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Current Articles and Research Resources, February 15

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

  • Explore the status of remote sales tax collection in the states and in U.S. Supreme Court rulings. (National Conference of State Legislatures, January 25, 2018)
  • Read about the net worth of every American president. (24/7 Wall St., February 12, 2018)
  • Find statistics and history related to women in Congress. (Congressional Research Service, February 6, 2018)
  • Trace a history of the last 100 years of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. (Macrotrends, accessed February 14, 2018)
  • Consider the pros and cons of motorcycle lane-splitting. (Stateline, February 9, 2018)

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

  • "Let us pray." By David L. Hudson. ABA Journal: The Lawyer's Magazine, February 2018, pp. 18-19.
    Reports the federal circuit split on the constitutionality of legislator-led prayer before public meetings may lead to United States Supreme Court review.
  • "Crunch still on to find skilled workers in Texas." By Ryan Salchert. Austin Business Journal, February 9, 2018, p. 15.
    Reports that despite construction employment growth in 2017, skilled labor shortages will continue to be an issue for the industry because of the emphasis on college education over trade education. Includes comment by Representative Barbara Gervin-Hawkins.
    Related information at:
  • "Transparency concerns raised in bid here, other cities." By Daniel Salazar. Austin Business Journal, February 9, 2018, p. 12.
    Discusses transparency issues relating to Austin's bid for Inc.'s second headquarters. Notes a growing trend in cities blocking release of information that would give an advantage to a competitor.
  • "High school renaissance." By Amadou Diallo. Christian Science Monitor, January 29, 2018, pp. 24-30.
    Focuses on three previously low-performing schools in rural Ohio, Chicago, and Tulsa demonstrating a variety of innovative programs that are successful in improving graduation rates and creating paths to higher education.
  • "The need to shore up US infrastructure." By Laurent Belsie and Mark Trumbull. Christian Science Monitor, January 29, 2018, p. 17.
    Presents the need for infrastructure investment in the United States and defines the associated costs. States an investment of $4.26 per day per household would reap a benefit of $9.31 per household.
  • "Could this cell save your life?" By Jeneen Interlandi. Consumer Reports, March 2018, pp. 37-41.
    Warns of risks associated with experimental stem cell treatments. Notes the United States Federal Drug Administration is working on a new framework for stem cell regulations to provide more oversight over cellular therapies.
    Related information at:
  • "Digital health: surgical intervention." Economist, February 3rd-9th, 2018, pp. 53-55.
    Describes how the world's biggest technology firms — including Apple, Alphabet (Google), and Amazon — are poised to move beyond wearable devices that track fitness to platforms that deliver real medical services to patients at lower costs.
  • "The safety net: working for it." Economist, January 20th-26th, 2018, pp. 23-24.
    Highlights Kentucky's Medicaid eligibility reforms, which will require that recipients work, volunteer, or study in exchange for medical care.
    Related information at:
  • "Ethanol: your engine's answer to wintertime woes." By Kristy Moore. Ethanol Today, January/February 2018, pp. 20-21.
    Explains the benefits of ethanol as a source of fuel during cold weather.
  • "A storm to remember: Hurricane Harvey and the Texas economy." Fiscal Notes, February 2018, pp. 1-16.
    Presents the comptroller's original research and analysis on the economic impact of Hurricane Harvey, including hurricane history, direct and indirect damages, disaster relief funding sources, and future mitigation and flood control options. Estimates the net impact of the storm will be a loss of $3.8 billion in gross state product [GSP] during the first year, followed by a cumulative gain of $800 million over three years.
  • "Texas charter school system suffers low graduation rates." By María Robledo Montecel. IDRA Newsletter (Intercultural Development Research Association), January 2018, p. 6.
    Highlights studies that show charter schools have lower graduation rates than traditional public schools.
  • "Physicians join frontline efforts to curb gun injuries, deaths." By Bridget M. Kuehn. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), February 6, 2018, pp. 428-430.
    Describes increasing efforts by physicians to address gun violence by collaborating with state and national legislators and partnering with gun owners to promote gun safety.
  • "Our infrastructure inefficiency." By Jonathan Coppage. National Review, February 19, 2018, pp. 14-15, 19.
    Explains infrastructure projects cost more in the United States than in other industrialized countries due to high labor costs and "buy American" procurement rules. Considers innovative projects using private money such as Texas Central, the proposed high-speed-rail system connecting Houston and Dallas.
  • "Blockchain 101: 5 questions every banker should ask." By Lee Wetherington. Texas Banking, February 2018, pp. 8-11.
    Discusses digital currency from a banking perspective, including comparisons of bitcoin versus blockchain, and blockchain versus distributed ledger technology [DLT].
  • "Law school power struggle amplifies woes." By Angela Morris. Texas Lawyer, February 2018, pp. 18-20.
    Reports on the problems within the leadership of the Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law and its parent institution, as well as the censure issued against the school for multiple standards violations.
  • "Well endowed." By Neena Satija. Washington Monthly, January/February/March 2018, pp. 27-31.
    Examines how the University of Texas System chooses to use money from the Permanent University Fund.

