HPPR Government and Politics

Kansas State Legislative Session 2014
8:00 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Western Kansas Legislator Says Family Focus Guides His Voting

Representative John Ewy, R, District 117
Credit votesmart.org

John Ewy is the legislator from the 117th district in the Kansas House of Representatives.  He says one focus guides his voting.

“I think about that every time I sit down and there’s a bill to vote on,” Ewy said. “Number one, how is it going to affect the 117th district? How is it going to affect families?”

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Kansas State Government
8:00 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Kansas Chief Justice Responds to Criticism and Funding in State of the Judiciary Address

Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Lawton Nuss.
Credit John Milburn / Associated Press

Kansas Chief Justice Lawton Nuss seemed to respond to Gov. Sam Brownback’s remarks pointed at the Supreme Court in his State of the Judiciary address reported Bryan Lowry for the Wichita Eagle.

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Kansas State Government
8:00 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Kansas Home Inspectors No Longer Regulated

Kerry Parham warns homebuyers and sellers to verify certifications of potential inspectors now that a law regulating the industry has ended.
Credit Mike Hutmacher / The Wichita Eagle

The Kansas law regulating home inspectors expired in 2013.  Gov. Same Brownback vetoed a measure allowing the law to continue, saying he didn’t see evidence that large number of Kansans were being ripped off by home inspectors according to the Wichita Eagle.

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Kansas Election 2014
8:00 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Kobach Leads The Fundraising Race for Kansas Secretary of State

Jean Schodorf, left and Kris Kobach, right.
Credit cjonline.com

Campaign finance records show Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has fundraised more than twice the amount of Democratic challenger Jean Schodorf according to the Wichita Eagle.

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Texas Panhandle
8:00 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Amarillo has a new—and Official—City Logo

The new City of Amarillo logo designed by Mitchell Tyler
Credit amarillo.com

The city of Amarillo unveiled their new logo this week.  The logo was approved by the city council, and designed by Tyler Mitchell according to a recent article in the Amarillo Globe-News.

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HPPR Government and Politics
8:00 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Davis Claims Fundraising Victory—Republicans Question Math

Credit Laura Buckman / Bob Daemmrich / texastribune.org

The race to be the next governor of Texas is heating up, and this time the competition is about who has raised the most money in the last half of 2013.  Democratic contender, Wendy Davis claims to have raised $12.2 million, while Republican Greg Abbott reported $11.5.  Simple logic says that Davis won that lap, but the Republican camp is saying Davis is employing “fuzzy math” to inflate her total and create positive momentum reported Jay Root for The Texas Tribune.

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Kansas State Legislative Session 2014
8:00 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

Lobbyists Will Not Push For Kansas Ag Law Revision This Session

Ag law reform would effect ag transactions like The Ladder Creek farm site in Greeley County. The land was sold to Seaboard by farmer, Danny Peter. Ladder Creek is the largest hog-growing facility in Kansas. The operation is located due north of Tribune and east on 12 Mile Road. Seaboard recently applied to expand it to 200,000. If approved, that would make it the second largest hog-growing facility in the nation.
Credit Phil Cauthon / Kansas Health Institute

The Kansas Agricultural Growth and Rural Investment Initiative was introduced last session.  It’s goal was to allow any agricultural business to operate anywhere in the state, but lobbyists say they will not attempt to change the law this year according to The Kansas Health Institute

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Kansas State Government
8:00 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Brownback Tries to Back Off Supreme Court Justices in State of the State Speech

Gov. Brownback giving the State of the State speech.
Credit ksn.com

Governor Sam Brownback said the number one item in the state budget is education in his recent State of the State speech according to a recent article from the Kansas Health Institute.  

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Kansas State Government
8:00 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Kansas Business Owners Say Taxes are Too High Despite Cuts

Credit ocpathink.org

Gov. Sam Brownback says Kansas has the best tax environment in the nation for small businesses, however 57% of business owners say state and local taxes are too high despite state tax cuts reported Bryan Lowry for the Wichita Eagle.

