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
3:35 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Stumbo Calls for Investigation of Rep. John Arnold, Could Lead to Censure or Expulsion

Greg Stumbo
Credit Legislative Research Commission

Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo has filed a petition that would allow the House to investigate the allegations of sexual misconduct against Democratic Representative John Arnold, D-Sturgis.

State lawmakers could then vote to censure or expel the Western Kentucky lawmaker.

In addition to the petition, the House Committee on Committees is sending Arnold a letter saying that he will be suspended as chairman of the Budget Review Subcommittee on General Government, Finance and Public Protection.

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Politics
10:00 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Louisville Tea Party President Endorses Matt Bevin Over Mitch McConnell

Matt Bevin
Credit foxnews.com

Saying she is proud to have been attacked by Sen. Mitch McConnell's re-election campaign, Louisville Tea Party President Wendy Caswell is endorsing Republican Matt Bevin in Kentucky's U.S. Senate primary race.

The nod from Caswell is a key pickup for the Bevin campaign that comes weeks after two prominent tea party activists in Louisville backed McConnell in next year's GOP primary.

In a Courier-Journal op-ed, Caswell says McConnell is more concerned with increasing his own political power than conservative principles.

"Sen. Mitch McConnell represents the old guard in Washington D.C. that cares more about holding on to power than defending the principles of limited government, fiscal responsibility and individual freedom. Those are the principles that Matt Bevin believes in. I know he believes in those fundamental conservative ideals because he has embodied them in his life's experiences," she says.

The endorsement from Caswell was likely helped by a web video attacking the activist.

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Politics
8:33 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

Senate President Pushes Kentucky Legislative Leaders to Meet on John Arnold Investigation

Senate President Robert Stivers (l) and House Speaker Greg Stumbo (r)
Credit Legislative Research Commission

Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, says House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonburg, is declining to meet with leaders in the General Assembly to discuss an investigation of sexual harassment claims made against Democratic state Rep. John Arnold by Statehouse staffers.

In two separate complaints, Legislative Research Commission employees Cassaundra Cooper and Yolanda Costner allege Arnold sexually harassed and assaulted them over a period of three years.

A third female staffer, Gloria Morgan, has also come forward claiming Arnold touched her inappropriately in 2009. All three say their supervisors did not do enough to address the complaints. 

Stivers is calling for a closed door session on Sept. 4 with Senate and House leaders to learn more about the status of an investigation into the issue. Because this is a personnel matter, legislative leaders are required to meet in executive session, which requires three of the four highest-ranking lawmakers to be present.

Stivers says since Arnold's accusers have retained legal counsel, it is necessary for lawmakers to know what investigations have been conducted, and what actions may need to be taken.

"I spoke with [Senate Democratic] Leader [R.J.] Palmer and he agreed that we need to call the LRC into executive session on September 4. I have also spoken with [House Republican] Leader [Jeff] Hoover regarding this course of action and he’s in agreement," Stivers said in a statement to WFPL. "The speaker's office has declined to go into session to apprise us of what investigations are going on and who’s conducting them."

The split on the meeting demonstrates a difference in opinion between Stumbo and Stivers in how the complaints should be handled.

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Politics
4:56 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

McConnell Campaign to Launch "Women for Team Mitch" This Week

Senator Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
Credit Joseph Lord/WFPL News

The campaign to re-elect Republican Senator Mitch McConnell is making its first pitch to women voters in an attempt to close the perceived gender gap.

This Friday the campaign will launch "Women for Team Mitch" where McConnell will be joined by his wife, former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, along with women from across Kentucky.

It is a sign that the GOP leader understands the need to reach out to women, which is a key voting bloc that Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes is courting.

National Democrats have pounded McConnell's record on women's issues, which includes voting against the re-authorization the Violence Against Women Act earlier this year.

But aides close to McConnell have said the senator isn't going to ignore the female vote, and is eager to defend his views.

From The New York Times:

Given recent struggles that Republican Senate contenders have had with women’s issues, Mr. McConnell’s advisers say they intend to confront head-on the criticism Democrats have already begun leveling against him on issues they view as particularly important to female voters.

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Politics
3:10 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

Tea Partiers, Conservative Groups Target Mitch McConnell at Launch of Anti-Obamacare Tour

Senator Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., at a tea party rally in Kentucky
Credit Kenny Colston / Kentucky Public Radio

A pair of conservative groups are kicking off their campaign to de-fund President Obama’s health care law in Kentucky to pressure Republican Senator Leader Mitch McConnell and other lawmakers.

For America and Tea Party Patriots visited the state on Tuesday to launch the "Exempt America Tour," which plans to visit the political doorsteps of five key GOP leaders in Congress including stops in Virginia, Mississippi, Texas and South Carolina.

The tour plans to draws attention to efforts to take out funding for Obamacare in the budget, which is being led by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tx., and supported by a handful of other Republican senators.

