Kenny Colston

Kentucky Public Radio Frankfort Bureau Chief

Kenny Colston is based in the state capitol and files pieces for public radio stations across the commonwealth. Before joining KPR in 2012, he covered state government for Insight CN2. A graduate of the University of Kentucky, Kenny was a four-year staff member of the Kentucky Kernel, serving as editor-in-chief in his last year. 

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Politics
2:22 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

Hemp Bill Sails Through Kentucky Senate Agriculture Committee

James Comer
Credit File photo

FRANKFORT — After testimony from a bevy of high-level supporters, the state Senate agriculture committee unanimously approved Monday a bill that would establish oversight for Kentucky  industrial hemp farmer if hemp were made legal federally.

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Politics
6:00 am
Sun February 10, 2013

Stumbo, Stivers Oppose Local Option Sales Tax; Fischer Undeterred

Greg Fischer
Credit Louisville Metro Government

Kentucky's top two legislative leaders are throwing cold water on a proposal to create a local option sales tax for city and county governments.

The plan would give local voters the ability to decide whether to fund special projects through a temporary increase to the state sales tax. It would typically be used for infrastructure, supporters say, but could also be applied to long-term investments.

Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo, however, says cities already have alternatives for such projects.

"There's a lot of options that they have, that they haven't used for local option taxes if they want to utilize them. So I don't necessarily favor it," he says.

The measure is heavily supported by Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, both Democrats. 

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Politics
11:18 am
Fri February 8, 2013

Special Taxing Districts Reform Sails Through Kentucky State House

Credit File photo

A bill reforming how the state's special districts are categorized and making them more transparent easily passed the state House this morning, 96-1.

State Rep. Lynn Belcher, a Republican from Crittenden County, was the lone "no" vote. 

Many local library boards, sewer districts and fire districts are considered special taxing districts separate from other types of government.

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Politics
4:09 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

Greg Stumbo Files Bill Aimed at Speeding Up Medicaid's Late Payment Process

Greg Stumbo
Credit Kentucky Legislative Commission

House Speaker Greg Stumbo has filed a bill to move complaints about late payments in Kentucky's Medicaid system from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to the Department of Insurance.

Health care providers—such as hospitals and doctor's offices— have complained about severely late payments since the managed care system started. Currently, the cabinet deals those issues that arise when one of the state's Medicaid operating companies delays payment to a health provider.

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Politics
3:44 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

House Passes Bill Allowing for University Capital Projects 97-1

Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington.
Credit J. Glover/Creative Commons

FRANKFORT — A proposal to allow six of Kentucky's  public universities to start more than $360 million in infrastructure projects overwhelming passed the House today, 97-1. 

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Politics
2:01 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

Nursing Home Group Launches Ads in Support of Medical Review Bill

Groups supporting  a bill creating medical panels to review allegations of nursing home abuse are taking their cause to the airwaves.

The Kentucky Association of Health Care Facilities this week released a 60 second television radio ad, urging people to support Senate Bill 9.

The group is made up of nursing homes who want the review panels—which is called for in Senate Bill 9— as a safeguard against what they call overreaching trial lawyers.

The ad takes aim directly at the lawyers.

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Politics
12:50 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

Child Advocates Rally, Urge Kentucky Leaders to Restore Cut Child Care Funding

Credit Creative Commons

FRANKFORT — Advocates for Kentucky children on Thursday called for state leaders to provide funds and stave off recently announced cuts to programs that provide assistance for child care costs and to family members who take in young relatives.

The calls were made Thursday at the ninth annual Children Advocacy Day rally, which organizers estimated more than 1,000 people joined. Because of the crowd's size, the rally was moved from the Capitol Rotunda to outside.

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Politics
12:04 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

Democratic Lawmakers Introduce Bill Addressing Gun Violence in Kentucky

Mary Lou Marzian
Credit Legislative Research Commission

Hoping to reduce gun violence in Kentucky, a group of Democratic lawmakers have filed a bill  that would allow Kentucky State Police to set regulations banning certain firearms or high-capacity magazines.

The bill, which state Sen. Kathy Stein plans to file in the Senate on Thursday, would also allow cities and colleges to regulate guns and would require private background checks  for every gun sale in Kentucky.

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Politics
9:49 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

Citing Bleak Economic Outlook, Beshear Pushes for More Tax Revenue for Education, Pensions

Steve Beshear
Credit Kentucky Governor's Office

FRANKFORT — Gov. Steve Beshear is encouraging lawmakers to take bold stances in reforming the state's tax code,  before past budget decisions and cuts cripple Kentucky.

Beshear made the pleas Wednesday night in his annual State of the Commonwealth address.

(Read the State of the Commonwealth address.)

The speech focused on the state's lack of revenue—and how reforming the tax code would allow enough new money to solve the state's pension problems, plus increase funding for education.

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Politics
3:13 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

Pension Bill Passes Senate Committee, House Still Has Hang-ups

Credit File photo

FRANKFORT — An effort to reform Kentucky's underfunded pension systems passed in its first hearing Wednesday from a state Senate committee meeting.

Senate Bill 2 stems from the recommendations of a legislative task force that met over the summer to try and solve the pension problems.

It includes a suspension of cost of living adjustments and creates a new hybrid plan that acts like a 401K with a promised rate of return.

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