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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.

July 24, 2014 list Print (PDF)

"Where the health are we?" By Lawrence Hardy. American School Board Journal, August 2014, pp. 16-19
Examines whether schools are making a difference in combating student obesity. Discusses effect of school lunches and wellness programs on student health. Suggests new USDA school lunch program requirements are burdening school districts financially and administratively.
"The Highway Trust Fund to Hell." By Matthew Philips. Business Week, July 21-27, 2014, pp. 25-26
Examines the precarious financial position of the federal Highway Trust Fund. Explores whether raising the federal gasoline tax, which has been at the same rate since 1993, would solve the problem of the Fund's dwindling balance.
"Thou shalt not commit more than 30 percent of thine income to housing." By Karen Weise. Business Week, July 21-27, 2014, pp. 34-35
Examines the rule of how just 30 percent of one's income should go to housing. Explains that adherence to that rule in today's housing market is unrealistic and the rule itself is arbitrary.
"States likely could not control Constitutional Convention on balanced budget amendment or other issues." By Michael Leachman and David A. Super. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, July 16, 2014, pp. 1-10
Discusses state resolutions and campaigns to call a United States Constitutional Convention to require a balanced federal budget or decrease federal authority. Expresses concerns over the possible operation of a Convention, including the rules, agenda, authority, and ratification process.
See: http://www.cbpp.org/files/7-16-14sfp.pdf
"College, on your own." By Dan Berrett. Chronicle of Higher Education, July 18, 2014, pp. A19-A22
Reports competency-based learning is attracting broad interest among colleges that want to tap a growing market of nontraditional students who can't follow semester-based schedules. Considers whether competency-based models are a good fit for liberal arts programs.
"Still standing in Austin; Texas makes an appalling mess of education 'reform.'" By Jack Stripling and Hunter R. Rawlings. Chronicle of Higher Education, July 18, 2014, pp. A3-A4, A25
Explains how University of Texas at Austin (UT) president Bill Powers built a loyal following among UT faculty, staff, students, and alumni who have rallied to his support in his power struggles with the University of Texas Board of Regents. Notes the clash between conflicting views of the purpose of research universities in society.
"America's opportunity city." By Joel Kotkin and Tory Gattis. City Journal (Manhattan Institute), Summer 2014, pp. 1-6
Reports on Houston's economic success, noting a high rate of job growth and a low cost of living make the city a middle-class magnet.
See: http://www.city-journal.org/2014/24_3_houston.html
"Why the state and local pension problem will get worse." By Steven Malanga. City Journal (Manhattan Institute), July 9, 2014, pp. 1-2
Explains why Detroit's municipal retirement plan reforms, crafted under an emergency law to address the city's bankruptcy, will not serve as a model for other cities struggling with pension-system debt. Notes that in several states, local laws and state court rulings make it "virtually impossible" to cut back retirement benefits for current government employees.
See: http://www.city-journal.org/2014/eon0710sm.html
"County concerns for the Capitol." By Maria Sprow. County, July/August 2014, pp. 22-25
Summarizes hot topics addressed by county officials during the Legislative Exchange Regional meetings that were recently held across Texas. Identifies officials' concerns, repercussions from bills passed in the 83rd Legislature, and priorities for the 84th Legislature.
"America's economy: jobs are not enough." Economist, July 19th-25th, 2014, pp. 23-24
Reports America's potential growth rate is barely half what it was two decades ago. Notes that 2014 is shaping up to be the worst year for the economy since the recession.
"The politics of the border crisis." Economist, July 19th-25th, 2014, pp. 30
Reports the crisis on the southern border — involving thousands of unaccompanied minors from Central America — has hurt the prospects for immigration reform. Considers how the crisis affects "three pillars" of immigration policy and the long term effect on Republicans. Mentions Governor Rick Perry.
"Shell, Exxon and carbon: the elephant in the atmosphere." Economist, July 19th-25th, 2014, pp. 59
Comments on the different viewpoints held by managers at the biggest oil firms and investors over climate change. Notes investors' concerns that oil firms are doing too little to diversify their risks and question whether oil reserves might become stranded assets — unusable — if laws to curb emissions of carbon dioxide became really tight.
"Genomic sequencing: assessing the health care system, policy, and big data implications." By Kathryn A. Phillips, et al. Health Affairs, July 2014, pp. 1246-1253
Looks at how genomic sequencing could affect health care and policy issues. Examines genomic sequencing in the context of patient privacy, its economic value, and its effect on insurance coverage.
"The legal and ethical concerns that arise from using complex predictive analytics in health care." By I. Glenn Cohen, et al. Health Affairs, July 2014, pp. 1139-1147
Examines predictive analytics — algorithms used to forecast the future in real time — in the context of health care settings. Explores the challenges of harnessing big data to improve patients' medical outcomes.
