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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 21, 2015 list Print (PDF)

"The King v. Burwell bogeyman." By Joel Zinberg. City Journal (Manhattan Institute), May 14, 2015, pp. 1-4
Argues that disallowing federal subsidies in states that have not created state-established exchanges under the Affordable Care Act will not result in an insurance market collapse nor represent unconstitutional coercion of the states.
See: http://www.city-journal.org/2015/eon0514jz.html
"Accommodating pregnant workers." By Vanessa A. Gonzalez. County Progress, May 2015, pp. 44-45, 53
Reviews the recent United States Supreme Court decision in Young v. United Parcel Service, which changed the test used by trial courts to determine whether to hear pregnancy discrimination lawsuits.
"Ending the debt addiction: a senseless subsidy; Finance's Bermuda triangle." Economist, May 16th-22nd, 2015, pp. 19-22
Explains how tax breaks for debt, embedded in global tax systems, harm the economy — they have created a financial system that is prone to crises, reduced economic growth, and worsened inequality, as the richest households benefit the most from tax breaks. Notes the difficulty in quantifying the size of tax breaks for debt. Considers the long-term benefits of dismantling debt subsidies and reforming the current bias in the tax system.
"The Texan economy: not quite so sunny." Economist, May 16th-22nd, 2015, pp. 25-26
Reports lower oil prices are having a bigger impact on the state's economy and causing more problems than many expected.
"Eliminating Medicaid adult dental coverage in California led to increased dental emergency visits and associated costs." By Astha Singhal, et al. Health Affairs, May 2015, pp. 749-756
Examines California's policy that eliminated comprehensive adult dental coverage under Medicaid in 2009. Found that the elimination resulted in immediate increased visits to emergency departments for dental problems.
"Most uninsured adults could schedule primary care appointments before the ACA, but average price was $160." By Brendan Saloner, et al. Health Affairs, May 2015, pp. 773-780
Discusses the out-of-pocket costs for uninsured adults for a primary care appointment. Looks at these costs in states that have expanded Medicaid and those that have not.
"Nursing home 5-star rating system exacerbates disparities in quality, by payer source." By R. Tamara Konetzka, et al. Health Affairs, May 2015, pp. 819-827
Examines the Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services' five-star rating system for nursing homes and how it affects nursing home residents who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid.
"Employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Texas." By Christy Mallory and Brad Sears. Internet Resource, May 2015, pp. 1-15
Summarizes recent evidence of sexual orientation and gender identity employment discrimination. Explains the limited current protections from sexual orientation and gender identity employment discrimination in Texas, and estimates the administrative impact of passing a law prohibiting employment discrimination based on these characteristics.
See: http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/wp-content/u ...
"Increasing postsecondary attainment through smarter student-loan repayment." By Elizabeth Baylor and David Bergeron. Internet Resource, March 26, 2015, pp. 1-24
Proposes using the Internal Revenue Service's wage-withholding system to repay student loans automatically. Suggests all borrowers should be eligible for affordable repayment terms based on income.
See: http://www.luminafoundation.org/files/resources/sm ...
"Rethinking the water cycle." By Martin Stuchley. Internet Resource, May 2015, pp. 1-6
Recognizes the global demand for water will continue to increase leading to a scarcity of this resource unless the current system for delivering water is not addressed immediately. Explains the current system of delivering water follows the linear practice which means the water becomes more polluted as it goes through the process, making it unusable for future use. Advocates a change in the system where after each use the water is returned to full use and eventually returned to the system for future use. Notes other focuses should include prevention of contamination and creation of a system that allows for repeated use.
See: http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/sustainability/re ...
"Ensuring competency and professionalism through state medical licensing." By Humayun J. Chaudhry, J. Daniel Gifford, and Arthur S. Hengerer. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), May 12, 2015, pp. 1791-1792
Looks at medical licensing in various states. Points out how state medical boards collaborate with each other and other state health boards.
"Sex, lies and videotape: American Phoenix's ties to Macias feed far-right conspiracy." Lobby Watch, May 18, 2015, pp. 1-2
Explores political consultant Luke Macias' connection to the controversial American Phoenix Foundation. Includes a list of Macias Strategies top donors and clients.
See: http://info.tpj.org/Lobby_Watch/pdf/AmericanPhoeni ...
"The Milwaukee experiment." By Jeffrey Toobin. New Yorker, May 11, 2015, pp. 24, 26-30, 32
Explores the Milwaukee County, Wisconsin District Attorney's efforts to send fewer people to prison while maintaining public safety through prosecutorial discretion. Discusses his early intervention program to get low-level offenders back on track, based on their risk and their need. Reviews efforts to improve criminal justice from both Republicans and Democrats.
