HPPR Government & Politics

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USDA Official To Farmers: Please Be Patient

Apr 8, 2018

It was an appropriate week for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s trade expert to address a gaggle of Nebraska farmers — even if their responses tended toward frustration.

Kansas officials have received a court order Friday to expedite their takeover of 15 financially troubled nursing homes. State regulators say they need to move quickly to protect hundreds of elderly and disabled Kansans who reside in the facilities.

It was an appropriate week for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s trade expert to address a gaggle of Nebraska farmers — even if their responses tended toward frustration.

Ted McKinney arrived in Omaha on Wednesday, the day China threatened to impose tariffs on 106 U.S. products including major exports like soybeans, beef and corn. China’s move came after the Trump administration’s attempt to reign in China’s abuse of intellectual property rules by proposing tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports.

If the proposals become reality they could undermine a stagnant farm economy, and not just in Nebraska. “We have bills to pay and debts we must settle and cannot afford to lose any market,” Kansas Farm Bureau President Richard Felts said in a statement.

From Texas Standard.

Democrat Beto O’Rourke has raised $6.7 million so far this year from 141,000 contributions in his race to unseat incumbent Republican Sen. Ted Cruz. The Cruz camp hasn’t released fresh numbers yet, but a filing deadline is coming up April 15.

China has announced its intent to add additional tariffs to 106 U.S. products, including several of Kansas’ top agricultural exports.

A federal judge has ordered Texas officials to comply with the National Voter Registration Act and motor voter laws.

The order could affect an estimated 1.5 million Texans.

Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services

Kansas is no longer considering Dighton as the site for its new sexual predator reintegration facility.

As the Hutchinson News reports, the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, was considering putting the facility in the former Diamond View Estates assisted-living home.

The Kansas House has had its say on school finance — putting the ball in the Senate’s court.

Republicans in the Kansas House have unveiled a school funding proposal to send an added half billion dollars to local districts in the next five years. A committee advanced the plan Wednesday night to the full House for consideration.

Andrew Whalley

A census question on citizenship could undercount populations in states with large numbers of poor and/or Hispanic residents — states like Texas. And an undercount would cut into the state's representation, and its federal services.

From The Texas Tribune:

Counting is one thing. Culling is something else entirely.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach committed ethical violations during the just-completed trial over the state’s voter registration law, a Kansas immigration lawyer alleges in a bar complaint.

 

On Monday, the Ford County Farm Bureau, held a meet and greet forum with candidates for Kansas Governor at the Dodge City Community College.

In attendance were Democrats Arden Andersen, Carl Brewer, and Josh Svaty, Republicans Jim Barnett, and Ken Seltzer and Libertarian Jeff Caldwell. Governor Colyer sent deputy secretary of agriculture, Jackie McClaskey, as his representative and Kris Kobach’s running mate Wink Hartman attended in Kobach’s place.

Candidates were asked questions about western Kansas, agriculture, and the future of the state.

The Kansas Senate has passed a bill that increases the penalties for people who make “swatting” calls.

The bill was sparked by a swatting incident in December in which Andrew Finch was killed by Wichita Police responding to a fake call about a hostage situation at his address.

Swatting involves making a false 911 call to draw law enforcement to an address.

Finch was shot when he came onto his porch to investigate the police activity outside. Police have said Finch disobeyed police commands and was reaching towards his waistband when he was shot.

Lawmakers in the Kansas House rejected an effort Monday to allow medical marijuana in the state.

But they advanced a plan to allow the sale of some products made from cannabis — if the high-producing compounds have been removed.

The discussion over legalizing cannabis for medical purposes came as lawmakers considered regular updates to the state’s drug laws.

Even in the wake of national and local protests, students and others pushing for tighter gun laws say, state and federal lawmakers from Kansas refuse to tackle even “common sense” firearm rules.

Thousands rallied across the state over the weekend. They called for stronger background checks. They pushed an assault weapons ban. And they pleaded for laws to extract guns from homes where suicide and domestic violence appear imminent.

