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

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

A scientists’ union, out of concern for employees of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), has established a hotline for them to use to report political meddling.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma’s budget gap next year could amount to well over half a billion dollars.

To plug the hole, lawmakers in Oklahoma City are discussing selling some of the state’s power plants.

As StateImpact Oklahoma reports, the Sooner State has considered the idea of selling the Grand River Dam Authority to make up for the budget shortfall. The plan would involve selling some of Oklahoma’s hydroelectric dams, as well as a coal-fired plant.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Controversial federal rules that would change the production of organic meat may not be finalized before President Barack Obama leaves office, leaving open the possibility that they may never go into effect.

Kansas Medicaid backlog is growing once again

Dec 20, 2016
Health by Got Credit / Flickr Creative Commons

Delays in processing Medicaid applications in Kansas have put financial strain on nursing homes and threatened coverage for thousands of Kansans and the backlog is on its way back up.

CBS NEWS

Since the election of Donald Trump, U.S. media outlets have often painted a picture of poverty-stricken rural voters, beaten down by economic misfortune, sending Trump to Washington in a Hail-Mary prayer for change.

But new research from the Urban Institute has found that only part of that equation is correct. While it’s true that Donald Trump was elected in large part by rural voters, most of those voters, as it turns out, are doing better financially than is commonly believed.

IVN.US

A national poll, prior to Monday’s vote by the Electoral College that made the election of Donald Trump official, shows an almost even split between those who think the process works just fine and those who think it’s time to scrap the Electoral College and let the popular vote decide presidential elections. 

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / Texas Tribune

The State of Texas has some of the strictest eligibility requirements in the country for welfare benefit applicants.

Texas judge temporarily blocks Texas fetal burial rule

Dec 18, 2016

A federal judge on Friday temporarily blocked the controversial fetal burial rule that was supposed to go into effect in Texas today.

KCUR

 Gov. Sam Brownback cut Medicaid reimbursements by 4 percent earlier this year, as part of budget cuts aimed at covering the revenue shortfall in Kansas, and legislators see restoration of that cut as a top priority going into the next session.

After several presidential electors in Colorado indicated they might reject Democrat Hillary Clinton, winner of the state’s popular vote, as part of a national strategy to block Donald Trump’s election, Colorado’s election chief warned that doing so could result in perjury charges.

“If Elector A writes down Bernie Sanders or Ted Cruz or anyone other than Hillary Clinton, they immediately cease to be an elector and they’re replaced,” Secretary of State William Waybe told Politico. “The difference here is you have perjured yourself.”

Ben Fenwick / Oklahoma Watch

Over the next decade, Oklahoma will need three more prisons if the state doesn’t take action to constrain the prison population, which as The Oklahoman reports, is projected to increase by 25 percent over the next 10 years.

That is more than 7,000 additional prisoners.

Creative Commons

In 2014, Oklahoma passed a law attempting to restrict abortion access in the state. The law, similar to one passed in Texas, required a physician to have admitting privileges at a hospital near the facility where the abortion was performed.

Wikimedia Commons

If you look at a colored map of election 2016 separated by how states voted, the country looks pretty evenly divided. But if you switch that map to show how counties voted, the United States looks like a sea of red, with blue dots here and there, mostly along the coasts.

It looks like a Republican landslide.

That’s not the case, however, as Hillary Clinton actually won the popular vote by over two million votes. As we all know, she lost due to the Electoral-College system.

Business leaders in Colorado are banding together to advocate for immigration reform.

As Colorado Public Radio reports, Coloradans for Immigration Reform, which consists of 13 pro-business organizations, including chambers of commerce and trade groups, recently formed to support policies favorable to immigrants.

Chicken farmers hope Trump will back regulation

Dec 13, 2016
Wikimedia Commons

Rural voters, many of them farmers, helped get Donald Trump elected last month, and now chicken farmers in particular are hoping that he will get behind Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyard Adminstration (GIPSA) rules.

Kansas advocacy groups are pushing for tax increases to fix the state’s budget.

According to the Kansas Health Institute (KHI), groups representing children, teachers, state workers, contractors, and others are proposing a tax overhaul that would reinstate income taxes on hundreds of thousands of businesses and raise the top income tax rate. 

