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Week in Review, December 18th

In this weekly post, we feature online articles and policy reports published recently, and other helpful research tools.
Season's Greetings to all our readers! Week in Review will return on January 8, 2015.
 
 

New Interim Reports

In the past week, we have received reports from the following committees:
 
 
Last week, we received reports from
 
Health and Human Services
Veteran Affairs and Military Installations

Looking for another report? The LRL's Legislative Reports database contains interim committee charges, reports, and other substantive legislative studies published in the House and Senate Journals back to 1846. You may search by committee list, committee name, charge text, or subject.
 

Week in Review, December 11th

In this weekly post, we feature online articles and policy reports published recently, and other helpful research tools.
  • Examine how body-worn cameras affect policing. (U.S. Department of Justice, 2014)
  • Explore the economic effects of shale oil and gas production. (Congressional Budget Office, December 2014)
  • Read about the country's crude oil reserves. (U.S. Energy Information Administration, December 4, 2014)
  • Consider the implications of for-profit prison corporations. (American Friends Service Committee, November 17, 2014)
 
 

New Books, Week of December 10th

The library adds new books to its collection every week. Here are six books recently added.

Burning Down the House: The End of Juvenile Prison, by Nell Bernstein (2014).
"In this clear-eyed indictment of a failed institution—the juvenile detention facility—award-winning journalist Nell Bernstein shows that there is no right way to lock up a child."

Diversity Explosion: How New Racial Demographics are Remaking America, by William H. Frey (2014).
"Through a compelling narrative and eye-catching charts and maps, eminent demographer Frey interprets and expounds on the dramatic growth of minority populations in the U.S. He finds that without these expanding groups, America could face a bleak future: this new generation of young minorities, who are having children at a faster rate than whites, is infusing our aging labor force with vitality and innovation."

In the Common Interest: Embracing the New American Community, by John Carona (2014).
"[This book] explains how the modern community association benefits not only residents but also the country at large. [The author] outlines the pros and cons of these communities, plus prescriptive advice for how we can make them even better."

Lone Star Nation: How Texas Will Transform America, by Richard Parker (2014).
"Richard Parker takes the reader on a tour across today's booming Texas, an evolving landscape that is densely urban, overwhelmingly Hispanic, exceedingly powerful in the global economy, and increasingly liberal."

A Race for the Future: How Conservatives Can Break the Liberal Monopoly on Hispanic Americans, by Mike Gonzalez (2014).
"[This book] reveals exactly how bureaucratic decisions that encourage public assistance and discourage assimilation hinder Hispanics and allow them to be politically monopolized by progressives."

A Wicked War: Polk, Clay, Lincoln, and the 1846 U.S. Invasion of Mexico, by Amy Greenberg (2012).
"It is a story of Indian fights, Manifest Destiny, secret military maneuvers, gunshot wounds, and political spin. Along the way it captures a young Lincoln mismatching his clothes, the lasting influence of the Founding Fathers, the birth of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and America’s first national antiwar movement."

 

 

New Interim Reports

In the past week, we have received reports from the following committees:
 
Health and Human Services
Veteran Affairs and Military Installations

Looking for another report?  The LRL's Legislative Reports database contains interim committee charges, reports, and other substantive legislative studies published in the House and Senate Journals back to 1846. You may search by committee list, committee name, charge text, or subject.

Week in Review, December 4th

In this weekly post, we feature online articles and policy reports published recently, and other helpful research tools.
  • Consider the effects of granting unauthorized immigrants temporary relief from deportation. (Migration Policy Institute, November 20, 2014)
  • Explore diabetes data, state by state. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, October 27, 2014)
  • Read about computer and Internet use in the United States. (American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, November 2014)
  • Access read-only copies of articles in Nature for free. (Nature, December 2, 2014)
  • Examine how money from hydraulic fracturing is affecting banks. (Federal Reserve Bank of New York, December 1, 2014)
 
 

