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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.

August 25, 2016 list Print (PDF)

"Occupations in information technology." By Julia Beckhusen. American Community Survey Reports, August 2016, pp. 1-16
Examines the current landscape of employment in information technology. Reviews the growth of the information technology sector since 1970.
See: https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/ ...
"Funding down, tuition up: state cuts to higher education threaten quality and affordability at public colleges (updated)." By Michael Mitchell, Michael Leachman, and Kathleen Masterson. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Updated August 15, 2016, pp. 1-28 (Note Length)
Examines state budget trends and tuition costs in higher education and finds the price of attending public colleges and universities is rising faster than the growth in median income. Surveys tuition increases across states from 2008-2016 and includes tables on state funding for higher education compared to pre-recession levels.
See: http://www.cbpp.org/sites/default/files/atoms/file ...
"Machine learning: of prediction and policy." Economist, August 20th-26th, 2016, p. 12
Suggests governments have much to gain from applying algorithms to public policy decision-making. Points out concerns with using algorithms, illustrating a case where bias affected certain bail decisions.
"Poverty in America: no money no love." Economist, August 20th-26th, 2016, pp. 21-22
Reports on former president Bill Clinton's landmark welfare reform law of 1996, noting it got people into work, but failed to reduce deep poverty.
"What Houston can learn from other major cities to fix its pension problems." By Joe Martin. Houston Business Journal, August 12. 2016, pp. 12A
Examines the mounting pension deficit that Houston is facing. Outlines three other major cities' solutions and the effects those solutions had on their deficits. Offers four recommendations that the city should follow to help fix its pension issues.
"Racial profiling in hiring: a critique of new "ban the box" studies." By Maurice Emsellem and Beth Avery. Internet Resource, August 2016, pp. 1-9
Evaluates two recent studies claiming that "ban the box" policies have a detrimental impact on young African-American men, even suggesting these policies be abandoned. Argues these studies actually expose entrenched racism in hiring which is expressed as the racial profiling of African Americans as "criminals". Concludes "ban the box" and other fair-chance employment policies are working and a more robust policy response is needed.
See: http://www.nelp.org/content/uploads/Policy-Brief-R ...
"Tobacco advertising and promotional expenditures in sports and sporting events — United States, 1992–2013." By Israel T. Agaku, et al. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), August 19, 2016, pp. 821-825
Examines expenditures on advertising tobacco products in sports and sporting events. Notes that beginning in 2010, tobacco brand sponsorship in sports was prohibited, however, tobacco companies still spent millions advertising smokeless tobacco in sports.
"The fear industry goes back to school." By Sasha Abramsky. Nation, August 29/September 5, 2016, pp. 18-21
Examines increased spending on high-tech school security, including high-tech surveillance, anti-intruder doors, bulletproof backpacks, and fingerprint recognition. Contrasts the fears of mass shootings with data showing school violence is rare in America, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
"Packing heat at Texas universities." By Karen Sloan. National Law Journal & Legal Times, August 8, 2016, pp. 1, 5
Discusses how private universities in Texas are opting out of the campus carry law that went into effect August 1. Explores how some Texas public universities are carving out exemptions to the law, prohibiting the concealed carrying of handguns in certain areas, such as health care facilities.
"Time-honored court-bashing." By Marcia Coyle. National Law Journal & Legal Times, August 8, 2016, pp. 1, 6
Considers how presidential campaigns characterize United States Supreme Court decisions. Provides examples from past elections and from the current election cycle.
"Two underclasses: a brief tribal-political history." By J.D. Vance. National Review, August 29, 2016, pp. 23-26
Reviews the history of the black underclass and the white underclass and discusses the struggles that deepened for these two groups with the 2007 financial crisis and the resulting change in politics. Suggests the political parties need to address these demographic and social realities in order to stay relevant to citizens.
"The crazy college of Qatar." By Michael Hardy. New Republic, September 2016, 10-12
Criticizes recent efforts by community colleges to set up international branches in order to generate millions of dollars from foreign governments. Attributes this "global gold rush" to the slashing of higher education funding by state legislatures, forcing schools to seek alternative sources of money. Profiles Houston Community College's partnership with Qatar and its ultimate failure.
