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Current Articles & Research Resources, May 17

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

  • Examine data sets and maps related to wind turbines in the U.S.  (The United States Wind Turbine Database, accessed May 16, 2018)
  • Explore the comprehensive online source for information about voting in Texas. (Texas Secretary of State, accessed May 16, 2018)
  • Find out about air quality in your area. (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, accessed May 16, 2018)
  • Read about President Trump's federal court nominations during the first year of his term. (Congressional Research Service, May 2, 2018)

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

  • "Oil and gas rebound powers GDP growth." By Daniel Salazar. Austin Business Journal, May 11, 2018, p. 12.
    Reports strong mining and construction sectors fueled Texas' gross domestic product [GDP] growth in the fourth quarter of 2017, leading all other states. Estimates GDP will grow about 4.2 percent in 2018, but warns policy missteps in international trade could hurt export-dependent states. Related information at: https://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/regional/gdp_state/qgdpstate_newsrelease.htm.
  • "Helping manufacturing-intensive communities: What works?" By Timothy J. Bartik. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, May 9, 2018, pp. 1-17.
    Discusses economic development in communities with above-average shares of manufacturing. Outlines three cost-effective ways to promote manufacturing job growth, including expansion of services to small and medium-sized manufacturers, infrastructure and land investment, and public spending on job training programs.
  • "In Kentucky, a test of Medicaid rules." By Henry Gass. Christian Science Monitor, May 7, 2018, pp. 18-20.
    Examines the procedures and rules Kentucky is using to re-design its Medicaid program and become the first state to enforce work and community engagement requirements on a portion of Medicaid recipients. Related information at: https://kentuckyhealth.ky.gov/Pages/index.aspx.
  • "A university in Texas promised scholarships to 50 Nepali students. Then it revoked the offer." Chronicle of Higher Education, May 11, 2018, pp. A20-A21.
    Highlights the recent "oversight" that caused the University of Texas at Tyler to rescind offers to 50 Nepali students of full-ride scholarships the university could not afford.
  • "Efforts to stop human trafficking." By Beth A. Williams. Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Spring 2018, pp. 623-629.
    Explains the federal government's approach to stopping human trafficking. Describes efforts across the country to apprehend and prosecute human traffickers and provide assistance to human trafficking victims.
  • "Renewable power cos. see potential home in Houston." Houston Business Journal, May 3, 2018, pp. 18-19.
    Examines Houston's future as the home of leading companies in the renewable energy industry.
  • "EIA's estimates for Texas crude oil production account for incomplete state data." By Emily Geary and Jess Biercevicz. Internet Resource, March 26, 2018, pp. 1-2.
    Reports that there are differences in the data published by the United States Energy Information Administration and by the Texas Railroad Commission for crude oil and lease condensate production, which indicates differences in the treatment of incomplete and lagged data. Includes an example of recently reported data and explains why this may occur. Related information at: https://www.eia.gov/petroleum/supply/monthly/.
  • "Hurricane Harvey: The experiences of immigrants living in the Texas Gulf Coast." By Bryan Wu, et al. Internet Resource, March 2018, pp. 1-12.
    Surveys immigrants living in the Texas Gulf Coast region to better understand their experiences with Hurricane Harvey and improve ongoing and future disaster recovery efforts among this particularly vulnerable population.
  • "Rating teacher-preparation programs: Can value-added make useful distinctions?" By Paul T. von Hippel and Laura Bellows. Internet Resource, Summer 2018, pp. 1-8.
    Examines the effectiveness of ranking teacher-preparation programs based on teachers' "value-added" to student testing scores. Re-analyzes prior evaluations of teacher-preparation programs from six locations, including Texas.
  • "Weather alert: Move forward on clean energy." By Jim Murphy. Natural Resources & Environment, Spring 2018, pp. 52-53.
    Observes that weather-related disasters around the world are becoming more common and more severe. Suggests that relying more on renewable energy sources such as wind and solar provides for a more stable and secure energy supply.
  • "Emergency preparedness: Resiliency is key to effective disaster planning." By Sarah A. Deslauriers. Opflow, March 2018, pp. 26-28.
    Argues that water utilities need to develop contingency plans to prepare for and respond to extreme weather events that could negatively impact operations and reliable service. Refers to a resource from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Related information at: https://www.tceq.texas.gov/drinkingwater/homeland_security/disasterprep/disasterprep.html.
  • "Powering into the future." By Glen Andersen. State Legislatures, May 2018, pp. 24-25, 27.
    Considers the costs and challenges involved in modernizing existing electricity distribution infrastructure to accommodate technological advancements and a rapidly changing energy market.
  • "This jobs program just might get people back to work." By Sophie Quinton. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), May 9, 2018, pp. 1-6.
    Discusses new federal law, part of the Bipartisan Budget Act, which will require states participating in the reemployment grant program to create evidence-based programs that improve employment outcomes of people who receive unemployment compensation and reduce their time receiving benefits. Highlights Nevada's successful model. Related information at: http://evidencebasedprograms.org/document/nevada-rea-program-evidence-summary/ and https://www.congress.gov/115/bills/hr1892/BILLS-115hr1892enr.pdf#page=64.
  • "Finding ways to save new moms." By Sean Price. Texas Medicine, May 2018, pp. 36-38.
    Explores work by the Texas Medical Association's Maternal Health Congress, the Texas Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force, and the Texas Department of State Health Services, to understand better Texas' maternal mortality rate and identify proposed actions.
  • "The interview: The map master Michael Li." By Michael Barajas. Texas Observer, April/May 2018, pp. 10-11.
    Interviews Michael Li, Senior Counsel for the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program and author of the Texas Redistricting and Election Law blog, on the upcoming Texas redistricting case to be heard by the United States Supreme Court. Provides background information on redistricting litigation in Texas.

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.

