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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 01, 2015 list Print (PDF)

"OPEC's family feud." Bloomberg Businessweek, September 28, 2015, pp. 13-15
Examines some of the internal conflicts that exist within OPEC, namely the internal pressure that some countries such as Venezuela and Algeria are under, when market share rises but prices do not. Explores why these countries do not leave OPEC and some countries, such as Indonesia in 2009, return to it after voluntarily suspending membership.
"A clean-power powerhouse." By Elodie Reed. Christian Science Monitor, September 21, 2015, pp. 21-23
Examines how Vermont became the only state in the contiguous United States to be exempt from President Obama's new Clean Power Plan. Explores the cost, how it works, and the benefits from Vermont's decision to do away with using coal to generate electricity.
"A 'tour of duty' before college would serve students and the nation." By Sheila Suess Kennedy and Matt Impink. Chronicle of Higher Education, September 11, 2015, pp. A19-A20
Proposes a voluntary national-service program for high-school graduates. Suggests a federally funded program in which students would be paid minimum wage for a one-year "tour of duty" with a government agency or nonprofit organization focused on civil improvement. Suggests participants who successfully complete requirements would receive stipends for tuition, room, and board for two years at a public college or trade school.
"How the internet outrage machine berates higher education." By Peter Schmidt. Chronicle of Higher Education, September 11, 2015, p. A8
Profiles two publications focusing on exposing liberal "bias and abuse" at American colleges. Explains that neither the Leadership Institute's Campus Reform nor the Student Free Press Association's College Fix attempt to hide their ideological slant and suggests they have merged as major forces in academe's ideological battles.
"What 'yes means yes' means for colleges' investigations." By Katherine Mangan. Chronicle of Higher Education, September 11, 2015, p. A10
Considers new college sexual-misconduct policies which focus on affirmative-consent in which silence or a lack of resistance on the part of the accuser doesn't indicate consent. Explains opponents of these policies and some judges think this concept places an unreasonable burden on an accused student, while proponents suggest affirmative-consent creates a clear default rule about what each person's responsibilities are and tells them ahead of time what is expected.
"Fighting the good fight." Classroom Teacher (Texas Classroom Teachers Association), Summer 2015, pp. 14-18
Examines how the Texas Classroom Teacher Association (TCTA) affected legislation during the 84th Legislature. Highlights both education-related bills that became law and bills that didn't pass. Claims TCTA's offensive and defensive efforts improved the outcome of education legislation this session. Identifies TCTA-initiated bills and proposed amendments.
"Legislative stars." Classroom Teacher (Texas Classroom Teachers Association), Summer 2015, pp. 24-25
Highlights efforts of members of the 84th Legislature designated "legislative stars" by the Texas Classroom Teachers Association. Focuses on education-related issues and bills supported by these legislators.
"SB 107: how a really good bill became law." Classroom Teacher (Texas Classroom Teachers Association), Summer 2015, pp. 20-21
Provides an overview of requirements enacted by SB107, 84th Legislature, relating to campus behavior coordinators and student discipline in public schools.
"How safe is your beef?" Consumer Reports, October 2015, pp. 26-33
Discusses the results of tests examining the prevalence and types of bacteria in ground beef, which has a combination of qualities that make it riskier than other types of meat. Finds that the most sustainable production methods can produce ground beef that poses fewer public health risks — methods that do not rely on daily drugs, do not confine animals, and allow cattle to eat a natural diet. Recommends government action to improve the way beef is labeled, processed, and inspected.
"Drug pricing in America: painful pills." Economist, September 26th - October 2nd, 2015, pp. 66, 68
Discusses the growing cost of prescription medicines, noting companies that have bought the rights to older drugs have increased prices by over 500 percent. Mentions that the 13.1 percent increase in prescription drug spending in 2014 is already leading to higher health insurance premiums.
"Unmanned aerial vehicles: welcome to the drone age." Economist, September 26th - October 2nd, 2015, pp. 79-80
Reports the practical uses of small, remote-controlled aircraft are expanding rapidly and beyond commercial operations to academic and governmental applications.
"The Volkswagen scandal: a mucky business." Economist, September 26th - October 2nd, 2015, pp. 23-25
Reports future investigations of Volkswagen's use of hidden software to manipulate emissions data will affect other countries, the car industry, and the future of diesel vehicles — raising questions about other carmakers' claims on emissions and fuel efficiency.
"How Hispanics influenced the law that changed the face of America." By Margaret S. Orchowski. Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education, September 28, 2015, pp. 14-19
Provides a historical overview of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 (INA), signed into law by President Lyndon Baines Johnson. Discusses the INA's unintended consequences. Points out that the economic, demographic, and political "drivers of migration" that affect immigration laws today look more like those of the 1920s than the 1960s.
