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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Colorado lawmakers Thursday announced Thursday an agreement to avoid massive cuts to the state’s hospitals.

As The Denver Post reports, the measure would reverse a planned $528 million cut to hospitals, while boosting funding to roads and schools.

amarillo.com

Amarilloans head to the polls tomorrow to cast their votes in city-wide elections.

According to The Amarillo Globe-News, early-voting turnout has been stronger this election than in the last three Amarillo elections.

Avery White / Oceti Sakowin Camp / Creative Commons

A bill is making its way through the Oklahoma Legislature that would result in stiff penalties for some activists who protest on state land.

As StateImpact Oklahoma reports, House Bill 1123 would outlaw trespassing on what the legislation calls “critical infrastructure,” a blanket term that includes dams, water treatment and chemical plants, to oil and gas hubs, petroleum refineries and storage facilities.

Colorado budget bill heads to governor's desk

May 4, 2017
50states.com

Colorado’s $26.8 billion state budget bill headed to Gov. John Hickenlooper’s desk Wednesday after the Senate approved the final version on a 33-1 vote.

As The Denver Post reports, the Senate approved the final version of the budget despite reservations about a move to balance the budget by cutting $264 million from hospitals – a move that is worth double that once federal matching dollars are added.

Texas Tribune

This week the Texas Senate gave the nod to new legislation known as the Sandra Bland Act, named for the black woman who was found hanged in a cell while in police custody two years ago.

STEPHEN KORANDA

Kansas House leaders have delayed a vote on a tax proposal after some members of the chamber had questions about the bill. The plan would reinstate a third income tax bracket and raise income tax rates. The bill would also reinstate income taxes for thousands of business owners.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr / KUT

A recent poll found that, in a head-to-head matchup, sitting U.S. Senator Ted Cruz would lose to Democratic challenger Rep. Joaquin Castro if the election were held today.

Now, as POLITICO reports, that scenario appears to be an impossibility. Castro announced this week that he would not run for the Senate, instead remaining in the House to focus on national security issues.

The Denver Post

A ballot measure approved by Colorado voters in November is being challenged in federal court.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / Texas Tribune

While most Texans were asleep in their beds last Thursday, the Texas House of Representatives tentatively approved a Senate bill that would make so-called “sanctuary” cities illegal in the Lone Star State.

As The Texas Tribune reports, the 93-54 vote fell along party lines. The approval came at three a.m., after 16 hours of contentious and sometimes even tearful debate.

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.

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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.

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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.

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