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

Tamir Kalifa / Texas Tribune

Texas Ag Commissioner Sid Richards had high hopes for his plan to bring on what he called the “feral hog apocalypse.”

Billy Calzada / Austin American-Statesman

Beto O’Rourke, a challenger to Ted Cruz’s seat in the U.S. Senate, will make an appearance in Amarillo this Saturday, April 29th.

news9.com

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin has announced that she plans to create a task force to deal with the immense backlog of rape kits in the state.

As News 9 reports, the Oklahoma Task Force on Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence will investigate all of the sexual assault forensic evidence kits in Oklahoma, to determine how many have yet to be tested.

Proposed hemp bill gaining support in western Kansas

Apr 25, 2017
Creative Commons

A bill that would allow Kansas farmers to grow hemp and Kansas State University researchers to explore its varieties and identify its industrial uses is gaining support in western Kansas.

As The Garden City Telegram reports, Representatives Russ Jennings of Lakin and John Wheeler of Garden City  both voted for House Bill 2182, as amended. 

Put America first by lifting the Cuban embargo

Apr 25, 2017
U.S. SEN. JERRY MORAN, R-KANSAS

Approximately 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside America’s borders. Markets in the United States will continue to evolve to meet domestic consumer demand, but the vast majority of the future growth in food and agriculture markets will be made through exports. And the best way to boost prices for American producers now and in the future is to export more of our agriculture products to these foreign markets.

Perdue approved as secretary of agriculture

Apr 25, 2017
Courtesy / U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, Public Domain

The U.S. Senate April 24 voted to confirm the nomination of Gov. Sonny Perdue, R-GA, by a vote of 87-11, as secretary of agriculture. Perdue's cousin, Sen. David Perdue, R-GA, voted present. Sen. Jeff Flake, R-AZ, did not vote.

President Donald Trump Jan. 19 announced his intention to nominate Perdue. The secretary of agriculture’s job was the last Cabinet position for which Trump had not named a candidate.

Bob Daemmerich / Texas Tribune

The Texas House of Representatives has passed a bill that would raise the legal age at which accused criminals are tried as adults in the Lone Star State.

As The Texas Tribune reports, the measure is known as the “Raise the Age” bill, and it would ensure that 17-year-old offenders would no longer be classified as adults. Instead, they would be moved to the juvenile justice system, beginning in 2021.

Kansas judges seek pay raises

Apr 24, 2017
KSCOURTS.ORG

Kansas Chief Supreme Court Justice Lawton Nuss told the Topeka Capital Journal’s editorial board Thursday that state funding of judicial branch salaries had fallen unacceptably below average salaries of peers in neighboring states.

CC0 Public Domain

The Texas House Thursday approved a bill designed to inject over a billion dollars into public schools and simplify complicated funding formulas.

As The Texas Tribune reports, State Rep. Dan Huberty succeeded at a difficult task Wednesday: getting the Texas House of Representatives to vote for legislation overhauling the funding system for public education, without a court mandate.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Bob, Robbie and Leah Maass ready equipment for planting season on their farm near Ellsworth, Iowa.Credit AMY MAYER / HARVEST PUBLIC MEDIAEdit | Remove

Three months after his nomination, Sonny Perdue faces a confirmation vote in the U.S. Senate Monday for the post of secretary of agriculture.

Austin American-Statesman

A Federal court has once again ruled that the Republican Party in Texas intentionally tried to disenfranchise minority voters when it redrew district lines in 2011.

As The Austin American-Statesman reports, the 2-1 ruling attested that the GOP diluted minority votes in an attempt to gain more power in the state.

Wikimedia Commons

Kansas’ projected budget shortfall shrank from about $1 billion to about $900 million, after a key biannual revenue analysis predicted better than anticipated tax receipts last week.

As The Topeka Capital-Journal reports, members of the state’s consensus revenue group offered cautiously optimistic projections that followed multiple downward revisions in recent years.

Flickr Creative Commons

Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s bid for re-election next year may be in jeopardy, according to new polling numbers.

As the Dallas Morning News reports, if the race were held today, Cruz would face an uphill battle against either of his two potential Democratic rivals for the seat.

CCO Public Domain

Under President Donald Trump’s budget proposal, several Kansas cities along the Southwest Chief route would lose rail service.

As The Dodge City Globe reports, Trump’s proposal includes $2.4 billion in cuts from transportation and includes elimination of federal funding for Amtrak’s national network trains, including the Southwest Chief. Kansas cities that rely on that route include Dodge City, Garden City, Hutchinson, Lawrence, Newton and Topeka.

Fibonacci Blue / Wikimedia Commons

The Texas Senate has approved a bill that would allow government clerks to refuse to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, on religious grounds. The measure now moves to the House for a vote.

