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

Bob Daemmerich / The Texas Tribune

From The Texas Tribune:

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, a San Antonio Republican, announced Wednesday he will not run for re-election. He did not rule out running for higher office.

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Texans will go to the polls soon, to vote on seven amendments to the state Constitution, and The Texas Tribune has published a quick guide to the measures.

The first proposal would authorize property tax exemptions for certain disabled veterans or their surviving spouses.

The second would grant Texans easier access to their home equity.

Argash / Wikimedia Commons

Mexico has waded into the debate over “Sanctuary Cities” in Texas, reports Bloomberg.

A representative for our southern neighbors told a U.S. appeals court that the law sowed “fear, panic, and uncertainty” among Mexicans legally living in Texas.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

A new poll shows rural support for Donald Trump has declined significantly since the President took office in January, reports Newsweek.

The numbers now show an evenly split divide, with 47 percent of rural Americans disapproving of the President’s performance and the same number approving.

The new numbers reveal an 8 percent drop in approval since the inauguration, when only 37 percent of rural Americans disapproved of the President and 55 percent approved.

The four teenagers running to be the next governor of Kansas were tested Thursday at a forum organized by their peers at Lawrence Free State High School.

Some Texas Republicans In Congress Again Outraised By Challengers

Oct 17, 2017
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.

But, as The Tulsa World reports, the special session has yet yielded only three weeks of closed-door meetings—and no answers to the budget dilemma. According to those familiar with the closed-door meetings, a deep political divide has paralyzed the process.

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 Nov. 7, 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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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