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Current Articles

The Legislative Reference Library produces a weekly list of current journal articles for members of the legislative community. Each week, librarians select and abstract articles of interest to the legislature from the latest issues of over 300 journals, newsletters, state documents, and trade publications. Electronic copies of the Current Articles list are distributed to legislative offices each Friday.

The Legislative Reference Library is located on the second floor of the State Capitol building in Room 2N.3. For more information, please call the Library at 512 463-1252.

September 29, 2016 list Print (PDF)

"Gender identity." By Del Stover. American School Board Journal, October 2016, pp. 36-39
Details challenges schools are facing in their efforts to accommodate the needs of transgendered students while ensuring a safe learning environment for everyone. Discusses the controversy surrounding transgender students' access to restrooms and the lack of legal clarity on the issue. Includes discussion of staff guidelines on transgender issues proposed by the superintendent of schools in Fort Worth, Texas and guidelines published by the National School Board Association.
Related information at: https://cdn-files.nsba.org/s3fs-public/reports/107 ...
"5 things employers should know about Austin's 'ban the box' hiring ordinance." By Karen M. Kennard. Austin Business Journal, September 23, 2016, pp. A16-A17
Presents suggestions to help employers comply with Austin's recently-adopted fair chance hiring ordinance, which relates to prospective employees who may have a criminal history.
"#ExxonKnew: now what?" By Matthew Philips and Paul M. Barrett. Bloomberg Businessweek, September 12, 2016, pp. 60-63
Explores the investigation into ExxonMobil's knowledge of fossil fuels' effects on the environment and whether the company misled the public. Presents how ExxonMobil has reacted to recent investigative reports by the Los Angeles Times and InsideClimate News. Details the investigations by attorneys general of several states into ExxonMobil's possible deception related to fossil fuels' effects on the environment.
"After ITT's demise, for-profit colleges face more trouble." By Goldie Blumenstyk. Chronicle of Higher Education, September 23, 2016, pp. A8, A10
Reviews the worsening plight of for-profit colleges in the wake of the closure of ITT Technical Institute campuses. Suggests a confluence of issues brought about ITT's downfall. Discusses factors that could have ramifications for the for-profit college sector going forward.
"Colleges adopt streetwise tactics to prevent substance-abuse deaths among students." By Peter Schmidt. Chronicle of Higher Education, September 23, 2016, pp. A14-A15
Explains many colleges have instituted practices focusing on safeguarding students who abuse alcohol or illegal drugs. Highlights policies such as that of the University of Texas at Austin, where dorm advisors are trained in administration of Naloxone, a medication that revives people who have overdosed. Comments that there is disagreement over which harm-reduction strategies are appropriate or which enable dangerous behavior.
"All shook up." By Jeremy Dillon. CQ Weekly, September 19, 2016, p. 33
Looks at what the federal government and states, including Texas, are doing regarding the disposal of wastewater from the fracking process, which has been linked to the recent increase in seismic activity in the United States. Discusses the latest disposal well rules implemented by the Texas Railroad Commission.
Related information at: http://www.rrc.state.tx.us/oil-gas/publications-an ...
"Border wall blues." By Shawn Zeller. CQ Weekly, September 19, 2016, p. 6
Discusses research on unforeseen environmental problems attributed to the border wall that already exists between the United States and Mexico. Reports several areas of the border wall have caused flooding by disrupting the flow of waterways and have blocked migration corridors for wildlife. Suggests it will also be difficult to fence more of the border due to the tough terrain and private property issues.
Report at: http://aaronflesch.com/Publications/Peer-referred ...
Report at: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.137 ...
Report at: https://sites.cns.utexas.edu/sites/default/files/k ...
"Campus sexual assault: re-education." Economist, September 24th-30th, 2016, p. 30
Highlights several states' efforts to prevent sexual assaults on college campuses.
Related information at: https://www.aascu.org/policy/publications/policy-m ...
Related information at: https://www.naspa.org/images/uploads/main/ECS_NASP ...
"Pensions: fade to grey." Economist, September 24th-30th, 2016, pp. 25-26
Reports employers, workers, and governments are not prepared to fund modern retirement systems. Explains funding pensions is becoming more troublesome as people live longer and historically low levels of interest rates and bond yields means that paying out a given level of income costs more than twice as much as it used to cost.
"Federal officials urge clear, limited roles for police in schools." By Evie Blad. Education Week, September 14, 2016, 1, 13
Presents new federal guidelines released by the United States Departments of Education and Justice related to improving the practices of school-based police officers.
Related information at: http://www.cops.usdoj.gov/supportingsafeschools
"The Texas Economic Stabilization Fund: saving for rainy days." By TJ Costello, David Green, and Patrick Graves. Fiscal Notes, September 2016, pp. 1, 3-5
Discusses the history and current status of the Economic Stabilization Fund (Rainy Day Fund), and the effect of declining energy prices on the state economy and oil and gas production tax revenue.
See: http://comptroller.texas.gov/fiscalnotes/sep2016/r ...
"Medicaid expansion affects rural and urban hospitals differently." By Brystana G. Kaufman, et al. Health Affairs, September 2016, pp. 1665-1672
