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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 23, 2015 list Print (PDF)

"Medicaid works: state fact sheets, Texas." By Matthew Broaddus. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, July 10, 2015, pp. 1-2
Provides a state-by-state analysis of access to health care through Medicaid. Presents Texas Medicaid statistics on health coverage, births, children, seniors, and people with disabilities.
See: http://www.cbpp.org/research/health/medicaid-works ...
"Facebook friends north Fort Worth with data center deal valued near $1 billion." By Candace Carlisle. Dallas Business Journal, July 10, 2015, p. B12
Provides details on the massive global data campus Facebook will construct on a 110-acre site in north Fort Worth, joining a "growing cluster" of data centers in the area. Notes that North Texas is the third largest data center market in the United States.
"Boomtown, USA." Economist, July 18th-24th, 2015, p. 57
Discusses how the "virtues of pro-business pragmatism" are reflected in the rapid growth and prosperity in North Texas and multiple boomtowns throughout the state.
"Cyber-security: their own devices." Economist, July 18th-24th, 2015, pp. 65-66
Explains devices such as smart TVs, self-driving cars, and computerized medical devices may provide cybercriminals new ways to spread computer viruses or to sabotage an insecure Internet. Notes that getting non-computer companies to take the necessary steps to protect smart devices from cyber attacks will require a change in corporate culture.
"Selling sex: hold the Backpage." Economist, July 18th-24th, 2015, pp. 26-27
Reports on Cook County (Illinois) sheriff Thomas Dart's efforts to work with classified advertising websites, like Backpage.com, to clean up adult sections that provide a market place for prostitution and sex trafficking of under-age girls.
"Budgets, testing issues took legislative stage." By Andrew Ujifusa. Education Week, July 8, 2015, pp. 13, 18
Reports on K-12 related issues addressed in state legislatures in 2015. Discusses state approaches on Common Core standards, school choice, state-run districts, and school finance. Mentions Lt. Governor Dan Patrick.
"Common core trickles into all states." By Liana Heitin. Education Week, July 8, 2015, pp. 1, 12
Reports there is evidence that the Common Core State standards have crept into states that refused to adopt them. Examines why teachers in Alaska, Nebraska, Texas, and Virginia are incorporating common-core-aligned instructional materials into their class rooms. Identifies common-core materials being used in Texas.
"K-12 issues fall within sweep of recent high court rulings." By Mark Walsh. Education Week, July 8, 2015, pp. 14-15
Summarizes recent United States Supreme Court rulings that could affect schools in the areas of criminal law, free speech, discrimination, and health care, despite none of the cases directly involved education. Highlights potential implications of the Texas specialty-license-plate case.
"A camera on every cop." By Mya Frazier. Harper's Magazine, August 2015, pp. 62-63
Discusses the growth in body cameras amid recent police misconduct cases, and the resulting multimillion dollar contracts for Taser International.
"Lessons from Medicaid's divergent paths on mental health and addiction services." By Christina Andrews, et al. Health Affairs, July 2015, pp. 1131-1138
Discusses how Medicaid has treated mental health differently than addiction. Explains that because of the Affordable Care Act, addiction treatment will soon be on the same footing as mental health treatment for Medicaid recipients.
"Women saw large decrease in out-of-pocket spending for contraceptives after ACA mandate removed cost sharing." By Nora V. Becker and Daniel Polsky. Health Affairs, July 2015, pp. 1204-1211
Estimates annual out-of-pocket savings for women as a result of the Affordable Care Act's contraceptive mandate for private health insurance plans.
"Housing and services needs of our changing veteran population: serving our older veterans, female veterans and post-9/11 veterans." By Lisa Sturtevant, et al. Internet Resource, June 2015, pp. 1-26 (Note Length)
Highlights the importance of housing and supportive services for the growing and changing veteran population. Focuses on older veterans (age 55 and older), female veterans, and recent post-9/11 veterans.
See: http://www.nhc.org/VeteransHousingReport_final.pdf
"Texas has a GED problem: alternative paths to high school equivalency." By Chandra Villanueva and Katherine Strandberg. Internet Resource, July 16, 2015, pp. 1-5
Addresses concerns surrounding changes to the GED test, the need for high school equivalency in Texas, available alternatives to the test, and recommendations to ensure that all Texans without a high school diploma have a pathway to a living wage job and post-secondary education.
