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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: https://www.agc.org/news/2018/01/23/construction-jobs-increase-42-states-between-december-2016-and-december-2017-32
  • "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 Amazon.com 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: https://www.fda.gov/downloads/BiologicsBloodVaccines/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/Guidances/CellularandGeneTherapy/UCM585403.pdf
  • "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: https://www.medicaid.gov/Medicaid-CHIP-Program-Information/By-Topics/Waivers/1115/downloads/ky/ky-health-pa2.pdf
  • "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.

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. (EveryCRSReport.com, 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: https://www.cbpp.org/research/state-budget-and-tax/a-punishing-decade-for-school-funding
  • "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.

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: http://www.judgeemmett.org/Docs/Emmett_Flood_Proposals/Emmett_Flooding_Proposals.pdf
  • "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.

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: http://www.epi.org/files/pdf/130245.pdf and http://www.epi.org/files/pdf/133463.pdf
  • "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.

Current Articles and Research Resources, January 18

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

  • Explore Americans' perceptions of the news media. (Gallup, January 17, 2018)
  • Read about the legislative process in Congress. (Congressional Research Service, January 10, 2018)
  • Consider which drugs are causing lethal overdoses. (FiveThirtyEight, January 17, 2018)
  • Examine the costs of severe weather events. (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2018)

