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

Colorado Republicans are preparing for life in the political wilderness.

After election night’s midterm blue wave receded, the party was left without a foothold in the state government. Democrats won every statewide office and both chambers of the legislature for the first time since the New Deal.

GOP Chairman Jeff Hays said losing a narrow majority in the state Senate was particularly painful.

During the weeks leading up to next session of the Texas Legislature, we're examining some of the state's most pressing issues – and the bills lawmakers have filed to address them.

First up, guns. 

As the popularity of early voting continues to rise, some lawmakers are reviving a plan to make it easier for Oklahomans to vote.

The body of former President George H.W. Bush arrived at St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston last night ahead of a memorial service this morning. The service is expected to start at 10 a.m. 

Kansans could be placing legal bets on their favorite sports teams next year.

A legislative committee met Tuesday to discuss options for sports gaming. Many states are eyeing the tax money they could gather now that a federal ban on sports betting has been knocked down.

Lawmakers on the committee believe it’s likely that Kansas will legalize sports gaming. The question is what it might look like, and how much it’s taxed.

Republican Sen. Bud Estes said the state must be careful to avoid too many taxes.

The connection Texas House Speaker Joe Straus shares with the 41st president goes back decades. He worked for Vice President George H.W. Bush, and then again when Bush entered the Oval Office.


A task force charged with evaluating Colorado’s juvenile justice system released its final report this month. It points to shortcomings in the system and puts forth a number of policy recommendations.

Kenneth Wagner, a senior official at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency with close personal and business ties to ousted EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, will serve as Oklahoma’s Secretary of Energy and Environment, Governor-elect Kevin Stitt’s transition team said Wednesday.

The Kansas Legislature showed its tendency to be both more conservative and more liberal on Monday.

The selection of House leaders took the Republican and Democratic factions a bit more to the right and left, respectively, while creating a more polarized Legislature facing Democratic Gov.-elect Laura Kelly.


When the White House endorsed a bipartisan effort to reduce the federal prison population and improve the lives of inmates already behind bars, President Donald Trump made one thing clear: He wants “criminal justice reform, Texas style."

A panel of state officials is working this week on recommendations for funding the Kansas highway system, and they could propose additional fees for hybrid and fully electric vehicles.

State legislators repealed a longstanding sales tax exemption on motor vehicle sales during the budget crisis of 2017. The Journal Record reports state revenue collections have since recovered and the economy has improved, so State Sen. Kim David has filed a bill to reverse the motor vehicle sales tax.

Leaders of the Texas Republican Party are considering a historic vote this weekend. Their decision would ultimately provide the state party chair a salary.


State Transportation Commissioner Rocky Scott says his lunch conversation at a Colorado Springs steakhouse took on a sobering tone Monday when the discussion turned to the state’s road funding woes.

“I don’t think we’re going to solve this before I leave the commission,” Scott said.

Three weeks after voters rejected two transportation funding measures, Scott and some of the other commissioners who oversee the state’s road improvement budget still sound resigned.

On the third weekend of every month is the Austin Highway Gun Show, where there are rows of tables with vendors with guns laid out for inspection and purchase. Would-be buyers slowly stroll through the venue, gazing at the pistols, rifles, semiautomatics and shotguns.


Advocates Say Timing Is Right For Independent Oversight Of Texas Prisons

Nov 26, 2018


After a recent slew of damning headlines regarding conditions within Texas prisons, reform advocates and lawmakers are hopeful that the timing is right to get legislation passed creating independent oversight of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Beto O'Rourke, coming off a closer-than-expected race against U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is no longer ruling out a 2020 presidential run.

Gov.-elect Kevin Stitt’s pick to lead his transition team is facing heat for his connection to a Christian nonprofit organization that has been accused of making disparaging comments about Muslims, gays and liberals.

State Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, announces at a Capitol press conference that he's accumulated enough votes to be elected speaker of the Texas House in January.Credit Bob Daemmrich / The Texas TribuneEdit | Remove

By most measures, Republicans are still dominating in Texas.

In this past election, the party won every statewide office – just like it has in the past two decades. This time around, however, the margins were close. So close, in fact, some Texas Republicans say they are nervous ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

Two members of Colorado's Democratic House delegation are adding some suspense to Nancy Pelosi's quest to become speaker.

This week, Congressman Ed Perlmutter signed a letter with 15 other House Democrats opposing Pelosi's bid.

Who can remove a controversial plaque honoring the Confederacy in the Texas Capitol building? Attorney General Ken Paxton answered that question in an official opinion Wednesday, laying the decision primarily at the feet of the Legislature.

They say it takes one to know one. As Kansas governor-elect Laura Kelly soon will be, former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius was a Democrat leading the state while Republicans controlled the Legislature. 

Jim McLean of the Kansas News Service spoke with Sebelius about the support from Republicans that helped Kelly overcome competition from Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach and independent Greg Orman in the governor's race and what will make her successful in office. 

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

From Texas Standard:

In the wake of worldwide demand for a change in workplace cultures that effectively condone sexual misconduct, the Texas Legislature is having a #MeToo moment of its own. On Friday, a House working group is meeting to discuss how to crack down on violators in its own chamber, after reports last year of an "online whisper network" among women in the Legislature who shared their experiences with harassment.

The parents sat stiffly; some had clearly been crying. Their children, largely oblivious, scribbled with crayons on the carpeted floor of a Denver immigration court. In a matter of months, the judge before them will make 71 life-changing decisions.

Earlier this year, the Department of Justice instructed ten immigration courts around the country to speed up cases of families seeking asylum on U.S. soil. In Denver, that directive is being carried out in a series of group hearings, designed to decide cases in less than a year.

Well, fellow Kansans, it’s over.

Democratic state Sen. Laura Kelly, running as the “fix-it” candidate on the premise that Kansas had gone off the rails, beat “full-throttle conservative” Kris Kobach in the race for governor.

Her win signaled Kansans’ desire to, if not reverse the state’s turn to the right, at least turn down the political rhetoric and focus on the basics.

Recent American history features numerous instances where U.S. Attorneys General recused themselves from cases where a conflict of interest existed.

Public Domain

Texas State Representative Four Price of Amarillo has dropped his bid to become the next speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, instead endorsing Representative Dennis Bonnen for the position.

As The Texas Tribune reports, Bonnen’s candidacy has gained real momentum in the last 48 hours, as four GOP legislators vying for the job dropped out of the race and endorsed the Angleton Republican.

As lesbian, Native American Sharice Davids unseated a four-term Kansas Congressman and state Sen. Laura Kelly chalked up a decisive win over Kris Kobach in the Kansas governor's race, one feminist hero watched the state's election results from afar. 

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