But, as Slate reports, the bill has an interesting provision that hasn’t been seen in other efforts by the Texas Senate to legislate same-sex marriage licenses.

www.ccPixs.com

The League of Kansas Municipalities is planning to push legislation that would allow greater flexibility in increasing property taxes without first seeking voter approval.

Hispanic Reading Room, Library of Congress

There is a new effort emerging In Mexico to nullify a treaty that allowed the United States to annex most of Mexico’s historic territory – what is now Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California.

As KUT Public Radio reports, backers of the effort to nullify the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo – which Mexican officials were forced to sign in 1848 at the close of the Mexican-American War – argue that the treaty violates now-accepted international legal norms, and therefore is invalid.

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

Former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the long delays in seating his replacement leaves rural America without a voice in the Trump administration.

Vilsack, a Democrat who served as USDA chief during both terms of the Obama Administration, cites President Donald Trump’s first budget proposal as an example of what happens without a Cabinet position dedicated to rural issues.

Creative Commons CC0

Colorado lawmakers heard testimony Tuesday about the financial difficulties facing much of rural Colorado, which helped a bill aimed at preventing cuts to rural communities in the state pass its first test.

As The Denver Post reports, officials from rural schools, hospitals and business groups testified about the dire financial situation facing much of rural Colorado – a situation that they fear will only get worse in coming years.

Federal judge rules Texas voter ID law discriminatory

Apr 13, 2017
DEBAIRD / CREATIVE COMMONS

A federal judge has ruled, for the second time, that Texas lawmakers intentionally discriminated against Latino and black voters in passing a strict voter identification law in 2011.

As The Texas Tribune reports, U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos ruled Monday that Texas did not meet its burden in proving that legislators passed the nation’s strictest photo ID law – Senate Bill 14 – without knowingly targeting minority voters.

U.S. SEN. JERRY MORAN, R-KANSAS

On Wednesday, U.S. Senator Jerry Moran held a town hall meeting in Garden City, where health care and education were the primary topics of discussion.

As The Garden City Telegram reports, Moran said he that while he wants every American to have access to health care, he doesn’t believe it’s guaranteed by the federal government.

KFOR

Oklahomans may soon experience deep cuts to their Medicaid subsidies, if the state decides to slash funding to the state’s Medicaid agency, reports KFOR.

The proposed cuts could result in a funding cut of as much as 25 percent. These cuts would severely hurt the state’s patients and hospitals, especially in rural areas.

Hugo Phan / KMUW

State Treasurer Ron Estes won the election to become the next Republican Congressman to represent the 4th District in Kansas. Estes defeated Democrat James Thompson by less than ten points. Libertarian Chris Rockhold was also on the ballot and drew two percent of the vote.

Elvert Barnes / Texas Tribune

The Texas Senate is considering instituting a rule that would guarantee construction workers frequent breaks, reports The Texas Tribune.

The proposed legislation is an attempt to ease hardship on Texas construction workers, who frequently endure brutal heat and other weather-driven struggles.

Wallethub

How much tax burden do residents of your state carry compared with other states?  

The personal finance website WalletHub has compiled a list of all states, comparing their various tax responsibilities.

Bob Daemmerich / Texas Tribune

After weeks of momentum, Texas “school choice” was handed a serious setback last week, in what The Dallas Morning News called “a serious, perhaps lethal blow” to the movement.

CC0 Public Domain

Under a proposal added to the Texas House budget last week, funding could go to a program to rehabilitate victims of sex trafficking.

Proposed bill would designate a state gun in Texas

Apr 11, 2017
CC0 Public Domain

Texas may soon have a state gun, joining chili as the state dish, pecan as the state tree, and Guadalupe bass as the state fish.

As The Guardian reports, there are currently three proposals to designate a state gun, one of which passed through a senate committee hearing Thursday that if passed, would make the cannon the official state gun.

Another calls for the 1847 Colt Walker pistol to be recognized as the official handgun of the Lone Star State.

Creative Commons

When it comes to support for Governor Sam Brownback’s ideas about how taxation should work in Kansas, it appears the tides have turned.

As The Wichita Eagle reports, last week Brownback proposed legislation that would have asked every person in the Sunflower State, regardless of income level, to pay a flat tax of 4.6 percent. But when the measure appeared on the floor of the State Senate, it was resoundingly rejected.

City of Garden City, KS / Garden City Regional Airport

Small towns like Garden City, Dodge City, Liberal, Hays, Great Bend and Salina, Kansas rely on a federal program that provides a subsidy to airlines that keeps air service from operating at a loss but under President Donald Trump’s budget proposal, that funding would be eliminated.

Pages