HPPR Government and Politics

Politics
8:01 pm
Mon August 12, 2013

High Plains Legislative Mavericks: Tim Huelskamp & Kel Seliger

Credit http://www.ebitulawgrp.com/

Whether you agree with them or not, two High Plains legislators stand for what they believe-- even when they’re standing alone.  They are: Representative Tim Huelskamp, R-Kansas, 1st District, and Texas State Senator Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, State Senate District 31.

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Natural Resources & Energy
8:01 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

Proposed legislation lets utilities buy out-of-state renewable energy credits

Credit energy.gov

Legislatures in states including Kansas could soon find themselves considering legislation allowing utilities to satisfy renewable energy standards by purchasing credits from out-of-state, rather than generating or buying the power in-state.

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State Government
8:00 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Will Kansas Move to a Two-Class System for Voters?

Credit fortworthtexas.gov

As legislators gather this fall to rewrite the Hard 50 sentencing law, Wichita Democrats may try to amend the proof-of-citizenship voter registration law according to a recent article in the Wichita Eagle.

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State Government
8:01 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Perry Calls Texas Roads Back to Bat... Again

Credit Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

Governor Rick Perry called a third special session immediately after the second ended.  The Amarillo Globe-News reported legislators reconvened with one item: the transportation bill.

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Texas State Government
8:00 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

Third Strike and Texas Road Funding is Out?

As the second 2013 special session comes to an end on July 30, 2013, lawmakers will go home without having passed legislation to fund Texas roads and highways.
Credit Liang Shi, KUT News

The third attempt to pass funding for road infrastructure failed reported KUT News.  The proposed bill would have redirected oil and gas revenues from the Rainy Day Fund to the state highway fund.  It fell 16 votes shy.  The reason?  Legislators wanted a minimum amount of money to be in the fund before any dollars were removed.

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Oil & Gas
8:01 pm
Mon July 29, 2013

Kansas Senators Introduce Legislation to Resume Natural Gas Storage Inspections

U.S. Underground Natural Gas Storage Facilities, Close of 2007
Credit eia.gov/pub/oil_gas/natural_gas/analysis_publications/ngpipeline/undrgrndstor_map.html

Mike Pompeo is supporting legislation for government safety inspections of natural gas storage fields.  The bill was introduced by Pat Roberts,R-Dodge City, and Jerry Moran, R-Hays in April.  It would allow the Kansas Corporation Commission to resume inspections.

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Kansas Education
8:01 pm
Mon July 29, 2013

Kansas Higher Education Funding: The Search for Middle Ground

A full moon rises behind a statue of a Kansas Indian on top of the Kansas Statehouse in Topeka, Kansas
Credit Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

Negotiations may be on the horizon for higher education spending, but the Wichita Eagle reports agreement seems a long way off.

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Government & Politics
8:01 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

The Farm Bill: Everybody has an Opinion

Credit http://ecowatch.com

The farm bill is fraught with opposition.  Some want the bill to stay intact, some want nutrition separated, some want stricter requirements to obtain nutrition assistance, and one blogger wonders if misperception is what’s driving the SNAP debate. 

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12:11 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

Lee Richardson Zoo: Open Door Policy May Be Swinging Closed

Lead in text: 
The Lee Richardson Zoo in Garden City, Kansas, may be restricting pedestrian and vehicle traffic due to a USDA directive.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which has regulatory and licensing authority over the zoo, including fines and closure if warranted by infractions, has concerns that two gates at the zoo are not attended at all times the zoo is open to the public, according to a memo provided to the Garden City Commission.
Texas Education
8:01 pm
Sun July 14, 2013

Texas Report Links Medicaid Enrollment to Education

Credit flickr.com/nodivision

Is an educated person happier, healthier, more productive, and less likely to go on Medicaid than one who is not?  Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education says yes in a recent piece by KUT News.

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Texas Education
8:01 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Texas Sex Education Standards: Do You Fix It If It Isn't Broken?

Credit wbur.org

Texas democratic lawmakers have introduced two bills that would change health and sex education curriculum.  KUT News reported the bills are in response to State Bill 1- the bill restricting abortions.

