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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

David Shankbone / Creative Commons

Colorado election campaigns have filed their latest financial reports. Here are a few takeaways, courtesy of KUSA.

First of all, tobacco companies have deep pockets. Pro-tobacco groups have spent $5 million to keep a new tobacco tax from passing. That’s more money than any other campaign has raised in Colorado this cycle.

Office of the Attorney General of Texas / KTSA

The State of Texas is suing the Obama Administration once again, reports KTSA.

This time the lawsuit centers around a new federal overtime pay law. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton says he’s “constantly” having to sue the government because he and his colleagues feels the Obama Administration is making new laws. And he insists that the Executive Branch’s job is to enforce laws, not write them.

US Department of Justice

President Obama’s labor secretary visited Colorado last week to push for a ballot measure that would raise Colorado’s minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020, reports CBS 4 Denver.

U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez insists raising the minimum wage would have a positive impact on Colorado’s economy. However, studies vary widely on whether minimum wage hikes hurt or help state economies.

news9.com

In two weeks, Oklahoma will enter year two of its statewide stay on death-row executions, reports News 9.

Despite the long delay, there’s still no evidence that the state's board of corrections is drawing any closer to making a decision on execution protocol. The halt came in 2015 after a series of bungled executions sparked widespread shock and criticism. First Oklahoma nearly used the wrong drug on inmate Richard Glossip. Then that same drug was used to execute Charles Warner, who writhed in agony and took 43 minutes to die.

Evan Vucci / AP photo

Republicans believe they’ve finally establish a political foothold in Colorado, reports The Denver Post.

Nigel Parry / CNN

Donald Trump leads Hillary Clinton by double digits in Kansas, according to a new poll.

As The Wichita Eagle reports, the New York billionaire is ahead of the former Secretary of State by 12 points, 48 percent to 36 percent.

Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein drew 8 percent and 2 percent, respectively.

In the race for U.S. Senate, Sen. Jerry Moran has a comfortable lead over his Democratic opponent Patrick Wiesner.

NewsOK.com

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt's campaign team has been spending a lot of money. But not much of that money is actually being spent on elections, reports NewsOK.

Pruitt and his campaign team have spent well over half a million dollars since the beginning of last year. That’s despite the fact that Pruitt is ineligible to run again and hasn’t said he’s seeking another office.

The New York Times

Four out of every ten U.S adults don’t vote. Turnout in the U.S. is lower than in Canada, Mexico and most of Europe.

Non-voters in the U.S. are often assumed to be young people, or Hispanics, or the poor. But the truth, according to The New York Times, is the majority of people who didn’t vote in the 2012 presidential election were white, middle-income and middle-aged.

pbs.org

During most national election cycles, Colorado has long been known as a key battleground state. But this year Hillary Clinton is outpolling Donald Trump by a wide margin.

PBS recently reported from the reddest parts of the state. They were attempting to uncover why some Coloradans were switching their votes this season.

David Zalubowski / The Wichita Eagle

Voters in Kansas elections this November will not have to show proof of citizenship if they register using the federal form, reports The Wichita Eagle.

In January Kansas announced a controversial rule that would require proof of citizenship from voters who register using the federal form. But last week a federal appeals court rejected the rule. The court’s decision came after the League of Women Voters challenged the law.

Eric Gay / AP photo

Last week, voting rights advocates accused Texas Republicans of mounting a procedural end run around a panel of federal appeals court judges.

Austin American-Statesman

A Texas appeals court judge has questioned the fairness of the state’s life-without-parole sentences.

As The Austin American-Statesman reports, Judge Larry Meyers charged that no-parole sentences lack legal protections. The longtime Texas judge equated life-without-parole sentences to a slow-motion death penalty.

Judge Meyers was once a Republican, but is now a Democrat. He is the longest-serving member of the state’s highest criminal court.

Denton Record-Chronicle

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and his wife accepted an invitation to dinner last week at the home of a third-grade transgender boy.

Amber and Adam Briggle of Denton invited Paxton and his wife, Angela, to spend a little time with them and their transgender son MG last week, to put a face on transgender issues.

Kansas City Star

A new poll by a GOP polling firm has found a big problem for Kansas Senate candidates this fall, and his name is Sam Brownback.

