LRL Home - Points of Interest

Current Articles & Research Resources, March 15

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

  • Explore how women contribute to the Texas economy. (Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, March 8, 2018)
  • Consider the implications of relying on inexpensive or disposable consumer goods. (The Week, March 7, 2018)
  • See what apps might come in handy for your next outdoor adventure. (Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, accessed March 14, 2018)
  • Read about the costs of elevating a home to meet floodplain regulations. (Texas Tribune, March 14, 2018)

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

  • "Number crunchers call the shots." By Mike Cronin. Austin Business Journal, February 16, 2018, pp. 4-5.
    Discusses the nationwide shortage of qualified accountants, compliance officers, and other professionals. Comments on how Austin salaries compare to national salaries.
  • "A higher gas tax won't fix U.S. roads." By Mark Niquette. Bloomberg Businessweek, March 5, 2018, pp. 48-49.
    Examines the proposed White House infrastructure plan and its costs. Questions whether a gas tax increase would provide enough funding as the number of electric and hybrid cars on the roads increases.
  • "Living on the edges." By Henry Gass. Christian Science Monitor, February 26, 2018, pp. 26-32.
    Reviews the history of colonias in Texas and explains this type of housing is providing home ownership opportunities to the poor who might normally be locked out of the housing market. Examines regulations and laws related to colonias.
    Related information at:
  • "Era of deregulation." By Eric Kelderman. Chronicle of Higher Education, March 9, 2018, pp. B20, B22.
    Discusses United States Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos's undoing of regulations and guidelines issued under President Obama. Discusses the potential reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, currently before Congress, as a major vehicle for changing higher education policy.
  • "American business and the NRA: outgunned?" Economist, March 3rd-9th, 2018, pp. 57-58.
    Considers whether companies can influence gun control policies, as the latest school shooting in Florida has activists and angry customers pressuring companies to take a stand against the National Rifle Association [NRA].
  • "Autonomous vehicles: reinventing wheels." Economist, March 3, 2018, pp. 1, 3-12.
    Presents a special report on autonomous vehicles [AVS]. Considers the implications of AVS for personal mobility, for the car industry, for society, and for policymakers.
  • "Science fiction or science fact?" By Paul K. Harral. Fort Worth Business Press, Feb. 26-March 4, 2018, pp. 14, 16.
    Explores business and scientific aspects of the "Texas T-bone" hyperloop proposition to improve transportation and environmental concerns involved with travel and shipping in Texas.
  • "Legal challenges to state drug pricing laws." By Theodore T. Lee, Aaron S. Kesselheim, and Amy Kapczynski. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), March 6, 2018, pp. 865-866.
    Examines Maryland's and Nevada's laws intended to help manage and make more transparent pharmaceutical prices, and the ensuing legal challenges by the pharmaceutical industry. Notes that federal courts have rejected the industry's challenges and encourages other states to take similar action to restrain drug pricing and encourage transparency.
  • "Earning it: why work requirements don't work." By Ed Dolan. Milken Institute Review, First Quarter 2018, pp. 38-45.
    Analyzes the use of work requirements in safety net programs like Temporary Assistance to Needy Families [TANF], the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program [SNAP], and potentially Medicaid. Discusses research evidence showing a "feeble effect" on employment and household income, from a set of controlled experiments done in conjunction with the welfare reforms of the 1990s.
  • "The empire of everything." By Stacy Mitchell. Nation, March 12, 2018, pp. 22-27, 33.
    Describes Amazon's expansion from online retailer to developer of an entirely new commercial infrastructure, and the resulting "corporate concentration" of wealth and power, the economic shift in "left-behind" local areas, and antitrust considerations.
  • "The travel ban's road to the SCOTUS." By Marcia Coyle and Cogan Schneier. National Law Journal, March 2018, pp. 11-14.
    Reviews the Trump administration's efforts to suspend the entry of foreign nationals from seven predominantly Muslim nations. Provides a quick look at the travel ban's path to the Supreme Court of the United States [SCOTUS]. Notes the Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on the third version of the ban in April.
  • "Shutting down scams 2017: consumers protected." By Sheri Givens. Public Utilities Fortnightly, February 2018, pp. 71-72.
    Discusses the United Utilities Against Scams' [UUAS] efforts during the past year aimed at informing and protecting consumers from scams.
  • "America's war on pain pills is killing addicts and leaving patients in agony." By Jacob Sullum. Reason, April 2018, pp. 18-29.
    Argues the crackdown on prescription opioids adversely affects legitimate patients and forces non-medical users into the black market.
  • "Ready or not." By Nina Williams-Mbengue. State Legislatures, March 2018, pp. 10-13.
    Discusses how some state legislators are preparing youth to be on their own as they transition out of foster care.
  • "Report to the citizens of Texas, fiscal 2017, Sept. 1, 2016 - Aug. 31, 2017." Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, March 6, 2018, pp. 1-4.
    Highlights State of Texas financial information for fiscal year 2017 in a concise format, including business and job growth, state performance measures, employment and economic outlook, challenges posed by Hurricane Harvey, and a profile of the Austin, San Marcos, and San Antonio metro areas.
  • "Why is the GOP touting new gun restrictions after Parkland? Follow the money." By Philip Elliott and W.J. Hennigan. Time, March 12, 2018, pp. 15-17.
    Suggests there is monetary incentive for Republicans' willingness to discuss modest new gun restrictions. Notes that firearms sales have fallen during the Trump administration, and argues the gun industry may benefit from a discussion of gun control measures.

