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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.

July 28, 2016 list Print (PDF)

"States hustling to prepare: itching for funds as Zika looms." By Shawntaye Hopkins. Capitol Ideas, July/August 2016, pp. 32-34
Discusses Zika virus preparation and prevention efforts, including education, research, and mosquito abatement. Notes a new report on the impact of the CDC's redirection of $44 million in public health and emergency preparedness funds from state and local health departments toward the national Zika response.
Report at: http://www.astho.org/Infectious-Disease/Impact-of- ...
"To expand or not to expand? For some states, expanding Medicaid remains a question." By Carrie Abner. Capitol Ideas, July/August 2016, pp. 26-29
Looks at the considerations for the nineteen states that have not expanded Medicaid, including high cost of expanding Medicaid eligibility, and the need for Medicaid reform.
See: http://www.csg.org/pubs/capitolideas/2016_july_aug ...
"Impact of the safety net: state fact sheets, data sources, and calculations; Texas fact sheet." Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, July 22, 2016, pp. 1-2, 1-2
Looks at the impact of federal safety net programs in the states — Social Security, SNAP, Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Supplemental Security Income, housing assistance, and health coverage through Medicaid or CHIP. Includes fact sheet on Texas.
See: http://www.cbpp.org/research/poverty-and-inequalit ...
"Bonuses push more public-college leaders past $1 million." By Dan Bauman. Chronicle of Higher Education, July 22, 2016, pp. A17-A22
Surveys the pay of 259 chief-executive roles at 236 public colleges and systems in fiscal year 2015. Identifies five presidents and chancellors as being paid over $1 million, a number which included three from Texas: Renu Khator, University of Houston campus and system, Michael K. Young, Texas A&M University at College Station, and William H. McRaven, University of Texas system. Includes table listing name, institution, 2014 and 2015 rank, and total compensation.
"'One trigger finger for whites and another for blacks': what the research says on race and police shootings." By Emma Pettit. Chronicle of Higher Education, July 22, 2016, p. A6
Reviews historical research on the relationship between race and the use of deadly force by police and looks at methods used in current studies. Suggests academics tend to explain the disproportionate number of fatal shootings of African-Americans by a racial bias hypothesis or a threat hypothesis. Concludes the lack of comprehensive data at a national level hinders understanding of this complicated topic.
"Race-conscious admissions policies face more tests after 'Fisher'." By Mark G. Yudof and Rachel F. Moran. Chronicle of Higher Education, July 22, 2016, pp. A27-A28
Reviews the legal reasoning in the various United States Supreme Court cases regarding university admissions policies from Bakke to Fisher II. Compares and contrasts the various opinions, suggesting we have come full circle and noting that we are left with a patchwork of state approaches and that each university's program will be judged on its individual facts. Summarizes the key rules colleges must follow, based on the opinions.
"Having the college money talk: 10 key questions every family should discuss." By Donna Rosato. Consumer Reports, August 2016, pp. 35-39
Compiles questions and best practices to help demystify college costs and the financial aid process. Notes 45 percent of people with student loan debt said that college was not worth the cost.
"Voting: Under repair." By Jonathan Miller. CQ Weekly, July 11, 2016, pp. 40-41
Discusses the difficulties many voters all over the country faced as they voted in their primary elections this spring. Notes Arizona was probably one of the worst examples as voters waited in long lines to cast their vote while in Wisconsin the voter ID requirements led to long lines, and frustrated voters waited in a two-mile traffic backup to get to a New Hampshire polling place. Discusses a number of factors, such as decreased funding for elections that has contributed to these voting hang ups. Highlights Colorado's system which was overhauled in 2013 and has resulted in fewer poll workers, fewer provisional ballots, and a decline in election costs. Points out the new system has led to higher voter turnout and voters that are satisfied with the changes.
"Damage control after Comerica's crude collapse." By Jon Prior. Dallas Business Journal, July 22, 2016, pp. 4-6, 8
Explains how Comerica Bank's hefty portfolio of energy loans and other set backs have impacted earnings and investors. Notes that Comerica had the worst expense-to-revenue ratio among its banking peers earlier this year, and has lagged other regional firms for the past decade.
"Methane leaks: a dirty little secret." Economist, July 23rd-29th, 2016, pp. 49-50
Reports the natural gas industry has been slow to acknowledge the problem of methane emissions. Notes an estimated two and a half percent of the natural gas flowing through America's aging energy infrastructure leaks out of wells, pipelines, and storage tanks.
"Paul Ryan's agenda — better than what?" Economist, July 23rd-29th, 2016, pp. 19, 22
Discusses the contradictions in Republican policies supported by populist presidential candidate Donald Trump, Speaker Paul Ryan, social conservatives, and those included in the party's official platform.
"Data looms large in quest for new school-quality indicator." By Daarel Burnette II. Education Week, July 20, 2016, pp. 1, 27
Discusses how schools are addressing ESSA's [Every Student Succeeds Act] mandate that schools add a new indicator of school quality in addition to the English-language proficiency, graduation rates, and statewide achievement tests scores data that is currently collected. Discusses how California, Connecticut, and South Carolina are addressing the challenge.