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 February 2018

The Library is continually adding new books to its collection. Below are the seven titles from our February 2018 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. Minority Civil Rights and the Texas Legislature
By Secretary of Senate and Senate Engrossing & Enrolling
Surveys the history of racial intolerance toward minorities and the evolution of civil rights in Texas. Details how African American and Hispanic representation in the Texas Legislature has changed through the years. Profiles Texas lawmakers and leaders and their contributions to racial equality. Includes a selection of contemporary and historic photographs and artwork.
Senate Publications and Printing, 2018. 22 pages.
L1803.8 M667 2018



2. Till Freedom Cried Out: Memories of Texas Slave Life
By T. Lindsay Baker and Julie P. Baker, editors
Describes the lives of 33 former Texas slaves in their own words, as recorded by the Federal Writers Oral History Program carried out between 1937 and 1939. Complements this collection of life experiences brutalized by slavery with drawings by Kermit Oliver – the 2017 Texas State Artist – whose own ancestors were enslaved Texans.
Texas A&M University Press, 1997. 162 pages.
976.405 T46 1997



3. Homer Thornberry: Congressman, Judge, and Advocate for Equal Rights
By Homer Ross Tomlin
Examines the life of Homer Thornberry, who began his long career in public service with a stint in the Texas Legislature while still in law school. Documents his life in Congress and on the federal bench, and his strong stands for racial justice.
TCU Press, 2016. 222 pages.
347.73 T596H 2016



4. Still the Arena of Civil War: Violence and Turmoil in Reconstruction Texas, 1865-1874
By Kenneth W. Howell
Asserts that Texas was one of the most violent areas in the South after the Civil War, compiling a collection of essays that illustrate and analyze the bloodshed and cruelty that was directed toward blacks and Unionists. Argues that the violence and disruption of the Reconstruction era can be viewed as a continuation of the Civil War, and through that lens, the South may actually have won the War.
University of North Texas Press, 2012. 445 pages.
976.406 H839S 2012



5. Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin is Changing Money, Business, and the World
By Don Tapscott and Alex Tapscott
Demystifies distributed ledger technology, better known as blockchain, which has the potential to transform the global economy, government services, and the cultural arts. Provides guidance on how to navigate this revolutionary innovation that facilitates secure online peer-to-peer transactions without any intermediary and allows for transparency while simultaneously preserving privacy. Addresses implementation challenges and risks as well as what needs to happen for this promising technology to succeed.
Portfolio / Penguin, 2016. 348 pages.
332.178 T169B 2016



6. Addicted to Rehab: Race, Gender, and Drugs in the Era of Mass Incarceration
By Allison McKim
Contrasts two types of rehabilitation programs, one in the criminal justice system and one in the private healthcare system. Questions how we define addiction and how we use rehabs as an alternative to punitive incarcerations. Evaluates how race, economic status, and gender affect those in the rehab system.
Rutgers University Press, 2017. 232 pages.
362.29 M212A 2017



7. Summary of Enactments: 85th Legislature
By Texas Legislative Council
Provides synopses of significant legislation that was passed by the Texas Legislature in 2017. Includes bill number, author, sponsor, effective date, and governor's vetoes.
Texas Legislative Council, 2017. 320 pages.
Online at:
L1400.7 AC27 2017

Interim Hearings – Week of February 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.