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Kansas Election 2014
8:00 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Kansas Election 2014: Wichita Woman Throws Her Hat in the Ring for Governor

Credit forward-now.com

Jennifer Winn is a Republican and a co-owner of a family landscaping business in Wichita.  She also wants to be the next governor of Kansas according to a recent article in the Wichita Eagle.  

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Kansas State Government
8:00 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

What the Kansas Legislature Is Facing This Session

Kansas Statehouse at Twilight
Credit khi.org

Here are the issues facing Kansas legislature according to the Wichita Eagle:

  • Abortion.  State lawmakers have passed some of the most stringent laws, and there is little left to add without being in direct conflict with the Supreme Court.  The Wichita-based Kansas Coalition for Life is expected to push again for a law to outlaw abortion as soon as a fetal heartbeat can be detected, about five to six weeks into a pregnancy.
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Texas Panhandle
8:00 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

The End of the Line for the Amarillo Santa Fe Railway Museum Board

Santa Fe Depot, Amarillo Texas
Credit texasescapes.com

Challenges to create the Santa Fe Railway Historical Museum became too much for the board behind the effort, and they recently voted to disband according to the Amarillo Globe-News.

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Election 2014
8:00 pm
Sun January 12, 2014

Is the Third Time a Charm in Kinky Friedman’s Bid for Office?

Kinky Friedman
Credit Todd Wiseman / texastribune.org

Kinky Friedman, singer, humorist, novelist, and hawker of tequila, is trying to the third time to add “elected official” to the list.  The 69 year old has tossed his black cowboy hat into the ring to become agriculture commissioner according to an article in the Texas Tribune.

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Election 2014
8:00 pm
Sun January 12, 2014

Legislative Scorecards: Voter Beware

Credit motherjones.com

A recent article from the Texas Tribune offers a word of caution to voters.  Political scorecards are to politicians what consumer and auto review magazines are to car makers.  So voters, just like buying a car, it’s buyer beware.

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Texas State Government
8:00 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Texas “Pro Life” Groups Disagree on Lawmaker Scorecard

State Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels, explains the point of order she called on State Sen. Wendy Davis to end the Democrat’s 11-hour filibuster of anti-abortion regulations.
Credit Todd Wiseman / texastribune.org

Texas Right to Life creates a scorecard that gives lawmakers a grade based on anti-abortion and end-of-life issue voting.  The card holds quite a bit of weight with Republicans, and the way they vote reported Becca Aaronson for The Texas Tribune

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Colorado State Government
8:01 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Colorado Legislative Session Opens Today Facing Guns, Schools, and Floods

People opposed to future gun laws, line the sidewalks for a rally last spring.
Credit denverpost.com

The Denver Post reported the Colorado Legislature will open the legislative session facing these issues:

  • Education.  How to finance education with the failure of Amendment 66.  With significant reserves in the state education fund, lawmakers could use this pot of money to initiate some of the bill's more popular elements, such as a rolling student count system rather than a single count day for purposes of school funding. A financial transparency website that tracks money to the individual school level also proved popular.
  • Flood recovery.  September's floods impacted 24 counties and killed 10 people. To date, millions of dollars in state and federal money have gone toward the disaster recovery.
  • Gun Battles.  Republicans will attempt to "reform, rescind or revise" some of the gun bills. 
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Genetically Modified Organisms
8:00 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Lessons to be Learned from a Councilman’s Lonely Quest for Facts on Genetically Modified Crops

Greggor Ilagan initially thought a ban on genetically modified organisms was a good idea, until he did his homework.
Credit Jim Wilson / nytimes.com

Hawaii may seem a long way from the High Plains, but there are lessons to be learned from Greggor Ilagan’s quest to find the facts about genetically modified organisms.  

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Kansas Election 2014
8:00 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Kansas Election 2014: The First Governor’s Contest is April 26

Credit lp.org

The first contest in the race to be the next governor of Kansas is weeks away, but the Libertarian contest is off most people’s radar.

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Higher Education
8:01 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

Kansas Board of Regents social media policy criticized

A social media use policy adopted by the Kansas Board of Regents is drawing criticism from university faculty and education groups, who claim the new rule raises First Amendment and academic freedom concerns.

