HPPR Government & Politics

Government:
state government (executive, legislative & judicial)
local government (city & county)
regional agencies & authorities
policies
budgets & taxes
laws, rules & regulations

Politics:
district-level and statewide office campaigns
legislative proposals
voting patterns

The delivery of federal food benefits for millions of low-income people is likely to change after the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced last week it will allow states more flexibility in how they dole out the money.

Filing Period Comes To Calm Close After Chaotic 30 Days

Dec 12, 2017
Bob Daemmerich / The Texas Tribune

A hectic candidate filing period came to a relatively calm close Monday evening, with few major surprises as the field was set for the 2018 primaries in Texas. Yet it's been tumultuous few weeks across the state's political landscape.

From The Texas Tribune:

A hectic candidate filing period came to a relatively calm close Monday evening, with few major surprises as the field was set for the 2018 primaries in Texas.

Analysis: “Who?” For Governor Of Texas

Dec 11, 2017
campaign websites / The Texas Tribune

It's not that Texas Democrats can't find anyone to run for governor in 2018. It's that none of the eight contenders (so far) is familiar to voters across the state.

From The Texas Tribune:

It’s not that the Democrats don’t have any candidates for governor of Texas; their problem is that the state’s voters know next to nothing about the eight people who are running. A melodious name might be more valuable in this primary than a winning political philosophy.

CC0 Creative Commons

Small landfills in Colorado once facing closure and fines are now getting help from the state.

As Colorado Public Radio reports,  a recent state regulatory crackdown on smaller Colorado landfills has resulted instead in the Department of Public Health and Environment providing financial assistance for 19 of those landfills to get up to code in the next five years.

Jub1118 / Wikimedia Commons

Two members of the Texas State Senate are pushing back against allegations that they sexually assaulted and harassed women, according to a report published in The Daily Beast and further investigated by The Austin American-Statesman.

tspb.state.tx.us

Many Texans may not know that their state has a part-time legislature. State lawmakers only gather once every two years to conduct the business of the Lone Star State. By contrast, the Legislatures of all of the other HPPR states—Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, and Nebraska—meet on a yearly basis.

What’s more: Legislators in Texas only earn a little over $7,000 a year.

You may be wondering, why does the second largest economy in the U.S.—and the 10th largest in the world—only require its lawmakers to meet on a biennial basis?

CC0 Creative Commons

Mac Thornberry, the Congressman who represents the Texas Panhandle region, cosponsored a bill this week in the House of Representatives intended to loosen gun laws in the United States.

As The Amarillo Globe-News reports, the legislation would make it easier for gun owners to carry their weapons across state lines.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback says he won’t resign until the U.S. Senate confirms his nomination for a ambassador’s post in the State Department.

Water remains a key priority for members of the Kansas Farm Bureau, who approved their 2018 legislative agenda Tuesday.

Kansas lawmakers studying economic development policies say the Legislature should consider changes to a major incentives program next year.

During a meeting Wednesday at the Statehouse, a special committee recommended more study of the STAR bonds program, and members of both parties said they want more oversight.

Sen. Julia Lynn, an Olathe Republican, said there hasn’t been enough accountability in the program. She wants the state to use formulas that determine whether proposed projects will create enough economic development to outweigh their costs.

Texas House Republicans Agree To Select Speaker Candidate In Caucus

Dec 5, 2017
Bob Daemmerich / The Texas Tribune

Texas House Republicans agreed Friday to change their rules for selecting the next house speaker, potentially paving the way for a more conservative leader of the chamber in 2019.

From  The Texas Tribune:

Texas House Republicans agreed Friday to change their rules for selecting the next house speaker, potentially paving the way for a more conservative leader of the chamber in 2019.

Pixabay

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is being pressed to lobby the state’s congressional delegation in opposition to a cut in a federal tax credit that could derail $1.5 billion in planned projects across Kansas.

Kansas lawmakers began groundwork Monday for their response to the Kansas Supreme Court’s order to fix school finance by this spring. The same day, a Hiawatha senator announced he will seek to curb the court’s powers through a constitutional amendment.

CC0 Creative Commons

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick wants more Texas churches to welcome guns into their sanctuaries, The Texas Tribune reports.

In the wake of a mass shooting in central Texas last month that left 26 people dead, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said he believed that arming worshipers would help prevent similar tragedies.

Republican legislators have temporarily sidetracked an effort to block the Brownback administration from obtaining federal approval to renew KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid program.

Democrats on a joint committee that oversees KanCare wanted the panel’s report to the full Legislature to recommend keeping the current program in place until a newly elected governor takes office in January 2019.

Wikimedia Commons

Immigrants in Texas who are part of the beleaguered DACA program are seeing their prospects dwindle as Democratic discussions with the Trump administration fell apart this week.

