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Week in Review, August 25

In this weekly post, we feature online articles and policy reports published recently, and other helpful research tools.
  • Read a joint report issued by the Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force and Department of State Health Services. (Texas Department of State Health Services, July 2016)
  • Review hand sanitation laws in 7 states related to animal contact exhibits, like petting zoos. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, August 16, 2016)
  • Examine public college outcomes for loan-bearing students. (Third Way, August 11, 2016)
  • Consider the effects of the 2008 recession on small business financing. (Mercatus Working Paper, August 2016)

New & Noteworthy List for August 2016

The Library is continually adding new books to its collection. Below are the six titles from our August 2016 New & Noteworthy list.
Check out and delivery of New & Noteworthy titles is available to legislative staff in Capitol and District offices. To arrange check out of any of these items, you can submit an online request through the New & Noteworthy page on our website, or contact the library at 512-463-1252.

1. The Con of the Con-Con: The Case Against the States Amending the U.S. Constitution By Andy Biggs
Presents the arguments of a conservative, seven-term member of the Arizona Legislature as to why an Article V Constitutional Convention is not the answer to America's problems. Discusses proponents' reasons for a "con-con" and presents the author's counter arguments. Suggests citizens must be better informed before the time is appropriate for this method of change.
Free Man Press, 2015. 171 pages.
342.73 B484 2015



2. The Rise and Fall of Violent Crime in America By Barry Latzer
Details the rise of crime in America from the end of the second World War through the end of the twentieth century, examining circumstances and social issues that may have been a factor. Studies the effect of "tough on crime" legislation, increased numbers of police, revamped court systems, and other changes implemented in the late 1990s, when crime levels began to drop. Compares cultural versus structural perspectives on what has caused violent crime to rise and fall over the last 70 years.
Encounter Books, 2016. 404 pages.
364.150973 L359R 2016



3. The Texas Legacy Project: Stories of Courage and Conservation By David Todd
Depicts the extraordinary efforts by veteran conservationists and ordinary citizens to preserve the natural legacy and resources of Texas - both land and wildlife and their effect on public health. Includes interviews with former state legislators Babe Schwartz, Carlos Truan, and Sissy Farenthold.
Texas A&M University Press, 2010. 278 pages.
333.72092 T566 2010



4. Race and the Houston Police Department, 1930-1990: A Change Did Come By Dwight Watson
Provides a historical picture of the Houston Police Department (HPD) and race relations over a 60 year period. Illustrates how traditional attitudes towards race limited the development of the HPD until external factors, including the civil rights movement, modernization, annexation, and court-ordered political reapportionment, forced the Houston police department to change.
Texas A&M University Press, 2005. 208 pages.
363.2 W332R 2005



5. Adele Briscoe Looscan: Daughter of the Republic By Laura Lyons McLemore
Presents the biography of Adele Briscoe Looscan, the daughter of a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, who was a highly respected clubwoman, writer, and leader in Texas. Recounts her service with the Daughters of the Republic of Texas (DRT) and her role as the first female president of the Texas State Historical Association. Highlights her contributions to the preservation of historic landmarks, curriculum development in public schools, and Texas history.
TCU Press, 2016. 265 pages.
976.405092 M224A 2016



6. Women of the Range: Women's Roles in the Texas Beef Cattle Industry By Elizabeth Maret
Describes past and present contributions of women as owners and managers in the Texas cattle industry, often as an unpaid labor force. Discusses the role women played in the modernization of the industry and as "keepers of the land."
Texas A&M University Press, 1993. 152 pages.
331.4 M335W 1993



Interim Hearings - Week of August 29

Interim Hearings - Week of August 29
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.
August 29 Top
House Committee on County Affairs 
Charge: County cybersecurity policies
Charge: Legislative oversight and monitoring of agencies, including Child Protective Services, 1115 Transformation Waiver, and criminal justice programs in Bexar County
August 30 Top
House Committee on Transportation
Topic: TxDOT Rail Division
Topic: TxDOT Rural Transit Division
Topic: TxDOT General Aviation Division
Topic: TxDOT HB 2612 report
Topic: TxDOT on utility relocation
Topic: Presentation from TTI on Transportation Network Companies
House Select Committee on Transportation Planning
Topic: Update from TxDOT working group on project selection criteria, rules and policies for project prioritization and selection, and funding categories
August 31 Top
House Committee on Urban Affairs
Charge 1: Demographic trends in Texas for affordable housing and senior housing 
Charge 2: Gentrification's effect on affordable housing 
Charge 3: Guidelines for the appraisal of Affordable Housing Properties financed with Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) 
Charge 4: Current Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs preservation programs for rural rental housing 