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

  • "Marital discord." By Jonathan Black. ABA Journal: The Lawyer's Magazine, January 2018, pp. 16-18.
    Highlights several states' efforts to change minimum-age marriage laws and to prohibit forced marriages.
  • "The Texas GED problem is getting worse." By Chandra Villanueva. Center for Public Policy Priorities, January 2018, pp. 1-14.
    Reports on the decline in the number of individuals taking and passing the General Equivalency Diploma [GED] exam. Addresses the need for the state to follow students who receive a high school equivalency and track their career and educational outcomes.
    See: https://forabettertexas.org/images/2018_EO_GEDproblem_FullReport.pdf
  • "'Always think deeply.'" Chronicle of Higher Education, January 5, 2017, pp. A6-A7.
    Interviews Ruth J. Simmons, former president of Brown University and current president of Prairie View A&M University, about her career and coming out of retirement to guide Prairie View.
  • "A dying town." By Sarah Brown and Karin Fischer. Chronicle of Higher Education, January 5, 2017, pp. A14-A23.
    Discusses current research correlating low education levels in areas of economic malaise with poorer health outcomes.
  • "High-tax states: tax replanning." Economist, January 6th-12th, 2018, pp. 17-18.
    Examines how states might try to circumvent the new federal tax law.
  • "Mortality quadrupled among opioid-driven hospitalizations, notably within lower-income and disabled white populations." By Zirui Song. Health Affairs, December 2017, pp. 2054-2061.
    Examines opioid-driven hospitalizations in the United States. Finds that while the total volume has remained stable, it has shifted from diagnoses involving opioid dependence toward those centered on opioid or heroin poisoning, with patients more likely to be white, ages 50-64, Medicare beneficiaries with disabilities, and residents of low-income areas.
  • "Only one in twenty justice-referred adults in specialty treatment for opioid use receive methadone or buprenorphine." By Noa Krawczyk, et al. Health Affairs, December 2017, pp. 2046-2053.
    Investigates whether the criminal justice system refers people to the highest standard of treatment for opioid use disorder, methadone or buprenorphine. Reports that only 4.6 percent of justice-referred clients received such treatment, compared to 40.9 percent of those referred by other sources.
  • "Five ethical values to guide health systems reform." By Lawrence O. Gostin. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), December 12, 2017, pp. 2171-2172.
    Outlines five critical values for health care reform – universal access, equitable access, affordable access (cost), quality, and choice. Explains the trade-offs and why certain values should take priority.
  • "State fiscal effort and juvenile incarceration rates: are we misdirecting our investment in human capital?" By Jessica McGrath Ellison, William Owlings, and Leslie S. Kaplan. Journal of Education Finance, Summer 2017, pp. 45-63.
    Examines whether an increase in state fiscal effort for education is associated with decreased juvenile incarceration rates over the last 25 years in all 50 states.
  • "The waning impact of school finance litigation on inequality in per student revenue during the adequacy era." By Dennis J. Condron. Journal of Education Finance, Summer 2017, pp. 1-20.
    Examines how adequacy lawsuits affected inequality in school funding within states from 1990 to 2011. Finds adequacy litigation helped reduce inequality during the 1990-2000 period, but in contrast, from 2001-2011 in which there were fewer lawsuits, revenue inequality increased.
  • "Building a blue Texas." By John Nichols. Nation, December 18/25, 2017, pp. 12-15.
    Speculates on the future of the Democratic Party in Texas and examines the revival of progressive-populist politics in the state.
  • "The glut economy." By Lawrence Wright. New Yorker, January 1, 2018, pp. 42-50, 52-53.
    Examines the history of boom and bust in the Texas energy industry and the role the industry currently plays in the Texas economy. Discusses the industrialization of communities and environmental concerns in areas of intensive drilling.
    See: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/01/01/the-dark-bounty-of-texas-oil
  • "Industry insights: innovations put sustainable water systems in reach." By Frank Zammataro. Opflow, December 2017, pp. 6-7.
    Explores how renewable energy, conservation, and efficiency can provide a new vision for United States water operations.
  • "Industry and government partner to secure the grid." By Nidhi Chaudhry. Public Power, November/December 2017, pp. 12-17.
    Argues that, with the increasing complexity of the electric grid, it has become more critical for coordinated efforts across the industry and with federal agencies to appropriately respond to growing threats. Mentions disaster preparedness in Houston prior to Hurricane Harvey.
    See: https://www.publicpower.org/periodical/article/industry-and-government-partner-secure-grid
  • "New, higher tolls for 2018." By Elaine S. Povich. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), January 9, 2018, pp. 1-6.
    Reports the lack of funding from gas taxes and the growing popularity of fuel-efficient cars means more states are likely to impose tolls on "free" roads or build more toll-only lanes in 2018.
    See: http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2018/01/09/new-higher-tolls-for-2018
  • "Big changes coming for Texas Family Code in 2018." By Kris Balekian Hayes. Texas Lawyer, January 2018, pp. 34-36.
    Points out upcoming changes to Texas child support laws, enacted by SB550, 84th Legislature, R.S.
  • "Same-sex common law marriage." By Jeff Anderson. Texas Lawyer, January 2018, pp. 26, 28-29.
    Addresses whether the United States Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage can be applied retroactively to same-sex couples married informally through common-law before the date of enactment, June 26, 2015.
  • "New report finds — surprise — indigent defense attorneys shouldn’t be under the control of the state prison system." By Michael Barajas. Texas Observer, January 11, 2018, pp. 1-3.
    Highlights a recent report by the State Bar of Texas which suggests that the State Counsel for Offenders suffers from a conflict of interest between its mission and its position as an office within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
    Report at: http://www.voiceforthedefenseonline.com/story/review-operations-state-counsel-offenders
    See: https://www.texasobserver.org/new-report-finds-surprise-indigent-defense-attorneys-shouldnt-be-under-the-control-of-the-state-prison-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 and Research Resources, January 11

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

  • Consider factors contributing to higher tolls across the country. (Stateline, January 9, 2018)
  • Track what members of Congress are doing. (In Custodia Legis, January 8, 2018)
  • Read about this year's flu season. (National Public Radio, January 9, 2018)
  • See what to look for in the night sky every month. (National Geographic, December 28, 2017)