Current Articles & Research Resources, May 10

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

  • Catch up on Amendments to the Texas Constitution Since 1876. (Texas Legislative Council, May 2018)
  • Track fiscal trends in all 50 states. (Pew Charitable Trusts, May 2, 2018)
  • Read about grants released by the federal government to the states to combat the opioid crisis. (Council of State Governments, May 2, 2018)
  • Review active shooter incidents of 2016 and 2017. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, April 2018)

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

  • "Student-body president impeached at Texas State following protests." By Katherine Mangan. Chronicle of Higher Education, April 27, 2018, p. A31.
    Examines the recent impeachment of the Texas State University student body president. Highlights background events on campus including offensive fliers from white-supremacist groups, a student newspaper editorial on white privilege, and steps the administration is taking to improve the situation.
  • "The hand that blocks the cradle." By Liz Hayes. Church & State, May 2018, pp. 10-12.
    Discusses legislative efforts in several states to create religious exemptions for taxpayer-funded adoption and foster care agencies. Explains these bills are primarily crafted to discriminate against same-sex parents, but could also allow agencies to turn away couples who are interfaith, interracial, previously divorced, or who have different religious beliefs from any given agency.
  • "More carbon, less nutrition." By Elvina Nawaguna. CQ Weekly, April 23, 2018, pp. 19-21.
    Discusses the effects of rising carbon emissions on the quality of food crops. Argues increased carbon in the atmosphere is depleting the nutritional value of crops and putting low-income populations at risk for nutritional issues.
  • "Striking teachers: Pedagogic protest." Economist, May 5th-11th, 2018, p. 25.
    Reports more teacher strikes are likely as states continue to cut taxes and education spending, noting North Carolina could be the next state to face a strike. Explains the strikes are galvanizing public-sector workers in states where Democrats hope to make gains in mid-term elections and posing trouble for Republicans in states with teacher unrest.
  • "Trade and American businesses: Chain reaction." Economist, May 5th-11th, 2018, pp. 62-63.
    Examines how the Trump administration's efforts to impose tariffs on China could disrupt American firms' global supply chains. Includes chart showing the impact of proposed tariffs on certain products.
  • "Bitcoin and beyond: Alternative currencies, or history's biggest bubble?" By TJ Costello and Bruce Wright. Fiscal Notes, April 2018, pp. 6-10.
    Discusses the basics of bitcoin and cryptocurrency. Looks at the demand, security issues, and tax implications of bitcoin.
  • "The Second Amendment and a well-regulated firearms environment." By Lawrence O. Gostin and Sarah Duranske. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), May 1, 2018, pp. 1763-1764.
    Argues that, given the high burden of firearm deaths, the President should declare a public health emergency and convene an expert, nonpartisan blue-ribbon panel to propose an evidence-based and constitutionally permissible legislative agenda. Lists six elements that should be included in a comprehensive public health strategy to address gun violence.
  • "Fixing flood insurance." By Leonard Shabman. Milken Institute Review, Second Quarter 2018, pp. 68-78.
    Describes how the oversight of flood insurance was entrusted to the federal government, resulting in the National Flood Insurance Program. Discusses possible program reforms being considered in Congress after the severe flooding from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria in 2017 revealed its shortcomings.
  • "Welfare reform 2.0." By Robert Verbruggen. National Review, May 14, 2018, pp. 29-30.
    Presents the pros and cons of welfare reform proposals currently before Congress in which food stamp recipients would have more specific work requirements. Discusses whether these could be applied to other safety-net programs.
  • "Digital vigilantes." By Nicholas Schmidle. New Yorker, May 7, 2018, pp. 30-34, 36-37.
    Discusses the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act that made it illegal for companies to steal back or "actively defend" hacked information. Highlights the proposed Active Cyber Defense Certainty Act, which would legalize some activities that were prohibited by the earlier act.
  • "Drones on the border: Efficacy and privacy implications." By David Bier and Matthew Feeney. Policy Brief (CATO Institute), May 1, 2018, pp. 1-10.
    Reports the United States Customs and Border Protection's drone program has failed to live up to expectations — accounting for only 0.5 percent of apprehensions at a cost of $32,000 per arrest. Expresses concerns that the drones allow for government surveillance with minimal oversight and without warrants.
  • "A different grid perspective: Like a river." By Charles Bayless. Public Utilities Fortnightly, April 2018, pp. 68-72.
    Argues for an energy grid that is an interconnected system which will allow energy "to be coordinated and used across wide areas, increasing their value through increased optionality." Discusses reserves, balancing the difference between generation and loads, capacity factor, and cost.
  • "This new federal law will change foster care as we know it." By Teresa Wiltz. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), May 2, 2018, pp. 1-5.
    Discusses a new law, part of the Bipartisan Budget Act, that changes the rules on how states can spend federal child welfare funds on foster care and child abuse prevention. Explains the law prioritizes keeping families together, limiting placements in institutional settings such as group homes. Related information at: https://www.congress.gov/114/bills/hr5456/BILLS-114hr5456pcs.pdf

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.

Current Articles & Research Resources, May 3

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

  • Consider maps and data visualizations related to urban issues. (Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, accessed May 2, 2018)
  • Explore the U.S. Reports collection of U.S. Supreme Court decisions. (Library of Congress, accessed May 2, 2018)
  • Review the Traffic Safety Culture Index for recent insights into driver, cyclist, and pedestrian behaviors. (AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, March 2018)
  • Read about vectorborne diseases and their prevalence and consequences in the United States. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, May 1, 2018)