Creative Commons CC0

A GOP proposal to allow people to carry concealed guns without a permit died in a House committee Wednesday.

As The Denver Post reports, Senate Bill 97 failed in the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs failed by a 6-3, party-line vote, after passing the Republican-controlled Senate.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz's presidential campaign was assured the much-touted data firm it used during the 2016 race, Cambridge Analytica, was operating above the board, the U.S. senator said Tuesday, weighing in as the company faced growing scrutiny over its practices.

Kansas Lawmakers moved Tuesday to make a bill to release information about the deaths of children in state custody more transparent.

In response to several high-profile cases where a child had been brought to the attention of the Department for Children and Families and later died, the bill requires the agency to release information about kids who die as a result of abuse or neglect.

This story was updated at 5:26 p.m. to include the comments of Planned Parenthood Great Plains' regional director of public policy. 

The state of Kansas wants the United States Supreme Court to review a decision preventing it from terminating its Medicaid contract with Planned Parenthood.

In a petition filed on Thursday, it argues that a federal appeals court was wrong when it decided that Medicaid patients have a right to challenge a state’s termination of their Medicaid provider.

Kansas lawmakers are considering creating a watchdog based outside the state’s child welfare agency, but with access to inside information.

A bill to create a child advocate to review the Department for Children and Families comes after years of horror stories of abused children who ended up injured, missing or dead.

50states.com

Last week, a bill that would raise hunting and fishing fees in Colorado passed the Colorado Senate.

As The Denver Post reports, the Senate unanimously passed the measure, which would allow Colorado Parks and Wildlife to raise fees – as well as the price for park passes - to support conservation programs and chip away at a $45 million maintenance backlog on 11 dams owned by the division.

A Kansas House committee on Thursday recommended the legalization of medicinal supplements containing cannabidiol, CBD, a marijuana extract used by some to control seizures and pain.

It also moved to keep an herbal stimulant, kratom, legal in Kansas.

USDA

Farmers are going to attempt to appeal to President Donald Trump about his trade policies via television.

As Politico reports, the 30-second ad is sponsored by  Farmers for Free Trade, an advocacy group that wanted to make the case that foreign retaliation to Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum and other pending trade restrictions will have a potentially devastating impact on their exports, if China and other trading powers decide to boost tariffs on soybeans, wheat and other farm goods.

An effort by conservatives to protect what they see as an assault on free speech on college campuses fell to defeat by the narrowest of margins Thursday in the Kansas Senate.

The bill — inspired by the canceling of conservative speakers’ appearances at some elite schools across the country in recent years — would eliminate “free-speech zones” designated for demonstrations. Some critics have seen such zones as a way of moving politically unpopular perspectives out of view.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture tossed out a set of proposed changes this week that would have redefined living conditions for dairy and beef cattle, sheep, lamb, poultry and egg-laying chickens on certified organic farms.

A panel of three appellate judges ruled Tuesday that most of the state’s immigration enforcement legislation, Senate Bill 4, can remain in effect while the case plays out, handing a victory to Gov. Greg Abbott and Republican supporters of the legislation.

CC0 Creative Commons

The Oklahoma Senate has passed a law that would make it legal for adoption companies to refuse services to same-sex couples.

As The Tulsa World reports, the measure passed by a vote of 35-9 and now heads to the House for consideration. LGBTQ advocacy groups decried the Senate vote.

The mere threat of launching debate on Medicaid expansion in Kansas has caged up a measure to suspend, rather than terminate, coverage for people while they’re locked up.

Wikimedia Commons

Oklahoma lawmakers are looking at expanding the state’s Stand Your Ground law to include places of worship.

As KOSU reports, the law known as Stand Your Ground gives people who kill or seriously wound someone in self-defense immunity from prosecution — even if they didn’t try to evade the danger first.

Legislators are looking to expand the law to cover churches, synagogues and mosques and any other “building, structure or office space … used for worship services.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is defending Kansas' strict voter registration laws in federal court in a trial that has now entered its second week.

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