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

  • "'The system must be transformed.'" By Bill Hethcock. Austin Business Journal, December 8, 2017, pp. 12-13.
    Features interview with Baylor Scott & White CEO Jim Hinton on the future of health care and the advantages of combining the finance and delivery of health care into a single system.
  • "Building healthier communities for an aging population." By Debra Miller and Emily McCarthy. Capitol Ideas, November/December 2017, pp. 32-33.
    Highlights AARP's Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable Act [CARE Act] which aims to improve coordination and communications between seniors, their loved ones, and hospitals.
  • "Shining a spotlight on women veterans." By Shawntaye Hopkins. Capitol Ideas, November/December 2017, pp. 34-35.
    Describes the contributions of women in the armed forces. Highlights recent efforts in Oregon, Georgia, and California to recognize and advocate for women veterans, including a traveling portrait exhibit of Oregon women veterans entitled, "I Am Not Invisible."
  • "Can bipartisan buddies win over Texas?" By Henry Gass. Christian Science Monitor, December 11, 2017, pp. 18-20.
    Highlights the bipartisan friendship of United States Representatives Will Hurd and Beto O'Rourke. States that although bipartisanship is difficult in today's political world, views may be changing as many voters want political leaders to compromise to get things done.
  • "Doing Houston wrong." By Joel Kotkin. City Journal (Manhattan Institute), December 13, 2017, pp. 1-6.
    Suggests critics are wrong to blame Houston's approach to urban development for Hurricane Harvey's massive flooding damage. Advocates bolstering infrastructure resiliency through flood control systems rather than through additional zoning or abandonment of the city's current growth model.
    See: https://www.city-journal.org/html/doing-houston-wrong-15604.html
  • "Public education: keeping the wheels turning." Economist, December 23rd, 2017-January 5th, 2018, pp. 39-40.
    Explains why America's school funding model — levies on property taxes — is not as regressive as some critics contest. Notes other countries do a better job of directing resources to children who need extra help.
    Related information at: https://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/publication/94961/making-sense-of-state-school-funding-policy_0.pdf
  • "Safer nicotine: the tobacco paradox." Economist, December 23rd, 2017-January 5th, 2018, pp. 85-86.
    Discusses the changing landscape of the tobacco industry. Explains the Food and Drug Administration is working on a regulatory process to make it easier for companies to introduce safer products.
  • "The uninsured do not use the emergency department more — they use other care less." By Ruohua Annetta Zhou, et al. Health Affairs, December 2017, pp. 2115-2122.
    Debunks the common misperception that the uninsured use the emergency department [ED] more. Explains insured and uninsured adults use the ED at very similar rates and in very similar circumstances, and the uninsured use other types of care much less than the insured.
  • "Determining health effects of hazardous materials released during Hurricane Harvey." By M.J. Friedrich. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), December 19, 2017, pp. 2283-2285.
    Discusses efforts to sample the air, water, and sediment, track hazardous chemical exposures, and identify ways we can improve risk management to protect communities from future disasters like Hurricane Harvey.
  • "Ag tech poses difficult state tax questions." By Matthew C. Boch, Cal McCastlain, and T.J. Lawhon. Journal of MultiState Taxation and Incentives, January 2018, pp. 34-36.
    Describes recent digital technology and artificial intelligence developments in the agricultural sector, designed to increase crop yields and improve operational efficiency, and the ambiguous relationship to decades-old state tax provisions, agricultural exemptions, and conservation credits.
  • "Collecting our thoughts on collecting states' use taxes." By Shirley Sicilian. Journal of MultiState Taxation and Incentives, January 2018, pp. 20-25, 48.
    Analyzes state approaches to minimizing the impact of the physical presence requirements in the Quill decision, and outlines use tax collection, notice, and reporting responsibility in certain states. Related information at: https://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/91-0194.ZO.html
  • "The myth of the playground pusher." By C.J. Ciaramella and Lauren Krisai. Reason, January 2018, pp. 41-49.
    Reviews the use of drug-free school zones in the various states. Explains drug-free school zone laws are rarely used to prosecute sales of drugs to minors, but have become a vehicle to give prosecutors increased leverage in a variety of drug cases.
  • "A matter of trust." By Matthew Huston. Science, December 15, 2017, pp. 1375-1377.
    Explores public attitudes toward autonomous vehicles.
  • "Why free college tuition is spreading from cities to states." By Marsha Mercer. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), January 5, 2018, pp. 1-4.
    Reports 200 localities and twelve states are offering free tuition programs. Notes mixed results in meeting goals of producing more workers with marketable skills and helping local economies.
    See: http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2018/01/05/why-free-college-tuition-is-spreading-from-cities-to-states
  • "Bad medicine." By Sean Price. Texas Medicine, December 2017, pp. 49-54.
    Calls for state legislative policy to help people safely dispose of unwanted medicines, noting this would reduce chances of poisonings or misuse and keep these chemicals out of the water system. See: https://www.texmed.org/Template.aspx?id=46159
  • "Big Spring vs. big oil." By Christopher Collins. Texas Observer, December 2017, pp. 26-31.
    Explores the effects groundwater mining and Permian Basin fracking operations are having on rural Texas towns. Argues groundwater districts' lax rules on water pumping and water companies lack of transparency risks depletion of these communities only sources of drinking water.
  • "ERCOT generation outlook released." Texas Public Power, November-December 2017, pp. 5, 7.
    Summarizes the following two reports from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas [ERCOT]: Final Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy for the ERCOT region (SARA): Winter 2017-18 and Preliminary Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy for the ERCOT region (SARA): Spring 2018. Report at: http://www.ercot.com/content/wcm/lists/114797/SARA-FinalWinter2017-18.pdf
    Report at: http://www.ercot.com/content/wcm/lists/114797/SARA-PreliminarySpring2018.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 and Research Resources, January 4

