Kansas lawmakers marked the fifth anniversary of Gov. Sam Brownback’s signature income tax cuts becoming law by rejecting a bill that would have largely repealed them.

The bill defeated Monday night by the House was similar to a measure rejected May 10 by the Senate. Both would have raised more than $1 billion over two years to cover a projected budget shortfall of $900 million by increasing income tax rates and repealing a controversial exemption given to more than 330,000 business owners and farmers. 

Jim Beckel / The Oklahoman

It’s no secret that Republicans tend to win more elections on the High Plains than Democrats. But with the recent struggles in Donald Trump’s White House, the national media has been flooded with stories about how the GOP may be in trouble in next year’s midterm elections.

With that in mind, we decided to have a look at exactly what the balance of power looks like in our listening area.

Nick Youngson http://nyphotographic.com/

As the Texas Panhandle faces a rising number of foster children without homes, the Texas Legislature Monday passed a law that would turn away some prospective parents for religious reasons.

As ABC 7 Amarillo reports, there is a growing need for foster homes in the Texas Panhandle.

Sandra J. Milburn / The Hutchinson News

There’s an old saying that wheat has nine lives.

But in western Kansas, farmers have pretty much used all of them.

Yet, despite just about every plague imaginable that could strike this year’s stand – including snow, freeze and disease – farmers aren’t writing off the 2017 wheat just yet.

“I’ve been told my entire life – never give up on the western Kansas wheat crop,” said Trevor Witt, agronomist and sales manager at the Garden City Co-op who has been scouting wheat fields after the late April snowstorm.

Palmer amaranth and other weeds may develop resistance to common herbicides if they aren't successfully killed.Credit Amy Mayer / Harvest Public MediaEdit | Remove

Belt-tightening has been the trend for row-crop farmers in the Midwest for the past several years as corn and soybean prices remain low. Reducing application of expensive herbicides may be tempting to save money, but that’s a strategy that could result in severe economic consequences down the road.

Kansas Agland /

  A bill that would enable farmers to eventually obtain a license to plant industrial hemp has moved to the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.

The move is one hemp supporters wanted to help get the bill passed this session. The bill was referred to the committee on Thursday.

Meanwhile, hemp supporters are planning a forum from 6 to 8 p.m. June 5 at the public library in Coffeyville, said Kelly Rippel, who is with Kansans for Hemp.

Jim Beckel / The Oklahoman

Attempts in the Oklahoma Legislature to fix the state’s massive budget shortfall fell apart this weekend, reports The Oklahoman.

Both chambers had hoped to reach a last minute deal to avoid a special session. But by the end of Saturday it was clear that Oklahoma lawmakers were not going to find enough common ground to avoid working overtime.

Community After School Program

Many working parents in Oklahoma are having a hard time affording programs to occupy their children while they’re working, according to OklahomaWatch.

Both after-school programs and summer camps can be extremely costly, which means they sometimes aren’t an option for parents struggling to make ends meet.

R.J. Sangosti / The Denver Post

Following a home explosion in Firestone, Colorado last month, a petroleum company is conducting inspections on wells near occupied structures.

As The Greeley Tribune reports, a home in Firestone exploded on April 17 when an abandoned gas return line leaked methane and filled the basement with gas. Two men were killed and one woman was severely injured in the blast.   

Kansas Turnpike Authority

Drivers who use K-Tag transponders to pay tolls in Kansas can now do so in Texas.

At The Topeka Capital-Journal reports, the Kansas Turnpike Authority announced last week that drivers who use the K-Tag can also use their state’s toll transponders in Texas. The K=Tag is already accepted in Oklahoma.

Texas drivers can also use their state’s toll transponders in Kansas.

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Living Room Concert: Nikki Talley & Jason Sharp

Nikki Talley & Jason Sharp ~ Sat., June 17th

Live @ Chalice Abbey, Amarillo ~ Doors @ 7p

2017 Living Room Concerts in Amarillo

NPR Headlines

The revised Republican bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act will leave 23 million more people uninsured in 2026 than if that act, also known as Obamacare, were to remain in place. The GOP bill would also reduce the deficit by $119 billion over 10 years.

Vermont Governor Phil Scott, a Republican, said on Wednesday he was vetoing a bill to legalize marijuana, and sending it back to the legislature for changes.

"We must get this right," Scott said in prepared remarks at a press conference today. "I think we need to move a little bit slower."

Though he said he views the issue "through a libertarian lens," Scott vetoed the bill due to concerns about detecting and penalizing impaired drivers, protecting children, and the role and makeup of a Marijuana Regulatory Commission.

British police have identified Salman Abedi, 22, as the bomber behind the attack on an Ariana Grande concert Monday in Manchester, England. Abedi died in the bombing, which claimed the lives of at least 22 victims and injured dozens more — many of whom were children.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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President Trump's Tweets, Annotated

President Trump tweets a lot. With tens of millions of followers on Twitter, Trump proposes policy, shares his latest actions and reacts to the news. But 140 characters rarely gives the full context. Here, we attempt to do just that for key tweets. Loading...

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