HPPR Government and Politics

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Next week, Colorado voters go to the polls to vote on a state constitutional amendment to increase income taxes and fundamentally change how money goes to public schools.

Amendment 66 proposes to change Colorado from a flat-tax state and replace the structure with a progressive or graduated two-tier income tax system.

capitol.state.tx.us

In Texas, a crowded field of hopefuls is expected for statewide offices in the March primaries.  However, for most Texas Panhandle posts, those primary races are going uncontested.

nationsreportcard.gov

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) creates The Nation’s Report Card, a document that informs the public about the academic achievement of elementary and secondary students in the United States.  The testing information available at this time compares 2009 test results to those gathered in 2011.  

The federal government officially endorses a conservation plan, known as the Range Wide Plan, an unlikely partnership between those who might compromise the grassland habitat of the prairie chicken and landowners.

yellowmaps.com

President Obama recently approved a federal disaster declaration making 46 Kansas counties eligible for air to repair damaged infrastructure.  The damage was cause by severed summer storms and flooding according to The Wichita Eagle.  

texastribune.org

The last open race for governor of Texas was in 1990 —  a contest that ultimately featured two charismatic politicians and attracted national attention.  But a recent piece in The New York Times said Greg Abbott is no Clayton Williams, and Wendy Davis is no Ann Richards.

Drones: New High Plains Hunting Sport?

Oct 23, 2013
denverpost.com

There could be a new kind of hunting season on the high plains, and the object of the hunter’s focus?  Drones. 

Drones are flying objects, typically equipped with cameras.  They range in size, up to several feet across.  The number of blades vary, and they are built and operated primarily by hobbyists and others for personal use.  Video is a large part of the appeal, allowing life to be seen from another perspective. 

The reason why the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, was designed is just as important as the what the law does says Sheldon Weisgrau, senior consultant with Rural Health Consultants.  Weisgrau recently spoke at the NAACP Annual Freedom Fund according to the Salina Journal

Affordable Care Act: New Premium Calculator

Oct 21, 2013
moaablogs.org

The Obama administration recently released a new online tool that allows users to see premium estimates by state, level of coverage, and age categories without creating an account.  Previously, an account had to be created before individuals could see what plans were available and what premiums would be according to the Kansas Health Institute.

Politics: Do Texans Care?

Oct 21, 2013

A recent study by the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life at the University of Texas at Austin revealed that in 2010, Texas voters don’t vote.  As a matter of fact, according to the Amarillo Globe-News, voter turnout in the state of Texas is the worst in the nation.    

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Scheleen Walker, guest columnist for Texas Weekly, recently sounded off about the embarrassment of having an ill-informed chairman of the House Committee on Science and Technology.

texastribune.org

Mark P. Jones, chairman of Rice University’s political science department, updated his rankings of Texas state representatives based on their votes during this years sessions.  The Texas Tribune recently featured Jones and his results.

Michael Schumacher / AGN Media

The Amarillo Area Foundation recently hosted a symposium hoping to provide answers many have about the Affordable Care Act which many have dubbed Obamacare. Health care providers, administrators, business owners, and other citizens came to find out more according to the Amarillo Globe News.

Election 2014: A New Class System for Kansas Voters?

Oct 8, 2013
bloomberg.com

Court action over the state’s proof-of-citizenship voting law is pending, but Secretary of State Kris Kobach is not waiting for a ruling.  He’s laying groundwork for a system that would allow some voters to vote in all elections, while others could only vote for Congressional and presidential tickets according to a recent article in The Wichita Eagle.

huffingtonpost.com

Federal employees aren’t being paid during the course of the impasse, but members of Congress and the president will continue being paid because the law requires it said the Washington Post.  

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.

More Kansans to work for food stamps

Oct 7, 2013
Aaron Brazell, Technosailor / flickr commons

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.

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. 

Millions Left Without Despite Affordable Care Act

Oct 3, 2013
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.

What has the government shut down… shut down?

Oct 2, 2013
noaa.gov

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

Farmers in limbo – again – as farm bill expires

Oct 1, 2013
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.

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

.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

Texas: Setting the PACE for Renewable Energy

Sep 23, 2013
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. 

Obamacare could be a tough sell in rural America

Sep 20, 2013
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.

Enrollment Numbers: WT, AC, and OPSU

Sep 16, 2013
ect.coop

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

Colorado Recalls: Review and Reflection

Sep 12, 2013
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

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

Sep 11, 2013
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.

Affordable Care Act Texas: New York Times Sounds Off

Sep 10, 2013
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.

Poor Kansas Lawmakers

Sep 10, 2013
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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