Charge: Use of federal funds in response to Hurricane Harvey, federal funds and investment in infrastructure projects to reduce impact of future natural disasters


Senate Committee on Finance

Charge: Property tax on business personal property and current $500 exemption

Charge: Interest rate disparity in delinquent property and state taxes, compared to property and state tax refunds

  • Report to the 85th Legislature (Charge 6 – Delinquent tax collection, tax lien transfers, and interest rates), Senate Committee on Business and Commerce, November 2016
  • Interim Report to the 84th Legislature (Charge 2 – Existing lien laws, property tax liens and interest rates), House Committee on Business and Industry, January 2015

Charge: Monitor implementation of sporting goods sales tax and state and local park needs

Topic: Hurricane Harvey relief and recovery


House Committee on Agriculture & Livestock

Charge: Early detection of exotic invasive organisms that could threaten the production of agricultural crops


Senate Committee on State Affairs

Charge: Implementation of SB 24 and HB 555, 85th Legislature, R.S., religious freedom

Charge: Attorney General's jurisdiction on abortion and multi-jurisdictional human trafficking cases


Senate Committee on Transportation

Charge: Funding opportunities for Texas ports

Charge: Human smuggling

Charge: Highway naming


Joint Interim Committee on Higher Education Formula Funding

Topic: Improvements to the current formula funding system for institutions of higher education


Senate Select Committee on Election Security

Charge: Voting security protocols, responsibilities and duties of Electoral College, voting fraud and disenfranchisement occurring inside nursing homes and assisted living facilities, outside interference and manipulation of elections

Current Articles and Research Resources, February 8

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

  • Examine the causes of recession. (, February 2, 2018)
  • Review U.S. Supreme Court cases related to redistricting. (National Conference of State Legislatures, January 30, 2018)
  • Read about the job market for recent law school graduates. (Gallup, ©2018)
  • Consider how pets can help make their humans healthier. (National Institutes of Health, February 2018)
  • Explore what makes farmers' almanacs so successful even today. (Topic, January 2018)

