HPPR Government & Politics

Government:
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From Texas Standard.

There are a lot of stereotypes about Texas but the one about being the reddest of the red states may be about to become less accurate. Karen Tumulty is a veteran reporter – now political columnist – for the Washington Post. In her latest column she writes Texas could turn a little bit bluer in 2018.

It’s been a while since Kansas Democrats had much to celebrate -- but party leaders are expecting an overflow crowd this weekend for their annual convention.

New U.S. dietary recommendations are in the works. And for the first time in 30 years, the federal government is seeking public comment about what belongs on the plate.

“This is fabulous because we have so many experts in the field of nutrition and diet and health and I think they can all weigh in to suggest questions about what needs to be addressed,” says Joan Salge Blake, a clinical associate professor of nutrition at Boston University.

Campo / Wikimedia Commons

If you want to find a place in Texas where conservatives are bucking the state’s rightward shift of recent years, look no further than the Texas Panhandle—at least that’s what The Dallas Morning-News alleged in a recent commentary.

From Texas Standard:

We now know that Texas is among the states whose election systems were compromised by Russian hackers before the 2016 elections. The fear is that it will happen again in 2018. On Tuesday, outgoing NSA Chief and head of the military's Cyber Command, Michael Rogers, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee that the administration had given Rogers' agency no orders related to preventing further Russian meddling. But some states are denying that interference occurred, or that it was successful.

Officials with the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services said Thursday that a staff member improperly disclosed personal information for 11,000 people in an email sent to multiple addresses.

A national organization seeking to create a new moderate political party is teaming up with a grassroots effort in Kansas attempting to do the same.

Wikimedia Commons

A group known as “Moms Demand Action” gathered at the Oklahoma State Capitol this week to seek action on multiple gun measures.

As KFOR reports, the group was focused on three separate proposed measures: a bill concerning guns on campus, one about permit-less carry, and another bill that would expand protections under the self-defense law known as ‘stand your ground.’”

DonkeyHotey / Flickr Creative Commons

A Democratic political wave may be gaining speed in Texas, according to the Capitol Hill political newspaper The Hill.

Thus far, in early primary voting, more Democratic voters than Republicans have cast ballots ahead of next month’s primary elections in Texas.

If you’re a renter in Texas, there may be a clause in your lease you haven’t noticed: a landlord’s lien. The clause gives your landlord the right to come into your home and take your personal belongings if you fail to pay rent.

Wink Hartman, who last week dropped from the Kansas governor’s race and backed Kris Kobach, said he’s offered his arena to the National Rifle Association for its upcoming national convention.

The offer looks to be more gesture than prospective deal. The Hartman Arena in Wichita suburb Park City holds 6,500, about two thirds the capacity of the venue where the NRA convention currently plans to meet in Dallas.

Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead

President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday that Texans should vote for Gov. Greg Abbott, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, Attorney General Ken Paxton and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick in March.

From The Texas Tribune:

Eight top Republican statewide elected officials in Texas have the support of President Donald Trump. 

From Texas Standard.

A bill targeting online sex trafficking is up for a vote today in the U.S. House. Authors of the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, or FOSTA, say it would make it easier for underage victims or prosecutors to hold websites and online services accountable for sex-trafficking activities that occur on their platforms. But the tech industry has been divided on the issue.

Kansas lawmakers return to the Statehouse on Wednesday still facing the largest challenge of this year’s session: balancing the budget and responding to a court order to spend more on schools.

In recent years, though, lawmakers plucked the low-hanging fruit when it comes to finding cash. That makes any revenue harvest ahead that much more difficult.

About 16.4 million people who receive federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits would not have a say in how to spend about half of their monthly benefits under President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for the 2019 fiscal year.

Low-income Americans who receive at least $90 a month would see "about half" of their benefits come in the form of a nonperishable, American-grown “USDA Foods package,” or a "Harvest Box," according to a news release Monday from the USDA, which runs SNAP.

Kansas schools already have the freedom to arm their teachers. Gov. Jeff Colyer says now bonuses for teachers who pack weapons might be in order.

Yet the governor also said that local school districts should make the call, embracing those options that they think make the most sense to prevent school shootings.

O'Rourke Stomps Cruz In Latest Round Of Fundraising

Feb 26, 2018
Marjorie Kamys Cotera: O'Rourke/Robin Jerstad: Cruz / The Texas Tribune

Democratic U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke reported raising almost three times as much money over the first 45 days of 2018 as Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.

