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
3:12 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

Former State Rep. DeWayne Bunch Dies

Former Republican state representative DeWayne Bunch has died from head injuries sustained last year.

Bunch was a first term lawmaker when he was injured breaking up a fight at Whitley County High School, where he was a teacher. He went through months of surgeries and recovery in Lexington and in Atlanta.

His wife, Regina Bunch, was elected in a special election to succeed him as state representative. She’s currently still serving in that capacity.

Leaders of both the Democratic and Republican caucus in the state House praised Bunch’s service as a lawmaker.

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Politics
1:59 pm
Tue July 10, 2012

State Budget Sees Small Surplus

Despite dim outlooks, the Commonwealth of Kentucky has turned a budget surplus for the second year in a row.

The last fiscal year closed with  an additional $83 million  in  the General Fund. The road fund has a $31 million  surplus.

The extra revenue has two potential uses. First, the state can make emergency payments, like putting additional money to cleaning up tornado damage in Eastern Kentucky.

And it can send money to the rainy day fund to help build back  Surpluses that were spent during the recession.

Politics
3:24 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

Lawmaker Will Again Try to Lift Ban on Election Day Alcohol Sales

For the fifth time, a Northern Kentucky lawmaker will attempt to undo a ban on alcohol sales on election days.

Currently, no alcohol can be served or sold while polls are open. Representative Arnold Simpson has filed legislation to scrap the ban four times in the past. And Friday, he will once again present the proposal to an interim legislative committee.

Many states originally passed such bans in order to crack down on voter fraud and vote buying. Now, South Carolina is the only other state that still bans alcohol sales on election days.

Politics
8:00 am
Mon July 9, 2012

Pseudoephedrine Limits Go Into Effect This Thursday

On Thursday, dozens of laws passed in this year’s legislative session will become active.

One of those laws limits the amount of pseudoephedrine a person can buy from a pharmacy. Pseudoephedrine, or PSE, is used in many cold and allergy medicines. It’s also a key part of meth production.

The new law limits adults to seven point two grams a month, which is roughly the equivalent of a box, before requiring a prescription.

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Politics
11:59 am
Fri July 6, 2012

Conservative Kentucky Think Tank Starts Political Action Committee

A new conservative think tank in Kentucky is expanding its political influence outside of its usual lobbying efforts.

The Commonwealth Policy Center is a fiscally and socially conservative group. Now, the group has launched a sister political action committee, the Commonwealth Policy PAC (pack), to influence elections.

The center’s director is Richard Nelson, a former analyst of the Family Foundation in Kentucky. Henderson City Commissioner Robby Mills is the PAC’s director.

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Politics
12:24 pm
Thu July 5, 2012

Republican Leader Calls On Beshear to Opt Out of Medicaid Expansion

The highest-ranking Republican in the Kentucky state House is calling on Governor Steve Beshear to reject an expansion of Medicaid set forth in the Affordable Care Act.

The Supreme Court ruling on the healthcare law allows states to opt out of the expansion of the program. House Minority Floor Leader Jeff Hoover wants Beshear to follow other states that have opted out.

Hoover says expanding the program in Kentucky would put an even bigger burden on the state budget, even with managed care operators running the system.

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Politics
10:59 am
Thu July 5, 2012

New PAC Hopes to Give Catholics a Stronger Political Voice

A new political action committee is hoping to strengthen the political power of Catholics in Kentucky.

The Kentucky Catholic PAC was founded by Louisville attorney Vince Heuser after the May primary elections.

Heuser says the idea for the state-based PAC stems from two issues that are contentious in the Catholic community. One is a mandate from the federal government that health insurance plans must cover contraceptives. The second is a tussle with state House Democrats over bill that would require women seeking abortions to view an ultrasound of their fetus.

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Politics
1:52 pm
Tue July 3, 2012

Kentucky Republicans Heading to Other States to Help Romney, GOP

Kentucky isn’t considered a battleground state in this year’s presidential election, but that’s not stopping a few Republicans from trying to make a difference this fall.

The commonwealth is all but sure to deliver its electoral votes to former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. So several local Republican campaign operatives have moved to other battleground states, with many ending up in Ohio and New Mexico. 

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Politics
3:36 pm
Mon July 2, 2012

Pension Task Force Says Everything is "On the Table" at First Meeting

A group of Kentucky lawmakers has a new summer assignment…shoring up the state’s failing pension systems.

At least two of Kentucky’s six pension plans are at a high risk for failure. And their troubles have been highlighted by Bloomberg, the New York Times and the Pew Center.

In response, the state has formed a public pension task force. Co-chairman Mike Cherry says he's dedicated to find a solution, and it may not be pretty.

“From my standpoint, everything’s on the table for this summer interim session,” he says.

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Politics
6:15 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

New Medicaid Commissioner Named

After two years of interim leadership, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services has a permanent Medicaid Commissioner. 

Lawrence Kissner is the current CEO of Magnolia Health Plan, a managed care operator in Mississippi. He will start as Kentucky's new Medicaid commissioner July 1. 

The move continues the overhaul Secretary Audrey Haynes began when she took her job in April. 

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