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City Government
8:01 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Charles Koch and The Texas Public Policy Foundation Change Focus to Municipal Government

Credit businessweek.com

Charles Koch and the Texas Public Policy Foundation are narrowing their focus to city government.

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State Government
8:01 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

Perry Not Running: Panhandle Reacts

Credit rickperry.org

Rick Perry announced that his hat will not be in the ring for the race to be the next Governor of Texas.  The Amarillo Globe reported mixed reactions to the declaration. 

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State Government
8:00 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

Child Support Workers Laid Off as Kansas Moves to Privatization

Credit Kansas Department for Children and Families

More than 200 workers in the Child Support Services
Division of the Kansas Department for Children and Families will be laid off by September 20, 2013, as the state moves to privatization of child support enforcement.  The Kansas Health Institute reported most of the affected workers are expected to accept positions with the contractor for their area.  Theresa Freed, spokesperson for the DCF says she is confident that everyone who wants a job will have one.  

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Annual survey of 11 factors
7:07 pm
Sun July 7, 2013

KS ranks 2nd, Texas gains in state highway rankings

Oklahoma State Highway 325 west of Boise City, 1999
Credit Quentin Hope

  Kansas ranks second overall in a comprehensive annual report on state highway performance.  Texas ranked 11th, up from 17th place in 2007.  Oklahoma and Colorado trailed far behind at 38th and 41st, respectively.

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Another year of uncertainty?
8:01 pm
Thu July 4, 2013

Farmers twisting in the wind without farm bill

Farmers like father and son Kermit Kalb and Stephen Kalb seem resigned to being unable to depend on certainty in federal farm policy. Still, they harvested their winter wheat crop on a recent bright Kansas day.
Credit Frank Morris/Harvest Public Media

    Farmers work at the mercy of three big forces that are largely outside their control: the weather, the markets and the government.

In many parts of the country the first two are doing pretty well these days, but government remains the wild card. Congress can’t seem to pass the farm bill, a huge package of legislation setting food policy for years to come.

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Voting Rights Act
8:01 pm
Thu July 4, 2013

What Texans Need to Know About Changes to the Voting Rights Act

Credit britannica.com

The U. S. Supreme Court recently struck down sections of the Voting Rights Act.  The portions eliminated required some states, including Texas, to obtain preapproval from the federal government before changing election laws. 

KUT reported it is uncertain how the Supreme Court decision will affect two current Texas issues:

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51st state?
8:01 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Urban-rural divide fuels Colorado secession plan

Ten northeast Colorado counties discussing forming a new state.
Credit KUNC / Google Maps

What do you get when you mix rural counties, urban legislators and a whole lot of animosity?

In Colorado, you get an increasingly ambitious secession plan.

Weld County, Colo., commissioners have been meeting for weeks on the idea to break away from the rest of the state, citing a string of newly signed policies, including stricter gun control regulations and high standards for renewable energy for rural electric cooperatives.  

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HPPR Government and Politics
5:58 am
Mon July 1, 2013

Fork in the road for the farm bill?

Credit BigStock image /Harvet Public Media

Déjà vu may be a lighthearted way of looking at it, but it feels like 2012 all over again for the farm bill.

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Marijuana in Colorado
8:01 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

Pot Industry Not Welcome in Prowers County

Commercial marijuana cultivation operation

  At a recent Prowers County, Colorado, Commissioner meeting, The Prowers Journal reported unanimous approval was given to an ordinance prohibiting marijuana cultivation facilities, manufacturing facilities, testing facilities, and retail stores within the unincorporated portions of the county.

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Harvest Public Media story
5:11 am
Thu June 27, 2013

What you should know about the food stamps debate

Credit Beautiful Lily/Flickr

  The U.S. House defeated the farm bill last week, after the Senate passed its version of the bill in early June. Both bills include about $500 billion in spending over five years. Few pieces of legislation can produce such sharp divisions, even by Washington standards—but few could have such immediate, significant impact on so many Americans.

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Kansas Education
8:00 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

K-State Extension Educating Kansans; Separating Obamacare Fact from Fiction

As the new health insurance exchange begins October 1, The Kansas Health Institute reported much of the Affordable Care Act will bypass Kansas.  However, some are working to educate Kansans about how the new law applies to them.