From The Texas Tribune:

Sen. Pat Roberts says the level of federal subsidies for crop insurance will dominate this years farm bill discussion. Roberts, who chairs the Senate agriculture committee, talked about the issue on Friday.

At a farm convention in Kansas City, Roberts said a federal budget deal that included protections for dairy and cotton farmers against catastrophic losses could make passing a farm bill simpler.

Callie Richmond / The Texas Tribune

In Texas, you can vote in either party’s primary. Could that affect who ends up on the general election ballot?

From The Texas Tribune:

If you’re loyal to a particular political party, have you – or a fellow Democrat or Republican – at least thought about voting in the opposing party’s primary? Maybe for a person you think would be a weaker candidate in the general election? Or maybe just to mess with the other team?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says it wants feedback on how to get a certain segment of Americans out of poverty and off the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps.

Starting Friday, the public — as well as states and other stakeholders — will have 45 days to comment about possible changes to SNAP benefits for recipients who are between the ages of 18 to 49 and don’t have dependents. They make up about 9 percent of the SNAP recipients, the USDA says.

Alan Cleaver / Flickr Creative Commons

Early voting began yesterday in Texas, ahead of the state’s March 2 primary, which is the earliest in the nation.

As The Houston Chronicle reports, state electoral officials are warning residents to know ahead of time what is needed to make your voice heard.

In a statement, Secretary of State Rolando Pablos said, “It is imperative that all Texans wishing to cast a vote start early and undertake the necessary preparations to be able to vote.”

Questions about a private company’s efforts to win a lucrative prison contract from former Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration have lawmakers looking to close a loophole in state lobbying laws.

Current law requires legislative lobbyists to register with the state and report their expenses. But there are no such requirements for those peddling influence in the executive and judicial branches of state government.

On Wednesday, members of the Senate voted 40-0 to pass a bill that would change that.

CC0 Creative Commons

Oklahoma’s seemingly endless budget woes continue.

As KFOR reports, the state is facing down a potential $167 million budget shortfall for the 2019 fiscal year. However, that number is a marked improvement over the $900 million budget gap for the current fiscal year, or the $1.3 billion the year prior.

Gov. Mary Fallin seemed optimistic.

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Voting in the Texas primary elections is underway, and the Texas Panhandle is already seeing remarkably heavy turnout.

In fact, as The Amarillo Globe-News reports, Potter and Randall Counties are seeing more primary voters than in either the 2016 or 2014 primary elections.

Potter County Elections Administrator Melynn Huntley expressed surprise that this year was beating 2016, as that year featured a presidential primary with big-name Texas candidates like Ted Cruz vying to occupy the oval office.

From Texas Standard.

Bump stocks are back in the news now that President Donald Trump has made a move to ban them. These devices, which basically turn a semiautomatic gun into an automatic gun, were not used in the latest mass shooting at a Florida high school, but were used in the deadly Las Vegas concert shooting in October.

This story was updated at 4:12 p.m. to include the comments of Planned Parenthood Great Plains' president and CEO.

Kansas improperly sought to end Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday, rejecting the state's claims that the organization illegally trafficked in fetal parts and committed other wrongdoing.

Kansas lawmakers have forged a compromise to allow more access to video from police body cameras and vehicles.

Legislation debated in the Kansas House Wednesday followed recent shootings by police in the state.

The bill says people in the videos or their families must be given access to the recordings within 20 days.

In the past, it could take months for families to see a video and find out what happened in a fatal police shooting.

Republican Rep. Blaine Finch said this plan would give families a definite timeline.

Alayna Nelson, a sophomore at Wichita Northwest High School, grew up hearing stories of repeated mass shootings on the news.

“Every single time this happened I always wanted to do something about it,” Nelson said.

Now, Nelson and other students in her generation are taking action against gun violence.

"I feel like I’m finally getting to the age where people will start listening to me,” she said. 

A crowded race for the Republican nomination for governor in Kansas has candidates looking for ways to stand out.

At a forum held over the weekend in Wichita, the hopefuls signaled how they hope to separate themselves from the field.

Secretary of State Kris Kobach wants primary voters to see him as the true conservative in the contest.

From Texas Standard:

As Texans head to the polls for early voting, a new Texas Tribune report has found that state campaigns have raised $67 million so far– and $57 million of that went to Republican candidates.

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