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Current Articles and Research Resources, December 14

In this weekly post, we feature helpful research tools and recent articles of interest to the legislative community.

  • Review statistics related to the country's southern border. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection, December 5, 2017)
  • Read about the costs of the Trump Administration's goals for the military. (Congressional Budget Office, December 4, 2017)
  • Consider the legal aspects of shared parenting. (The Washington Post, December 11, 2017)
  • Explore the stunning images from the 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year submissions. (National Geographic, ©2017)

Members of the Texas legislative community may request the articles below here or by calling 512-463-1252.

  • "The state of manufacturing." By Evan Hoopfer. Dallas Business Journal, November 24, 2017, pp. 4-6.
    Discusses the growth in manufacturing jobs and tracks how North Texas compares to its national and state counterparts.
  • "Disaster relief: defrauding the do-gooders." Economist, November 25th-December 1st, 2017, pp. 55-56.
    Reports countries are becoming more active in seeking to uncover and punish fraud related to humanitarian aid and natural and man-made disasters.
  • "Mental health: me, myself and iPhone." Economist, November 25th-December 1st, 2017, pp. 26, 28.
    Considers whether the current increase in the suicide rate among 15-to-19-year-olds coincides with the rise of social media and the time spent staring at phone screens.
  • "Why the Republican tax plans do nothing to help genuine small businesses." By Hunter Blair. EPI Issue Brief, November 29, 2017, pp. 1-8.
    Rebuts claims that Republican tax plans will help small businesses by lowering top tax rates on "pass-through" income. Explains the relationship between pass-through businesses and small businesses.
    See: http://www.epi.org/files/pdf/138390.pdf
  • "Making a case for sanctuary hospitals." By Altaf Saadi, Sameer Ahmed, and Mitchell H. Katz. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), December 5, 2017, pp. 2079-2080.
    Argues that hospitals should develop clear sanctuary policies so community members can seek medical care regardless of their immigration status. Highlights several Texas anecdotes in which patients were targeted by United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement [ICE] agents.
  • "The success of state newborn screening policies for critical congenital heart disease." By Alex R. Kemper, Wendy K.K. Lam, and Joseph A. Bocchini Jr. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), December 5, 2017, pp. 2087-2088.
    Reports that statewide implementation of mandatory newborn screening policies for critical congenital heart disease was associated with a significant decrease in infant cardiac deaths between 2007 and 2013.
  • "Electricity or natural gas: which holds the real price advantage?" By Mark Beyer. Public Utilities Fortnightly, December 2017, pp. 48-49.
    Compares the price advantages of electricity and natural gas.
  • "How does innovation impact customers?: no two are alike." By Sheri Givens. Public Utilities Fortnightly, November 2017, pp. 16-18.
    Considers how innovations impact residential utility customers. Suggests ways for utilities to accommodate innovations based on different customer preferences.
  • "For foster care kids, college degrees are elusive." By Teresa Wiltz. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), December 7, 2017, pp. 1-4.
    Reports on state programs that help foster care youth get into and through college or vocational school.
    See: http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2017/12/07/for-foster-care-kids-college-degrees-are-elusive
  • "More protection for property owners: how TAB influenced policy to protect homeowners during the 85th First Called Special Session." By Eddie Martin. Texas Builder, November/December 2017, pp. 23-24.
    Discusses efforts of the Texas Association of Builders relating to the home building industry and property rights in the 85th Legislature, 1st C.S., specifically relating to HB7 (tree credits for mitigation fees) and SB6 (annexation).
    See: http://www.texasbuilders.org/site/publisher/files/TXBuilder_NovDec17_FINAL.pdf#page=23
  • "Overcoming the storm." By Lorraine Urey. Texas Builder, November/December 2017, pp. 12-16.
    Surveys Hurricane Harvey's damage to Texas homes and describes the main obstacle facing the rebuilding effort: a skilled construction labor shortage. Mentions recent education reform in HB5, 83rd Legislature, R.S., allowing students to earn construction industry or trade certifications.
    See: http://www.texasbuilders.org/site/publisher/files/TXBuilder_NovDec17_FINAL.pdf#page=12
  • "A slap at employment law?" By W. Gary Fowler. Texas Lawyer, December 2017, pp. 24-25.
    Comments on recent court decisions concerning the impact of the Texas Citizens Participation Act on employment law issues such as defamation and trade secrets. Notes the law was enacted by HB2973, 82nd Legislature, R.S., as a way to prevent lawsuits that deter free speech.
  • "Giving up the gavel: after five terms as House speaker, Joe Straus calls it quits." By R.G. Ratcliffe. Texas Monthly, December 2017, pp. 54, 56.
    Offers Speaker Joe Straus' thoughts on why he decided not to run for reelection, what it takes to achieve success as Speaker, and whether he might be open to running for statewide office.
  • "An 87-year-old nun said she was raped in her nursing home. here’s why she couldn't sue." By Haley Sweetland Edwards. Time, November 27, 2017, pp. 54-59.
    Reports an increasing number of nursing homes are requiring incoming residents to sign arbitration agreements as a condition of admission. Notes residents are often unaware they have relinquished their legal rights to have claims of negligence and criminal conduct heard in court. Addresses an arbitration case involving rape.
    See: http://time.com/5027063/87-year-old-nun-said-she-was-raped-in-her-nursing-home/

