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
8:00 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Statewide Smoking Ban Advocates Launch Fancy Farm Road Tour to Pump Up Support

Advocates of a statewide smoking ban are taking their issue on a five day tour before Fancy Farm to drum up support.

 The Smoke Free Kentucky Coalition has pushed a statewide smoking ban law in the General Assembly for the last two years. And they are making next year’s legislative session a key moment in their fight.

 Coalition coordinator Betsy Janes says with Fancy Farm’s big role as a political event, a road tour and outreach at the picnic seemed logical for the group.

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Politics
4:07 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Cabinet Secretary says Early Results on 2011 Drug Law Mixed

Kentucky's justice cabinet secretary says a 2011 law intended to reduce prison costs in Kentucky is seeing mixed, but encouraging results.

Secretary J. Michael Brown says House Bill 463 helped prompt an immediate reduction of yearly prisoners in Kentucky by 1,000 its first year in action. But the law didn’'t contribute the same reduction in fiscal year 2012.

Brown says there are many reasons for those mixed results, including parole backlogs keeping inmates in prison instead of alternative places.

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Politics
3:34 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

2012 Budget Ends With $45 Million Surplus Thanks to Boost in Income, Sales Taxes

Despite accounting mistakes and unforeseen disaster relief expenses, state government is closing the 2012 budget with another surplus.

Originally, the budgetary surplus was 83 million dollars, now it's almost halved to 45 million dollars.

State Budget Director Mary Lassiter informed lawmakers of the surplus at an interim committee meeting today. And she says the remaining surplus will be put into the legislature’s savings account.

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Politics
7:14 am
Thu July 26, 2012

Big Names Skipping Fancy Farm Speaking This Year

Many of Kentucky’s most prominent elected officials are opting to skip this year’s Fancy Farm political picnic.

Governor Steve Beshear and Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson announced yesterday, that they would skip the picnic. House Speaker Greg Stumbo will speak in Beshear’s place. 

Now, Fancy Farm organizers say U.S. Senator Rand Paul will skip the picnic as well. Kentucky’s other U.S. Senator, Mitch McConnell, has not yet confirmed to speak.

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Politics
2:05 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

Beshear Will Miss Fancy Farm for Economic Trip

An overseas economic trip will prevent Governor Steve Beshear from participating in this year’s Fancy Farm political speaking. 

The governor’s office announced that Beshear will be in Germany and France for the next few weeks to encourage companies there to bring business to Kentucky. 

In May, the governor took a similar trip to Taiwan and Japan. 

House Speaker Greg Stumbo will speak as the Kentucky Democratic Party’s main representative in place of Beshear. 

Politics
1:06 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

New Report Says Almost 1 Million Kentuckians to Be Insured Under ACA Clause

A new report from the national health organization Families USA is praising the ability of almost 1 million Kentuckians to buy insurance in the coming years despite their pre-existing conditions.

The report  says almost 1 million Kentuckians who have previously been denied insurance coverage may get it when that part of the Affordable Care Act takes effect in 2014.

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Politics
12:03 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

LIBOR Scandal Likely Affecting Revenues for Kentucky Agencies

A former trustee for the Kentucky Pension Systems says an international banking scandal is leading to millions of dollars in losses for Kentucky agencies.

Investment consultant Chris Tobe believes the pension systems have lost money due to the false interest rates associated with the LIBOR banking scandal.

LIBOR averages interest rates from other major banks to set a standard. Some banks are charged with providing manipulated rates to LIBOR to boost profiles. 

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Politics
11:20 am
Wed July 25, 2012

Beshear Orders Flags to Half Staff in Wake of Colorado Shootings

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear is ordering flags across the commonwealth to half-staff in wake of last week’s shootings in Aurora, Colorado.

A lone gunman opened fire in a Colorado cinema last week, killing 15 people and wounding dozens more.

The flags will remain at half staff until sundown on Friday, exactly one week from the shootings. President Barack Obama ordered all flags at federal buildings to half staff in the aftermath of the shooting.

Politics
10:01 am
Mon July 23, 2012

How Kentucky's Health Insurance Exchange Will Likely Work

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear recently signed an executive order to create an insurance exchange for Kentucky. Under the Affordable Care Act, states must create marketplaces in which residents can purchase insurance, or else the federal government will do so for them.

“It’s a lot easier to adapt your policies and regulations to personalize it to your population, so we think Kentucky is in a better position to respond to the needs of Kentuckians,” says Kentucky Voices for Health Executive Director Jodi Mitchell, who believes state-run exchanges are the way to go.

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Politics
5:31 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Economic Group Encourages Lawmakers Not to Switch Pensions to 401k Style Plans

A relatively new economic think tank in Kentucky has released a report that pushes back on calls to cut the state's pension benefits.

The report from the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy says the idea that public pensioners are well-compensated compared to their private sector counterparts is a myth.

“If you fairly compare what public workers receive at this point in Kentucky, compared to the private sector in total compensated, wages and benefits, you find that they are actually somewhat under-compensated," says KCEP director Jason Bailey.

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