As The Texas Tribune reports, each day that passes without a fix means hundreds more undocumented immigrants are put at risk of deportation.

Kansas Congressman Kevin Yoder is offering a vigorous defense of the Republican tax cut bill as the U.S. Senate prepares to vote on its version of the controversial measure.

In a lengthy news release posted Thursday that Yoder touted as separating myth from fact, the 3rd District representative said the bill does not favor wealthy taxpayers over middle-class families, as Democrats and other critics claim.

Trump Gives Roberts Rain Check On Talking NAFTA

Nov 29, 2017
U.S. Senate

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump asked Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts for a rain check when Roberts raised the agriculture industry’s concerns over NAFTA renegotiations.

Roberts told Politico that he wants to work with Trump to achieve what the president is hoping to achieve in NAFTA talks but that he also thinks it’s important that Trump knows that starting a clock on NAFTA is not the answer, referencing a strategy Trump has alluded to in which Canada and Mexico would be notified of the U.S.’s intent to withdrawal from the deal, in an attempt to force the two countries to make concessions before the six-month withdrawal window closed.

Donald Trump Jr. appeared at a fundraiser Monday night in Overland Park, Kansas, for Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Kobach is one of 11 people running for the Republican nomination for governor of Kansas. 

oklegislature.gov / Public Domain

The recent Oklahoma special legislative session ended with a shocking turn of events earlier this month, when Governor Mary Fallin vetoed much of the budget bill the state legislature had devised.

Fallin herself had called the special session. The two-month long convening of lawmakers looked to be on the path to success when Fallin took out her red pen.

The move dismayed GOP leaders, who said Fallin had indicated to them that she would support the proposal. So now, what’s next for Oklahoma? 

Donald Trump Jr. is topping the bill at a fundraiser on Tuesday night for Kansas gubernatorial candidate Kris Kobach, the perceived front-runner in a crowded Republican field.

Kobach, a conservative in the mold of President Trump, is literally banking on the ability of the president’s eldest son to draw a crowd despite increasing legal scrutiny of his ties to Russians who may have attempted to manipulate the outcome of the presidential election.

Trump Jr. will be the featured guest at a reception and $200-a-plate dinner at an Overland Park hotel.

Wikimedia Commons

Texans went to the polls earlier this month to approve seven different constitutional amendments, many of which might have seemed to the casual voter like something that could easily have been dealt with by the State Legislature.

If you were wondering why you needed to go vote on whether sports teams should be allowed to hold charitable raffles, you weren’t alone.

Serge Melki / Wikimedia Commons

The special session of the Oklahoma Legislature ended 10 days ago, and Oklahoma Watch has published a look at some of the session’s statistics.

The session lasted 54 days, during which 194 measures were proposed. Out of those 194 bills, a total of four became law—though one of those four successful measures—the budget bill—was line-item vetoed by Governor Mary Fallin.

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran candidly discussed his reservations about President Donald Trump’s tax cut bill Wednesday at a town hall meeting in the small north-central Kansas community of Frankfort.

But in response to prodding from some in the crowd of approximately 100, he declined to commit to voting against the bill if Republican leaders don’t address his concerns.

Kansas Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer got a little taste of what it’s like to be governor on Monday when he presented Wichita’s Lee Aerospace with the Governor’s Exporter of the Year Award.

CC0 Creative Commons

Texas Republicans are fretting over a possible “blue wave” of anti-Trump voter sentiment during 2018’s November elections, reports The Houston Chronicle.

Governor Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick have both been calling on Texas GOP operatives to batten down the hatches in anticipation of a Democratic tsunami. Yet many political observers in the Lone Star State say the traditionally conservative bastion has little chance of turning blue anytime soon.

oklegislature.gov / Public Domain

An Oklahoma regulatory board announced last week that it would cut the salaries of the state’s legislators, in an effort to ease the state’s ongoing budget woes.

As KFOR reports, the state’s Legislative Compensation Board plans to cut state lawmaker salaries by almost 9 percent. The announcement comes as the Legislature continues to be gridlocked in the eighth week of a special session.

The representative for community colleges in Kansas is warning the state Board of Regents that a federal tax overhaul could make higher education less affordable.

The 2017 Kansas election is officially in the books, as counties finished most of the work finalizing their results Thursday.

This was the first election since local races were moved to the fall, and voter turnout was up in many areas. Shawnee County saw turnout of around 19 percent, a jump of about 5 percentage points compared to recent local elections.  

Wikimedia Commons

Yet another Democrat has pulled off an upset victory in deep-red Oklahoma.

As NBC News reports, Democrat Allison Ikley-Freeman defeated Republican Brian O’Hara in Tuesday’s special election for the Oklahoma’s Senate District 37. Ikley-Freeman is the fourth Democrat this year to flip a Republican seat in Oklahoma special elections.

Pages