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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.

May 19, 2016 list Print (PDF)

"Bridging the digital divide, bit by bit." By Gary Rawson. Capitol Ideas, May/June 2016, pp. 38-41
Looks at recent progress in narrowing the digital divide between urban and rural households and schools. Notes 39 percent of residents in rural America lacked access to service meeting the Federal Communications Commission's broadband benchmark.
See: http://www.csg.org/pubs/capitolideas/2016_may_june ...
Report at: https://www.fcc.gov/reports-research/reports/broad ...
"Maine's minimum wage experiment." By Simon Montlake. Christian Science Monitor, May 16, 2016, pp. 20-23
Discusses Portland, Maine's decision to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 at the beginning of 2016. Considers the pros and cons of raising the minimum wage and reviews how other cities across the country are responding to the call for higher minimum wages. Includes sidebar "For Maine's business owners, the question looms: Where are the workers?"
"Where diversity works." By Lee Lawrence. Christian Science Monitor, May 16, 2016, pp. 26, 29-32
Describes how two schools in the South, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Florida State University have implemented programs to improve the racial environment on campus and to foster inclusiveness.
"Innovation districts" Classroom Teacher (Texas Classroom Teachers Association), Spring 2016, pp. 21-23
Addresses the significant role district-level decision-making committees have in establishing "innovation districts," a concept created by HB1842, 84th Legislature, which allows certain school districts to be exempt from major provisions of the Education Code. Includes sidebar that clarifies what innovation districts can do and a list of school districts that have begun the process of establishing them.
"Overincarceration of people with mental illness: pretrial diversion across the country and the next steps for Texas to improve its efforts and increase utilization." By Kate Murphy and Christi Barr. County Progress, May 2016, pp. 42-46, 56-57, 62
Examines a number of ways in which the county criminal justice system can more effectively serve those with mental illness, by decreasing the amount of time they are incarcerated and increasing the level of services and interventions available to them. Describes potential interventions, including Crisis Intervention Teams and Mobile Crisis Units to respond to incidents, more effective intake screening processes to determine the needs of individuals, and increased pretrial diversion and treatment programs to provide needed treatment services.
"State v. Feds." CQ Weekly, April 25, 2016, pp. 27-29
Details why the floodgates could open for states to sue federal agencies if Texas is successful in achieving legal standing to challenge recent executive actions on immigration in the United States Supreme Court. Argues a positive ruling for Texas would shift power away from the federal government to the states and could change how federal laws and policies are written.
"Distance between DFW & Japan continues to shrink." By Bill Hethcock. Dallas Business Journal, May 6, 2016, pp. 4, 6
Reports Japan is the second-largest foreign investment market for Dallas, accounting for thirteen percent of all foreign-owned businesses in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, with more on the way. Comments on traits that make North Texas attractive to Japanese companies.
"Infectious diseases: yellow plague." Economist, May 14th-20th, 2016, pp. 51-52
Reports an outbreak of yellow fever in Angola could go global. Notes America is also at risk, as international arrivals add to the threat from travelers who have visited areas in which the disease is endemic.
"Tobacco firms: snuffed out." Economist, May 14th-20th, 2016, p. 57
Reports on the United States Food and Drug Administration's new requirements for electronic cigarettes, which includes a ban on the sale of e-cigarettes to children.
Related information at: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2016-05-10/pdf/20 ...
"The risk-intelligent public pension trustee." By Rick Funston and Randy Miller. Government Finance Review, April 2016, pp. 28-33
Explores the growing complexity of public pension systems and the challenges facing pension trustees. Discusses fiduciary duties of pension boards, and the need for efficiency and transparency when making policy decisions.
"Distance education enrollment growth continues." Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education, May 2016, pp. 6-7
Outlines key findings from the latest survey on online higher education in the United States. Notes enrollment in online programs continues to increase while decreasing overall at higher education institutions.
Report at: http://onlinelearningsurvey.com/reports/onlinerepo ...
"Future of affirmative action might not just depend on SCOTUS." By Margaret S. Orchowski. Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education, May 2016, pp. 22-24
Explains upcoming changes in affirmative action will not depend exclusively on the United States Supreme Court's ruling, but on significant changes to three major factors underlying affirmative action policy since its inception in 1970.