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

  • "Gerrymandering finally gets its day in court." By Peter Coy and Greg Stohr. Bloomberg Businessweek, January 22, 2018, p. 39.
    Discusses redistricting cases going before the United States Supreme Court. Mentions previous redistricting cases, including LULAC v. Perry, and considers how the Court may rule on the new cases.
  • "California budget proposal includes online college." By Eric Kelderman. Chronicle of Higher Education, January 19, 2018, p. A33.
    Highlights a budget proposal by California Governor Jerry Brown calling for a fully online community college. Explains this online, competency-based approach is similar to systems within the University of Wisconsin and the State University of New York.
  • "One organization, seven decades, ten epic battles." By Rob Boston. Church & State, February 2018, pp. 8-13.
    Recounts Americans United's advocacy in ten pivotal church-state separation cases.
  • "Higher education: all must have degrees." Economist, February 3rd-9th, 2018, pp. 51-52.
    Reports the financial returns for a university degree are falling and even less of a financial boost for university dropouts.
  • "Oklahoma's schools: five into four." Economist, February 3rd-9th, 2018, p. 27.
    Explains the effect of deep tax cuts on state and school finances in Oklahoma and Kansas. Notes Oklahoma is losing teachers to nearby states, and many school districts have moved to a four-day week.
    Related information at:
  • "Picking up speed." By Craig McDaniel. Fort Worth Business Press, Jan. 29-Feb. 4, 2018, pp. 10-11, 28.
    Highlights several passenger rail projects set to transform Fort Worth and North Texas and ease traffic congestion along I-35.
  • "Rethinking infrastructure in an era of unprecedented weather events." By Thaddeus R. Miller, Mikhail Chester, and Tischa A. Muñoz-Erickson. Issues in Science and Technology, Winter 2018, pp. 46-58.
    Considers the costs of infrastructure maintenance and improvement in the context of frequent severe weather events such as storms, floods, and fires.
  • "Ambitious state tax reform proposals to watch in 2018." By Robert C. Guth. Journal of MultiState Taxation and Incentives, February 2018, pp. 22-27, 46.
    Examines five "unconventional" state tax reform proposals to follow in 2018, including Texas' franchise tax, or "margin tax," as an example of corporate income tax reform and simplification.
  • "Differences in cigarette use and the tobacco environment among youth living in metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas." By Debra H. Bernat and Kelvin Choi. Journal of Rural Health, Winter 2018, pp. 80-87.
    Reports that rural middle and high school students were more likely than urban adolescents to engage in various levels of smoking behaviors. Points out that the rural teenagers also were more likely to have seen tobacco ads when visiting stores.
  • "NAFTA under the gun." By Gary Hufbauer and Euijin Jung. Milken Institute Review, First Quarter 2018, pp. 26-37.
    Discusses the history and economic and political impact of the North American Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA] and speculates on alternative scenarios for the current negotiations.
  • "Rebuilding America's infrastructure." By Robert Puentes. Milken Institute Review, First Quarter 2018, pp. 58-66.
    Illustrates a "big picture" perspective on public infrastructure policy that goes beyond a crisis-driven approach. Redirects focus to new federal responsibilities, interstate and regional partnerships, creation of a national infrastructure commission, and financing through infrastructure banks.
  • "Pricing renewables: public power puts customers first." By Peter Maloney. Public Power, January/February 2018, pp. 16-20.
    Considers how to price renewable energy resources by providing examples, including Austin Energy's value of solar tariff model.
  • "Rebates: dollars alone are not enough." By John Egan. Public Power, January/February 2018, pp. 22-27.
    Examines factors that contribute to a successful utility rebate program. Includes an example of a utility that partnered with an Austin-based efficiency concierge service.
  • "Sanctuary churches take in immigrants and take on Trump." By Shikha Dalmia. Reason, February 2018, pp. 18-27.
    Reviews the history of the sanctuary church movement and the previous United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement policy of not pursuing undocumented aliens in churches or other "sensitive locations" such as hospitals, schools, and courts. Discusses how that policy might change under the Trump administration.
  • "How tariffs could impact local solar industry." San Antonio Business Journal, January 26, 2018, p. 10.
    Examines the possible effects of raising tariffs on solar panels and solar cells. Suggests prices could go up if solar panel companies and installers stockpile solar panels.
  • "Texas sees coverage gains under health care act." By Anil Kumar. Southwest Economy (Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas), Fourth Quarter 2017, pp. 3-7, 20.
    Analyzes the decline in Texas' medically uninsured rate after implementation of the Affordable Care Act [ACA] and an increase in private health insurance coverage. Contrasts Texas' Medicaid coverage and uninsured rates with Medicaid expansion states.
  • "Prison by any other name." By Michael Barajas. Texas Observer, Feb./March 2018, pp. 22-29.
    Investigates problems with the Texas Civil Commitment Center, a treatment facility for sex offenders, run by a for-profit prison contractor. Argues this facility, despite legislative reforms made in 2015 to the civil commitment program, is essentially a prison rather than a treatment facility — making it vulnerable to legal challenges. Mentions Senator John Whitmire.
  • "Senfronia Thompson says #MeToo." By Sophie Novack. Texas Observer, Feb./March 2018, pp. 10-11.
    Interviews Representative Senfronia Thompson regarding her experience with sexism and racism during her 45 years in the Texas Legislature. Addresses her views on the progress made in the 85th Legislature and her top priorities for the 2019 session.

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.

Resource Highlight: Governors’ Press Releases

Interested in the day-to-day activities of the Texas governor’s office? The LRL collects governors’ press releases in our print holdings. Starting with Governor W. Lee O’Daniel (1939–1941) and up to Governor Greg Abbott (2015–present), these records document governors' responses to legislation and significant events, appearances at important meetings, and more.


Contact the library at (512) 463-1252 for information about gubernatorial materials in our collection. (And check out our Texas Governors database for digital resources.)

Interim Hearings – Week of February 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.


