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Week in Review, October 8th

In this weekly post, we feature online articles and policy reports published recently, and other helpful research tools.
  • Review the draft damage assessment and restoration plan and the draft environmental impact statement about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, October 2015)
  • Consider the circumstances of youths aged 16 to 24 who are not working or in school. (Congressional Research Service, October 1, 2015)
  • Explore how the health of pets and people is intertwined. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, October 6, 2015)
  • Examine statistics related to victims of identity theft. (Bureau of Justice Statistics, September 2015)
  • Read about the top ten most dangerous cities in America. (24/7 Wall St., September 30, 2015)
  • Take a look at Texas-themed Instagram accounts. (Wide Open Country, October 7, 2015)

5 Things You Can Find in a Legislative Journal

Texas Constitution art. III § 12 directs each chamber of the legislature to keep a journal of its proceedings for each legislative day during session. Daily journals are compiled and indexed following a session, and these bound volumes become what we know as the House and Senate Journals. 
House and Senate journals can be a valuable source of information for research. Though they usually do not contain a transcript of debate, they do have other information that's helpful. Here are five examples:
1. Reason for vote or statement of legislative intent: On some occasions, a reason for vote or a statement of legislative intent will be recorded in the journal. A reason for vote is usually listed in the index as "Vote, reason for, by" or "Reasons for Vote, By." A statement of legislative intent can usually be found as "Legislative intent, statement of." Here's an example of a reason for vote from the Senate Journal for the 31st Legislature (see pg. 7 of the pdf). To see what a statement of legislative intent looks like, see pg. 14 of this pdf.
2. Record votes - If you want to see how a legislator voted on a particular bill at a particular stage in the legislative process, check the bill history to see if a record vote was taken. A record vote is a list of each member's vote on a particular motion or measure.  
3. Speeches - Sometimes the text of speeches will be included in the journals.  As an example, see pg. 11 of this pdf for the text of a speech by Ross Perot when he visited the Legislature in 1971. To find speeches, look in the index for "Address by, text of" or a variation of that.
4. Bill authors and bill histories: The standard appendices in most journals will include a list of bills by author as well as the history of bills and resolutions in the House and Senate. The history contains a list of actions on a bill and is helpful if you want to see if a record vote was ever taken.
5. Messages from the Governor - Governors submit a variety of messages to the legislature during the course of a session. You can usually find these listed in the index under "Governor, Messages From."
The Library has a large collection of House and Senate journals on its website, as well as a comprehensive collection of the hardbound volumes. We've also made all of the journals of the Republic of Texas available online. For help finding information in a journal, please contact the library at (512) 463-1252.

Week in Review, October 1st

In this weekly post, we feature online articles and policy reports published recently, and other helpful research tools.
  • Read about new design standards for federal government websites. (Huffington Post, September 28, 2015)
  • Review maps, charts, and data related to the foreign-born population in the U.S. (Pew Research Center, September 28, 2015)
  • Track job creation from startups. (U.S. Census Bureau, September 28, 2015)
  • Examine the present and future of urban mobility. (McKinsey Insights, September 2015)

New & Noteworthy List for October 2015

The Library is continually adding new books to its collection. Below are the six titles from our October 2015 New & Noteworthy list.

1. Ten-gallon Economy: Sizing Up Economic Growth in Texas By Pia M. Orrenius et al., editors
Presents an in-depth examination of the Texas economy in celebration and recognition of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas centennial. Explores the reasons for Texas' recent economic growth and whether this growth comes with costs to be paid in the future. Includes discussions of the margin tax, education challenges, human capital investment, labor market polarization, the shale oil boom, banking trends, energy prices, manufacturing, and economic issues at the Texas-Mexico border. Notes the key to Texas' recent economic success is its ability and willingness to change.
Palgrave Macmillan, 2015. 248 pages.
330.9764 OR7T 2015


2. American Higher Education in Crisis? What Everyone Needs to Know By Goldie Blumenstyk
Examines the current state of higher education in the United States and what colleges & universities are doing to adapt to the changing post-secondary education environment. Profiles the new "normal" student, identifying who they are and what they hope to get from a college education. Explores the challenges of higher education financing, from ballooning student loan debt to ever-tightening institutional budgets. Considers the internal and external leadership struggles many universities face, including changing ideas around campus governance structures and new federal accountability measures. Concludes with a consideration of several potential "disruptors" of higher education, such as big data, MOOC's, apprenticeships, and alternate methods of credentialing.
Oxford University Press, 2015. 214 pages.
378.73 B627A 2015


3. The Public Wealth of Nations: How Management of Public Assets Can Boost or Bust Economic Growth By Dag Detter and Stefan Fölster
Argues that the main focus of a nation should be how effectively an asset is being managed – not on whether the asset is privatized or public. Examines the position that politicians may not make good managers by the very nature of politics and differing financial philosophies. Suggests state-owned commercial assets would be better off transferred to a national "wealth fund" that would be run by the most talented private and public sector managers to create "public wealth."
Palgrave Macmillan, 2015. 230 pages.
336 D484P 2015


