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

Some Texas Republicans In Congress Again Outraised By Challengers

7 hours ago
Michael Stravato / The Texas Tribune

  From The Texas Tribune:

The latest round of campaign fundraising reports show continued signs of of Democratic enthusiasm, though some Republican incumbents, including U.S. Reps. Pete Sessions and Will Hurd, posted strong third quarters.

*Correction appended

usbotschaftberlin / Wikimedia Commons

Oklahoma’s budget crisis is threatening to eliminate important services for many of the state’s neediest residents. Three weeks ago, Gov. Mary Fallin convened a special session of the Oklahoma Legislature to address the budget gap.

Jay Phagan / Wikimedia Commons

Elections in Amarillo are less than a month away, and the League of Women voters has distributed helpful and nonpartisan information guides throughout the city to help voters understand their choices. On November 7th, residents of Potter and Randall County will go to the polls.

The Voters Guides will help voters gain information on seven proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution and the $100 million Amarillo Independent School District bond proposal. The guides will be available at some 80 locations in Amarillo and Canyon.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

In the third quarter of fundraising, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz outraised the Democrat who is trying to unseat him, reports The Texas Tribune.

Beto O’Rourke, the Spanish-speaking, Ivy League-educated former punk rocker from El Paso, has gained a good deal of national attention lately for his unorthodox campaign to challenge Cruz.

Kansans who need to update their voter registration before the fall local election will need to move fast. Tuesday is the deadline to register to vote before the November election.

This is the first year that local elections are being held in November instead of spring. In many communities, voters will decide races for city council, school board or ballot questions about issues including bonds and sales taxes.

Wikimedia Commons

There are more than 180 monuments to the Confederacy in the state of Texas. A dozen of those are on the grounds of the State Capitol in Austin.

Now, as The Texas Tribune reports, some state lawmakers are doing their best to have those public symbols removed. Efforts to eradicate the Capitol grounds of confederate memorials sharply increased after a woman was killed during a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia last month.

Kansas lawmakers considered tighter rules on payday lending during a committee meeting Wednesday, but they ultimately decided not to recommend more regulations for the short-term loans.

Serge Melki / Wikimedia Commons

Visit the Oklahoma State Capitol these days and you might be awed by the gleaming new marble floor recently installed there. But that floor is drawing the ire of some in Oklahoma, who wish the state’s lawmakers had searched for marble a bit closer to home.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

Greg Abbott, the current Governor of Texas, will be seeking another term next year.

But, as The Texas Tribune notes, to claim victory again, Abbott will need to build on the success he had with Latinos when he first ran for the office in 2014.

Gov. Sam Brownback said Tuesday that he is issuing a single pardon and denying 72 other requests for clemency made to his office.

The action comes as Brownback prepares for a likely departure to join the administration of President Donald Trump.

Jeff Hall

Jeff Hall, a Republican from Mooreland, Okla., announced his candidacy for State Senate District 27 last week.

An Army veteran, Hall was raised in Northwest Oklahoma, where his family has roots for several generations. Hall served two tours of duty in Iraq, and retired from service in 2014. Hall currently owns a small business in Guymon.

In a press release, Hall indicated that he feared the GOP was “squandering its opportunity to lead.”

Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

Last week, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry announced a federal plan to subsidize coal and nuclear plants, reports Texas Monthly.

The move surprised many observers in the energy community, as the former Texas Governor had made a name for himself in the Lone Star State as a champion of renewable energy, especially wind power.

Newly unsealed documents show Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach had proposed changes to federal voting law when meeting last year with then President-elect Donald Trump. The American Civil Liberties Union wanted to disclose the documents in a lawsuit over Kansas voting rules.

At issue were two documents. One was a partially obscured paper Kobach carried into a meeting in November 2016 with Trump, and the second was a document distributed in his office.

Proposals to rebuild part of the prison at Lansing could prompt a new debate over the Kansas death penalty. Plans for the prison include closing the facility that houses the state’s death chamber.