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.

March 6, 2018 Primary Election Results

Peruse the results of the March 6, 2018, primary election for the Texas Legislature in our charts below, and see who will be on upcoming ballots for the primary runoff on May 22, 2018 (bolded) and the midterm election on November 6, 2018.


Note also that, due to the vacancy left in District 13 by former Rep. Leighton Schubert's resignation, a special election will be held on May 5, 2018. See a list of the candidates on the Secretary of State's website.



Kendall Scudder
Bob Hall
Shirley Layton
Robert Nichols
Meg Walsh
Charles Schwertner
David Romero
Paul Bettencourt
Mark Phariss
Angela Paxton
Gwenn Burud
Kelly Hancock
Beverly Powell
Konni Burton
Kirk Watson
George W. Hindman
John Whitmire
Randy Orr
Nathan Johnson
Don Huffines
Rita Lucido / Fran Watson
Joan Huffman
Royce West
Steven Kling
Donna Campbell
Kevin Lopez
Pat Fallon
Kel Seliger


House of Representatives

Gary VanDeaver
Bill Brannon
Dan Flynn
Lisa Seger
Cecil Bell Jr
Eston Williams
Stuart Spitzer / Keith Bell
Bill Liebbe
Cole Hefner
Matt Schaefer
Jay Dean
Wesley D. Ratcliff
Cody Harris / Thomas McNutt
Chris Paddie
Kimberly Emery
John Wray
Alec Johnson
Travis Clardy
Marianne Arnold
Kyle Kacal
Cecil Ray Webster, Sr.
Jill Wolfskill / Ben Leman
Josh Wilkinson
John Raney
Lorena Perez McGill
Steve Toth
Mike Midler
Will Metcalf
Michelle Ryan
John P. Cyrier
Fred Lemond
Ernest Bailes
Sherry Williams
James White
Stephen M. Wyman
Terry M. Wilson
Dade Phelan
Joe Deshotel
Amanda Jamrok
Mayes Middleton
John Y. Phelps
Greg Bonnen
Dennis Bonnen
L. Sarah DeMerchant
D.F. "Rick" Miller
Ron Reynolds
Meghan Scoggins
John Zerwas
James Presley
Ed Thompson
Robin Hayter
Geanie W. Morrison
Ryan Guillen
Todd Hunter
Laura Gunn
Justin Holland
Abel Herrero
Chris Hale
Oscar Longoria
Sergio Muñoz, Jr.
Rene O. Oliveira / Alex Dominguez
Eddie Lucio III
Armando "Mando" Martínez
Terry Canales
Bobby Guerra
Hilda Garza DeShazo
Richard Peña Raymond
Luis De La Garza
Dee Ann Torres Miller
J.M. Lozano
John D. Rodgers
John Kuempel
Rebecca Bell-Metereau / Erin Zwiener
Ken Strange
Jose "Chito" Vela / Sheryl Cole
Gabriel Nila
Vikki Goodwin / Elaina Fowler
Paul D. Workman
Donna Howard
Gina Hinojosa
Kyle Austin
Celia Israel
Eddie Rodriguez
James Talarico
Cynthia Flores
Stephanie Lochte Ertel
Andrew S. Murr
Kathy Richerson
Scott Cosper / Brad Buckley
Hugh D. Shine
Katherine Turner-Pearson
Charles "Doc" Anderson
Jason Rogers
Trent Ashby
DeWayne Burns
J.D. Sheffield