4. Conservative Heroes: Fourteen Leaders Who Shaped America, From Jefferson To Reagan By Garland S. Tucker III
Explores the development of conservatism in America and its fundamental principles, from the founding of the Republic to modern day, by examining the lives and ideas of fourteen leaders who championed the tenets of conservatism. Highlights five fundamental principles of American conservatism and demonstrates how these leaders put these principles into action. Profiles founders of the American Republic, congressional leaders, presidents, the man who revived the Republican party, and the three men behind the rise of modern conservatism.
Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2015. 234 pages.
320.52 T796C 2015


5. Texas School Finance Reform: An IDRA Perspective By Dr. José A. Cárdenas
Chronicles the first 25 years of the fight for school finance reform from the perspective of a key player, Jose Cardenas, the superintendent of the Edgewood School District at the time of the first lawsuit. Recounts the very complex story of the litigation as just that, a story, in a clear and very readable manner. Discusses the issue of school finance reform from a long historical perspective, arguing that schools have always been inequitably funded in Texas. Examines each piece of the puzzle, first in a clear chronological order by years, and then by the legislation that resulted from the opinions of the courts. Considers the beginning of the grassroots fight that continues to this day, giving the reader a good understanding of what transpired to get us to the current point in this story.
Intercultural Development Research Association, 1997. 387 pages.
379.12 C178T 1997


6. Sleuthing the Alamo: Davy Crockett's Last Stand and Other Mysteries of the Texas Revolution By James E. Crisp
Presents a thoughtful reassessment of Texas Revolution topics separating Texas history from myth. Examines a Sam Houston speech, de le Peña's diary, Davy Crockett's death, and paintings showing the fall of the Alamo to demonstrate a true history detective's search for the truth behind long-held beliefs. Engages the reader in a research process that has application beyond historical matters, showing the value of going back to basics and being doubtful of accepted sources and previous scholarship.
Oxford University Press, 2005. 212 pages.
976.403 C868S 2005


Week in Review, September 24th

In this weekly post, we feature online articles and policy reports published recently, and other helpful research tools.
  • Browse a list of the upcoming bond elections throughout Texas. (Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, September 23, 2015)
  • Read about sexual assault and misconduct on college campuses nationwide. (Westat / Association of American Universities, September 21, 2015)
  • Review survey results about employer-sponsored health coverage. (Kaiser Family Foundation, September 22, 2015)
  • Consider whether fidgeting might be beneficial for desk-bound workers.  (Forbes, September 23, 2015)

Week in Review, September 17th

In this weekly post, we feature online articles and policy reports published recently, and other helpful research tools.
  • Examine suspensions and expulsions of Black students in Southern states. (Center for the Study of Race & Equity in Education, ©2015)
  • Review changes to the Texas assessment program for the 2015–2016 school year. (Texas Education Agency, September 4, 2015)
  • Read about the wearing out of voting machines. (Brennan Center for Justice, September 15, 2015)
  • Consider the implementation of rules aimed at modernizing the food safety system. (U.S. Food and Drug Administration, September 10, 2015)
  • Explore commercial uses of unmanned aircraft systems. (Congressional Research Service, September 9, 2015)

Week in Review, September 10th

In this weekly post, we feature online articles and policy reports published recently, and other helpful research tools.
  • Consider the health and well-being of women by state. (Institute for Women's Policy Research, 2015)
  • Explore American views on mobile etiquette. (Pew Research Center, August 26, 2015)
  • Track active wildfires throughout the country. (National Interagency Fire Center, updated Monday through Friday)
  • Find a Little Free Library near you. (Little Free Library, ©2009-2015)

Interim Hearings - Weeks of September 13th and 20th

Interim Hearings - Weeks of September 13th and 20th
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.
September 15th
House Committee on General Investigating & Ethics
House Committee on County Affairs
Topic: Possible changes to the Texas Commission on Jail Standards minimum standards and better processes with regards to inmate care, training, and coordination among county jails, local mental health authorities, and the Department of State Health Services. Invited testimony only from Sheriff's Association of Texas, Texas Commission on Jail Standards, Texas Council of Community Centers, and Department of State Health Services
September 22nd
Senate Committee on Criminal Justice
Topic: Jail safety standards in Texas

Interim Hearings - Week of September 6th

Interim Hearings - Week of September 6th
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.
September 10th
Topic:  Discussion about future funding needs
Topic:  Detailed breakdown of each transportation funding source for 2016-17 biennium (including potential/projected sources)
Topic: Testimony from TTI on how other states provide funding for transportation
Topic:   Alternative transportation funding options and specific methods to finance long-term/major transportation projects
Topic:   Detailed debt service update
  • Semi-Annual Issuer Report (Prepared for the Bond Review Board For the Period Ending February 28, 2015), Texas Department of Transportation
Topic:  Update on State Highway Fund expenditures
Topic:  Discussion about how funding levels are decided for each of TxDOT's 12 categories

Week in Review, September 3rd

In this weekly post, we feature online articles and policy reports published recently, and other helpful research tools.
  • Read about how the public sector may adapt new technologies to serve the public. (Deloitte University Press, August 28, 2015)
  • Consider how state and local taxes influence business location decisions. (Tax Foundation, August 26, 2015)
  • Explore content preservation on the internet. (TechCrunch, August 27, 2015)
  • See primary care providers' views on recent changes in health care. (The Commonwealth Fund, August 5, 2015)

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