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

The makeup of the Oklahoma Supreme Court and Court of Appeals could change under a bill on its way to the governor’s desk that changes the state’s nine judicial districts.

Texas begins redistricting in two years. The process will slice up Texas into political districts. When the districts are redrawn to benefit a particular party, it's called gerrymandering.  Some say it's time to finally end this particular political game.

Attorney General William Barr has released a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 election to Congress and the public.

The special counsel spent nearly two years investigating attacks on the 2016 presidential election and whether the Trump campaign coordinated with the Russians behind it.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis has signed sweeping new regulations for the booming oil and gas industry. In a lengthy press conference, the governor talked about ending the contentious wars between oil and gas companies and communities.

“I will ask that those in this room and those who are not in this room commit to seeing this bill and this effort be a success for implementation and for the future of Colorado,” he said.

A bill before the Texas Senate would allow felons to seek public office only if they have received a pardon.

Current election code says a candidate who has been convicted of a felony must either be pardoned “or otherwise released from the resulting disabilities” – but it doesn’t define “resulting disabilities.” Senate Bill 466 would remove that clause.

Texas House Passes Bill To Tackle Backlog Of Rape Kits

Apr 17, 2019

The Texas House unanimously passed a bill Tuesday that aims to tackle the state’s backlog of thousands of untested rape kits. House Bill 8 requires an audit of untested rape kits to determine the number, status and location of all rape kits in the state.

Back in 2013, Colorado lawmakers passed bipartisan legislation granting special driver’s licenses to those without documentation. But leaders in the agricultural industry, as well as immigrant rights advocates, had long insisted that the program be expanded to meet demand.   

State lawmakers started this year’s legislative session with the intention of tackling bipartisan issues — namely, education and property taxes. Last week, though, abortion politics complicated that goal.

Kansas has dropped its effort to terminate Planned Parenthood’s participation in Medicaid, ending a three-year-long court battle that the state lost at every turn.

The change in policy wasn’t announced publicly but rather came in the form of a joint stipulation to dismiss Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit challenging the state’s move.

On Monday, Texas State University's student senate passed a controversial resolution to bar the conservative group Turning Point USA from campus — a move shut down by the student body president and campus administration. But the resolution caught the attention of Gov. Greg Abbott.

A Texas GOP fundraiser Tuesday brought state House Speaker Dennis Bonnen face-to-face with the gun rights activist whom state troopers recently intercepted at Bonnen’s home, the latest chapter in sharp tensions between the two.


Kansas voters might have more flexibility when it comes to where they cast ballots in future elections.

The Kansas Legislature approved an update to a state election law that gives counties the option to adopt open polling. The bill is now awaiting the governor’s signature.

A bill that Democratic lawmakers say is needed to fight climate change has cleared its first hurdle at the state Capitol.

House Bill 1261 would set a goal for Colorado to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent before 2030.

It would also give a state board the authority to approve new regulations that would help the state reach that goal.

At one point last weekend — actually, more than a couple of times — John Hickenlooper felt compelled to tell a listener, whether in a church in South Carolina, or over a plate of barbecue in Alabama, why the numbers reflecting his decidedly underdog status in the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination shouldn't necessarily be taken at face value.

The non-psychoactive component of marijuana is the latest craze in alternative medicine. Even Walgreens and CVS plan to sell CBD products. But there's one group that has yet to cash in on the CBD fever: Texas farmers.

Things got a little chippy during the final week of the regular legislative session, but Kansas lawmakers came away with a school funding plan and a permanent commerce secretary. On Statehouse Blend Kansas, Sec. David Toland talks with host Jim McLean about moving on to reinvigorating the state's economic development efforts.

Subscribe to Statehouse Blend Kansas wherever you listen to podcasts.

 


UPDATE: Saturday, with a crowd of teachers looking on, Gov. Kelly signed a school funding bill she hopes will end years of court battles between the state and local school districts.  

It took a fight, but the Kansas House and Senate have agreed to the school funding hikes Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly called for. Now, lawmakers will wait to see if it’s enough to satisfy the state’s highest court.

UPDATE: On April 5, after this story was first published, both chambers of the Kansas Legislature passed a measure mandating notice that the abortion pill may be reversible, sending the bill to Gov. Laura Kelly's desk where it currently sits. The amended bill includes a compromise sought by Democrats under which physicians who attempt a reversal would report the outcome to state health officials.

The stakes run high for 130,000-some low-income Kansans who stand to gain from expanding Medicaid coverage — and for the political players who will decide the contentious issue.

Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly made expansion a centerpiece of the election that put her in office. Two Republican leaders — Senate President Susan Wagle and Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning — could see their elevation to higher office also turn on the issue.

The 2020 census is still a year away but the nationwide head count is already on the minds of lawmakers in Austin. There are big political and policy implications for states in the once-a-decade headcount, so there's an incentive in Austin and other state capitols to help ensure that every Texan is counted.

What’s that you say? There’s an election coming up? Yes!

Some smaller cities and towns in Central Texas will be voting on city council races, bond propositions and school board races on May 4.

The Colorado Legislature has given final approval to a bill that will allow police officers to temporarily take guns away from people who are deemed to be a risk to themselves or others.

Gov. Jared Polis is expected to sign the extreme risk protection order bill into law.

Public defenders are urging state lawmakers to consider legislation that would shift all drug possession charges from felonies to misdemeanors — a move that could reduce the state’s prison population.

The bill, getting its first airing this week in the state House of Representatives, lowers sentences to probation and up to 120 days in jail as a condition of — or a violation of — probation. It also allows counties to create drug courts.

The Colorado House passed a major overhaul of oil and gas regulations in a final hearing Friday morning, sending the legislation back to the full Senate one last time to approve amendments.

Lawmakers voted 36-28 to approve Senate Bill 19-181. One House member was absent.

Nine bills concerning marijuana and hemp are set for public hearing in the Texas House on Monday.

The Kansas Senate has agreed to give school districts raises. The House has not. Instead, negotiators are headed to the bargaining table with a stack of new requirements for reporting how schools spend their money. Rep. Kristey Williams is the one leading the charge for more accountability from districts. 


Texas House Committee Passes Property Tax Reform Bill

Mar 29, 2019

For years, short-term rentals – the rooms and homes on apps like Airbnb and HomeAway – have been the subject of lawsuits and hand-wringing on the part of regulators and people looking to rent out properties.

From Texas Standard:

The Supreme Court's decision in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple left open a larger question of whether a business can discriminate against members of the LGBTQ community based on the religious principles of the businessperson.

Now, Texas lawmakers want to provide licensed professionals in Texas with legal cover in the event they are accused of discriminating on the basis of the businessperson's religious beliefs.  

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