"The hotel occupancy tax: a short history of a complex levy." By Gerard MacCrossan and Joyce Jauer. Fiscal Notes, June/July 2016, pp. 6-10
Presents the legislative history of the state hotel occupancy tax [HOT], relevant Texas statutes, and local HOT revenue uses. Discusses the effect of declining oil prices on the HOT.
See: http://comptroller.texas.gov/fiscalnotes/june-july ...
"Oil, gas issues impacting FW area economic growth." By M. Ray Perryman. Fort Worth Business Press, July 18-24, 2016, pp. 28-29
Predicts continued economic growth in all of the Texas MSAs through 2040. Forecasts the Texas output (real gross product) is likely to expand at 3.35 percent annually through 2040, and total wage and salary employment is projected to grow at 1.64 percent yearly.
"Battling childhood obesity in Hispanics, still." By Frank DiMaria. Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education, July 2016, pp. 10-13
Reports that childhood obesity in the Hispanic population is growing faster than all other population segments. Points out developments that are reducing childhood obesity among preschoolers.
"State and local government contributions to statewide pension plans: FY 14." Internet Resource, July 2016, pp. 1-6
Describes how employer contributions for state and local government pension benefits are determined and trends in employer contributions since FY 2001. Includes data for Teacher Retirement System of Texas, Employees Retirement System of Texas, Texas County & District Retirement System, and Texas Municipal Retirement System.
See: http://www.nasra.org/files/Issue%20Briefs/NASRAADC ...
"Emerging issues in the calculation of interest under the Texas Prompt Payment of Claims Act." By Alexandra Fernandez. Journal of Texas Insurance Law, Summer 2016, pp. 19-22
Reviews the various deadlines in the Texas Prompt Payment of Claims Act [TPPCA] that insurance companies must meet to avoid an eighteen percent penalty. Highlights a variety of court cases that have interpreted how the interest penalty applies. Mentions SB1628 and HB3787 proposed in the 84th legislative session and suggests similar bills are likely to be put forth on the topic of bona fide disputes, notice requirement, and appraisal in relation to TPPCA application.
Related information at: http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/IN/htm/ ...
"'Revenge porn' bill advances sexual privacy." By Elisa D'Amico. National Law Journal & Legal Times, July 18, 2016, p. 26
Reports on proposed legislation introduced last week, the Intimate Privacy Protection Act, the first federal bill that criminalizes sexual cyberharassment, also known as "revenge porn." Explains that if the Act passes, publicizing revenge porn would carry federal criminal penalties of up to five years.
Related information at: http://speier.house.gov/images/pdf/IPPA_Final.pdf
"Texas Supreme Court rules on post-production costs, royalty payments." By Stephan D. Selinidis. Oil and Gas Journal, July 4, 2016, pp. 53-55, 73
Provides an overview of general Texas law regarding royalties and the allocations of production costs and post-production expenses. Discusses Texas Supreme Court opinions in French v. Occidental Permian Ltd. and Chesapeake Exploration LLC. v. Hyder, regarding allocation of production expenses versus post-production costs.
Related information at: http://agrilife.org/texasaglaw/2015/07/13/texas-su ...
Related information at: http://www.energylawexchange.com/texas-supreme-cou ...
"Public weighs in on market conditions threatening nuclear power." By Ann Stouffer Bisconti. Public Utilities Fortnightly, July 2016, pp. 57-59
Summarizes results from an energy survey to determine the value of electricity producing nuclear power plants and whether they should be decommissioned as they cannot be as competitive in pricing as natural gas. Points out nuclear power plants are a zero-carbon clean-air electricity source and can offer low-cost electricity at a stable, predictable cost as they use very little fuel.
"The coding revolution." By Annie Murphy Paul. Scientific American, August 2016, pp.42-49
Considers arguments in favor of universal coding — all students learning computer programming skills. Looks at the benefits of and hurdles to expanding computer science education to all students.
"The silence is killing us: hate crimes, criminal justice, and the gay rights movement in Texas, 1990-1995." By Christopher Haight. Southwestern Historical Quarterly, July 2016, pp. 21-40
Discusses the organized movement against anti-gay violence in Texas and the development of hate crime legislation inclusive of sexual orientation. Mentions former Representatives Warren Chisum and Glen Maxey.
"Can states stop man-made earthquakes?" By Jen Fifield. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), July 14, 2016, pp. 1-7
Discusses what states most affected by man-made earthquakes are doing to pinpoint the cause for the increase in earthquakes and to prevent them.
See: http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/ ...
"Not back yet: some states still lagging after great recession." By Harold D. Hunt and Luis B. Torres. Tierra Grande, July 2016, pp. 18-22
Explains why Texas employment and home prices have performed better than the eleven hardest hit states and the United States as a whole over the last decade.
"Tax or consequences." By Charles E. Gilliland. Tierra Grande, July 2016, pp. 10-13
Cautions Texas citizens advocating for tax relief to examine anticipated outcomes before adopting particular measures to avoid unintended consequences. Uses California's Proposition 13 as an example, noting what went wrong and results that have been far from beneficial to taxpayers.