LRL Home - Points of Interest

Week in Review, March 29th

In this weekly post, we feature online articles and policy reports published recently, and other helpful research tools.

  • Consider how high school graduation rates have been improving in the last decade. (Alliance for Excellent Education, March 2012)
  • Read why college attainment is important to the future strength of the nation's economy. (Lumina Foundation, March 2012)
  • Explore financial accountability in Texas K-12 public education. (Texas Education Accountability Project, March 2012)
  • See how tax breaks add up. (Congressional Research Service, March 22, 2012)
  • Find arguments and analysis related to the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. (SCOTUSBlog, March 2012)

LRL Hosts Visitors from the Canadian Library of Parliament

 
 Last week, the Legislative Reference Library was pleased to host a group of interns participating in this year's internship program with the Library of Parliament of Canada.
 
 
The Texas visit focused on legislative research services, and included discussions of how the Texas Legislature works, the role of the library, the uses of social media, and how our resources and research assist members, committees, and agencies of the Texas legislative community.
 
 
Activities included meeting with the House and Senate Parliamentarians and with staff from the Texas Legislative Council, the State Preservation Board, the House Research Organization, the Senate Research Center, the Sunset Advisory Board, and the Legislative Budget Board.  
 
Participants also enjoyed a tour of the Capitol and dinner at the Broken Spoke.
 
We wish to thank all of the Texas legislative offices who participated in this event with our Canadian guests.

Week in Review, March 22nd

In this weekly post, we feature online articles and policy reports published recently, and other helpful research tools.

  • Find state budget information for 2012 and note that Texas ranks first in transparency of state government spending. (Council of State Governments, March 15, 2012 / TexPIRG, March 2012)
  • See how metropolitan areas have led U.S. growth in exports. (Brookings Institution, March 8, 2012)
  • Examine the geographic distribution of Latinos across the country. (Pew Hispanic Center, March 16, 2012)
  • Compare Texas' graduation rate and high school drop-out rate to other states. (America's Promise Alliance, March 19, 2012)
  • Consider the growing student debt load. (New York Times, March 5, 2012)
  • Read about improving America's water infrastructure and its cost. (American Water Works Association, February 27, 2012)
  • Explore health care extremes in Massachusetts and Texas. (National Public Radio, March 19, 2012)

Interim Hearings - Weeks of March 26th and April 2nd

Today's Committee Meetings on the LRL website is a calendar of interim committee hearings with links to agendas. The following may be helpful resources for upcoming hearings.

Monday, March 26th
Joint Committee on Oversight of Bexar Metropolitan Water District
Invited and public testimony 
Tuesday, March 27th
House Committee on Human Services
Charge 3: Strategies (including those in other states) to support needs of aging Texans, including best practices in nursing home diversion, expedited access to community services, and assisting seniors in navigating the long-term care system, with the goal of helping seniors remain in the community; feasibility of leveraging volunteer-supported initiatives
Friday, March 30th
House Committee on Technology
Charge 1:  Create incentives for technology companies to come to Texas, including public-private partnerships
 
Charge 5:  Monitor agencies and programs under committee's jurisdiction and implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 82nd Legislature
 
Tuesday, April 3rd
House Committee on Pensions, Investments & Financial Services
Charge 4: Impact of Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act on Texas industries


Week in Review, March 15th

In this weekly post, we feature online articles and policy reports published recently, and other helpful research tools.

  • Find historical voting data for a variety of demographics. (U.S. Census Bureau, February 15, 2012)
  • Explore whether rising consumer debt reflects a strong or weak economy. (CNBC, March 7, 2012)
  • Consider the benefits and drawbacks of the millennial generation's hyper-connectivity. (Pew Research Center, February 29, 2012)
  • Check out this free GAO app, available from iTunes. (Government Accountability Office, March 6, 2012)
  • Read about rising gasoline prices in 2012. (Congressional Research Service, March 1, 2012)

Interim Hearings - Week of March 19th

Tuesday, March 20th 

Senate Committee on Health and Human Services  

Charge 4: Prior authorization and medical necessity review across the Medicaid Program, including nursing homes and orthodontic services, improving policies to reduce unnecessary utilization and fraud

Charge 7: Delivery and financing of public health services in Texas, including federal funds distribution to local health departments and role of Regional Health Departments operated by the Department of State Health Services

Wednesday, March 21st  

Senate Committee on Health and Human Services    

Charge 6: Management structure and supervision of Child Protective Services (CPS) caseworkers, especially in rural areas, including efficiency, quality casework and supervision, and caseworker retention; quality of care of children in CPS, including improving permanency outcomes

Charge 9, Bullet 3: Implementation of initiative to redesign foster care system

Thursday, March 22nd 

House Committees on Environmental Regulation and Transportation (Joint Hearing)

Environmental Regulation Charge 5 and Transportation Charge 4: Study the environmental review process for transportation projects and monitor implementation of reforms newly passed by the 82nd Legislature

House Committee on Transportation

Charge 1: Current transportation infrastructure, including roadway, bridge, and waterway quality, future needs for the next decade and long-range sufficiency.

Joint Committee on Aging

Topic: Innovative approaches to long-term care for elders in Texas

House Committee on Natural Resources

Charge 1: The performance of state and local entities in addressing the ongoing drought; the impact of the drought on the state water plan, including the need for additional water plan funding; the effectiveness of current drought management policies; strategies to help the state cope with drought and obstacles to implementation of these strategies

Charge 3: The status of desalination projects in Texas and an evaluation of the regulation of brackish groundwater

Charge 4: Improving water conservation in agricultural irrigation

Week in Review, March 8th

In this weekly post, we feature online articles and policy reports published recently, and other helpful research tools.

  • Check out four decades of data on health insurance coverage for low-wage workers. (Center for Economic and Policy Research, February 2012)
  • Read about the need for more access and coverage for dental services. (Chairman Bernard Sanders, Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging, U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions, February 29, 2012)
  • Consider the changing housing landscape and how households are handling increasing rental costs and shrinking incomes. (Center for Housing Policy, February 2012)
  • Envision America's suburban future. (Per Square Mile, February 15, 2012)
  • Explore the rise of financial fraud. (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, February 2012)

Interim Hearings - Week of March 12th

Today's Committee Meetings on the LRL website is a calendar of interim committee hearings with links to agendas. The following may be helpful resources for upcoming hearings.

Thursday, March 15th
House Committee on Economic and Small Business Development
Charge 3:  State efforts to encourage new business growth and retain existing businesses in order to strengthen our economy; consolidated approach to statewide economic development
House Committee on the Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence
Charge 1: Effects on domestic violence victims in the judicial process if courts are permitted to issue agreed protective orders without a finding of violence
Charge 2: Discrepancies in guardianship and child custody statutes; solving problems surrounding "arbitrary and capricious" findings by trial court judges

Week in Review, March 1st

In this weekly post, we feature online articles and policy reports published recently, and other helpful research tools.

  • Read about pipeline safety and security issues. (Congressional Research Service, February 13, 2012)
  • Explore nuclear policy and recommendations. (Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future, January 2012 / National Conference of State Legislatures, February 17, 2012)
  • Consider crimes and safety on school campuses. (National Center for Education Statistics, February 22, 2012)
  • See state-by-state differences in driver education requirements. (American Academy of Pediatrics, February 13, 2012)
  • Note that Texas isn't the only place experiencing an early spring this year. (New York Times, February 26, 2012)