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

  • "What if the problem isn't the president, it's the presidency?" By John Dickerson. Atlantic Monthly, May 2018, pp. 46-52, 55-63.
    Argues that the role and duties of the United States President have gotten out of control and beyond the capabilities of one person. Discusses the historical evolution of the president's role and offers specific suggestions for reforming the office.
  • "A flood of threats to water systems." By Jacqueline Toth. CQ Weekly, April 23, 2018, pp. 22-24.
    Addresses how extreme weather events affect water utilities and their planning efforts. Discusses Houston's vulnerability and the city's current drought conditions in the wake of catastrophic flooding from Hurricane Harvey.
  • "Safe, legal and scarce." By Sandhya Raman. CQ Weekly, April 9, 2018, pp. 26-29.
    Examines state efforts to regulate abortion clinics. Profiles states with stringent regulations that result in the closing of some clinics.
  • "Assisted dying: Alohas and goodbyes." Economist, April 28th-May 4th, 2018, p. 28.
    Reports Hawaii is the seventh American jurisdiction to approve an assisted-dying law, modeled on Oregon legislation passed in 1997. Related information at: https://www.deathwithdignity.org/take-action/
  • "Innovative population health model associated with reduced emergency department use and inpatient hospitalization." By Donald Wesson, et al. Health Affairs, April 2018, pp. 543-550.
    Describes a case study of Baylor Scott & White's partnership with the Dallas Parks and Recreation Department to create a primary care clinic in a city recreation center. Details how improved access to health care, alongside exercise facilities, cooking demonstrations, and other wellness resources, was associated with lower emergency department and inpatient services usage by the center's patients.
  • "Reauthorizing the National Flood Insurance Program." By Howard Kunreuther. Issues in Science and Technology, Spring 2018, pp. 37-51.
    Suggests ways to improve the National Flood Insurance Program. Considers how areas subject to floods and hurricanes are prepared for flooding events.
  • "State-level community benefit regulation and nonprofit hospitals' provision of community benefits." By Simone R. Singh, et al. Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law, April 2018, pp. 229-269 (Note Length).
    Examines how to design regulations that will encourage nonprofit hospitals to provide enough community benefits to justify their tax exemptions and meet policy makers' goals.
  • "Let me tell you how it will be: Tougher property tax exemptions." By Mark R. Adams. Journal of MultiState Taxation and Incentives, May 2018, pp. 28-35.
    Describes the financial impact of property tax exemptions held by nonprofits, including hospitals, on municipalities. Discusses state legislative initiatives in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Michigan to amend legal structures around nonprofit charitable organizations and property tax exemptions.
  • "Texas surplus lines insurance: Reflections on attitudes, from the capitol to the courthouse." By Andrew Kunau. Journal of Texas Insurance Law, Spring 2018, pp. 4-11.
    Highlights legislative changes to the insurance surplus lines market through passage of HB2492 and HB1559, 85th Legislature, R.S. Considers how the 2016 Texas Supreme Court case, Seger v. Yorkshire Ins. Co. Ltd., influenced the recent legislative activity.
  • "Public pension plan investment return assumptions (2018)." National Association of State Retirement Administrators, Updated February 2018, pp. 1-8.
    Describes how investment return assumptions are established and evaluated in public pension funds, compared with public funds' actual investment experience. Includes Texas County & District, Texas ERS, Texas LECOS, and Texas Municipal in the appendix.
  • "Water and air quality: An opportunity for states." By Thomas Salzer. Natural Resources & Environment, Spring 2018, pp. 57-59.
    Considers the challenges local and state governments face when environmental issues and disasters strike close to home. Discusses the federal government's role in such disasters and uses the drinking water crisis in Flint, Michigan as an example.
  • "Lone stars." By Ashley Powers. New Yorker, April 30, 2018, pp. 30-35.
    Examines the constitutional sheriffs movement and its belief that the sheriff has the final say on a law's constitutionality in his county. Traces the movement from its 1970s beginning with William Potter Gale and the Posse Comitatus movement and highlights activities of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA). See: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/04/30/the-renegade-sheriffs
  • "Distribution: Identify lead plumbing sources to protect public health." By Darren Lytle, et al. Opflow, March 2018, pp. 16-20.
    Recommends that water utilities should consider using diagnostic sampling to help identify lead sources in drinking water. Discusses different types of sampling methods. Related information at: https://www.awwa.org/resources-tools/water-knowledge/lead.aspx and https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water/basic-information-about-lead-drinking-water#getinto
  • "Gerrymandering is out of control." By Eric Boehm. Reason, May 2018, pp. 26-34.
    Focuses on the current state of gerrymandered election districts and explains the various models that have been developed to draw more compact districts with minimum partisan intent. Suggests a new computer algorithm model may offer the best solution.
  • "American epidemic." By Melinda Wenner Moyer. Scientific American, May 2018, pp. 44-47, 50-54, 57.
    Explores the resurgence of infectious diseases in America's urban areas. Suggests that economic disparities and substance abuse drive infection rates higher.
  • "E-Verify immigrant job screening is a game of chicken, politics and state laws." By Tim Henderson. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), April 27, 2018, pp. 1-6.
    Finds that E-Verify, a critical tool for preventing the illegal hiring of undocumented workers, has not been used uniformly even in the states that require its use.
  • "Austin Energy celebrates community solar project." Texas Public Power, April 2018, p. 8.
    Highlights Austin Energy's La Loma Community Solar Farm, "the largest community solar farm in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas [ERCOT] region."
  • "The intersection of mental illness and the criminal justice system." By Sarah Roland. Voice for the Defense, April 2018, pp. 27-34.
    Discusses the challenges of representing a mentally ill person. Explains the shortcomings in the current criminal justice system that arise as a defense attorney for a mentally ill defendant navigates the system.

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.