The Legislative Reference Library compiles this weekly annotated list of Current Articles of interest to the legislative community. Professional librarians review and select articles from more than 300 periodicals, including public policy journals, specialized industry periodicals, news magazines, and state agency publications. Members of the Texas legislative community may request articles using our online form.

New & Noteworthy List for December 2017

The Library is continually adding new books to its collection. Below are the eight titles from our December 2017 New & Noteworthy list

Check out and delivery of New & Noteworthy titles is available to legislative staff in Capitol and District offices. To arrange check out and delivery of any of these items, you can submit an online request through the New & Noteworthy page on our website, contact the library at 512-463-1252, or use our PDF request form.

 

1. Divided We Stand: The Battle Over Women's Rights and Family Values That Polarized American Politics
By Marjorie Julian Spruill
Details the feminist National Women’s Conference and the conservative Pro-Life, Pro-Family Rally held simultaneously in Houston in November 1977. Describes the political figures and policy decisions that led to these conflicting events. Argues that the push and pull of these opposing women’s movements have played a key role in shaping our current political environment.
Bloomsbury, 2017. 436 pages.
305.4 SP88D 2017


 

 

2. Seeds of Empire: Cotton, Slavery, and the Transformation of the Texas Borderlands, 1800-1850
By Andrew J. Torget
Chronicles how Mexicans, Indians, Anglo-Americans, Europeans, and African Americans competed for space and power in the Texas borderlands, with the Atlantic cotton economy—and its reliance on slavery—being a driving force. Argues that the Republic of Texas was not simply a rebellion from Mexico but was also a “dress rehearsal” for the Confederacy and an attempt to build a cotton empire along the Gulf Coast of North America.
University of North Carolina Press, 2015. 353 pages.
338.1 T632S 2015


 

 

3. The Struggle to Reform Our Colleges
By Derek Curtis Bok
Examines the shortcomings of U.S. colleges, from disparities in the quality of education to racial/socioeconomic stratification to high costs, and the slow progress in addressing these challenges. Identifies initiatives and strategies that the author, a former president of Harvard University, believes would improve accountability, innovation, and the pace of reform.
Princeton University Press, 2017. 228 pages.
378.73 B637S 2017


 

 

4. A Texan Plan for the Texas Coast
By Jim Blackburn
Presents a Texas coastal protection solution that conserves natural resources and the long-term health and beauty of the coast, while encouraging economic growth and entrepreneurship, supporting the oil and gas industry, and valuing the traditions of the agricultural and ranching communities on the coast. Describes the assets of the Texas coast as "green" (natural ecological systems), "gray" (industrial and development infrastructure), and water. Includes recommendations on hurricane preparedness, surge flood prevention, and levee systems.
Texas A & M University Press, 2017. 305 pages.
976.4 B562T 2017


 

 

5. The Dukes of Duval County: The Parr Family and Texas Politics
By Anthony Carrozza
Examines the Parr family dynasty that swayed local and state elections primarily in Duval County but also across South Texas for over half a century. Documents how the Parrs, including former Texas Senator Archie Parr, rose to prominence from wealthy land owners to county and state officials who influenced Texas politics, including the election of Lyndon B. Johnson to the U.S. Senate. Explores how the Parr family was able to use its power and influence to avoid jail terms and justice until its regime ended in the 1970s.
University of Oklahoma Press, 2017. 427 pages.
976.4 C237D 2017


 

 

6. Tejano Leadership in Mexican and Revolutionary Texas
By Jesus F. de la Teja, ed.
Presents a collection of essays on the lives and careers of prominent as well as lesser-known but historically significant Tejano leaders and their role in the formation of Texas. Features José Antonio Navarro, Juan Seguín, and Plácido Benavides along with their little-known counterparts, including Father Refugio de la Garza, Juan Martín Veramendi, José Antonio Saucedo, Raphael Manchola, and Carlos de la Garza.
Texas A&M University Press, 2010. 252 pages.
976.4 T235T 2010