Mike Lang
Phil King
Valerie N. Hefner
Reggie Smith / Brent Lawson
Laura Haines
Tan Parker
Mat Pruneda / Andrew Morris
Lynn Stucky
Michelle Beckley
Ron Simmons
Sharon Hirsch
Matt Shaheen
Sarah Depew
Jeff Leach
Drew Springer
James Frank
Julie Luton
Scott Sanford
Sam Hatton
Stan Lambert
Drew Darby
Stephanie Phillips
Kyle Biedermann
Poncho Nevárez
Mary E. Gonzalez
Cesar J. Blanco
Evelina "Lina" Ortega
Joe Moody
Jeffrey Lane
Joe C. Pickett
Tracy King
Armando Gamboa
Brooks Landgraf
Spencer Bounds
Tom Craddick
Drew Landry
Dustin Burrows
Samantha Carrillo Fields
John Frullo
Jennifer Cantu
Phil Stephenson
Mike Purcell
John Smithee
Four Price
Ezekiel Barron
Ken King
Ray Ash
Candy Noble
Ramon Romero Jr.
Jeromey Sims
Stephanie Klick
Steve Riddell
Jonathan Stickland
Nancy Bean
Matt Krause
Finnigan Jones
Tony Tinderholt
Nicole Collier
Stephen A. West
Ryan E. Ray
Bill Zedler
Beth Llewellyn McLaughlin
Craig Goldman
Mica J. Ringo
Giovanni Capriglione
Michael Stackhouse
Charlie Geren
Eric Johnson
Chris Turner
Ana-Maria Ramos
Linda Koop
Rafael M. Anchia
Jerry Fortenberry
Jessica Gonzalez
Thresa "Terry" Meza
Rodney Anderson
Ramona Thompson
Jared Patterson
Victoria Neave
Deanna Maria Metzger / Joe Ruzicka
Joanna Cattanach
Morgan Meyer
Deshaundra Lockhart Jones / Carl Sherman
Toni Rose
Yvonne Davis
Brandy K. Chambers
Angie Chen Button
Rhetta Andrews Bowers
Jonathan Boos
John Turner
Lisa Luby Ryan
Julie Johnson
Matt Rinaldi
Trey Martinez Fischer
Fernando Padron
Philip Cortez
Michael Berlanga
Leo Pacheco
John Lujan
Roland Gutierrez
Barbara Gervin-Hawkins
Ronald Payne
Celina D. Montoya
Matt Beebe / Steve Allison
Claire Barnett
Lyle Larson
Diego Bernal
Ina Minjarez
Johnny S. Arredondo
Justin Rodriguez
Natali Hurtado
E. Sam Harless
Dan Huberty
Briscoe Cain
Alexander Jonathan Karjeker
Dennis Paul
Fred Infortunio
Tom Oliverson
Alma A. Allen
Syed S. Ali
Gina Calanni
Mike Schofield
Sandra G. Moore / Marty Schexnayder
Jim Murphy
Allison Lami Sawyer
Sarah Davis
Jon E. Rosenthal
Gary Elkins
John H. Bucy III
Tony Dale
Gene Wu
Adam Milasincic
Dwayne Bohac
Jarvis D. Johnson
Armando Lucio Walle
Senfronia Thompson
Harold V. Dutton Jr.
Ana Hernandez
Mary Ann Perez
Ruben Villarreal
Carol Alvarado
Shawn Nicole Thierry
Garnet F. Coleman
Thomas Wang
Jessica Cristina Farrar
Ryan T. McConnico
Hubert Vo
Michael Shawn Kelly
Valoree Swanson


--- indicates that the party did not run a candidate in that district

Interim Hearings – Week of March 19

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.



