Kenny Colston (KPR)

Kentucky Public Radio Capital Bureau Chief

Kenny Colston is the Frankfort Bureau Chief for Kentucky Public Radio (a collaborative effort of public radio stations in Kentucky). Colston has covered Kentucky's Capitol and state government since 2010. He is a Louisville native, and a graduate of the University of Kentucky. When he's not tracking down stories about Kentucky politics, you can often find him watching college sports, particularly football.

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Politics
3:48 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Compromise Reached, Special Taxing District Reform to Become Law

Kentucky lawmakers reached a deal Monday in a conference committee on legislation addressing issues with special taxing districts. The committee adopted a new proposal that would require special districts to present their annual budgets or any new fee increases to their local fiscal court.

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Politics
8:48 am
Tue March 12, 2013

House Passes Military Voting Bill, With Electronic Return Included

A bill allowing Kentuckians in the military deployed overseas to vote electronically has cleared the House, after amendments were added to allow for the electronic return of a ballot. House Speaker Greg Stumbo told his fellow lawmakers that other states that allow for full electronic voting for military personnel have not had issues with hacking, which was a concern for the Senate.

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2013 KY General Assembly
3:38 pm
Mon March 11, 2013

Kentucky House OKs Dropout Bill Compromise; Expected to Become Law

The Kentucky House approved on Monday legislation that gradually raises the age when students can drop out of school—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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Government
5:19 am
Fri March 8, 2013

Kentucky Lawmakers Change Schedule to Avoid 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. 

"The only conversation that we've had with them has obviously revolved around pensions, funding of pension liabilities and just a brief conversation about redistricting," he says.

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2013 KY General Assembly
1:44 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Health Sharing Bill Clears House Committee

Credit http://blog.medi-share.org

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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2013 KY General Assembly
11:19 am
Thu March 7, 2013

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

Credit wikimedia.com

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 considered so-called "safe harbor legislation," which would require treatment for victims of human trafficking instead of legal ramifications, such as prostitution or immigration charges.

After a few small changes in the Senate Judiciary Committee, the bill passed easily Thursday and heads to the Senate floor. The legislation has already passed the House.

Overly said years of work on the bill—plus changes to this year's bill to recruit past opponents—gives House Bill 3 a good chance to become law.

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2013 KY General Assembly
1:41 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

House Committee Passes Hemp Bill, but Floor Vote Uncertain

Credit Barbetorte, Wikimedia Commons

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.

Several House lawmakers said they voted for the bill to help support the Ag industry and to possibly create more jobs in Kentucky.

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Government
4:12 pm
Tue March 5, 2013

House Committee Passes Redistricting Maps After Long Wait

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
10:57 am
Tue March 5, 2013

Beshear Signs Pill Mill Fix Legislation

Credit www.nlm.nih.gov

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.

"But as with most major reforms efforts, the implementation of House Bill 1 demonstrated a few imperfections that needed to be fixed," Beshear said. "House Bill 217 makes those fixes, without reducing the impact of the original legislation."

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2013 KY General Assembly
4:01 pm
Mon March 4, 2013

Statewide Smoking Ban Supporters Make Second Pitch to Kentucky Legislators

Credit www.wikipedia.com

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

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