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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 20, 2016 list Print (PDF)

"A ridesharing ruckus." By Michael Theis. Austin Business Journal, October 14, 2016, pp. 4-5
Highlights local startup ScoopMe, Inc.'s efforts to build a ridesharing business amidst a crowded field of competitors seeking to fill the void left by Uber and Lyft. Includes a timeline tracking the movement of Austin's ridesharing rivals.
"Why more black parents home-school." By Patrik Jonsson and Josh Kenworthy. Christian Science Monitor, October 17, 2016, pp. 21-23
Reports the number of black home-schooling families has doubled over the last ten years. Interviews with several home-schooling families find parents feel they can provide a more comprehensive education for their children and avoid the school-related racism they experience in their public schools. Notes one study finds that home-schooled children scored between 23 and 46 percentile points above public-schooled peers and socialization opportunities for home-schooled students are available from numerous sources.
"Bilingual education: learning to assimilate." Economist, October 15th-21st, 2016, p. 27
Reports California voters will be voting in November on whether to repeal a 1998 proposition designed to prohibit non-English languages from being used in public schools. Notes that the scale of demographic changes in California has revived the debate on cultural assimilation versus cultural preservation.
Related information at: https://www.californiachoices.org/proposition-58
"US-Mexico trade: in the shadow of the wall." Economist, October 15th-21st, 2016, pp. 31-32
Suggests the border region would be devastated by Donald Trump's economic policies. Mentions the Peterson Institute for International Economics, a think-tank in Washington, D.C., predicts that "Mr. Trump's protectionist policies would spark a trade war, push America into recession and destroy 4.8m American jobs by 2019."
Related information at: https://piie.com/system/files/documents/piieb16-6. ...
"Court to weigh level of benefits for special ed. students." By Christina A. Samuels. Education Week, October 12. 2016, pp. 16, 19
Reports the United States Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case, Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, to determine how much benefit a special education student must receive in order to meet the goal of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act [IDEA]. Suggests the Court's ruling on what is a "free, appropriate education" for students with disabilities, could shape what is done in special education for years.
Related information at: http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/endrew- ...
"Texas oil patch showing signs of recovery." By Robert Francis. Fort Worth Business Press, October 10-16, 2016, p. 14
Summarizes results of recent energy survey on current conditions of the oil and gas sectors published by Federal Reserve Bank of Texas. Discusses expectations for the oil and gas industry through 2017. Includes discussion of recent push by OPEC nations to boost oil prices.
Report at: http://www.dallasfed.org/microsites/research/surve ...
"'Don't touch my Medicare!': is the beloved program on its last legs?" By Trudy Lieberman. Harper's Magazine, November 2016, pp. 45-52
Describes the history of Medicare as social compact, and current discussions to transform Medicare into a more privatized system of healthcare delivery to the elderly and disabled. Discusses a proposal by Congressman Kevin Brady of Texas to convert Medicare from social insurance to a premium-support or voucher arrangement.
"The Alamo Colleges: building on infrastructure to increase Hispanic student success." By Michelle Perales. Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education, September 2016, pp. 24-26
Discusses the Alamo Colleges' future strategies for developing guided college and career pathways to support students as they progress to completion. Notes that over the last six years total degrees awarded by the Alamo Colleges have increased by over 106 percent.
"Child care deserts: developing solutions to child care supply and demand." By Dionne Dobbins, et al. Internet Resource, September 2016, pp. 1-28 (Note Length)
Explores the issues of child care supply and demand, and identifies "child care deserts," or areas or communities with limited or no access to quality child care. Describes state-level studies of child care deserts and the effect on child care policy in Kansas, Ohio, Maryland, Indiana, Vermont, and Florida.
See: http://usa.childcareaware.org/wp-content/uploads/2 ...
"Pensionomics 2016: measuring the economic impact of defined benefit pension expenditures." By Jennifer Erin Brown. Internet Resource, September 2016, pp. 1-31 (Note Length)
Reports the national economic effects of public and private pension plans, as well as the impact of state and local plans on a state-by-state basis. Includes tables of pension expenditure multipliers, employment impact, and tax impact by state.
See: http://www.nirsonline.org/storage/nirs/documents/P ...
"Medicaid enrollment & spending growth: FY 2016 & 2017." By Robin Rudowitz, Allison Valentine, and Vernon K. Smith. Issue Brief (Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured), October 2016, pp. 1-9
Describes Medicaid trends and policy actions for fiscal year 2016 and 2017, based on the 16th annual survey of Medicaid directors in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Projects slower growth in Medicaid enrollment and total spending in fiscal year 2017 in comparison with fiscal year 2015 after the implementation of Medicaid expansion in the Affordable Care Act. Notes recent economic trends and the effect of declining oil prices in oil dependent states, including Texas.
See: http://files.kff.org/attachment/Issue-Brief-Medica ...
Report at: http://kff.org/medicaid/report/implementing-covera ...
"State courts vs. federal courts: Jurisdictional battles over state water quality standards." By Roger Hanshaw. Natural Resources & Environment, Fall 2016, pp. 12-15
Discusses that since the adoption of the Clean Water Act in 1972, state and federal enforcement lawsuits, along with citizen suits, have done a lot to improve the quality of the nation's waters. Highlights the careful balance between state water quality laws within their boundaries, with the federally mandated water pollution laws.
