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

An irrigation system waters soybean plants in a field near Larned, as seen in this file photo from 2011.Credit Sandra J. Milburn / The Hutchinson NewsEdit | Remove

TOPEKA – Garden City Mayor Chris Law wasn’t in Topeka Tuesday, but he would have liked what was said.

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On Monday, a Republican lawmaker announced a bill that would allow victims of certain crimes committed by illegal immigrants to sue politicians who refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

As The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/2017/01/30/crime-victims-sue-politicians-sanctuary-cities/ reports, the proposal targets “sanctuary cities” like Denver, Boulder and Aurora, where police and other officials have said they won’t enforce federal immigration laws.

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Military retirees in Colorado could enjoy a lot more financial security in the future if a tax relief bill heard at the statehouse today keeps moving forward.

As the Prowers Journal reports, Senate Bill 75, authored by Senator Larry Crowder, R-Alamosa, eliminates current caps on how much military retirees are able to deduct from federal taxable income.

Feed & Grain

Many in the ag sector were cheered by Donald Trump’s selection of former Georgia Governor sonny Perdue to head the USDA. But now, as The Guardian reports, there is growing concern that Perdue will focus on global agribusiness to the detriment of American family farms.

Perdue’s history suggests he will prioritize the exporting of commodity crops for global markets. But this presents a couple of questions.

KFOR

An Oklahoma lawmaker is hoping to bring the Earned Income Tax Credit back to the Sooner State.

Until last year, the credit was a welcome relief for many low-income Oklahomans, by preventing them from paying more than their share of income tax. But, as KFOR reports, the Earned Income Tax Credit was abolished last year as part of an effort to plug the state’s $1.3 billion budget gap.

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A bill being proposed in the Nebraska Legislature would protect Nebraskans from being sued over just a few hundred dollars in debt.

As ProPublica reports, a Nebraska lawmaker has introduced a bill that would curb what collectors can take from debtors after filing suit and obtaining a court judgment.

Federal court blocks Texas' fetal burial rule

Jan 31, 2017

A federal court has blocked Texas’s controversial fetal burial rule from going into effect.

As The Texas Tribune reports, U.S. District Court Judge Sam Sparks ruled last week that Texas cannot require health providers to bury or cremate fetuses, delivering another blow to state leaders in the reproductive rights debate.

In his ruling Friday, Sparks wrote that the Texas Department of State Health rule’s vagueness, undue burden and potential for irreparable harm were factors in his decision.

Roberts: First farm bill hearing to be held in Kansas

Jan 30, 2017
Sandra J. Milburn / The Hutchinson News

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The nation's first farm bill hearing will take place in Kansas.

Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, the chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, and ranking member Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan announced the hearing on the 2018 farm bill Wednesday.

According to a press release from the committee, the hearing will be Feb. 23 at McCain Auditorium on the Kansas State University campus in Manhattan.

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Some regulatory freezes instituted by President Donald Trump could be damaging to the country’s farm belt, according to some agricultural groups.

As Reuters reports, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will delay implementation of this year’s biofuels requirements along with 29 other regulations finalized in the last weeks of Barack Obama’s presidency, according to a government notice, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture will delay rules affecting livestock.

polhudson.lohudblogs.com

A bill that would increase the penalty for texting while driving is gaining traction in Colorado after friends of a couple killed in an accident caused by texting and driving testified at the state capitol.

As The Denver Post reports, friends of Brian and Jacque Lehner, who were killed when a woman who was driving drunk and texting on her phone struck the couple’s motorcycle, told lawmakers Wednesday that it’s time to stiffen the penalties for doing so.

Chelsea Beck/NPR

President Trump tweets a lot. With tens of millions of followers on Twitter, Trump proposes policy, shares his latest actions and reacts to the news. But 140 characters rarely gives the full context. Here, we attempt to do just that for key tweets.

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A surprising number of Republicans support legalization of marijuana.

Quartz reports showed that 60 percent of Americans support legalization of marijuana, including 42 percent of Republicans, some of whom live in conservative states or even serve in their state’s legislature.

Texas is among five states with current marijuana reform bills that have been introduced for consideration in upcoming sessions.

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This week the United States Supreme Court rejected an appeal from the State of Texas that would have restored the state’s controversial voter ID law.

As The New York Times reports, Chief Justice John Roberts left the door open for the Supreme Court to consider the case after further proceedings in the lower courts.

Grace Hood / Harvest Public Media

Employees of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s main research arm, the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), received an email from the division’s chief of staff ordering them to stop publicizing their work.

“Starting immediately and until further notice, ARS will not release any public-facing documents,” the email from Sharon Drumm reads, in part. “This includes, but is not limited to, news releases, photos, fact sheets, news feeds, and social media content.”

