to grow the middle-class of this state," says Grimes.

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Politics
4:13 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

Kentucky Tea Partiers to Mitch McConnell: 'Bring it On'

Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell at a Tea Party rally in Kentucky
Credit Kenny Colston / Kentucky Public Radio

Kentucky Tea Party activist are preparing to wage a primary war against Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, who they argue is trying to bully the party's conservative base.

The pledge comes after The New York Times reported national Republicans are attempting to undercut an activist group that has endorsed McConnell's primary opponent, Matt Bevin, in a fight one McConnell aide compared to a bar fight.

Senate Conservatives Fund has poured over $300,000 in attack ads targeting McConnell thus far.

In response, the National Republican Senatorial Committee is discouraging GOP campaigns and organizations from working with ad firms that cooperate with SCF.

"This article over the weekend simply steeled our resolve," says United Kentucky Tea Party spokesman Scott Hofstra, who represents a roundtable of over a dozen groups in the state. "We are so convinced that we need to replace Mitch McConnell, and we are prepared for the fight."

Questions remain if the Tea Party has the muscle to take on the GOP leader, who has amassed as many political favors in the Bluegrass as campaign dollars.

Sen. Rand Paul remains a steadfast supporter of McConnell's and Bevin's anemic fundraising totals last month did not bode well for the insurgent candidacy.

Hofstra admits they won't be able to compete with McConnell's financial haul, but confirmed with WFPL that state tea partiers are now coordinating and training activists with The Madison Project—which has also endorsed Bevin—to create a grassroots network.

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Politics
10:06 am
Tue October 29, 2013

Matt Bevin Misleading Voters About Relationship With Rand Paul, McConnell Campaign Says

Credit Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons and foxnews.com

Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell's re-election campaign says primary opponent Matt Bevin is misleading  voters about his relationship with Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul during the 2010 race.

It is the latest joust in the increasingly ugly GOP primary battle, with McConnell and Bevin putting their ties to Paul and his high-profile status at the center of the contest.

Asked why Paul is endorsing McConnell in the 2014 primary, Bevin told The New York Times it's due to Paul's political aspirations.

But Bevin added the two share the same principles and were somewhat close three years ago.

From NY Times:

I've known Rand a long time. I was there the night he was elected. I was with him in his suite before he went down. He knows full well that he and I are cut from very, very similar cloth—and that he and Mitch McConnell are not. He understands that.

That is make believe, according to McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton, who is Paul's nephew and ran his general election bid three years ago.

"The truth is, Rand does not know Matt Bevin well," Benton says. "The senator tells me that he has spoken to Bevin only briefly, two or three times, and with each conversation he affirmed his support for McConnell in the 2014 Senate race.

"Mr. Bevin’s latest fiction is insulting to the hundreds of Kentuckians who worked hard, supported Rand form the beginning, lead organized community groups, knocked doors, made phone calls or invested financially before it became clear he was going to Washington."

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Politics
1:42 pm
Mon October 28, 2013

U.S. Senator Rand Paul Warns of Eugenics Policy in Anti-Abortion Remarks

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

Campaigning for Republican Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli on Monday, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky warned that abortion could be used to create a new U.S. eugenics policy.

The recent remarks continue a theme in Paul's pro-life speeches, which often argue the Roe v. Wade decision paves the way to eliminate certain populations.

From AP:

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Politics
8:30 am
Mon October 28, 2013

Congress Should Impose Ethical Rules on Supreme Court, Says John Yarmuth

Credit File photo

Kentucky Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth wants the U.S. Supreme Court to abide by a set of ethical guidelines similar to other federal judges.

Yarmuth is co-sponsoring the Supreme Court Ethics Act of 2013, which would require the High Court to adopt a code of conduct.

"Federal judges are appointed for life. If you have ethical lapses or conflicts of interest as a legislator the voters vote you out. There is no accountability for justices and it seems to me with just on general principles but also in light of some recent, questionable activities by some of the justices this would be something that is very, very important," says Yarmuth.

Democrats pushing the measure point to the political activity of conservative Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia as reason to have the rules. Both Thomas and Scalia attended a Koch Industries fundraiser three years ago and a dinner fundraiser event for the Federalist Society in 2011.

The measure strikes not only a partisan political cord—no Republicans have co-sponsored the bill—but a possible legal questions regarding the separation of powers.

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Politics
6:59 pm
Sun October 27, 2013

Saying GOP Challenger Could Face Jail Time, Mitch McConnell Going for Knockout Against Matt Bevin

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and GOP challenger Matt Bevin
Credit File photos

It is safe to call the Kentucky primary race between Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and challenger Matt Bevin a nasty contest.

The latest offensive from McConnell says his Tea Party-backed opponent isn't just misleading the public about his past, but argues Bevin may have committed a criminal act in the process that could be grounds for imprisonment.

From the outset McConnell's ruthless campaign told voters Bevin, a Louisville businessman and investor, was an "East Coast con man" whom they couldn't trust.

