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

Texas Primary: Links to help you vote

Mar 2, 2014
politico.com

Tomorrow is the Primary in the great state of Texas.  To help you make your choices, here are some resources.

Texas Primary: Where a few have a lot of power

Feb 28, 2014
stateandfed.com

The Republican primary is the election that matters in the state of Texas.  The winners of Tuesday’s race and the following May 27 runoff election will mostly likely win in November according to The Texas Tribune

CPR / Irvin Coffee

Do federal regulations allow banks to deal with marijuana dispensaries? And how high is too high to drive?

These are two of the questions pressed by a developing recreational marijuana industry in Colorado.

theadvocate.com

Senator Pat Roberts is working to renew ties in his home state reported Jonathan Martin for the New York Times.  Tea Partly influences have changed his long Washington, D.C. history to a liability, and the 77-year old senator is working to adjust his position to better his chances at re-election say his aides.

pennsbury.k12.pa.us

The Annie E. Casey Foundation recently released a report, “Early Reading Proficiency in the United States.”  According to The Dodge City Daily Globe a majority of Kansas children are not reading proficiently by fourth grade.

Three of the nine seats on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals are up for grabs, and a fourth seat will be if its current judge succeeds in being elected to the Texas Supreme Court.

Seven Republican candidates are vying for those seats.

Kansas Office of the Governor

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback is quoted as avowedly pursuing “a strategy that builds a strong state in the future on the red state model,” in a recent New York Times article on his administration to date.  According to the article, Brownback has delivered on his promise of a “conservative revolution” but the results and benefits to the state aren’t yet clear. 

Adam Vos / HPPR

The southwestern Kansas housing market may benefit from a small portion of the Farm Bill signed into law Friday. The trillion-dollar piece of legislation that is largely associated with agriculture also has something to say about who gets USDA home loans in rural America.

Exonerations in Texas at record high

Feb 12, 2014
Caleb Bryant Miller / KUT News

Texas exonerated more people than any other state last year.

13 Texans who were wrongly convicted of crimes were officially absolved of wrongdoing in 2013, for crimes ranging from murder to drug possession. They spent a matter of months to more than a decade in prison, the Texas Tribune reports.

Spencer Selvidge / Texas Tribune

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the state agency responsible for issuing permits for greenhouse gas emissions in the state, has refused to issue the permits until recently, leaving industry in the state in a difficult position.

National Archives

Both farmers and food stamps advocates sighed in relief Friday when President Obama signed the  long-overdue Agriculture Act of 2014 – the $956-billion farm bill – into law on Friday during a visit to Michigan State University.  The farm bill process was fraught with ups and downs and the loose coalition tying nutrition and farm programs seemed barely able to survive.

Not everyone likes the farm bill signed into law on Friday, but at least farmers will be able to start making informed decisions.

The biggest change in the 2014 farm bill is that the subsidies known as direct payments are gone. Instead of the government paying a known amount to farmers each year—at a fixed budget of $5 billion—the new system of subsidies will fluctuate, partly with market forces. That makes it really hard to predict how much the program will cost each year, says Iowa State University ag economist Chad Hart.

wibwnewsnow.com

The Kansas Department of Corrections, KDoC, is working with local law enforcement officials to help county jail keepers bill Medicaid for part of their inmates’ health care costs according to the Kansas Institute of Health.  

fhsu.edu

Last year the Kansas Legislature took money from universities, but Gov. Sam Brownback’s proposed budget restores the ‘salary cap’ reductions that cost Fort Hays State University $276,176 according to a press release from FHSU University Relations.

jcpost.com

State Rep. Allan Rothlisberg, R-Grandview Plaza recently filed a bill requiring the state to count and report how many undocumented children are in Kansas public schools reported the Lawrence Journal-World.  

The Texas Tribune

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, a two-term Republican senator has 20 competitors for his senate seat.  The pack consists of seven Republicans, five Democrats, four independents, three Libertarians, and one Green Party according to a recent article from the Texas Tribune.