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

President Obama’s two-term agriculture secretary will soon slip through one of Washington’s revolving doors and switch from government official to private sector executive eager to push for an industry agenda.  

Former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Tuesday that his first job outside the Cabinet will be heading up a dairy industry trade group that pushes for access to foreign markets, the U.S. Dairy Export Council.

Feds reject Kansas' request to extend KanCare

Jan 23, 2017
KanCare.ks.gov

Federal officials have rejected Kansas’ request to extend KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid program, saying it has failed to meet federal standards and risked the health and safety of enrollees.

As reported by The Wichita Eagle, federal investigators reviewed the state’s Medicaid plan in October and found that Kansas is “substantively out of compliance with Federal statutes and regulations, as well as its Medicaid State Plan,” according to a letter sent to the state Jan. 13 from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

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This weekend, hundreds of thousands of supporters of women’s rights will gather in the nation’s capital to try to ensure that their voices are heard and their interests considered by the Trump administration. But hundreds of smaller events are planned on the statewide level as well.

As NewsOk reports, Oklahomans are expected to rally Saturday in Oklahoma City. About the rally, Lindsey Kanaly, an Oklahoma City attorney, said, “We can no longer complain on Facebook, and here is a chance to actually do something.”

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Donald Trump is now the 45th president of the United States. NPR reporters and editors across the newsroom have annotated his inaugural address. 

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After a long wait that caused no shortage of nervous fidgeting among the ag sector, Donald Trump has finally selected a candidate for Secretary of Agriculture.

Please join us for Special Coverage of the Presidential Inauguration on Friday, January 20, 2017 from 8 am to 3 pm CT.  NPR's Steve Inskeep and Audie Cornish will co-host the coverage from the West Front of the Capitol in Washington, DC, overlooking the presidential platform. The program will feature the swearing in of the President and Vice President, speeches, interviews, live reports from around the Capitol and the National Mall, and analysis from NPR’s Political Team.

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Several Amarilloans - supporters, and detractors alike - Amarillo are attending Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration ceremony in Washington today.

As the Amarillo Globe-News reports, a number of Amarilloans are in Washington D.C. for Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration – some to celebrate, others merely to speculate.

Tom Mechler, state chair for the Republican Party of Texas, arrived in the nation’s capital on Tuesday.

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Trump’s pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency appears to have shelved a pollution lawsuit after receiving large cash amounts from the companies doing the polluting.

Chuck Grimmett / Creative Commons

Marijuana sales taxes could rise as much as 50 percent if the Colorado Legislature approves a measure proposed by Gov. John Hickenlooper on Tuesday to help bridge the gap in school funding.

Sarah Craig/Faces of Fracking / Flickr Creative Commons

In response to the fracking boom, the Obama administration set forth regulations to limit fracking on public and tribal lands. The rules marked the administrations most concerted efforts to control the controversial method of extracting oil and gas. But those regulations have been challenged by oil-friendly states, and have been stalled in federal court for years.

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Immigrant advocates are formulating a plan to deal with if and when Donald Trump’s administration executes his deportation strategy.

According to The Guardian, one such resistance movement in Austin, Texas, centers on a reverend ready to create a physical barrier between undocumented immigrants and immigration enforcement agencies.

findyourspot.com

Amarillo Mayor Paul Harpole announced Tuesday that he will not be seeking re-election.

In a press conference Tuesday, Harpole said he felt it was time he stepped down to allow for new leadership.

As The Amarillo Globe reports, Harpole made the announcement, which has been expected for several months, that he would not seek a fourth term in May’s election.

50states.com

As Democratic lawmakers in Colorado push back against the GOP’s attempt to repeal Obamacare, some Coloradans who benefited from it are wondering what it will be replaced with.

City of Gonzalez

The Lone Star State has long been known as a gun-friendly state. But now, as KVUE reports, Texas may soon have an official state gun.

State Sen. Don Huffines has filed a Resolution suggesting that the cannon should named the official gun of Texas. The bill states, in part, that the cannon “has been an important weapon in the state's fight for liberty and independence as well as a symbol of the defiance and determination of its people.”

AP PHOTO

In his State of the State address Thursday, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper proposed boosting rural access to high-speed Internet.

To boost economic development in rural areas, one of the governor’s proposals is to create an office focused on expanding broadband Internet access to the 30 percent or so rural households in the state that don’t have it, with an overall goal of ensuring that 100 percent of rural houses have it by 2020.

Austin American-Statesman

The Texas Legislature reconvened for the new session this week, amid speeches and plenty of pomp. But, as The Austin American-Statesman reports, the ceremony belied simmering tensions in the Lone Star State’s governing body.

During the recess strains began to build over hot button issues like transgender bathrooms, abortion, immigration, school policy, and religious practices.

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