 

 

7. Tainted Breeze: The Great Hanging at Gainesville, Texas, 1862
By Richard B. McCaslin
Recounts the hanging of more than 42 alleged Unionist prisoners by the Citizens Court in Gainesville and the lynching of more prisoners in surrounding communities during the Civil War. Attributes a tradition of violence and vigilantism in North Texas, along with economic conditions and family relationships, as contributing factors to this dramatic event. Explores why those responsible for the Great Hanging were never prosecuted and why violence against families accused of Unionism continued long after the war ended.
Louisiana State University Press, 1994. 234 pages.
976.4 M128T 1994


 

 

8. New, Renamed, and Abolished State Government Entities: 85th Legislature
By Texas Legislative Council
Reports on state government agencies, interagency panels, advisory committees, and other state governmental entities created, restructured, or eliminated by legislation enacted in the 85th Legislature. Provides information about each entity, including the bill number and specific bill sections that contain provisions pertaining to the entity, effective dates, powers and duties of the entity or whether certain functions were transferred to another entity, membership information, and Sunset or expiration dates.
Texas Legislative Council, 2017. 41 pages.
Online at: http://www.tlc.state.tx.us/docs/sessions/85GovEntities.pdf
L1400.8 N42 2017

Session for the Holidays

Usually, the Texas Legislature is not in session around Christmas time. Since the 16th Legislature (1879), the regular session has begun in January and adjourned in May, generally avoiding winter holidays. (See Article 3141 of the 1879 Revised Statutes of Texas that established this schedule.) However, there were a few instances when sessions started in December and/or continued through the holidays.

 

In 1847, the 2nd Legislature began work on December 13, 1847, and concluded on March 20, 1848. The representatives and senators worked on Christmas Eve, which fell on a Friday that year. They did take a long weekend and reconvened on Tuesday, December 28. 

 

The 3rd Legislature not only convened on Christmas Eve in 1849 and returned to work on the day after Christmas, they also had a called session in 1850 that ran into the first few days of December. 

 

From the 3rd Legislature through the 8th Legislature, the senators and representatives convened in November and adjourned in February. Typically they met on Christmas Eve, then adjourned until December 26, but they sometimes took a longer break, particularly when the holiday fell on a weekend.

 

During the Civil War and Reconstruction years, the legislature’s regular sessions were less consistent. The 9th and 10th Legislatures convened in November, but adjourned in January and December, respectively. The 11th Legislature didn’t convene until August 1866, and the 12th Legislature didn’t begin its regular session till January 1871. During these years, if session fell around Christmas, the legislators generally only took Christmas Day off before returning to work.

 

After an act was passed by the 16th Legislature setting the day and time for session to begin biennially (now Government Code § 301.001), the possibility of session running into the winter holidays was mostly history. However, there are those special sessions! The 71st Legislature had six called sessions, with the second adjourning on December 12; the 72nd Legislature’s fourth called session adjourned on December 3.

 

These days, Government Code § 662.003 designates December 24-26 as a holiday, but in the days before Texas’ regular session had an officially mandated start time, anything was possible for the legislature! The LRL hopes you enjoy a wonderful holiday season. 

 

Images: top right, House Christmas tree; bottom left: Senate Christmas tree; cover image: detail of House tree.

Current Articles and Research Resources, December 7

In this weekly post, we feature helpful research tools and recent articles of interest to the legislative community.

  • Consider new flexibility granted to the states for operating food stamp programs. (Politico, December 5, 2017)
  • Read about amicus briefs filed for Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. (Heritage Foundation, December 5, 2017)
  • Explore how new technologies can help manage diabetes. (National Institutes of Health, December 2017)
  • Find resources related to vaccinating against and tracking the flu in Texas. (Texas Department of State Health Services, last updated October 9, 2017)

Members of the Texas legislative community may request the articles below here or by calling 512-463-1252.

