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Bills Effective September 1, 2014

On September 1, 2014, provisions of 11 bills passed during the 83rd Legislature, Regular Session and 2nd Called Session will take effect, relating to public schools, motor vehicle inspections, indigent defense, veterans, public retirement systems, regulation of abortion, and other topics.
Additionally, sections of bills passed during the 82nd Legislature, Regular Session and 82nd Legislature, 1st Called Session in 2011 will take effect on September 1.
To keep up with new laws throughout the year, check the Library's list of bill effective dates.

Week in Review, August 28th

In this weekly post, we feature online articles and policy reports published recently, and other helpful research tools.
  • Consider a review of the problems plaguing the Phoenix VA Health Care System. (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General, August 26, 2014)
  • Examine the legal background of same-sex marriage after the United States v. Windsor case. (Congressional Research Service, August 15, 2014)
  • Check out this free casebook on intellectual property law. (Duke Law School, 2014)
  • Explore the redesigned Texas Ahead website. (Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, accessed August 27, 2014)
  • Read about changes to what is available on PACER. (Public Access to Court Electronic Records, Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, August 11, 2014)

Interim Hearings – Week of September 1st

Interim Hearings – Week of September 1st
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.
September 3rd Top
House Committee on Human Services
Charge: Legislative oversight and monitoring of agencies and programs under the committee's jurisdiction, including implementation of the Balancing Incentives Program and legislation passed by the 83rd Legislature
September 4th Top
House Committee on Appropriations
Topic: Strategic Fiscal Review directive by the Speaker of the House
House Committees on Higher Education and Human Services (Joint Hearing)
Charge: Foster youth in higher education
Topics: Potential revenue sources, Identified savings and efficiencies (per HB 1, 83rd 3rd C.S.), Surplus property report, Debt reduction possibilities, Funding formula presentation
House Committee on State Affairs
Charge: Methods state agencies use for planning for investment in future infrastructure
Charge: State agency contracting
Charge: Legislative oversight and monitoring of agencies and programs
September 5th Top
Joint Interim Committee on Education Policy for a Skilled Workforce
Charge:  Linking postsecondary education with the needs of the labor market, high school and postsecondary curricula requirements, opportunities for new education-workforce partnerships, and the impact of emerging industrial sectors on the Texas workforce
Charge:  Career and technical education's impact on high school graduation, transitions to postsecondary education, industry-based certification, a postsecondary certificate, or an associate's degree

Week in Review, August 21st

In this weekly post, we feature online articles and policy reports published recently, and other helpful research tools.
  • Read about how Texas declining to expand Medicaid may affect the Hispanic population. (National Council of La Raza, August 19, 2014)
  • Examine America's changing refugee population. (The Washington Post, August 13, 2014)
  • Consider how hospitals are handling charity care in light of the Affordable Care Act. (Kaiser Health News, August 18, 2014)
  • Read the report, An Unbalanced Recovery: Real Wage and Job Growth Trends. (National Employment Law Project, ©2014)

Paschal's Digest Now Online

George Washington Paschal
George W. Paschal
Image courtesy of Texas State Library & Archives Commission

The library is pleased to announce the addition of Paschal's Digest to our online offerings of historic Texas laws. Published in 1866 by George Paschal, the Digest is often regarded as the first successful, helpful compilation of Texas laws. The Digest also served as the basis for the first complete official codification of Texas statutes, adopted in 1879.

Researchers who trace the history of Texas statutes are familiar with Paschal's Digest, which is abbreviated in legislative history annotations as "P.D.__"

The LRL would like to thank the Tarlton Law Library at the University of Texas at Austin for their participation in this project.



Interim Hearings – Week of August 25th

Interim Hearings – Week of August 25th
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.
August 25th Top
House Committee on Energy Resources
August 26th Top
Senate Committee on Education
Charge 1: Examine STAAR writing scores and review types of writing required.  Explore need for targeted professional development in writing
Charge #2: Monitor implementation of legislation and make recommendations needed to improve, enhance and/or complete implementation:
  • HB 5, update from previous hearing on the passing rates of STAAR End-of-Course assessments for the graduating class of 2015
  • HB 1926, relating to the operation of the state virtual school network and courses provided through other distance learning arrangements
  • SB 376, relating to breakfast for certain public school students
  • HB 617, relating to transition and employment services for public school students enrolled in special education programs.
House Committee on Energy Resources
Charge 1: Study the impact of the expanding oil and gas exploration and production occurring across the state. The study should review of the following issues:
  • The effect on the state budget and the Economic Stabilization Fund;
  • The overall impact on the state economy;
  • The impact on property values and local taxes;
  • The effect on roads;
  • The impact on local school districts;
  • The complex relationship between land owners, royalty owners, and operators;
  • The impact on the environment, including emissions and injection wells;
  • Projected water needs and how those fit with our state water plan; and
  • The housing issues created by the number of workers needed in areas of shale plays.
Charge 2: Study the efficiency and effectiveness of the P5 permitting process at the Railroad Commission
Charge 3: Study and review the appropriation of general revenue dollars allocated to the Railroad Commission for improvements in IT systems to ensure those funds are being utilized to streamline the permitting process and to allow access to information for all parties that conduct business at the Commission.
Charge 4: Review the application of Texas Business & Commerce Code, Section 9.343, to determine the legal rights of unperfected security interests of oil and gas producers with respect to subsequent purchasers, specifically in the context of a bankruptcy proceeding such as Arrow Oil & Gas, Inc. v. SemCrude, L.P. and subsequent cases.
Charge 5: Monitor the implementation of HB 2982 (83R) to ensure that the required rulemaking is completed efficiently and in a timely manner.
House Committee on Transportation
Charge: Usage of state funds by the Texas Department of Transportation for improving road quality in areas impacted by Energy Sector activities
Charge: Implementation of "Turn-Back Program" by the Texas Department of Transportation, specifically fiscal impact to municipalities and taxpayers
Charge: County authority to utilize tax increment financing and transportation reinvestment zones to fund transportation projects
Charge: Legislative oversight and monitoring of agencies and programs under the committee's jurisdiction
August 27th Top
House Select Committee on Economic Development Incentives
Testimony from various state incentive programs, including the moving image industry, special events funds, and local programs, and coordination between state and local economic development entities
House Committee on Government Efficiency & Reform
Charge: Current restrictions on state and local government relating to construction of critical infrastructure, including transportation and water projects
Charge: Application of Public Information Act to requests for large amounts of electronic data
August 28th Top
Topic: Current state of the health care workforce in Texas