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HPPR Government and Politics
5:57 am
Wed June 26, 2013

Perry Vetoes Bill Enabling Small Texas Town to Control Its Water

Roy Thornhill Sr. (center) voices his concern as residents of the City of Blue Mound, Texas, gather at their community center, on Monday, March 4, 2013. The small North Texas City of Blue Mound held a town hall meeting on Monday, March 4, for its residents to sign a petition against what they say are unjustifiably high water rate increases.
Credit BRANDON THIBODEAUX/TEXAS TRIBUNE

State Impact Texas reported Governor Rick Perry recently vetoed a bill, that would have made it easier for the small town of Blue Mound, Texas, to obtain the right to control its own water system.   Water services are currently provided by a private company, Monarch Utilities. 

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HPPR Government and Politics
8:01 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

U.S. Supreme Court: Ethanol Over Oil

The United States Supreme Court decided not to hear a challenge to the 2010 Environmental Protection Agency approval of the use of fuel containing up to 15% ethanol.  The challenge was from The American Petroleum Institute and several other groups.  Impact Oklahoma reported Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy, called the move, "a true victory for the American biofuels industry."  Bob Dinneen, president of the Renewable Fuels Association,  said the Supreme Court's decision, "ends a long and drawn out petroleum industry effort to derail the commercialization of E15."

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HPPR Government and Politics
4:33 am
Tue June 25, 2013

A New State? Reactions to North Colorado

Credit Huffington Post/Getty

Opinions and analysis abound after commissioners from Weld County earlier this month unveiled a proposal to break away from Colorado and form a new state.

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2:18 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

Mixed reviews on no income tax in Texas

Lead in text: 
A growing group of Republicans across the country are working to repeal their states’ income tax, using Texas’ economic success to make their case (e.g., Gov. Sam Brownback of Kansas proclaiming “Look out, Texas. Here comes Kansas.”). In Texas, however, the state’s tax system is not universally beloved as explained in this background article by Aman Batheja of the Texas Tribune that appeared in the Amarillo Globe-News.
When Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana wanted to sell his plan to replace his state's income tax with a higher sales tax, he pointed to Texas as the problem and the solution.Too many Louisiana residents are moving to Texas, because that is where the jobs are, he said.
HPPR Government & Politics
1:55 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

Kansas Cities, Counties, Schools Grappling with New Concealed-Carry Law

Credit salina.com/Salina Journal

As Kansas' new concealed-carry law goes into effect on July 1, many cities, counties and educational institutions across the state are choosing to operate under exemptions from the law.

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Government & Politics
5:26 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Last Minute Budget Addendum and Deadline Pressure Leads to Questionable Program Approval

Representative Marc Rhoades
Credit tilrc.org

In the midst of conference committee negotiations, with dozens of bargaining items on the table, Representative and House Appropriations Committee Chair, Marc Rhoades, presented a $12 million grant program earmarked for Educational Design Solutions.  Dave Ranney reported in a  recent article by the Kansas Institute of Health the Senate agreed to this addition partially out of desire to end the drawn out session to a close. 

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10:32 am
Mon June 17, 2013

Higher Education Cuts Strain Kansans

Lead in text: 
Leaders in higher education struggle operate within caps and budget cuts, families wrestle with increased tuition, legislators grapple with fiscal accountability, and Governor Brownback signs the cuts into budget.
Kansas universities and colleges are beginning to come to grips with what they are calling "devastating" budget cuts imposed by the state Legislature. Leaders at the University of Kansas, Kansas State University and Wichita State University are warning that the cuts, along with what legislators called a "salary cap," will damage everything from farming programs to the ability to educate doctors to the ability to help Wichita's aerospace industries create new jobs.
4:35 am
Wed June 12, 2013

How the Senate Farm Bill Would Change Subsidies

Lead in text: 
If you missed this story on Morning Edition, here's another opportunity.
The Senate voted Monday to approve its version of the farm bill, a massive spending measure that covers everything from food stamps to crop insurance and sets the nation's farm policy for the next five years. The centerpiece of that policy is an expanded crop insurance program, designed to protect farmers from losses, that some say amounts to a highly subsidized gift to agribusiness.

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