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

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The Oklahoma State Senate has approved a measure that would allow citizens to carry firearms without any kind of permit.

As the online politics journal The Hill reports, the measure passed on a vote of 33 to nine late Wednesday night, after being added to the agenda at the last minute.

House and Senate negotiators struck a tentative deal Wednesday to prevent changes in federal tax law from ratcheting up state taxes for Kansans.

The Senate wanted broader tax cuts in the same bill, but couldn’t coax the House team to go along.

Rep. Steve Johnson, who chairs the House tax committee, said his chamber didn’t want to go beyond addressing the federal impact in ways that would produce deeper cuts to state government revenue.

“It’s all of the tax cuts and these targeted tax cuts that have given us heartburn,” he said.

Texas And 6 Other States Sue To End DACA

May 3, 2018

Following through on a months-old promise, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit Tuesday to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, leading a seven-state coalition against an Obama-era immigration measure that protects hundreds of thousands of immigrants nationwide from deportation, including more than 120,000 in Texas.

Kansas lawmakers have struck a deal to end their session-long battle over Republican Gov. Jeff Colyer's plan to tighten eligibility for KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid program.

The compromise, detailed in the final budget bill of the 2018 session, blocks Colyer from implementing a work requirement and lifetime benefit cap as part of his planned “KanCare 2.0” makeover of the program. 

Marjorie Kamys Cotera: O'Rourke/Robin Jerstad: Cruz / The Texas Tribune

 "A debate in Spanish would not be very good because my Spanish isn’t good enough," U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz said at a campaign event Tuesday afternoon, "but I look forward to debating Congressman O’Rourke."

From The Texas Tribune:

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has asked a court to stop the federal government from issuing or renewing DACA permits while a lawsuit Texas filed yesterday with six other states is pending.

Gov. Jeff Colyer signed an executive order Wednesday supporting the "Ban the Box" initiative.

The new order requires state agencies to remove a checkbox from their job applications that asks whether someone has a criminal record.

In the small city of Fort Morgan, Colorado, 33-year-old Verónica delicately stacks cans of food into her mini shopping cart, strolling the narrow aisles of the Rising Up food pantry to gather eggs, milk, apples and an extra-large box of cereal.

The farm bill traditionally is a bipartisan effort, but House Republicans’ proposed changes to the main federal food-aid program in this year’s version have struck a nerve. To move it through efficiently, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says he’ll appeal to President Donald Trump.

From Texas Standard:

Texas is back in federal court making the case before a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals over the state's foster care system.

Earlier this year, U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack ordered sweeping changes to Texas foster care, which at one time she declared to be unconstitutionally endangering young Texans.  Since then, the judge has called state lawmakers' efforts to improve foster care "admirable" but insufficient.

For years, reporters in the Kansas Capitol press corps and advocates for open government pressed legislators to hide less of the workings of state government from public view.

Now, the Kansas Legislature appears ready to approve changes that would pull back the curtain — at least a tad.

There’s a Republican-authored proposal in the next farm bill that would require millions more people to work or volunteer in order to receive federal food assistance.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach got a Statehouse rebuke Friday from lawmakers even as they avoided mentioning the combative candidate for governor by name.

During a lengthy debate on a budget bill, state Rep. Russ Jennings offered what at first appeared to be just another in a series of amendments.

A federal appeals panel on Friday OK'd state lawmakers' efforts to rewrite Texas' embattled voter ID law to address discriminatory faults previously identified by the courts. 

Kansas lawmakers approved an updated $16 billion budget Saturday on a 92-24 vote as they worked through part of the weekend.

The bill amends the spending plans lawmakers approved last year, and includes some targeted increases in state government funding.

It partially restores cuts to higher education from 2016, at a cost of $12 million. It also allocates $8 million to provide raises to workers in the judicial branch.

The bill funnels more money into the state’s pension plan, KPERS, to make up for a missed $194 million payment.

nerdcoregirl / Flickr Creative Commons

In the wake of last week's controversial passage of a bill that would allow Oklahoma citizens to carry guns without any kind of permit or license, the Oklahoma House of Representatives passed another controversial bill that would allow adoption agencies to reject gay couples and other couples deemed unfit for parenthood on the basis of religious faith.