  • "Guardian of the vote." By Jill Leovy. Atlantic Monthly, December 2017, pp. 16, 18, 20.
    Reports on Barbara Simons and her work with the nonprofit, Verified Voting, and their goal of getting paper ballots in every state to combat the vulnerability of electronic systems.
    (See: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/12/guardian-of-the-vote/544155/)
  • "Unnatural disaster." By Shannon Sims. Bloomberg Businessweek, November 20, 2017, pp. 52-59.
    Examines the legal aspects of flood control measures implemented in west Houston during Hurricane Harvey. Quotes Senator Joan Huffman.
  • "The scholars behind the quest for reparations." By Marc Parry. Chronicle of Higher Education, November 17, 2017, pp. A14-A16.
    Highlights the work of Hilary Beckles and other historians as they seek reparations for slavery. Explains new scholarship focuses on the role slavery played in the development of American capitalism.
  • "Emergency management." By Andrew Siddons. CQ Weekly, November 13, 2017, pp. 24-28.
    Discusses the current opioid crisis in the United States. Examines how Scott Gottlieb, the new commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration [FDA], plans to address the crisis.
  • "Wages: great again." Economist, November 18th-24th, 2017, pp. 23-24.
    Discusses the surge in wages for workers in blue-collar occupations. Notes the acceleration in manufacturing employment this year in Texas and surrounding oil states.
  • "Health IT in Texas: the doctor is ... online." By Lauren Mulverhill. Fiscal Notes, November 2017, pp. 7-10.
    Examines health information technology as a promising solution for the challenges of rural health care and the physician shortage, including the expansion of telemedicine enacted by SB1107, HB1697, SB922, and SB1633, 85th Legislature, R.S.
    (See: https://comptroller.texas.gov/economy/fiscal-notes/2017/november/health-it.php#article)
  • "Statewide payment and delivery reform: do states have what it takes?" By Judy Feder, et al. Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law, December 2017, pp. 1113-1125.
    Cautions federal and state policy makers that state leaders' political desire to be the stewards of health care for the state's entire population may be affected by statutory authority and purchasing power.
  • "Are sugar-sweetened beverages taxes legal? Williams v. Philadelphia." By Kevin A. Diehl. Journal of State Taxation, Winter 2017, pp. 17-22, 38.
    Highlights the legal arguments in a recent Pennsylvania soda tax case in which the appellate court found that the City of Philadelphia's beverage tax did not violate the Sterling Act's prohibition on duplicative taxes, and does not fall under the preempted sales tax category.
    (Related information at: http://www.pacourts.us/assets/opinions/Commonwealth/out/2077cd16_6-14-17.pdf)
  • "The new frontier: automobile insurance in the ride-share world." By Catherine L. Hanna. Journal of Texas Insurance Law, Fall 2017, pp. 17-20.
    Discusses how ridesharing challenges the traditional insurance dichotomy between personal and commercial activities. Explains the effect of HB1733, 84th Legislature.
    (Related information at: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=84R&Bill=HB1733)
  • "American families are broken and blended." By Robert Verbruggen. National Review, November 27, 2017, pp. 18, 20.
    Reports that about 40 percent of children in the United States are born to unmarried parents. Comments on the economic, technological, and cultural developments that have led to this situation and result in children experiencing a number of family-structure transitions.
  • "The serial-killer detector." By Alec Wilkinson. New Yorker, November 27, 2017, pp. 30-35.
    Highlights the Murder Accountability Project [MAP], which seeks to track and accurately account for unsolved homicides in the United States, including identifying potential serial killers.
    (Related information at: http://www.murderdata.org/)
    (See: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/11/27/the-serial-killer-detector)
  • "Gerrymandering educational opportunity." By Meredith P. Richards. Phi Delta Kappan, November 2017, pp. 65-70.
    Argues that gerrymandering school attendance zones can create educational communities that increase diversity and improve educational opportunities.
  • "Energy and politics at FERC: an independent agency?" By Robin Lunt. Public Utilities Fortnightly, November 2017, p. 65.
    Discusses United States Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry's role in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's [FERC] proposed rule that addresses rates for wholesale electricity markets.
    (Related information at: https://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2017/09/f37/Secretary%20Rick%20Perry's%20Letter%20to%20the%20Federal%20Energy%20Regulatory%20Commission.pdf)
  • "How immigration crackdowns screw up Americans' lives." By Shikha Dalmia. Reason, December 2017, pp. 26-36.
    Explains how American citizens are harmed in overzealous immigration crackdowns, which include deporting American citizens, treating border towns as hostile territory, and driving restaurateurs out of business.
  • "FERC to issue rule on markets to preserve 'fuel-source.'" By Paul Ciampoli. Texas Public Power, October 2017, pp. 3, 6-8.
    Discusses the Federal Energy Regulatory Committee's [FERC] proposed rule addressing rates for wholesale electricity markets.
    (Related information at: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/10/10/2017-21396/grid-resiliency-pricing-rule

The Legislative Reference Library compiles this weekly annotated list of Current Articles of interest to the legislative community. Professional librarians review and select articles from more than 300 periodicals, including public policy journals, specialized industry periodicals, news magazines, and state agency publications. Members of the Texas legislative community may request articles using our online form.

