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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.

February 04, 2016 list Print (PDF)

"'Since I must please those below': Human skeletal remains research and the law." By Thomas D. Holland. American Journal of Law & Medicine, Vol. 41, No. 4, 2015, pp. 617-655 (Note Length)
Examines the sparse area of law addressing non-invasive scientific research on human skeletal remains. Specifies the focus of the analysis is on research conducted on private individuals who were victims of violence or natural disasters, or were indigent, and does not address willed-body programs, such as when cadavers are willfully donated. Discusses human remains and property rights, autopsies, and organ and tissue harvesting.
"1 country 1 promise: 1 million barrels a day." By Anthony DiPaola, et al. Bloomberg Businessweek, January 31, 2016, pp. 14-15
Discusses Iran's potential to supply oil into a flooded global oil market. Comments on Iran's need for investment in its oil fields to bolster its production capacity if it wishes to regain the number two status in OPEC.
"In the crosshairs." By Sarah E. Jones. Church & State, February 2016, pp. 12-14
Discusses the Religious Right's target on local ordinances and state bills that prohibit discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. Mentions the defeat of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), branded as the "bathroom bill." Notes that proposed bathroom bills inspired by the bathroom myth that torpedoed HERO are threatening LGBT protections in other municipalities.
"The last political taboo?" By Simon Brown. Church & State, February 2016, pp. 4-6
Discusses voters' attitudes on the faith of political candidates, noting that candidates with unconventional ideas about religion have struggled to win elections. Points out that seven states — including Texas — prohibit atheists from holding public office to this day.
Related information at: http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/CN/htm/ ...
"The oil conundrum." Economist, January 23rd-29th, 2016, pp. 17-19
Discusses the effects of the downturn in the oil industry on the global economy and on financial markets. Considers how structural changes in oil consumption and the unique cost structure of the shale-oil industry will affect longer-term investment in high-cost traditional oilfields.
"Transgender life: restroom rumpus." Economist, January 30th-February 5th, 2016, pp. 22-23
Highlights the national debate relating to bathroom facility accommodations for transgender people.
Related information at: http://ilga.gov/legislation/99/HB/PDF/09900HB4474l ...
Related information at: https://iga.in.gov/legislative/2016/bills/senate/3 ...
"Wage insurance: creative compensation." Economist, January 23rd-29th, 2016, pp. 23-24
Examines the benefits of wage insurance, recently proposed by President Obama's administration to modernize the unemployment insurance system.
Related information at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/0 ...
"A piece of the action." By Daniel Fisher. Forbes, February 8, 2016, pp. 48, 50, 52
Discusses how several entrepreneurs are attempting to turn litigation finance into a new asset class by connecting investors with plaintiffs in personal injury lawsuits who need immediate cash. Notes possible risks of investing in legal claims.
"For working-age cancer survivors, medical debt and bankruptcy create financial hardships." By Matthew P. Banegas, et al. Health Affairs, January 2016, pp. 54-61
Examines how cancer creates significant financial hardships for working-age adult survivors of the disease.
"House calls: California program for homebound patients reduces monthly spending, delivers meaningful care." By Glenn A. Melnick, Lois Green, and Jeremy Rich. Health Affairs, January 2016, pp. 28-35
Discusses a program in Southern California that provides in-home care for elderly, frail, and high-risk patients aimed at reducing preventable ER visits and hospital readmissions. Provides details about the program's costs and how it reduces per-patient health care spending levels.
"Premium-based financial incentives did not promote workplace weight loss in a 2013-15 study." By Mitesh S. Patel, et al. Health Affairs, January 2016, pp. 71-79
Explores workplace wellness programs and whether a reduction in health care premiums is adequate incentive for overweight or obese employees to lose weight.
"States at a crossroads on criminal justice reform." By Rebecca Beitsch. Internet Resource, January 28, 2016, pp. 1-7
Examines what changes other state legislatures are looking to make to their criminal justice systems and the challenges they face. Focuses on sentencing reform, parole and probation, and barriers for former inmates. Includes interactive map with state incarceration and parole/probation statistics.
See: http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/ ...
"Antidepressant prescription claims among reproductive-aged women with private employer-sponsored insurance — United States 2008–2013." By April L. Dawson, et al. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), January 29, 2016, pp. 41-46
Examines the use of antidepressants among women of reproductive age. Points out that little is known about the effects of antidepressant use on a fetus in the first few weeks of pregnancy.
See: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/wr/mm6503a1.htm ...
"Vital Signs: alcohol-exposed pregnancies — United States, 2011–2013." By Patricia P. Green, et al. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), February 2, 2016, pp. 1-7
Tracks the number of women who may have had alcohol-exposed pregnancies between 2011-13.
