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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.

November 20, 2014 list Print (PDF)

"Preschool to prosperity." By Mary Branham. Capitol Ideas, November/December 2014, pp. 26-29
Discusses the economic benefits of early childhood education as an opportunity for later success in higher education and the workforce. Highlights Connecticut's $200 million Smart Start program to move the state closer to voluntary universal preschool for four-year-olds and Georgia's Bright Start voluntary universal preschool initiative dating back to 1992.
See: http://www.csg.org/pubs/capitolideas/2014_nov_dec/ ...
Report at: http://www.upjohn.org/Publications/Titles/FromPres ...
"States 'ban the box'." By Liam Julian. Capitol Ideas, November/December 2014, pp. 36-37
Highlights state efforts in California, Georgia, and Nebraska to remove employment barriers for workers with criminal records.
See: http://www.csg.org/pubs/capitolideas/2014_nov_dec/ ...
"SNAP helps roughly 1.7 million struggling veterans, including thousands in every state." By Brynne Keith-Jennings. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, November 11, 2014, pp. 1-4
Argues that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, makes a crucial difference for veterans who may be unemployed, working in low-wage jobs, or disabled. Estimates 119,200 veterans in Texas received SNAP benefits for 2011 through 2013.
See: http://www.cbpp.org/files/11-11-14fa.pdf
"Five reasons gas prices are falling." By Jared Gilmour. Christian Science Monitor, November 17, 2014, p. 13
Considers five factors that have caused gas prices to decline.
"Possibility unbound." By Lee Lawrence. Christian Science Monitor, November 17, 2014, pp. 27-32
Provides anecdotal examples which illustrate how people with disabilities have seen their lives improve due to the Americans with Disabilities Act which turns 25 years old in 2015. Includes sidebar article highlighting clothing design for those with disabilities.
"How a coalition seeks to bring minority students into science." By Vimal Patel. Chronicle of Higher Education, November 7, 2014, p. A11
Highlights the work of the California Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate in attracting and keeping minority students enrolled in science and engineering doctoral programs and encouraging them to work in national labs or academia.
Related information at: http://www.gdnet.ucla.edu/agep/
"In final rule to crack down on career colleges, a measure vanishes." By Kelly Field. Chronicle of Higher Education, November 7, 2014, p. A14
Examines the changes in the "gainful employment rule" issued by the United States Education Department, which measures student debt. Discusses the deletion of the default rates measurement and the inclusion of graduates' debt-to-earnings ratios.
Related information at: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-10-31/pdf/201 ...
"Denton's historic anti-frack vote." By Nicholas Sakelaris. Dallas Business Journal, November 7, 2014, pp. 4-5
Examines several aspects of Denton's ban on hydraulic fracturing — how the issue arose, who funded the fracking debate, and the legal challenges ahead.
"Corporal punishment: spare the rod." Economist, November 15th-21st, 2014, p. 34
Reports corporal punishment is ineffective in the long run, highlighting findings from several studies on the long-term consequences of physical punishment.
Related information at: http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/social-mobility-mem ...
"Energy in North America: a new Mexican revolution." Economist, November 15th-21st, 2014, pp. 65-66
Reports Mexico's energy reforms will open up all aspects of the energy market and boost productivity and profits across Mexican industry.
"Genetically modified crops: field research." Economist, November 8th-14th, 2014, p. 82
Reports on the publication of the largest review to date on genetically modified (GM) crops' effects on farming. Points out the widespread benefits, noting that farmers who adopted GM crops made 69 percent higher profits than those who did not adopt them.
"Jeb Bush speaks out." Education Next, November 12, 2014, pp. 1-5
Interviews former Florida Governor Jeb Bush on his legacy of educational reforms in Florida and his support for the common core standards.
See: http://educationnext.org/jeb-bush-speaks-interview ...
"Buyers & sellers." By John Buntin. Governing, November 2014, pp. 38-43
Discusses the challenges states face after marijuana legalization in regulating the market. Explores the idea of marijuana sales by state governments.
See: http://www.governing.com/topics/mgmt/gov-states-ma ...
"A Capitol slant." By Daniel C. Vock. Governing, November 2014, pp. 32-37
Looks at the role of conservative political donors in statehouse reporting, focusing on a Watchdog Radio station in Illinois that broadcasts 35 miles from the State Capitol. Mentions Watchdog reporting on state legislators and admissions at the University of Texas at Austin.
