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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 14, 2014 list Print (PDF)

"Improving state revenue forecasting." By Elizabeth C. McNichol. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, August 8, 2014, pp. 1-11
Offers five best practices for state revenue forecasting — both governor and legislature jointly produce the estimate, outside experts are employed, the forecast is published and accessible on the Internet, public meetings are held, and revision of the estimate occurs as needed through the year. Scores states on their use of these five suggested best practices.
See: http://www.cbpp.org/files/8-7-14sfp.pdf
"Inadequate and prone to fraud." By Joel Zinberg. City Journal (Manhattan Institute), August 7, 2014, pp. 1-2
Highlights report by the United States Government Accountability Office which suggests that the procedures for determining eligibility for insurance and subsidies on federally established health insurance exchanges are inadequate and prone to fraud. Notes that the outside contractor used to process submitted documentation has identified millions of inconsistencies in the applications but does not certify authenticity or engage in fraud detection.
See: http://www.city-journal.org/2014/eon0807jz.html
Report at: http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/664946.pdf
"Mad about Millennials." By Matthew Hennessey. City Journal (Manhattan Institute), July 30, 2014, pp. 1-2
Reports the Millennial generation represents "a demographic sleeping giant with the power to revolutionize the political landscape of the United States." Suggests that the political party that can craft a message that appeals to Millennials could "conceivably dominate American electoral politics."
Report at: http://reason.com/assets/db/2014-millennials-repor ...
See: http://www.city-journal.org/2014/eon0730mh.html
"Prostitution and the Internet: more bang for your buck." Economist, August 9th-15th, 2014, pp. 16-19
Reports new technologies and the Internet are transforming the sex industry, making it harder for governments to control or regulate prostitution. Discusses how the data available online is making it possible to analyze a larger and less examined part of the commercial sex market — prostitution that happens indoors.
"Streetcars and urban renewal: rolling blunder." Economist, August 9th-15th, 2014, pp. 24-25
Reports streetcars are making a comeback, with services rolling out in at least sixteen American cities. Claims streetcars are an inefficient way to move people and are costly to build and maintain. Attributes the increase in streetcar projects to federal subsidies. Suggests the streetcar revival is using federal funds "that might otherwise go towards cheaper, nimbler forms of public transport, such as buses."
Related information at: http://object.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/pubs/p ...
Related information at: http://www.heritagetrolley.org/ExistingSystems.htm
"E-rate to prioritize Wi-Fi, abandon outmoded tech." By Sean Cavanagh. Education Week, August 6, 2014, pp. 1, 9
Reviews changes made by the United States Federal Communications Commission in July 2014 to the federal E-rate program for schools and libraries. Points out that the program is funded by fees assessed on telecommunications providers. Outlines the program's new focus.
Related information at: http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Bus ...
"Wild ride." By Liz Farmer. Governing, August 2014, pp. 52-55
Considers the challenges of state budget forecasting in a volatile economy with unpredictable revenues. Discusses Utah's budget reserve fund for public education to protect against volatility. Mentions Texas' $8 billion Economic Stabilization Fund, also known as the Rainy Day Fund.
See: http://www.governing.com/finance101/gov-volatile-e ...
"The Z-word." By Alan Ehrenhalt. Governing, August 2014, pp. 14-15
Discusses Houston's lack of a city zoning code and the benefits and concerns for real estate development.
See: http://www.governing.com/columns/assessments/gov-t ...
"Most exchange plans charge lower tobacco surcharges than allowed, but many tobacco users lack affordable coverage." By Cameron M. Kaplan, Ilana Graetz, and Teresa M. Waters. Health Affairs, August 2014, pp. 1466-1473
Considers tobacco surcharges for plans offered via federal and state health insurance exchanges. Finds that premiums are typically higher for tobacco users, which could lead tobacco users to opt out of health insurance coverage.
"Spending on mental and substance use disorders projected to grow more slowly than all health spending through 2020." By Tami L. Mark, et al. Health Affairs, August 2014, pp. 1407-1415
Examines factors that will contribute to a decrease in health care spending on mental and substance use disorders, such as patent expirations on mental health pharmaceuticals and a lack of innovation on that front, and a decreased rate of spending growth on hospitalizations.
"America’s most financially disadvantaged school districts and how they got that way." By Bruce D. Baker. Internet Resource, July 2014, pp. 1-5
Summarizes report detailing conditions that create funding disparities in school districts in the United States. Highlights states, school districts, and policies that have been identified as financially deprived. Includes policy recommendations for reforming school funding and resolving funding disparities.
Report at: http://cdn.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads ...
See: http://cdn.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads ...
"Get it in writing." Internet Resource, 2013, pp. 1-13
Considers the poor quality of middle school students' writing ability in Texas. Points out that, based on 2013 data, one in every three middle school students failed the standardized writing test. Argues for the importance of writing as a critical tool for both living and earning. Makes recommendations for policymakers.