Organizational meeting; overview of Sunset process; approval of review schedule, operating budget, and rules


Charge: Current state of infrastructure at Texas' international shipping ports and border ports of entry; transportation-related impediments to international trade and economic impact of those challenges, including border wait times


Charge: Economic Stabilization Fund: examine options to increase investment earnings; evaluate how the constitutional limit is calculated and consider alternatives methods

Charge: Monitor implementation of behavioral health, coordinating behavioral health services and expenditures, pursuant to Article IX, section 10.04, including the impact of new local grant funding  provided by the 85th Legislature

Topic: Hurricane Harvey relief and recovery


Charge 18: Monitor agencies and programs under the Committee's jurisdiction and implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 85th Legislature; specifically monitor:

Topic: Implementation of therapy rate increases and policy changes at HHSC

Topic: HHSC's use of appropriated funds to expand Texas's inpatient psychiatric infrastructure

Topic: Ongoing impact of critical-needs funding at DFPS


Topic: State of cybersecurity in Texas


Medicaid Managed Care Quality and Compliance

Charge: Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) efforts to improve quality and efficiency in the Medicaid program, including pay-for-quality initiatives in Medicaid managed care; comparison of alternative payment models and value-based payment arrangements with providers in Medicaid managed care, the Employees Retirement System, and the Teacher Retirement System, and areas for cross-collaboration and coordination

Charge: Medicaid managed care organizations' compliance with contractual obligations and the use of incentives and sanctions to enforce compliance; competitive bidding practices for Medicaid managed care contracts

Health Care Cost Transparency

Charge: Efforts by Department of State Health Services and Texas Department of Insurance to increase health care cost transparency, including a review of the Texas Health Care Information Collection (THCIC) system, and the Consumer Guide to Healthcare; making provider and facility fees accessible to improve health care cost transparency and quality of care, creating an informed health care consumer base


Charge: System/campus expansion


Charge 2: Review conflict of interest laws and personal financial statement requirements governing public officers and employees

Charge 3:  Review penalties under Chapter 305, Government Code (registration of lobbyists)

Charge 5: Review procedures used at the Texas Ethics Commission; identify ways to resolve complaints


Child Welfare

Charge: Family preservation in the Family Based Social Services (FBSS) stage of service at the Department of Family and Protective Services, tracking quality of services and linking payments to providers of these services to outcomes for families and children

  • DFPS Data Book, Child Protective Services (CPS) Family Preservation (Fiscal Years 2015, 2016, 2017; Interactive Map), Texas Department of Family and Protective Services
  • Family Based Support Programs, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services

Charge: Department of Family and Protective Services' progress in timely visits to children involved in a reported case of abuse or neglect

Charge: Services and supports provided to children in Permanent Managing Conservatorship of the state, and the level of preparedness given to youth aging out of state care

Charge: Effectiveness of public and private agency efforts to recruit and retain foster parents, barriers to entry and obstacles that prevent interested families from continuing to provide foster care

Substance Abuse/Opioids

Charge: Substance use prevention, intervention, and recovery programs; adequacy of substance use services for pregnant and postpartum women in Medicaid or Healthy Texas Women Program; impact of legislation on overprescribing and doctor shopping via the prescription monitoring program


Current Articles & Research Resources, March 8

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

  • Review election night returns. (Texas Secretary of State, accessed March 8, 2018)
  • Explore statistics related to disability in the United States. (Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Disability Statistics and Demographics, January 2018)
  • Consider the effects of tariffs on U.S. jobs. (Trade Partnership Worldwide, LLC, March 5, 2018)
  • See how states are addressing public transit challenges. (The Council of State Governments, February 28, 2018)
  • Read about how the opioid crisis is affecting organ donations. (The Detroit News, March 5, 2018)