OU

Energy production tax breaks will cost Oklahoma $307 million in 2014, and $304 million in 2015.  This year state leaders expect $170 million budget shortfall.  In other words, the expected budget shortfall is about half what the state gives away in tax breaks to oil and gas companies reported Matt Trotter for Public Radio Tulsa.  

Kansas nurses press for more practice independence

Jan 30, 2014
Phil Cauthon / Kansas Health Institute

The solution to the physician shortage in Kansas could be allowing nurses with advanced skills to become more independent of physicians say advocates of changing state law in a recent article from the Kansas Health Institute.  Under current regulations, an advanced practice registered nurse, APRN or nurse practitioner, has to work under a “collaborative practice agreement” with a supervising physician.

Andrea Parker / Cory Maluski / The Texas Tribune

President Obama instructed the Environmental Protection Agency to revise greenhouse gas limits for existing power plants.  The suggested changes are to be proposed by June 2015, and Texas regulators have already weighed in according to The Texas Tribune.

Brownback pushes for all-day kindergarten

Jan 29, 2014
RICH SUGG / The Kansas City Star

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback wants to fully fund all-day kindergarten.  Brownback proposes spending $80 million for the nearly 40,000 children across the state.  He calls it a strategic investment to ensure children are better positioned to succeed in school. 

kswheat.org

The farm bill was passed by the House and sent to the Senate.  The compromise farm bill totals almost $100 billion a year, and contains a small cut in food stamps and preserves most crop subsidies according to a recent article in the Washington Post.

watchdog.org

Tobacco settlement funds were earmarked for children’s programs in Kansas.  The money was to be vetted by the 15-member Kansas Children’s Cabinet.  The intent was to channel the funds toward “innovative” new programs that would supplement, rather than supplant, those already paid for by the state general fund according to The Topeka Capital-Journal.

Lt. Gov. Candidates Debate in Dallas

Jan 28, 2014
Bob Daemmrich / texastribune.org

The four Republican candidates for lieutenant governor debated this week in Dallas.  They took on end-of-life issues and border security, but there wasn’t much to distinguish one from another on policy according to The Texas Tribune.

Texas: December STAAR testing results aren’t good

Jan 27, 2014
Texas Education Agency / kut.org

Students are having trouble passing the English I writing exam of the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR test.  As a matter of fact, 85 percent did not pass the December test, and most of them were taking the test for the second time according to a recent article from KUT.

theusconstitution.org

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach recently said comparing voter registration applications against Kansas birth certificates reduced the backlog of registrants whose voting rights are on hold because they don’t meet the new proof of citizenship requirement according to the Wichita Eagle.

sostadiumstatus.blogspot.com

Colorado has expanded the Medicaid program, as part of the state’s implementation of the Affordable Care Act.  That means tens of thousands of new Medicaid patients will have access to healthcare.  Proponents of the Affordable Care Act say that getting more people insured will cut down on emergency room visits, but a recent study shows that is not what happened in Oregon according to a recent conversation on Colorado Matters from Colorado Public Radio.

votesmart.org

John Ewy is the legislator from the 117th district in the Kansas House of Representatives.  He says one focus guides his voting.

“I think about that every time I sit down and there’s a bill to vote on,” Ewy said. “Number one, how is it going to affect the 117th district? How is it going to affect families?”

John Milburn / Associated Press

Kansas Chief Justice Lawton Nuss seemed to respond to Gov. Sam Brownback’s remarks pointed at the Supreme Court in his State of the Judiciary address reported Bryan Lowry for the Wichita Eagle.

Kansas Home Inspectors No Longer Regulated

Jan 23, 2014
Mike Hutmacher / The Wichita Eagle

The Kansas law regulating home inspectors expired in 2013.  Gov. Same Brownback vetoed a measure allowing the law to continue, saying he didn’t see evidence that large number of Kansans were being ripped off by home inspectors according to the Wichita Eagle.

cjonline.com

Campaign finance records show Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has fundraised more than twice the amount of Democratic challenger Jean Schodorf according to the Wichita Eagle.

Pages