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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.

June 25, 2015 list Print (PDF)

"TANF continues to weaken as a safety net." By Ife Floyd, LaDonna Pavetti, and Liz Schott. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, June 16, 2015, pp. 1-18
Assesses the effectiveness of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program (TANF), one of the cornerstones of 1996 welfare reform. Describes how TANF's role in helping poor families meet basic needs has decreased over time and criticizes TANF's inability to connect families to work opportunities. Mentions Texas as one of the states with the lowest "TANF-to-poverty ratio," calculated by dividing the number of TANF cash assistance cases by the number of families with children in poverty from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS).
See: http://www.cbpp.org/sites/default/files/atoms/file ...
"Defying drought." By Cahrista Case Bryant. Christian Science Monitor, June 22, 2015, pp. 27-32
Discusses the technologies Israel has implemented to address scarcity of water and points out the country ended the year with a surplus of water. Considers whether these technologies, drip irrigation and desalination, would work globally and uses California, which is experiencing a drought, as a candidate for these technologies.
"Fight over faculty rights in Wisconsin: what's at stake and what's next?" By Peter Schmidt. Chronicle of Higher Education, June 12, 2015, p. A16
Provides an analysis of proposed Wisconsin legislation calling for a sweeping overhaul of the public-university system. Reports the proposed changes, part of negotiations in the budget process, would remove faculty tenure protection and take away provisions giving faculty members responsibility for the immediate governance of their institutions.
Related information at: http://budget.wisc.edu/content/uploads/2015/05/UW_ ...
"Rising pay for presidents draws public scrutiny." By Sandhya Kambhampati. Chronicle of Higher Education, June 12, 2015, pp. A28-A34
Presents survey data gathered for the 2014 fiscal year regarding pay for 238 chief executives at 220 public colleges and systems. Highlights university presidents earning more than $1 million in 2014, including R. Bowen Loftin, who earned just over $1.1 million at Texas A&M University at College Station.
See: http://chronicle.com/article/Rising-Pay-for-Presid ...
"With restorative justice, students learn how to make amends." By Beth McMurtrie. Chronicle of Higher Education, June 12, 2015, pp. A6, A8
Highlights restorative justice programs being used by over 70 colleges where offenders are brought together with those they hurt to talk at length and figure out ways to repair the harm. Suggest the common theme in restorative justice is giving victims a voice and offenders a chance to restore their standing in the community. Identifies other examples outside of higher education where restorative justice programs are showing success.
"American prisons: the right choices." Economist, June 20th-26, 2015, pp. 23-24
Discusses the decline in prison populations. Considers ways to make America’s penal system less punitive and more effective. Mentions the prison experience of a Texas inmate and includes a brief comment by Senator John Whitmire.
Report at: https://www.brennancenter.org/sites/default/files/ ...
"Mobile telecoms: change is in the air." Economist, June 20th-26th, 2015, pp. 62-63
Discusses how "Wi-Fi first" technology could impact cellular networks and the mobile phone industry.
"State-owned assets: the neglected wealth of nations." Economist, June 13th-19th, 2015, pp. 70-71
Profiles an upcoming book, "The Public Wealth of Nations," which explains how cash-strapped governments can make better use of state-owned assets — buildings, real property, and sub-soil resources — to reduce debt, finance infrastructure, and boost economic efficiency. (Book release date is 7/20/15)
"School choice supercharged in Nev. statute." Education Week, June 10, 2015, pp. 1, 18
Discusses new school choice law passed in Nevada which allows all parents almost complete control of how state education money is spent on their children. Reports Nevada will set up education savings accounts (ESAs) similar to ones in Arizona, Florida, Mississippi, and Tennessee except that it is universal and not limited to students with disabilities. Includes discussion of potential challenges for this new ESA program.
"Down, but not out." By Denis Blake. Fort Worth Business Press, June 15-21, 2015, pp. 14-16
Profiles Lone Star Park race track and the horse racing industry in Texas. Attributes decline in horse racing in Texas to surrounding states that have better breeding incentive programs and race winnings due to slot machines or historical racing terminals. Discusses rules passed by the Texas Racing Commission to allow historical racing terminals and Texas legislators' opposition to them.
"As fracking booms, dearth of health risk data remains." By David Tuller. Health Affairs, June 2015, pp. 903-906
Considers what effects hydraulic fracturing may have on drinking water. Points out that the health effects of hydraulic fracturing are unknown.
"The impact of state policies on ACA applications and enrollment among low-income adults in Arkansas, Kentucky, and Texas." By Benjamin D. Sommers, et al. Health Affairs, June 2015, pp. 1010-1018
Examines policies adopted by three states related to the Affordable Care Act. Includes Texas as one of the states examined.
