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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.

February 26, 2015 list Print (PDF)

"Lessons learned from the TxTag debacle." By Kimberly Reeves. Austin Business Journal, February 20, 2015, p. 11
Highlights problems with the TxTag electronic system. Includes comments by Senator Kirk Watson.
"An open war over gun rights erupts in Texas." By Lauren Etter. Bloomberg Businessweek, February 23-March 1, 2015, pp. 27-28
Examines recent events involving gun rights activists and the Texas Legislature. Quotes Representatives Alfonso "Poncho" Nevárez and Trey Martinez Fischer, and Senator Don Huffines.
"Walking away from clean coal." By Matthew Philips, et al. Bloomberg Businessweek, February16-22, 2015, pp. 24-26
Examines the costs and difficulties associated with transforming the coal industry using clean coal technology. Specifies the difficult time-table that energy companies in the coal industry, including some in Texas, must meet in order to meet federal standards.
"The complex and varied households of low-income Hispanic children." By Kimberly Turner, et al. Child Trends, January 2015, pp. 1-10
Describes the households and family structure of low-income Hispanic children, including employment status of adults, and the effect of "parental nativity" -- whether a child has at least one foreign-born parent or guardian. Points out one-third of Hispanic children live in poverty and two-thirds live in low-income households.
See: http://www.childtrends.org/wp-content/uploads/2015 ...
"Colleges 'unleash the deans' with decentralized budgets." By Scott Carlson. Chronicle of Higher Education, February 13, 2015, pp. A4, A6
Reviews a decentralized budget model (Responsibility Center Management) that many universities are using in which revenues and expenses are allocated to various colleges and divisions and much of the budget decision-making and responsibility goes to the deans. Suggests this system gives deans and professors an incentive to cut costs, find new sources of revenue, and think more strategically, but states the system can also have some pitfalls.
"State lawmakers ask colleges to report rapes more swiftly." By Katherine Mangan. Chronicle of Higher Education, February 13, 2015, p. A10
Reports on bills in several state legislatures that would require colleges to alert outside law enforcement to incidents of sexual assault on campus. Suggests that some victims may not want to become part of a legal process and might prefer incidents be handled by campus authorities. Concludes new legislation needs to balance rights of both accused and victims.
"Cars and technology: upsetting the Apple car." Economist, February 21st-27th, 2015, pp. 61-62
Explains why established carmakers, not tech firms, will win the race to build vehicles of the future.
"Gentrification: bring on the hipsters." Economist, February 21st-27th, 2015, p. 29
Reports there is little evidence that gentrification displaces people in low-income, non-white households. Points out how "gentrifiers" can make life better for locals - such as generating more property-tax revenue - helping to improve local services. Notes that the concentration of poverty in certain neighborhoods presents bigger problems for many American cities.
"Demand for choice consultants grows." By Arianna Prothero. Education Week, February 4, 2015, pp. 1, 11
Reports due to the increase and the complexity of K-12 public school choice options, parents have begun seeking the guidance of education consultants to help them select a school that fits their needs. Details how education consultants are helping parents in Colorado, New York, and the District of Columbia.
"Employee contributions to public pension plans (2015)." Internet Resource, February 2015, pp. 1-11
Examines employee contribution plan designs across states, as well as policies and recent trends. Includes a table of employee contribution rates by state, including Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS) and Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS).
See: http://www.nasra.org/files/Issue%20Briefs/NASRACon ...
"The Texas margin tax: a failed experiment." By Scott Drenkard. Internet Resource, January 2015, pp. 1-14
Describes the legislative history of the Texas margin tax, tax calculation procedures, and major lawsuits against the margin tax. Predicts that repealing the margin tax would improve Texas' ranking in the State Business Tax Climate Index from 10th to 3rd.
See: http://taxfoundation.org/sites/taxfoundation.org/f ...
"Texas Triangle: economic engine of the Southwest." By Robert W. Gilmer and Samuel Redus. Internet Resource, February 16, 2015, pp. 1-5
Highlights the economic impact of Texas' four largest metro areas: Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio. Discusses how proximity, history, and geography provide complimentary roles and economic interaction between the cities.
