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
5:22 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Ashley Judd Says on Twitter That She's Not Running for U.S. Senate

Ashley Judd
Credit U.S. Navy

Actress Ashley Judd is not running for U.S. Senate in Kentucky next year

The actress writes via Twitter:

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Breaking
2:54 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Louisville Metro Council Members to Call for Removal of Barbara Shanklin

Barbara Shanklin
Credit Louisville Metro Council

Louisville Metro Council members are forming a charging committee to hold a removal trial against Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin, sources confirmed to WFPL.

Earlier this month, the Metro Ethics Commission recommended Shanklin's ouster after finding her to have violated provisions of the city's ethics law.

An announcement is expected later Wednesday afternoon. 

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Politics
2:47 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Mitch McConnell, Rand Paul Praise General Assembly for Approving Hemp Legislation

Credit Kenny Colston / Kentucky Public Radio

Republican U.S. Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul are lauding the Kentucky General Assembly for passing legislation to allow a regulatory framework for industrial hemp.

The so-called hemp bill was approved by state lawmakers on the last day of the legislative session, and allows licensing of future hemp farmers to the Industrial Hemp Commission should the federal government legalize the crop.

Agriculture Commissioner James Comer led the initiative, and told Kentucky Public Radio's Kenny Colston state officials are working with the federal delegation to get a federal waiver.

McConnell and Paul both said Wednesday they will work to get the crop legalized for Kentucky farmers to grow.

From McConnell's office:

I applaud Commissioner James Comer for his leadership on the issue and the Kentucky General Assembly for passing the legislation which has the potential to provide an economic boost to Kentucky, create jobs and allow Kentucky farmers to harness the economic potential that industrial hemp can provide. 

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Politics
8:56 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

General Assembly Overrides Gov. Steve Beshear's Veto of 'Religious Freedom' Bill

Credit File photo

In a sweeping bipartisan vote, both chambers of the General Assembly overturned Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear’s veto of the controversial religious freedom bill.

Earlier this week, the House Democratic caucus met behind closed doors to hold a secret ballot, which ultimately favored bringing the measure back to the House floor.

After a half hour of debate, the House rejected the gubernatorial veto by an overwhelming 79-15 margin.

Supporters of the legislation affirmed it does not undermine anyone’s civil rights protections, and only safeguards First Amendment rights.

"There have been attempts to take God out of everything," says state Rep. Stan Lee, R-Lexington, who supported the bill. "They want to take God out of the pledge of allegiance, can you believe that? You don't think your religious freedom is under attack? Then maybe you do believe in a boogeyman."

The law allows individuals the right to act or refuse to act on any laws or regulations that violate tenets of their faith. Opponents have rallied for weeks, arguing it could allow for residents to disregard civil rights protections such as local Fairness laws protecting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered citizens.

Those who lobbied for the House to override Beshear's veto denied those accusations vehemently, however.

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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."

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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."

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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."

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