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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.

November 19, 2015 list Print (PDF)

"Reverse gold rush shows no signs of waning." By Bill Hethcock. Austin Business Journal, November 13, 2015, p. 21
Highlights study noting the biggest beneficiaries of "defecting" California companies that moved their headquarters or diverted projects to out-of-state locations in the past seven years. Ranks site relocations at the state, metro, and municipal levels. Notes Texas and Austin benefitted the most from California disinvestment events.
Report at: http://www.spectrumlocationsolutions.com/pdf/Busin ...
"The walling of the world." By Simon Montlake. Christian Science Monitor, November 16, 2015, pp. 27-32
Examines the building of walls to protect a country's boundaries, a practice that has increased over the last fifteen years. Discusses a new study as well as a paper that finds walls are erected by wealthy nations to keep poorer neighboring nations out. Includes discussion of walls built in the past and the reasons they were built.
"Why the US protects private guns." By Patrik Jonsson. Christian Science Monitor, November 9, 2015, p. 13
Provides an overview of gun control and considers whether more stringent laws can be passed.
"Driving in old age." Economist, November 7th-13th, 2015, pp. 73-74
Highlights a driving simulator being built in Canada, called DriverLab, that could provide more accurate license-renewal tests for elderly drivers. Notes DriverLab testing would facilitate customized licenses for seniors who are still capable of driving safely, while getting truly dangerous drivers off the road.
"Oil companies and climate change." Economist, November 14th-20th, 2015, pp. 61-62
Discusses how the oil industry is responding to pressure from environmentalists, governments, and investors that the industry acknowledge the effects of fossil fuels on the climate and take steps to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
"California blazes trail with new sex education mandates." By Evie Blad. Education Week, October 14, 2015, p. 14
Addresses sex education law recently enacted in California requiring K-12 health classes to include discussion on sexual harassment and violence. Reports California is the first state to require the teaching of affirmative sexual consent in public schools in an effort to combat sexual assault. Notes five other states considered sexual consent laws but they did not pass. Includes discussion of California's affirmative consent mandates for higher education.
"How Texas taxes 'sin'." By Lisa Minton. Fiscal Notes, November 2015, pp. 1, 3-7
Presents a history of Texas "sin taxes" levied on alcohol, tobacco, controlled substances, sexually oriented businesses, and gambling. Compares sin taxes as a percentage of total state tax revenue in several states, with Texas at 4.6 percent.
See: http://comptroller.texas.gov/fiscalnotes/nov2015/f ...
"'Setting aside' money for college: how Texas funds student aid." Fiscal Notes, November 2015, pp. 8-10
Looks at Texas' investment in public higher education through Tuition Equalization Grants, Texas Public Educational Grants, and TEXAS (Towards Excellence, Access and Success) Grants. Discusses the impact of tuition deregulation since passage of HB3015, 78th Legislature, R.S., in 2003.
See: http://comptroller.texas.gov/fiscalnotes/nov2015/f ...
"Combined care." By Bara Vaida. Governing, November 2015, pp. 52-55
Looks at the health care of "dual eligibles," residents who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid. Highlights Massachusetts' experiment to merge and coordinate health care services while reducing costs. Mentions Texas is one of twelve states to adopt a dual eligible demonstration model.
See: http://www.governing.com/topics/health-human-servi ...
"Welcome to Jobs Inc." By Alan Greenblatt. Governing, November 2015, pp. 46-51
Examines the privatization of economic development and job creation in Ohio and other states. Discusses the benefits, pitfalls, and effectiveness in outsourcing the state's role in economic development.
See: http://www.governing.com/topics/mgmt/gov-state-eco ...
"Diet and perceptions change with supermarket introduction in a food desert, but not because of supermarket use." By Tamara Dubowitz, et al. Health Affairs, November 2015, pp. 1858-1868
Examines whether locating supermarkets in food deserts affects access to healthy foods, improves diets, or reduces the risk of obesity.
"Five years later: awareness of New York City's calorie labels declined, with no changes in calories purchased." By Jonathan Cantor, et al. Health Affairs, November 2015, pp. 1893-1900
Explores whether New York City's mandate of requiring calorie information on the menus of chain restaurants influenced consumers' behavior. Finds that consumer behavior did not significantly change after the menu requirements were implemented.