It's a strategy that's divided the GOP, with leaders in Washington voicing caution while conservative activists—such as former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin—arguing "forced enrollment" is unconstitutional.

"People in Kentucky and Senator McConnell know that we don't think Americans should have to pay for Obamacare. That’s why we’re in Kentucky," says For America campaign manager Scott Hogenson. "And we're starting in Kentucy because as the leader of the Republican Party in the Senate, we think he’s the first person we want to talk to."

Critics of this strategy say the Tea Party and others are playing into the Obama administration and Senate Democrat's hands. That pushing for a standoff to shut down the federal government will not work.

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Politics
11:52 am
Tue August 27, 2013

Matt Bevin Failed to Mention State He's Running for in Campaign Disclosure, Says FEC

A small mistake or an attack ad in the making?

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Matt Bevin failed to include he is seeking office in Kentucky in campaign disclosure forms, according to a letter from the The Federal Election Commission sent Monday.

Bevin is running in the GOP primary election next year to unseat incumbent Mitch McConnell.

FEC Letter to Bevin

Given the increasingly bitter tone of the campaign and opposition research against Bevin thus far, it's likely this tiny piece of paperwork could find its way in a McConnell attack ad.

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Politics
10:01 am
Tue August 27, 2013

Listen: Conservative Group Says Mitch McConnell 'Refuses to Lead Fight' on Defunding Obamacare

Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.,
Credit File photo

Another conservative group is launching a radio ad criticizing Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell, this time calling on the GOP leader to oppose all funding for Obamacare even in the face of a government shutdown.

The Senate Conservatives Fund is spending close to $50,000 for this statewide ad that will begin airing Tuesday.

In a 60-second spot, the group says Obamacare is unaffordable and unfair but that McConnell hasn't forcefully backed efforts to de-fund the law.

Besides the president's health care law the ad also takes a jab at a controversy involving McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton who was recorded saying he was "holding my nose" working for the senator.

"The Obamacare bill stinks, and holding your nose won't make it any better," the narrator says.

Listen:

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Politics
7:46 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

Democrat Vitalis Lanshima Announces Candidacy for Jefferson County Clerk

Democratic Jefferson County Clerk candidate Vitalis Lanshima

A local educator and former paralympian is seeking the Democratic nomination to challenge longtime Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw in next year’s election.

Vitalis Lanshima was born in Nigeria and emigrated to the U.S. in 2002 as a student-athlete at Bellarmine University.

He announced his intentions to run Monday, and is the first declared challenger in the clerk’s race against Holsclaw, who is a Republican.

Lanshima says the county needs a clerk who will be more vocal on voting rights and other civic issues.

"The county clerk is supposed to be the chief civic advocate for this community. And we have issues that have to deal with voter disenfranchisement," he says.

Those include opposing any voter photo ID legislation and automatically restoring felon voting rights. which Lanshima says is a part of his platform along with modernizing the clerk's office.

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Politics
10:20 am
Mon August 26, 2013

Conservative PAC's Radio Ad Echoes Matt Bevin Attacks on Mitch McConnell

A conservative group is launching its first radio ad in Kentucky’s U.S. Senate race criticizing Republican Senator Mitch McConnell for his voting record.

Led by former Republican Congressman Jim Ryun, the Madison Project endorsed McConnell’s GOP primary opponent Matt Bevin last month, and is running what they say will be the first of many statewide ads against the incumbent.

It's a relatively small $30,000 ad buy, but the 60-second spot slams McConnell’s votes on immigration reform, Wall Street bailouts and the debt ceiling.

Listen:

Daniel Horowitz is the policy director of The Madison Project. He says the Kentucky Senate race is about McConnell’s leadership and a larger debate about the GOP at-large.

"We want to have a long-form discussion both about McConnell’s record in Kentucky and also really a discussion over the future of the Republican Party. Is this going to be the party of Reagan, Cruz and DeMint or is this the party of Karl Rove and Mitch McConnell? And it’s about time we had this fight over the future of the party," he says.

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Politics
4:52 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

Louisville Councilman Jerry Miller Running for New State House Seat

Republican Louisville Councilman Jerry Miller
Credit Louisville Metro Council

Republican Louisville Metro Councilman Jerry Miller is running for a newly drawn state House district seat in next year's election.

District 36 is an open seat that was created during the special legislative session as part of the long-delayed redistricting plan based on the 2010 census.

According to the map, District 36 covers parts of east Louisville such the Eastwood, Fisherville and Lake Forest areas, and extends to south Pewee Valley in Oldham County.

Miller says he will serve out the remainder of his council term, but wants to take his advocacy for more fiscal responsibility and lower taxes to the General Assembly.

"I really felt that the issues that I cared most deeply about, which are pension reform, education, ethics. And particularly if we move down the path toward the local option sales tax it’s got to go through Frankfort before it can happen. So I want to be there," he says.

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