Washington Post

A new Washington Post poll lists Texas as a tossup state in the upcoming presidential election. According to the poll published Tuesday, Texas provided the most unexpected results of any state.

That’s because, as the Post noted, “The Lone Star State has been a conservative Republican bastion for the past four decades.”

Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Texas has stopped helping poor families pay their electric bills, reports The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Over the past years the Lone Star State ran a program called Lite-Up Texas. The initiative offered discounts to thousands of poor Texas families who were struggling to keep the lights on. But now the Public Utility Commission says the program has run out of money. The financial help ended on Aug. 31.

Getty Images

There have long been rumblings that Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has a strong chance of leading Hillary Clinton’s Interior Department if she wins the White House. It’s a position that has often gone to popular lawmakers from the West. But now, as Politico reports, a blockade from the green wing of the Democratic Party could dash Hickenlooper’s hopes.

New York Times

People in rural areas are now 50 percent more likely to go to prison than people in urban areas, reports The New York Times.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

In November Oklahoma voters will decide on State Question 777. Supporters are calling the ballot initiative a “right-to-farm” bill, but opponents prefer the term “right-to-harm.”

As StateImpact Oklahoma reports, right-to-farm is a divisive national issue that’s made its way to Oklahoma. The question has pitted pro-agriculture activists against environmentalists and animal-rights activists in a statewide battle for votes.

s_falkow / Flickr Creative Commons

Four former Kansas governors have leapt into the effort to retain Kansas Supreme Court justices, reports The Hutchinson News.

The aim of the former governors is to keep the justices around, in order to keep the court fair and impartial.

Flickr Creative Commons

The State of Oklahoma reported a $141 million budget surplus this month, reports KOCO. The extra funds will be distributed to state agencies based on need, as determined by the 2016 fiscal year budget.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

In Kansas, tax revenues for the month of August came in more than $10 million short of expectations, according to the Kansas Department of Revenue.

That means, notes The Lawrence Journal-World, in order to balance the state budget Gov. Sam Brownback may need to order more spending cuts.

NewsOK.com

Oklahoma’s state Medicaid director has resigned, reports NewsOK.com.

Nico Gomez announced his exit on Monday in a letter to the Oklahoma Health Care Authority board. The news comes after Gomez spent 20 years in public service, including 16 years at the Health Care Authority.

Ralph Barrera / AP photo

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has sued a southeast Texas county that’s trying to ban guns from its courthouse, reports The Los Angeles Times

Stephen Collector / Getty Images

The recent anti-fracking effort in Colorado has failed, reports CNBC.

Fracking opponents in the state had been rallying to get two measures onto the ballot that would further regulate the controversial energy extraction process. On Monday word came that both initiatives failed to make the ballot.

Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

Donald Trump’s energy platform champions coal, promotes drilling, and supports the easing of regulations on fracking. If it sounds like the Trump energy platform was created with fossil fuel companies in mind, that’s because the GOP candidate’s policies were partly crafted by an Oklahoma oil billionaire.

Patrick Michels / Texas Observer

The US Supreme Court remains evenly divided with four conservative and four liberal justices. This provides Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton with a legal method of getting his way relatively consistently.

Clover Partners / Nature Conservancy

HPPR reported yesterday on the new license plate design for Oklahoma, which has drawn criticism from some residents. For those Oklahomans who don’t love the new plate, there’s another option. Another new license plate hopes to bring Oklahoma’s state mammal, the American Bison, into the spotlight.

State of Oklahoma

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin unveiled the state’s new license plate this month, and some have been critical of the plate’s design.

As News on 6 reports, the new license plate features a starkly-outlined scissor-tailed flycatcher against a light blue background. The scissortail is the state bird of Oklahoma. Some Oklahomans had trouble identifying the bird on the plate, with one interviewee suggesting it was a dove, and another asking if it was a peacock.

KDVR/CNN

In one influential county in Colorado, Donald Trump’s campaign is being run by a 12-year-old, CNN reports.

Weston Imer is coordinating volunteers and organizing the get-out-the-vote operation in Jefferson County. Imer says he hopes his experience would lead other young people to become engaged politically.

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