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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

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

President Obama’s two-term agriculture secretary will soon slip through one of Washington’s revolving doors and switch from government official to private sector executive eager to push for an industry agenda.  

Former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Tuesday that his first job outside the Cabinet will be heading up a dairy industry trade group that pushes for access to foreign markets, the U.S. Dairy Export Council.

Feds reject Kansas' request to extend KanCare

4 hours ago
KanCare.ks.gov

Federal officials have rejected Kansas’ request to extend KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid program, saying it has failed to meet federal standards and risked the health and safety of enrollees.

As reported by The Wichita Eagle, federal investigators reviewed the state’s Medicaid plan in October and found that Kansas is “substantively out of compliance with Federal statutes and regulations, as well as its Medicaid State Plan,” according to a letter sent to the state Jan. 13 from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Karol Olson / Flickr Creative Commons

This weekend, hundreds of thousands of supporters of women’s rights will gather in the nation’s capital to try to ensure that their voices are heard and their interests considered by the Trump administration. But hundreds of smaller events are planned on the statewide level as well.

As NewsOk reports, Oklahomans are expected to rally Saturday in Oklahoma City. About the rally, Lindsey Kanaly, an Oklahoma City attorney, said, “We can no longer complain on Facebook, and here is a chance to actually do something.”

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Donald Trump is now the 45th president of the United States. NPR reporters and editors across the newsroom have annotated his inaugural address. 

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Bruce Tuten / Wikimedia Commons

After a long wait that caused no shortage of nervous fidgeting among the ag sector, Donald Trump has finally selected a candidate for Secretary of Agriculture.

Please join us for Special Coverage of the Presidential Inauguration on Friday, January 20, 2017 from 8 am to 3 pm CT.  NPR's Steve Inskeep and Audie Cornish will co-host the coverage from the West Front of the Capitol in Washington, DC, overlooking the presidential platform. The program will feature the swearing in of the President and Vice President, speeches, interviews, live reports from around the Capitol and the National Mall, and analysis from NPR’s Political Team.

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Several Amarilloans - supporters, and detractors alike - Amarillo are attending Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration ceremony in Washington today.

As the Amarillo Globe-News reports, a number of Amarilloans are in Washington D.C. for Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration – some to celebrate, others merely to speculate.

Tom Mechler, state chair for the Republican Party of Texas, arrived in the nation’s capital on Tuesday.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

Trump’s pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency appears to have shelved a pollution lawsuit after receiving large cash amounts from the companies doing the polluting.

Chuck Grimmett / Creative Commons

Marijuana sales taxes could rise as much as 50 percent if the Colorado Legislature approves a measure proposed by Gov. John Hickenlooper on Tuesday to help bridge the gap in school funding.

Sarah Craig/Faces of Fracking / Flickr Creative Commons

In response to the fracking boom, the Obama administration set forth regulations to limit fracking on public and tribal lands. The rules marked the administrations most concerted efforts to control the controversial method of extracting oil and gas. But those regulations have been challenged by oil-friendly states, and have been stalled in federal court for years.

NY - http://nyphotographic.com/

Immigrant advocates are formulating a plan to deal with if and when Donald Trump’s administration executes his deportation strategy.

According to The Guardian, one such resistance movement in Austin, Texas, centers on a reverend ready to create a physical barrier between undocumented immigrants and immigration enforcement agencies.

findyourspot.com

Amarillo Mayor Paul Harpole announced Tuesday that he will not be seeking re-election.

In a press conference Tuesday, Harpole said he felt it was time he stepped down to allow for new leadership.

As The Amarillo Globe reports, Harpole made the announcement, which has been expected for several months, that he would not seek a fourth term in May’s election.

50states.com

As Democratic lawmakers in Colorado push back against the GOP’s attempt to repeal Obamacare, some Coloradans who benefited from it are wondering what it will be replaced with.

City of Gonzalez

The Lone Star State has long been known as a gun-friendly state. But now, as KVUE reports, Texas may soon have an official state gun.

State Sen. Don Huffines has filed a Resolution suggesting that the cannon should named the official gun of Texas. The bill states, in part, that the cannon “has been an important weapon in the state's fight for liberty and independence as well as a symbol of the defiance and determination of its people.”

AP PHOTO

In his State of the State address Thursday, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper proposed boosting rural access to high-speed Internet.