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

  • "New states' rights battle: marijuana." By Patrik Jonsson and Story Hinckley. Christian Science Monitor, February 12, 2018, pp. 18-20.
    Considers the 29 states that provide for the legal sale of medical marijuana and the action of Attorney General Jeff Sessions to have United States Attorneys become more aggressive in prosecuting federal marijuana law in states that have decriminalized production and sale.
  • "Texas lawmakers weigh the limits of free speech on campus." By Katherine Mangan. Chronicle of Higher Education, February 9, 2018, p. A22.
    Highlights testimony heard at a January 31, 2018 meeting of the Senate Committee on State Affairs regarding free speech on college campuses.
    Related information at:
  • "Giving families an 'equal shot' at choice." By Michele Molnar. Education Week, February 21, 2018, pp. 16-19.
    Profiles Mohammed Choudhury, San Antonio Independent School District's chief innovation officer, and his efforts there (and previously in Dallas Independent School District) to help the district desegregate and provide equal educational opportunity. Describes his use of district charter schools and data analysis to encourage schools that are intentionally mixed by socioeconomic status.
  • "Steps gained toward policy goals, more to climb." By Susanne Retka Schill. Ethanol Today, January/February 2018, pp. 8-13.
    Points out two policy-related issues in the ethanol industry that recently received favorable outcomes at the national level. Identifies what the ethanol industry is currently doing to address Reid vapor pressure [RVP] relief and exports. Concludes by covering the industry's long-term goals.
    Related information at:
  • "Uncle Sam's secret bitcoin windfall." By Jeff John Roberts. Fortune, March 1, 2018, pp. 112-117.
    Considers cryptocurrency in the context of asset forfeiture and how such forfeitures should be documented.
  • "Are high-poverty school districts disproportionately impacted by state funding cuts? School finance equity following the Great Recession." By David S. Knight. Journal of Education Finance, Fall 2017, pp. 169-194 (Note Length).
    Examines the effects of recessionary spending cuts on high-poverty school districts in Texas and elsewhere as compared to wealthier districts. Finds there was a disproportionate influence on high-poverty districts and suggests strategies for restoring state education budgets.
  • "The arms dealer." By Mike Spies. New Yorker, March 5, 2018, pp. 24-31.
    Profiles the work of the influential National Rifle Association [NRA] lobbyist, Marion Hammer, and her efforts to pass pro-gun laws in Florida, such as the "Stand Your Ground" law.
  • "'Of urgent concern': what prompted House Bill 162, the Groundwater Conservation Act of 1949." By Charles Porter. Panhandle-Plains Historical Review, Volume LXXXVIII, 2017, pp. 1-18.
    Presents a legislative history of the Groundwater Conservation Act of 1949 (HB 162, 51st Legislature, 1949) amid the World War II era movement to declare state ownership of groundwater. Describes the involvement of Representatives Dolph Briscoe and I.B. Holt in the legislation.
  • "Comal County, Texas: preparing for life after high school." By Frank Walter. Phi Delta Kappan, February 2018, pp. 34-35.
    Highlights Communities in Schools [CIS] of South Central Texas, which works in seventeen Comal Independent School District schools. Reports that 99 percent of students in the program in grades seven through twelve have stayed in school.
  • "It takes a community." By Reuben Jacobson, et al. Phi Delta Kappan, February 2018, pp. 8-14.
    Examines community school programs that provide K-12 curriculum integrated with health and social services and family and community engagement.
  • "The pernicious myth of 'chain migration'." By Shikha Dalmia. Reason, March 2018, p. 14.
    Argues that ending "mass immigration" will break up nuclear families. Reports immigrants sponsored by family members have the same final earnings as those sponsored by an employer.
  • "Glass half full: decentralization in health policy." By Carol S. Weissert and Matthew J. Uttermark. State and Local Government Review, September 2017, pp. 199-214 (Note Length).
    Examines cycles of centralization and decentralization in health care policy over the past 40 years. Describes states' "positive leverage" in designing the Children's Health Insurance Program [CHIP] and Medicaid policy, federal and state leverage in Medicaid waivers, and the health care debate under the Trump administration.
  • "Variable speed limits: improving safety or confusing motorists?" By Jenni Bergal. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), February 23, 2018, pp. 1-4.
    Discusses the pros and cons of using high-tech systems to change speed limits based on traffic and weather conditions.
  • "PUC to review energy storage issues." Texas Public Power, February 2018, pp. 1, 8.
    Reports that the Public Utilities Commission [PUC] of Texas dismissed a request by American Electric Power [AEP] Texas to install two battery storage systems.
    Related information at: pgControl.asp?TXT_CNTRL_NO=46368 and
  • "Attacking 'false evidence' and 'junk science' in wrongful convictions." By Mike Ware. Voice for the Defense, January/February 2018, pp. 24-31.
    Discusses the distinction between "innocence" and "actual innocence" in the context of wrongful convictions and seeking post-conviction relief.