Current Articles & Research Resources, April 26

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

  • Explore partnerships between public school districts and charter schools. (National Conference of State Legislatures Blog, April 23, 2018)
  • Read about the alternative response option in child welfare cases. (Texas Public Policy Foundation, April 19, 2018)
  • Consider public concerns over misinformation online. (Pew Research Center, April 19, 2018)
  • Find a drop-off location to dispose of prescription medications safely. (Attorney General of Texas, accessed April 25, 2018)

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

  • "REAL ID: What Americans should expect." By Asia London Palomba. Christian Science Monitor, April 16, 2018, p. 17.
    Presents a Q&A discussion of the implementation of the REAL ID Act passed in 2005. Provides a map showing which states are in compliance with the law—Texas is compliant. Related information at: https://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/real-id-act-text.pdf
  • "When a grand idea grows old." By Karin Fischer. Chronicle of Higher Education, April 13, 2018, pp. A14-A18.
    Examines the 60-year-old California master plan of education which set up a three-tier system to educate a large population while still providing for advanced research institutions.
  • "Data privacy: Copy that; The GDPR: The joys of data hygiene." Economist, April 7th-13th, 2018, pp. 10-11, 53-54.
    Promotes the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation [GDPR] as a model for America, noting businesses that serve European customers will have to comply with the GDPR. Points out the benefits of complying with the new data protection law. Related information at: https://www.eugdpr.org/
  • "Death: Funerals of the future." Economist, April 14th-20th, 2018, pp. 51-53.
    Explains how the Internet, changing norms, customer demand, and competition from new businesses are disrupting the funeral industry. Reports the industry's revenue is expected to stagnate between 2016 and 2021, noting the long-term trend towards cremation: less than four percent in 1960 but expected to rise to 79 percent by 2035.
  • "Information and college decisions: Evidence from the Texas GO Center project." By Jesse M. Cunha, Trey Miller, and Emily Weisburst. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, March 2018, pp. 151-170.
    Examines the effectiveness of Texas GO Centers, peer-run information centers that assist historically under-served students prepare and plan for college. Concludes the centers have led to a significant increase in college application rates and a limited increase in college enrollment rates, but no increase in college completion rates. Related information at: http://www.thecb.state.tx.us/reports/PDF/6575.PDF
  • "Ethanol's regulatory battle." By Kristy Moore. Ethanol Today, March/April 2018, pp. 26-27.
    Considers ethanol's role in the motor fuel industry's current regulatory environment.
  • "Solar power in Texas: The next big renewable?" By Patrick Graves and Bruce Wright. Fiscal Notes, April 2018, pp. 1, 3-5.
    Assesses the energy capacity and economic impact of Texas' solar industry. Highlights the role of local government in supplementing energy needs with solar power.
  • "We need new rules for self-driving cars." By Jack Stilgoe. Issues in Science and Technology, Spring 2018, pp. 52-57.
    Explores the development and proliferation of self-driving cars. Discusses potential legal and regulatory approaches to the use of self-driving cars and their integration into transportation infrastructure.
  • "Robert Kerns, PhD: Researching nondrug approaches to pain management." By Jennifer Abbasi. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), April 17, 2018, pp. 1535-1537.
    Interviews Kerns about his research and work with the VA [United States Department of Veterans Affairs] on pain management for veterans. Focuses on new efforts to study the effectiveness of nondrug approaches to pain management in light of the opioid epidemic, with treatments ranging from chiropractic care to cognitive behavioral therapy to tai chi.
  • "State of the states 2017: Texas." By Ken Helvey. Journal of Education Finance, Winter 2018, pp. 311-313.
    Presents a summary of Texas legislative activity affecting P-12 education in 2017. Highlights funding priorities, changes to funding formulas, school finance litigation, charter schools, and per pupil spending.
  • "Court to review physical presence nexus standard." By Debra S. Herman and K. Craig Reilly. Journal of MultiState Taxation and Incentives, May 2018, pp. 43-46.
    Previews United States Supreme Court consideration of South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., et al., which could possibly overturn the physical presence nexus standard for Internet sales and use tax collections from the Quill Corp v. North Dakota decision in 1992. Briefly discusses other petitions pending before the Court, including a Virginia county's challenge to the import-export clause. Related information at: https://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/91-0194.ZO.html and https://www.supremecourt.gov/search.aspx?filename=/docket/docketfiles/html/public/17-494.html
  • "Small towns think big on reliability." By Susan Partain. Public Power, March/April 2018, pp. 16-22.
    Explores six different factors related to reliability at several smaller public power utilities.
  • "There are too many kids on the sex offender registry." By Lenore Skenazy. Reason, May 2018, p. 9.
    Argues sex offender registries are based on flawed theories and are in reality adding many children to the list who are not likely to reoffend.
  • "Gone to Texas: Migration vital to growth in the Lone Star State." By Pia M. Orrenius, Alexander T. Abraham, and Stephanie Gullo. Southwest Economy (Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas), First Quarter 2018, pp. 3-11.
    Analyzes domestic and international migration to Texas and the labor market outcomes, lower immigrant earnings, and other economic effects of migration.
  • "'The future' of pain treatment?" By Joey Berlin. Texas Medicine, April 2018, pp. 38-42.
    Examines a Fort Worth anesthesiology group's "zero narcotics" approach to surgery pain control using nerve-blocking and nonopioid medications. Presents physicians' arguments for and against the need for opioids in pain management.
  • "Indoctrinated." By Sophie Novak. Texas Observer, April/May 2018, pp. 20-24.
    Shares the difficult hospital experience of Representative Donna Howard's daughter after she suffered a miscarriage, to highlight the potential negative effects of the new Texas fetal remains law. Reports the law, which mandates the burial or cremation of fetal remains after miscarriages or abortions, has been blocked pending a trial set for the summer.

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.