To boost economic development in rural areas, one of the governor’s proposals is to create an office focused on expanding broadband Internet access to the 30 percent or so rural households in the state that don’t have it, with an overall goal of ensuring that 100 percent of rural houses have it by 2020.

Austin American-Statesman

The Texas Legislature reconvened for the new session this week, amid speeches and plenty of pomp. But, as The Austin American-Statesman reports, the ceremony belied simmering tensions in the Lone Star State’s governing body.

During the recess strains began to build over hot button issues like transgender bathrooms, abortion, immigration, school policy, and religious practices.

Kansas Supreme Court faces major rulings in 2017

Jan 13, 2017

Kansas Supreme Court Seated left to right: Hon. Marla J. Luckert, Hon. Lawton R. Nuss, Chief Justice; Hon. Carol A. Beier. Standing left to right: Hon. Dan Biles, Hon. Eric S. Rosen, Hon. Lee A. Johnson, and Hon. Caleb Stegall.Credit Kansas Judicial BranchEdit | Remove

The Kansas Supreme Court is facing a docket of major rulings in 2017.

Chuck Grimmett / Creative Commons

The future of legalized marijuana isn’t certain as President-elect Donald Trump enters the White House. 

As The Economist reports, over half of the states in the union have legalized marijuana in some form or another. Pot remains illegal under federal law, however, so any pot shop could technically be shut down at any time.

Jay Janner / Austin American-Statesman

A federal judge has now ordered Texas officials to create several plans to fix the systemic problems that have plagued the state’s foster care system for years. Some of the proposed fixes will be due in as little as three months from now.

50states.com

The Colorado Legislature begins the 2017 term today with what The Denver Post describes as a daunting to-do list and divided chambers.

The issues facing this year’s Legislature include questions on how to improve the state’s roads, how to put more dollars in the classroom and how to boost the state’s economy.

As they seek compromise on how to best tackle these areas, The Denver Post reports, there are 10 issues facing lawmakers during the 2017 session.

Wikimedia Commons

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback wants to increase taxes on alcohol and cigarettes, among other things, to fill the state’s $378 million budget shortfall.

As The Kansas City Star reports, Shawn Sullivan, Brownback’s budget director, presented the governor’s tax and budget proposals to lawmakers yesterday.

U.S. State Department

The outgoing head of the Environmental Protection Agency said this week that one of her biggest regrets was her agency’s failure to connect with rural America.

The NPR Politics team and reporters across the newsroom will be live-annotating a news conference with President-elect Donald Trump, expected at 11 am ET/8am PT on Wednesday. We will be fact-checking and providing background to his remarks in real-time. We will be paying special attention to any comments about conflicts of interest, health care and national security.

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Wikimedia Commons

In his State of the State address last night, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback talked about the state budget, Medicaid, the need for additional medical and dental care, and school funding, among other things.

Brownback said Budget Director shawn Sullivan would be presenting a "structurally balanced budget" today that Brownback described as balanced, in that it reconciles spending with available revenue and supports the core functions of state government.

Brownback also called for lawmakers to address the imbalance between state revenues and expenditures.

The NPR Politics team and reporters across the newsroom will be live-annotating President Obama's farewell address in Chicago on Tuesday night, scheduled to begin at 9 pm ET/6pm ET. The team will be adding fact-checks and background to Obama's comments as he gives them. We'll be watching in particular for remarks on his legacy, national security, health care and foreign policy, among other topics.

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Marjorie Kamys Cotera / Texas Tribune

The Texas Legislature gavels in its 2017 session today. To get the new session rolling, let’s take a look back at the biggest Texas political stories of the 2016 session.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Soon-to-be-former Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack will join team dairy after he leaves his position as secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

As Politico reports, Vilsack will become president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council.

Oklahoma Watch

Five years ago in Oklahoma, the GOP-held legislature redrew district boundaries to more heavily favor the Republican party. Since that time, the Republicans have seen a ten percent increase in the number of seats they control in Oklahoma. The GOP now controls almost 80 percent of statehouse seats.

IADA / Creative Commons

We’ve heard a lot of talk about how the Rust Belt helped Donald Trump win the presidency. But , as The Hill reports, it appears the Corn Belt may have been an even bigger help to the new president than their more industrial counterparts.

Jhaymesisviphotography / Creative Commons

Last month two Texas lawmakers filed legislation to battle cyberbullying in Texas schools. The bill seemed like a home run—no one wants children to be bullied on the Internet. Cyberbullying can lead to low self-esteem, and even suicide.

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