Legislative Reference Library of Texas About the library Site Index

Legislative Reference Library of Texas
your partner in legislative research

Legislative clips Legislative clips archive Texas media links Current articles Texshare databases New books New & Noteworthy
Legislative Archive System Index to Sections Affected Conference committee reports Constitutional amendments Vetoes State budget Redistricting information Signed copies of bills Statutory revision Texas law timeline Water law timeline Statute publication dates Legislative intent guide
Texas Legislators: Past & Present Governors of Texas Lt. Governors and Speakers Senate Presidents Pro Tempore Senate & House seniority Member statistics Chief Elected Officials Texas legislators on Twitter
Sessions and years Bill statistics Member statistics Bill effective dates Legislative deadlines Session summaries Special sessions Legislative staff lists
Today's meetings Meetings by date Standing committees Committees by session Committee search Legislative reports Committee minutes Standing committee appointments
Library catalog House & Senate Journals House & Senate Rules Parliamentary resources General and Special Laws of Texas Codes of 1856 Paschal's Digest Penal Code revision research guide Code of Criminal Procedure guide Deceptive Trade Practices Act Impeachment of O.P. Carrillo Gubernatorial inauguration materials Water resources research guide School finance litigation archive
Frequently Asked Questions Contacting your legislator Texas bill status State agency hotlines & citizen   assistance Texas legislative agencies &   process Other libraries Public policy resources

LRL Home - Current Issues - Current Articlesprinter friendly versionreturn to screen view

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.

April 27, 2017 list Print (PDF)

