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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.

August 27, 2015 list Print (PDF)

"Bullies in the block area: the early childhood origins of 'mean' behavior." By Kerry DeVooght, et al. Child Trends, August 2015, pp. 1-29 (Note Length)
Describes the behavioral factors in early childhood education that could later be related to bullying, and promising practices and strategies to prevent "early bullying."
See: http://www.childtrends.org/wp-content/uploads/2015 ...
"Power play: why Hunt needs Oncor." By Bill Hethcock. Dallas Business Journal, August 21, 2015, pp. 4-6
Analyzes the proposal to sell Oncor Electric Delivery to a consortium led by Hunt Consolidated Inc. Breaks down the Hunt family business structure, noting how the Oncor purchase would expand the Hunt family's growing utility footprint.
"American oil: Nafta naphtha." Economist, August 22nd-28th, 2015, p. 58
Reports on the Obama administration's decision to allow limited exchanges of crude oil between the United States and Mexico, loosening a contentious ban on the exporting of domestic oil.
Related information at: http://cuellar.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx? ...
"Higher education in America: better ways to pay for college; Graduate stock." Economist, August 22nd-28th, 2015, pp. 13-14, 62
Reports presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio have come up with promising ideas for how to fix the country's broken system of university finance, proposals that are worthy of serious debate. Considers the advantages of funding students with equity (future earnings) rather than student loans.
"The motor trade: death of a car salesman." Economist, August 22nd-28th, 2015, pp. 52-54
Reports that while the Internet has diminished the role of car dealers, several states, including Texas, continue to ban or restrict the direct sale of cars to consumers. Notes the status of Tesla's direct sales in the United States.
"GED, HiSET and TASC test: a comparison of high school equivalency assessments." By Jennifer Zinth. ECS Education Trends, July 2015, pp. 1-7
Explores options for former students, who lack a high school diploma, to pursue employment or higher education. Compares three high school equivalency exams: General Educational Development (GED), the Educational Testing Service (ETS) HiSET, and the Data Recognition Corporation/CTB TASC Test Assessing Secondary Completion. Discusses decision making process states have used to select the high school equivalency exam to be offered.
See: http://www.ecs.org/clearinghouse/01/20/38/12038.pd ...
"Six key areas of investment for the science of cybersecurity." Futurist, Summer 2015, pp. 10-15
Presents an intellectual view of cybersecurity and the challenges of rapid technological change and unpredictability. Outlines six scientific approaches that could assist in future cybersecurity efforts.
"The states most dependent on sin taxes." Governing Daily Newsletter, August 21, 2015, pp. 1-3
Explains that when states need additional revenue instead of raising sales or income taxes, they increase taxes on cigarettes, alcohol, or gambling which are called sin taxes. Discusses five states that account for the largest share of tax revenue from the sin taxes.
See: http://www.governing.com/topics/finance/gov-sin-ta ...
"Children in the states factsheets 2015: Texas." Internet Resource, July 2015, pp. 1-2
Presents Texas statistics and rankings regarding child poverty, health, hunger, homelessness, and early childhood education. Notes that one in four (25 percent) of Texas children were poor in 2013, a total of 1,740,560 children.
See: http://www.childrensdefense.org/library/data/state ...
"Property tax legislation 2015." By Charles E. Gilliland. Internet Resource, August 2015, pp. 1-3
Provides an update on property tax legislation from the 84th Legislature, Regular Session, including the $10,000 increase in the homestead exemption (SB1 and SJR1) and the exemption for surviving spouses of totally disabled veterans (HB992 and HJR75). Discusses the "unequal appraisal appeal" compromise in HB2083 and changes to binding arbitration in SB849.
See: http://recenter.tamu.edu/pdf/2107.pdf
"A look at the private option in Arkansas." By Jocelyn Guyer, et al. Issue Brief (Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured), August 2015, pp. 1-23
Examines implementation of the "private option" in Arkansas, the state's solution to expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
"Energy storage: the future of cleantech has arrived." By Kimberly Wojcik and Adam Levinson. Journal of MultiState Taxation and Incentives, September 2015, pp. 6-13, 46
Presents an overview of energy storage technologies, related federal policy and state policy, and funding investment opportunities.
"Bicyclist deaths associated with motor vehicle traffic — United States, 1975–2012." By Jason Vargo, et al. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), August 14, 2015, pp. 837-841
Looks at bicyclists' traffic fatality rates state by state over almost four decades. Stresses the need for continued bicycle safety measures.