Current Articles & Research Resources, April 19

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

  • See how the Texas Tax Amnesty Program works. (Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, February 2018)
  • Read about the effects of cyberbullying on sexual minority youth. (National Institutes of Health, April 16, 2018)
  • Track the wealthiest zip codes in America based on Internal Revenue Service data. (Bloomberg, April 10, 2018)
  • Review data points related to regulatory restrictions in the Texas Administrative Code. (Mercatus Center, March 2018)

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

  • "Imbalance of power." By Terry Carter. ABA Journal: The Lawyer's Magazine, April 2018, pp. 38-44.
    Considers whether President Trump is upsetting the balance of power through assertions of executive power and by pushing the boundaries of the separation of powers.
  • "Note to scientists: breathe easy." By Will Anderson and Jeff Jeffrey. Austin Business Journal, April 6, 2018, pp. 4-5.
    Reports good news for scientists and researchers who rely on grants from the National Institutes of Health [NIH], noting the NIH avoided drastic budget cuts threatened last year. Explains how NIH funding finds its way to Austin's top research centers.
  • "Civics education makes a return." By Story Hinckley. Christian Science Monitor, April 9, 2018, pp. 17-19.
    Identifies Florida as having the "most comprehensive civics education program in the country," suggesting the program prepared students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School for activism in response to their school shooting. Reviews civics education in other states.
  • "U. of Texas System's new online tool breaks down earnings potential for students in different majors." By Katherine Mangan. Chronicle of Higher Education, April 6, 2018, p. A34.
    Discusses the seekUT database tool developed by the University of Texas System and the Census Bureau that allows students to get an idea of what they might earn with different majors and what they are likely to owe from loans.
  • "Shredding separation in the sunshine state." By Liz Hayes. Church & State, April 2018, pp. 7-9.
    Highlights proposed Florida constitutional amendments that would divert taxpayer monies for public education to religious or private schools. Related information at: http://www.flcrc.gov/Proposals/Commissioner
  • "Bankruptcies skyrocket as debt multiples hit highs." By Mark Curriden. Dallas Business Journal, March 30, 2018, pp. 16-17.
    Predicts another wave of bankruptcies filed by Texas businesses with historic levels of debt. Notes newly filed corporate restructurings increased more than 42.6 percent in 2017.
  • "Alternatives to Obamacare: abandon ship!" Economist, March 31st-April 6th, 2018, pp. 26-27.
    Discusses alternatives to Obamacare's high-premium health insurance exchanges: short-term health plans, religious cost-sharing ministries, and deregulated health insurance.
  • "Meal delivery programs reduce the use of costly health care in dually eligible Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries." By Seth A. Berkowitz, et al. Health Affairs, April 2018, pp. 353-542.
    Compares inpatient admissions and medical spending among patients enrolled in meal delivery programs versus those not enrolled. Reports lower medical spending and, for those in a medically tailored meal program, fewer inpatient admissions.
  • "Texans should be wary of bullet train proposal." By Alain Leray. Houston Business Journal, April 5, 2018, p. 38.
    Discusses the Texas Central Rail's proposal for high-speed passenger rail services in Texas. Argues the proposal has some drawbacks.
  • "Houston surveys post-Harvey policy landscape: the 'Bayou City' considers land use rules changes." By Kathleen McCormick. Land Lines, April 2018, pp. 20-29.
    Considers the potential for new land regulations in Houston after Hurricane Harvey. Describes the city's flood history and risk, recent resilience efforts including flood mitigation, new floodplain mapping, and home buyouts. See also: https://www.lincolninst.edu/sites/default/files/pubfiles/houston-post-harvey-lla180404.pdf
  • "The 7,383 seat strategy." By Joan Walsh. Nation, April 16, 2018, pp. 12-21.
    Examines the Democratic Party's strategy in state legislative races and the effect of increasing Republican control in state legislatures on right-to-work laws, redistricting, and the ability to call a constitutional convention. Notes that in Texas, Democrats are running more legislative candidates than they have since the 1990s.
  • "Offshore wind transmission options, opportunities: challenging tradeoffs." By Seth Parker and Alex Mattfolk. Public Utilities Fortnightly, April 2018, pp. 74-79.
    Explores the commercial and regulatory aspects of competing transmission options to deliver offshore wind energy into the regional transmission grids.
  • "The case for IT consolidation." By Elizabeth Crisp. State Legislatures, April 2018, pp. 24-26.
    Discusses how states can save millions and better guard against security threats by centralizing government information technology services and administration.
  • "Tax overhaul spells changes for next year's returns." By Jessica Domel. Texas Agriculture, April 6, 2018, p. 6.
    Discusses recent tax reform and how deductions, exemptions, and credits have changed for the 2018 tax year.
  • "The risk of speaking up." By Joey Berlin. Texas Medicine, April 2018, pp. 44-47.
    Describes several Texas physicians' experiences as whistleblowers against hospital practices and calls for better protections for these doctors. Includes sidebar on legislative efforts to protect whistleblowing physicians, such as SB833, 85th Legislature, R.S.
  • "Surprise! Balance billing still a focus at the Capitol." By Joey Berlin. Texas Medicine, April 2018, p. 16.
    Describes continued legislative efforts to address surprise medical bills. Mentions SB507 and HB477, 85th Legislature, R.S.
  • "Delay, derail, deny." By Chris Collins. Texas Observer, April/May 2018, pp. 12-19.
    Discusses how lawmakers, the Texas Supreme Court, and the attorney general have contributed to the erosion of the Texas Public Information Act. Quotes Senator Kirk Watson.

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.

Current Articles & Research Resources, April 12

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

  • Track felony offenses in Texas by code and category. (Texas Legislative Council, April 2018)
  • Map border checkpoints within the U.S. along the U.S.–Mexico border. (Cato Institute, accessed April 12, 2018)
  • Examine discipline disparities in K-12 education. (U.S. Government Accountability Office, March 2018)
  • See which produce is more likely to contain pesticide residue. (Environmental Working Group, 2018)
  • Explore political opinions of America's voting-age youth. (Harvard Institute of Politics, April 11, 2018)