February 13

House Committee on Defense & Veterans' Affairs (Abilene)

Charge: Defense Economic Adjustment Assistance Grant Program, how the state can better serve military installations, Texas Military Revolving Loan Fund


February 15

House Committee on General Investigating & Ethics 

Charge 6: Employment policies and practices at state agencies relating to the hiring of individuals who were terminated from employment with another state agency for misconduct

Charge 8: Travel by state agency officials and travel expenditures

Charge 9: State agency participation in trade associations and groups funded by industries regulated by the agency

Charge 10: Monitor agencies and programs under the Committee's jurisdiction and implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 85th Legislature: State Auditor's Office report on the Texas Health and Human Services Commission's management of Medicaid managed care contracts

Current Articles and Research Resources, February 1

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

  • Follow how Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts are progressing. (Rebuild Texas, January 29, 2018)
  • Read about American satisfaction with the federal government. (American Customer Satisfaction Index, January 30, 2018)
  • Learn what information Google tracks on Android users. (Quartz, January 24, 2018)
  • See where Texas ranks among states susceptible to cybercrime. (Website Builder Expert, January 2, 2018)
  • Consider the legalization of sports betting. (Stateline, January 31, 2018)

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

  • "Doctors' payments incite debate." By Will Anderson. Austin Business Journal, January 19, 2018, pp. 4-5.
    Questions whether the billions in annual payments from drug and medical device companies to doctors are really supporting innovative research in the health care sector and advancements in treatment.
  • "Investing in our future: what you need to know as Texas re-examines the school finance system." By Chandra Villanueva. Center for Public Policy Priorities, January 2018, pp. 1-6.
    Provides background on past school finance commissions, the strengths and challenges of the current finance system, and recommendations for improvements.
  • "Teacher salaries need to be higher!" Classroom Teacher (Texas Classroom Teachers Association), Winter 2017-18, p. 9.
    Details teacher salary legislation proposed during the special session of the 85th Texas Legislature. Examines why these bills failed to pass.
  • "Building a wall of anxiety." By Rebecca Adams. CQ Weekly, January 22, 2018, pp. 14-24.
    Discusses how President Trump's changing immigration policies affect immigrant health care. Reports both legal and undocumented immigrants are avoiding medical treatment and vaccinations for fear of arrest or deportation.
  • "Disaster insurance: storm-tossed." Economist, January 13th-19th, 2018, pp. 67-68.
    Reports insured worldwide natural-catastrophe losses hit an all-time high of $135 billion in 2017. Notes total losses, including uninsured ones, reached $330 billion.
  • "The oil price: crude thinking." Economist, January 20th-26th, 2018, pp. 63-65.
    Discusses the ups and downs in the oil price and its changing influence on the world economy.
  • "Ed. Department finds Texas suppressed spec. ed. enrollment." By Christina A. Samuels. Education Week, January 17, 2018, p. 6.
    Presents the United States Department of Education's findings that Texas violated the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act [IDEA] by placing barriers in the path of children who qualified for special education.
  • "Child support in the age of complex families." By Kathryn Edin. Issues in Science and Technology, Winter 2018, pp. 38-45.
    Examines aspects of how child support is provided in families characterized by unmarried parents and economic instability.
  • "Lessons from the opioid epidemic to reinvigorate tobacco control initiatives." By Ilana Richman and Harlan M. Krumholz. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), January 23/30, 2018, pp. 339-340.
    Suggests that campaigns for tobacco control should be renewed and perhaps paired with efforts to address the opioid epidemic. Notes that deaths attributed to secondhand smoke exposure alone exceeds the number of Unites States residents who die of an opioid overdose in one year.
  • "Where the jobs are." By Michael Hendrix. National Review, February 5, 2018, pp. 19-20.
    Examines rising wages and demand for workers in urban areas such as Austin and Plano, but states smaller metro and rural areas are not seeing the same robust growth. Contrasts the different factors at play and forecasts the situation for 2018.
  • "No refuge." By Sarah Stillman. New Yorker, January 15, 2018, pp. 32-43.
    Highlights the case of Maria S. v. John Doe , involving a young woman living in Texas who was deported and later found dead. Describes the plight of many asylum seekers who are sent back to their native countries despite threats of danger to them.
  • "Look who's coming to town: partnerships bring in big business." By Jessica Porter. Public Power, November/December 2017, pp. 26-31.
    Points out a couple of ways public power utilities are working to draw big businesses to their communities.
  • "Everyone benefits from EV managed charging: commissioners can alleviate EV growing pains." By Tanuj Deora and Erika Myers. Public Utilities Fortnightly, January 2018, pp. 27, 55.
    Argues that, by implementing managed charging programs, utilities can reduce stress that electric vehicles [EVs] will add to the grid. Includes lessons learned from EV state pilot programs and explores benefits of managed charging.
  • "Harris County faces challenges following Hurricane Harvey deluge." Southwest Economy (Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas), Fourth Quarter 2017, pp. 8-9.
    Presents a conversation with Harris County Judge Ed Emmett on the aftermath and economic impact of Hurricane Harvey, business and residential disruption from the storm, and Emmett's recently announced 15-point flood control proposal.
    Related information at:
  • "Leading indicators, storm data guide Houston economic forecast." By Jesse Thompson. Southwest Economy (Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas), Fourth Quarter 2017, pp. 10-13.
    Forecasts Houston's post-Hurricane Harvey employment growth using economic models that incorporate storm damage data and leading economic indicators. Discusses the high job growth and volatility of Houston's metro area economy.
  • "The tipping point." By Jackson Brainerd. State Legislatures, February 2018, pp. 20-23.
    Reports on recent state legislative action to limit exemptions that allow certain groups to be paid less than the federal or state minimum wage.

