HPPR Government & Politics

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Politics:
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Roberts: First farm bill hearing to be held in Kansas

Jan 30, 2017
Sandra J. Milburn / The Hutchinson News

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The nation's first farm bill hearing will take place in Kansas.

Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, the chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, and ranking member Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan announced the hearing on the 2018 farm bill Wednesday.

According to a press release from the committee, the hearing will be Feb. 23 at McCain Auditorium on the Kansas State University campus in Manhattan.

Wikimedia Commons

Some regulatory freezes instituted by President Donald Trump could be damaging to the country’s farm belt, according to some agricultural groups.

As Reuters reports, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will delay implementation of this year’s biofuels requirements along with 29 other regulations finalized in the last weeks of Barack Obama’s presidency, according to a government notice, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture will delay rules affecting livestock.

polhudson.lohudblogs.com

A bill that would increase the penalty for texting while driving is gaining traction in Colorado after friends of a couple killed in an accident caused by texting and driving testified at the state capitol.

As The Denver Post reports, friends of Brian and Jacque Lehner, who were killed when a woman who was driving drunk and texting on her phone struck the couple’s motorcycle, told lawmakers Wednesday that it’s time to stiffen the penalties for doing so.

Chelsea Beck/NPR

President Trump tweets a lot. With tens of millions of followers on Twitter, Trump proposes policy, shares his latest actions and reacts to the news. But 140 characters rarely gives the full context. Here, we attempt to do just that for key tweets.

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Chuck Grimmett / Creative Commons

A surprising number of Republicans support legalization of marijuana.

Quartz reports showed that 60 percent of Americans support legalization of marijuana, including 42 percent of Republicans, some of whom live in conservative states or even serve in their state’s legislature.

Texas is among five states with current marijuana reform bills that have been introduced for consideration in upcoming sessions.

debaird / Creative Commons

This week the United States Supreme Court rejected an appeal from the State of Texas that would have restored the state’s controversial voter ID law.

As The New York Times reports, Chief Justice John Roberts left the door open for the Supreme Court to consider the case after further proceedings in the lower courts.

Grace Hood / Harvest Public Media

Employees of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s main research arm, the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), received an email from the division’s chief of staff ordering them to stop publicizing their work.

“Starting immediately and until further notice, ARS will not release any public-facing documents,” the email from Sharon Drumm reads, in part. “This includes, but is not limited to, news releases, photos, fact sheets, news feeds, and social media content.”

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

President Obama’s two-term agriculture secretary will soon slip through one of Washington’s revolving doors and switch from government official to private sector executive eager to push for an industry agenda.  

Former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Tuesday that his first job outside the Cabinet will be heading up a dairy industry trade group that pushes for access to foreign markets, the U.S. Dairy Export Council.

Feds reject Kansas' request to extend KanCare

Jan 23, 2017
KanCare.ks.gov

Federal officials have rejected Kansas’ request to extend KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid program, saying it has failed to meet federal standards and risked the health and safety of enrollees.

As reported by The Wichita Eagle, federal investigators reviewed the state’s Medicaid plan in October and found that Kansas is “substantively out of compliance with Federal statutes and regulations, as well as its Medicaid State Plan,” according to a letter sent to the state Jan. 13 from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Karol Olson / Flickr Creative Commons

This weekend, hundreds of thousands of supporters of women’s rights will gather in the nation’s capital to try to ensure that their voices are heard and their interests considered by the Trump administration. But hundreds of smaller events are planned on the statewide level as well.

As NewsOk reports, Oklahomans are expected to rally Saturday in Oklahoma City. About the rally, Lindsey Kanaly, an Oklahoma City attorney, said, “We can no longer complain on Facebook, and here is a chance to actually do something.”

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Donald Trump is now the 45th president of the United States. NPR reporters and editors across the newsroom have annotated his inaugural address. 

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Bruce Tuten / Wikimedia Commons

After a long wait that caused no shortage of nervous fidgeting among the ag sector, Donald Trump has finally selected a candidate for Secretary of Agriculture.

Please join us for Special Coverage of the Presidential Inauguration on Friday, January 20, 2017 from 8 am to 3 pm CT.  NPR's Steve Inskeep and Audie Cornish will co-host the coverage from the West Front of the Capitol in Washington, DC, overlooking the presidential platform. The program will feature the swearing in of the President and Vice President, speeches, interviews, live reports from around the Capitol and the National Mall, and analysis from NPR’s Political Team.

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Several Amarilloans - supporters, and detractors alike - Amarillo are attending Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration ceremony in Washington today.

As the Amarillo Globe-News reports, a number of Amarilloans are in Washington D.C. for Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration – some to celebrate, others merely to speculate.

Tom Mechler, state chair for the Republican Party of Texas, arrived in the nation’s capital on Tuesday.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

Trump’s pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency appears to have shelved a pollution lawsuit after receiving large cash amounts from the companies doing the polluting.

Chuck Grimmett / Creative Commons

Marijuana sales taxes could rise as much as 50 percent if the Colorado Legislature approves a measure proposed by Gov. John Hickenlooper on Tuesday to help bridge the gap in school funding.

Sarah Craig/Faces of Fracking / Flickr Creative Commons

In response to the fracking boom, the Obama administration set forth regulations to limit fracking on public and tribal lands. The rules marked the administrations most concerted efforts to control the controversial method of extracting oil and gas. But those regulations have been challenged by oil-friendly states, and have been stalled in federal court for years.

NY - http://nyphotographic.com/

Immigrant advocates are formulating a plan to deal with if and when Donald Trump’s administration executes his deportation strategy.

According to The Guardian, one such resistance movement in Austin, Texas, centers on a reverend ready to create a physical barrier between undocumented immigrants and immigration enforcement agencies.

findyourspot.com

Amarillo Mayor Paul Harpole announced Tuesday that he will not be seeking re-election.

In a press conference Tuesday, Harpole said he felt it was time he stepped down to allow for new leadership.

As The Amarillo Globe reports, Harpole made the announcement, which has been expected for several months, that he would not seek a fourth term in May’s election.

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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