HPPR Government and Politics

Oil & Gas
8:00 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Reducing Oklahoma oil and gas tax breaks could be a key to a balanced state budget

Tax breaks for certain kinds of oil and gas production will cost Oklahoma millions this year.
Credit OU

Energy production tax breaks will cost Oklahoma $307 million in 2014, and $304 million in 2015.  This year state leaders expect $170 million budget shortfall.  In other words, the expected budget shortfall is about half what the state gives away in tax breaks to oil and gas companies reported Matt Trotter for Public Radio Tulsa.  

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Advanced practice registered nurses
8:00 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Kansas nurses press for more practice independence

Rep. Peggy Mast — a Republican from Emporia and the House Speaker Pro Tem — speaks with Merilyn Douglass, a advanced practice registered nurse from Garden City and chair of the Kansas APRN Task Force.
Credit Phil Cauthon / Kansas Health Institute

The solution to the physician shortage in Kansas could be allowing nurses with advanced skills to become more independent of physicians say advocates of changing state law in a recent article from the Kansas Health Institute.  Under current regulations, an advanced practice registered nurse, APRN or nurse practitioner, has to work under a “collaborative practice agreement” with a supervising physician.

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EPA asks for input
8:01 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Texas regulators weigh in on proposed greenhouse gas rules

Texas power plant
Credit Andrea Parker / Cory Maluski / The Texas Tribune

President Obama instructed the Environmental Protection Agency to revise greenhouse gas limits for existing power plants.  The suggested changes are to be proposed by June 2015, and Texas regulators have already weighed in according to The Texas Tribune.

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Kansas State Government
8:00 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Brownback pushes for all-day kindergarten

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback visited Roesland Elementary School in Roeland Park recently to promote his plan to fund all-day kindergarten programs. Kindergartener Wren Hillburn is cutting out a Kansas Jayhawk, and Aidan Dulya, left, watches. Shawnee Mission is one of 20 districts in the state that charge for full-day kindergarten.
Credit RICH SUGG / The Kansas City Star

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback wants to fully fund all-day kindergarten.  Brownback proposes spending $80 million for the nearly 40,000 children across the state.  He calls it a strategic investment to ensure children are better positioned to succeed in school. 

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Agriculture
12:58 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

The farm bill passes the House, no thanks to Kansas legislators

A lone tractor with grain wagon must keep up with several combines in this Kansas field of Hard Red Winter wheat.
Credit kswheat.org

The farm bill was passed by the House and sent to the Senate.  The compromise farm bill totals almost $100 billion a year, and contains a small cut in food stamps and preserves most crop subsidies according to a recent article in the Washington Post.

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The Kansas Children's Cabinet
8:00 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Kansas: When the tobacco money’s gone, what will fund children’s programs?

Credit watchdog.org

Tobacco settlement funds were earmarked for children’s programs in Kansas.  The money was to be vetted by the 15-member Kansas Children’s Cabinet.  The intent was to channel the funds toward “innovative” new programs that would supplement, rather than supplant, those already paid for by the state general fund according to The Topeka Capital-Journal.

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Texas Election 2014
8:00 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Lt. Gov. Candidates Debate in Dallas

Clockwise, the four GOP Candidates for Lt. Gov.: incumbent David Dewhurst, Agricultural Commissioner Todd Staples; Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson; and state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston.
Credit Bob Daemmrich / texastribune.org

The four Republican candidates for lieutenant governor debated this week in Dallas.  They took on end-of-life issues and border security, but there wasn’t much to distinguish one from another on policy according to The Texas Tribune.

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Texas Education
8:00 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

Texas: December STAAR testing results aren’t good

A sample English I writing question, released from the 2011 STAAR test.
Credit Texas Education Agency / kut.org

Students are having trouble passing the English I writing exam of the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR test.  As a matter of fact, 85 percent did not pass the December test, and most of them were taking the test for the second time according to a recent article from KUT.

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Kansas State Government
8:00 pm
Sun January 26, 2014

Kobach Voter Registration Update: Kansas Birth Certificate Comparison Reduces Number of Ineligible

Credit theusconstitution.org

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach recently said comparing voter registration applications against Kansas birth certificates reduced the backlog of registrants whose voting rights are on hold because they don’t meet the new proof of citizenship requirement according to the Wichita Eagle.

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Affordable Care Act
8:00 pm
Sun January 26, 2014

Colorado Medicaid Expansion Could Result in More ER Visits

Credit sostadiumstatus.blogspot.com

Colorado has expanded the Medicaid program, as part of the state’s implementation of the Affordable Care Act.  That means tens of thousands of new Medicaid patients will have access to healthcare.  Proponents of the Affordable Care Act say that getting more people insured will cut down on emergency room visits, but a recent study shows that is not what happened in Oregon according to a recent conversation on Colorado Matters from Colorado Public Radio.

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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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