"Uber vs. the city." By Joe Martin. Houston Business Journal, May 12, 2016, pp. 16-18
Examines the future of the ride sharing business in Houston. Summarizes both Uber's position against the city's ordinances governing ride sharing, and Houston's position that those ordinances are in place for public safety. Considers what the impact of Uber leaving would mean to the city of Houston if both sides do not come to an agreement.
"The emerging Zika virus epidemic in the Americas." By Helen M. Lazear, Elizabeth M. Stringer, and Aravinda M. de Silva. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), May 10, 2016, pp. 1945-1946
Discusses the Zika virus and its transmission in the Americas. Explains virus surveillance and provides brief historical context for mosquito-borne illnesses.
"How to — and how not to — manage student debt." By Susan Dynarski. Milken Institute Review, 03/01/2016, pp. 37-44
Considers several approaches for managing student debt including lower interest rates, payments based on earnings, tuition free community colleges, and lengthing the repayment time. Suggests linking payments to earnings as an acceptable solution and points out it is currently available in the United States but the administrative requirements are "formidable," consequently cutting down the demand for this repayment plan.
"Oil, gas issues minimal but polarized in 2016 elections, forum told." By Nick Snow. Oil and Gas Journal, May 2016, pp. 34, 36
Summarizes a recent panel discussion where speakers observed the low prices of oil and gas have meant presidential candidates have not made energy one of their priority issues. Explains why the next president will have energy as part of his agenda -- including decarbonization, the change from an importer to an exporter of oil and gas, and incorporating the technological advances in oil and gas.
"What key issues does the water industry face today?" By Ken Mercer. Opflow, May 2016, pp. 6-7
Provides an overview of the top concerns respondents to the annual Water Industry Survey identified. Lists and discusses such issues as the aging water and wastewater infrastructure, capital improvement financing, public understanding of the value of water systems and services, and long-term water supply.
"Catalyst!! The role of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in the North Central Texas Regional Economy." By M. Ray Perryman. Perryman Report and Texas Letter, Vol. 33, No. 4, pp. 1-3, 6
Highlights findings from the Perryman Group's analysis of the current and potential future economic and fiscal impacts of DFW International Airport and associated facilities.
Report at: https://www.perrymangroup.com/wp-content/uploads/P ...
"Modern student speech and T-shirt jurisprudence." By Julie Underwood. Phi Delta Kappan, May 2016, pp. 76-77
Explains that schools are now dealing with student's freedom of expression or speech on T-shirts, banners, wristbands, web sites, and social media. Reviews court cases that have decided when schools can ban certain forms of expression and states a main facet is whether the school can make a reasonable argument that they expected the speech to be disruptive. Includes sidebar of recommendations for practice by schools.
"Preparedness culture in the digital age." Public Power, May-June 2016, pp. 46-47, 50
Provides an overview of emergency plans public utilities adopted after superstorm Sandy. Notes public power, cooperative and investor-owned utilities have been practicing storm response through a series of exercises led by Department of Energy. Points out other significant changes have been incorporated in the way utilities prepare for storms especially in the areas of technology, process organization, and people.
"An oasis for orcas." By David Grimm. Science, May 6, 2016, pp. 641-643
Discusses whether an orca sanctuary is a workable solution for captive orcas retiring from performance as SeaWorld stops breeding orcas in their care.
"Taking the bite out of Zika." By Tahra Johnson. State Legislatures, May 2016, pp. 22-25
Discusses the challenges to state public health agencies and thirty-seven countries in eradicating infected Aedes species mosquitoes which carry the Zika virus. Acknowledges that a uniform eradication response from all affected countries, state public health agencies, and local governments depends on budgets, many which have been cut over the last few years.
"Is America finally ready for smart guns?" By Sarah Breitenbach. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), May 17, 2016, pp. 1-6
Discusses the political and cultural hurdles that have held up the development of gun safety technology and a commercial market for smart guns. Notes concerns that smart gun availability will lead to mandates dictating the type of guns that can be bought and sold.
See: http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/ ...
Report at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/doc ...
"Probing mental health at the state Capitol." By Andrew Cates. Texas Nursing, Spring 2016, p. 15
Discusses interim charges related to mental health, and the role of nursing in the development of mental health policies.
"Unfinished care: researcher delves into impact of nurse staffing conundrum." By Nadia Tamez-Robledo. Texas Nursing, Spring 2016, pp. 6-7
Examines nurse staffing issues, focusing on implicit rationing, the practice of passing on unfinished tasks to the next shift. Looks at how nursing shortages affect factors related to the quality of patient care.