"In the balance." By Jeffrey Toobin. New Yorker, October 3, 2016, pp. 28-34
Considers the justices who have served on the United States Supreme Court and explains there has not been a definitively liberal majority on the court since Nixon was president. Explores what might happen to the court with the appointment to replace Justice Scalia. Discusses cases heard before and after Scalia's death, including two Texas cases: Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt and Fisher v. the University of Texas at Austin.
See: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/10/03/in-th ...
"Chronic early absence: what states can do." By Hedy N. Chang, et al. Phi Delta Kappan, October 2016, pp. 22-27
Discusses chronic absences in elementary school and finds they are typically highest in kindergarten and first grade. Suggests this can add up to weaker reading skills, higher retention rates, and lower attendance in later grades. Highlights the programs Connecticut is using to address this problem and lists six specific strategies states might use to find early absenteeism
"Missing school matters." By Robert Balfanz. Phi Delta Kappan, October 2016, pp. 8-13
Highlights findings from a 2014 United States Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights survey that found six million public school students or thirteen percent do not attend school regularly. Explains the survey defined chronic absenteeism as missing fifteen or more days of school for both excused and unexcused absences, including suspensions. Identifies four categories of reasons why students are absent and highlights three programs that succeeded in reducing absenteeism.
"The transgender question: what are schools to do?" By Julie Underwood. Phi Delta Kappan, October 2016, pp. 76-77
Reviews the recent guidelines released from the United States Departments of Education and Justice regarding transgender students. Summarizes the legal challenges to the guidance document. Explains that the action schools should take is dependent upon which state they are in. Points out states involved in litigation filed by Texas will not be compelled to follow guidance document until litigation is resolved.
"Life, liberty, and the pursuit of home-sharing." By Christina Sandefur. Regulation (CATO Institute), September 2016, pp. 12-15
Reports several cities are enacting burdensome regulations or complete bans on home-sharing, imposing fines or jail time on homeowners that allow overnight guests. Mentions that the Goldwater Institute has developed new draft legislation called the Property Ownership Fairness Act modeled after Arizona laws, the state noted as the most property friendly in the union.
Related information at: http://goldwaterinstitute.org/en/home-sharing/
See: http://object.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/serial ...
"There is no consumer 'right to know'." By Jonathan H. Adler. Regulation (CATO Institute), Fall 2016, pp. 26-33
Argues there is no substantial interest that can justify the imposition of a mandatory labeling requirement on foods produced with modern genetic engineering techniques, known as "genetically modified organisms" [GMOs]. Believes GMO labels are unscientific, unnecessary, and likely unconstitutional.
See: http://object.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/serial ...
"Dallas Fed president: why an interest hike makes sense." By Kristen Mosbrucker. San Antonio Business Journal, October 7, 2016, pp. 9
Profiles Dallas Federal Reserve President Robert Kaplan, and his view on why raising the interest rate would benefit business and the economy in general. Discusses how little leverage the Federal Reserve would have if interest rates remain low and another recession hits the economy.
"Will pensions and OPEBs break state and local budgets?" By Alicia H. Munnell and Jean-Pierre Aubry. State and Local Pension Plans (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College), October 2016, pp. 1-8
Examines the costs of pensions, other post-employment benefits [OPEBs], and debt service for all states and the largest counties and cities. Includes statistics for the state of Texas; Bexar, Collin, Dallas, El Paso, Tarrant, and Travis counties; and the cities of Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio. Discusses methods of calculating the cost burden and selecting the appropriate revenue base for each level of government.
See: http://crr.bc.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/slp_5 ...
Related information at: http://crr.bc.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/SLP_5 ...
"Candidates, campaigns, and coattails." By Daniel Diorio and Tim Storey. State Legislatures, October/November 2016, pp. 8-11
Considers how the presidential race will affect state legislative contests. Points out Republicans' success in state houses over the past three elections will make it difficult for them to gain additional seats. Uses several graphs to further illustrate state races.
"What voters face." By Wendy Underhill and Princess Umodu. State Legislatures, October/November 2016, pp. 13-15
Discusses topics voters will consider this election season. Includes such topics as marijuana, criminal justice, guns, gambling, minimum wage, voting, campaign finance, transportation, and education. Uses graphs to further illustrate the article.
"Who's watching the kids?" By Julie Poppe and Robyn Lipkowitz. State Legislatures, October/November 2016, pp. 18-20
Discusses the different approaches states are taking to keep subsidized childcare available to low-income families as their family income improves. Notes when families receive a raise that puts their income over the income eligibility for child care, known as the "cliff effect," they frequently have to turn down the raise, in order to keep the child care assistance. Points out the programs are designed to help low-income families improve the family income.
"States impose wildly different policies in releasing police videos." By Sarah Breitenbach. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), October 11, 2016, pp. 1-5
Reports at least 21 states and dozens of municipalities have enacted laws or policies regarding public access to body camera footage, ranging from treating the footage like other public records to imposing outright bans on releasing the footage. Includes interactive map showing states that have enacted laws with a brief description of the state's law.
See: http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/ ...
"Resale of anhydrous ammonia could land some farmers in hot water." By Jessica Domel. Texas Agriculture, October 7, 2016, pp. 16
Examines the new Environmental Protection Agency rules regarding anhydrous ammonia dealers and how it is affecting the number of outlets carrying the fertilizer. Discusses how the new regulations are meant to safe-guard against accidents like the West, Texas fertilizer facility explosion.