Ryland Barton

Kentucky Public Radio State Capitol Reporter

Ryland is the state capitol reporter for Kentucky Public Radio. He's covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin. Always looking to put a face to big issues, Ryland's reporting has taken him to drought-weary towns in West Texas and relocated communities in rural China. He's covered breaking news like the 2014 shooting at Fort Hood Army Base and the aftermath of the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas. 

Ryland has a bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago and a master's degree in journalism from the University of Texas. He grew up in Lexington.

By Daderot (Daderot) [CC0 or CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

 

  A committee has nominated three candidates to replace former Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Will T. Scott, who resigned in January to enter the Republican race for governor.

Scott was elected to his seat on the state’s highest court in 2004, representing the 7thSupreme Court District covering much Eastern Kentucky.

The nominees announced Thursday are all Eastern Kentucky attorneys—David Allen Barber from Prestonsburg, Roger Donald Riggs from Mount Sterling and Janet Stumbo from Van Lear.

Eric Molina, Wikimedia Commons

The state’s drug courts might allow addicts to receive medically assisted drug therapy as part of court mandated treatment.

The move comes after White House drug czar Michael Botticelli said in February that drug courts that prohibit medical treatment would stop receiving federal funding.

LRC Public Information

The state Senate’s first public discussion of the House’s heroin bill on Wednesday highlighted the differences between the two chambers as they seek to address a surge in addiction throughout Kentucky.

The House bill focuses on treatment and enforcement that distinguishes between peddlers, mid-level traffickers and aggravated traffickers.

jan zeschky / Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Kentucky brewers have won another fight in the Frankfort beer battle: the state House voted on Tuesday to change a law that allows out-of-state brewers to own their own distributors.

The law presently allows Anheuser-Busch to own distributors in Owensboro and Louisville, which has been opposed by in-state micro-breweries.

LRC Public Information

The Kentucky House passed a bill Tuesday evening that would free telephone companies of the requirement to offer basic phone service to many of Kentucky’s densely populated areas.

Since 2006, major telephone providers like AT&T have been required by the state’s Public Service Commission to offer basic service like unlimited local calling, operator assistance and 9-1-1. Now, carriers are asking to be freed of that regulation so they can invest in their wireless networks.

wikipedia

With support from an unlikely partnership of industry and environmental advocates, a Kentucky House committee on Tuesday approved a bill that would regulate hydraulic fracturing—or fracking—for natural gas.

The fracking process extracts natural gas by drilling deep into the earth and injecting water, sand and chemicals to release gas from shale formations up sometimes over two miles underground.

iStockPhoto

A bill that would authorize $3.3 billion in bonding to fund Kentucky’s ailing pension system for teachers has passed the Kentucky House of Representatives.

The Kentucky Teachers' Retirement System only has 53 percent of the money it needs to make future payouts to about 141,000 retired teachers. Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo says the risks of borrowing to fund teachers’ retirements are outweighed by not taking action.

iStockPhoto

MillerCoors has joined the so-called “beer battle” between Anheuser-Busch and craft brewers in the Kentucky General Assembly.

Craft brewers and local beer distributors support a bill that would forbid out-of-state brewers from owning beer distributors in the state. Breweries that make fewer than 25,000 barrels of beer per year are not allowed to own their own distributors under Kentucky law.

Fried Dough / Flickr (Creative Commons License)

All eyes are on Kentucky’s state senators to see if they’ll move on the House’s proposed statewide smoking ban.

Senate President Robert Stivers, a Republican from Manchester, has said he doesn’t see support for the bill in the upper chamber.

capitol.ky.gov

Nearly halfway through the session, record snow has nearly brought the Kentucky General Assembly to a halt.

Leadership in both chambers canceled all committee meetings and full meetings of the House and Senate on Tuesday and Wednesday, after having Monday off for Presidents Day. The Kentucky House has called off the rest of the week after concerns that lawmakers from remote areas wouldn’t be able safely to travel to Frankfort.

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