Research Minute: Learning about Texas Governors

Although our primary focus is on Texas' legislative branch, the LRL maintains a Texas Governors database with a myriad of resources. In addition to providing biographical information on Texas governors, 1846-present, it features a searchable database of executive documents. You can search by governor, document type (executive order, message, proclamation, speech, veto, and other), date of publication, keyword, and session. 

To see the complete list of Texas governors with party affiliation, years in office, and legislatures as governor, click here

We also have a few popular searches saved, making it easy to find inaugural items, the governor's emergency matters and budgets, and disaster declarations (from 2001-present) (see below).

Interim Hearings – Week of December 11

Today's Committee Meetings on the LRL website is a calendar of interim committee hearings with links to agendas. Below are resources related to upcoming Interim Hearings.

 

December 12

House Committee on Energy Resources (Midland) 

Charge: Impact of energy exploration and production on state and county roads

Charge: Public infrastructure and workforce development in the Permian Basin region

Charge: Monitoring agencies and programs under the Committee's jurisdiction and implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 85th Legislature

 

 

December 13

House Committee on Human Services  

Charge: Nursing facilities and duplication of government regulations

Charge: HHSC's implementation of Rider 219 in Article II of the General Appropriations Act on prescription drug benefit administration in Medicaid; pharmacy benefit managers in Texas Medicaid

Topic: Issues related to Child Protective Services

 

House Committee on Urban Affairs (Beaumont) 

Topic: Short- and long-term housing needs and related issues resulting from Hurricane Harvey and associated flooding

 

December 14

Senate Committee on Administration

Topic: Sexual harassment policy

Current Articles and Research Resources, November 30

In this weekly post, we feature helpful research tools and recent articles of interest to the legislative community.

  • Track the legislative priorities of members of Congress. (ProPublica, November 20, 2017)
  • Review the financial soundness of the National Flood Insurance Program. (Congressional Budget Office, November 14, 2017)
  • Explore aspects of the opioid crisis. (National Conference of State Legislatures, ©2017)
  • Examine the most congested roadways in Texas. (Texas A&M Transportation Institute, ©2017)
  • Find opinions from current and past Texas attorneys general. (Attorney General of Texas, accessed November 29, 2017)

Members of the Texas legislative community may request the articles below here or by calling 512-463-1252.

  • "A billionaire's war on poverty." By Simon Montlake. Christian Science Monitor, November 20, 2017, pp. 24-30.
    Highlights the varied charitable projects of Tulsa philanthropist George Kaiser and his new mission to create a comprehensive strategy of public programs to target every poor child in Tulsa from birth until third grade. Suggests his success derives from the partnering of evidenced-based analytics and empathy.

  • "For civil-war scholars, a settled question that will never die: What caused the war?" By Julia Martinez. Chronicle of Higher Education, November 10, 2017, p. A45.
    Explores the views of three historians on why the American public has a difficult time accepting slavery as the central cause for the Civil War. Quotes one as suggesting two questions are merged as one: what caused the war and why people fought in it.

  • "Skills gap growing in North Texas, though severity varies; What's being done to bridge the skills gap." By Bill Hethcock. Dallas Business Journal, November 17, 2017, pp. 4-6.
    Discusses the strong demand for middle-skill workers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, with jobs in health care as the hardest to fill. Points out how collegiate academies, "Year Up" programs, and the Fellowship Initiative are helping to close the skills gap in North Texas.

  • "For-profit colleges: decline and fall." Economist, November 11th-17th, 2017, pp. 28-29.
    Reports on the suspension of two Obama administration rules designed to protect students from predatory for-profit colleges. Mentions for-profit enrollment has declined by 33 percent.

  • "Health care in America: the right dose?" Economist, November 4th-10th, 2017, pp. 61-62.
    Considers whether a merger between CVS Health and Aetna would provide strong incentives to offer consumers more access to primary care, better health care outcomes, and lower prices.

  • "GOP tax plan could affect K-12 aid, teachers' pocketbooks." By Andrew Ujifusa. Education Week, November 15, 2017, pp. 19-20.
    Details how the proposed federal tax legislation could impact school finance, teachers, school choice, and charter schools.

  • "In Florida, laissez-faire approach to monitoring private school vouchers." Education Week, November 15, 2017, pp. 1, 12-13.
    Discusses pros and cons of Florida's hands-off approach to regulating private schools receiving state aid in the form of publicly funded school vouchers. Details one parent's struggle with private school choice and her special needs child.