Kansas hasn’t executed anyone since the death penalty was reinstated in the 1990s. At a committee meeting Thursday, Republican Sen. Carolyn McGinn said instead of building a new death chamber, legislators might want to consider eliminating the death penalty.

Kansas Congressman Kevin Yoder is joining fellow Republicans in the wake of the Las Vegas mass shootings in calling for a ban on a device used to increase the firing power of semi-automatic rifles.

Yoder, who represents the state’s 3rd District, said in a statement Thursday that he “will support measures to regulate or ban” so-called bump stocks, conversion kits that turn semi-automatic rifles into weapons capable of firing 400 to 800 rounds per minute.

Amarillo.gov

In her State of the City address this week, newly elected Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson praised the proactive spirit of the Yellow City.

“‘Get it done’ is part of the fabric of Amarillo,” Nelson said.

U.S. senators considering Gov. Sam Brownback’s nomination as ambassador for international religious freedom peppered him Wednesday with questions, including some about his actions as Kansas governor.

During the Senate committee hearing in Washington, D.C., Brownback argued that a lack of religious freedom lies at the core of many violent conflicts throughout the world. He firmly stated that he would stand for religious freedom internationally.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback made a secretive trip to Israel this summer and met with the prime minister there.

CREATIVE COMMONS CC0

The Colorado Legislature begins its special session this week – something Gov. John Hickenlooper said Republican lawmakers had turned into a “political circus.”

Jamelle Bouie / Flickr Creative Commons

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz says he, too, is frustrated with the inaction of the Republican Party in Washington, reports The Texas Tribune.

Senator Cruz spoke to two separate groups of Tea Party supporters this weekend, saying, “As frustrated as y’all are, I’m sitting there everyday!”

Cruz noted that the GOP has an historic opportunity, given that the party controls both houses of Congress, the White House and the Supreme Court.

www.oksenate.gov / Wikimedia Commons

One of the candidates for Governor of Oklahoma next year has some fresh ideas on how the state might address its massive budget shortfall, reports The Duncan Banner.

Last week at a Meet the Oklahoma Governor Candidate forum, Connie Johnson declared her support for the legalization of medical marijuana in the Sooner State.“

It’s a plant that God created,” she said. 

The American Civil Liberties Union launched a national voting rights campaign during a Sunday night event in Lawrence that was broadcast online throughout the country. It was the start of a grassroots effort, called Let People Vote, which the ACLU says is a chance to go on the offensive.

Public Domain

President Donald Trump has appointed two Texans to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The Fifth Circuit is a federal court with jurisdiction over district courts in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.

Tulsa2185 / Wikimedia Commons

Last week marked the first week of Oklahoma’s special legislative session, which was convened by Governor Mary Fallin to allow lawmakers to deal with business left unfinished during the regular session.

Public Domain

A White House nominee to sit on the bench of the Texas Federal Court in the Eastern District is drawing fire for controversial comments.

This weekend in Lawrence, the ACLU will kick off a national campaign on voting rights called Let People Vote. The group chose Kansas because of the state’s strict voting policies pushed by Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

Micah Kubic, with the ACLU of Kansas, says the group is moving to a more proactive position.

“When we shift from defense to offense it means that we cannot and will not only file lawsuits and do litigation,” Kubic says.

The list of Republican candidates running to become the next governor of Kansas continues to grow. Wichita businessman and former state Rep. Mark Hutton launched his campaign on Monday in Wichita.

Serge Melki / Wikimedia Commons

Oklahoma’s economic plans were thrown into a tailspin last month, after the state Supreme Court ruled a proposed tobacco fee unconstitutional. The fee was slated to bring in over $215 million to the state coffers, and go a long way toward plugging Oklahoma’s $900 million budget shortfall.

The overhaul of the Kansas computer system for processing welfare and Medicaid applications recently went through its final implementation phase. State officials say the process went smoothly, especially compared to the system's initial rollout that delayed thousands of Medicaid applications.

Public Domain

Over the past two decades, Texas Democrats have lost 123 consecutive statewide races. That’s  the longest losing streak of any state party in the country. But now, as Mother Jones reports, there may be a light at the end of the tunnel.

Pages