See: http://recenter.tamu.edu/pdf/2091.pdf
"Genetic testing and FDA regulation." By James P. Evans and Michael S. Watson. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), February 17, 2015, pp. 669-670
Examines whether United States Food and Drug Administration regulation is necessary for medical diagnostic and genetic testing.
"In defense of the employer mandate." By John E. McDonough and Eli Y. Adashi. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), February 17, 2015, pp. 665-666
Considers the role of employers in health care reform.
"Grievance school." By Steven F. Hayward. National Review, February 23, 2015, pp. 27-31
Relates his experiences as a visiting professor invited to bring conservative perspectives to the University of Colorado. Discusses his view that reason, objectivity, and truth — the hallmarks of the traditional university — have been replaced in many schools with courses focusing only on political correctness in terms of race, class and gender, or patriarchy, colonialism, and privilege Israel. Suggests his experiences and other examples show promise in broadening intellectual diversity
"Diversify water supplies with potable reuse." By John Whitler. Opflow, February 2015, pp. 10-14
Examines the growing use of potable reuse of water by utilities due to threats to water supply and water quality. Profiles several utilities and their strategies for providing potable water to their users. Notes there is limited regulatory infrastructure at this time so utilities are developing their own methods for providing potable water. Sidebar article profiles water utilities worldwide that benefit from reuse including Big Spring, Texas, which is one of the newer reused water projects.
"Parents need access to education data - and need to know it's secure." By Aime Rogstad Guidera. Phi Delta Kappan, February 2015, pp. 8-12
Discusses the role of the state, school districts, teachers, and parents in collecting, using, and guarding student data. Suggests useful, timely information can empower parents to be better advocates for their child's education. Provides examples of useful data and of good data practices in various states.
"Student data privacy is cloudy today, clearer tomorrow." By Sonja Trainor. Phi Delta Kappan, February 2015, pp. 13-18
Reviews the evolving law on student privacy at the federal and state level. Highlights data concepts on which education, privacy, government, and vendor groups can agree. Advocates the state's role in ensuring parents' access to data and the state's responsibility to produce progress reports and customized tools to help parents make informed decisions. Provides a side bar of resources for student data privacy.
"A classroom experiment." By Jeffrey Mervis. Science, February 6, 2015, pp. 602-605
Examines the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program, run by the National Science Foundation, that provides scholarships to teaching candidates who agree to teach science and math in economically disadvantaged schools.
"Models predict longer, deeper U.S. droughts." By Emily Underwood. Science, February 13, 2015, p. 707
Explores the connection between climate change and longer, more intense droughts.
"In pursuit of just compensation in Texas: assessing damages in takings cases using the property's tax-appraised value." By Alexander B. Lutzky. St. Mary's Law Journal, Vol. 46, No. 1, 2014, pp. 105-135 (Note Length)
Provides an overview of the property tax valuation process in Texas. Advocates for the use of property tax valuations of real property as the mandatory floor in assessing damages in Texas condemnation proceedings.
"Courts prepare for unaccompanied minor cases; Immigration cases pending in Texas." By Angela Morris. Texas Lawyer, February 16th, 2015, pp. 1, 26-27
Explains state courts' role in unaccompanied minor cases. Reports that Texas-based immigration courts handled 10,654 juvenile immigration cases in fiscal year 2014. Points out the Texas counties where 50 or more children were relocated.
"Gameboard set with lege committee assignments." By Angela Morris. Texas Lawyer, February 16th, 2015, pp. 14-15
Presents brief profiles of Texas House and Senate lawmakers who serve on legislative committees that handle bills that affect the legal profession.
"Accessing the public mental health system in Texas." By James G. Baker. Texas Medicine, February 2015, pp. 44-46
Considers the difficulties patients face in accessing mental health care. Examines the public mental health care system and the role physicians in primary care and emergency care settings play in connecting patients with mental health resources.
"Untreated mental illness in children devastating, costly." By Joyce E. Mauk. Texas Medicine, February 2015, pp. 21-22
Examines challenges posed by young children and adolescents with untreated mental illness.