HPPR Government & Politics

state government (executive, legislative & judicial)
local government (city & county)
regional agencies & authorities
budgets & taxes
laws, rules & regulations

district-level and statewide office campaigns
legislative proposals
voting patterns

Some big names in Colorado politics are already eyeing the 2018 governor’s race.

Oklahoma State Auditor & Inspector website

Oklahoma’s state auditor has called on legislators to repeal a law that would lower the state income tax.

As KOCO reports, State Auditor Gary Jones said that even though lowering taxes is politically popular, lawmakers should stop paying attention to politics and do what’s best for the State of Oklahoma.

Bob Daemmerich / Texas Tribune

President-elect Donald Trump appears to be closing in on a choice to head the Agriculture Department in his administration—and a few Texans are at the top of the list.

As Politico reports, Trump will meet with Former Texas A&M University President Elsa Murano today at the president-elect’s Florida resort, known as Mar-a-Lago. Trump also plans to speak tomorrow with controversial Texas ag commissioner Sid Miller.

Wikimedia Commons

As Kansas lawmakers look for ways to control the growth in the sexual predator treatment program, the state’s attorney general is planning tougher penalties for buyers of sex.

www.electoralintegrityproject.com / The Electoral Integrity Project PEI-US 2016 (1.0)

Amid the partisan rancor of election 2016, the system of American democracy has come under increased scrutiny.

Last week, North Carolina drew national attention when a group of experts found that, when it comes to election integrity, the state ranks alongside such questionable democracies as Cuba, Indonesia and Sierra Leone.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

Texas could soon draw national attention again for its role in the battle over transgender bathroom rules.

As The Wall Street Journal reports, the Lone Star State may become the next battleground in the fight over this controversial issue. Republican lieutenant governor Dan Patrick has been hoping to pass a law very similar to the legislation that has made North Carolina the focus of national outrage from LGBTQ advocates.

Michael Vadon / Creative Commons

Donald Trump’s search for a Secretary of Agriculture is drawing criticism from some important contingents within the ag sector. As Politico reports, it’s been six weeks since the election and Trump has yet to name his nominee for the position.

Trump spent a good deal of time during the election building a relationship with agribusiness representatives, but some of his potential choices for the USDA position have begun to fracture that relationship.


A Colorado elector is being referred to the state attorney general’s office for investigation.

KHI News Service File

While staff vacancies at two state-run psychiatric hospitals in Kansas are down, state officials say there is still room for improvement.

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.


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.


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.


 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.


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.