"High-speed rail advocates, foes ramp up the rhetoric." By Kimberly Reeves. Austin Business Journal, April 14, 2017, p. 7
Highlights concerns over rail-related bills filed in the 85th Legislature, including bills that single out high-speed rail projects such as the Texas Central Rail line between Houston and Dallas. Suggests the bills, if passed, could have a chilling effect on the overall investment in rail projects. Includes comment by Senator Lois Kolkhorst and mentions Senator Charles Schwertner.
"Lawmakers pump up efforts on industry regulation." By Kimberly Reeves. Austin Business Journal, April 21, 2017, p. 7
Highlights several bills of interest to the oil and gas industry, including the Sunset bill for the Texas Railroad Commission, HB1818, 85th Legislature. Mentions a report by Texans for Public Justice and the Sierra Club noting the energy industry's influence at the Railroad Commission — 60 percent of the three commissioners' political campaign funds came from the oil and gas industry. Includes comments by Representative Larry Gonzales.
Report at: https://sierraclub.org/sites/www.sierraclub.org/fi ...
"Medicaid helps schools help children." By Jessica Schubel. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, April 19, 2017, pp. 1-7
Explains how Medicaid supports children in schools, through medical services and special education for students with disabilities, vision and dental screenings, and enrollment assistance for Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program [CHIP]. Notes that state education budgets benefit from Medicaid by leveraging Medicaid and federal IDEA funding. Includes 50-state chart of Medicaid spending in schools in 2015, showing Texas at $444,382,561 with the federal share at $250,343,667.
See: http://www.cbpp.org/sites/default/files/atoms/file ...
"The arc of her survival." By Eric Hoover. Chronicle of Higher Education, April 14, 2017, pp. A15-A16,A18-A21
Presents the experiences of Kristina Anderson, a survivor of the Virginia Tech shootings. Explains her attempts to bring meaning to that day have led her to speak at safety conferences and to reach out to first responders and survivors of traumatic events. Offers her views on campus carry as "We're young, we're drunk, we're hormonal. Why would you ever want to arm us?"
"A springboard to college." By Beth McMurtrie. Chronicle of Higher Education, April 7, 2017, pp. A8-A10, A12, A14.
Explains that dual enrollment programs, in which high-school students earn school and college credit simultaneously are attracting both high achievers and average students seeking technical skills or a head start on college. Examines programs offered in Iowa where more than half of all high-school seniors were jointly enrolled in 2016 in at least one course. Includes sidebars on best practices and key research studies.
"Undocumented students can't simply 'fix' their status." By Katherine Mangan. Chronicle of Higher Education, April 21, 2017, p. A23
Explores the difficulties DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] students have in obtaining permanent legal status. Highlights various situations that might affect these individuals and states either a process does not exist for them or they became ineligible for existing programs and therefore have no pathway to legalization.
"Why DFW is a data center magnet; Our DFW data FAQ." By Candace Carlisle and Shawn Shinneman. Dallas Business Journal, April 14, 2017, pp. 4-6, 12-13
Profiles the Dallas-Fort Worth [DFW] data center market, one of the largest and fastest growing markets with eleven projects under construction. Notes the regional advantages of operating in DFW: lowest cost of power, lower labor costs, and municipalities' willingness to clear the projects.
"Low-income children with chronic conditions face increased costs if shifted from CHIP to Marketplace plans." By Alon Peltz, et al. Health Affairs, April 2017, pp. 616-625
Compares extended federal funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program [CHIP] with enrolling children in the health insurance Marketplace. Notes that more than eight million children risk having their health insurance coverage disrupted if federal funding for CHIP is not extended beyond 2017. Finds that, absent enhancements to Marketplace cost-sharing protections, and given recent efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act [ACA], renewing funding for CHIP will provide the greatest financial protections to families of income-eligible children with chronic conditions.
"Women in the United States experience high rates of coverage 'churn' in months before and after childbirth." By Jamie R. Daw, et al. Health Affairs, April 2017, pp. 598-606
Examines rates of insurance transition — sometimes referred to as "churn" — for women giving birth in the United States. Reports that half of women who were uninsured nine months before delivery obtained Medicaid or CHIP coverage by the month of delivery, but 55 percent of women with that coverage at delivery experience a coverage gap in the ensuing six months. Urges states to consider policies that promote the continuity of coverage for childbearing women, particularly those with pregnancy-related Medicaid eligibility.
"The business case for expanding opportunity and equity in Texas: race, income, and economic growth." By Ani Turner. Internet Resource, March 2017, pp. 1-16
Points out that while Texas' growing population is younger and more diverse than the national average, these same groups are currently farthest behind in education, health, earnings, and financial assets. Includes brief with graphs illustrating these discrepancies, as well as a brief summarizing various Texas programs that work to close educational gaps.
See: http://altarum.org/sites/default/files/uploaded-pu ...
"The impact of per capita caps on federal and state Medicaid spending." By John Holahan, et al. Internet Resource, March 2017, pp. 1-19
Analyzes the effects of two per capita cap approaches to reforming Medicaid: that in the American Health Care Act [AHCA] and that in Speaker of the House Paul Ryan's "Better Way" health care plan, released in June 2016. Reports that federal spending would fall by $457 billion, or 16 percent, between 2019 and 2028, under the AHCA. Notes that states such as Texas that did not expand Medicaid would see smaller effects from the AHCA than would states with larger coverage gains under the Affordable Care Act. Predicts that Texas would see a 13.2 percent decrease in federal Medicaid payments.
See: http://www.rwjf.org/content/dam/farm/reports/issue ...
"Insurance coverage, access to care, and medical debt since the ACA: a look at California, Florida, New York, and Texas." By Munira Z. Gunja, et al. Internet Resource, March 22, 2017, pp. 1-12
Examines the impact of the Affordable Care Act [ACA] on rates of insurance coverage, access to care, and medical debt, in the four largest states. Finds that uninsured rates in all four states have fallen since the ACA's coverage expansions, but rates in California and New York, which expanded Medicaid, dropped much more than rates in Florida and Texas, which did not expand Medicaid. Reports that the proportion of adults reporting cost-related problems getting needed care is significantly higher in Florida and Texas. Notes that Texas has the highest uninsured rate in every age group among the four largest states.
