Noise & Notes

On air Saturdays at 10pm.

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. 

Pages

Politics
10:22 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

Senator Marco Rubio Outlines Vision of 'Limitless' America in UofL Address

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, R-Fl.,
Credit Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons

Republican U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida delivered a speech at the University of Louisville outlining his domestic and foreign policy views, saying America is still a country without limits.

The speech delivered Monday was part of the McConnell Center’s lecture series, which has featured several high-profiled leaders including House Speaker John Boehner.

Rubio is considered a top contender for the GOP’s presidential nomination in the 2016 election. Recently the Miami-native, who is the son of Cuban immigrants, has been a leading proponent for comprehensive immigration reform.

Rubio did not address a potential White House bid, but during the introduction Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell joked Florida's junior senator is seeking to buy a vacation home in Iowa and New Hampshire.

During the address, Rubio told the crowd America is still known as a land of opportunity at home and abroad, but he is troubled there is a growing doubt across class lines.

"A people who are not part of generational poverty, whose families have been living in public housing and dependent on government for generations. A people in the working class who are starting to wonder whether if they really work hard they’ll be able to give their children the chance at a life better than theirs," he said. "A people in the middle-class who feel like they’ve gotten stuck with everything, that in essence they’ve done it the right way. They paid their mortgage on time, but now they got stuck holding the bill while the ones who caused this chaos were bailed out."

Read more
Politics
8:30 am
Mon March 25, 2013

Councilman Ken Fleming to Fund Local Option Sales Tax Study

Councilman Ken Fleming, R-7
Credit Louisville Metro Council

Louisville Metro Councilman Ken Fleming, R-7, is sponsoring a $25,000 study on the economic impact of raising the state sales tax in the city.

Mayor Greg Fischer has been lobbying residents and state lawmakers to support a local option sales tax to raise revenue for special projects.

The plan would allow local voters to accept or reject raising the sales tax, which proponents say could generate around $90 million annually.

But Fleming says the city hasn’t examined its current tax structure and officials don’t know how an increase would burden residents.

"We really don’t have a benchmark or a good analysis on the taxes and how it affects individuals, and this study I’m anticipating will gives us a clear understanding of the tax implications. It can be used for future analysis or reviews of any type of taxes that might come up," he says.

Read more
Politics
6:10 pm
Sat March 23, 2013

Water Pipe Burst Floods Mayor Greg Fischer's Office

Credit Wikipedia Commons

The infrastructure woes for downtown Louisville continued Saturday after a major water pipe burst severely flooded Mayor Greg Fischer's office.

Fischer's chief of staff discovered the flooding around 2 p.m and staff rushed to save valuable artwork and historic furniture in Metro Hall.

The pipe burst began on the sixth floor of the building cascading to the fourth and second floors, including Metro TV studios.

According to a mayoral spokesman Chris Poynter, city crews aren’t certain what caused the pipe to burst, but believe it could be connected to the underground electrical explosion that occurred early Saturday morning.

The explosion dislodged manhole covers and shut down a few downtown Louisville blocks. It also caused the evacuation of Metro Police headquarters.

Read more
Politics
5:00 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

Congressman Thomas Massie Advises Tea Party Critics to Lay Off Senator Mitch McConnell

Congressman Thomas Massie
Credit U.S. Congress

Kentucky Republican Congressman Thomas Massie is advising Tea Party activists to think twice before waging a primary challenge to Senator Mitch McConnell next year.

The freshman lawmaker was heavily backed by the Tea Party in his race for the Fourth Congressional District seat last year. 

Massie is often mentioned as a potential 2014 Senate candidate, and has flexed a level of independence from the GOP establishment. He voted against Speaker John Boehner and recently opposed the Ryan budget plan because it wasn't conservative enough.

But Massie has repeatedly turned down offers to run and told reporters on multiple occasions he isn’t interested.

And in an interview with WFPL, he says Tea Party activists in Kentucky who want to continue to have an impact on national politics should reconsider their opposition to McConnell.

"My advice to people who are frustrated with Washington is that there’s probably a better way to spend your time, effort, money, blood, sweat and tears than trying to have Senator McConnell unelected. I think there are a lot better chances and better use of your time in terms of changing Washington, D.C.," he says.

Read more
Politics
4:22 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

'Religious Freedom' Bill Sponsor Urges House Leaders to Override Gubernatorial Veto

State Rep. Bob Damron, D-Nicholasville

Kentucky Rep. Bob Damron, D-Nicholasville, is urging fellow Democrats in the state House to override Governor Steve Beshear's veto of the so-called 'religious freedom' bill.

The governor blocked the legislation Friday after tremendous pressure to reject the measure, which would allow residents to ignore any laws or regulations that violate tenets of their faith.

Opponents included a wide range of social justice groups, state organizations and public officials such as Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, who argued House Bill 279 was too vague and could threaten civil rights protections for racial minorities, women and LGBT residents.

Beshear says religious freedom is a cornerstone of American democracy and important to Kentuckians, but the bill’s vague language would be problematic and expensive.

"I have serious concerns that this bill will cause unintentional consequences that could threaten public safety, health care and individual civil rights. As written, the bill will undoubtedly lead to costly litigation,” he says. "I’ve heard from many organizations and governmental entities that share these same concerns. Therefore, after giving this measure thoughtful analysis and consideration, today I vetoed the bill."