Compares the financial effects of Medicaid expansion on urban and rural hospitals and how they impact rural and urban hospitals differently.
"Number of Medicaid prescriptions grew, drug spending was steady in Medicaid expansion states." By Hefei Wen, Tyrone F. Borders, and Benjamin G. Druss. Health Affairs, September 2016, pp. 1604-1607
Examines how Medicaid expansion has influenced Medicaid drug spending.
"Uninsured in Texas, then and now." By Susan Sered. Health Affairs, September 2016, pp. 1734-1737
Looks at a decade of health care experiences of one family in South Texas. Chronicles their struggles with maintaining health insurance coverage while working and caring for their children.
"Turner rolls out pension plan to solve city debt issue, but firefighters not on board yet." By Joe Martin. Houston Business Journal, September 16, 2016, pp. 14A
Examines the proposed plan by Houston mayor Sylvester Turner to resolve Houston's multi-billion dollar debt from unfunded pensions. Highlights some of the plan's key points and goals to ensure that the city and the pension funds stay on course. Mentions that the plan still needs to be approved by all three pension fund boards, the city council, and the Texas Legislature next session.
"2017 state business tax climate index (executive summary)." By Jared Walczak, Scott Drenkard, and Joseph Henchman. Internet Resource, September 28, 2016, pp. 1-7
Evaluates state tax systems in the areas of corporate taxes, individual income taxes, sales taxes, unemployment insurance taxes, and property taxes, and the impact on business investment. Ranks Texas fourteenth overall in the general competitiveness of its tax system.
See: http://taxfoundation.org/article/2017-state-busine ...
Report at: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6586UGJDFOLTHNLY ...
"Addressing the top misconceptions about debt-free college." By Mark Huelsman. Internet Resource, September 28, 2016, pp. 1-14
Examines the increasing focus on student loan debt and the cost of higher education in public policy debates and the 2016 presidential election. Dispels six common concerns about or arguments against debt-free college.
See: http://www.demos.org/sites/default/files/publicati ...
"Designing tax triggers: lessons from the states." By Jared Walczak. Internet Resource, September 2016, pp. 1-18
Examines the use of tax triggers, a series of tax reductions or tax policy changes implemented over time subject to meeting pre-established revenue targets, in eleven states and the District of Columbia. Notes well-designed triggers can help mitigate revenue volatility. Distinguishes tax triggers from tax and expenditure imitations, which impose caps on appropriations or revenues.
See: http://taxfoundation.org/sites/taxfoundation.org/f ...
"Medicaid expansion: a tale of two governors." By Robin Flagg. Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law, October 2016, pp. 997-1031 (Note Length)
Compares Medicaid expansion decisions made by Governors John Kasich of Ohio and Scott Walker of Wisconsin. Looks at factors that influenced the governors' decisions, such as political party, ideology, electoral pressure, and economics.
"Assessing the recent reforms: the new era of transparency and accountability." By Jennifer A. Zimmerman. Journal of MultiState Taxation and Incentives, September 2016, pp. 14-21
Examines the recent movement in the states towards cost transparency and systematic evaluation of tax expenditures, including tax incentives, credits, grants, and loans. Notes tax incentive programs are only reviewed once every fifteen years on average.
"A tightened bar passage standard is needed." By Daniel Rodriguez and Craig Boise. National Law Journal & Legal Times, September 19, 2016, p. 22
Discusses the American Bar Association's proposed accreditation standard requiring accredited law schools to show that 75 percent of their graduates pass the bar exam within two years, rather than five years under the current standard.
Related information at: http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/adminis ...
"Borders, but why?" By Reihan Salam. National Review, September 26, 2016, pp. 34, 36-37
Reviews immigration debate over the past 30 years and finds that language has colored the immigration debate into a simplistic view of the "reformer" versus the "restrictionist". Suggests the immigration debate really breaks down into four camps based upon political interest and ideological commitments. Argues that the face of opposition to mass immigration has become the classic exclusionist view of Trump supporters and states restrictionists need to embrace a better strategy.
"Cities without nations." By Michael Lind. National Review, September 26, 2016, pp. 31-33
Argues there is a trend away from old partisan divisions, such as North versus South in the United States and to new partisan maps where the important divide is between large, stratified, multi-ethnic cities ("Densitaria") and the less diverse, less economically stratified territories ("Posturbia") that surround them. Suggests economic activity can be divided into four sectors: producer services, goods products, luxury services and mass services, with two predominantly found in cities and the other two in outlying areas. Concludes this breakout causes a different "pseudo-globalist" view of policy versus one tied in nationalism and populism.
"On the trail of El Niño." By Emily Becker. Scientific American, October 2016, pp. 68-75
Explains the science behind El Niño and the impact this climatological phenomenon has on weather and crops in the United States.
"State computers increasingly under attack by cybercriminals." By Jenni Bergal. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), September 21, 2016, pp. 1-5
Reports state information technology [IT] officials' concerns with increasingly complex threats to their computer networks. Explains many state IT security departments lack adequate funding and have trouble hiring qualified cybersecurity specialists.
Report at: http://www.nascio.org/Portals/0/Publications/Docum ...
See: http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/ ...