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.

85th Legislative Session Summaries Available

After each legislative session, the House Research Organization (HRO), the Senate Research Center (SRC), and the Texas Legislative Council (TLC) publish overviews of the session's accomplishments. These reports provide summaries of enrolled bills and analysis of major legislation. All three are now available for the 85th Legislature, Regular Session and First Called Session: 

Each overview is organized by topic and gives a unique look at the session. The SRC overview provides brief summaries of all enrolled bills, including an analysis of the appropriations bill. The TLC overview offers summaries of all enrolled legislation, notes effective dates, and contains veto statements. The HRO overview highlights legislation on major topics, including bills that did not pass, and features extensive analysis and statements by supporters and opponents.  

The TLC additionally published Interim Studies Established by Enrolled Bills and Resolutions: 85th Legislature and New, Renamed, and Abolished State Governmental Entities: 85th Legislature. They also updated the online statutes and Texas Constitution to reflect the 85th Legislature's enactments and the November 2017 constitutional amendment election outcomes.

If you're looking for information on previous sessions, overviews back to the 48th Legislature can be found at the Legislative Reference Library's Session Summaries page.

Interim Hearings – Week of February 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.


February 6

House Committee on County Affairs (Houston)

Charge: Emergency response activities, impact of natural disasters on county finances

Charge: County ordinance-making and enforcement authority to deal with flood risk in unincorporated rural and suburban areas

Implementation of SB 1849, 85th Legislature, R.S., the Sandra Bland Act

Tour of areas affected by Hurricane Harvey at the University of Houston-Downtown


February 7

House Committee on Transportation

Charge: Response to Hurricane Harvey and natural disaster preparedness with respect to the transportation system and transportation infrastructure

Charge: Monitor agencies and programs under the Committee's jurisdiction and implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 85th Legislature, specifically implementation of the TxDOT Sunset legislation and related management actions


Senate Committee on Veteran Affairs and Border Security (San Antonio) 

Charge: Military installations

Charge: Military youth readiness


February 8

House Committee on Transportation

Charge: Oversize/overweight permitting system

Charge: Emerging issues in transportation related to technology – intelligent transportation systems, autonomous vehicles, unmanned aircraft systems (i.e., drones)

Current Articles and Research Resources, January 25

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

  • Examine how the economy is shaping up after President Trump's first year in office. (Forbes, January 18, 2018)
  • Read about a working group's findings on the state of early education in America. (National Conference of State Legislatures, January 18, 2018)
  • Follow updates from Texas' oil and gas regulatory agency. (Railroad Commission of Texas, last updated January 23, 2018)
  • Try out the revamped Texas Unclaimed Property database. (Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, accessed January 24, 2018)