  • "Education effects of banning access to in-state resident tuition for unauthorized immigrant students." By Alexander Villarraga-Orjuela and Brinck Kerr. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, December 2017, pp. 621-643.
    Discusses the effects of state laws that prevent unauthorized immigrant students from receiving in-state tuition and other state financial benefits for higher education. Examines policies implemented in Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, and Ohio, and their effect on college enrollment, school dropout rates of undocumented students, and enrollment of United States citizens.

  • "Building blocks for addressing social determinants of health." By Stuart M. Butler. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), November 21, 2017, pp. 1855-1856.
    Suggests that to support social factors in health, more states should adopt "children's cabinets" and/or "health cabinets" to coordinate departments dealing with medical care as well as housing, transportation, social services, and education.

  • "Five key takeaways from the recently-passed 'Hail Bill.'" By Emily Buchanan. Journal of Texas Insurance Law, Fall 2017, pp. 3-5.
    Examines five components of HB1774, 85th Legislature, R.S., as it relates to insurance claims. Highlights the quandary for Texans facing Hurricane Harvey damage and the overlapping effective date of this new law.
    (Related information at: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=85R&Bill=HB1774)

  • "Cost-of-living adjustments (2017)." NASRA Issue Brief (National Association of State Retirement Administrators), November 2017, pp. 1-16.
    Discusses periodic cost-of-living adjustments [COLA] in state and local government pensions and common COLA types and features, as well as COLA costs and recent changes. Features an appendix of COLA provisions by state, including Employees Retirement System of Texas and Teacher Retirement System of Texas.
    (See: http://www.nasra.org/files/Issue%20Briefs/NASRACOLA%20Brief.pdf)

  • "Utilities can do more to partner with customers: regain the connection." By John Hargrove. Public Utilities Fortnightly, November 2017, pp. 60-61.
    Argues that by changing their business models utilities can take advantage of opportunities to serve as energy experts for their customers.

  • "Facing more 'hoops.'" By Joey Berlin. Texas Medicine, November 2017, pp. 37-43.
    Debates the use of prior authorization requirements from health plans to battle the opioid crisis, with some physicians supporting such initiatives and others considering them to be inefficient and ineffective.
    (See: https://www.texmed.org/Template.aspx?id=45914)

  • "EIA says electricity prices reflect rising delivery costs." Texas Public Power, October 2017, p. 9.
    Summarizes a recent article from the United States Energy Information Administration's publication Today in Energy that focuses on the relationship between the cost of fuels for producing electricity and the average retail price of electricity.
    (Related information at: https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=32812)

The Legislative Reference Library compiles this weekly annotated list of Current Articles of interest to the legislative community. Professional librarians review and select articles from more than 300 periodicals, including public policy journals, specialized industry periodicals, news magazines, and state agency publications. Members of the Texas legislative community may request articles using our online form.

Who Is...Paschal?

Every now and then, LRL patrons will ask a question like, "who is Vernon and why is his name on the Texas statutes?" To which we say, "good question!" People often conduct legislative history research with a tight deadline that doesn't leave much time for musing over the origins of the sources, but it can be instructive to learn about who has worked to compile Texas' laws over the years. In our occasional "Who Is…" series, we'll take a look at some of the important resources for studying Texas legislative history and the publishers, lawyers, and legal scholars behind them. Check out our previous entries on Vernon and Sayles; in this post, we're looking at George W. Paschal.

 

From Arkansas Supreme Court justice to newspaper editor, lawyer to court reporter, George W. Paschal wore many hats over his life and never seemed to follow the crowd—in fact, one could argue he relished the path of most resistance. He is responsible for the most successful of the early compilations of Texas statutes, A Digest of the Laws of Texas (commonly referred to as Paschal's Digest).

 

Born in Skull Shoals in Greene County, Georgia, in 1812, Paschal worked his way through the State Academy in Athens, Ga., by teaching and keeping books.[1] He was admitted to the Georgia Bar before he turned 20 in 1832. He practiced law in Georgia for four years before receiving orders to serve as the aide-de-camp to General John E. Wool with the Georgia Militia, which had been charged with suppressing a Cherokee uprising. Here we get one of our first hints of Paschal's unconventional ways: he married the daughter of one of the Cherokee chiefs, Sarah Ridge. That military campaign led to the Treaty of New Echota in 1835, and ultimately to what we know today as the Trail of Tears.[2]

 