See: http://forabettertexas.org/images/EO_2015_07_GEDAl ...
"Powdered alcohol products." By Timothy S. Naimi and James F. Mosher. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), July 14, 2015, pp. 119-120
Explores public health concerns related to powdered alcohol. Lists states where legislatures have banned the sale of powdered alcohol.
Related information at: http://www.ncsl.org/research/financial-services-an ...
"Lessons from the California Enterprise Zone program." By Mardiros H. Dakessian, Mike Shaikh, and Erin J. Mariano. Journal of MultiState Taxation and Incentives, August 2015, pp. 6-17, 48
Chronicles the 30-year history of the California Enterprise Zone program to promote business development and job creation in economically distressed areas of the state. Highlights the program's most controversial moments, the transition from the Enterprise Zone program to tax incentives, and lessons for California business incentives going forward.
"What is the value of estimating the cost of tax incentives?" By C. Joseph Lennihan. Journal of MultiState Taxation and Incentives, August 2015, pp. 18-23
Examines the difficulty in determining the costs and benefits of tax incentive programs and highlights recommendations in two recent reports by Pew Charitable Trusts. Mentions problems with state tax credit cost estimates in New Mexico and Hawaii.
Report at: http://www.pewtrusts.org/~/media/Assets/2012/04/12 ...
Report at: http://www.pewtrusts.org/~/media/legacy/uploadedfi ...
"Rural Healthy People 2020: new decade, same challenges." By Jane N. Bolin, et al. Journal of Rural Health, Summer 2015, pp. 326-333
Examines rural health priorities of the country's rural populations, pointing out that access to health care remains a top priority for rural populations.
"Turf war: Americans are fighting for their right to garden." Reason, August/September 2015, pp. 26-30
Highlights a variety of cases in which home gardeners ran afoul of city ordinances, such as those banning front yard vegetable gardens or mandating ground covers on property. Argues there is often no rational basis for city regulations when adopted to maintain aesthetics which can be a very subjective standard.
"Bumblebees aren't keeping up with a warming planet." By Cally Carswell. Science, July 10, 2015, pp. 126-127
Discusses the effects of warming temperatures on bumblebees. Explains that wild plants and crops could suffer if fewer bumblebees are around to pollinate.
"Change of state." By Dan Brown. Scientific American, August 2015, pp. 64-71
Examines a history of drought in California and the current exceptional drought in much of the state. Details the consequences of extended periods of drought in California.
"The funding of state and local pensions: 2014-2018." By Alicia H. Munnell and Jean-Pierre Aubry. State and Local Pension Plans (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College), June 2015, pp. 1-13
Finds the funded status of public pension plans was 74 percent in FY2014. Discusses the effect of new GASB 67 standards on valuation of assets and liabilities. Includes ratios of assets to liabilities for Texas plans.
See: http://crr.bc.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/SLP45 ...
"The history or hate debate." By Miriam Rozen. Texas Lawyer, July 13 2015, pp. 1, 18
Discusses the ongoing debate about Confederate symbols on government property and school grounds. Mentions HB1242, 84th Legislature, which proposed to replace "Confederate Heroes Day" with "Civil War Remembrance Day" as a state holiday. Includes comments by Representative Donna Howard.
"Will SCOTX hear first transgender marriage case?" By John Council. Texas Lawyer, July 13, 2015, p. 12
Reports the Texas Supreme Court is considering whether to hear a case that would examine issues related to transgendered marriage. Questions whether a recent decision that granted same-sex couples the right to marry applies to the case under appeal, In the Estate of Araguz.
Related information at: http://www.search.txcourts.gov/SearchMedia.aspx?Me ...
"The bank of Bob (and Bill and Nancy and Lisa)." By Sean Gregory. Time, July 27, 2015, pp. 50-52
Discusses the growth of peer-to-peer lending and how it is transforming the way consumers borrow money. Address pros and cons of this alternative form of lending and the growing involvement of big financial institutions.
"Blood will tell." By Alice Park. Time, July 27, 2015, pp. 46-49
Reports scientists are discovering, with new advances in technology, blood-based diagnostic testing could be the best way to detect a multitude of illnesses and health conditions. Discusses current efforts to create a one-drop-tells-all blood test that could detect illnesses in their early stages and eliminate the need for invasive screening procedures. Notes there are challenges to overcome but the prospect for better health care make the growth of this diagnostic tool inevitable and worthwhile.