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: Election-Related Reports

It's primary election day! Texas Election Code § 41.007 sets the general primary election date as "the first Tuesday in March in each even-numbered year," which makes Texas the first state to hold its primary this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.


To learn more about topics the legislature has discussed pertaining to elections over the years, you can use our Legislative Reports page, enter "election" in the subject field, then click "search." Then, you can drill down to more specific topic(s) and click "view reports" to explore committee member lists, reports, minutes, and related documents.

For information about voting today, visit the Secretary of State's website.


Cover image by Flickr user Jon Wiley.

Interim Hearings – Week of March 12

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.



House Committee on Human Services

Charge 2: Managed care in Texas – Medicaid Managed Care history, initiatives of managed care organizations (MCOs) to improve quality and coordination of care, Health and Human Services Commission's (HHSC) oversight of MCOs

Current Articles and Research Resources, March 1

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

  • Explore salary data from thousands of colleges. (The Chronicle of Higher Education, accessed February 28, 2018)
  • Consider whether nutrition labeling on restaurant menus and vending machine items has affected the nation's obesity crisis. (Congressional Research Service, February 5, 2018)
  • Find laws state by state and federal law on recording conversations. (Matthiesen, Wickert, & Lehrer, S.C., January 3, 2018)
  • Read about mobile device addiction in children and parents. (USA Today, February 22, 2018)