Week in Review, August 14th

In this weekly post, we feature online articles and policy reports published recently, and other helpful research tools.
  • Explore the 2014 Kids Count Data Book. (Annie E. Casey Foundation, July 22, 2014)
  • See infographics on the American Dream of today. (Fast Company, July 30, 2014)
  • Examine the economic and energy system effects of the EPA's power plant emissions standards. (Center for Strategic and International Studies, July 24, 2014)
  • Compare MIT's "modules" to more traditional college courses. (Chronicle of Higher Education, Wired Campus blog, August 5, 2014)

Governor Executive Orders in Texas

Executive Order from 1950
A recent article by the Sunlight Foundation evaluated all 50 states on the accessibility of their governor's executive orders. Texas earned an A, scoring high marks in categories such as machine readability, use of non-proprietary formats, availability of executive orders for current and prior administrations, and timeliness of availability (how quickly executive orders are posted after they are issued).
While the study focused on the executive orders available through Gov. Perry's site, it's worth noting that the library has an extensive collection of Texas executive orders, and has made them available online through our Governor Documents database. You'll find all executive orders from Gov. Rick Perry, as well as those in our collection from previous governors. Our oldest executive order dates to 1950 (Gov. Robert Allan Shivers), and concerns state disaster relief and civil defense. 
While you're exploring the executive orders, it might interest you to take a look at some of the other documents available in the database, including disaster declarations, 2001-present, and emergency matters submitted in past legislative sessions.

Week in Review, August 7th

In this weekly post, we feature online articles and policy reports published recently, and other helpful research tools.
  • Read about household debt in America. (Urban Institute, July 2014)
  • Consider the history of financial aid in higher education. (Journal of Student Financial Aid, 2014)
  • Review findings on the college preparedness of low income students. (ACT, July 17,  2014)
  • See maps of death sentences and executions by state over time. (The Washington Post, July 24, 2014)
  • Examine how school administrators are adapting campus anti-tobacco policies to include e-cigarettes. (Education Week, July 29, 2014)
  • Look at where different generations are choosing to live throughout the country. (Governing, July 31, 2014)

Interim Hearings – Week of August 11th

Interim Hearings – Week of August 11th
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.
August 12th Top
House Select Committee on Economic Development Incentives
Topic: Texas Enterprise Fund, Emerging Technology Fund, and incentives which help to stimulate innovation and creativity
Senate Committee on Finance   
Topics: Budget process, General revenue outlook, Texas economy, Constitutional spending limits, Economic Stabilization Fund, Methods of finance, Border related issues impacting state budget
August 13th Top
Topic: Commission decisions
House Committee on Defense & Veterans' Affairs
Topic: Effectiveness and responsibilities of the Texas Military Preparedness Commission (TMPC), Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Task Force (SB 1200, 83rd R.S.)
August 14th Top
Senate Committee on Government Organization
Charge: State agency training, policies, and procedures for monitoring and reporting performance of state contracts
Senate Committee on Health & Human Services
Charge 7: Implementation of legislation addressed by the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services, 83rd Legislature, Regular Session, including Medicaid long-term care; reducing fraud, waste, and abuse in Texas Medicaid and other programs; Dental Board reforms; and Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas
Charge 4: Cost-effective alternatives to Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act to better connect low income individuals to health care services through private market-based solutions, including Medicaid block grants and waivers
 House Committee on House Administration
Topic: Select committee budgets
August 15th Top
Senate Committee on Health & Human Services
Charge 2: Implementation of programs created or expanded by the 83rd Legislature to improve mental health and substance abuse services
Charge 6: Current state of prescription drug abuse and strategies for reducing prescription drug abuse in Texas
Charge 5: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program structure

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