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

  • "Boundary lines." By Mark Walsh. ABA Journal: The Lawyer's Magazine, April 2018, pp. 54-59.
    Examines whether new methods of analysis, specifically the use of mathematical principles, can help courts identify partisan gerrymandering that goes too far.
  • "How states use funds under the TANF block grant (2018)." By Liz Schott, Ife Floyd, and Ashley Burnside. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Updated April 2, 2018, pp. 1-19.
    Examines the use of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families [TANF] funds by state governments in 2016. Finds states spend slightly more than half of their combined federal and state TANF dollars on the core welfare reform areas of basic assistance, child care for low-income families, and work supports. Includes several state tables on TANF spending and identifies Texas as a state in the "Race to the Bottom," spending only six percent of TANF funds on basic assistance in 2016.
  • "New help for homeless college students." By Story Hinckley. Christian Science Monitor, April 2, 2018, pp. 17, 19-20.
    Highlights California programs that provide housing and food assistance to help homeless students stay in community colleges and other higher education institutions.
  • "Students want faster degrees. Colleges are responding." By Julian Wyllie. Chronicle of Higher Education, April 6, 2018, pp. A8-A10, A12.
    Highlights new college degree programs such as Purdue University's "Degree in 3" that allow students to graduate in three years. Explains these programs appeal to students who are cost-conscious or eager to start their careers.
  • "Facebook and democracy: the antisocial network." Economist, March 24th-30th, 2018, pp. 21-22.
    Considers whether the scandal over the use of Facebook's data by political consultant Cambridge Analytica will lead to stricter regulations concerning data protection and digital privacy.
  • "Gun laws: what works." Economist, March 24th-30th, 2018, pp. 26-27.
    Reports the absence of a federal response to mass shootings has spurred several states and cities to pass gun control laws that seem to be saving lives. Divides the laws into three categories: laws that increase scrutiny of gun buyers, "extreme-risk protection order" laws, and laws that tighten rules on gun storage.
  • "Florida extends private-school vouchers to bullied students." By Arianna Prothero. Education Week, March 21, 2018, pp. 18-19.
    Examines Florida's recently enacted law, which offers bullied students Hope Scholarships to attend private schools.
  • "Appropriately framing child health care spending: a prerequisite for value improvement." By Kao-Ping Chua, et al. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), March 20, 2018, pp. 1087-1090.
    Argues that stakeholders, including policy makers, should reject language that frames child health care spending as small when compared with adult health care spending. Lists reasons why this is problematic.
  • "Sharing connections." By Leonie Heyworth. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), April 3, 2018, pp. 1323-1324.
    Narrates a physician's experience providing telehealth services to a Vietnam veteran who evacuated his home during Hurricane Harvey. Advocates for a partnership between government entities and the private sector so telehealth can continue to be a tool for disaster relief and more.
  • "The 'nice girl' who saved the Second Amendment." By John J. Miller. National Review, April 16, 2018, pp. 25-27.
    Profiles historian Joyce Lee Malcolm and her research cited in the Supreme Court's Heller decision recognizing an individual right to possess a firearm. Related information at: https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/07pdf/07-290.pdf
  • "A new health-care debate." By Yuval Levin and Ramesh Ponnuru. National Review, April 16, 2018, pp. 28-30.
    Advocates for more market-friendly health care policy reforms through block grants for Medicaid and Obamacare funds, and more state control.
  • "Dirty politics." By Margaret Talbot. New Yorker, April 2, 2018, pp. 38-51.
    Profiles Scott Pruitt and his efforts at the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] to focus on "EPA originalism" by grounding EPA action specifically on federal statutes and not pursuing additional, new environmental threats.
  • "Bordernomics: the US–Mexico border region." By M. Ray Perryman. Perryman Report and Texas Letter, Vol. 35, No. 2, pp. 1-3, 6.
    Describes the economy of the US–Mexico border region to determine regional dynamics and identify actions which could increase the level of trade and economic activity between the two nations.
  • "Infrastructure by the people, for the people." By John Godfrey. Public Power, March/April 2018, pp. 39.
    Emphasizes the importance of infrastructure with regard to public utilities. Explains why the American Public Power Association will oppose any effort by the federal government to move toward privatization of electric utilities.
  • "License overload?" By Albert Downs and Iris Hentze. State Legislatures, April 2018, pp. 18-19, 21-22.
    Reports that over 25 percent of today's workforce hold jobs that require an occupational license. Notes several states are reviewing licensing requirements and considering policy changes.
  • "TMA makes medicine's case post-Harvey." By Joey Berlin. Texas Medicine, March 2018, pp. 44-45.
    Reviews the Texas Medical Association's work with legislators to address challenges from Hurricane Harvey.
  • "ERCOT predicts record-breaking peak power demand this summer." Texas Public Power, March 2018, p. 1.
    Summarizes the Electric Reliability Council of Texas' [ERCOT] Preliminary Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy [SARA] for Summer 2018. Updates expectations for Spring 2018 based on the final SARA report. Reports at: http://www.ercot.com/content/wcm/lists/143976/SARA-FinalSpring2018.pdf and http://www.ercot.com/content/wcm/lists/143976/SARA-PreliminarySummer2018.pdf
  • "Public power: a rich history, a bright future." By Delia Patterson. Texas Public Power, March 2018, pp. 3, 6-7.
    Provides a brief history of the public power business model. Argues that, as an integral part of the nation's electric utility infrastructure, public power utilities continue to play an important role.
  • "What can we do to stop it?" By Sean Gregory, et al. Time, April 2, 2018, pp. 32-35.
    Presents six steps for reducing gun violence in the United States. Argues it is more effective to tackle the problem as a public health issue rather than a political one.

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.