"ABA tackles law school debt." By Karen Sloan. National Law Journal, August 3, 2015, pp. 1, 4
Reports on the findings and conclusions of the American Bar Association's Task Force on the Financing of Legal Education, which recommends enhanced law student debt counseling, wider collection and publication of law school financial data, and innovation at law schools to lower costs for students while maintaining sound educational programs. Notes that law graduates in 2012 had the second-highest median debt load among all professional schools, at $117,000, while medical students graduated with more debt, at $148,000.
Related information at: http://www.americanbar.org/news/abanews/aba-news-a ...
"College enrollment trends." Perryman Report and Texas Letter, Vol. 32, No. 4, pp. 1-3, 6
Examines the latest trends in college enrollment. Comments on the rising costs of higher education and the options available to students to meet those costs.
"Modified yeast produce opiates from sugar." By Robert F. Service. Science, August 14, 2015, p. 677
Discusses how synthetic biologists have altered yeast to produce opiates. Points out policy considerations to limit unintended uses of modified yeast to produce illicit drugs.
"State legislative earmarks: counterparts of congressional earmarks?" By YongHong Wu and Dan Williams. State and Local Government Review, June 2015, pp. 83-91
Investigates how various political factors such as majority party affiliation, tenure of service and legislative leadership affect distribution of earmarks at the state level. Uses data from the New York legislature to make the investigation. Contrasts earmark practices at state and federal level.
"Constitutions: Amend with care." By Jennie Drage Bowser. State Legislatures, September 2015, pp. 14-18
Considers what recent calls to amend the United States Constitution would mean. Examines states' efforts to amend their constitutions and provides examples of states that have undertaken the project. Includes several sidebar articles.
"Despite same-sex marriage ruling, gay adoption rights uncertain in some states." By Rebecca Beitsch. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), August 19, 2015, pp. 1-6
Identifies states that still have barriers for same-sex couples wanting to adopt foster children jointly. Highlights state legislation allowing contractors to decline adoption services to gay couples for religious reasons. Reports the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, despite the recent legalization of same-sex marriages, will wait on the Texas Legislature before altering its adoption policies for gay couples.
See: http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/ ...
"Many state financial agencies struggle to go digital." By Jenni Bergal. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), August 25, 2015, pp. 1-5
Reports on the findings of a survey conducted by the National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers. Mentions innovative technology programs used by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Office.
See: http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/ ...
Related information at: http://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/us/D ...
"To survive, rural hospitals join forces." By Michael Ollove. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), August 17, 2015, pp. 1-7
Explains many rural hospitals are facing continuing threats to their survival as changes in Medicare reimbursement policies, the recession, and increasing out-of-pocket costs strain limited budgets. Points out a promising practice model in Arizona — an alliance among several hospitals that offers multiple advantages in purchasing, training, and recruiting.
See: http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/ ...
"Substance abuse trends in Texas: June 2015." By Jane C. Maxwell. Substance Abuse Trends in Texas, June 2015, pp. 1-20
Summarizes current and emerging drug use trends and patterns. Includes information on infectious diseases related to drug abuse.
See: https://socialwork.utexas.edu/dl/files/cswr/instit ...
"Study: Potter County needs misdemeanor reform." By Miriam Rozen. Texas Lawyer, August 17, 2015, p. 11
Highlights report by Amarillo criminal defense attorney Jeff Blackburn, which finds that Potter County’s misdemeanor justice system is in crisis — delivering inferior justice at an extremely high cost. Includes the county attorney's comments on the report's proposals to improve the county's misdemeanor prosecution system. [Mr. Blackburn represented the family of Timothy Cole, who received the first posthumous pardon in Texas history.]
Related information at: http://www.blackburnbrownlaw.com/wp-content/upload ...
"Fiscal conditions: survey reveals growth." By JJ Rocha. Texas Town & City, August 2015, pp. 14-17
Examines the results of the Texas Municipal League's annual survey of member cities regarding their financial status. Details results of the survey, including data on municipal revenue, revenue condition and outlook by population, cities that increased fees, and cost-saving measures.
Report at: http://www.tml.org/p/2015FiscalConditionsResults.p ...
"A strange new way to solve crimes." By Mandy Oaklander. Time, August 31, 2015, pp. 44-47
Explores the potential of using bacterial forensics for catching criminals. Examines how a person's unique bacterial signature or microbiome can provide clues of who did or did not commit a crime. Reports bacterial evidence, unlike DNA evidence, can be sequenced quickly and affordably. Discusses pros and cons of using this new type of forensic evidence for fighting crime.