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

U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso, leads Republican incumbent Ted Cruz by 2 percentage points among likely voters, according to an Ipsos online poll released Wednesday in conjunction with Reuters and the University of Virginia. O’Rourke has been closing the gap over the last several months, but this is the first poll that puts him ahead of Cruz.

Prominent Kansas Republican Nancy Kassebaum has endorsed Democrat Sen. Laura Kelly for governor.

Kassebaum spent three terms in the U.S. Senate as a moderate Republican between 1978 and 1997. She was the first woman to chair a major committee. Now she’s endorsing Kelly over conservative GOP nominee Kris Kobach.

In a statement, Kassebaum praised Kelly’s “competence, understanding, and dedication.”

Former Republican Gov. Bill Graves has also endorsed Kelly.

We love our constitution—at least, what we know about it. The Constitution was ratified 231 years ago this past Monday, September 17. Each year, the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania surveys Americans on how much they know about the American system of government. Each year, the results demonstrate how little Americans know about the Constitution.

The Oklahoma Ethics Commission passed a rule barring elected officials and agency heads from becoming lobbyists for two years after leaving their positions. It’s the same rule lawmakers rejected during the 2018 legislative session.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt acknowledges that a multi-state attack on the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, could wipe out some popular consumer protections.

But, Schmidt said, he believes Congress will step in to preserve certain parts of the law if he and 19 other Republican attorneys general succeed in striking down the individual mandate — that everybody buy coverage or face a fine on their tax return — as unconstitutional.

Federal Judge Upholds Texas' Partisan Statewide Judicial Elections System

Sep 17, 2018

A federal judge has rejected a race-based challenge to the way Texans fill seats on the state’s highest courts.

U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos of Corpus Christi handed the state of Texas a win Wednesday, writing that its current method for electing judges to the Texas Supreme Court and the Court of Criminal Appeals does not violate federal safeguards for voters of color.

Thirty years after its hard turn to the right — driven largely by abortion politics and the anti-abortion Summer of Mercy protests — Kansas is on the cusp of what could be another course-changing event: the 2018 race for governor.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera: O'Rourke/Robin Jerstad: Cruz / The Texas Tribune

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Democratic opponent Beto O'Rourke have reached an agreement in their long-running negotiations over a debate schedule.

From The Texas Tribune:

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and his Democratic challenger, U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke of El Paso, have agreed to three debates before Election Day.

Political spending by secretive groups that are allowed to hide their donors have already spent what is likely a record amount this year to influence Oklahoma political races.

An Oklahoma Watch review of campaign finance records found so-called “dark money” groups had spent nearly $2.7 million on Oklahoma’s legislative, statewide and congressional races by the end of August.

With Hurricane Florence bearing down on the Carolina coasts there is now controversy over the transfer of $10 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. One of the people responsible for this transfer is Kansas 3rd District Rep. Kevin Yoder, who chairs the House subcommittee that oversees the Department of Homeland Security budget.

Oklahoma’s claim to the buckle of the Bible belt is widely accepted as true. But when it comes to faith and voting, new research shows more residents are letting their political values influence the church they choose.

At a recent weekly Sunday morning donut hour at Faith United Methodist Church in Tulsa, people are busy talking about the start of school and the college football season while getting their weekly dose of juice, coffee and donuts.

Carole McDaniel

Amarillo has seen a large number of campaign signs for Beto O’Rourke being stolen out of front yards in recent days.

Amarillo Democrat Cecily Wilkinson Riesenberg said she has had three O’Rourke signs stolen from her yard alone.

Carole McDaniel of Indivisible Amarillo confirmed the problem, saying thefts are particularly prevalent in the Wolflin, Bivins, and Belmar neighborhoods. McDaniel has been selling signs out of her house for $5, to try to replace the stolen ones.

City of Amarillo

The Amarillo City Council continues to receive a heavy backlash for its decision to move meetings to times that are less convenient for working Amarilloans.

As The Amarillo Globe-News reports, several citizens appeared at the gathering on Tuesday to voice complaints about the new meeting schedule, which has scheduled upcoming city meetings for 7 a.m.