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

  • "Top 5 issues 2018." By John Mountjoy, et al. Capitol Ideas, January/February 2018, pp. 7-25.
    Previews the top five issues facing states in 2018 in the policy areas of education, energy and environment, fiscal and economic development, federal affairs, health, international affairs, transportation, workforce development, and agriculture. Includes Medicaid waivers, infrastructure, the opioid epidemic, and the 2018 farm bill reauthorization.
  • "What does it mean to be evangelical?" Christian Science Monitor, January 29, 2018, pp. 18-20.
    Examines the historical, political, and cultural roots of Christian evangelicals and considers whether the current political identification is doing harm to the religious identification.
  • "Developers have built it, but will hyperscale hop on the DFW bandwagon?; Top 10 projects in DFW." By Candace Carlisle. Dallas Business Journal, February 16, 2018, pp. 16-17, 20-21.
    Profiles the North Texas data center market and how it compares across the nation.
  • "Harassment a pressing issue for schools." By Stephen Sawchuck. Education Week, February 7, 2018, pp. 1, 17.
    Reports the #MeToo movement has raised awareness of sexual harassment in the K-12 environment and few schools address the topic with their students. Suggests there is need for sex education that includes discussion of healthy relationships and sexual consent, noting California is currently the only state that requires schools to address consent.
  • "States are teaching flawed lessons on slavery, says study." By Stephen Sawchuck. Education Week, February 7, 2018, p. 10.
    Discusses study conducted by the Southern Poverty Law Center on how slavery is taught in schools in the United States. Concludes schools are failing to teach fundamental aspects of history based on ten key concepts on slavery used in the study to evaluate content standards, textbooks, and teacher/student experiences.
  • "Open for business: Trump's tenants." By Dan Alexander and Matt Drange. Forbes, February 28, 2018, pp. 88, 90-95.
    Assembles a first-of-its-kind look at who is paying rent to President Trump, tracking how many millions are involved and possible conflicts of interest.
  • "Medicaid versus Marketplace coverage for near-poor adults: effects on out-of-pocket spending and coverage." By Fredric Blavin, et al. Health Affairs, February 2018, pp. 299-307.
    Reports that more restrictive eligibility and enrollment policies, combined with higher premiums for Marketplace coverage relative to Medicaid, led to lower insurance enrollment rates and higher out-of-pocket spending for near-poor adults.
  • "The problem with work requirements for Medicaid." By Aaron E. Carroll. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), February 20, 2018, pp. 646-647.
    Argues that the number of Medicaid recipients who could work but choose not to is small, and therefore, imposing work requirements for Medicaid would result in increased administrative costs that likely would not be balanced by increased savings.
  • "2017 legislative changes in incentive programs." By Betty W. McIntosh, Jane Orlin, and Brooklin Salemi. Journal of MultiState Taxation and Incentives, February 2018, pp. 28-33.
    Highlights recent legislation in four states creating new tax credits and economic development incentives, including Arkansas' new sales and use tax exemptions, job tax credits in Arizona and Georgia, and New Jersey's incentives aimed at expanding the retail and service industries.
  • "Easing the burden: why paid family leave policies are gaining steam." By Maya Rossin-Slater. Policy Brief (Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research), February 2018, pp. 1-6.
    Describes current research on the impacts of paid family leave on workers, children, and employers.
  • "Net neutrality debate rages on: can we agree on ground rules for debate?" By Stephen Goodman. Public Utilities Fortnightly, February 2018, pp. 69, 73.
    Provides perspectives on the latest developments in the net neutrality debate.
    Related information at: and
  • "Making the Fairness Doctrine great again." By Thomas Hazlett. Reason, March 2018, pp. 34-39.
    Discusses the history of regulatory policies dedicated to furthering "the public interest" in media and how this will affect new information markets. Argues ideological diversity is improved with fewer public interest rules.
  • "Too big to fine, too small to fight back." By Naveena Sadasivam. Texas Observer, Feb./March 2018, pp.12-21.
    Investigates enforcement activity of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality [TCEQ] from 2009 to 2017. Reports there is a significant disparity in penalties levied by TCEQ: small gas station owners often face steep fines for minor recordkeeping violations while large industrial facilities pay low or no fines for pollution violations.

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.

Interim Hearings – Week of March 5

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.


March 8

House Committee on Land & Resource Management (Houston)  

Charge: General Land Office (GLO) role and efforts during the recovery period following Hurricane Harvey, disaster readiness and protocols, assessment of public lands

Charge: State Power Program operated by the GLO

63rd–77th Legislatures Committee Minutes Available Online

Committee minutes of the 77th Legislature (House, Senate, and Joint, 2001–2002) have been scanned and are available in the LRL's committee minutes database. Our database now contains scanned minutes for the 63rd–77th Legislatures (1973–2001).

In addition to the information typically included in minutes, a variety of interesting supplemental resources, reports, maps, and transcripts are available. (Some of these PDFs include bookmarks to enhance navigation.) For example:

The LRL database also allows users to search for committee documents from the 78th–85th Legislatures that are available through Texas Legislature Online.

The committee minutes database will continue to grow as we scan older minutes before 1973 in our collection.

Images, left to right: 

The Joint Blue Ribbon Task Force on the Uninsured held meetings in various Texas cities, such as this one in Harlingen, as they examined the problem of Texans who lack health insurance.

If you’re interested in contested elections, you can use the committee search ( to find election committee records. Election contests usually fall to a select/special committee, like the Special House Committee on Privileges and Elections, 66th R.S., that reviewed the contest between Kae Patrick and Donald Cartwright for the election of a representative from District 57H.

