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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 23, 2017 list Print (PDF)

"Supporting youth in foster care: research-based policy recommendations for executive and legislative officials in 2017." Child Trends, February 15, 2017, pp. 1-2
Looks at trends in the foster care population from 2005-2015, as well as foster care issues of state funding, educational success, and access to health services. Provides three recommendations for policymakers to support children in foster care.
See: https://www.childtrends.org/wp-content/uploads/201 ...
"Teen pregnancy prevention: research-based policy recommendations for executive and legislative officials in 2017." Child Trends, February 15, 2017, pp. 1-2
Explores the most recent reports on teen pregnancy rates, and highlights research on teen pregnancy dropout risks, the cost of teen births, and teen abortion. Discusses sex education programs and federal Title X family planning grants.
See: https://www.childtrends.org/wp-content/uploads/201 ...
"For scientists, this time feels different." By Zack Colman and Henry Gass. Christian Science Monitor, February 13, 2017, pp. 21-23
Explains many scientists see a pattern of disinformation or obfuscation on climate change that predates Trump and there are many concerns about where agencies such as the EPA are headed. Suggests this is causing a sense of urgency on the part of the scientific community and a rallying to defend the integrity of science along with taking an increased role in the political arena. Highlights increased activities such as the planned March for Science and planning by the group 314 Action.
"Congress targets ESSA regulations." By Andrew Ujifusa. Education Week, February 15, 2107, pp. 12, 15
Discusses federal lawmakers' reasoning for overturning accountability regulations for Every Student Succeeds Act [ESSA]. Includes arguments for and against overturning the ESSA accountability rules.
"Governors, state lawmakers roll out school choice plans." By Corey Mitchell and Arianna Prothero. Education Week, February 15, 2017, p. 13
Suggests the current political environment could result in a nationwide shift towards school choice. Highlights charter school and school voucher legislation being pushed in Texas and Kentucky. Addresses opposition to school choice in Nevada and Maryland. Quotes Governor Greg Abbot.
"How will tax reform and border adjustability affect your business?" By Brian Keuhl. Ethanol Today, January/February 2017, pp. 18-20
Predicts that there is a high likelihood that comprehensive tax reform legislation will become law during 2018. Recommends policy-makers begin planning for how a tax reform could affect profitability and competitiveness. States that the debate in the United States House of Representatives will be based on the Republican Tax Reform Blueprint released by Speaker Ryan in July 2016. Focuses on the topic of border adjustability.
See: http://www.bluetoad.com/publication/?i=385193&p=&p ...
"Will renewable fuels get Trump's green light?" By Jonathan Eisenthal. Ethanol Today, January/February 2017, pp. 8-14
Considers what the future holds for pro-ethanol policies given the new administration in Washington D.C. Points out that, based on the history of biofuels policy, it would be a mistake to rely on assumptions based on campaign promises. Argues for stakeholders to contact their representatives to tell their personal story in order to remind them of the importance of renewable fuels, particularly in rural communities.
See: http://www.bluetoad.com/publication/?i=385193&p=&p ...
"'Dark store theory' and property taxation: legal interpretation could cost states millions." By Joyce Jauer, Olga Garza, and Bruce Wright. Fiscal Notes, February 2017, pp. 1, 3-5
Describes the concept of "dark store theory," relating to the property taxation of big-box stores, department stores, hardware stores, and other outlets of 50,000 square feet or more, with the same appraisal value whether the store is operating or shuttered. Addresses the implications for local property tax revenues and public school funding if "dark store theory" is applied. Mentions Lowe's Home Improvement's appraisal protest in Bexar County and lawsuit against Harris County.
See: https://www.comptroller.texas.gov/economy/fiscal-n ...
"Texas ports: gateways to world commerce: Comptroller study highlights economic impacts." By Bruce Wright. Fiscal Notes, February 2017, pp. 6-10
Examines the economic impact of Texas ports of entry: Laredo Port of Entry, Port Freeport, Port of Port Arthur, Port of Houston, Port San Antonio, and the Alliance Global Logistics Hub in Fort Worth. Estimates that nearly $650 billion in trade facilitated by Texas ports in 2015 directly or indirectly supported nearly 1.6 million Texas jobs and added $224.3 billion to the gross state product.
See: https://www.comptroller.texas.gov/economy/fiscal-n ...
"Medicaid waivers targeting children with autism spectrum disorder reduce the need for parents to stop working." By Douglas L. Leslie, et al. Health Affairs, February 2017, pp. 282-287
Illustrates how Medicaid waivers positively affect labor-market participation of families with children with autism spectrum disorder [ASD]. Notes that mandates requiring private insurers to cover ASD services have not been effective in improving access to care, so Medicaid waivers may fill this gap. Calls for state Medicaid policymakers to consider this data as they design programs to provide the best care for children with ASD.
"Working with a chronic disease." By T.R. Goldman. Health Affairs, February 2017, pp. 202-205
Explores employers' obligations to support employees with chronic disease. Calls for a shift from seeing Americans with Disabilities Act adjustments as obstacles to seeing them as routes to productivity.
"How the Affordable Care Act has improved Americans’ ability to buy health insurance on their own." By Sara R. Collins, et al. Internet Resource, January 31, 2017, pp. 1-20
Illustrates the dramatic improvement in peoples' ability to buy health plans on their own following the passage of the Affordable Care Act [ACA]. Notes accompanying improvement in adults getting needed care because they were not as worried about cost. Highlights continuing cost-related access gap, with nearly 23 million working-age adults remaining uninsured in 2016.
