HPPR Government and Politics

Political news

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.

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.

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.

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?”

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.  

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.

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.  

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.
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.

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.

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.

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

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. 
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.  

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.  

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.

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.  

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