The couple moved to Arkansas in 1837 to be closer to Sarah's now-relocated family. Paschal began his law practice in Benton County, where he sometimes jointly represented clients with Royal T. Wheeler (future chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court). Sadly, Sarah’s father, brother, and cousin were assassinated in 1839 by Cherokees who were angry about the family’s support of the Treaty of New Echota. The Paschals chose to remain in Arkansas, and in 1843, the Arkansas Legislature selected George as an associate justice on the state’s Supreme Court.[3]

 

However, he served just one term on the court, then resigned in August 1843 so he could represent the Cherokees in claims against the United States.[4] A victory in that case led to ratification of the Treaty with the Cherokee in 1846, which awarded reparations to the Cherokee.[5]

 

George and Sarah then moved to Texas around 1846, and George was admitted to the Texas Bar in December 1847. In 1850, Sarah began treating Galvestonians suffering from yellow fever in their home. The couple divorced later that year.[6]

 

George moved to Austin and remarried (Marcia Duval Price), practiced law, and began work in 1856 as editor of the Southern Intelligencer, an antisecessionist, pro-Union publication. The paper quickly developed a rivalry with the Texas State Gazette, which promoted states’ rights and reopening the slave trade in Texas. The rivalry went as far as a duel challenge, and Paschal resigned his post in 1860.[7] It should be noted that although Paschal was against reopening the slave trade, he also was against abolition and was himself a slave holder.[8]

 

Paschal further acted on his Unionist principles by representing a captured Confederate conscript, F.H. Coupland, in 1862. He obtained a writ of habeas corpus from his old friend (now Texas Supreme Court Justice) Wheeler, but before it could be served, Coupland was drafted into the army, and Paschal was arrested and jailed for a short time by Confederate authorities.[9]

 

Indeed, times were tough for a Unionist lawyer in Texas during the Civil War, so Paschal committed himself to preparing the Digest of the Laws of Texas. He writes about this decision in the preface to the Digest’s first edition “…differing as the editor did with the majority of the people of his state, as to the right of secession, and the necessities of the measure, as well as to the possibility of success, and not wishing to seek a professional field elsewhere, had that been possible, he thought that he could not more usefully employ his time than to give those years to the preparation of a book, which should answer the double object of presenting the Statutes, and a pretty full Digest of the decisions of the Supreme Court, in the same volume.”[10]

 

Paschal’s Digest offered a few things not seen in previous legislative publications. Current statutes can trace their history to the sections in his Digest—previously, statutes had been arranged chronologically.[11] Additionally, his statutes presented “the old law, the mischief and the remedy, in the same view”—meaning, he printed the current law alongside the repealed law or judicial changes, using different typefaces to illustrate the development of the law.[12] Finally, and most significantly, “…his digest of laws appeared in five editions, the last one being the basis for the first official compilation of statutes in 1879. Many articles in the [1925] statutes retain not only the substance but also the verbatim phrasing of Paschal’s sections.”[13] (See image of Articles 42-46 from the 1879 Revised Civil Statutes, which includes marginal notes crediting where language was taken from P.D.—Paschal's Digest.)

 

After the war, Paschal was appointed by provisional governor Andrew Jackson Hamilton as Texas’ agent in a case concerning the Confederacy’s attempts to redeem U.S.-issued bonds to help pay for the Confederate war effort. He ultimately argued before the U.S. Supreme Court and won, helping to provide the definitive ruling on the constitutionality of secession. Paschal also served as counsel in the “Emancipation Cases” to determine on what date enslaved peoples officially gained their freedom in Texas. (The majority ruling settled on the date of ratification of the 13th Amendment.)[14]

 

In 1868—about the same time that the constitutionally illegitimate Military Court began—Paschal was appointed as court reporter. Drummond observes that “Paschal's reports are characterized by his sometimes polarizing, always frank, and consistently entertaining (and subsequently essential) historical asides contained in the prefaces to each [Texas Reports] volume.” He additionally used the Texas Reports to advertise his other publications. Paschal’s signature candor likely contributed to him losing this job, as he published in Texas Reports his negative commentary on changes to court reporter guidelines.[15]

 

Paschal then moved to Washington, D.C., where he opened a law office with his sons, George Jr. and Ridge. He also married his third wife, Mary Scoville Harper, and lectured at the Georgetown University law school. He died in Washington in 1878.[16]

 

In addition to his work with Texas laws, George W. Paschal found himself at the crossroads of many historical events. And as a man dedicated to the law, the defense of them seemed to guide his principles: “Human rights are of all sciences those which most affect human happiness. They can only be preserved by the eternal vigilance of the masses. That vigilance should constantly be directed to our laws, organic or statute. It is under the forms of these that liberty is preserved or lost.”[17]

 

Photograph of George W. Paschal courtesy of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Title page of Paschal's Digest taken from the LRL's digitized 5th edition. Excerpt of Title VI, Articles 42-46 from the 1879 Revised Civil Statutes, courtesy of the Texas State Law Library's Historical Texas Statutes digital collection.


