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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.

October 23, 2014 list Print (PDF)

"Demographics tell the GOP: adapt or lose." By Brendan Steinhauser. Campaigns & Elections, September/October 2014, pp. 39-41
Provides tips on how Republicans can talk about immigration and earn lasting support from Hispanic and Asian American voters.
"Most states still funding schools less than before the recession." By Michael Leachman and Chris Mai. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, October 16, 2014, pp. 1-12
Finds at least 30 states are providing less per student funding in the 2014-2015 school year than before the recession in 2008, including Texas (with a 9.4 percent decrease). Discusses educational and economic consequences of state-level K-12 funding decreases. Includes tables of state education funding in fiscal year 2015 and changes in state and local funding from 2008 to 2012.
See: http://www.cbpp.org/files/10-16-14sfp.pdf
"Goals for enrollment and tuition revenue elude many colleges." By Scott Carlson. Chronicle of Higher Education, October 17, 2014, pp. A4-A5
Reports the results of an enrollment survey of 368 small private colleges and midsize state institutions that found 38 percent of the schools did not meet enrollment or tuition revenue goals. Suggests potential reasons for lower enrollment figures.
"Surveillance-proof: technology companies take heat for making phones the government can't tap." By Judith Miller. City Journal (Manhattan Institute), October 17, 2014, pp. 1-2
Discusses law enforcement officials' concerns with new technologies that prevent government access to cell phones and other electronic devices, which they claim jeopardize public safety and deprive investigators of the forensic data needed to solve crimes.
See: http://www.city-journal.org/2014/eon1017jm.html
"Opportunities and pitfalls." By Rob Margetta and Jennifer Scholtes. CQ Weekly, October 6, 2014, pp. 1268-1277
Details potential opportunities for contractors as the political interest in securing the Southwest border increases. Identifies potential problems for contractors despite the expected increase in federal funding. Includes discussion of security issues relating to the border with Canada. Highlights influential federal lawmakers, including several from Texas, in the area of border and immigration affairs.
"The Ebola protocol: what's the cost?" By Bill Hethcock and Korri Kezar. Dallas Business Journal, October 17, 2014, pp. 4-6
Contemplates some of the perplexing questions to emerge from the breach of Ebola protocols by Dallas' Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. Estimates Dallas County's costs to treat Ebola patients, including the associated public relations and legal costs. Notes that, for the worldwide picture, the Ebola crisis' potential economic drain could total $32.6 billion by the end of 2015 if the epidemic spreads beyond Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone into neighboring countries.
"Power distribution: grid unlocked." Economist, October 18th-24th, 2014, p. 66
Highlights the advantages of microgrids, local grids with their own electricity-generating capacity, operated by organizations that need more dependable power than a national grid can offer, and designed to satisfy the host's requirements. Notes that America's biggest microgrid powers 150 buildings at the University of Texas at Austin, with almost complete reliability. Explains regulators in several states are exploring ways to provide customers with microgrids as a service.
Related information at: http://www.microgridinstitute.org/about-microgrids ...
"Calif. tackles data privacy in new law." By Benjamin Herold. Education Week, October 8, 2014, pp. 1, 10-11
Reports twenty-one states enacted student-data-privacy laws in recent legislative sessions. Highlights a California law that targets how third party vendors can use student information and a Florida law that prohibits the collection of biometric data. Addresses potential effect of laws on educational technology vendors.
"Raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 would save safety net programs billions and help ensure businesses are doing their fair share." By David Cooper. EPI Issue Brief, October 16, 2014, pp. 1-14
Assesses how raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 over three years would affect utilization rates, benefit amounts, and government spending on public assistance programs.
See: http://s4.epi.org/files/2014/safety-net-savings-fr ...
Related information at: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-113hr1010ih/pdf ...
"Measuring public school construction debt." By Cory Chandler. Fiscal Notes, October 14, 2014, pp. 1-7
Examines school construction costs from 2007 to 2013 and lists school district bond votes and amounts on the November ballot. Discusses the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts' new report and online tool on public school construction costs.
Report at: http://www.texastransparency.org/Special_Features/ ...
See: http://www.window.state.tx.us/comptrol/fnotes/fn15 ...
"Cage wars." By Deb Olin Unferth. Harper's Magazine, November 2014, pp. 43-51
Presents a discussion by a faculty member at the University of Texas at Austin on California's egg farm laws. Discusses California Proposition 2, approved by voters in 2008, that requires hens be able to "lie down, stand up, fully extend their limbs and turn around freely." Notes that seven states have "ag-gag" laws, making it a crime to film, photograph, or record inside a barn unless the farm allows it.
Related information at: http://www.voterguide.sos.ca.gov/past/2008/general ...
