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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.

October 19, 2017 list Print (PDF)

"How big incentives have helped fund a giant." By Casey Coombs, et al. Austin Business Journal, October 13, 2017, pp. A6-A9
Details Amazon's rapid expansion of its massive fulfillment and delivery network, funded by subsidies from state and local governments that total more than $1.24 billion. Discusses Amazon's secretive and high-pressure negotiation strategy. Mentions Amazon's entry sometimes falls short of expectations when low wages do little to help the local economy.
"A four-point fiscal policy blueprint for building thriving state economies." By Erica Williams. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Updated October 5, 2017, pp. 1-12
Explores four state fiscal policy initiatives for building state economies and creating shared opportunity: education and health care investment, public infrastructure projects, improved household incomes, and tax code modernization.
See: https://www.cbpp.org/sites/default/files/atoms/fil ...
"Canvas cities." By Ryan Lenora Brown. Christian Science Monitor, October 9, 2017, pp. 24-30
Considers the phenomena of temporary refugee camps that are becoming "DIY" cities. Explains many of the displaced people are fleeing conflicts with no resolution in sight and therefore have no opportunity to return home. Points out that there are currently 65 million displaced people in the world, which is the highest number since World War II. Describes the situation in South Sudan and how a temporary camp is emerging into a city.
"One university takes on the opioid crisis." By Beth McMurtrie. Chronicle of Higher Education, October 6, 2017, pp. A12-A15
Examines how West Virginia University is attacking the state's opioid crisis as a complex system problem. Discusses the multi-disciplinary facets that are being considered and the impact on programs supporting healthcare, counseling, local government, and long-term support and employment.
"Drones: buzzed by the fuzz." Economist, October 14th-20th, 2017, pp. 26-27
Addresses privacy concerns relating to the increasing use of drones by police, fire, and emergency-response departments. Suggests overly broad restrictions on government agencies' use of drones could stop them from doing useful things that keep the public safe.
"Speech on campus: the intolerant fifth; Campus activists: psyche protection." Economist, October 14th-20th, 2017, pp. 21-22
Rebuts the argument that college students and American universities have a free-speech problem. Examines whether campus protestors' claims that some speech causes psychological harm can withstand academic scrutiny.
"Growing number of states embrace career education." By Catherine Gewertz. Education Week, October 4, 2017, p.10
Discusses recent trend in which states are resurrecting career and technical education for public high school students. Highlights states which have recently enacted policies and laws that bolster career oriented approaches to education. Addresses new Texas law, which focuses on the development of an inventory of certifications and credentials that reflect workforce needs and offer students a route to jobs. Quotes Representative Eddie Lucio III, author of this career and technology legislation.
"Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria: will these natural disasters increase human trafficking?" By Stephanie Hepburn. Internet Resource, October 2017, pp. 1-7
Recounts cases of human trafficking cases that indirectly resulted from Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. Notes that post-disaster factors such as a flux in population, a fractured local infrastructure, crippled law enforcement, and lack of monitoring temporary worker visas during the rebuilding process may create an environment that allows trafficking of workers to occur undetected. Calls for immediate and adequate government aid, as well as appropriate government monitoring throughout the rebuilding process, to help minimize the risk of exploitation and human trafficking.
See: https://www.nasmhpd.org/sites/default/files/2-Natu ...
"Paying for prescription drugs around the world: why is the U.S. an outlier?" By Dana O. Sarnak, et al. Internet Resource, October 2017, pp. 1-14
Compares drug spending levels and trends in the United States and nine other high-income countries and considers potential explanations for substantially higher spending in the United States. Asserts that consumers face high out-of-pocket costs both because the United States has a large uninsured population and because cost-sharing requirements for those with coverage are more burdensome than in other countries.
See: http://www.commonwealthfund.org/~/media/files/publ ...
"What does innovation today tell us about the US economy tomorrow?" By Jeffery Funk. Issues in Science and Technology, Fall 2017, pp. 29-36
Examines technological innovation in the United States today. Looks at new technologies and improvements to existing technologies, start-up companies that make it into the Wall Street Journal's "Billion Dollar Startup Club," and recent innovations from Silicon Valley.
"Science and the Trump administration." By Joshua M. Sharfstein. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), October 10, 2017, pp. 1312-1313
Argues that the Trump administration is disrupting usual scientific processes and obscuring the health impacts of its agenda. Offers examples, such as the Department of the Interior halting a study on the health effects of mountaintop-removal coal mining, citing budgetary review, when the study was halfway complete and amounted to a tiny share of the agency's budget. Notes the dearth of scientists being appointed to top positions at the White House or in federal agencies.
"Ride or die? Recent state efforts to erode or overturn Quill." By Sarah Vergel de Dios, Sarah McGahan, and Harley Duncan. Journal of MultiState Taxation and Incentives, October 2017, pp. 6-17
Looks at recent state legislation to compel remote Internet sellers to collect and remit sales and use taxes, and provides an update on sales and use tax nexus developments and related litigation.
