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
11:37 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Kentucky House Ag Committee Chair Blocks Vote on Hemp Bill

Tom McKee
Credit Kentucky Legislative Commission

FRANKFORT — The Kentucky House Agriculture Committee chairman blocked a vote on the hemp bill on Wednesday morning after a tense exchange with a Republican supporter of the legislation.

The hemp bill would create a regulatory framework in Kentucky, should the federal government legalize it.

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Politics
9:45 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

House Committee OKs Pension Funding Bill That Relies on Gambling Dollars

Credit File photo

The House budget committee has passed a bill that would help shore up Kentucky's underfunded pension system by relying on gambling revenue.

House Bill 416 would take revenues from expanding Kentucky lottery sales and online games, as well as from Instant Racing—if the state Supreme Court upholds the legality of the game—and move the money to the struggling pension program for state employees.

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Politics
2:18 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

House Committees Makes Major Changes to Pension Reform Bill

Credit File photo

The state pension system would not transition to a hybrid 401K-style plan in an amended version of the pension reform bill.

The amended bill also only allows plans to set up a new 11-person committee to provide direct oversight over the pension systems.

And cost of living adjustments are no longer banned under the bill, but can only be allowed if there is a surplus in the retirement systems or if lawmakers prepay for the expense.

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Politics
11:48 am
Tue February 26, 2013

Persistently Low-Achieving Schools Could Become Charters Under Kentucky Senate Bill

Credit File photo

Kentucky persistently low-achieving schools would be able to become charter schools to improve performance and test scores under a bill discussed Tuesday in the state Senate Education Committee.

The charter schools bill adds charters a a fifth option for what the state now calls "priority schools—schools that persistently get low scores.  The current options include re-staffing of teachers, firing the principal, giving the school up to outside management or closing the schools.

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Politics
4:27 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

Legislative Fix to 2012 Pill Mill Bill Passes House Judiciary Committee

Credit File photo

A bill addressing problems with last year's prescription pill mill bill has cleared the House Judiciary Committee.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo is sponsoring the bill, which reduces some tough regulations that followed the pill mill bill.  The legislation, House Bill 217, requires hospitals and long term care facilities to still pull KASPER reports, but lessens other regulations on them

Stumbo told lawmakers that the bill would help codify easier regulations that were recently published and that the effort to crackdown on prescription pill abuse was effective.

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Politics
3:00 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

Bill Dealing With Medicaid Late Payments Has Support in Senate

Julie Denton
Credit Rae Hodge/Kentucky Public Radio

A bill  moving Medicaid late payment claims to the Department of Insurance appears to have some support in the state Senate.

House Bill 5 would take prompt pay issues with the Medicaid managed care system and put it through the Insurance Department's current claims process. Currently, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services deal with late claims.

Sen. Julie Denton, chair of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, said she plans to give the bill a hearing and supports the bill's attempts to make managed care organizations pay providers.

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Politics
1:51 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

Bill Would Allow Public-Private Partnerships For Big Construction Projects

Brent Spence Bridge
Credit Creative Commons

State Rep. Sannie Overly has filed a bill that will allow the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to explore public-private partnerships to help construction projects with big price tags.

The bill doesn't specifically name any projects, but Kentucky currently has multiple instances where the bill could help work start, namely the Brent Spence Bridge in Northern Kentucky and Interstate 69 in western Kentucky.

Overly, a Paris Democrat, said the goal is to help the state have one more avenue to help fund its infrastructure projects.

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Politics
4:03 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Universities Can Start Construction Immediately As Projects Bill Signed Into Law

Credit J. Glover/Creative Commons

Six Kentucky's public universities can immediately start construction on more than $300 million in construction or renovation projects, including a $110-million renovation of Lexington's Commonwealth Stadium.

Governor Steve Beshear signed House Bill 7 into law on Thursday.

The bill authorizes bonds and other funds to help build academic buildings, dorms and other necessities at the universities. It assures no public money will be used for the projects.

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Politics
2:46 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Gov. Beshear, Ashley Judd to Meet Soon to Discuss 2014 U.S. Senate Race

Ashley Judd
Credit Salon

Ashley Judd—the actress and potential Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate—will meet soon to with Gov. Steve Beshear to discuss the 2014 election, the governor said.

Judd has been meeting with potential donors and supporters in the past several weeks, including some in Louisville, the Hill reports.

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Politics
1:27 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Bill Transferring Kentucky Medicaid Late Payments to Insurance Department Clears House Committee

Credit File photo

House Speaker Greg Stumbo's bill that would transfer late payments claims in Medicaid managed care has cleared its first committee.

The legislation moves dealing with late payment issues between health care providers and managed care organizations to the Department of Insurance's third party system. Currently, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services deals with those issues—but how those issues are dealt with has become a major issue in Kentucky's managed care system.

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