"Teen crashes declined after Massachusetts raised penalties for graduated licensing law restricting night driving." By Shantha M. Rajaratnam, et al. Health Affairs, June 2015, pp. 963-970
Examines how stricter penalties for violating graduated driver-licensing laws can reduce crash rates, including fatal crash rates, among teen drivers.
"Affordable housing's place in Medicaid reform: opportunities created by the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid reform." By Janet Viveiros. Internet Resource, June 2015, pp. 1-16
Explores how Medicaid reforms in the Affordable Care Act have created openings and incentives for health care organizations to collaborate with affordable housing providers. Discusses the connection between housing and health of low-income individuals.
See: http://www.nhc.org/HsgandHealthcare_final.pdf
"Amid drought and flooding, states and localities look to harness the rain." By Sarah Breitenbach. Internet Resource, June 23, 2015, pp. 1-6
Profiles municipalities in California, Florida, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Ohio and their strategies to harness the rain to boost water supplies. Discusses stormwater reclamation, water reuse at home, and building green infrastructures to direct water back into the ground.
See: http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/ ...
"Curbing the diabetes pandemic." By Frank B. Hu, Ambika Satja, and JoAnn E. Manson. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), June 16, 2015, pp. 2319-2320
Discusses the public health challenge of 8.3 percent of the world's population living with diabetes.
"Direct Marketing Association and the overture to overturn Quill." By Helen Hecht and Lila Disque. Journal of MultiState Taxation and Incentives, July 2015, pp. 6-13
Examines U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy's recent concurring opinion in Direct Marketing Association v. Brohl, inviting the states to bring a challenge to the long-standing precedent in Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, that a state may not collect sales and use taxes if the seller lacks physical presence in the state. Looks at the research and amici briefs supporting Kennedy's opinion, and describes four main obstacles to overturning Quill.
Related information at: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/13-1032 ...
Related information at: https://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/91-0194.ZO. ...
"Credits and incentives provide green for going green." By Kevin Potter, Joel Meister, and Kapree Harrell. Journal of MultiState Taxation and Incentives, July 2015, pp. 30-32
Highlights federal, state, and local incentives for businesses to invest in renewable energy, ranging from tax credits to grants to "green loans." Includes renewable energy incentive programs in Illinois, Maryland, New York, and North Carolina.
"The high way: along the interstate, a Colorado-Nebraska border war erupts over marijuana." By Kevin D. Williamson. National Review, June 22, 2015, pp. 22-25
Considers the effect of Colorado marijuana legalization laws on surrounding states. Points out incarceration expenses in some Nebraska counties have increased as smuggling has grown. Concludes legal marijuana will probably proceed the way legal gambling and prostitution have: less crime, more-responsible business practices, and slow normalization.
"Work-visa wisdom: priority should go to the extremely talented." By Reihan Salam. National Review, June 22, 2015, pp. 16-18
Highlights the H-1B visa program which is a guest-worker program for the college-educated. Mentions a recent study that found H-1Bs don't make firms more innovative, but they do lead them to hire fewer U.S. workers than they would have otherwise, and they do make them more profitable by paying lower wages.
Report at: https://gspp.berkeley.edu/assets/uploads/research/ ...
"Reforming housing assistance." By Edgar O. Olsen. Regulation (CATO Institute), Summer 2015, pp. 26-31
Points out the major defects of the current system of low-income housing assistance in the United States, funded mostly by the federal government through a number of programs with a combined cost of over $50 billion per year. Proposes reforms to increase the cost-effectiveness of the system, to ensure that all eligible families receive assistance, and to eliminate the current bias against homeownership.
See: http://object.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/serial ...
"Scaling and splitting: new approaches to health insurance." By Christopher T. Robertson and Keith A. Joiner. Regulation (CATO Institute), Summer 2015, pp. 40-45
Presents two ways to reform health insurance to control health care costs while expanding health care access and patient choice — scaled cost-sharing and split-benefit payments. Notes these reform options could be applied in the employer-sponsored insurance market, the individual exchanges, or in Medicare.
See: http://object.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/serial ...
"Time to load up on legal facts for 'open carry'." By Kimberly Reeves. San Antonio Business Journal, June 12, 2015, pp. 15
Discusses the effects new gun laws passed during the 84th legislative session will have on businesses and universities.
"What doesn't kill you ..." By Mark P. Mattson. Scientific American, July 2015, pp. 40-45
Examines how the low levels of toxic chemicals created by plants that people consume bolster brain health.
"Why is America losing the commercial drone wars?" By Konstantin Kakaes. Washington Monthly, June/July/August 2015, pp. 38-42
Describes the federal regulatory framework around the commercial drone industry and criticizes the slow response of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in writing rules to allow drone makers to test and operate in U.S. airspace. Discusses potential applications of commercial drones in oil and gas, electric utilities, and agriculture.
See: http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/junejuly ...