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
3:59 pm
Mon March 4, 2013

Statewide Smoking Ban Supporters Make Second Pitch to Kentucky Legislators

Credit Challiyil Eswaramangalath Vipin/Wikimedia Commons

Supporters of a statewide smoking ban in Kentucky are once again trying to persuade a House committee to pass the legislation this session.

The House Judiciary Committee is the second committee—after House Health and Welfare—to hear the smoking ban bill sponsored by State Rep. Susan Westrom, a Lexington Democrat.

This time, property rights and business rights were the main topic of questioning, but Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson told the committee that Kentucky's businesses have long supported smoking bans.

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Politics
7:00 am
Sun March 3, 2013

Time Running Out for Kentucky General Assembly to Pass Priority Bills

Credit File photo

As the 2013 legislative session winds down, the top priorities for each chamber are still stuck in the process and not yet law.

House Bill 1 would reform special districts in Kentucky and centralize financing reporting aspects for the districts. The legislation is supported by Auditor Adam Edelen, a Democrat. But the legislation is likely to undergo changes that Edelen has yet to support, including giving more oversight of the districts to local governments.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo, the bill sponsor, said his chamber also won't support such changes.

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Politics
11:25 am
Fri March 1, 2013

Kentucky Pension Bills in 'Legislative Purgatory' as Both Chambers Argue Over Procedure

Robert Stivers and Greg Stumbo
Credit Legislative Research Commission

FRANKFORT — Arguments over how to reform and pay for Kentucky's underfunded pension systems have devolved into legislative chaos.

Both the Kentucky House and the Senate are refusing bills addressing pensions, citing legal or procedural reasons. And leading legislators are blaming each other. 

The 2013 session has eight working days remaining, but doesn't officially close until March 26 to allow time for vetoes and overrides.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo says the Senate's actions are killing the issue.

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Politics
6:00 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Pension Fixes in Limbo As Leaders Argue Over Approaches

Greg Stumbo
Credit Kentucky Legislative Commission

 A House bill aiming to help generate revenues for the underfunded pension system is in legal limbo as the Senate refused to accept the bill.

House Bill 416 takes revenues from expansion of Instant Racing and online lottery sales and the start of a Keno game to generate close to $100 million a year to pay into state's currently underfunded pensions for state employees.

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Politics
3:02 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Reversing Early Criticism, House Speaker Greg Stumbo Calls Ashley Judd a 'Formidable' Candidate

Ashley Judd
Credit U.S. Navy

After dismissing the idea last fall, Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo is warming to the idea of actress Ashley Judd running for the U.S. Senate in 2014.

Judd has begun reaching out to Kentucky Democratic leaders;  Stumbo said on Thursday that he'll tell Judd that, should she enter, the race is winnable.

"Ashley Judd, if she chooses to get into this race, will be a formidable candidate by the time the race is over I'm convinced of that," Stumbo said.

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Politics
11:20 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Senate Committee Advances Fix to 2012 Pill Mill Legislation

Credit Creative Commons

A bill addressing issues with 2012's pill mill bill has cleared a state Senate committee, less than a day after it cleared the full House.

The bill calls off some regulations of the 2012 House Bill 1, which cracked down on prescription pain clinics and abuse. 

It also exempts hospitals and long term care facilities from pulling KASPER reports every time they prescribe medication.

And while some regulations are being pulled back, Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear said the teeth in the original law are still strong.

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Politics
6:16 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

House Passes Two Pension Bills But Controversy Over Vote Looms

Greg Stumbo
Credit Kentucky Legislative Commission

The House has narrowly passed two bills dealing with the state's underfunded pension system, but not without controversy.

The House passed an amended  version of Senate Bill 2, which keeps the pension systems as a defined benefit and creates a new oversight panel for Kentucky's many pension plans. It passed on party lines 55-45, with Democrats favoring.

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Politics
5:29 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

House Passes Medicaid Prompt Pay Bill 99-0

 A bill moving Medicaid managed care late payments to the Department of Insurance's review process has overwhelmingly passed the state House.

House Bill 5 passed 99-0 off the floor, after a few technical amendments were added to it.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo is the bill sponsor and says his goal is to make sure health care providers start getting paid by Medicaid managed care organizations, which has been a problem since the MCO system was implemented.

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Politics
4:13 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

Ashley Judd Reaching Out to Kentucky State House Democratic Leaders

Ashley Judd
Credit Creative Commons

Ashley Judd has begun reaching out to Kentucky House Democratic leaders as she continues to explore a 2014 bid for the U.S. Senate seat held by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.

Judd has called House Speaker Pro Tem Larry Clark asking for a meeting, Clark said.

She also called and left a message on House Speaker Greg Stumbo's cell phone—but asked to speak with House Majority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins. Stumbo said he's returned the call but hasn't heard back.

Clark said he told Judd their meeting will have to wait.

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Politics
3:05 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

Auditor Adam Edelen to State Senators: Don't Amend Special Taxing Districts Bill

Adam Edelen
Credit File photo

State Auditor Adam Edelen is encouraging Senate lawmakers not to tweak the special district taxing district reform bill, which is largely based on his proposals from a report last year.

The Senate State and Local Government committee discussed the bill for more than an hour, but did not vote on House Bill 1 because Sen. Damon Thayer says he's attempting to amend the bill.  Thayer's main concerns are giving control of a new registry of special districts to the Department of Local Government and that local elected officials often don't have control of a special district.

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