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
7:31 pm
Mon March 11, 2013

House Passes Military Voting Bill, With Electronic Return Included

A bill designed  to allow Kentuckians in the military deployed overseas vote electronically has cleared the House, after amendments returned Senate Bill 1 to a full electronic system.

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is the main promoter of the bill and urged House lawmakers to return to full electronic provisions after the Senate did not include the electronic return of a ballot.

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Politics
4:22 pm
Mon March 11, 2013

Kentucky House, Senate OK Bill Gradually Raising Dropout Age to 18

Credit Creative Commons

Updated: School districts will have the option of raising the minimum age when students can drop out to 18 under legislation that on Monday cleared both the Kentucky House and Senate—which may lead to statewide implementation in the future.

The approved bill is a compromise reached after past efforts to strike a deal failed.

The dropout bill allows  local school boards to choose whether to raise the dropout age to 18. After 55 percent of Kentucky's school boards raise the drop out limit, the change in four years becomes mandatory statewide.

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Politics
6:00 am
Mon March 11, 2013

Kentucky House Leaders Still Pushing Redistricting

Greg Stumbo
Credit Kentucky Legislative Commission

Kentucky's legislative leaders have hope they can finish redistricting before the current session ends later this month.

New legislative districts were drafted and passed last year to reflect the 2010 Census. A judge threw them out, however, saying lawmakers did not properly divide up the state.

The House has already passed a new map of its districts, but the Senate has shown no interest in it.

Speaker Greg Stumbo says he wants the map approved so House lawmakers can know their new districts and make decisions on whether to run for re-election.

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Politics
12:21 am
Fri March 8, 2013

Kentucky Lawmakers Change Schedule in Hopes of Avoiding Special Session

Kentucky House and Senate leaders have changed the schedule of this year's legislative session to avoid a special session.

A potential—and costly—special session has loomed over the General Assembly in recent days, as lawmakers continued work on pension reform. Instead of convening Friday, lawmakers will work on Tuesday, with hopes that talks started Thursday night could lead to an agreement on pension reform by then.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo says those talks have included the Governor and Senate leaders. 

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Politics
1:25 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Health Sharing Bill Clears House Committee

Credit File photo

A bill reauthorizing a Christian health sharing ministry in Kentucky has cleared a House committee after the insertion into the bill a provision for more disclosure to possible members of the group.

Senate Bill 3, known as the Medi-Share bill, would re-legalize Christian Care Medi-Share to operate in Kentucky after courts ruled them illegal and kicked them out.

Medi-share is a health sharing organization, which means members pay a fee every month to help cover others' medical bills. And in return, their medical bills would be covered, although there are no guarantees.

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Politics
11:20 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Human Trafficking Bill Passes Senate Committee, Poised to Become Kentucky Law

Sannie Overly
Credit Legislative Research Commission

A bill that would strengthen Kentucky's human trafficking laws has passed a Senate committee and appears ready to finally become law.

House Bill 3 is sponsored by state Rep. Sannie Overly, a Paris Democrat and the House majority caucus chair.. It's consider so-called "safe harbor legislation," which would require treatment for victims of human trafficking instead of legal ramifications, such as prostitution or immigration charges.

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Politics
5:22 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Kentucky Senate Changes Special Taxing District Reform; House Objects

Damon Thayer
Credit Legislative Research Commission

Changes to a bill reforming how special taxing districts operate in Kentucky could kill the legislation in the final days of the General Assembly session.

State Sen. Damon Thayer, a Georgetown Republican and the majority floor leader, introduced the changes in committee on Wednesday which give local governments veto powers over possible rate increases by special districts. Those changes later passed off the Senate floor. 

Special taxing districts are usually sewer districts, library boards or other quasi-governmental public service entities.

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Politics
9:44 am
Wed March 6, 2013

House Committee Passes Kentucky Hemp Bill, but Floor Vote Uncertain

James Comer
Credit File photo

 Updated: FRANKFORT — In its second try, the Kentucky House agriculture committee approved a bill Wednesday creating a regulatory framework for growing hemp in Kentucky, if the federal government were to legalize it.

The hemp bill—championed by Agriculture Commissioner James Comer—got only one no vote in the House agriculture committee.

Last week, an ag committee meeting abruptly ended after a tense exchange among lawmakers on the hemp issue.

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Politics
5:03 pm
Tue March 5, 2013

House Committee Passes Redistricting Maps After Long Wait

Credit Kentucky General Assembly

The House State Government committee has advanced a new redistricting map to the House floor after weeks of closed door debate.

Last year's state House and Senate districts were ruled unconstitutional by the Kentucky Supreme Court after House GOP members challenged them in court. The new House districts would create seven new districts all across Kentucky, where no current lawmakers reside. 

Those districts are: 

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Politics
11:18 am
Tue March 5, 2013

Beshear Signs Pill Mill Fix Legislation

Credit Melanie Tata/Creative Commons

  Gov. Steve Beshear signed on Tuesday legislation aimed at "fixing" 2012's crackdown on pill mills.

The so-called pill mill fix bill, House Bill 217, exempts hospitals and long term care facilities from constantly running prescribing reports on patients in their care.

But supporters of the bill, including House Speaker Greg Stumbo, Senate President Robert Stivers and Beshear said the new legislation doesn't weaken the 2012 efforts to tackle pill mills—pain clinics that abuse their prescription-writing authority for people seeking pain medication for recreational use.

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