Dates of Interest for the 85th Regular Session

What are the key deadlines for the 85th Regular Session? Official deadlines will be set when the House and Senate adopt their rules, but until then, the Texas Legislative Council Drafting Manual provides a perpetual calendar (shown below) that can be useful. According to the Manual:
Bill pre-filing begins:  Nov 14, 2016
1st day of session:  Jan 10, 2017
60-day bill filing deadline:  Mar 10, 2017
Adjournment sine die:  May 29, 2017
Post-session 20-day deadline for governor to sign or veto:  June 18, 2017
Effective date (91st day after adjournment):  Aug 28, 2017
  Table can be viewed on pg. 135 of the Texas Legislative Council Drafting Manual

Week in Review, August 18

In this weekly post, we feature online articles and policy reports published recently, and other helpful research tools.
  • Explore economic policies in State of the State addresses from 44 state governors. (American Legislative Exchange Council, August 11, 2016)
  • Read the draft environmental impact statement for the Texas–Oklahoma passenger rail study. (Federal Railroad Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, available for public review and comment through August 29, 2016)
  • See district profiles of Texas House and Senate districts. (Texas Legislative Council, accessed August 17, 2016)
  • Review the Texas Education Agency's 2016 accountability ratings. (Texas Education Agency, August 15, 2016)
  • Consider the state of transportation network companies in Texas. (Texas A&M Transportation Institute, July 2016)

Back to School: New Legislation Relating to Public Schools

With the beginning of school approaching, we thought it would be a good time to highlight public education bills passed by the 84th Legislature that apply in the 2016-2017 school year.
  • HB 4, Relating to prekindergarten, including a high quality prekindergarten grant program provided by public school districts.
Section 29.167(b), Education Code, requiring a prekindergarten teacher to have been awarded a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential, applies beginning in the 2016-2017 school year.
  • HB 2293, Relating to the certification by the comptroller to the commissioner of education of the taxable value of property in each school district.
"The changes in reporting will not affect reporting requirements until the 2016-17 school year." Briefing Book on Public Education Legislation, 84th Texas Legislative Session, Texas Education Agency, July 2015
  • HB 2610, Relating to the minimum number of minutes of instruction for students to be provided by public school districts and the scheduling of the last day of school for students by public school districts.
"Beginning in the 2016-2017 school year, school districts and charter schools will be required to submit calendars showing the amount of time that school was held each day, along with any waiver minutes granted by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) through the summer data submission." House Bill 2610: Frequently Asked Questions, Version 4, Texas Education Agency, February 9, 2016
  • HB 2804, Relating to evaluation of public school performance.
Section 39.054(a), Education Code, Methods and Standards for Evaluating Performance, text of subsection effective on September 1, 2016, relating to school district and campus performance ratings. 
  • SB 507, Relating to the placement and use of video cameras in self-contained classrooms or other settings providing special education services.
Section 29.022, Education Code, Video Surveillance of Special Education Settings, applies beginning with the 2016-2017 school year.
For a more comprehensive list of education bills, search for bills in the 84th Legislature under the subjects of Education--Primary & Secondary on Texas Legislature Online.
Additional resources on public education legislation and interim committee charges include:
Cover image by flickr user Province of British Columbia.

Interim Hearings - Week of August 22

Interim Hearings - Week of August 22 
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.
Week of August 22
August 22 Top
House Committee on Land & Resource Management
Charge: Coastal erosion
Charge: Natural disaster preparedness and response 
August 23 Top
House Committee on Special Purpose Districts
Charge 1: Municipal Management Districts and/or Improvement Districts 
Charge 2: Legislative oversight and monitoring of agencies, including opportunities to streamline the purpose of multiple districts created within the same area, while maintaining the mission of special purpose districts
House Committee on Licensing & Administrative Procedures   
Charge: Occupational licensing
Charge: Regulatory functions across agencies and departments
Charge: Powdered alcohol and impact on underage drinking
Charge: Legislative oversight and monitoring of agencies
Senate Committee on Criminal Justice
Charge 7: Civil asset forfeiture laws
Topic: Bullying in Texas schools, cyberbullying in the digital age
Senate Committee on Higher Education
Charge: Tuition and fee waivers and exemptions, tuition set-asides, financial aid
August 24 Top
Charge 13: Review of current public education programs administered by the Texas Education Agency that are funded outside of the Foundation School Program
House Committee on Defense & Veterans' Affairs
Topic 1: Maintaining military value of defense installations and communities
House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence
Charge 1: GPS monitoring in protective orders, family violence prevention
August 25 Top
Joint Interim Committee to Study Development of a Cruise Industry
Topic: Development and potential economic impact of a cruise industry on the Texas coast between Calhoun and Cameron counties

