Ryland Barton

State Capitol Bureau Reporter

Ryland is the state capitol reporter for the Kentucky Public Radio Network, a group of public radio stations including WKU Public Radio. A native of Lexington, Ryland has 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.

J. Tyler Franklin

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has unveiled the newest version of a bill to replace many provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

Negotiations over the much-anticipated bill were held in private, with even some Republicans like Sen. Rand Paul criticizing the secretive process “with little time to fully evaluate the proposal.”

Paul issued a statement Thursday saying he wasn’t ready to vote in favor of the new bill because it doesn’t fully repeal Obamacare.

J. Tyler Franklin, WFPL

Some Kentucky lawmakers want the state to be the next to legalize medical marijuana, at least for end-of-life and hospice care.

Sen. Morgan McGarvey, a Democrat from Louisville, said Kentucky shouldn’t be the last state to legalize the drug.

“There are other states doing this, we know there are benefits to doing it, and we know we can do it in a responsible way that provides ready and available relief to a lot of people,” McGarvey said.

Public Domain

Attorney General Andy Beshear has announced he is suing Gov. Matt Bevin over a recent executive order that reorganized several education boards.

The announcement comes after the attorney general previously threatened to sue Bevin over the actions and after the governor changed his executive order late last week.

Beshear said that despite Bevin’s changes, “there are still significant constitutional and legal violations.”

Wikimedia Commons

If Republicans in Congress move forward with their plan to replace Obamacare, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin's ideas for the future of the program could also go up in smoke.

About 440,000 people were added to the state’s Medicaid rolls as a result of former Gov. Steve Beshear’s executive order to expand the program in 2013, making more people eligible for benefits under the Affordable Care Act.


Creative Commons

Gov. Matt Bevin and Attorney General Andy Beshear will be back in court soon as the Kentucky Supreme Court weighs in on whether the governor’s attempted overhaul of the University of Louisville trustee board last summer was legal.

A trial court ruled last year that Bevin didn’t have the authority to remove members or abolish state university boards. The governor appealed the decision and the legislature passed a law giving the governor broader powers to retool university boards.

Beshear has characterized Bevin’s actions as a “power grab.”

Ryland Barton

Attorney General Andy Beshear said he’ll wait to decide whether to file a lawsuit against Gov. Matt Bevin over a recent reorganization of several state education boards.

The governor’s office sent Beshear a letter late Wednesday saying Bevin planned to alter the executive order, which tweaked or replaced panels like the Board of Education and Council on Postsecondary Education.

Beshear argues the reorganizations go against the state’s laws and constitution, and said he would take legal action if Bevin didn’t alter the executive order by Friday.

Wikimedia Commons

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul is safe after a shooting at a Congressional baseball practice in northern Virginia. Five people were reportedly shot, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana. Scalise is reported to be stable.

On MSNBC Wednesday, Paul said he was in a batting cage at the time that shots rang out at the practice, which took place in advance of the annual Congressional baseball game on Friday.

J. Tyler Franklin

Weeks after announcing a prayer initiative in response to an increase in violent crime in west Louisville, Gov. Matt Bevin is criticizing those who responded negatively to his proposal.

“Those who hate God and hate this administration were happy to mock that,” Bevin said in an interview on WHAS’ Leland Conway show.

Bevin held a meeting with spiritual leaders at a middle school in west Louisville earlier this month. He asked attendees to organize prayer groups to walk the blocks of three West End ZIP codes several times a week for a year.

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On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill rolling back most parts of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which set up consumer protections and banking oversight in the wake of the 2008 financial disaster that led to a global economic recession.

Dubbed the Financial Choice Act, the bill is the centerpiece of Republican promises to scrap regulations on the finance industry. It now heads to the Senate, which is working on its own version of the legislation.

Wikimedia Commons

In the wake of former FBI director James Comey’s testimony about his dismissal by President Donald Trump, Democrats and Republicans are both claiming victory.

During a three-hour public hearing Thursday, Comey said Trump and the White House lied “plain and simple” about his firing.

Comey contradicted Trump’s claims that he fired the former FBI director because of his handling of Hillary Clinton’s email investigation and that rank-and-file FBI members had lost confidence in him.

Wikimedia Commons

President Donald Trump will be across the river from Kentucky today to promote his infrastructure plan.

And if Trump’s previous remarks are any indication, the plan could be heavily influenced by a Kentuckian who’s been dead for 165 years.

In the early 19th century, Kentucky congressman and later senator Henry Clay proposed a system of high taxes on imported goods to fund improvements like roads, canals and bridges. Trump has compared his own philosophy of protectionism to Clay’s.


J. Tyler Franklin

In a new book, former Gov. Steve Beshear defends his administration’s approach to the Affordable Care Act, funding cuts to the state’s ailing pension systems and same-sex marriage.

The Democratic governor left office in 2015 and says his 361-page book “People Over Politics” is about bringing different political stripes together.

“I spent eight years as governor of Kentucky with divided government,” Beshear said. “I had a Republican Senate and Democratic House and I was a Democratic governor, but after elections were over with I was able to bring people together.”

Ryland Barton

Kentucky’s attorney general is continuing criticism of Gov. Matt Bevin’s purchase of a mansion in suburban Louisville.

The Courier-Journal first reported that Bevin and his family moved into an estate in Anchorage that was previously owned by a political donor appointed by the governor to the Kentucky Retirement Systems board.

The Bevins seemingly got a more than a $1 million discount on the home compared to the county’s official property estimate.

Attorney General Andy Beshear said during a news conference on Tuesday that there “continues to be a lot of smoke” stemming from the issue.

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Matt Bevin announced Friday that companies have promised to invest $5.8 billion in Kentucky so far this year, breaking a previous yearly record of $5.1 billion.

The governor credited the state’s “right-to-work” law for the commitments. The policy makes union dues optional, and supporters say it makes the state more attractive to companies looking to move to or relocate in the state.

“The decisions made in the legislature matter,” Bevin said. “And the net result of this is a sense of enthusiasm in the business community for what’s happening in Kentucky like it has never happened before.”

Ryland Barton

Gov. Matt Bevin is criticizing news coverage of his family’s move into a mansion in suburban Louisville earlier this year, saying questions over the home’s purchase are misplaced.

After an economic development announcement Friday afternoon, Bevin ranted for 12 minutes about several news outlets’ coverage of the transaction.

The Courier-Journal first reported that a home the Bevins moved into in March is owned by an organization called Anchorage Place LLC.

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