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
4:33 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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Politics
3:58 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

John Yarmuth: Florida Democrat Should Apologize for Likening Tea Party to KKK

John Yarmuth
Credit U.S. Congress

Appearing on MSNBC Wednesday, Kentucky Congressman John Yarmuth says fellow Democrat Alan Grayson of Florida should apologize for likening the Tea Party movement to the Klu Klux Klan.

"I've learned a couple of things in my life in Congress," Yarmuth said. "One is you never talk the Klu Klux Klan, you never talk about Nazis or Hitler and you never talk about slavery. So I think that was a mistake on Alan's part." 

Watch:

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Politics
1:21 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

U.S. Senator Dan Coats Says After Taking Big Hit, GOP Should Unify and Focus on Deficit Talks

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

Returning to Indiana this week, Republican U.S. Sen. Dan Coats says he disagreed with the strategy led by Tea Party-affiliated lawmakers such as Ted Cruz to de-fund the president’s health care law.

Coats has been a vocal critic of the Affordable Care Act and introduced legislation to delay the law's mandates.

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Politics
7:57 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Louisville Councilman Jerry Miller Urging City to Leave Kentucky Retirement System

Councilman Jerry Miller, R-19,
Credit Louisville Metro Council

Saying it could save the city millions, Republican Louisville Metro Councilman Jerry Miller is filing a resolution that seeks to remove the city from the Kentucky retirement system.

The non-binding measure will be considered later this week and requests the General Assembly revise state law to separate the County Employee Retirement System account from the overall state pension pool.

It also asks state lawmakers to give CERS an independent board from the Kentucky Employee Retirement System, which has been under a myriad of criticism for its management and financial woes over the past few years.

"Our costs continue to skyrocket in part because (the state system) is making decisions based on the KERS plan covering state employees, which is the second worst funded in the nation," says Miller.

The city's retirement costs have increased significantly over the past decade.

In 2004, pensions accounted for just over five percent of the city budget. Now about 15 percent of the Metro Government general fund is spent on retirement payments for public employees.

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Politics
11:55 am
Tue October 22, 2013

Louisville Physician Says Obamacare is Chief Reason for Challenging Rep. John Yarmuth

Dr. Michael Macfarlane
Credit http://www.macfarlane2014.com

Calling Obamacare the wrong solution for the country, Republican Michael Macfarlane is running for Kentucky's Third Congressional District seat against Democratic incumbent John Yarmuth in next year's election.

A urological surgeon by trade, the 60-year-old Macfarlane has been a Louisville resident for over two decades and previously worked at Jewish Hospital, Norton Healthcare and Baptist East.

In 2007, Macfarlane was voted "Top Surgeon" in Louisville Magazine.

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Politics
9:05 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

Senator Rand Paul Proposes Constitutional Amendment

Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky introduced a constitutional amendment that would forbid Congress from passing laws that don't apply equally to lawmakers, Executive Branch and U.S. Supreme Court.

According to Paul himself, the proposal is aimed at Chief Justice John Roberts over his swing vote last year upholding the constitutionality of the president's health care law.

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Politics
3:18 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

Opposition to Felon Voting Rights Thawing, Kentucky Lawmaker Says

Credit Courtesy of Alex Lee, Wikimedia Commons

Saying Kentucky state senators have been the historical roadblock, Democrat Gerald Neal of Louisville has pre-filed a bill to restore voting rights to certain former felons.

Movement on the proposal comes weeks after U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., spoke out in favor of restoring felons' voting rights at the state and federal levels, which many observers argue is an indication the GOP may be changing its view on the issue.

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Politics
11:18 am
Fri October 18, 2013

Senate Conservatives Fund Endorses Matt Bevin

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Matt Bevin
Credit mail.com

The Senate Conservatives Fund is endorsing Kentucky businessman Matt Bevin over incumbent Mitch McConnell in next year's Republican primary election.

The nod for the Tea Party backed challenger comes days after McConnell struck a deal with Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid to reopen the government and avoid default.

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Politics
9:45 am
Fri October 18, 2013

Metro Louisville Domestic Violence Panel Makes Recommendations to Curb Incidents, Deaths

Credit Louisville Metro Government

In recognition of October being Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Louisville Metro Government is releasing its second biennial report to help curb incidents and attacks.

"Domestic violence touches every person in our community, in one way or another," Mayor Greg Fischer said. "It may be happening to a friend, family member or even a co-worker, so it is extremely important that we use this opportunity and this data to help build awareness and provide information to our residents about the available services and resources."

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Politics
4:10 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

Olmsted Dam Supporters Defend $3 Billion for Kentucky Project in McConnell-Reid Deal

Olmsted Lock and Dam

Pushing back against criticisms that's it's a "kickback" for Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, business leaders in Western Kentucky are defending efforts to pay for the Olmsted Dam and Lock in the bill ending the government shutdown.

The language in the McConnell-Reid deal increased the funding cap on the project from $775 million to $2.9 billion, which conservative critics blasted as a so-called "Kentucky Kickback" earmark.

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