Brownback signs sales tax break for fence-rebuilding

Mar 24, 2017
Mary Clarkin / The Hutchinson News

TOPEKA – Gov. Sam Brownback signed a bill Wednesday granting a sales tax exemption for rural fencing supplies and services purchased by wildfire victims.

“It doesn’t make up for what they’ve lost, but it’s a way that we can help ease the recovery for hardworking farmers and ranchers,” Brownback said at an afternoon ceremony in the Statehouse.

Kansas lawmakers are now a step away from what could be a showdown with Republican Gov. Sam Brownback on the political football issue of Medicaid expansion.

A proposed school funding bill in Kansas would add $75 million to the public education system but many educators say that’s far less than they expected and may not be enough to satisfy the state Supreme Court.

Stephanie Clayton, a moderate Republican from Overland Park, says lawmakers in both parties “believe it will take a significantly larger amount” to satisfy their constituents, educators and the court.

April Showers

Mar 24, 2017
Janet Huelskamp - Fowler, KS

Hello, Radio Readers! Where have the books in our spring series Water and Replenishment been taking you?

Me? Well, talking about these books have made for some fantastic conversations! One example: some friends and I were noticing surprising similarities between Milagro Beanfield War and Dune. Sure, one is set in northern New Mexico almost 50 years ago while the other takes place on a desert planet 20,000 years in the future. But both show the ways that limiting access to a limited resource empowers a few and deprives many. William Ashworth’s 2006 Ogallah Blue: Water and Life on the High Plains documents the consequences of certain entrenched beliefs that some have a greater right to, a greater need of, water than others. Listen to the questions he asks: “should underground water be a public resource, as it is in six of eight High Plain states, or should it belong to the owner of the overlying earth, as in Oklahoma, or to no one, as in Texas?” He also wonders whether a standard of “beneficial use” should be applied when pumping ground water. Who defines that standard? Who resolves conflicts between competing needs?  These are the same questions at the heart of the fictional Milagro Beanfield War and of Dune, right?

William Brawley / Flickr Creative Commons

Oklahoma saw four more flu-related deaths this week, according to the Oklahoma State Health Department.

As The Oklahoman reports, that brings the statewide total for flu deaths since last September up to 68. The state has also seen more than 2,100 Oklahomans hospitalized due to influenza since the beginning of this flu season. The most recent deaths occurred in Oklahoma, Cherokee, Kay, and Tulsa counties.

Bob Daemmerich / The Texas Tribune

Yesterday the Texas Senate Education Committee passed legislation to open the door to what has become known as “School Choice.” As The Texas Tribune reports, the new bill would pay tax dollars to  parents, to be used for private school tuition and homeschooling expenses.

The bill passed by a vote of 7-3, with the Republicans on the committee voting in favor. The measure will now head to the full Senate, where it’s also expected to pass. The legislation has long been a priority for Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.

Jeroen Bennink / Flickr Creative Commons

Hackers have gained access to the records of hundreds of thousands of jobseekers who used an employment website run by the State of Oklahoma, reports NewsOK.

The security breach occurred on the website OKJobMatch.com, and authorities say 430,000 people’s information may have been compromised. The hacked information includes names, birthdays and Social Security numbers.

Shelley Zumwalt, a spokeswoman in the Gov. Mary Fallin's office, said anyone who’s ever accessed the site is probably vulnerable.

Tim Drivas / Creative Commons

A train-hopping runaway adolescent showed up in Dumas, Texas, this week, complaining that she’d run out of candy.

As The Denver Post reports, 13-year-old Adelie Rivera, a resident of Lubbock, was on vacation in Colorado with her family when she decided to shed the shackles of bourgeois life and hop a freight car to freedom.

Unfortunately, Rivera had failed to supply her hobo sack with a sufficient supply of Skittles.

Nothing dampens winter doldrums like that first purple peeper pushing up through your still-chilly garden or yard. (Or maybe she's white or gold?)

Whatever petals she's pushing, the first crocus remains an annual celebration of the hope and promise of the lush Spring to come.   

Today's installment of Growing on the High Plains takes a long look at these punctual pals. With their knack for tackling the gale-force gusts and dry climate of our region, there's no denying the mighty crocus will ever emerge triumphant -- especially in the hearts of the winter weary.

Austin American-Statesman

A new lawsuit filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton could open the door for nuclear waste storage in the Lone Star State.

As The Austin American-Statesman reports, Paxton is suing the federal government to force a decision on whether Texas can store high-level radioactive waste within its borders.

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2017 Spring Membership Campaign!

Travel Packet to Dalhart, Texas!

Spring 2017 Participating Communities

Living Room Concerts in KS

HPPR Living Room Concert Series: Terri Hendrix & Lloyd Maines

94.9 Connect on the air in Amarillo

Repairs to 94.9 Connect in Amarillo have been completed.

Replacement equipment has been installed and is working. Thanks to our tech staff for their hard work. Please note that 94.9 Connect is always available on the web at hppr.org

NPR Headlines

Two anti-abortion activists who covertly recorded themselves discussing fetal tissue with Planned Parenthood staff are facing felony charges in California, for allegedly violating state law by filming people without their permission.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced the charges against David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt on Tuesday, saying the state "will not tolerate the criminal recording of confidential conversations."

After seven years of trying, Republicans failed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act last week.

That doesn't mean the health care drama is over, though. House Speaker Paul Ryan this week told donors that the party is "going to keep getting at this thing," according to the Washington Post.

But whatever Ryan and his colleagues manage to do, plenty could still change in the Affordable Care Act. Last week's failed bill, after all, was only one part of the GOP's plan.

When it broadcasts the Winter Olympics from South Korea next year, NBC will do so with live programming across the U.S., bringing an end to the network's decades-old strategy of delaying coverage according to U.S. time zones.

Code Switch's Adrian Florido has been covering the new sanctuary movement for us. For this episode, he spoke to key players to understand why hundreds of churches are ready to start a public fight with the current administration to prevent deportations of immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.

He also looks at why the movement has to wrestle with important questions: Who controls the story and the message? How much say does an individual or family have in how a sanctuary church leverages their story?

Chelsea Beck/NPR

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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