Fort Worth Star Telegram

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller has been generating a lot of talk in recent days in the Texas Panhandle.

Getty/Politico

Oil and gas companies have reason to celebrate this week, as President-Elect Trump is expected to nominate a longtime oil ally to helm the Environmental Protection Agency. As Politico reports, Scott Pruitt has been a staunch opponent of climate regulations in his role as Attorney General of Oklahoma.

Kansas City Star

Kansas has a new Speaker of the House, and he’s coming into the job with a hard row to hoe.

As The Kansas City Star reports, Ron Ryckman is inheriting not one but two budget shortfalls. There’s the current budget gap of roughly $348 million, with seven months left in the fiscal year. And then, once the new fiscal year begins, the shortfall is expected to balloon to $582 million.

The Denver Post

Going forward, it will be more difficult to get constitutional amendments on the ballot in Colorado.

Quinn Dombrowski / Flickr Creative Commons

A retail liquor group in Oklahoma has filed a lawsuit aimed at blocking a ballot initiative passed by over 65 percent of voters that would allow wine and cold beer to be sold at grocery and convenience stores.

The Wichita Eagle

Talk continues to swirl around the possibility that Kansas Governor Sam Brownback could be given a position in Donald Trump’s cabinet—most likely as Secretary of Agriculture. Now the question many in the Sunflower State are asking is, would it be easier for Kansas to fix its budget problems if Brownback moves up?

As The Kansas City Star reports, some lawmakers and analysts in the state think the answer is yes—though those yesses are qualified by certain conditions.

AFP/Getty Images

This week the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments regarding the death penalty in Texas. Since the U.S. made the death penalty legal again in 1976, Texas has been responsible for more than a third of the prisoners executed in America.

And, as The New Yorker reports, Texas has often put to death prisoners who would have been deemed exempt in other parts of the country due to intellectual disability.

Larry Smith / Flickr Creative Commons

As wind energy becomes more economically viable in Oklahoma, momentum is building on a political movement to limit tax breaks to wind farms in the state.

As StateImpact reports, last week a panel that decides Oklahoma’s tax incentives decided to curb the credits being given to wind operations. The Incentive Review Commission has reported on ten different wind incentives under review this year.

Olivier Douliery-Pool / Getty Images/Bloomberg

Donald Trump has promised to reverse much of President Obama’s legislation from the past eight years. But Texas is two steps ahead of the president-elect.

Last week a federal judge in Texas halted Obama’s plan to give overtime pay to millions of American workers. This is just the latest blow to Obama’s legacy delivered courtesy of Lone Star judges.

Ralph Barrera / Austin American-Statesman

Will Texas be the next state to decriminalize marijuana? During the elections this November, voters in eight states passed legalization laws.

As The International Business Times reports, this has opened the door for cannabis advocates to push for similar laws in other states. On Nov. 5, the first day of bill filling for the 2017 legislative season, Texas lawmakers filed several requests to decriminalize pot.

Chan Lone / Texas Tribune

Texas’s foster care system has been in crisis for years now. The Lone Star State has been plagued by reports of abuse and neglect in the system. State workers are severely overworked, and there were even reports of foster kids regularly sleeping in the offices of state foster care workers.

Earlier this year a federal judge ordered Texas overhaul the system, and the directive was backed up by an independent review paid for on Texas’s dime.

The New York Times

America has been a majority-urban country since 1920. But, as The New York Times reports, this country’s political process has always been intentionally tilted to favor rural votes.

Rural Blog

A Wisconsin case on legislative redistricting could have wide-ranging effects on rural voters across the U.S.

As The Rural Blog reports, a panel of three judges in Wisconsin has determined that the state’s Republican party acted unconstitutionally when it redrew state legislative districts in 2011.

Fewer women in Oklahoma legislature following election

Nov 25, 2016
Getty Images

Despite an uptick in the number of female candidates running for seats in the Oklahoma legislature this year, women will hold fewer seats in 2017.

There will be 19 women among 149 elected representatives in Oklahoma’s legislature when it reconvenes in 2017, compared to 22 in 2016, Oklahoma Watch reports.

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