See: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/05/11/the-m ...
"Overkill." By Atul Gawande. New Yorker, May 11, 2015, pp. 42-53
Examines pervasive waste in the health-care system due to overtesting, overtreatment, and overdiagnosis. Revisits McAllen, Texas where primary-care doctors have implemented changes and reformed their procedure after an earlier critical article by this author. Highlights examples of improved care, such as WellMed, that operates in Texas and provides bonuses to doctors who have better patient outcomes.
See: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/05/11/overk ...
"As schools change, so should our policies." By Maria Ferguson. Phi Delta Kappan, May 2015, pp. 74-75
Considers trends identified in recent report, States of Change, in terms of future federal (and local) education policies. Discusses rise of majority-minority states and districts and the increasing diversity of each generation. Suggests school funding formulas need to change, and preschool education should become the norm. Questions how public school systems will be affected by the demographic shift towards an older age structure.
Report at: https://cdn.americanprogress.org/wp-content/upload ...
"Federal law protects student clubs - even ones you don't like." By Edwin C. Darden. Phi Delta Kappan, May 2015, pp. 76-77
Addresses the 1984 federal Equal Access Act (EAA) which states that if a public school district recognizes any noncurriculum high school club, it must allow any other club to exist without prejudice. Reviews a variety of court cases that have upheld the law. Suggests that while Christian groups lobbied for the law, it has also been used to allow other clubs to assert claims, such as gay/straight clubs and clubs for nonreligious students.
Related information at: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/20/4071
"Fracking bill takes spotlight at the capitol." By Kimberly Reeves. San Antonio Business Journal, May 15, 2015, p. 20b
Examines the increased lobbying efforts of the Texas oil and gas sector this session regarding industry regulations. Mentions Senator Judith Zaffirini and Senator Troy Fraser.
"The dengue stopper." By Scott O'Neill. Scientific American, June 2015, pp. 72-77
Explains an innovative way of fighting dengue fever, a debilitating virus: infecting mosquitos that spread the disease with a bacterium that prevents the virus from replicating.
"Killing the death tax." By Jessica Domel. Texas Agriculture, May 1, 2015, pp. 9-10
Discusses H.R.1105, introduced by Texas' United States Representative Kevin Brady and recently passed by the United States House of Representatives, to eliminate the federal estate tax, with a focus on the effect the tax has on farmers and ranchers.
Related information at: https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house ...
"After the boom: Texas energy companies respond to the new reality." By Jordan Blum and Sergio Chapa. Texas Energy (Supplement to Austin Business Journal), May 15, 2015, pp. 4B-5B
Explores the state of the energy industry in Texas and the impact of the oil-price downturn. Notes the United States' oil production from major shale plays is expected to decrease month to month for the first time in four years.
"Remember the Alamo, GLO trademark attorneys." By Miriam Rozen. Texas Lawyer, May 18, 2015, p. 8
Discusses a recent change in the General Land Office's (GLO) policy regarding state trademarks, noting the GLO has begun to engage in litigation to protect the use of the Alamo's trademarked image and name.
"Balance-billing ban back in 2015 legislature." By Amy Lynn Sorrel. Texas Medicine, May 2015, pp. 33-38
Examines how health plans' shrinking networks result in more patients receiving care from out-of-network health care providers. Explains this leads to balance-billing for services not covered by a patient's insurance, resulting in higher out-of-pocket costs to the patient.
"Room to grow." By Amy Lynn Sorrel. Texas Medicine, May 2015, pp. 45-50
Discusses graduate medical education and recent expansion programs related to graduate medical education in Texas, including an increase in residency slots. Points out that additional funding will be necessary to continue the expansion of graduate medical education programs to keep up with the needs of the state.
"Standing up for patients." By Kara Nuzback. Texas Medicine, May 2015, pp. 39-43
Explores scope of practice bills before state lawmakers during the 84th Legislature.
"The great pot experiment." By Bruce Barcott and Michael Scherer. Time, May 25, 2015, pp. 38-45
Examines the promising, troubling, and divided frontier of marijuana science. Reports, in light of the movement to legalize marijuana, studies are finally being conducted on the potential benefits and dangers of it. Points out decades of federal research restrictions and misinformation has prevented the study of the medicinal value of marijuana, leaving the government unprepared for its decriminalization. Predicts the science of marijuana has the potential to expand significantly in United States.