HPPR Government & Politics

Government:
state government (executive, legislative & judicial)
local government (city & county)
regional agencies & authorities
policies
budgets & taxes
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Politics:
district-level and statewide office campaigns
legislative proposals
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Oklahoma now has the highest incarceration rate in the world, reports to The Tulsa World.

According to a new study, Oklahoma recently overtook Louisiana as the state with the highest per capita number of citizens in prison.

Beto O'Rourke for Congress Committee / Flickr Creative Commons

Beto O’Rourke has now appeared in every county in Texas, including each of the counties in the Texas Panhandle.

But, as The Dallas Morning News notes, the young congressman from West Texas still has an uphill battle to unseat Senator Ted Cruz. O’Rourke has been crisscrossing Texas for 14 months, live-streaming his effort to visit all 254 counties in the Lone Star State.

The three top Democratic candidates for governor debated in Wichita on Friday evening.

Laura Kelly, Carl Brewer and Josh Svaty participated at the event held in The Lux apartment building and venue space in downtown Wichita.

The candidates spent much of the debate agreeing on issues, from expanding Medicaid to supporting legalizing marijuana in Kansas.

The Kansas Court of Appeals said Friday that a grand jury investigation of Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s office should go forward. The request was brought by a Lawrence man running for the Kansas House, Steven Davis.

He followed a rarely used Kansas law that allows citizens to call grand juries by collecting signatures.

Davis wants to know whether Kobach’s office mishandled voter registrations and whether any crimes were committed.

The Senate Agriculture Committee unveiled its version of the farm bill Friday, including a path to legalizing industrial hemp. That’s an effort being pushed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, whose state, Kentucky, is a leader in the crop.

A group of Kansans hoping to establish a new centrist political party in time to field candidates for the upcoming general election failed to get enough signatures to make that happen.

Even so, they say, they got enough support to convince them that they could be on the 2020 ballot.

“We’re in it for the long game,” said Scott Morgan of Lawrence.

Six weeks of protests by the Poor People’s Campaign nationwide and in Topeka aim to raise awareness of social and economic inequalities.

Translating those demonstrations into changes in state policy, says at least one analyst, will likely demand more sustained efforts.

Protesters occupied part of Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s office recently and 18 people were arrested. This week, Statehouse police arrested 16 people protesting in favor of Medicaid expansion outside the office of Gov. Jeff Colyer.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is drawing national scrutiny after he appeared in the Old Shawnee Days parade in Johnson County on Saturday riding in a Jeep with a large machine gun replica mounted on it.

In a tweet after the parade, Kobach called the vehicle a “souped-up Jeep,” and posed with it. The gun appeared to be a .50 caliber machine gun. Kobach said the firearm was a replica.

The Mexican American Legislative Caucus and the Texas Senate Hispanic Caucus are suing the Trump administration in hopes of blocking the addition of a citizenship question to the once-a-decade census of every person living in the United States.

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California has banned state-funded travel to the state of Oklahoma, in response to the Sooner State’s recent LGBTQ adoption law.

As the political journal The Hill reports, late last week the California Attorney General Xavier Becerra released a statement reading, in part, “California taxpayers are taking a stand against bigotry and in support of those who would be harmed by this prejudiced policy.”

Ted Cruz Leads Beto O'Rourke By 11 Points In Senate Race, New Poll Finds

Jun 3, 2018

WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz has some breathing space from U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, according to a new poll released by Quinnipiac University on Wednesday. 

The final flurry of filings ahead of the Kansas primaries in August didn’t disappoint.

“This is one of the busiest days of the year, every two-year cycle,” said Secretary of State Kris Kobach, surveying the last crop of candidates that paraded in just before the noon deadline Friday.

Performance artist Vermin Supreme made his entrance dressed in tie-dye and with his signature rain boot on his head. He filled out the paperwork to challenge Attorney General Derek Schmidt in the Republican primary, listing a Rockport, Massachusetts, address.

Republican candidate for Kansas governor Jim Barnett has chosen what he admits is an unconventional running mate: his wife.

Barnett announced Thursday that he had selected Rosie Hansen as his lieutenant governor pick.

Barnett said he wanted a running mate to help accomplish his goals of improving the way state government functions and bridging the divide between rural and urban Kansas.

Republican candidate for Kansas governor Jim Barnett has chosen what he admits is an unconventional running mate: his wife.

Barnett announced Thursday that he had selected Rosie Hansen as his lieutenant governor pick.

Creative Commons 2.0 / USDA

On Tuesday, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed bills aimed at boosting consumer privacy protections and improving the state’s long-embattled driver’s license program for people living in the U.S. illegally.

Gov. Greg Abbott laid out a plan this morning to increase school safety in Texas after the Santa Fe High School shooting. The plan offered suggestions that focused on “hardening schools” and increasing mental health services through as much as $120 million in federal and state grants for schools.

Nobody in Texas "wants to see another occasion where innocent children are gunned down in their own schools,” he said as he rolled out the 40-page plan at the Dallas Independent School District headquarters.