See: http://www.governing.com/topics/politics/gov-polit ...
"Why rejecting Medicaid isn't easy." By Chris Kardish. Governing, November 2014, p. 18
Discusses Louisiana's consideration of Medicaid expansion and the implications for funding safety net hospitals. Notes the other twenty-two states that did not expand Medicaid will likely encounter the hospital funding issue in coming years.
See: http://www.governing.com/topics/health-human-servi ...
"The Education Trust proposes bottom-line quality standards for colleges." By Angela Provitera McGlynn. Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education, November 3, 2014, pp. 15-17
Highlights report by the Education Trust which suggests that the federal government should impose quality standards for higher education institutions, noting that colleges and universities receive billions in federal aid and tax benefits without consideration to degree completion rates or student performance measures. Points out report recommendations that institutions that do not meet educational accountability standards should face sanctions, such as loss of federal grant money, tax benefits, and/or eligibility to receive federal financial aid.
Report at: http://www.edtrust.org/sites/edtrust.org/files/Tou ...
"Should life insurers have access to genetic test results?" By Robert Klitzman, Paul S. Appelbaum, and Wendy K. Chung. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), November 12, 2014, pp. 1855-1856
Examines whether predictive genetic testing should be a factor life insurance companies can consider when calculating premiums.
"Digital records revolutionizing energy leasing." By Mitchell Ayer. National Law Journal & Legal Times, November 3, 2014, p. 9
Examines the way digital land records are simplifying extraction lease-title work and spinning off ancillary businesses. Notes that, by digitizing records, energy exploration and production companies can enrich their data, recoup revenues, and avoid costly litigation.
"Marriage showdown seems inevitable." By Marcia Coyle. National Law Journal & Legal Times, November 10, 2014, pp. 1, 6
Considers whether a recent decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upholding state bans on same-sex marriage will be the impetus for the United States Supreme Court to resolve the conflicts among federal circuit courts.
"Generation vexed: the downwardly mobile Millennials may be waking up at last." By Kevin D. Williamson. National Review, November 17, 2014, pp. 30, 32, 34
Considers the Millennials' political views and finds them confused, incoherent, and with a low trust in government. Suggests both parties have struggled to make their case to this underemployed, overschooled generation.
"Double jeopardy." By Paige Williams. New Yorker, November 17, 2014, pp. 54, 56-65
Examines the role of judicial override — the ability of judges in some states to override a jury's decision in death penalty cases. Explores the use of override in Alabama, Florida, and Delaware. Summarizes court challenges to the law.
"Train's late: so much coal, but so hard to get." By Elisa Wood. Public Power, November-December 2014, pp. 27-29
Describes the difficulties coal producing companies have had shipping coal to power plants by rail, including rate increases and coal shipments bumped for crude oil and grain. Reports that other industries, including chemicals, paper, and steel, have experienced similar delivery problems and have called for rail reform. Discusses methods to improve rail delivery of goods, such as purchasing more locomotives and cars and hiring more staff.
"Employee misclassification in Texas: why the new law won't work." By Lisa D. Kinzer. South Texas Law Review, Spring 2014, pp. 435-470 (Note Length)
Considers the issue of worker misclassification and examines new civil penalties and other proposals recently considered by the Texas Legislature, including HB2015 and SB676, 83rd Legislature, R.S. Explains why current enforcement mechanisms are inadequate and offers a more effective legislative solution.
"4th Court splits on fee question." By Angela Morris. Texas Lawyer, November 10, 2014, pp. 1, 17
Reports on a recent decision by the Fourth Court of Appeals (No. 04-13-00704-CV) that creates a "split of authority" about whether a jury — not a judge — can decide how much to award in attorney's fees in human rights act cases. Points out the court's statement that a different interpretation would render Texas Labor Code §21.259 unconstitutional.
Related information at: http://www.search.txcourts.gov/Case.aspx?cn=04-13- ...
Related information at: http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/LA/htm/ ...
"No en banc review for Fisher v. UT." By Miriam Rozen. Texas Lawyer, November 17, 2014, pp. 1, 25
Reports the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit's denial for a rehearing of the affirmative action case, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin (UT), leaves intact the court's prior decision allowing UT to use race "as a factor of a factor" in university admissions decisions. Notes Fisher's lawyer plans to appeal the case back to the United States Supreme Court.