"Impacts of licensing unauthorized immigrants." By Michele Waslin. Internet Resource, September 10, 2015, pp. 1-10
Considers the impact of allowing unauthorized immigrants to obtain driver licenses. Explains automobile insurance coverage, public safety, and the economy are three areas that would be affected by this policy. Concludes that since the laws allowing this licensing are still fairly new and only ten states and the District of Columbia have implemented these laws, there is not enough data at this time to formulate the impact.
See: http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/about/events/2015/deci ...
"Measles outbreak as a catalyst for stricter vaccine exemption legislation." By Y. Tony Yang, Leila Barraza, and Kim Weidenaar. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), September 22/29, 2015, pp. 1229-1230
Discusses state vaccination requirements and how the measles outbreak that began in Disneyland, California could prompt states to pass stricter vaccination laws.
"Five questions on the 2015 state tax legislative sessions." By Jeff Saviano. Journal of MultiState Taxation and Incentives, October 2015, pp. 30-32
Interviews Steve Wlodychak with Ernst & Young LLP's Center for Tax Policy on five key tax policy questions from the 2015 state legislative sessions, including Nevada's new gross receipts Commerce Tax and Puerto Rico becoming the first U.S. jurisdiction to adopt a Value Added Tax (VAT). Discusses developments in state tax amnesty programs, click-through sales tax nexus provisions for Internet commerce, and sales tax expansion. Mentions decreased corporate income and franchise tax rates in Texas.
"Tobacco excise taxes and transfer pricing." By J. Harold McClure. Journal of MultiState Taxation and Incentives, October 2015, pp. 14-21, 27-29
Examines the current calculation method for excise taxes, considering the very high profitability of tobacco multinational companies. Describes recent court challenges brought by the states of California and Washington relating to intercompany prices and transfer pricing of tobacco.
"Houston: Sanctuary city." By Kevin D. Williamson. National Review, September 21, 2015, pp. 31-34
Considers so-called sanctuary-city laws that create law-enforcement protocols for handling immigration status inquiries and detention. Contrasts practices in San Francisco and Houston. Quotes Senator Charles Perry regarding his legislation on sanctuary-city rules, SB185, 84th Legislature.
"Prisoners without prisons." By Stephanos Bibas. National Review, September 21, 2015, pp. 27-30
Suggests American criminal justice has drifted away from its moral roots in which Colonial America blamed, punished, and then offered forgiveness and thereby, did not create a permanent underclass of ex-cons. Argues for a system in which prisoners complete their education and develop marketable work skills; maintain ties with their families; and in which a faith-based community assists them in prison and follows them into the community to provide a law-abiding alternative when returned to society.
"The end of doom." By Ronald Bailey. Reason, October 2015, pp. 20-30
Considers five dire predictions that failed to materialize, despite the warnings of 20th century doomsayers: a cancer epidemic, overpopulation, adverse effect of biotech crops, catastrophic climate change, and mass extinction. Suggests dwelling on the possibilities of these occurrences can assert a precautionary approach which is the opposite of scientific trial and error which is necessary for the advancement of knowledge.
"The fat gene." By Richard L. Johnson and Peter Andrews. Scientific American, October 2015, pp. 64-69
Discusses the possibility of an ancient gene mutation that predisposes modern humans to diabetes and obesity.
"States attack the pay gap between women and men." By Teresa Wiltz. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), September 28, 2015, pp. 1-9
Reports that in absence of federal legislation several state legislatures have passed pay equity bills to end gender wage gaps. Highlights legislation in California, considered the strongest of its kind in the country. Points out 21 other states introduced equal pay bills but they failed to pass. Includes chart that ranks states based on largest wage gaps between women and men. Notes Texas has a gender wage gap of 21.2 cents.
See: http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/ ...
"States grapple with public disclosure of police body-camera footage." By Sarah Breitenbach. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), September 22, 2015, pp. 1-7
Reports ten states, including Texas, passed laws this year to address how footage from police body cameras should be treated and to establish requirements for law enforcement agency policies for the cameras.
See: http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/ ...
Related information at: https://www.aclu.org/model-act-regulating-use-wear ...
"Survey ranks Texas 40th for 'lawsuit climate'." By Angela Morris. Texas Lawyer, September 21, 2015, p. 8
Highlights a national tort reform survey ranking states on their legal systems and litigation environments.
Related information at: http://www.instituteforlegalreform.com/states
"Telemedicine is alive and well in Texas." By Todd P. Kelly, Elizabeth G. Myers, and Eric D. Jackson. Texas Lawyer, September 28, 2015, p. 31
Clarifies a series of amendments to Texas Medical Board rules relating to telemedicine. Notes that state medical boards across the country are working to balance the interests of patients, employers, and entrepreneurial providers while maintaining public health and safety within the physician-patient relationship.
Related information at: http://texreg.sos.state.tx.us/public/readtac$ext.V ...
Related information at: http://www.americantelemed.org/docs/default-source ...