On the campaign trail, President Donald Trump promised to revitalize rural America, specifically through increased investment in infrastructure. And his ag secretary, Sonny Perdue, wants to modernize the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

One rural bank representative said there’s a key piece to doing that: Fixing an outdated and burdensome loan application process to make it easier to access capital.

The immigration detention center at Tornillo used to hold undocumented immigrant minors will remain open through the end of the year, a government spokesperson said Tuesday.

Election administrators should use “human-readable paper ballots" by the 2020 presidential race, experts convened by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine warned in a new report

After Russian hackers meddled in the 2016 elections, the academies convened a group of computer science and cybersecurity experts – as well as legal and election scholars and officials – to come up with recommendations for the next presidential election.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / The Texas Tribune

Cities, school districts and other local governments can provide discounts on property tax bills through the homestead exemption process. But not all Texans qualify for every exemption.

From The Texas Tribune:

Hey Texplainer: Which homeowners qualify for property tax relief?

CC0 Creative Commons via Pixabay

This year’s midterm elections are less than eight weeks away, and voter registration deadlines are fast approaching for states across the High Plains. If you haven’t yet registered to vote, you have only have a few weeks left to do so.

Getty Images/iStockphoto/BongkarnThanyakij

  

The campaign of Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Beto O'Rourke says some eyebrow-raising texts that surfaced Wednesday were not "approved" by the campaign.

From The Texas Tribune:

The top contenders running for governor say Kansas should not follow Colorado’s lead and legalize recreational marijuana, but they differ on medical marijuana.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is challenging the Affordable Care Act at a hearing in federal court in Fort Worth today.

Ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, NPR's Morning Edition wants to connect with women who voted for President Trump in 2016. Share your story with us.

A producer may reach out to you to follow up on your response. Share your thoughts with us below or here.

Are you a woman who voted for President Trump?

It will likely be several months before a court in Douglas County convenes a grand jury to investigate allegations that Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s office mishandled voter registrations. That would push the investigation beyond the fall election.

Kobach, a Republican, is currently locked in a race for governor with Democratic state Sen. Laura Kelly and independent Greg Orman.

A federal judge in Austin has blocked Texas' so-called fetal burial law.

U.S. District Judge David Alan Ezra voided the law, which the Texas Legislature passed in 2017, on the grounds that it violates the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause.

The Kansas Supreme Court has ruled that a grand jury must be convened to investigate a charge that Secretary of State and Republican gubernatorial candidate Kris Kobach intentionally failed to register voters in 2016 by choosing not to process online voter registrations, which likely prevented qualified residents from voting in the 2016 election.

Kobach has been viewed as a leading advocate of stricter voter ID laws.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt on Friday defended the state's decision to weigh in on a case that could limit transgender rights.

Asked by reporters about Kansas’ decision to join 15 other states in urging the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that it’s legal to fire people for being transgender, Schmidt noted that the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes Kansas, has taken that position.

Wikimedia Commons

Texas and Kansas stand to be repaid over $400 million in lost health care funds if a late-August Federal ruling stands.

As The Austin American-Statesman reports, a federal court in North Texas has ruled that the federal government improperly charged Texas, Kansas, and a few other states millions of dollars in Medicaid fees, in an effort to help fund the Affordable Care Act.

From Texas Standard:

Labor Day once marked the traditional start of election season. That's hard to believe now with 24-hour news cycles, and more and more people tuned in to social media. These days, Labor Day signals the final sprint for those running for office to reach voters before they head to the polls in November. So, with campaigns already well underway, how are the midterms shaping up in Texas?

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / The Texas Tribune

Election judges who work long hours in rural areas had expressed safety concerns, a Republican lawmaker told Paxton in March.

From The Texas Tribune:

Firearms are generally not allowed at the polls while voters are casting ballots in Texas. But with some limited exceptions, presiding election judges who are licensed to carry may bring their guns to polling places, Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a nonbinding opinion Monday.

Texas Republicans are facing what could be one of the most serious challenges from Democrats in recent history – and Hispanic voters could be part of that challenge.

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