"States should adopt a version of Colorado's remote sales tax law." By Michael Mazerov. Journal of MultiState Taxation and Incentives, October 2017, pp. 18-27, 46-48
Highlights Colorado's sales tax notification and reporting law as a tool to help states collect sales and use tax revenue from Internet purchases.
"Democracy on the line." By Barry Yeoman. Nation, October 16, 2017, pp. 16-19, 24
Discusses concerns about gerrymandering in North Carolina redistricting. Considers gerrymandering's effects on legislative debates on voting rights, Medicaid expansion, environmental protection, and transgender bathroom legislation.
"Congress and campus." By David French. National Review, October 16, 2017, pp. 38, 40, 42
Argues radical students are imposing "mob rule" on college campuses against speech they do not like. Claims this comes at a time when First Amendment jurisprudence is very protective of free speech. Advocates for a federal free speech law for college campuses that would require a university that loses in court to pay heavy damages and for states to consider the Goldwater Institute's model free-speech law.
Related information at: http://goldwaterinstitute.org/article/campus-free- ...
"History is for making great citizens." By Alexi Sargeant. National Review, October 16, 2017, pp. 42-44
Suggests the current controversy over public statues of historical figures offers an opportunity to discuss who gets remembered and whether or how they should be honored. Argues that by teaching history through a study of the individuals from the past, and learning about their virtues and vices, students gain incentive to keep shaping the country for the better.
"Reclaim charter schools." By Michael J. Petrilli. National Review, October 16, 2017, pp. 44, 46
Considers education reform propelled by charter schools in the 1990s the greatest development of conservative social policy. Reports that Republican support for charter schools is down 22 percentage points since 2012. Discusses why this change has taken place and what should be emphasized going forward to recapture conservative advocates.
"Inquietude." By Jill Lepore. New Yorker, October 9, 2017, pp. 17-18
Highlights different events in the history of the Free Speech Movement beginning with the 1964 fight to allow political speech on the University of California, Berkeley campus up to the current N.F.L. player protests during the National Anthem. Suggests the role of universities should be a commitment to freedom of inquiry.
See: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/10/09/flip ...
"All sizzle and no steak: value-added model doesn't add value in Houston." By Audrey Amrein-Beardsley and Tray Geiger. Phi Delta Kappan, October 2017, pp. 53-59
Examines a statistical software package previously used in Houston to measure teacher accountability in improving student performance and test scores. Explains the value-added model by Educational Value-Added Assessment System® was put in place by Houston Independent School District and led to the termination of 221 teachers in 2011. States a lawsuit was brought by a group of Houston teachers and a local teachers union because they believed the system did not fairly measure teacher performance.
Related information at: http://www.aft.org/sites/default/files/settlementa ...
"How to heal Obamacare." By Mark Duggan. Policy Brief (Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research), September 2017, pp. 1-8
Describes the effects of the federal health care law known as Obamacare. Focuses on provisions that were designed to expand health insurance coverage. Addresses six potential reforms that could lead to further increases in insurance coverage and prevent large price increases in the health insurance exchanges.
See: https://siepr.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/pub ...
"Rate design: thinking inside the clock." Public Power, September-October 2017, p. 37
Argues that creative rate design is necessary to accommodate growth of renewables, distributed energy resources, and the increasing use of electric vehicles on the road. Describes how California's Sacramento Municipal Utility District has addressed changing its rate design.
See: https://www.publicpower.org/periodical/article/rat ...
"Enlisting marijuana and MDMA to fight PTSD." By Jacob Sullum. Reason, November 2017, pp. 32-37
Highlights the work of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies [MAPS] in navigating the federal bureaucracy to get approval for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy and medical marijuana as sanctioned treatments for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD]. Explains the successful trials MAPS has completed and identifies steps remaining to final approval.
"Treaty tested by space miners." By Daniel Clery. Science, October 6, 2017, p. 19
Discusses the significance of the Outer Space Treaty and its effects on the commercial space industry.
"Protecting student athletes." By Michael Ollove. State Legislatures, October/November 2017, pp. 24-25
Considers how states can improve their efforts to keep high school athletes safe from heat and head injuries. Includes the 2017 High School Sports Safety Policy Rankings, which ranks Texas nineteenth among the fifty states and the District of Columbia.
Related information at: http://ksi.uconn.edu/high-school-state-policies/
"Rebooting the manufacturing workforce." By Savannah Gilmore. State Legislatures, October/November 2017, pp. 13-15
Discusses several states' efforts to close the skills gap in the manufacturing sector. Notes the importance of creating a strong connection between the institutions that train workers and the employers who need them.
Report at: http://www.themanufacturinginstitute.org/~/media/8 ...