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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.

January 22, 2015 list Print (PDF)

"Medical marijuana could be a tough sell." By Kimberly Reeves. Austin Business Journal, January 9, 2015, p. 13
Considers the likelihood of getting a medical marijuana bill passed in the 84th Texas Legislature. Notes that while the marijuana industry generated $1.53 billion in revenue in 2013, few banks have been willing to create accounts for marijuana-related businesses.
"Looking ahead - issues for 2015." Capitol Ideas, January/February 2015, pp. 11-22
Previews the top five state issues for 2015, as well as the top five fiscal and economic, education, workforce development, transportation rural, energy and environment, international, health, and federalism issues.
"Obama's college-ratings plan arrives, but most details are still to come." By Kelly Field. Chronicle of Higher Education, January 9, 2015, pp. A4-A6
Summarizes the status of the college-ratings plan being proposed by the U.S. Education Department. Highlights the views of supporters and detractors. Provides a timeline of the plan's development.
"Proposed college ratings: what the metrics mean." By Katherine Mangan and Beckie Supiano. Chronicle of Higher Education, January 9, 2015, p. A8
Reviews the measures proposed by the U.S. Education Department's college-ratings plan. Discusses eleven measures that deal with access, affordability and outcomes.
"Belt tightening 101." By Aaron M. Renn. City Journal (Manhattan Institute), Autumn 2014, pp. 1-2
Explains how Purdue University president and former Indiana governor Mitch Daniels has been able to maintain a tuition freeze for three consecutive years.
See: http://www.city-journal.org/2014/24_4_snd-mitch-da ...
"Americans and their cars: bangers v bullets." Economist, January 10th-16th, 2015, pp. 27-28
Reports that deaths by guns are trending upward and will surpass cars this year as the leading killer of people under the age of 25.
Report at: https://cdn.americanprogress.org/wp-content/upload ...
"The future of work: there's an app for that." Economist, January 3rd-9th, 2015, pp. 17-20
Explains the increasing use of the smartphone platform to deliver labor and services is reshaping the nature of companies and the structure of careers. Suggests the on-demand economy could bring about changes in complicated regulatory systems for contract and freelance workers as governments reconsider employment and wage policies.
"The costs of a pandemic." By Frank Shafroth. Governing, January 2015, p. 63
Addresses the potential fiscal costs and credit rating implications of a public health emergency for state and local governments. Discusses the financial impact of the recent Ebola crisis on Dallas County.
See: http://www.governing.com/columns/public-money/gov- ...
"5 things to watch in Texas energy in 2015.." By Jordan Blum. Houston Business Journal, January 8, 2015, p. 16
Lists energy-related issues for the 84th Texas legislative session. Explores topics ranging from municipalities banning fracking to federal environmental regulations on greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants.
"Modern drug development: which patients should come first?." By Muthiah Vaduganathan and Vinay Prasad. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), December 24/31, 2014, pp. 2619-2620
Examines how pharmaceutical manufacturers determine which patient populations to include in drug trials.
"New challenges for electronic health records: confidentiality and access to sensitive health information about parents and adolescents." By Ronald Bayer, John Santelli, and Robert Klitzman. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), January 6, 2015, pp. 29-30
Discusses confidentiality protections for adolescents seeking certain kinds of health care services in the context of electronic health records.
"The president's national security agenda: curtailing Ebola, safeguarding the future." By Lawrence O. Gostin, Henry A. Waxman, and William Foege. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), January 6, 2015, pp. 27-28
Examines how President Obama's supplemental funding request to Congress would shore up public health infrastructure domestically and globally, partly in response to the ongoing Ebola outbreak. Explains that the request would also provide funding for health systems to respond to other future hazards.
"The many rewards of hiring veterans." By Kevin Potter. Journal of MultiState Taxation and Incentives, January 2015, pp. 26-28
Discusses the business case for hiring veterans and issues in the transitioning of military personnel to private-sector employment. Describes federal and state government incentive programs (Illinois, New York, Wisconsin, and California) directed at encouraging hiring of veterans.
"What businesses really pay in state and local taxes, and why the sales tax shouldn't be #1." By Ferdinand Hogroian. Journal of MultiState Taxation and Incentives, January 2015, pp. 24-25
Explores recent Council on State Taxation (COST) research on the total state and local business tax burden and imposing sales taxes on business services. Previews legislative activity around corporate income taxes in 2015.
