HPPR Government and Politics

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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Colorado City Government
8:00 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Deer Trail Colorado Drone Hunting Vote Postponed to Dec. 10

Deer Trail Mayor Franks Fields displays proper drone-hunting technique.
Credit denverpost.com

Deer Trail, Colorado has postponed voting on drone hunting until December 10 reported the Denver Post.  Mayor Frank Fields said the previous date was too close to the November election.

Deer Trail residents will be deciding upon approval of an ordinance allowing unmanned aircraft to be shot down.  

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Dodge City, Kansas
8:00 pm
Sun December 8, 2013

Highway 50 Expansion Puts “Point of Rocks" Landmark at Risk

Credit zuoda.net

The “Point of Rocks” monument outside Dodge City is a regional landmark: a rock outcropping with a silhouetted steel band of horsemen announcing you’re in Dodge City.  However, a $69 million dollar highway improvement project could mean the leveling of the icon according to The Kansas City Star.

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

Most Texans Running for State Office Refuse to Share Tax Returns

Credit outsidethebeltway.com

There are 48 statewide candidates who have filed, or say they are going to run for office in Texas.  10 agreed to release their last three tax returns according to the Texas Tribune.

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Texas Panhandle
8:00 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Sherman County Sheriff Pays For K9

Sherman County Sheriff Joe Powell walks his newly purchased Dutch Shepherd, Ziggy.
Credit amarillo.com

Sherman County Sheriff Joe Powell purchased a K9 with his own money Mollie Bryant reported for The Amarillo Globe News.

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Kansas State Government
8:00 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Meade Native Appointed Chair of the Kansas House Social Services Budget Committee

Ron Ryckman Jr. of Olathe and his father, Rep. Ron Ryckman Sr. of Meade.
Credit ronforkansas.com

Rep. Ron Ryckman Jr, R-Olathe, has been appointed to succeed Rep Brian Weber, R- Dodge City, as the chair of the House Social Services Budget Committee according to the Kansas Health Institute.

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5:34 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Amarillo Logo Contest Round Two

Lead in text: 
See the top entries and vote for your favorite!
Judging by the number of submissions, contestants in the Amarillo logo competition were delighted to throw their hats in the ring to help alleviate the city's mishap.The general public was even more willing to help decide which design ultimately will represent the city.
Gun Control
8:00 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Kansas Attorney General Says Guns Are Allowed in Some Polling Places

Credit biatrainingsolutions.com

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt recently advised state election officials that guns will have to be allowed in some polling places, but can be banned in others reported Dion Lefler for the Wichita Eagle.

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Kansas State Government
8:00 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Kansas Legislators Ready for Different Budget Strategy

Twilight accentuates the new copper dome on the Kansas Statehouse, part of a nearly complete $332 million renovation and the first new copper covering since the roof was constructed in 1903. This year — for the first time since 1954, the state Legislature will be entering the second year of an existing budget. "This is a whole new experience coming up," said Duane Goossen, a former budget director for three Kansas governors.
Credit Phil Cauthon / Kansas Health Institute

Legislators set for second half of two-year cycle for the first time in decades

For the first time since 1954, when Kansas legislators return to Topeka in January, they’ll be dealing with the state budget in a different way according to the Kansas Health Institute.  

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Kansas State Government
8:00 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Kansas Conservative Coalition Delivers Manifesto

Credit kansastravel.org

Kansans for Liberty shared a manifesto containing ten items they hope will shape debate in the upcoming legislative session reported Tim Carpenter for The Topeka Capital-Journal.

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National Guard
8:00 pm
Sun December 1, 2013

Texas and Oklahoma Now Complying with Spousal Benefits Order

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel
Credit security.blogs.cnn.com

The Texas and Oklahoma National Guard is now complying with an order from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel that requires state National Guard units to process federal marriage benefits for same sex spouses of guardsmen according to the New York Times.

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Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site
8:00 pm
Fri November 29, 2013

Army Will Not Expand Southwestern Colorado Maneuver Site

Credit not1moreacre.net

The Army recently revealed it will not expand the 365-square-mile Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site.  The Republic reported the announcement is drawing praise from area residents.

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Kansas State Government
8:00 pm
Thu November 28, 2013

Realtors and Bankers Want to Repeal Kansas Mortgage Recording Fee

Credit reversemortgagekdc.com

In Kansas, if you buy property on a mortgage, you pay to have it recorded by the county.  It’s been that way since 1925, but that could change during the next legislative session according to the Wichita Eagle.

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Texas State Government
8:00 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

Q: Texas doesn't have enough money to ____

Pedernales Falls State Park, a popular destination outside of Austin.
Credit MOSE BUCHELE / http://stateimpact.npr.org/

A:  Keep up its state parks.

State parks in Texas have always had one struggle, and that’s money.  In the early 1900s, Texas landowners tried to donate large chunks of land to create state parks.  Initially they were turned down by lawmakers who didn’t want to fund the maintenance costs, and when the land was finally accepted, it was without the promise of upkeep.  Fifty years later, not much has changed according to StateImpact Texas.

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Healthcare
8:00 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

Nursing Home Struggles with KanCare Payment Issues

Credit chamberofcommerce.com

Kevin Unrein, chief executive and co-owner of Lakepoint Corporate, a company that operates three Kansas nursing homes, said there is something he would like state policymakers to know about KanCare in a recent Kansas Institute of Health article.

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Texas Education
8:00 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

Will Reformed Texas Graduation Requirements Limit College Options?

Credit madison.k12.wi.us

Texas educators are catching up with the fine print in the state’s new omnibus education reform law, and they find themselves chafing over a previously overlooked prospect: Even students who score straight A’s throughout high school might not be eligible for automatic admission to state-run universities.

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Gubernatorial Candidate
8:00 pm
Sun November 24, 2013

Texas Election 2014: Abbott Pledges to Safeguard DNA

Credit Todd Wiseman / Bob Daemmrich / Micah Baldwin / texastribune.org

Texas gubernatorial frontrunner Greg Abbott recently released an extensive list of items he says he’ll push for once elected.. Ths list includes gun rights, campaign ethics, and blocking implementation of the Affordable Care Act, but the number one item is safeguarding your DNA according to KUT News

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State and Federal Government
8:00 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Abortion: From the High Plains to the Supreme Court

United States Supreme Court
Credit becketfund.org

Abortions were unregulated during the 1800s, and by the end of the 19th century, abortion was criminalized.  

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Kansas State Government
8:00 pm
Sun November 17, 2013

Kansas Economic Conference: Brownback's State Income Tax Cuts Put Pressure on Local Communities

Gov. Sam Brownback, seated right, attended a recent business conference in Overland Park to describe the benefits of the tax cuts he signed into law in May. At the podium is Gary Allerheiligen, former president of the Kansas Society of CPAs. The law, which becomes effective for tax year 2013, is expected to eliminate income tax liability for about 190,000 business owners and reduce the state income tax obligations of more than 1 million Kansas filers.
Credit Mike Shields

The Kansas Economic Policy Conference was recently held in Lawrence.  Conference officials said they had record turnout with about 140 people, including about a dozen legislators, attending in Lawrence and 15 participating from Ulysses via a live video feed reported the Kansas Health Institute.

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Healthcare
8:00 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Affordable Care Act: High Plains Enrollment Numbers for November

Credit hipstercrite.com

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius recently announced enrollment numbers for the federal and state online health insurance marketplaces that opened Oct. 1.  106,185 people in the United States have selected insurance plans during this period. 

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