Ryland Barton

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.

As Gov. Matt Bevin’s mansion was inspected Tuesday by a board that will determine how much it’s worth, the governor lashed out on Twitter at reporters covering the meeting.

The value of Bevin’s home, located in the outskirts of Louisville, has been scrutinized in recent months after the Courier-Journal first reported he paid significantly less than the official estimate of the property’s value for the mansion and surrounding 10 acres.

Bevin bought the home for $1.6 million from Neil Ramsey, an investment manager and political donor whom the governor appointed to the Kentucky Retirement Systems board of trustees.

The majority whip of the state Senate says he wants to expand Kentucky’s felony expungement law to allow people convicted of selling small amounts of marijuana to apply to clear their record after 10 years.

Though tax receipts into Kentucky’s general fund grew for the seventh year in a row, the state was still short about $135 million compared to predictions.

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.

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.

President Donald Trump will be across the river from Kentucky Wednesday 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. 


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

via Facebook "live"

Gov. Matt Bevin said the man he has appointed to oversee the state’s adoption and foster care system is being unfairly criticized.

Bevin tapped Dan Dumas, a senior vice president with Louisville Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, to be Kentucky’s adoption “czar” earlier this month.

Democrats have criticized the appointment for its high pay and Dumas’ lack of experience working in the adoption system.


A liberal group has come out against President Donald Trump’s nomination of a Louisville lawyer to a federal appeals court, criticizing him for opposing a landmark ruling dealing with freedom of the press.

John Bush is currently a partner at the Louisville law firm Bingham Greenebaum Doll, and according to his website practices complex litigation dealing with financial institutions, intellectual property and product liability disputes.

He is also an influential member of the Federalist Society, a conservative group that advocates for the literal interpretation of laws and the Constitution based on their original meaning.

During a Federalist Society event in 2009, Bush said that a landmark Supreme Court ruling that strengthened press protections from libel claims was probably “wrongly decided.”

Kentucky Department of Corrections Commissioner Rodney Ballard has resigned after a little more than a year on the job. A statement from Justice and Public Safety Cabinet spokesman Mike Wynn said Ballard resigned to “pursue a private sector venture.”

  After Always Dreaming won the Kentucky Derby, trainer Todd Pletcher said he intends to race the Colt in the Preakness Stakes.

capitol.ky.gov

Lawmakers transformed the legal landscape of Kentucky during this year’s General Assembly.  The state has new laws restricting abortions and allowing charter schools.  Legislators also passed pro-business measures that forbid mandatory union dues and add a hurdle for people suing doctors and hospitals for malpractice.

Capitol reporter Ryland Barton has this report on what passed the General Assembly and how the new laws might affect Kentuckians.    


The FBI is investigating contractors who have worked with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

Doctors will only be able to prescribe Kentuckians a three-day supply of opioid painkillers under House Bill 333, which now awaits the governor’s signature.

This week in Kentucky politics, the president of the Senate filed a bill that would strip powers from the attorney general’s office and give them to the governor.

As the legislative session winds down, it’s anybody’s guess as to whether a charter schools bill will pass and if it does, what it will look like. And reports that President Trump would visit Louisville this week were walked back…but Vice President Mike Pence WILL be coming.

Capitol reporter Ryland Barton has this week’s edition of Kentucky Politics Distilled.

The President of the state Senate has filed a change to a bill that would strip power from the attorney general and give the governor exclusive authority to represent the state in many legal matters.

On Wednesday morning, attorney general Andy Beshear called the measure “an unprecedented power grab and one of the worst constitutional overreaches since the adoption of our current constitution.”

“The attorney general is not the governor’s lawyer, he’s not the General Assembly’s’ lawyer, he is the people’s lawyer,” Beshear said. “Because, as the Supreme Court explained, in Kentucky, the people are the sovereign, the people are the king. Not the government and not the governor.”

A sweeping criminal justice bill has been filed in the Kentucky General Assembly. It aims to provide workforce training for state prisoners, fight drug addiction and increase penalties for some crimes.

State lawmakers were on a break this week after approving a handful of major conservative polices over last weekend. Effects of the new abortion restrictions, union regulations and an overhaul of University of Louisville’s trustee board began to take shape. Plus, Gov. Matt Bevin released an investigation alleging corruption in previous Gov. Steve Beshear’s administration.  

Amid continued – and heated – protest at the state Capitol in Frankfort on Thursday, lawmakers debated a pair of bills that would significantly limit women’s ability to have abortions in Kentucky.