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

ocpathink.org

Gov. Sam Brownback says Kansas has the best tax environment in the nation for small businesses, however 57% of business owners say state and local taxes are too high despite state tax cuts reported Bryan Lowry for the Wichita Eagle.

forward-now.com

Jennifer Winn is a Republican and a co-owner of a family landscaping business in Wichita.  She also wants to be the next governor of Kansas according to a recent article in the Wichita Eagle.  

What the Kansas Legislature Is Facing This Session

Jan 13, 2014
khi.org

Here are the issues facing Kansas legislature according to the Wichita Eagle:

  • Abortion.  State lawmakers have passed some of the most stringent laws, and there is little left to add without being in direct conflict with the Supreme Court.  The Wichita-based Kansas Coalition for Life is expected to push again for a law to outlaw abortion as soon as a fetal heartbeat can be detected, about five to six weeks into a pregnancy.

texasescapes.com

Challenges to create the Santa Fe Railway Historical Museum became too much for the board behind the effort, and they recently voted to disband according to the Amarillo Globe-News.

Todd Wiseman / texastribune.org

Kinky Friedman, singer, humorist, novelist, and hawker of tequila, is trying to the third time to add “elected official” to the list.  The 69 year old has tossed his black cowboy hat into the ring to become agriculture commissioner according to an article in the Texas Tribune.

Legislative Scorecards: Voter Beware

Jan 12, 2014
motherjones.com

A recent article from the Texas Tribune offers a word of caution to voters.  Political scorecards are to politicians what consumer and auto review magazines are to car makers.  So voters, just like buying a car, it’s buyer beware.

Todd Wiseman / texastribune.org

Texas Right to Life creates a scorecard that gives lawmakers a grade based on anti-abortion and end-of-life issue voting.  The card holds quite a bit of weight with Republicans, and the way they vote reported Becca Aaronson for The Texas Tribune

denverpost.com

The Denver Post reported the Colorado Legislature will open the legislative session facing these issues:

  • Education.  How to finance education with the failure of Amendment 66.  With significant reserves in the state education fund, lawmakers could use this pot of money to initiate some of the bill's more popular elements, such as a rolling student count system rather than a single count day for purposes of school funding. A financial transparency website that tracks money to the individual school level also proved popular.
  • Flood recovery.  September's floods impacted 24 counties and killed 10 people. To date, millions of dollars in state and federal money have gone toward the disaster recovery.
  • Gun Battles.  Republicans will attempt to "reform, rescind or revise" some of the gun bills. 

Jim Wilson / nytimes.com

Hawaii may seem a long way from the High Plains, but there are lessons to be learned from Greggor Ilagan’s quest to find the facts about genetically modified organisms.  

lp.org

The first contest in the race to be the next governor of Kansas is weeks away, but the Libertarian contest is off most people’s radar.

A social media use policy adopted by the Kansas Board of Regents is drawing criticism from university faculty and education groups, who claim the new rule raises First Amendment and academic freedom concerns.

Marjorie Cotera / Jennifer Whitney / Callie Richmond / Spencer Selvidge

Spanish-speakers now make up nearly one-third of the population of Texas, and political observes say that's an important factor for politicians to consider during the upcoming 2014 election season.

Watch out Kobach, Schodorf’s in the Race

Dec 24, 2013
blogs.kansas.com

The office of state secretary is usually a quiet position, operating under the theory that no publicity is good.  Kansas secretary of state Kris Kobach has turned that philosophy on its ear.  Kobach is the outspoken lightning rod that has worked to reform voter registration in Kansas, and helped Arizona and Alabama write laws to crack down on illegal immigration reported Brad Cooper for the Kansas City Star.  That’s gotten him national attention.

ksn.com

This is Sandy Praeger’s final year as Kansas insurance commissioner.  Praeger has a national reputation for expertise on health care issues and a lengthy, unbroken string of election victories as a Republican in a GOP-leaning state, however on one issue she seems to stand alone. 

National Geographic / geomorphologyresearch.files.wordpress.com

Colorado, Nebraska, and Kansas recently agreed to a pipeline to help solve the Republican River water dispute.  The pipeline would carry irrigation water pumped out of the aquifer north of Wray and deliver it to the North Fork of the Republican River near the Nebraska state line reported the Denver Post.

blog.tenthamendmentcenter.com

Seventeen Texas Panhandle schools are subject to federal sanctions, which could include closure, because of their poor performance.  The group is in the bottom 15 percent of Title I in the state according to the Amarillo Globe-News.

Michael Ciaglo / The Colorado Springs Gazette

Some sheriffs are refusing to enforce the new gun laws in Colorado reported Erica Goode for the New York Times.  

Quentin Hope

While the Kansas legislature and local school districts may be at odds over school funding, there may be common ground in a proposal to fund full-day kindergarten, according to a story from the Wichita Eagle.  The state now funds only half-days.

Texas Election 2014: Election Brackets

Dec 15, 2013
texastribune.org

It’s the 2014 Texas Election version of March Madness brackets.  The brackets will take you from candidate filings, to March primaries, May runoffs, and finally to the grand finale-- the November general election.

Your Texas election tool from the Texas Tribune can be found here.  

thecontributor.com

Lax Texas ethics laws don’t require politicians to disclose pension income, so virtually no one knew Rick Perry was double dipping until he ran for president and had to comply with more stringent federal disclosure laws.

musicmotion.com

The reduction of testing and change in graduation requirements are parts yet to be implement of Texas House Bill 5, however the attendance requirement was immediately implemented according to KUT News

kaiserhealthnews.org

15 years ago 46 states and the nation’s major tobacco companies came to a multi-billion dollar settlement.  The purpose of the action was to ultimately reduce smoking.

denverpost.com

Deer Trail, Colorado has postponed voting on drone hunting until December 10 reported the Denver Post.  Mayor Frank Fields said the previous date was too close to the November election.

Deer Trail residents will be deciding upon approval of an ordinance allowing unmanned aircraft to be shot down.  

zuoda.net

The “Point of Rocks” monument outside Dodge City is a regional landmark: a rock outcropping with a silhouetted steel band of horsemen announcing you’re in Dodge City.  However, a $69 million dollar highway improvement project could mean the leveling of the icon according to The Kansas City Star.

outsidethebeltway.com

There are 48 statewide candidates who have filed, or say they are going to run for office in Texas.  10 agreed to release their last three tax returns according to the Texas Tribune.

Sherman County Sheriff Pays For K9

Dec 4, 2013
amarillo.com

Sherman County Sheriff Joe Powell purchased a K9 with his own money Mollie Bryant reported for The Amarillo Globe News.

ronforkansas.com

Rep. Ron Ryckman Jr, R-Olathe, has been appointed to succeed Rep Brian Weber, R- Dodge City, as the chair of the House Social Services Budget Committee according to the Kansas Health Institute.

See the top entries and vote for your favorite!

biatrainingsolutions.com

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt recently advised state election officials that guns will have to be allowed in some polling places, but can be banned in others reported Dion Lefler for the Wichita Eagle.

Phil Cauthon / Kansas Health Institute

Legislators set for second half of two-year cycle for the first time in decades

For the first time since 1954, when Kansas legislators return to Topeka in January, they’ll be dealing with the state budget in a different way according to the Kansas Health Institute.  

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