[1] Amelia W. Williams, "Paschal, George Washington," Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 29, 2017, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fpa46.

[2] Dylan O. Drummond, "George W. Paschal: Justice, Court Reporter, and Iconoclast," Journal of the Texas Supreme Court Historical Society 2:4 (Summer 2013), accessed 2017 October 17, http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/george-w-paschal-justice-court-report-22105/, p. 7.

[3] Drummond, p. 8.

[4] Drummond, p. 8.

[5] Treaty with the Cherokee, 9 Stat. 871, 874 (1846)

[6] Drummond, p. 8.

[7] Williams; Drummond, p.8.

[8] Williams; Kevin Ladd, “Pix, Sarah Ridge,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed November 15, 2017, https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fpi30; Fannie E. Rachford, “O’Connor, Elizabeth Paschal,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed November 15, 2017, https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/foc12.

[9] Drummond, p. 8.

[10] "Preface [to the first edition, 1866], " A Digest of the Laws of Texas, 5th edition, edited by George W. Paschal. Houston, TX: E.H. Cushing, 1878, p. iv, http://www.lrl.texas.gov/collections/Paschal.cfm.

[11] "Legislation," rev. by Linda Gardner, A Reference Guide to Texas Law and Legal History, edited by Karl T. Gruben and James E. Hambleton, Austin, TX: Butterworth Legal Publishers, 1987, pp. 16-17.

[12] "Preface [to the first edition, 1866], " p. iv.

[13] Marian Boner, "The Attorney as Author: Books Written and Used by Texas Lawyers, " Centennial History of the Texas Bar, 1882—1982. Austin, TX: The Committee on History and Tradition of the State Bar of Texas, 1981, p. 145.

[14] Drummond, pp. 9-10.

[15] Drummond, p. 11.

[16] Williams.

[17] "Preface to the fourth edition [1874], " A Digest of the Laws of Texas, 5th edition, edited by George W. Paschal. Houston, TX: E.H. Cushing, 1878, pp. xi-xii, http://www.lrl.texas.gov/collections/Paschal.cfm

Interim Hearings - Weeks of November 27 and December 4

Today's Committee Meetings on the LRL website is a calendar of interim committee hearings with links to agendas. Below are resources related to upcoming Interim Hearings.

November 30

House Committee on Special Purpose Districts

Charge 1: Impact of Hurricane Harvey on residential communities within special purpose districts, emergency preparedness and response of the districts

Charge 2: Water district bonds

Charge 3: Feasibility of dissolving special purpose districts

 

December 1

House Committee on House Administration

Topics: Sexual harassment policy, select committee budgets

 

 

House Committee on Special Purpose Districts

Charge 4: Municipal Management Districts

 

December 4

House Committee on Urban Affairs (Corpus Christi) 

Topic: Short- and long-term housing needs and related issues resulting from Hurricane Harvey and associated flooding

 

December 5

House Select Committee on Economic Competitiveness   

Topic: Long-term competitiveness and economic development issues

 

Senate Committee on Finance

Charge: Alamo historical site renovation

Charge: Adult and juvenile corrections funding

Charge: Monitor implementation of CPS critical needs funding initiative

Topic: Hurricane Harvey relief and recovery

 

December 6

House Committee on Insurance

Charge: Health insurance market in Texas 

Charge: Surprise medical billing

Charge: Prescription drug coverage and drug formularies  

Charge: Transparency of pharmacy benefit managers  

 

Senate Select Committee on Cybersecurity  

Topic: State of cybersecurity in Texas

 

Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health & Human Services Transition

Invited testimony

Legislative Scorecards, 85th Legislature

Following each legislative session in Texas, some organizations create scorecards "grading" the performance of legislators. Scorecards typically focus on bills significant to a particular viewpoint or subject area.

 

The LRL tracks legislative scorecards as we find them to be a helpful research tool. Listed below are the 85th Legislature scorecards we have found thus far. 

 

Conservative Round Table of Texas

 

Empower Texans

 

Environment Texas

 

Equality Texas

 

Sierra Club – Lone Star Chapter

 

Texas Association of Business

 

Texas Right to Life

 

Texas Uniting for Reform & Freedom (TURF)

 

Texas Values Action

 

Young Conservatives of Texas

 

Cover image by Flickr user Jon Wiley / CC BY-NC 2.0.

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