Report at: http://www.cost.org/workarea/downloadasset.aspx?id ...
Report at: http://www.cost.org/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id ...
"Nice non-work if you can get it." By Scott Winship. National Review, January 26, 2015, pp. 30, 32-33
Analyzes labor-force dropout — jobless people giving up on finding work. Finds one-third of the drop in the share of men in the labor force is accounted for by an increase in men who say they are sick or disabled. Suggests experimentation with disability reforms might change workforce numbers.
"Recent USEPA actions affect US water systems." By Alan Roberson. Opflow, January 2015, pp. 8-9
Reviews actions taken by the USEPA [United States Environmental Protection Agency] and how they may affect the water systems. Explains the agency's actions affect areas such as cybersecurity, clean power, and fracking.
"The Affordable Care Act and school-based mental health services." By Kelly Vaillancourt and John Kelly. Phi Delta Kappan, December 2014/January 2015, p. 63
Explains how the Affordable Care Act may allow school districts to get reimburses for services already provided by school-employed mental health professions. Suggests the act offers the potential for significantly expanding access to mental health services for children and adolescents.
"Businesses look to see how "friendly" Legislature will be." By Kimberly Reeves. San Antonio Business Journal, January 16, 2015, p. 15
Outlines some of the issues business leaders are concerned with and how the 84th Legislature may deal with these issues. Discusses the importance of transportation funding for the state.
"Will we still enjoy Pinot Noir?." By Kimberly A. Nicholas. Scientific American, January 2015, pp. 60-67
Examines the effect of climate and weather on vineyards and winegrowers. Explains how factors such as air temperature, soil type, and humidity contribute to the flavor of wines.
"Producers, refiners view strategies to trim Texas' glut of ultralight condensate oil." By Jesse Thompson. Southwest Economy (Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas), Fourth Quarter 2014, pp. 10-13
Highlights the increasing supply of ultralight condensate oil from the Eagle Ford Shale and challenges in selling it to the global market, including the federal oil export ban. Looks at potential effects of the condensate supply on domestic light crude prices.
See: http://www.dallasfed.org/assets/documents/research ...
"Single-family housing squeeze eases in Texas; multifamily soars." By Laila Assanie. Southwest Economy (Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas), Fourth Quarter 2014, pp. 3-7, 16
Illustrates the flattening of Texas single-family housing market in 2014 and a resulting decline in affordability and entry-level homebuyer access. Shows demand has shifted to the multifamily market of apartment housing.
See: http://www.dallasfed.org/assets/documents/research ...
"Sun to set on overzealous fraud investigations." By Kara Nuzback. Texas Medicine, January 2015, pp. 55-58
Discusses the Sunset Advisory Commission's investigation of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission Office of Inspector General.
Related information at: https://www.sunset.texas.gov/reviews-and-reports/a ...
"Shortfall." By Brenda Bell. Texas Observer, January 2015, pp. 18, 20-25
Discusses how a tax clause allows companies to file lawsuits year after year to reduce taxable value on their properties using a median value from comparable properties instead of true market value of the entity. Describes how a major Texas oil refinery has used this clause to receive millions in tax refunds from the Texas City school district. Notes Senator Wendy Davis introduced SB 1342, 83rd RS, to restrict the use of the tax clause to homeowners and businesses making less than 1 million dollars. Includes chart to illustrate appraised property value lost to equity and appeals litigation, 2011-2013.
Related information at: http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/TX/htm/ ...
"'No new taxes' is not working." By Carl Parker. Texas State Trooper (Texas State Troopers Association), December 2014, p. 6
Argues that the "no new taxes" strategy in place since the 1990's is not serving Texas well. Contends that essential services cannot be delivered without tax support.
See: http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/tsta.site-ym.com/resource ...
"What I learned from my $190,000 surgery." By Steven Brill. Time, January 19, 2015, pp. 34-43
Details why the U.S. health care system is so difficult to fix and outlines a solution for repairing it. Argues health care costs can be reduced significantly by cutting out the middlemen insurance companies and allowing hospitals to become their patients' insurance providers. Profiles the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) system which has its own insurance company.