See: http://www.commonwealthfund.org/~/media/files/publ ...
"Parent engagement practices improve outcomes for preschool children." By Karen Bierman and Rachel Abenavoli. Internet Resource, January 2017, pp. 1-10
Recommends development of parent support programs to reduce the income-based achievement gap and promote early childhood learning and school readiness. Lists effective parent support programs backed by evidence collected in randomized-controlled trials.
See: http://www.rwjf.org/content/dam/farm/reports/issue ...
"A global vaccine injury compensation system." By Sam F. Halabi and Saad B. Omer. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), February 7, 2017, pp. 471-472
Discusses the specter of vaccine injury as it affects vaccine access and the development of vaccine technologies. Observes that while vaccine injury is rare, liability concerns for manufacturers and governments delay distribution of vaccines to low-resource countries. Recommends developing a global vaccine injury compensation system supported by governments and vaccine manufacturers, to allow both parties to promote vaccination while compensating as needed those who experience vaccine injury.
"New '21st century cures' legislation: speed and ease vs. science." By Aaron S. Kesselheim and Jerry Avorn. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), February 14, 2017, pp. 581-582
Criticizes the 21st Century Cures Act, which recommended increased funding for National Institutes of Health [NIH] budget and decreases Food and Drug Administration review requirements for drugs and devices. Asserts that the Act does not guarantee an NIH funding increase and decreases drug testing standards in a way that could prove risky for patients.
"It's time to abolish the Antiquities Act of 1906." By Erin Morrow Hawley. National Law Journal, February 6, 2017, p. 19
Argues for the repeal of the Antiquities Act of 1906, a federal law that gives the president of the United States unilateral power to reserve federal land for special protection, but offers no procedural protections for local communities that suffer economic losses. Explains there are other federal statutes that could be used to protect historical objects and environmentally sensitive lands that do provide procedural protections for affected communities.
Related information at: https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R41330.pdf
"The gerrymander myth." By Dan McLaughlin. National Review, February 20, 2017, pp. 16, 18,20
Highlights the history of "gerrymandered" districts and finds the advantage today's House Republicans enjoy is smaller than what the Democrats averaged over their half a century of dominance from 1954 to 1994. Argues the vote results have less to do with gerrymandered districts and more to do with the fact that Democratic voters are concentrated in liberal urban districts while Republican voters are more evenly distributed in suburban, small town, and rural districts.
"Gun culture in black and white." By David French. National Review, February 20, 2017, pp. 36-38
Explains the African-American population has more homicide gun deaths than the white population (82 percent to 19 percent) while having fewer gun owning households (19 percent to 41 percent). Argues most proposed gun control legislation will not address the majority of homicide gun deaths. Concludes criminality needs to be addressed, not gun ownership, and that the best way to do that is to build upon the community of black churches and volunteers helping to change communities from within.
"Metering trends advance water utility management." By Kristie Anderson. Opflow, February 2017, pp. 6-7
Reports that continued industry advancements in technology, products, and services offer water utilities many tools for improving operational efficiency and delivering accurate, responsive customer service.
"Water risk drives investment in water reuse, alternative business models." By Erin Bonney Casey. Opflow, February 2017, pp. 8-9
Predicts that longstanding solutions to water supplies, including wastewater reuse, will play an increasing role in key water-stressed markets. Claims that high population growth and high water usage are driving investments in alternative water supplies. Argues that companies competing in the water sector must rethink their business models to adjust to the ongoing reality that areas in the United States face water scarcity and drought conditions. Recommends watching the market in California since it is home to both drought and innovation.
"Mexican scientists feel the Trump effect." Science, February 3, 2017, pp. 440-441
Considers the effects of the Trump administration on Mexican scientists and cross-border scientific collaborations.
"Face-to-face family visits return to some jails." By Mindy Fetterman. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), February 15, 2017, pp. 1-6
Reports Texas is among several states that have reinstated face-to-face visits in some county jails. Credits Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins for pushing the county to change its policy requiring only video visits.
See: http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/ ...
"Thornberry, Cornyn file legislation to help Texas landowners." By Jessica Domel. Texas Agriculture, February 3, 2017, pp. 15
Profiles the legislation Congressman Mac Thornberry and United States Senator John Cornyn have filed to protect private property rights along the Red River and provide certainty for landowners. Profiles the Red River Gradient Boundary Survey Act and its impact on landowners. Discusses how the movement of the Red River has affected landowners whose lands were claimed by the Bureau of Land Management.
"Cyber liability and property insurance savings for Public Power." Texas Public Power, January 2017, pp. 3, 8
Reports that Hometown Connections and Wortham Power Gen Insurance have added the brokerage firm's Assurance for Regulated Utilities [ARGUS] property insurance program to their national public power insurance marketing program. Lists highlights of Wortham Power Gen's ARGUS property insurance program. Mentions the brokerage firm is also working with Hometown Connections to provide cyber liability insurance, as well as a free Cyber Risk Evaluation Tool to American Public Power Association [APPA] members.
"Why the doctor takes cash only." By Haley Sweetland Edwards. Time, February 6, 2017, pp. 34-37
Addresses benefits of free-market-based health care, which offers fixed cash-based pricing, often at lower prices than what hospitals charge and what patients pay through insurance. Highlights a cash-based care facility in Oklahoma, noting members of the state employees' insurance fund can use it at no cost to themselves. Notes there are two dozen medical facilities in Texas using all or partly cash-based pricing.