Read more
Politics
2:41 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Congressman Thomas Massie Breaks from GOP, Votes Against Ryan Budget Plan

Congressman Thomas Massie
Credit U.S. Congress

Kentucky Fourth District Congressman Thomas Massie bucked his Republican Party leaders and voted against the GOP-basked 2014 budget because it isn't conservative enough.

The GOP-controlled House narrowly approved the spending plan authored by Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin by a 221-207 vote on Thursday.

Conservative supporters had highlighted the cuts to corporate tax rates and slashing $6.4 trillion from the deficit over the next decade as reasons to support the idea.

However, Ryan's plan still raises federal spending by 3.4 percent annually. GOP leaders had said that would be offset by economic growth.

But for the Tea Party-backed Massie that amount was too much. He told WFPL in a telephone interview he came to Washington reduce spending—not increase it—adding Ryan's proposal is nearly twice the rate of inflation.

"The Democrat plan increases government spending by 5 percent per year, that’s ridiculous. That’s like three times the rate of inflation," he says. "The Ryan budget is better because it only increases government by 3.4 percent per year, but that’s still twice the rate of inflation. And when I campaigned, I campaigned saying that we needed to cut spending in Washington, D.C."

Read more
Politics
1:54 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Tackle With TAC4 Hosting Immigration Forum

A Louisville-based consulting firm is hosting a forum on immigration reform with the hope of finding common ground.

In the past year, TAC 4 Solutions had held several public discussions on tough political issues such as gun control, campaign finance reform and President Obama’s health care law. The group's aim is to hold respectful dialogue and change the tone of political conversation.

There appears to be movement on improving the immigration system after Republicans performed poorly among Hispanics in the fall election.

Recently, Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky., delivered a speech on immigration reform that was praised by liberal and Tea Party activists. Paul noted that Republicans have been losing "both the respect and votes" of Hispanics due to the GOP's "harsh rhetoric."

Kate Miller is a program director with the ACLU of Kentucky, and a featured panelist. She says it is encouraging to hear Paul’s remarks because the majority of Americans want to improve the system.

"We haven’t had an opportunity to review all of Senator Paul’s proposal, but I can assure you that we are thrilled that his proposal includes a pathway to citizenship," she says. "And really it’s not surprising that someone with his political background would support a more practical system. As most people know, it’s very expensive to maintain our current immigration system."

Read more
Local News
4:35 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Senator Rand Paul Joins Democrat to Give Judges More Flexibility in Federal Sentencing

Senator Rand Paul
Credit U.S. Senate

Joining Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky., has introduced a bill to allow judges greater flexibility in sentencing federal crimes where a mandatory minimum punishment is considered unnecessary.

The bipartisan Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013 will expand the so-called "safety valve", which allows judges to impose a sentence below the mandatory minimum in qualifying drug cases.   

Leahy and Paul are polar opposites politically, but the two senators agree more latitude is needed to address the country's growing prison population and spiraling costs. 

For many critics, the "tough-on-crime" of the past 30 years have created laws that disproportionately effect minorities and the poor.

Paul emphasizes that the mandatory laws are a part of federal overreach where more judicial discretion is needed.

"Our country’s mandatory minimum laws reflect a Washington-knows-best, one-size-fits-all approach, which undermines the Constitutional Separation of Powers, violates the our bedrock principle that people should be treated as individuals, and costs the taxpayers money without making them any safer," Paul said in a news release. "This bill is necessary to combat the explosion of new federal criminal laws, many of which carry new mandatory minimum penalties."

Read more
Politics
4:12 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer Comes Out Against 'Religious Freedom' Bill

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer
Credit File photo

After pressure from local gay rights and city lawmakers, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer is asking Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear to veto the so-called religious freedom bill.

The bill would allow residents to ignore any laws or regulations that violate tenets of their faith.

Last week, the mayor and city commissioners of Covington joined the chorus of those against the legislation.

In a letter sent to the governor to Tuesday, Fischer says the measure is "well-intentioned" but raises too many legal questions and isn't needed.

"We are a compassionate city. We don’t need this proposed law, full of ambiguity and question, to prove our religious freedom and protect our citizens from some perceived threat," says Fischer. "We have plenty of laws and a Constitution adopted by our citizens that provide us ample protections—no matter our faith, our profession, or our other rights and traits as human beings."

Read more
Politics
1:18 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

Covington Mayor, City Commissioners Ask Gov. Beshear to Block 'Religious Freedom' Bill

Steve Beshear
Credit Rae Hodge/Kentucky Public Radio

The mayor and city commissioners of Covington, Kentucky are asking Governor Steve Beshear to block the so-called ‘religious freedom’ bill, renewing pressure for Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer to join the opposition.

In a unanimously approved resolution, the commission says HB 279 presents a risk to Covington’s Human Rights Ordinance, which forbids discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered residents.

Covington Mayor Sherry Carran has also signed a separate letter urging the governor to veto the measure, saying it is a poor representation of the state.

The bill allows individuals to ignore laws and regulations that violate tenets of their faith, and was overwhelmingly approved by the General Assembly. But in the non-binding measure, Covington officials say the measure could undermine civil rights protections under the "guise of a 'sincerely held religious beliefs'"

Former Covington City Commissioner Shawn Masters says Democrats and Republicans makeup the local assembly, and residents in his city are worried because the law is so broad.

"It says how progressive Covington actually is. That we are very diverse, we welcome all and do not tolerate discrimination of any kind. And it just goes to show here in Northern Kentucky and particularly Covington we are about equality for all," says Masters, who currently serves as president of the Northern Kentucky Democratic League.

Read more

Pages