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

  • Find resources related to homeowners' associations law. (Library of Congress, December 7, 2017)
  • Consider issues related to face scanning in airports. (Georgetown Law, Center on Privacy & Technology, December 21, 2017)
  • Examine graduation rates by state. (Education Week, December 7, 2017)
  • Explore the Congressional Record from its first issue forward. (U.S. Government Publishing Office, January 3, 2018)

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

  • "No way out." By Barbara Bradley Hagerty. Atlantic Monthly, January/February 2018, pp. 54-66.
    Profiles the case of Benjamine Spencer, sentenced to life for the 1987 Dallas murder of Jeffrey Young. Examines the work of Jim McCloskey and Centurion Ministries in trying to prove Spencer's innocence.
    See: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/01/no-way-out/546575/
  • "Shale oil." By Alex Nussbaum and David Wethe. Bloomberg Businessweek, January 8, 2018, p. 72.
    Discusses the future of shale oil producers, particularly those in the Permian Basin. Details anxiety in the oil market regarding the shale oil industry's sustainability.
  • "Insecure ballots." By Warren Richey. Christian Science Monitor, December 11, 2017, pp. 26-32.
    Presents the findings of a Christian Science Monitor study of the vulnerabilities of the American election system.
  • "It's open season." By Dean DeChiaro. CQ Weekly, December 4, 2017, pp. 30-33.
    Discusses changes in immigration policy under the Trump administration — specifically, the removal of prosecutorial discretion when enforcing immigration law. Highlights the case of an undocumented girl with cerebral palsy who was arrested and detained in Texas after seeking medical help.
  • "Business and society: America Inc gets woke." Economist, December 2nd-8th, 2017, pp. 53-55.
    Reports reactions to the Trump administration are reinforcing a longer-term trend for former apolitical businesses to make their voices heard on social issues.
  • "Older Americans were sicker and faced more financial barriers to health care than counterparts in other countries." By Robin Osborn, et al. Health Affairs, December 2017, pp. 2123-2132.
    Surveys elderly adults across eleven countries and finds that seniors in the United States were sicker than their counterparts in other countries and faced more financial barriers to health care.
  • The promises and pitfalls of treating addiction." By Jessica L. Gregg. Health Affairs, December 2017, pp. 2204-2206.
    Relates an addiction medicine physician's personal experience treating opioid addiction. Notes that addressing the epidemic will require involvement from primary care providers, not just specialized treatment facilities.
  • "Houston area law enforcement leaders favor drug policy reform." Internet Resource, 12/08/2017, pp. 1-8.
    Offers informed perspectives on the detrimental effects of the war on drugs as well as a rationale for a new approach to dealing with nonviolent drug offenders. Includes excerpts from interviews with Sylvester Turner, Rodney Ellis, Art Acevedo, and others.
    See: https://www.bakerinstitute.org/media/files/research-document/ee3d9e84/bi-brief-120817-drug-policyreform.pdf
  • "Texas ranks higher in oil and gas allure." Oil and Gas Journal, December 4, 2017, pp. 34-35.
    Reports that, according to the Fraser Institute of Canada's annual Global Petroleum Survey, Texas holds the top rank as the "most attractive jurisdiction globally for oil and gas investment."