See: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/wr/mm6504a6er.h ...
"Team posts win over conversion therapy." By Richard Acello. National Law Journal & Legal Times, January 18, 2016, p. 11
Reports on a jury verdict against a firm offering services it claimed could turn gay people straight through conversion therapy. Notes the case marks the first time a U.S. court ruled that homosexuality is not a disease or a disorder.
Related information at: https://www.splcenter.org/news/2015/12/18/splc-sui ...
Related information at: https://www.splcenter.org/seeking-justice/case-doc ...
"Calming the chaos." By Tahra Johnson. State Legislatures, February 2016, pp. 19-21
Examines the treatments and medication used for hyperactivity in children. Explains combined treatment of medication and behavioral therapy seems to be the most effective treatment for hyperactivity however sometimes behavioral therapy is not used because it is not always covered by health insurance. Reviews how legislatures are studying the treatments used in their states and whether state policies are helping or hindering treatment. Includes sidebar article "A Focus on Foster Care."
"Prison break." By Alison Lawrence. State Legislatures, February 2016, pp. 22-25
Summarizes the responses of legislators from states that have implemented prison reform without causing harm to the public. Notes these states have implemented improved community supervision, have prioritized prison space for the most serious offenders, and have reinvested savings from these changes back into services to reduce recidivism and victimization.
"AG on fantasy betting just the opening kick." By J. Mitchell Little. Texas Lawyer, January 25, 2016, p. 30
Discusses an attorney general opinion addressing the legality of daily fantasy sports (DFS) under the Texas Penal Code. Points out other Texas laws that could present legal roadblocks for DFS companies seeking to conduct business in Texas.
Related information at: https://texasattorneygeneral.gov/opinions/opinions ...
"Trial firm proud of pro bono foster care fight." By Angela Morris. Texas Lawyer, February 1, 2016, pp. 1, 19
Discusses the Yetter Coleman law firm's role as pro bono counsel in the decade-long class action of 12,000 foster care children who sued the state for violating their due process rights. Reports on the court's ruling and forthcoming hearings to determine the proper remedy. Notes the state has appealed the court's ruling.
Related information at: http://static.texastribune.org/media/documents/201 ...
"New support for prekindergarten." By Catherine Clark. Texas Lone Star (Texas Association of School Boards), January/February 2016, pp. 20-23
Provides an overview of HB4, 84th Legislature, which established a grant program for high-quality Pre-K, one of Governor Greg Abbott's priories for Texas. Highlights research studies that document the benefits of high-qualtiy Pre-K programs. Includes discussion of teacher preparation.
"Update on firearms at school." By Joy Baskin. Texas Lone Star (Texas Association of School Boards), January/February 2016, pp. 24-26, 28-29
Presents a Q&A guide on firearm laws passed in the 84th Legislature and how they affect school districts. Discusses firearm warning signs, guns allowed on school property, and open carry. Mentions Senator John Whitmire.
"Holding back the flood." By Daniel Blue Tyx. Texas Observer, February 2016, pp. 39-44
Reports resident activists in the Valley's colonias are beginning to have success in getting their drainage issues addressed. Describes their efforts over the years in getting local, state, and federal governments to provide funds to address these issues.
"The House always wins." By Gayle Reaves. Texas Observer, February 2016, pp. 18, 20-24
Discusses SB322, 77th Legislature, R.S. which requires the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs to notify members of the legislature that an application to build affordable housing in their district has been filed and to provide an opportunity for the elected officials to respond to the application during the application evaluation process.. Mentions Representatives Debbie Riddle, Tony Dale, Allen Fletcher, Dwayne Bohac, and Gary Elkins.
"Simple, neat and wrong." By Steve Nelle. Texas Wildlife, February 2016, pp. 42-45
Examines a number of "easy answers" to natural resources issues, and how these solutions fell short of solving the complex, multi-faceted issues they sought to fix. Discusses examples of improved grasses such as Bufflegrass, wagon wheel grazing methods, spike-antlering bucks, and the use of non-selective broad-leaf herbicides to control brush creosote and tar bush. Promotes the idea of slowing down and examining complex issues from multiple viewpoints when addressing deeply-rooted, complex issues.
"Your right to hunt and fish." By John Goodspeed. Texas Wildlife, February 2016, pp. 46-51
Discusses the recently-passed Proposition 6, which added the right of Texans to hunt and fish to the State Constitution. Includes background on the goals of the amendment, steps taken to help ensure its passage in the legislature, and concerns about future restrictions on hunting and fishing were such an amendment not adopted by Texas voters.