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A federal appeals court has ruled that the controversial Texas Voter ID law will be in effect for November's elections.

Last year a lower-court had ruled that the law was discriminatory, as it required voters to bring an ID to the polls in order to cast their ballots.

Poor and minority voters often do not have access to IDs, so critics saw the law as an effort by Republicans to disenfranchise voters who tend to vote Democrat.

Lucio Eastman / Wikimedia Commons

Yesterday the Oklahoma House of Representatives passed a controversial gun measure known as the “Constitutional Carry” bill.

As KFOR reports, if passed, the new law would allow anyone who owns a gun to carry it, even if they don't have a permit for it. The bill was successfully passed after much debate, on a 59-28 vote, with heavy support from Republicans. GOP Rep. Collin Walke cheered the bill’s success, saying, “We ought to be able to carry any gun whether we are licensed or not.”

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the biggest federal program aimed at breaking the cycle of poverty that millions of Americans find themselves in — sometimes for a few months, sometimes for several years.

Changes in federal tax law could actually cost some Kansans more in state taxes.

Kansas lawmakers might turn down that revenue windfall and add an election year tax cut instead. A bill they’re backing would cost roughly the same amount as a court-triggered boost to school spending.

A behind-the-scenes struggle over proposed changes to Kansas’ Medicaid program is coming down to the wire.

Republican Gov. Jeff Colyer has offered concessions. But he appears determined to stick with his proposal to make some non-disabled recipients work, or undergo job training, for their health care coverage.

Jon Hamdorf, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment official who oversees the state’s privatized Medicaid program known as KanCare, said the governor believes “very strongly that work is a pathway to independence.”

The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments today in a consolidated case challenging Texas' House maps and congressional districts. Both sets of maps were struck down by federal courts last year after judges ruled they intentionally discriminated against black and Latino voters.

From Texas Standard.

Young immigrants protected by the DACA program have been in limbo since the Obama-era program was canceled by President Trump last year.  Now we’re hearing rumblings of Republicans, including at least one from Texas, trying a new strategy to get a DACA vote in Congress.

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Two Republican lawmakers in Colorado are looking to prohibit teachers from striking, with the potential for firing, fines or even jail time if they do strike.

As The Denver Post reports, Senate Bill 264, introduced Friday, seeks to prohibit public school teachers and teachers’ organizations from being involved in a strike and would bar districts from paying teachers for any day they participate in a demonstration.

From Texas Standard:

The Amarillo City Council’s no clapping policy is designed to maintain order at council meetings, but some say the rule is unconstitutional. Instead of clapping, people are instructed to raise their hands to signal agreement or keep their hands down to signal disagreement.

Josh Harbour / special to Kansas News Service

Ashley Leal parks in front of the Plains, Kansas, Community Library. It’s about to close, but she doesn’t care. She pulls out her blue laptop.

“I’m ... using the Wi-Fi,” Leal says with a laugh.

Her home internet was so slow, she came to the library parking lot. Cars often idle there in the evening while their drivers tap into a plodding, but treasured, link to the internet.

“I’m just thankful that we have somewhere to go,” Leal says.

It’s the only free internet in this small western Kansas town. For many people, it’s the only internet, period. Surprisingly, part of the problem and the solution, for rural areas may lie in Netflix traffic.

A pro-gun rally on the south side of the Kansas Statehouse drew about 200 people to Topeka on Friday morning as students around the country walked out of class to protest gun violence.

The rally was organized by the Kansas State Rifle Association and the NRA.

Speakers repeated familiar slogans, arguing that "only a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun," that progressives want to repeal the Second Amendment, and that if people are old enough to serve in the military, they're old enough to conceal carry.

National Atlas / Wikimedia Commons

A Texas voting case currently before the Supreme Court could change the shape of districts in the Lone Star State and affect the power balance in the State Legislature.

As The Houston Chronicle reports, the case concerns gerrymandering, which is the practice of redrawing voting districts to favor one political party. Democrats have charged that, following the 2010 census, Texas Republicans redrew the maps to favor their own real elections and give themselves a larger majority in the statehouse.

From Texas Standard.

At Amarillo City Council meetings, clapping is a sign of rebellion. And citizens are called out for doing it.

Mayor Ginger Nelson recently enforced the city’s no clapping policy.

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