HPPR Government and Politics

51st State
8:00 pm
Mon October 7, 2013

Eastern Colorado Community Has Had It With Liberal Colorado

Rod Pelton, a conservative county commissioner in Cheyenne Wells, Colo., grows wheat and dryland corn. He supports the secession movement, no matter how long it takes.
Credit Matthew Staver / nytimes.com

In the little eastern Colorado community of Cheyenne Wells, the coffee shop talk at Nan’s convenience store reveals locals have had it with gun control laws, marijuana shops, green energy policies, steps to embrace gay marriage and illegal immigrants according to a recent article in the New York Times.

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Harvest Public Media story
6:55 pm
Mon October 7, 2013

More Kansans to work for food stamps

Credit Aaron Brazell, Technosailor / flickr commons

Hear the audio version of Laura's story

Last week, Kansas let a 2009 government waiver expire that provided food stamps for the unemployed. Now, able-bodied Kansans between 18 and 49 who do not have dependents, have to work or be in a job training program to have access to the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps.

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Election 2014
8:00 pm
Sun October 6, 2013

Who’s Who in the Next Texas Governor Race

Credit jjo78.blogspot.com

A recent piece in the Economist provides an outsider’s view of the players and dynamics of the Texas governor’s race. 

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Healthcare
8:00 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

Millions Left Without Despite Affordable Care Act

Credit nytimes.com

A sweeping national effort to extend health coverage to millions of Americans will leave out two-thirds of the poor blacks and single mothers and more than half of the low-wage workers who do not have insurance, the very kinds of people that the program was intended to help, according to an analysis of census data by The New York Times.

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Federal Government Shutdown October, 2013
8:00 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

What has the government shut down… shut down?

Credit noaa.gov

Is the average person seeing any changes with the government shut down?

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Harvest Public Media story
7:40 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Farmers in limbo – again – as farm bill expires

Credit File: Frank Morris/Harvest Public Media

The farm bill expired at midnight on Monday, leaving farmers and ranchers across the country guessing at what federal farm policy will look like when they next put their crops in the ground.

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HPPR Government and Politics
8:00 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

Affordable Care Act: Nationwide Premium Estimates Released

The Obama administration released a report containing average premiums across the nation.  Rates in most states are lower than earlier projections, but there are huge variations among states according to the Kansas Health Institute

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Texas State Government
8:00 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

Texas Elections 2014: Texas Railroad Commission is an Important Race

Credit .epbusinessjournal.com

In the next state election, Texas has important choices to make.  One of the most significant races in terms of state impact, is also one of the most unknown and unnoticed according to The Texas Tribune

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Renewable Energy
8:00 pm
Mon September 23, 2013

Texas: Setting the PACE for Renewable Energy

Credit solarknowledge.blogspot.com

The nation’s leading energy producer is also the nation’s biggest energy consumer, and as the state’s population grows, leaders are working to develop strategies to meet long term needs. 

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Harvest Public Media story
12:19 pm
Fri September 20, 2013

Obamacare could be a tough sell in rural America

Bob Bernt calls helping people buy insurance a band-aid for the country's health problems. He thinks the government should focus more on diet and nutrition than insurance coverage.
Credit Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

The Affordable Care Act, often called “Obamacare,” takes a big step forward Oct. 1 when new health insurance marketplaces open for enrollment. Rural families are more likely to qualify for subsidized coverage, but reaching them to sign up will be part of the challenge.

So, will farm country take advantage of new health insurance subsidies? That’s the question in Nebraska.

Almost 200,000 Nebraskans don’t have health insurance. Nearly half of them are spread across the state’s rural areas.

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Education
8:00 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

Enrollment Numbers: WT, AC, and OPSU

Credit ect.coop

Day 12 enrollment numbers are in for West Texas A&M University, Amarillo College, and Oklahoma Panhandle State University. 

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Colorado State Politics
8:00 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

Colorado Recalls: Review and Reflection

Credit Matthew Staver / New York Times

Colorado Democrats, Senator Angela Giron and Senator John Morse were voted out of office this week.  The special recall election is a test of swing state voters, and their acceptance of gun restrictions according to the New York Times

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State Government
8:00 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Affordable Care Act: Texas, Where did the Money Go?

Credit photo illustration Todd Wiseman / texastribune.org

Texas has received almost $100 million in grants through the federal Affordable Care Act.  Despite strong opposition to the new law by state leaders, and even an effort to defund the measure by U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, a majority of the grants have already been spent or will be by the end of the month according to The Texas Tribune.

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State Government
8:00 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Affordable Care Act Texas: New York Times Sounds Off

Credit texastribune.org

A recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau revealed there are a significant percentage of Texans without health insurance.  Texas state leaders have been some of the most resistant in the nation to provide coverage for the uninsured under the Affordable Care Act according to a recent editorial in the New York Times.

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State Government
8:00 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Poor Kansas Lawmakers

Credit economist.com

State lawmakers in Kansas are among the worst paid in the country.  In a recent article from the Economist, salaries for Kansas state lawmakers rank in the bottom ten. 

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City and State Government
8:00 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Texting Rules: State Laws or City Ordinances? Amarillo Weighs In

Credit polhudson.lohudblogs.com

This year the Texas legislature did not pass a measure prohibiting texting, but Amarillo passed a city ordinance a year ago prohibiting all use of hand-held devices while driving according to the Amarillo Globe-News. 