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The recent teachers’ strike in the Sooner State has led The New Yorker to publish an investigation into how the somewhat unsuccessful teacher protests have spawned a “movement of politically engaged” Oklahomans.

In response to the walkout this year, Oklahoma Republicans offered the state’s teachers $6,000 raises. The GOP lawmakers funded the raises with a series of measures that will disproportionately hit the wallets of low-income residents.

From Texas Standard.

If you didn’t vote in this week’s primary runoff elections, you’re hardly alone. In fact, you are in the vast majority. According to the Texas Election Source, fewer than 1 million ballots were cast in both parties’ primary runoffs. For the Democrats, it was the lowest primary runoff turnout with a governor’s race on the ballot in almost a century. The Texas Election Source reports the Republicans actually had one of the highest turnouts for a runoff election year, but the percentage of voter participation was still just around 3 percent.

If you like going to the park to feed the ducks, you can thank the Migratory Bird Act of 1918.

“Ducks were nearly eliminated at one point," says Steve Holmer, vice president of policy for the American Bird Conservancy. "But through the law and through the effort of conservation, there has been a complete turnaround."

The Sedgwick County Election Office is expecting a busy week as candidates rush to get on the ballot before this Friday’s filing deadline.

Election Commissioner Tabitha Lehman says by this time during the 2014 midterm, more than 400 candidates had filed to run in the fall elections. As of Friday, there were only about 220.

Top Democrats in the Kansas House and Senate will request investigations into the use of no-bid state contracts, but the proposals will need the approval of some Republican lawmakers to advance.

The Kansas Department of Revenue used a no-bid process, called prior authorization, to award a multi-million dollar contract that outsourced some information technology services earlier this spring. 

Michael Stravato / The Texas Tribune

A low-key, low-turnout primary runoff election Tuesday set the slates for November's general elections — starting with the Democratic nominee for governor.

From The Texas Tribune:

Tuesday’s runoffs set the major party ballots for a November general election where Texas Republicans will be trying to maintain a 24-year winning streak in statewide elections while Democrats will be trying to breach the red seawall with a blue tsunami.

Marshall Expects Farm Bill To Pass House In June

May 24, 2018
marshall.house.gov

Kansas Republican Representative Roger Marshall says that despite the Farm Bill failing to pass in the House last week, he still expects it to pass. 

No Democrats voted for the bill, and the Freedom Caucus, a small group of conservative Republicans, also withdrew their support until after immigration is discussed.

Marshall is on the House Agriculture committee. He says there are no plans to win over Democrats by backtracking on stricter work requirements for federal food aid.

A Look At Colorado's Treasurer Candidates

May 23, 2018
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There are three Republicans and two Democrats on the June 26 primary ballot for the state’s treasurer job this year. The Denver Post recently published a rundown of each candidate.

On the Republican side is Justin Everett, Polly Lawrence and Brian Watson.

Everett is a state representative who left the Colorado General Assembly to get into the treasurer’s race to advance his hard-line positions on fiscal responsibility.

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Texas voters participated in a runoff election on Tuesday, with decisions being finalized in both major statewide races and local Panhandle races.

Statewide, in the race to decide Gov. Greg Abbot’s Democratic challenger this November, Former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez defeated Texas businessman Andrew White. If she’s victorious this November, CNN notes, Valdez would be the state’s first lesbian and first Latina governor.        

The legal fight over whether Texas is disenfranchising thousands of voters by violating a federal voter registration law is on its way to federal appeals court.

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The Colorado governor’s campaign is being pegged as the most expensive campaign in the state’s history but because of the way candidates are spending their money, it may not be information that is readily available. contracts, the level of spending likely won’t be made public.

As Colorado Public Radio reports, many of the state’s gubernatorial candidates have super PACs raising money to buy ads, much of them on TV. Because TV stations aren’t required by the FCC to disclose those.

Former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez has won the Democratic nomination for governor. A back-and-forth race early against Houston businessman Andrew White finally broke late for Valdez.

Cory Doctorow / Wikimedia Commons

As Texas reels from yet another school shooting, as 10 students were killed in the small suburb of Santa Fe over the weekend, officials in the Lone Star State are at loggerheads about how to deal with the problem.

As USA Today reports, Texas Attorney General Dan Patrick reiterated his belief that state lawmakers should not tighten gun laws in the wake of the tragedy. Meanwhile, the police chief of Houston, the largest city in Texas, of which Santa Fe is a suburb, said he did not believe that “thoughts and prayers” were enough.

From Texas Standard.

After another school shooting in Texas, this time in Santa Fe, calls for action have come from various places along the political spectrum. Some believe that beefed-up school security is the answer, while others advocate gun regulation. Texas lawmakers are talking about how to move forward, including Republican Jason Villalba, a member of the Texas House from the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and Rep. Chris Turner, chair of the Texas House Democratic Caucus.

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