Ryland Barton

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.

Gov. Matt Bevin on Tuesday criticized lawmakers for not passing a bill to address the state’s ailing pension systems and also accused them of not reading legislation before voting.

The Kentucky legislature has passed a bill banning abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, sending the measure to Gov. Matt Bevin to be signed into law.

Capitol Rotunda in Kentucky
Ed Reinke / AP

The Kentucky Senate has voted to ban doctors from performing abortions if they believe the person seeking the procedure wants it because of the fetus' race, sex or a disability. The measure now heads to Gov. Matt Bevin for final approval.

Leaders of the Kentucky legislature have proposed revising the state’s tax code, cutting $105 million in state revenue largely by changing how local banks get taxed.

kentucky state capitol building
Peter Fitzgerald / Wikimedia

There are only four working days left in this year's legislative session, but a lot can happen in a short period of time in the Kentucky General Assembly.

Kentucky lawmakers have advanced a bill that would ask the state’s health cabinet to review its response to a deadly hepatitis A outbreak in Kentucky.

The outbreak began in 2017 and has led to more than 4,100 confirmed cases and 43 deaths.

Sen. Morgan McGarvey, a Democrat from Louisville and sponsor of the bill, said that he is not assigning blame for the outbreak “because we don’t have any answers.”

“This is to look at the local health departments, the response that the Cabinet had to say what happened, how did it happen and how can we prevent it from happening in the future,” McGarvey told the Senate Health and Welfare Committee.

Amid massive protests from teachers in the state Capitol Thursday, Gov. Matt Bevin spoke at an anti-abortion rally celebrating several bills that would restrict the procedure.

The state legislature is poised to pass several anti-abortion bills, including one that would ban the procedure as early as six weeks — earlier than many people realize they are pregnant.

During Thursday’s rally, Bevin called himself the “most pro-life governor in America” and said restricting abortion protects human life.

A bill that would allow doctors to prescribe marijuana to treat some medical conditions has passed out of a state legislative panel.

Though the legislation has a long way to go to pass out of the legislature, the move amounts to one of the only times that a medical marijuana proposal has advanced in the statehouse.

House Bill 136 would create a state-regulated system that would include growers, processors, dispensers and testers of marijuana.

Leaders of the Kentucky House and Senate have begun meeting behind closed doors to hammer out a final version of a bill that re-opens the two-year tax bill that passed last year.

State lawmakers are considering a bill to raise Kentucky’s gas tax by 10 cents per gallon, but the measure has a long way to go and time is running out on this year’s legislative session.

mitch mcconnell
Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he thinks the Senate will pass a bill attempting to block President Trump's national emergency declaration over border security, but that Congress wouldn't be able to override a veto.

rand paul donald trump
Evan Vucci / AP

Sen. Rand Paul says he'll vote to block President Donald Trump's national emergency declaration over border security, making him the deciding Republican vote on the issue.

The Kentucky House of Representatives has unanimously passed a bill that would make sexual harassment an offense under the ethics code for state lawmakers. The bill still needs to pass the Senate and be signed by the governor to become law.

Kentuckians wouldn’t need a permit to carry concealed firearms under a bill that is nearing final passage in the state legislature. It now only has to pass out of the state House of Representatives and be signed by Gov. Matt Bevin.

Currently, concealed-carry holders have to take an eight-hour training course and have a background check to receive a permit.

Rep. Charles Booker, a Democrat from Louisville, said he was worried that the measure would lead to more gun violence.

A former state legislator told the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting on Monday that she never witnessed inappropriate behavior by Rep. Jeff Hoover, as his accuser has claimed.

In a demand letter, and later during a sworn deposition, a former House staffer said then-Rep. Jill York of Grayson witnessed Hoover and the woman interact during the 2016 legislative session and complained about it to House Republican Communications Director Daisy Olivo.

Kentucky’s chief justice is sounding the alarm on a proposal to move lawsuits against the state and public officials from a court in Frankfort to a randomly selected judge from elsewhere in the state.

Doctors would be required to tell patients seeking a medically-induced abortion that the procedure can be reversed, under a bill advancing through the Kentucky legislature despite warnings from medical professionals.

The measure was added to a bill that would require doctors to report all medically-induced abortions — one of at least four abortion-related measures moving through the legislature.

Sen. Robby Mills, a Republican from Henderson and sponsor of the bill, said that doctors should be required to tell patients that they can stop a medically-induced abortion if they “only take the first pill and not the second pill.”

kentucky state capitol building
Peter Fitzgerald / Wikimedia

Another abortion restriction has begun its journey through the Kentucky legislature. A state House panel approved a bill Wednesday that would make it a felony for a doctor to perform an abortion if they feel that the patient is ending the pregnancy because of the fetus' sex, race or disability.

A bill that would create an explicit ban on lawmakers sexually harassing their employees and colleagues is advancing in the Kentucky legislature.

The legislature’s ethics code doesn’t currently prohibit sexual harassment, though lawmakers have been punished for harassing staffers under a rule that forbids misuse of their official positions.

But on Thursday, the House State Government Committee unanimously passed House Bill 60, which would make sexual harassment an offense in the legislative ethics code and create a new reporting process.

Gov. Matt Bevin spent much of his fourth State of the Commonwealth Address praising the Republican-led legislature for passing measures like so-called “right-to-work” legislation, anti-abortion policies and attempting to make changes to state worker pension benefits.

The appreciative tone comes a little more than a month after Bevin chided the General Assembly — which has more than three-fifths majority in each chamber — for quickly ending a specially-called legislative session without passing an overhaul of the pension systems.

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