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State Government
8:00 pm
Sun September 8, 2013

Kansas Legislature: Special Session Finished in Two Days

Credit kansasagnetwork.com

Kansas legislators wrapped up the special session in two days. 

Here are the highlights:

  • Approval of a bill repairing a law allowing convicted murderers to be sentenced to at least 50 years in prison.
  • Approval of multiple appointments by Gov. Sam Brownback, including the appointment of chief counsel Caleb Stegall to the Kansas Court of Appeals.

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Colorado
8:00 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

Colorado: The swing state at the frontier of social change

Credit http://nomadicpursuits.com/

Politics are polarizing in traditionally moderate Colorado.  Colorado has been a swing state for a long time with basically an even split between Democrats, Republicans, and the “unaffiliated.”  However the divide is widening mostly due to the rightward drift of Republicans reported the Economist.

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Kansas
8:00 pm
Mon September 2, 2013

Food Stamp Glimpse: Kansas History and Puzzling Present

Credit minnesota.publicradio.org

Ness County, Kansas, has less than 3 people per square mile and is rich in oil, yet enrollment in the food stamp program is up 480 percent according to a recent Wichita Eagle article.  The increase is not unique to Ness County.  In 2008, national food stamps cost $34.6 billion, and last year that total was $75 billion. 

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Livestock
8:00 pm
Sun September 1, 2013

New Texas Law: Bison are Protected

Credit wikipedia.org

As of September 1, bison have been added to the list of possible “estray livestock” protected by Texas law reported the Texas Tribune.  That means if they get loose, whoever finds them has to try and locate their owner.  If they cannot, local authorities have to hold the animals.  If the animal(s) are unclaimed for two weeks, they can be sold at public auction.

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Kansas
8:00 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

Back in Kansas: Senator Pat Roberts

Credit kansasagnetwork.com

It’s the season.  Representatives are back at home, getting in touch with their constituents.  The Salina Journal reported Senator Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, was recently in Salina speaking about the gridlock in Washington, and sharing his stance on the following:

·        Immigration

·        Economic stimulus

·        The suicide pact

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Kansas, Texas, and Arizona
8:00 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

State or Federal Government: Who Defines Voting Requirements? The Legal Posturing Continues

Credit dyn.politico.com

  Kansas and Arizona

Kris Kobach, Kansas Secretary of State, and Ken Bennett, Arizona Secretary of State, are joining forces to save laws requiring proof of citizenship when registering to vote reported the Wichita Eagle

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Education
8:00 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

Texas Lawmaker Supports Blending Traditional and Online Learning

Credit spanglishbaby.com

State representative Ken King, R-Canadian, authored a bill to encourage a mixture of online virtual learning and traditional classroom learning reported The Texas Tribune.  King said he added language limiting the number of tuition-free online classes students can take to three per year because of concerns that the legislation might lead to more full-time online schools in the state.

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Education
8:00 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

ACT Scores: lowest in five years

Credit citizenship-aei.org

ACT scores are the lowest they’ve been in five years reported Inside Higher Ed.  The composite average was 20.9, and the biggest drops were in the English and reading sections. 

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State Government
8:00 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

51st State: North Colorado Update

Credit ordinary-gentlemen.com

Weld County commissioners recently voted unanimously to place the succession issue of North Colorado on the November ballot reported the Huffington Post.  The ballot initiative will read, “Shall the Board of County Commissioners of Weld County, in concert with the county commissioners of other Colorado counties, pursue becoming the 51st state of the United States of America?"

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HPPR Government and Politics
8:00 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Kansas' Hispanic voters: opportunity for state's Democrats

Juan Sepulveda, senior advisor for Hispanic Affairs for the Democratic National Committee
Credit 215mag.com

Hispanics are the fastest growing segment of the population in Kansas. Nationally their voting influence is being felt, as reported by the Wichita Eagle.  However, only 37% of the Hispanic population in Kansas were eligible to vote in 2012 compared to 77% of the state’s white population, according to a complete profile of eligible Hispanic voters in Kansas prepared by Pew Research.

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Texas State Government
8:00 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

New Texas Law: How timely will mandatory DNA testing be?

Credit texastribune.org

It’s too early to know the impact of the new Texas law requiring DNA testing of all biological evidence death penalty cases, but the New York Times recently reported there is concern about the timeliness of the testing.

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11:02 am
Mon August 19, 2013

Library Funding: Kansas has enough. Texas does not.

Lead in text: 
If you missed it this morning on Morning Edition, here's another chance.
Most Americans say public libraries are important to the community - but eight states don't actually support them. Texas has cut budgets drastically; in Vermont, local librarians must go hand in hand to town meetings every year. Neda Ulaby reports on the landscape of library funding across the U.S.
Education
8:00 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

School Lunches: What’s on the plate and where did it come from?

Credit healthylunchidea.com

In 2010, Congress passed a law that made major changes to school lunches. The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act mandated that each meal include a serving of vegetables. It also increased the serving size so that meat made up a smaller portion of the plate and vegetables a larger one.

Schools across the high plains are addressing that requirement in different ways. 

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Education
8:00 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

New High for High School Graduation Rates in Texas

Credit principalspage.com

The graduation rate for the Class of 2011 was one of the best in the country, and set a new Texas record- until the Class of 2012.  The Amarillo Globe-News reported 87.7% graduated on time in 2012, which is 1.8 points higher than 2011.  This is the fifth consecutive year the rate has increased. 

Commissioner of Education, Michael Williams said, “All those working in Texas education should be proud of our strong numbers and the strides we continue to make as a state.”

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