"US household food shopping patterns: dynamic shifts since 2000 and socioeconomic predictors." By Dalia Stern, et al. Health Affairs, November 2015, pp. 1840-1848
Looks at whether the presence of supermarkets in low income and minority neighborhoods affects consumption of healthier foods and whether residents would shop there.
"Is detente possible? District-charter school relations in four cities: executive summary." By Daniela Doyle, Christen Holly, and Bryan C. Hassel. Internet Resource, November 2015, pp. 1-5
Examines district-charter school collaboration (engagement) in five cities—Boston, Cleveland, Denver, Houston, and Washington, D.C.. Investigates how and why school districts are engaging charters and whether engagement is resulting in improvement. Reports there are markedly different forms of engagement in the cities, noting Houston was omitted from full discussion because there was very little collaboration. Offers recommendations to encourage more productive engagement between school districts and charters.
See: http://edex.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/Foreword an ...
Report at: http://edex.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/Is_De?tente ...
"Record high taxes and fees on wireless consumers in 2015." By Scott Mackey and Joseph Henchman. Internet Resource, November 2015, pp. 1-18
Charts federal, state, and local taxes on wireless service in the 50 states and describes trends in wireless taxes and fees, including 911 fees, state universal service funds, and state level wireless taxes.
See: http://taxfoundation.org/sites/taxfoundation.org/f ...
"Student loan debt and the housing decisions of young households." By Irene Lew. Internet Resource, November 2015, pp. 1-15
Describes the growth of student loan debt among various demographic groups, including minority-headed households. Finds student loan debt was the only type of consumer debt to rise steadily during the Great Recession, and may prevent younger generations from becoming first-time homebuyers.
See: http://jchs.harvard.edu/sites/jchs.harvard.edu/fil ...
"Student loan rules may get tighter." By David A. Elliott and Christina D. Olivos. National Law Journal & Legal Times, November 2, 2015, p. 18
Reviews recent recommendations by the U.S. Office of Federal Student Aid that address concerns over the size of student loan debt, increase borrower protections, and raise standards for loan servicers and collection agencies.
Related information at: http://www2.ed.gov/finaid/loans/repay/best-practic ...
"Who will pay for climate change?" By Jeffrey Ball. New Republic, December 2015, pp. 24-31
Details insurance and financial institutions' concerns regarding climate change and its impact on their profits. Reports insurers are responding to the threat of global warming by pressing U.S. and international policymakers to enact aggressive and long term carbon emission limits. Argues these institutions’ concerns for weather-related disaster risks have lead them to move quickly and with sophistication to combat climate change.
"Before the death spiral, a black hole." By Steve Mitnick. Public Utilities Fortnightly, November 2015, pp. 41-44
Explains why installation of solar panels on rooftops will not let you bypass the grid, but will make you more dependent.
"How a $30 billion hike becomes $3 billion." By Jeffrey Mervis. Science, November 6, 2015, p. 615
Discusses federal spending over the next two years, focusing on discretionary spending caps agreed upon by the Obama administration and Congress.
"Anti-panhandling laws spread, face legal challenges." By Teresa Wiltz. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), November 12, 2015, pp. 1-6
Reports an increase in the number of states and cities that have banned or restricted panhandling and begging in certain public places. Notes recent court decisions have bolstered opponents' arguments that anti-panhandling laws violate free-speech protections.
See: http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/ ...
"Cities and states try to crack down on distracted bicycling." By Jenni Bergal. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), November 17, 2015, pp. 1-6
Reports several states and cities have tried a variety of approaches to enact and enforce distracted biking laws, but haven't met with much success.
See: http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/ ...
"Dr. Lewis' 10-year audit." By Joey Berlin. Texas Medicine, November 2015, pp. 26-33
Discusses physicians' problems with the Office of Inspector General Medicaid audits.
"Texas medical schools beef up nutrition education." By Amy Lynn Sorrel. Texas Medicine, November 2015, pp. 35-40
Explores how nutrition education is becoming a larger part of the curriculum in medical schools, in part because of widespread obesity and other lifestyle-related conditions.
"Texas cities lead the nation in economic growth." Texas Town & City, November 2015, pp. 8-9
Examines the results of the recent WalletHub socioeconomic growth rankings, based on data from 2008-2014, in which 13 of the 15 fastest growing cities are in Texas. Includes information on Odessa, the fastest growing city, and Austin, the fastest growing large city in the nation.