"Latino graduation rates propelled by college initiatives." By Jamaal Abdul-alim. Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education, July 14, 2014, pp. 14-16
Points out tactics and strategies that make South Texas College an "effective institution" for Latinos. Notes the college was the fourth-highest grantor of associate's degrees to Latino students during the 2011-12 school year.
Related information at: http://www.edexcelencia.org/research/college-compl ...
"Deportation dilemma: press release." Internet Resource, April 29, 2014, pp. 1-3
Analyzes current pipelines for removal and key trends in border and interior apprehensions, deportations, and criminal prosecutions. Examines policy levers the Obama administration has to influence deportation policies, practices, and results. Highlights the fact that a more robust enforcement system inevitably inflicts damage on established families and communities.
See: http://www.migrationpolicy.org/news/mpi-report-ass ...
Report at: http://www.migrationpolicy.org/research/deportatio ...
"Revision of the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act: holders need to get involved." By Christopher S. Jensen and Samuel Schaunaman. Journal of MultiState Taxation and Incentives, July 2014, pp. 30-35
Examines the development of the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act as a way for states to regulate the reporting and remitting of unclaimed property. Discusses pending revision of the act and substantive policy issues such as administrative appeals, business-to-business (B2B) exemption, contingent-fee audit firms, derivative rights, ERISA preemption, statute of limitation, foreign-address property, and estimation techniques.
Related information at: http://www.uniformlaws.org/Act.aspx?title=Unclaime ...
"Rural–urban disparities in school nursing: implications for continuing education and rural school health." By Mary M. Ramos, et al. Journal of Rural Health, Summer 2014, pp. 265-274
Examines disparities between rural and urban school nurses in New Mexico. Finds that rural school nurses are twice as likely to serve more than one school campus, and that rural school nurses were less likely to have received continuing education than urban ones. Suggests that continuing education for rural school nurses could be improved by offering the option of online coursework.
"Emergency aid won't solve immigration courts' problems." By Todd Ruger. National Law Journal & Legal Times, July 14, 2014, pp. 15, 18
Reports that hiring additional immigration judges to process cases of unaccompanied minors on the Southwest border puts additional stress on an already overburdened immigration courts system. Notes that on July 9, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a nationwide class action lawsuit challenging the federal government's failure to provide children with legal representation during deportation hearings.
Related information at: https://aclu-wa.org/sites/default/files/attachment ...
Related information at: https://www.aclu.org/immigrants-rights/jefm-v-hold ...
"Our Democratic debt: we're borrowing to fund personal benefits, not public goods." By Christopher DeMuth. National Review, July 21, 2014, pp. 28-34
Discusses the transformation in the nature of federal spending from 1970 through 2014. Explains that during this period payments to individuals, including Social Security, unemployment compensation, and welfare programs, grew from 36 percent to 75 percent of annual spending, while spending on public goods, including highways and defense operations, plunged from 64 percent to 25 percent. Offers three scenarios for resolving America's debt problem.
"Wrong answer." By Rachel Aviv. New Yorker, July 21, 2014, pp. 54-65
Details the cheating scandal in Atlanta's public schools and the resulting investigation. Points out comments by educators charged in the scandal describing how pressure to meet the district's targets under the No Child Left Behind Act "created an atmosphere in which cheating came to seem like a reasonable option."
Related information at: http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/654721.pdf
"Nuclear at a crossroads." By John R. Norris. Public Utilities Fortnightly, July 2014, pp. 19-21
Argues nuclear generation as well as renewable energy must be a part of U.S. 2030 and 2050 carbon reduction goals. Explains low-cost natural gas has reduced energy prices below nuclear generation production costs, causing some plants to close. Points out other major factors the nuclear industry feels are causing economic hardship are the growth of wind energy and the Production Tax Credit for renewables. Concludes that to achieve these carbon reduction goals nuclear energy, renewable energy, and natural gas need to work together. Includes two side bar articles.
"Saving big data from itself." By Alex "Sandy" Pentland. Scientific American, August 2014, pp. 64-67
Examines ways to improve data security, using the recent breach at the National Security Agency to frame ways to prevent such a breach.
"Municipal regulation of groundwater and takings." By Ross Crow. Texas Environmental Law Journal, May 2014, pp. 1-50 (Note Length)
Examines cities' statutory and constitutional authority to regulate groundwater well drilling and production. Discusses how courts have analyzed takings claims when cities have exercised their police powers to regulate oil and gas well drilling within their jurisdictions.
"Surprise: the economy isn't as bad as you think." By Roger Altman. Time, July 28, 2014, pp. 38-42
Suggests the U.S. economy has turned the corner since the Great Recession of 2008 and its growth outlook looks strong. Identifies seven signs that the economy is undergoing a significant comeback. Notes despite these indicators of a healthy economy, there are still economic challenges for lower-income Americans which must be addressed.