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

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has authorized pay raises for around 3,000 state workers who did not get a pay hike earlier this year. Lawmakers approved raises for many state employees, but because of the way those raises were structured, some workers were left out.

“This pay plan genuinely came out of reaction to what happened with the Legislature’s pay plan, seeing that there were some folks that were left behind,” says John Milburn, a spokesman for the Department of Administration.

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Some in Colorado are concerned about President Donald Trump’s announcement that the Deferred Action for Children Arrivals program, or DACA, will end, while others believe the change is needed. 

As Colorado Public Radio reports, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the end of DACA - which protects children of parents who came to the U.S. illegally from deportation -  after six months if Congress cannot find a legislative solution.

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Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts says President Donald Trump promised not to cut a key crop insurance program that benefits Kansas farmers. The promise comes despite the fact that Trump placed reductions to the program in his budget proposal.

In reaction to the announcement that President Trump is rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, DACA recipients and immigration activists in Wichita are now calling on Congress to pass permanent legislation to protect young adults brought to the U.S. as kids.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is touting a controversial multistate voter database as a key resource in response to U.S. Department of Justice questions about Kansas’ compliance with federal voting law.

In a recent letter to the Justice Department, obtained by the Kansas News Service through an open records request, Kobach describes the database as “one of the most important systems” Kansas uses to check the accuracy of voter rolls.

Kansas City District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers / Wikimedia Commons

Next year’s Kansas gubernatorial election is already shaping up to be a fascinating and unusual contest, reports The Garden City Telegram.

News recently broke that former Wichita Rep. Mark Hutton will announce his candidacy, and that brings the total number of gubernatorial candidates to 11.

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The Oklahoman tapped by President Donald Trump to lead NASA is drawing criticism from some prominent leaders in the Senate.

As POLITICO reports, Oklahoma Congressman Jim Bridenstine’s nomination was met with opposition from both of Florida’s senators, who see the selection of a strong NASA administrator as a matter of great importance to their state.

Laura Buckman / Texas Tribune

From The Texas Tribune:

Continuing a dramatic reversal on voting rights under President Donald Trump, the U.S. Department of Justice is asking a federal appeals court to allow Texas to enforce a photo voter identification law that a lower court found discriminatory.

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Hurricane Harvey may permanently alter the way the State of Texas operates. As POLITICO reports, the storm may put a serious dent in the Lone Star State’s penchant for rugged individualism.

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A watchdog at the Environmental Protection Agency has opened an investigation into EPA chief Scott Pruitt’s frequent travel to Oklahoma, Bloomberg reports.

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The United States Supreme Court has put a temporary hold on a lower court ruling that invalidated two of Texas’s congressional districts.

As The Texas Tribune reports, on Monday the high court released an order signed by Justice Samuel Alito, indicating that the justices wanted to hear from minority groups suing the State of Texas.

The parade of candidates seeking the Kansas governor’s office continues to grow with the addition of Mark Hutton, a Republican former House member.

Hutton founded a construction company based in Wichita that he ran for years before moving into politics.

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Back in 2012, when Hurricane Sandy struck the East Coast, many Republicans leaders in Texas stood in staunch opposition to an aid package to help New York and New Jersey recover from the devastation.

Now, as POLITICO reports, those chickens are coming home to roost. In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, Senator Ted Cruz and other Texas lawmakers are asking for aid from the Federal government.

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A prominent Amarillo restaurateur will challenge Texas state Senator Kel Seliger for his seat next year, The Amarillo Globe-News reports. Victor Leal is the former mayor of Muleshoe, Texas, and he owns the popular restaurant Leal’s in Amarillo.

Leal is running as a Republican. He previously sat on the board of directors of an influential conservative think tank known as the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

Kansas Political Leaders Discuss Future Of Ag

Aug 28, 2017
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Political leaders strategized about the future of ag in Kansas at the Summit on Agricultural Growth held in Manhattan Thursday.

As The Topeka Capital-Journal reports, U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall of the rural 1st district in Congress, said the government was prepared to endorse the conversion of sorghum oil into bio-diesel. Sorghum is mainly used as livestock feed so the addition would bolster the market value of the grain.

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Activists in Texas are gearing up for a fight. Donald Trump indicated this week that he would end the DREAMer program, which provides temporary work permits and "deferred action" for undocumented immigrants who arrived here as children. The program, which was started by the Obama administration in 2012, gives legal protection to around 800,000 young people nationwide.

Meanwhile, the controversial SB 4 law is set to go into effect in Texas soon. The law would give police the right to ask the immigration status of just about anyone they choose.

Candidates are lining up to run for Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s job. The latest entrant has been feuding with Kobach over a claim he’s made in his campaign for governor.

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Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper responded to a letter sent in July by Attorney General Jeff Sessions that raised “serious questions” about the state’s ability to regulate legal marijuana and prevent illegal activities.

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A federal judge may soon require the State of Texas to send all requests for election law changes through the Federal Government for approval.

As The Huffington Post reports, in the last couple of weeks, federal courts have ruled in three separate cases that Republican lawmakers intentionally redrew Texas congressional districts to discriminate against minorities.

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The oil and gas industry has largely been supportive of the Trump administration’s efforts to deregulate energy. But now, as POLITICO reports, some in the petroleum realm are growing worried that the administration’s no-holds-barred approach could backfire.

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Texas was blocked by a federal judge Wednesday from enforcing its revamped voter ID law.

As The New York Times reports, Federal Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos ruled Wednesday that the law did not go far enough and perpetuated discrimination against black and Hispanic voters.

Another state lawmaker is joining the race for the 2nd District congressional seat in eastern Kansas.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is expected to leave office early for a diplomatic post, and appears to be passing the torch to Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer. However, at an ag industry summit in Manhattan on Thursday, Colyer spoke only in generalities.

The lieutenant governor called agriculture the key driver of the Kansas economy. But even in an interview after his speech, Colyer stuck to the theme of listening, rather than saying what he’d do as governor.

“We’ll be laying out a lot of policy things as they come forward here," Colyer says. "Today is just not yet the day.”

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The Amarillo City Council meeting grew heated on Tuesday night, as opposing forces gathered to debate whether a statue of a Confederate soldier should be removed from Ellwood Park.

As The Amarillo Globe-News reports, members of the NAACP and Indivisible Amarillo showed up to try and convince civic leaders to take down the monument.

Laura Skelding / The Texas Tribune

From The Texas Tribune:

The differences between the state's top legislative leaders will inform the coming Republican primaries, because Dan Patrick and Joe Straus reflect different wings of the Texas GOP.

The guns of August are blazing.

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The State of Oklahoma will not execute any inmates in 2017.

As KOKH reports, this year marks the third straight year that the death chamber has remained quiet in the state.

A Democratic candidate for Kansas governor says the Brownback administration is bent on privatizing a key mental health facility.

The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services has unveiled a proposal to build a new mental hospital at Osawatomie, which a Tennessee company would run.

But Kansas House Minority Leader Jim Ward says the agency should be exploring in-house options.

"This administration has a terrible history of privatization. Whether it be child support collection, DCF, KanCare,” Ward says.

Facing what could be a tough race for re-election, Kansas Congressman Kevin Yoder appeared determined to strike a bipartisan tone Tuesday night in his first in-person town hall meeting since last year’s election.

He stressed the importance of civility and working across the aisle several times during the meeting sponsored by the Kansas City Star, touting his work with Democrats to expand child-care tax credits and strengthen privacy laws.

A former employee of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s office said in federal court Monday that she was fired in part for not attending church, which left her confused and depressed.

Kansas Democratic House Leader Jim Ward is finally jumping into the race for governor.

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