See: http://www.commonwealthfund.org/~/media/files/publ ...
"Relation of mental health to alcohol and substance use among Texas college students." By Alan B. Shafer, Jessica A. Koenig, and Emilie A. Becker. Internet Resource, April 2017, pp. 1-5
Examines the effect of mental health problems and difficulties on alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use among college students. Reports that college-age students who reported more mental health difficulties and problems used more tobacco and more drugs, and also reported more problematic alcohol behaviors. Recommends further exploration of the association between substance use and occurrence or severity of mental illness, as well as allocating resources to limit exposure to substances on Texas campuses.
See: https://www.texmed.org/Template.aspx?id=44487
"Why replacing the ACA has Republicans in a tizzy." By Stuart M. Butler. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), April 18, 2017, pp. 1514-1515
Summarizes the various complexities facing Republicans as they seek to replace the Affordable Care Act [ACA]. Outlines three difficult issues that will guide policymaking: deciding what coverage means, how/if to design subsidies, and determining how to cover people with chronic illnesses.
"Mercury spill responses: five states, 2012-2015." By Ryan J. Wozniak, et al. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), March 17, 2017, pp. 1-4
Calls for increased awareness of the hazards of elemental mercury and the importance of the safe disposal of mercury-containing products. Notes that state and local health departments routinely guide the cleanup of buildings where mercury spills have occurred to ensure that mercury vapor concentrations are reduced to safe levels. Presents illustrative cases of mercury spills in five states, underscoring the extensive use of resources required for remediation and the potential for severe adverse health effects.
See: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/66/wr/pdfs/mm6610 ...
"The case for tax reform." By Alan Cole. National Review, May 1, 2017, pp. 30-32
Compares tax reform, which addresses the question of what should be taxed, with tax cuts, which considers rates. Highlights Congressman and House Ways and Means Committee Chair Kevin Brady’s tax reform plan. Argues a good tax reform plan should not just solve tax issues, but should help solve larger economic issues.
"Who's the denier now?" By Oren Cass. National Review, May 1, 2017, pp. 23-25
States there is now consensus that the climate is warming and that human activity has played a role, but there is no such agreement on public policy implications. Suggests that it is time for a “consistent, scientifically accurate message from the White House” and a reasoned policy debate about risks and cost-effective responses.
"Full-court press." By Jeffrey Toobin. New Yorker, April 17, 2017, pp. 24-28
Profiles Leonard Leo, the executive vice-president of the Federalist Society, and names him the impresario behind the United States Supreme Court nominations of Neil Gorsuch, John Roberts and Samuel Alito. Explains the history of the Federalist Society and Leo's role in creating a pipeline or network of conservative attorneys and involving them in legal policy.
See: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/04/17/the-c ...
"Financial trauma triggers reinvented US onshore E&P [exploration & production] business." By Matt Zborowski. Oil and Gas Journal, April 3, 2017, pp. 26-33
Reports that from January 2015 to February 20, 2017, 119 North American oil and gas producers filed for bankruptcy, according to Haynes & Boone LLP's Oil Patch Bankruptcy Monitor. Provides background information about what led up to the current state of the onshore upstream business, including the changed lending environment. Focuses on real-world examples of oil and gas companies located in Texas, including Swift Energy Co., SM Energy, and Guidon Energy.
"Trump's executive order emphasizes energy more than environment." By Nick Snow. Oil and Gas Journal, April 3, 2017, pp. 34-35
Highlights a recent executive order signed by President Trump, which calls for a reevaluation of the Clean Power Plan, among other measures that favor businesses in the energy sector. Quotes several individuals including President Trump, EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] Administrator Scott Pruitt, and United States Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. Includes reactions from oil and gas trade association officials.
Related information at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/0 ...
"Event detection: CANARY eases water quality event detection." By John Hall, et al. Opflow, April 2017, pp. 30-32
Reports that a new, Java-based version of CANARY, a free event-detection software developed by the Environmental Protection Agency and Sandia National Laboratories, is now available. Discusses a case study involving the successful implementation of the Java-version of CANARY at Akron Water Works.
Related information at: https://cfpub.epa.gov/si/si_public_record_report.c ...
"Water quality monitoring: improve water quality by leveraging customer complaints." By Nelson Mix and Cassia Sanchez. Opflow, April 2017, pp. 8-9
Argues that existing water technologies can be used to prepare for and proactively respond to water quality problems with a CSS [customer complaint surveillance] protocol, which relies on customer feedback to effectively monitor distribution system water quality. Outlines and discusses the components and collected data of an effective CSS model. Includes Dallas Water Utilities as an example. Refers to the Environmental Protection Agency, which has developed tools to help utilities implement CSS capabilities.
Related information at: https://www.epa.gov/waterqualitysurveillance/custo ...
"Harnessing legal complexity." By J.B. Ruhl, Daniel Martin Katz, and Michael J. Bommarito. Science, March 31, 2017, pp. 1377-1378
Argues that the legal system in the United States lends itself to study under complexity science, an approach for framing problems and devising solutions within a system. Describes different ways to consider data from the legal system, such as in a network connected by case citations, to shape future policies, laws, and regulations.
"Taxing the new economy, starting with Uber, Lyft." By Elaine S. Povich. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), April 14, 2017, pp. 1-6
Reports that several states have imposed taxes or are considering taxing ride-hailing companies and other new-economy services to replace the tax revenue they've lost from the taxicab industry, brick-and-mortar stores, and at the fuel pump.
See: http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/ ...
"Integrated approach improves performance at NBU [New Braunfels Utilities]." Texas Public Power, March-April 2017, pp. 6-7
Highlights NBU's recent success to expand their technological capabilities by integrating all of the utility information systems to improve operations and customer services. Explains how integrating NBU's information systems has allowed for improvements in their technical infrastructure, maximizing the utility's ability to provide fast and accurate information to employees and customers. Refers to the software NBU is using to improve their operations and customer services. Includes examples of how NBU has improved performance.