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2014 Texas Election
8:01 pm
Wed December 25, 2013

Texas politicians who learn Spanish are at an advantage

Credit Marjorie Cotera / Jennifer Whitney / Callie Richmond / Spencer Selvidge

Spanish-speakers now make up nearly one-third of the population of Texas, and political observes say that's an important factor for politicians to consider during the upcoming 2014 election season.

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Government and Politics
8:00 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

Watch out Kobach, Schodorf’s in the Race

Jean Schodorf
Credit blogs.kansas.com

The office of state secretary is usually a quiet position, operating under the theory that no publicity is good.  Kansas secretary of state Kris Kobach has turned that philosophy on its ear.  Kobach is the outspoken lightning rod that has worked to reform voter registration in Kansas, and helped Arizona and Alabama write laws to crack down on illegal immigration reported Brad Cooper for the Kansas City Star.  That’s gotten him national attention.

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Kansas State Government
9:11 am
Tue December 24, 2013

Kansas: Pro Affordable Health Care Insurance Commissioner Stepping Down

Sandy Praeger
Credit ksn.com

This is Sandy Praeger’s final year as Kansas insurance commissioner.  Praeger has a national reputation for expertise on health care issues and a lengthy, unbroken string of election victories as a Republican in a GOP-leaning state, however on one issue she seems to stand alone. 

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Water Conservation
8:01 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Groundwater Pipeline a Solution to Republican River Dispute

Credit National Geographic / geomorphologyresearch.files.wordpress.com

Colorado, Nebraska, and Kansas recently agreed to a pipeline to help solve the Republican River water dispute.  The pipeline would carry irrigation water pumped out of the aquifer north of Wray and deliver it to the North Fork of the Republican River near the Nebraska state line reported the Denver Post.

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Education
8:00 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Texas Panhandle Schools Face Federal Sanctions for Poor Performance

Credit blog.tenthamendmentcenter.com

Seventeen Texas Panhandle schools are subject to federal sanctions, which could include closure, because of their poor performance.  The group is in the bottom 15 percent of Title I in the state according to the Amarillo Globe-News.

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Gun Control
8:00 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Colorado Sheriffs Refuse to Enforce New Gun Control Laws

John Cooke is among the Colorado sheriffs who are resisting enforcement of new state gun laws.
Credit Michael Ciaglo / The Colorado Springs Gazette

Some sheriffs are refusing to enforce the new gun laws in Colorado reported Erica Goode for the New York Times.  

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Kansas education funding
4:49 am
Wed December 18, 2013

All-day kindergarten funding may be common ground

Parent's tea party in a kindergarten classroom
Credit Quentin Hope

While the Kansas legislature and local school districts may be at odds over school funding, there may be common ground in a proposal to fund full-day kindergarten, according to a story from the Wichita Eagle.  The state now funds only half-days.

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Texas State Government
8:00 pm
Sun December 15, 2013

Texas Election 2014: Election Brackets

Credit texastribune.org

It’s the 2014 Texas Election version of March Madness brackets.  The brackets will take you from candidate filings, to March primaries, May runoffs, and finally to the grand finale-- the November general election.

Your Texas election tool from the Texas Tribune can be found here.  

Texas State Government
8:00 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Texas Election 2014: Will Abbott Follow Perry’s Double Dipping Standard?

Credit thecontributor.com

Lax Texas ethics laws don’t require politicians to disclose pension income, so virtually no one knew Rick Perry was double dipping until he ran for president and had to comply with more stringent federal disclosure laws.

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Education
8:00 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

HB 5 Requires All Texas Students to Have a 90% Attendance Rate

Credit musicmotion.com

The reduction of testing and change in graduation requirements are parts yet to be implement of Texas House Bill 5, however the attendance requirement was immediately implemented according to KUT News

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Kansas State Government
8:00 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Tobacco Prevention is not a Priority Use for Settlement Money in Kansas

Credit kaiserhealthnews.org

15 years ago 46 states and the nation’s major tobacco companies came to a multi-billion dollar settlement.  The purpose of the action was to ultimately reduce smoking.

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