See: http://publications.sreb.org/2013/GetItInWriting_T ...
"E-cigarettes, vaping, and youth." By Lawrence O. Gostin and Aliza Y. Glasner. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), August 13, 2014, pp. 595-596
Explores whether and how e-cigarettes should be regulated.
"Health care at the VA: recommendations for change." By Faisal G. Bakaeen, Alvin Blaustein, and Melina R. Kibbe. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), August 6, 2014, pp. 481-482
Outlines recommendations for improving the Veterans Affairs medical centers and health care system. Describes current problems of the system, such as double sets of appointment books, exceptionally long wait times for veterans seeking care, and veterans needing care going for long periods without appointments.
"The children will keep coming." By Oscar Martinez. Nation, August 18/25, 2014, pp. 13-16
Attempts to explain the root cause of the child migrant crisis. Provides a grim overview of the gang violence that prompts children to flee El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Includes statistics on murder rates and ages of victims.
"Legal education due for a makeover." By Karen Sloan. National Law Journal & Legal Times, August 4, 2014, pp. 1, 5
Discusses proposed changes to the American Bar Association's law school accreditation standards. Includes as key changes requirements that law schools provide students with more practical skills training and that they more closely assess student learning outcomes.
Related information at: http://www.americanbar.org/groups/legal_education/ ...
"More partisanship in Congress, fewer overrides of High Court." By Todd Ruger. National Law Journal & Legal Times, August 4, 2014, pp. 9, 11
Reports that proposed federal bills introduced to override recent United States Supreme Court rulings are unlikely to succeed. Summarizes key bills pending in the United States Senate, including bills relating to voting rights and women's health.
"Why schools still need affirmative action." By Bill Powers. National Law Journal & Legal Times, August 4, 2014, p. 22
Presents the opinion of the University of Texas at Austin's president on the latest developments in the Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin case and on the university's admissions criteria.
"A growing divide over official-English laws." By Jake Grovum. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), August 8, 2014, pp. 1-7
Looks at different approaches states and local governments are taking regarding English-as-official-language laws. Discusses trends driving official-English policies. Highlights recent measures in California, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts.
See: http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/ ...
"Regulating e-cigarettes: is it all hot air?" By Jeffrey Rasansky and Jeri D'Aurelio. Texas Lawyer, August 11, 2014, pp. 24-25
Discusses a proposed federal rule that would expand the United States Food and Drug Administration's authority to regulate additional products that meet the definition of "tobacco product," including e-cigarettes.
Related information at: http://www.fda.gov/downloads/TobaccoProducts/Guida ...
"Seeking simplicity." By Amy Lynn Sorrel. Texas Medicine, August 2014, pp. 33-37
Discusses SB1150, 83rd Legislature, R.S., that will reduce administrative hassles for health care professionals participating in Medicaid managed care. Includes sidebar with brief explanations of SB1150, SB1803, SB644, and SB1216, 83rd Legislature, R.S.
"Hard lessons." By John Savage. Texas Observer, August 2014, pp. 26-32
Profiles Everest Institute, a for-profit college, to determine if their claim that a certificate from the institute leads to gainful employment is valid. Recounts the experiences of several former Everest students. Includes critics' concerns about private, for profit colleges, noting the high student debt, the hard sell from recruiters, and the difficulty finding permanent jobs. Points out the Texas Workforce Commission instituted new state requirements in 2012, including ethics training for school officials and a streamlined complaint process.
"Mission impossible?" By Robyn Ross. Texas Observer, August 2014, pp. 38-42
Examines efforts to upgrade the Alamo over the last 30 years, including those of General Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson who suggested adding parking, closing Alamo Street in front of the plaza, restoring it to its 1836 appearance, and building a visitor center. Points out there is no current funding for restoration. Notes that an October benefit for the Alamo is scheduled and that funding sources might become available from bond money, state and federal funds, and private donors.
"Are drones the next big thing in real estate?" By Summer Mandell. Texas Realtor, August 2014, pp. 28-30
Explains that, while some real estate agents are using unmanned aerial vehicles for real estate purposes, commercial use of drones is currently prohibited by the United States Federal Aviation Administration. Notes that the Texas Privacy Act, enacted by HB912, 83rd Legislature, R.S., provides an exception for real estate agents using drones in certain circumstances.
"From puppy mills to licensed breeders: an overview of the new Texas breeder regulation." By Sharesa Y. Alexander. Texas Tech Administrative Law Journal, Summer 2014, pp. 273-302 (Note Length)
Reviews enabling legislation and regulations relating to dog and cat commercial breeding facilities in Texas, authorized by HB1451, 82nd Legislature, R.S.
Related information at: http://info.sos.state.tx.us/pls/pub/readtac$ext.Vi ...
Related information at: http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/OC/pdf/ ...