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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."
 

Week in Review, November 13th

In this weekly post, we feature online articles and policy reports published recently, and other helpful research tools.
  • Read about how the way people browse Wikipedia could assist researchers in tracking the spread of flu in real time. (MIT Technology Review, November 3, 2014)
  • Examine survey findings on Houston's Hispanic population. (Rice University Kinder Institute for Urban Research, October 23, 2014)
  • See which state agencies are currently under Sunset review. (Sunset Advisory Commission, accessed November 12, 2014)
  • Explore different reports about legislative information for the 84th Legislature. (Texas Legislature Online, accessed November 12, 2014) 
 
 

Interim Hearings - Week of November 17th

Interim Hearings - Week of November 17th
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.
 
November 17th
Senate Committee on Education
Charge: School choice
 
Charge: Implementation of SB 2, 83rd Legislature, R.S., relating to certain charter schools
 
Topic: Facility demand issues on school districts across the state
November 19th
House Committee on State Affairs
 
Topic: Audit Report on the HealthSelect Contract at the Employees Retirement System, SAO Report No. 15-007
 

Week in Review, November 6th

In this weekly post, we feature online articles and policy reports published recently, and other helpful research tools.
  • Check out election returns for the November 4, 2014 general election. (Texas Secretary of State, accessed November 5, 2014)
  • See a state-by-state map of the states' business tax climates. (Tax Foundation, October 28, 2014)
  • Read about how Common Core curricula are developed. (Curriculum Matters blog, Education Week, October 30, 2014)
  • Explore the cost of broadband Internet access in 24 cities all over the world. (Open Technology Institute, October 30, 2014)
 
 

Interim Hearings - Week of November 10th

Interim Hearings - Week of November 10th
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.
November 10th Top
House Select Committee on Economic Development Incentives
Topic: Findings and recommendations
 
November 12th Top
Senate Committee on Open Government
Charge: Texas Public Information Act
Staff presentation and agency response (invited testimony):
 
November 13th Top
 
November 14th Top
Charge: International trade and investment in Texas
 
Charge: Physical infrastructure that facilitates international trade
 
Charge: Commercial ship traffic on smaller coastal waterways
Topic: Distribution of state proposition funding as it relates to the enabling legislation in HB 1, 83rd Legislature, 3rd C.S.
 

Bill Prefiling: FAQs and Statistics

Prefiling is the filing of bills and other proposed legislation before the convening of a legislative session. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, prefiling increases the efficiency of the legislative process by allowing more time to draft legislation and complete associated paperwork, and by allowing presiding officers more time to consider to which committee a bill will be referred. Prefiling in Texas occurs the first Monday after the general election in even-numbered years. Below are some answers to frequently asked questions about prefiling.
 
Who can prefile legislation?
Members-elect of the upcoming legislative session may prefile bills beginning November 10, 2014. This includes members who are newly elected but not yet sworn in.
 
Can non-legislative individuals prefile legislation?
Not directly, but members of the public are free to contact their representative to discuss the possibility of the representative authoring a bill on a particular issue. For more information, please view the Citizen Handbook: How the Texas Legislature Works.
 
Is there a limit to how many bills a member can prefile?
There is no stated limit in the House or Senate rules.
 
How do you view prefiled bills?
  • If you are looking for a specific bill number, you can look it up on the Texas Legislature Online website.
  • You can also view a list of bills filed each day by selecting "Today's Filed Bills" from the General Reports section of Texas Legislature Online.
  • If you are looking for prefiled bills on a specific subject, please use the Bill Search page on the Texas Legislature Online website.
  • If you need assistance locating prefiled bills, please call the Texas Legislative Reference Library at (512) 463-1252.
What happens to prefiled bills?
Once prefiled bills are received, they are numbered and made publicly available via the Texas Legislature Online website.
 
Is the library involved with prefiled legislation?
Yes. The library analyzes prefiled bills and assigns subject index codes, and checks to see if companion measures were filed in the opposite chamber.
 

Week in Review, October 30th

In this weekly post, we feature online articles and policy reports published recently, and other helpful research tools.
  • Examine the health care costs for people under 65 with employer-sponsored health insurance. (Health Care Cost Institute, October 2014)
  • Read about bicyclist safety. (Governors Highway Safety Association, October 2014)
  • Consider hospitals' struggles with potentially fatal infections acquired during a patient's hospital stay. (Kaiser Health News, October 21, 2014)
  • Compare unemployment rates during the recession to unemployment rates today, state by state. (Bloomberg Visual Data, September 30, 2014)
  • Explore voter turnout forecasts for the upcoming election. (Pew Research Center, October 29, 2014)
 
 

Week in Review, October 23rd

In this weekly post, we feature online articles and policy reports published recently, and other helpful research tools.
 
 
 

Week in Review, October 16th

In this weekly post, we feature online articles and policy reports published recently, and other helpful research tools.
  • Consider a study on accessibility of jobs by transit. (Accessibility Observatory, University of Minnesota, October 9, 2014)
  • Read about the offline population and how much of the United States is offline. (The Washington Post, October 1, 2014)
  • Find out about how Ebola may affect pets. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, October 13, 2014)
  • Examine the energy and fuels outlook for the winter heating season. (U.S. Energy Information Administration, October 2014) 
  • Review information about Common Core state standards. (Congressional Research Service, September 15, 2014)
 
 

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