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

  • "Will Austin sick leave rules irk Texas lawmakers?" By Daniel Salazar. Austin Business Journal, January 19, 2018, p. 8.
    Considers how Texas legislators would react to local ordinances requiring employers to provide some type of paid sick leave to their employees.
    Reports at: and
  • "Legislative stars from the 2017 Texas Legislature." Classroom Teacher (Texas Classroom Teachers Association), Winter 2017-18, pp. 13-15.
    Presents members of the 85th Legislature designated "legislative stars" by the Texas Classroom Teachers Association. Highlights education-related issues and legislation backed by these lawmakers.
  • "Missy Shorey has the most impossible job in Dallas." By Eric Celeste. D Magazine, February 2018, pp. 36-37.
    Describes the challenges facing the new chair of the Dallas County Republican Party as she works to recruit and support Republicans in a county that has elected more Democratic candidates in recent elections.
  • "America's trade policies: steel wars." Economist, January 13th-19th, 2018, pp. 63-64.
    Considers the Trump administration's options for addressing the dramatic increase in steel imports — whether the increase poses a threat to America's national security.
  • "Trump and the economy: no discredit where none is due." Economist, January 13th-19th, 2018, p. 23.
    Evaluates the Trump administration's economic policy. Assesses the prospects for the American economy in 2018.
  • "State agencies and 'legacy' systems: the cost of aging government technology." By Courtney King and Bruce Wright. Fiscal Notes, December 2017-January 2018, pp. 1, 3-5.
    Examines trends in information technology [IT] spending at Texas state agencies, the consequences of an aging IT infrastructure, and the growing skills gap in Texas' ability to maintain legacy IT systems.
  • "State of Texas children 2017: child well-being in the Rio Grande Valley." By Kristie Tingle, Madeline Haynes, and DongMei Li. Internet Resource, November 29, 2017, pp. 1-13.
    Outlines current and historical policies that contribute to children's lack of economic, educational, and health opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley. Offers key policy recommendations for improving the welfare of Valley children.
  • "Taxes and sugar-sweetened beverages." By Lisa M. Powell and Matthew L. Maciejewski. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), January 16, 2018, pp. 229-230.
    Debates the efficacy of imposing excise taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages as an approach to reduce obesity.
  • "Medication-assisted opioid treatment prescribers in federally qualified health centers: capacity lags in rural areas." By Emily B. Jones. Journal of Rural Health, Winter 2018, pp. 14-22.
    Highlights the significance of health care centers in providing access to medication-assisted substance use disorder treatment services.
  • "Friend of science." By Julie Kelly. National Review, January 22, 2018, pp. 12-13.
    Profiles Texas Congressman Lamar Smith and his tenure as Chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.
  • "Can big data help save abused kids?" By Naomi Schaefer Riley. Reason, February 2018, pp. 29-38.
    Explores the potential of predictive risk modeling and use of big data in pursuit of better risk assessment calculations in child welfare cases. Describes a current project, the Allegheny Family Screening Tool, as a promising model.
  • "Air pollution's hidden impacts." By Joshua Graff Zivin and Matthew Neidell. Science, January 5, 2018, pp. 39-40.
    Discusses how air pollution can affect the economy because of changes to worker productivity.
  • "The funded status of local pensions inches closer to states." By Jean-Pierre Aubry, Caroline V. Crawford, and Alicia H. Munnell. State and Local Pension Plans (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College), January 2018, pp. 1 -13.
    Assesses the current status of local pension plans and compares trends in funded status for state and local plans. Includes funded ratio and percentage of Annual Retirement Contribution [ARC] paid for pensions in the cities of Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio.
  • "Globalization's effects on Texas manufacturing." By Luis B. Torres and Wesley Miller. Tierra Grande, January 2018, pp. 2-6.
    Explores the effects of NAFTA and China's accession into the World Trade Organization [WTO] on Texas manufacturing employment. Argues that while Texas manufacturing would benefit from updates to NAFTA, eliminating the agreement would present greater risks.
  • "A year ago, they marched. Now a record number of women are running for office." By Charlotte Alter. Time, January 29, 2018, pp. 26-33.
    Discusses the surge of first-time female candidates running for office in 2018. Spotlights Erin Zwiener, a Texas House candidate, and quotes several other Texas female candidates.

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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