HPPR Government & Politics

Government:
state government (executive, legislative & judicial)
local government (city & county)
regional agencies & authorities
policies
budgets & taxes
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Politics:
district-level and statewide office campaigns
legislative proposals
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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.

Kansas Supreme Court faces major rulings in 2017

Jan 13, 2017

Kansas Supreme Court Seated left to right: Hon. Marla J. Luckert, Hon. Lawton R. Nuss, Chief Justice; Hon. Carol A. Beier. Standing left to right: Hon. Dan Biles, Hon. Eric S. Rosen, Hon. Lee A. Johnson, and Hon. Caleb Stegall.Credit Kansas Judicial BranchEdit | Remove

The Kansas Supreme Court is facing a docket of major rulings in 2017.

Chuck Grimmett / Creative Commons

The future of legalized marijuana isn’t certain as President-elect Donald Trump enters the White House. 

As The Economist reports, over half of the states in the union have legalized marijuana in some form or another. Pot remains illegal under federal law, however, so any pot shop could technically be shut down at any time.

Jay Janner / Austin American-Statesman

A federal judge has now ordered Texas officials to create several plans to fix the systemic problems that have plagued the state’s foster care system for years. Some of the proposed fixes will be due in as little as three months from now.

50states.com

The Colorado Legislature begins the 2017 term today with what The Denver Post describes as a daunting to-do list and divided chambers.

The issues facing this year’s Legislature include questions on how to improve the state’s roads, how to put more dollars in the classroom and how to boost the state’s economy.

As they seek compromise on how to best tackle these areas, The Denver Post reports, there are 10 issues facing lawmakers during the 2017 session.

Wikimedia Commons

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback wants to increase taxes on alcohol and cigarettes, among other things, to fill the state’s $378 million budget shortfall.

As The Kansas City Star reports, Shawn Sullivan, Brownback’s budget director, presented the governor’s tax and budget proposals to lawmakers yesterday.

U.S. State Department

The outgoing head of the Environmental Protection Agency said this week that one of her biggest regrets was her agency’s failure to connect with rural America.

The NPR Politics team and reporters across the newsroom will be live-annotating a news conference with President-elect Donald Trump, expected at 11 am ET/8am PT on Wednesday. We will be fact-checking and providing background to his remarks in real-time. We will be paying special attention to any comments about conflicts of interest, health care and national security.

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Wikimedia Commons

In his State of the State address last night, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback talked about the state budget, Medicaid, the need for additional medical and dental care, and school funding, among other things.

Brownback said Budget Director shawn Sullivan would be presenting a "structurally balanced budget" today that Brownback described as balanced, in that it reconciles spending with available revenue and supports the core functions of state government.

Brownback also called for lawmakers to address the imbalance between state revenues and expenditures.

The NPR Politics team and reporters across the newsroom will be live-annotating President Obama's farewell address in Chicago on Tuesday night, scheduled to begin at 9 pm ET/6pm ET. The team will be adding fact-checks and background to Obama's comments as he gives them. We'll be watching in particular for remarks on his legacy, national security, health care and foreign policy, among other topics.

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Marjorie Kamys Cotera / Texas Tribune

The Texas Legislature gavels in its 2017 session today. To get the new session rolling, let’s take a look back at the biggest Texas political stories of the 2016 session.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Soon-to-be-former Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack will join team dairy after he leaves his position as secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

As Politico reports, Vilsack will become president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council.

Oklahoma Watch

Five years ago in Oklahoma, the GOP-held legislature redrew district boundaries to more heavily favor the Republican party. Since that time, the Republicans have seen a ten percent increase in the number of seats they control in Oklahoma. The GOP now controls almost 80 percent of statehouse seats.

IADA / Creative Commons

We’ve heard a lot of talk about how the Rust Belt helped Donald Trump win the presidency. But , as The Hill reports, it appears the Corn Belt may have been an even bigger help to the new president than their more industrial counterparts.

Jhaymesisviphotography / Creative Commons

Last month two Texas lawmakers filed legislation to battle cyberbullying in Texas schools. The bill seemed like a home run—no one wants children to be bullied on the Internet. Cyberbullying can lead to low self-esteem, and even suicide.

Billogs / Creative Commons

In the wake of the election of Donald Trump, there’s been a focus in the U.S. on the rural-urban divide. There has been much talk of the Electoral College, a mechanism that gives rural voters an outsize voice in American elections—and you’d be forgiven for thinking that this rural-urban schism is a strictly American phenomenon, when it comes to politics.

The ruling on the controversial fetal burial rule has been delayed until later this month after the U.S. district judge who issued a temporary restraining order last month to keep the rule from going into effect, extended the order until Jan. 27.

50states.com

Colorado’s retirement system for the state’s employees is causing some to worry about its stability.

As The Denver Post reports, just six years after the Colorado Legislature approved changes aimed at shoring up the state pension fund, the stability of the public employment retirement account (PERA) is again under scrutiny.

The highly criticized supply-side tax cuts in Kansas that have resulted in a $350 million-deficit in the current fiscal year’s budget are front and center in the legislative budget debate.

Pixabay

A federal regulation that took effect Jan. 1 will only allow livestock feed and water laced with antibiotics to be used only under a veterinarian’s supervision.

Tulsa World

As we enter the new year, Oklahoma political headlines have been dominated by the sexual harassment allegations surrounding State Rep. Dan Kirby, and the charge that Kirby used public money to settle the lawsuit from his former assistant.

Now, as The Tulsa World reports, it appears there may be little recourse to punish Kirby.

Creative Commons

A federal judge in Texas has rejected the Obama administration’s efforts to protect the health rights of transgender Americans.

As The Guardian reports, social conservatives took issue with the law, saying it would force doctors to violate their religious beliefs. US district judge Reed O’Connor agreed.

Some big names in Colorado politics are already eyeing the 2018 governor’s race.

Oklahoma State Auditor & Inspector website

Oklahoma’s state auditor has called on legislators to repeal a law that would lower the state income tax.

As KOCO reports, State Auditor Gary Jones said that even though lowering taxes is politically popular, lawmakers should stop paying attention to politics and do what’s best for the State of Oklahoma.

Bob Daemmerich / Texas Tribune

President-elect Donald Trump appears to be closing in on a choice to head the Agriculture Department in his administration—and a few Texans are at the top of the list.

As Politico reports, Trump will meet with Former Texas A&M University President Elsa Murano today at the president-elect’s Florida resort, known as Mar-a-Lago. Trump also plans to speak tomorrow with controversial Texas ag commissioner Sid Miller.

Wikimedia Commons

As Kansas lawmakers look for ways to control the growth in the sexual predator treatment program, the state’s attorney general is planning tougher penalties for buyers of sex.

www.electoralintegrityproject.com / The Electoral Integrity Project PEI-US 2016 (1.0)

Amid the partisan rancor of election 2016, the system of American democracy has come under increased scrutiny.

Last week, North Carolina drew national attention when a group of experts found that, when it comes to election integrity, the state ranks alongside such questionable democracies as Cuba, Indonesia and Sierra Leone.

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