Even as TV attack ads against Bevin's business record were dubbed mostly false by fact-checkers, the pummeling has escalated and expanded.

As first reported by Buzzfeed last week, Bevin's Connecticut-based bell-making company (Bevin Brothers Manufacturing Co.) sought a $100,000 state grant after it burned down from a fire four years ago.

The online news site found Bevin's company applied for the grant saying it didn't owe any local, state or federal back taxes while failing to disclose a $74,000 IRS lien.

Another Connecticut document obtained by WFPL is dated June 16, 2012. It shows Bevin signed some of the paperwork personally, which stated there were "no federal tax claims or liens" against his company.

McConnell's campaign didn't leave this to just their political operatives, who eagerly attacked Bevin's trustworthiness. Team Mitch also found a Connecticut lawyer who said Bevin could face a $2,000 fine or a year in jail.

"Mr. Bevin apparently admitted that his company paid the tax lien off on September 11, 2012 and the lien was released on Nov. 7, 2012. So, at the time Mr. Bevin signed the certificate under oath, a tax lien in fact was filed against his company contrary to the representations made in the certificate," attorney Peter J. Martin, a Connecticut attorney, said during a McConnell campaign conference call. "Now, I am not a prosecutor, I am not a judge and I am not a jury, but if I was Mr. Bevin’s attorney I would be very concerned."

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Politics
11:20 am
Fri October 25, 2013

Mayor Greg Fischer Asks Louisville Water Co. to Reduce Proposed 5 Percent Rate Hike

Louisville Water Tower

Mayor Greg Fischer is calling on the Louisville Water Co. to reconsider a proposed 5 percent rate increase set to take effect Jan. 1.

The water company's board discussed a possible hike last week citing a drop in consumption due to a cooler than expected summer. It would be the fourth consecutive year the company has increased its rates and would raise the average monthly bill by $1.

But Fischer says the utility company can find savings and make cuts to come up the difference rather than pass the cost on to customers.

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Politics
10:41 pm
Thu October 24, 2013

Louisville Metro Council Eliminates 4 a.m. Alcohol Sales

Credit Creative Commons

After a long and emotional debate, the Louisville Metro Council moved to outlaw alcohol purchases at retail package stores after 2 a.m. by a 15-7 vote.

The ordinance effectively eliminates special licenses allowing sales up to 4 a.m. except for bars and restaurants in an effort aimed at curbing crime and attracting economic development.

Council members kicked the measure back to committee last month over objections to an exemption that would have still allowed beer to be sold up to 4 a.m.

During the council meeting Thursday evening, the debate centered on whether to exempt businesses such as Thortons gas stations, which sell alcoholic beverages but make most of their money on other items.

A committee amendment proposed allowing retailers where non-alcoholic beverages make up less than 50 percent of their revenue to avoid the ban. But supporters of the ordinance argued that would ultimately dilute the measure.

Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton, D-5, who sponsored the measure, says the concentration of liquor and convenience stores in her west Louisville district are the source of blight, crime and deter development.

"I have to leave my neighborhood to get the amenities that you enjoy every day," said Hamilton. "We can't get the businesses to locate in our neighborhoods. So we've been trying to clean up our neighborhoods and revitalize our neighborhoods. We've been investing millions of dollars block-by-block, protest letters and I don't know how much else we have to do."

Opponents of the measure included local liquor store owners and convenience chain representatives who said it was unfair to allow bars and restaurants to serve alcohol after 2 a.m. They also say a liquor ban is a scapegoat and won't address the real problems in the West End or other areas.

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Politics
4:33 pm
Thu October 24, 2013

Republican State Senator Damon Thayer Hits Breaks on Kentucky Felon Voting Rights

Kentucky Senator Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown,
Credit File photo

A Republican leader in the Kentucky Senate says GOP members are not warming to the restoration of felon voting rights despite U.S. Sen. Rand Paul's support of the issue.

The response comes days after Paul staffers said they had been in contact with state lawmakers about the voting rights of ex-convicts

Democratic Senator Gerald Neal of Louisville told WFPL he was beginning to see opposition to his proposal wane earlier this week.

Neal's bill would automatically restore the civil rights of certain convicted felons unless they committed an intentional killing, treason, bribery or a sex crime.

Paul spokesman Dan Bayens said no specific bill has been discussed. However, GOP state senators appeared to be "more open to the conversation" than in years past he said.

But Senate Republican Floor Leader Damon Thayer of Georgetown made it clear it's too early to make predictions and that other issues remain a priority.

"It’s way too early for pundits to start handicapping the chances of legislation that may or may not pass sometime between January and April when we adjourn the session," he says.

The GOP holds a 23-seat majority in the 38-member state Senate. The one independent caucuses with the Republicans.

If felons' rights are to come up in the 2014 General Assembly it might have to be tied to a more conservative measure such as a possible voter ID bill in order to pass.

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