Interim Hearings - Week of December 8th

Interim Hearings - Week of December 8th
Today's Committee Meetings on the LRL website is a calendar of interim committee hearings with links to agendas. Below are resources related to upcoming Interim Hearings.
December 9th Top
Senate Committee on State Affairs
Charge: Actuarial and financial conditions of the pension and health care programs administered by the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) and the Employees Retirement System (ERS)
December 10th Top
Commission decisions
 
Staff presentation and public testimony - Public input form for agencies under review
December 11th Top
Topic: Sufficient balance to maintain in the Economic Stabilization Fund
 

Interim Hearings - Week of December 1st

Interim Hearings - Week of December 1st
Today's Committee Meetings on the LRL website is a calendar of interim committee hearings with links to agendas. Below are resources related to upcoming Interim Hearings.
December 1st Top
Topics: Revised guidelines for the Texas Facilities Commission, other business
 
Topics: Personnel matters and other business
 
December 3rd Top
House Committee on Insurance
Charge: Effects of the Affordable Care Act on the availability and affordability of private health insurance coverage in Texas and on the health insurance market
 Charge: Transparency in the health care marketplace
 Charge: Auto insurance market issues:
Charge: Long-term stability of the residual market for workers' compensation insurance
Joint Select Committee on Ethics Laws
Topic: Review the statutes and regulations related to ethics, including campaign finance laws, lobby laws, and personal financial disclosure law
  • Publications and Guides, including campaign finance guides for candidates and officeholders, and lobbying in Texas, Texas Ethics Commission
 
December 4th Top
House Committee on Appropriations
Topic: Invited testimony on state spending limit, overview of the revenue estimate, and budget drivers for the 84th Legislative Session (including public education, Medicaid, mental health funding, Employee Retirement System and the Teacher Retirement System)
Topic: Invited testimony from agencies and organizations that are participating in Texas Border Support Operations
Topic: Press credentialing
 
House Research Organization Steering Committee
Topic: Nominate steering committee candidate slate for submission to House membership
 

Week in Review, November 20th

In this weekly post, we feature online articles and policy reports published recently, and other helpful research tools.
  • See what Americans think about privacy. (Pew Research Internet Project, November 12, 2014)
  • Read about drones and how they affect privacy. (LLRX.com, November 10, 2014)
  • Track changes in college pricing and financial aid. (College Board, November 13, 2014)
  • Examine factors that influence the development of mass-transit infrastructure. (U.S. Government Accountability Office, November 2014)
Happy Thanksgiving to all our readers! Week in Review will return December 4th.
 

Lingo in the Texas Legislature

Not unlike other communities, members of the Texas Legislature use their own set of specialized lingo in their dealings with each other.  If you've never heard them before, these often colorful words and phrases can be confusing when encountered in a legislative context. With the 84th Regular Session right around the corner, we thought it would be a good time to define some of the legislative lingo frequently used in the Texas Capitol.
 
The following definitions are taken from the book Texas Politics and Government. For more serious glossaries of the legislative lexicon in Texas, see this helpful guide by the Senate Research Center, and the appendix in The Texas Legislative Council’s Guide to Texas Legislative Information.
 
Gutting:
Amending a bill in committee or on the floor in such a way that it severely weakens the bill or changes its original purpose.
 
Keying:
Watching another legislator to see which way he or she is voting before deciding how to vote. Floor leaders extend an arm with one finger held high to indicate that followers should vote "aye" or with two fingers held high to indicate that followers should vote "nay."
 
Logrolling:
Supporting and voting for another member's bill (especially a "local" bill affecting only the author's district) with the assumption that he or she will then support you when you have a bill coming up.
 
Pork barrel:
Appropriations of money to a project in a single legislative district.
 
Sine Die:
Legislators use this Latin phrase to describe the 140th day (the last day) of a regular legislative session. Means literally "without day."
 
That dog won't hunt:
A debating point suggesting that the legislator does not believe another member's argument.
 
Members of the Texas Legislature demonstrating the act of 'keying.'
From left to right: Representatives Menton Murray, Tom Uher and Dean Cobb demonstrating the act of "keying."
 

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