Current Articles and Research Resources, February 22

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

  • Examine criminal history information systems by state. (Bureau of Justice Statistics, January 2018)
  • Review the country's economic progress during the first year of the Trump administration. (Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, February 2018)
  • See how the United States ranks against other top ten best countries. (U.S. News & World Report, ©2018)
  • Track approval ratings by state for President Trump. (Morning Consult, February 1, 2018)

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

  • "America is not a democracy." By Yascha Mounk. Atlantic Monthly, March 2018, pp. 80-87.
    Explains that the preferences of a majority of Americans are not reflected in public policy on many issues. Recommends various reforms such as better pay for Congressional staff to attract more expertise, stronger conflict of interest rules, and changes to campaign finance laws.
  • "UT-Austin professors join campaign against productivity company." By Paul Basken. Chronicle of Higher Education, February 2, 2018, p. A21.
    Highlights concerns University of Texas at Austin professors have regarding the data company, Academic Analytics, and use of the company's analysis to determine promotions, tenure, and other faculty issues.
  • "Amazon's search for HQ2." Dallas Business Journal, February 9, 2018, pp. 13-15.
    Projects the top contenders among the twenty finalists for Amazon's second headquarters.
  • "Charities and tax in America: mass deduction" Economist, February 17th-23rd, 2018, pp. 64-65.
    Reports recent tax reforms in America will hurt some charities more than others.
  • "Regulation: how to rig an economy." Economist, February 17th-23rd, 2018, pp. 25-26.
    Advocates against unnecessary licensing, noting occupational regulations' potential to chill competition and boost inequality.
  • "Tax abatement agreements and taxpayer bankruptcies." By Dennis Rimkunas and L. Matthew Waterhouse. Journal of MultiState Taxation and Incentives, February 2018, pp. 6-13.
    Reviews the adoption and enforceability of ipso facto clauses in tax abatement agreements and the procedures when it comes to a taxpayer's bankruptcy. Highlights the requirements of Texas' tax abatement agreements to reduce property taxes in Texas Tax Code Chapter 312.
    Related information at:
  • "Reasons for electronic cigarette use among middle and high school students — National Youth Tobacco Survey, United States, 2016." By James Tsai, et al. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), February 16, 2018, pp. 196-200.
    Surveys adolescents to understand better why electronic cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product among the age group. Reports that the most common answers were use by friends or family, the availability of sweet flavors, and the belief that e-cigarettes are less harmful than other forms of tobacco.
  • "Real choices, real savings: keeping the lights on for low-income customers." By Jessica Porter. Public Power, January/February 2018, pp. 8-13.
    Highlights public power programs created to assist low-income customers.
  • "Renewables are cheaper than the existing grid (which is cheaper than renewables): central vs. local supply." By Charles Bayless. Public Utilities Fortnightly, February 2018, pp. 38-31, 67.
    Compares the costs of renewable energy to energy derived from the existing electric grids. Discusses costs associated with connecting renewable energy sources to the existing electric grids.
  • "Talking Texas markets, part 1." Public Utilities Fortnightly, February 2018, pp. 28-33, 75.
    Features part one of a conversation between the editor-in-chief of Public Utilities Fortnightly and four leaders from the energy industry in Texas.
  • "America's secret death penalty drugs." By C.J. Ciaramella. Reason, March 2018, p. 10.
    Highlights the tactics and laws various states employ to keep secret the drug sources and methods used for death penalty lethal injection.
  • "An unequal right to bear arms: state weapons laws and white supremacy in Texas, 1836-1900." By Brennan Gardner Rivas. Southwestern Historical Quarterly, January 2018, pp. 284-303.
    Describes the prominent role of firearms in Texas culture and the history of early gun legislation dating to the Republic of Texas.
  • "Supreme Court weighs in on WOTUS challenges." By Jessica Domel. Texas Agriculture, February 2, 2018, p. 8.
    Reviews the United States Supreme Court's ruling that federal district courts — rather than federal appeals courts — have jurisdiction to review the Environmental Protection Agency's WOTUS [Waters of the United States] rule. Points out that district courts provide landowners with a better venue to have their cases heard.
    Related information at:
  • "PUC concerned about direct current [DC] ties to Mexico." Texas Public Power, January 2018, pp. 5, 7.
    Mentions recent measures taken by the Public Utilities Commission [PUC] to address their concern about the Electric Reliability Council Of Texas' [ERCOT] jurisdictional relationship to electric power-related entities outside of the state.
    Related information at:
  • "Tax bill keeps tax exemption for municipal bonds." Texas Public Power, January 2018, p. 3.
    Provides an update regarding the recently passed tax bill and its effect on municipal bonds.
    Related information at:

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.

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