"Justice delayed." By Jeffrey Toobin. New Yorker, August 22, 2016, pp. 38-44,46-47
Profiles Bryan Stevenson and his work with the Equal Justice Initiative, handling appeals of death row inmates. Explores the relationship between the death penalty and lynching, noting the overlap between places with a history of lynching which also have a continued use of the death penalty. Highlights Stevenson's plan for a national memorial to lynching victims.
See: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/08/22/bryan ...
"An SA-to-Austin rail advocate's concern for the future." By Tony Quesada. San Antonio Business Journal, August 12, 2016, pp.3
Discusses the recent Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization's [CAMPO] decision to begin the process to cut the Lone Star Rail District's proposed commuter rail line between San Antonio and Georgetown. Proposes the need for greater mobility between San Antonio and Austin, as suburban and small town development continues between the two cities.
"From bark to bedside." By David Grimm. Science, August 12, 2016, pp. 638-640
Examines clinical trials in pets and whether humans can benefit. Explains that pet clinical trials are lower cost than human clinical trials but could still yield medicines that work in both humans and pets.
"Flushed from the pocket: daily fantasy sports businesses scramble amidst growing legal concerns." By Johnathan Bass. SMU Law Review, Spring 2016, pp. 501-532 (Note Length)
Provides a brief overview of the history of fantasy sports in the United States and a context for understanding the recent concerns regarding the legality and lack of regulation pertaining to daily fantasy sports.
"Immunity for child sex trafficking extended to Backpage.com: Doe ex rel. Roe v. Backpage.com, LLC." By Steven B. Taylor. SMU Science and Technology Law Review, Spring 2016, pp. 79-86
Examines whether Backpage.com is protected by the immunity provisions of the Communications Decency Act, 47 U.S.C. §230. Suggests there are reasonable constructions of the statute that do not result in immunity for a business that sells children for sex.
"Fractured relationships: exploring municipal defiance in Colorado, Texas, and Ohio." By Jonathan M. Fisk. State and Local Government Review, June 2016, pp. 75-86
Examines factors that lead to a municipality's challenge to state government authority regarding fracking practices. Notes environmental concerns may be the cause for some cities while other municipalities may be concerned over economic impacts to homeowners. Chooses Colorado, Texas, and Ohio to study how local communities address their conflicts with the state.
"Rulings on review." By Lisa Soronen. State Legislatures, September 2016, pp. 14-15
Reviews United States Supreme Court's rulings that will impact the states. Includes three cases brought by Texas, in redistricting (Evenwell v. Abbott), abortion (Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt), and affirmative action (Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin).
"A world apart." By Julie Davis Bell. State Legislatures, September 2016, pp. 8-13
Discusses findings from a National Conference of State Legislatures Study Group on International Education which studied education systems in some of the world's highest performing countries. Notes a common denominator that all countries share is high-quality, highly trained teachers. Includes discussion on testing, and centralization of departments of education.
"Getting better data on which drugs are killing people." By Christine Vestal. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), August 19, 2016, pp. 1-9
Reports the lack of specificity in drug overdose death reporting is hampering states in developing potentially life-saving strategies for preventing overdoses. Notes how South Carolina improved the state's overdose death reporting from 58 percent in 2013 to 95 percent in 2014.
See: http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/ ...
"GME milestone." By Amy Lynn Sorrel. Texas Medicine, August 2016, pp. 41-45
Discusses the long-term fund for graduate medical education in Texas that the Legislature established in 2015.
"Zika: fighting a potential epidemic." By Joey Berlin. Texas Medicine, August 2016, pp. 24-31
Explores how the Zika virus may affect Texas. Looks at mosquito populations in urban areas, especially Houston and Brownsville. Discusses federal public health emergency preparedness funding cuts in Texas and the projected costs of battling Zika in Texas.
Related information at: http://texaszika.org
"Back to school." By Cindy Zolnierek. Texas Nursing, Summer 2016, pp. 6-8
Explores a faculty shortage in nursing that complicates the nursing shortages.
"Post traumatic marijuana." By Mark Thompson. Time, August 29, 2016, pp. 34-37
Addresses pros and cons of using marijuana to treat patients with post-traumatic stress disorder. Reports little research has been done to assess the therapeutic value of marijuana, noting to date studies have produced mixed results. Includes discussion of states' legalization of medical marijuana and the first Drug Enforcement Agency [DEA] approved study on use of the marijuana plant as a therapeutic drug.