Current Articles & Research Resources, April 5

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

  • See how highway deck parks improve quality of life in cities. (Stateline, April 2, 2018)
  • Read about federal legislation that would improve transparency related to federal unfunded mandates. (Council of State Governments, March 28, 2018)
  • Examine racial disparities in incarceration rates. (Vera Institute of Justice, February 2018)
  • Consider the results of a blind taste test of recycled water. (EurekAlert!, March 13, 2018)

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

  • "Reckless requests." By Lorelei Laird. ABA Journal: The Lawyer's Magazine, March 2018, pp. 16-18.
    Considers Washington State's and Florida's efforts to modify their public records laws, including provisions relating to attorney fees and excessive requests.
  • "From opposition to preparation, Austin businesses gear up for sick-leave rules." By Daniel Salazar. Austin Business Journal, March 23, 2018, pp. 4-6.
    Reports on Austin's mandated sick leave ordinance and the impact on business owners' operations.
  • "Is student debt big enough to hold back the economy?" By Dan Bauman. Chronicle of Higher Education, March 16, 2018, p. A25.
    Examines student debt in terms of what research shows as to its effect on small-business start-ups, borrowers purchasing homes, and which segments of the student population holds the most debt.
  • "Autonomous vehicles: a driverless tragedy." Economist, March 24th-30th, 2018, pp. 73-74.
    Discusses the call for tighter rules and safety standards for the testing of autonomous vehicles, in the wake of the first known case of a pedestrian being killed by a self-driving car in Tempe, Arizona.
  • "The geopolitics of energy: the new power superpowers." Economist, March 17th, 2018, pp. 1, 3-12.
    Reports on the geopolitical implications of the transition from fossil fuels to cleaner energy and pinpoints the winners and losers.
  • "DACA continues for now, as does uncertainty for 'dreamers'." By Corey Mitchell. Education Week, March 7, p. 6.
    Discusses the United States Supreme Court's refusal to intervene in the legal battle over DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Addresses the effect President Trump's current immigration policy is having on DACA eligible students' behavior and attendance.
  • "States confront a range of hurdles to swift action on school security." By Daarel Burnette II. Education Week, March 7, 2018, pp. 8-9.
    Discusses school security strategies governors and state legislatures are considering in light of the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Quotes Governor Greg Abbott.
  • "The pain refugees: the forgotten victims of America's opioid crisis." By Brian Goldstone. Harper's Magazine, April 2018, pp. 53-61.
    Explores the complexities of the opioid addiction and overdose crisis, beyond the standard narrative of "doctors as dupes and patients as victims."
  • "From payday loans to pawnshops: fringe banking, the unbanked, and health." By Jerzy Eisenberg-Guyot, et al. Health Affairs, March 2018, pp. 429-437.
    Examines the correlation between health and the use of fringe banking (including payday lenders and check cashers) and/or being unbanked (not having one's own bank account). Suggests expanding social welfare programs and labor protections to reduce the need for such stressful financial programs, thus reducing the stresses fringe services place on physical and mental health.
  • "Parent mentoring program increases coverage rates for uninsured Latino children." By Glenn Flores, et al. Health Affairs, March 2018, pp. 403-412.
    Evaluates the effects of parent mentors on insuring Latino children eligible for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program [CHIP] from 2011-15 in Dallas County, Texas.
  • "Current developments in state and local tax: federal tax reform and other significant developments." By Mark L. Nachbar and Mary F. Bernard. Journal of State Taxation, Spring 2018, pp. 7-10, 38-39.
    Provides a brief overview of how the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will impact state and local taxes. Explores other significant tax developments for individual states, including Texas.
    Related information at:  http://caselaw.findlaw.com/tx-supreme-court/1884104.html
  • "Against a weed industry." By Jonathan Caulkins. National Review, April 2, 2018, pp. 27-29.
    Argues against a for-profit industry for cannabis products at this time. Advocates restricting legal supply to nonprofit organizations and offers suggestions as to how this idea could be accomplished.
  • "The graying of the welfare state." By William Voegeli. National Review, March 19, 2018, pp. 27-30.
    Examines how increased longevity and declining birthrates are increasing the fiscal, political, and social challenges related to "welfare state" programs such as Social Security and Medicare.
  • "U.S. electric transportation: getting in gear." By Michael Britt and Tom Flaherty. Public Utilities Fortnightly, March 2018, pp. 32-39, 71.
    Argues that, by collaborating with the global original equipment manufacturer community, utilities can play a more active role in spreading public awareness and encouraging commercial adoption of electric transportation. Provides examples of what other countries have done.
  • "Guns, code, and freedom." By Mark McDaniel. Reason, April 2018, pp. 48-55.
    Presents an interview with Cody Wilson, the Austin-based gun-rights activist, who "launched the age of the digital gun" with the publication of files showing how to make a 3D-printed pistol.
  • "For end-of-life care, fresh challenges begin." By Joey Berlin. Texas Medicine, March 2018, pp. 24-29.
    Discusses SB11, 85th Legislature, 1st C.S., which establishes new requirements for in-hospital do-not-resuscitate orders.
  • "Fostering change." By Sean Price. Texas Medicine, March 2018, pp. 32-35.
    Examines SB11, 85th Legislature, R.S., by focusing on the new requirement that foster children "be seen by a physician within three business days of coming into the care of Child Protective Services."
  • "The young and the relentless." Time, April 2, 2018, pp. 24-31.
    Profiles student leaders of the new grassroots movement against gun violence that sprang up in response to the mass shooting at their school in Parkland, Florida. Discusses what students have achieved so far and their goals for the movement.

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.

