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
11:00 am
Sun December 23, 2012

Beshear Blends Old and New Legislative Priorities in 2013

Steve Beshear
Credit Kentucky Governor's Office

Gov. Steve Beshear is blending a mix of old and new when it comes to his legislative priorities in 2013. 

With the 2013 session’s first days only weeks away, Beshear is ready to push some old initiatives while helping lawmakers solve pressing issues like pensions.

Beshear says he will once again try to find enough votes to pass expanded gambling legislation in 2013. And he wants to pass the so-called dropout bill as well.

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Politics
1:06 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

Beshear Still Weighing Medicaid Expansion; Will Make Decision Early Next Year

Steve Beshear
Credit Kentucky Governor's Office

Gov. Steve Beshear says he'll make a decision about Medicaid expansion in Kentucky by early next year.

While many states are still deciding on the early elements of the Affordable Care Act -- also known as Obamacare -- Kentucky has only one decision left: whether to opt in to Medicaid expansion.

Under the health care law, the federal government will pay 100 percent of costs for three years if states expand their Medicaid rolls to 138 percent of the poverty line.

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Politics
3:03 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Gov. Steve Beshear: Open Debate on Gun Control, Mental Health is Needed

Steve Beshear
Credit Kentucky Governor's Office

In the wake of last week's shooting death of 26 people at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear is joining a chorus of public officials who say a national debate on gun control and mental health is needed.

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Politics
12:00 pm
Sun December 16, 2012

Gov. Steve Beshear: Law Enforcement Issues with Hemp Must Be Worked Out

Gov. Steve Beshear
Credit Kentucky Governor's Office

Before he joins the call for legalized industrial hemp, Gov. Steve Beshear wants law enforcement officials to resolve their concerns about the issue.

The issue: Some Kentucky officials believe legalized industrial hemp would be good for Kentucky's economy, but law enforcement officials are concerned that such a move would conflict with efforts to crack down on marijuana growers.

“I think we’re going to have to answer those questions before we can really move forward in the industrial hemp area,” Beshear said.

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Politics
12:57 pm
Fri December 14, 2012

Kentucky Gets Federal Approval for State-Based Health Exchange

After months building a state-based health exchange, Kentucky officials have been told that the federal government has given approval to their work.

Despite objections from Republican lawmakers, Kentucky officials quickly began working on a state-based exchange --- a part of the Affordable Care Act.

Many states surrounding Kentucky are opting for a federal-run exchange or haven’t yet made a decision.

Because of that fast work, federal health official Chiquita Brooks-LeSure announced that Kentucky now has official government approval to continue their exchange.

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Politics
12:52 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

Legal Issues with Kentucky Spirit Remain; Passport Withdraws Medicaid Complaint

Weeks after their announced departure from Kentucky’s Medicaid managed care system, operator Kentucky Spirit and the state are still locked in a legal battle.

Both sides have sued each other, blaming the other for the situation. Kentucky Spirit announced their departure, scheduled for the middle of 2013, due to massive losses in the system.

In an interim committee meeting today, Kentucky lawmakers asked for an update on what the state hoped to recoup financially because of Kentucky Spirit’s decision.

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Politics
5:35 pm
Mon December 10, 2012

Kentucky Lawmakers Optimistic Gambling Bill Will Pass

After years of defeat, Kentucky lawmakers believe an expanded gambling bill could become law next year. 

At the Kentucky Chamber’s annual policy day, House Speaker Greg Stumbo and new Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer discussed the prospects of such a bill in the upcoming session. Both leaders suggested the opposing chamber take up the bill first when they get to Frankfort next month. 

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Politics
10:52 am
Mon December 10, 2012

Governor Steve Beshear Plans to Tinker with Tax Reform Recommendations

Credit Kentucky Governor's Office

Kentucky's Blue Ribbon Tax Commission has wrapped up its work, but Governor Steve Beshear says the biggest challenge to revising the tax code still remains.

Tax reform is on the tip of the tongue every few years in Frankfort. But historically, not much has been accomplished. Beshear will get the commission's latest recommendations for tax reform this week. And it'll be up to him to convince lawmakers that the panel's work is worth turning into law.

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Politics
7:35 am
Mon December 10, 2012

McConnell: Tea Party Has Been a 'Good Movement' for Republican Party

Credit File photo

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell says the Tea Party has been good for the Republican Party.

Critics of the Tea Party blame it for costing the GOP the majority in the U.S. Senate the past four years, citing high-profile losses in Delaware, Nevada and Indiana.

Last week, the leader of the Tea Party in the Senate, Jim DeMint of South Carolina, announced he was leaving to lead a think tank.

But McConnell says the Tea Party has done something important for the GOP -- it's energized the party.

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Politics
8:05 am
Sun December 9, 2012

Hemp Industry Won't Grow Overnight, Agriculture Economists Say

Hemp grown in Great Britain.
Credit Adrian Cable/Creative Commons

As Kentucky and federal lawmakers consider legalizing industrial hemp, the chair of the University of Kentucky's agriculture economics department notes that such an industry won't rise overnight.

It's a matter of economic viability. The main question being: With corn, soybeans and other crops selling at record high levels, what would entice farmers to switch to hemp instead?

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