"Universities can do better than symbolism: a revenue-neutral carbon tax." By Frank Wolak. Internet Resource, October 8, 2014, pp. 1-5
Evaluates the consequences of universities' and nonprofit organizations' decisions to divest their direct investments in fossil fuels to reduce their carbon footprints. Proposes a more productive way for Stanford and other universities to address the climate challenge and positively influence global climate policies.
See: http://siepr.stanford.edu/system/files/shared/pubs ...
"Exposing fracking to sunlight." By Andrew A. Rosenberg, et al. Issues in Science and Technology, Fall 2014, pp. 74-79
Argues for making more information available to the public about hydraulic fracturing and shale oil and gas extraction practices. Outlines risks related to hydraulic fracturing and gives examples of federal laws with exemptions for hydraulic fracturing operations.
"Knowledge makes a comeback" By Sol Stern. National Review, October 20, 2014, pp. 41-42
Advocates a coherent, grade-by-grade curriculum to improve student achievement. Suggests that, despite some legitimate criticism, the common core national standards support a "content-rich curriculum."
"We build this: American manufacturing is not dead — it is thriving." By Kevin D. Williamson. National Review, October 20, 2014, pp. 31-35
Addresses the current nature of American manufacturing, concluding that the United States is manufacturing more, not less, than in the 1950s but that manufacturing employment is down. Discusses the need for more vocational education to match workers with industry needs.
"This Alabama judge has figured out how to dismantle Roe v. Wade." By Nina Martin. New Republic, October 27, 2014, pp. 28-30
Profiles Tom Parker, Alabama Supreme Court Judge and pivotal figure in the personhood movement. Discusses his efforts to undermine legal abortions using cases not directly related to reproductive rights to support legal rights for the unborn. Suggests his legal writings have created a roadmap to overturn Roe v. Wade.
"Hydraulic fracturing battle has moved to several local ballot boxes." By Nick Snow. Oil and Gas Journal, October 6, 2014, pp. 34, 36, 38
Discusses the decisions by several communities to place on the November ballot a proposition to ban unconventional oil and gas retrieval technologies, such as hydraulic fracturing. Notes oil and gas proponents point out that the bans will hurt local economies.
"Where is Texas's wind law?" By Ben Whitehill. Real Estate Probate & Trust Law Reporter, Vol. 52, No. 4, 2014, pp. 37-41
Reports there is no Texas statutory or case law establishing landowners' wind energy property rights or the ability to sever wind rights from the surface estate. Discusses statutory provisions in eight states that have addressed wind ownership and wind rights within their respective borders.
"An inconvenient ice." By Lisa Margonelli. Scientific American, October 2014, pp. 82-89
Explores the ramifications of using methane hydrates as an energy source. Discusses environmental effects of methane and whether the methane hydrates now trapped in icy deposits in ocean floor sediment would accelerate climate change if released into the atmosphere.
"Saving coffee." By Hillary Rosner. Scientific American, October 2014, pp. 68-73
Examines the threats to coffee crops and the coffee industry. Explains that disease, insects, deforestation, and climate change threaten both cultivated and wild coffee, although the genetic diversity of wild coffee makes it more resilient.
"Bracing for change." By Angela Morris. Texas Lawyer, October 20, 2014, pp. 1, 14
Considers how the transition to a new Attorney General, either Ken Paxton or Sam Houston, will affect the organizational structure, staff, and "core legal leadership" positions in the Texas Office of the Attorney General.
"Travis County to launch new indigent defense system." By Angela Morris. Texas Lawyer, October 13, 2014, p. 7
Reports Travis County is transferring supervision of its indigent defense system from the county's judicial branch to the Capital Area Private Defenders Service, revamping the system "from the ground up." Notes Travis County will be the largest urban county to implement "quality control" procedures on 100 percent of its indigent-defense cases.
Related information at: http://www.capds.org/home.html
"Voter ID law still under attack." By Angela Morris. Texas Lawyer, October 20, 2014, pp. 1, 16
Discusses lawsuit by Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Lawrence Meyers, claiming the Texas voter ID law places "unconstitutional restrictions" on a person's right to vote.
Related information at: http://s3.amazonaws.com/static.texastribune.org/me ...
"Will the sun rise?" By Amy Lynn Sorrel. Texas Medicine, October 2014, pp. 35-38
Explains the Sunset process and points out that the Texas Department of State Health Services and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission are both up for Sunset review, as are other health-related agencies.
Related information at: https://www.sunset.texas.gov/reviews-and-reports
"The new Ebola protocols." By David von Drehle. Time, October 27, 2014, pp. 20-23
Discusses the need for a more effective Ebola protocol since two Dallas nurses contracted the disease while caring for an Ebola patient. Argues most United States hospitals are not equipped to handle Ebola patients and cannot match the preparedness of Emory University Hospital, now the main facility for Ebola treatment in the nation which took twelve years and substantial financial investment to create. Notes failed responses in Texas and by the federal government highlight the Ebola crisis in West Africa which has far fewer resources to safely treat patients.