Current Articles & Research Resources, March 22

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

  • Read about what states and the federal government are doing to expand broadband access. (National Conference of State Legislatures, March 2018)
  • Review gender gains and gaps over the last half century in the United States. (Pew Research, March 15, 2018)
  • Consider the number of young adults who have ridden in a vehicle with an impaired driver. (National Institues of Health, March 19, 2018)
  • Learn how to change some of your Facebook privacy settings. (Electronic Frontier Foundation, March 19, 2018)

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

  • "Truth in advertising." By Mark Walsh. ABA Journal: The Lawyer's Magazine, March 2018, pp. 20-21.
    Discusses a case pending before the United States Supreme Court that will examine whether a California law aimed at crisis pregnancy centers is a form of compelled speech that violates the First Amendment.
    Related information at: http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/national-institute-family-life-advocates-v-becerra/
  • "New directions: rethinking career and technical education." By Leslie Trahan. ATPE News (Association of Texas Professional Educators), Spring 2018, pp. 30-34, 42.
    Features the Killeen Independent School District Career Center as a case study of the increasingly popular career and technical education [CTE] courses supported by HB5, 83rd Legislature, R.S.
  • "Bullets across the border." By Lourdes Medrano. Christian Science Monitor, March 19, 2018, pp. 24-30.
    Highlights the case of Lonnie Swartz, the first border patrol agent to stand trial for killing someone on Mexican soil. Explains this Arizona case and a similar Texas case could decide the constitutional question of whether non-citizens who are not in the United States are protected by the United States Constitution.
  • "Will NRA follow big tobacco's path?" By Peter Grier. Christian Science Monitor, March 19, 2018, pp. 18-20.
    Compares and contrasts the public health, legislative, and legal debates that occurred over tobacco with the current discussion related to the gun industry and gun violence.
  • "Could North Texas' lack of college-educated millenials derail bid for Amazon HQ2?" By Bill Hethcock. Dallas Business Journal, March 2, 2018, p. 10.
    Highlights a new study that examines the demographic makeup of millenials, where they live, and how they differ on education and poverty across metropolitan areas and states. Notes Dallas-Fort Worth is among the Amazon contenders with the lowest millenial college-completion percentages.
    Report at: https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/2018-jan_brookings-metro_millennials-a-demographic-bridge-to-americas-diverse-future.pdf
  • "Corporate debt in America: on borrowed time." Economist, March 10th-16th, 2018, pp. 66, 68.
    Reports total debt of American non-financial corporations reached 73.3 percent (when calculated as a percentage of the GDP) in the second quarter of 2017. Notes several industries are particularly vulnerable under their debt loads — retail, energy, and utilities — and could be worse off under new tax reforms and a trade war.
  • "The looming trade war; Mr. Trump's misconceptions." Economist, March 10th-16th, 2018, pp. 23-26.
    Explains why President Trump's legal rationale for proposing tariffs on steel and alumminum imports is undermining the rules-based system of world trade that prevents trade disputes from turning into serious conflicts.
  • "Republicans split by Empower Texans influence." By Marice Richter. Fort Worth Business Press, Feb. 26-March 4, 2018, pp. 24-25.
    Considers the conflict between Empower Texans and some Republicans in the Texas Legislature.
  • "2017 in review: remote seller nexus and California, Florida, New York and Texas sales-and-use tax on software, digital goods and related products and services." By Todd Faciana, et al. Journal of State Taxation, Spring 2018, pp. 15-21.
    Highlights sales-and-use tax developments in four states, including Texas. Predicts what sales-and-use taxes will look like for stakeholders in 2018.
    Related information at: http://www.search.txcourts.gov/Case.aspx?cn=03-16-00291-CV&coa=coa03
  • "Credits & incentives update: the silver lining on the hurricane clouds of Harvey, Irma, and Maria." By Tam Vo and Ben Castro. Journal of State Taxation, Spring 2018, pp. 13-14, 39-40.
    Discusses the Employee Retention Tax Credit [ERTC], which was created as part of the Disaster Tax Relief and Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2017
    Related information at: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/3823
  • "Gun-violence restraining orders can save lives." By David French. National Review, March 19, 2018, pp. 12-13.
    Argues that gun-violence restraining orders [GVRO] are a public policy proposal aimed at stopping mass shootings. Lists the five elements a well-crafted GVRO law should include.
  • "In defense of local schools." By Frederick M. Hess and Andy Smarick. National Review, March 19, 2018, pp. 20-21.
    Discusses the tension between choice and local control in public education, pointing out that in smaller suburban and rural school districts, schools are the hub of communities. Suggests policy solutions should respect and accommodate both community and choice.
  • "Education as an American right?" By Julie Underwood. Phi Delta Kappan, February 2018, pp. 76-77.
    Reviews various court cases such as Plyer v. Doe, a case originating in Texas, to show court interpretations of the state's role in providing education. Considers theoretical arguments for a federal constitutional right to education.
  • "2017 Tax Reform and Jobs Act: unique challenges." Public Utilities Fortnightly, March 2018, pp. 48-49.
    Discusses how the 2017 Tax Reform and Jobs Act will affect the utility industry. Focuses on the electric industry as an example.
    Related information at: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1
  • "Going to college is selfish." By Bryan Caplan. Reason, April 2018, pp. 40-46.
    Claims the social benefits don't match the staggering costs that all levels of government are spending on education. Includes a side bar, "a heretical plan for cutting spending on education".
  • "Property taxes." By Ryan Salchert. San Antonio Business Journal, March 16, 2018, pp. 12-15.
    Discusses how real estate owners in Texas are feeling the effects of rising commercial property taxes. Suggests that as property values rise, legacy property ownership and local investment become less viable.
  • "Austin Energy program option allows low-income families to participate in solar energy." Texas Public Power , January 2018, pp. 8-9.
    Discusses a new program, recently approved by the city of Austin, to assist low-income customers pay for locally produced solar power at a discounted rate.
  • "Bye Dad, I love you." By Haley Sweetland Edwards. Time, March 19, 2018, pp. 34-40.
    Illustrates the impact of stringent immigration enforcement on families, particularly children.

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.

 

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: https://texasattorneygeneral.gov/cpd/historical-laws-colonias
  • "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.

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: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/85R/minutes/html/C5702018013110001.HTM
  • "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: https://www.epa.gov/renewable-fuel-standard-program/final-renewable-fuel-standards-2018-and-biomass-based-diesel-volume
  • "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:  http://interchange.puc.state.tx.us/WebApp/Interchange/application/dbapps/filings/ pgControl.asp?TXT_CNTRL_NO=46368 and  http://www.adminmonitor.com/tx/puct/open_meeting/20180125/
  • "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.

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