Week in Review, August 11

In this weekly post, we feature online articles and policy reports published recently, and other helpful research tools.
  • Examine the state of national and domestic security. (The Atlantic, September 2016)
  • Consider the regulatory shortcomings related to raw materials that can be used to make a dirty bomb. (The Center for Public Integrity, August 4, 2016)
  • Review legal challenges from states related to federal immigration laws and enforcement. (Congressional Research Service, August 1, 2016)
  • Read about how immigrants have contributed to Texas' robust economy. (New American Economy, August 2016)
  • See the latest figures on household debt and credit. (Federal Reserve Bank of New York, August 2016)
  • Explore Shakespeare's references to the natural world. (OUP Blog, August 6, 2016)

Voter ID Court Rulings

In the past two weeks, voter ID laws (laws requiring voters to show some form of identification at the polls) have been the subject of five separate court rulings. One of the cases, Veasey v. Abbott, pertained to Texas' voter ID law, SB 14, 82nd R.S. (2011). For your convenience, we have listed the five opinions below.

August 1, 2016 - North Dakota
Richard Brakebill et al. vs. Alvin Jaeger; Order granting plaintiffs' motion for preliminary injunction (Case 1:16-cv-00008-DLH-CSM) [view document]
U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota
July 29, 2016 - Kansas
Court orders immediate halt to Kansas dual voter registration system. [view press release]
Marvin L. Brown, et al. v. Kris Kobach; Petition pursuant to K.S.A. chapter 60 for declaratory and injunctive relief  [view document]
Shawnee County District Court, Third Judicial District
July 29, 2016 - North Carolina
North Carolina State Conference of the NAAPC et al. v. Patrick L. McCrory; Opinion (Appeal No. 16-1468) [view document]
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
July 29, 2016 - Wisconsin
One Wisconsin Institute, Inc. et al. v. Mark L. Thomsen et al.; Findings of fact and conclusions of law (No. 15-cv-324-jdp) [view document]
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin
July 20, 2016 - Texas
Marc Veasey, et al. v. Greg Abbott; Opinion (No. 14-41127) [view document]
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

Interim Hearings - Week of August 15

Interim Hearings - Week of August 15 
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.
August 15 Top
House Committee on State Affairs
Charge: Contracting monitoring, compliance, performance evaluation and notification requirements for contracting procedures
Charge: Administrative process used to determine utility rates
Charge: How Public Utility Commission of Texas and utility providers can ensure consumer protection regarding metering devices for water, gas, and electricity service
Senate Committee on Intergovernmental Relations
Charge 2: Home rule municipalities, adoption of ordinances
Charge 4: Municipal management districts (MMDs)
Charge 5: Statutes and Rules that govern Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs in light of the recent Supreme Court decision in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs et al. v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc., et al.
Charge 6: Government accountability in elections - improve transparency regarding public debt
August 16 Top
House Select Committee on Mental Health
Invited testimony on Mental/behavioral health care services in Texas, including, but not limited to substance abuse, homelessness,  veterans, gaps in programs, and improving delivery of services
Senate Committee on Education
Charge: School board governance policies and practices, school board training requirements, suggestions for better student outcomes, particularly within the framework set for low-performing schools in HB 1842, 84th Legislature, R.S.
Charge: Monitor implementation of legislation, specifically initiatives to build a high-quality pre-kindergarten grant program; and legislation to raise standards of teacher preparation programs and establish a more consistent, high-quality accountability system
August 17 Top
House Select Committee on Mental Health
Public testimony on mental health/behavioral health care services in Texas
August 18 Top
Joint Interim Committee on Advertising Public Notices
Topic: Rules and organizational business
Topic: Use of technology in posting and advertising to the public of legally required notices

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