    Report at: https://www.fraserinstitute.org/sites/default/files/global-petroleum-survey-2017.pdf
  • "Public health: lead in drinking water: past, present, and future." By Caroline Russell, Philip Brandhuber, and Darren Lytle. Opflow, December 2017, pp. 10-15.
    Explores the regulation and use of lead in plumbing materials.
  • "The end of free speech." By Katherine Mangu-Ward. Reason, January 2018, pp. 18-26.
    Argues that both the right and the left are willing to abridge free speech rights in the "service of partisan goals." Highlights recent events such as NFL player protests and Charlottesville rallies.
  • "Not so fast." By Jeffrey Mervis. Science, December 15, 2017, pp. 1370-1374.
    Discusses autonomous vehicles and whether they will be a realistic transportation option in the near future.
  • "On record: Dan Patrick, Texas Lieutenant Governor, author." By Gene Rose. State Legislatures, January 2018, pp. 24-25.
    Interviews Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick about Hurricane Harvey and ongoing recovery efforts.
  • "Top 10 in 2018." By Julie Lays. State Legislatures, January 2018, pp. 10-13.
    Highlights the biggest issues that will have a wide impact and presence in almost every state legislature in 2018.
  • "Courthouse security." By Julie Anderson. Texas County Progress, December 2017, pp. 12-14.
    Recounts two high-profile shootings that took place in Texas county courthouses and led the Texas Legislature to enact SB42, 85th Legislature, R.S.
  • "Closing the gap." By Joey Berlin. Texas Medicine, December 2017, pp. 22-28.
    Discusses the value and importance of SB507, 85th Legislature, R.S., which will greatly expand mediation for out-of-network medical bills. Notes additional measures that would help eliminate balance billing.
    See: https://www.texmed.org/Template.aspx?id=46160
  • "Difficult situations." By Joey Berlin. Texas Medicine, December 2017, pp. 37-42.
    Examines the Texas Advance Directives Act that was challenged in court in summer 2017. Explores the challenge of reconciling the wishes of a patient or the patient's health care decider with the ethical duties of a physician.
    See: https://www.texmed.org/Template.aspx?id=46157
  • "Bordering on an outbreak." By Sophie Novak. Texas Observer, December 2017, pp. 12-16.
    Details Brownsville's battle with the Zika virus. Considers how the South Texas climate and the international border pose challenges to the efforts to address Zika outbreaks.
  • "The silence breakers." By Edward Felsenthal, et al. Time, December 18, 2017, pp. 30-56, 58-62, 64, 66-68, 70-71 (Note Length).
    Presents Time Magazine's Person of the Year — the Silence Breakers — the people who have launched a "revolution of refusal" by speaking publicly about their experiences with sexual harassment and assault.
    See: http://time.com/time-person-of-the-year-2017-silence-breakers/

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 and Research Resources, December 14

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

  • Review statistics related to the country's southern border. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection, December 5, 2017)
  • Read about the costs of the Trump Administration's goals for the military. (Congressional Budget Office, December 4, 2017)
  • Consider the legal aspects of shared parenting. (The Washington Post, December 11, 2017)
  • Explore the stunning images from the 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year submissions. (National Geographic, ©2017)

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

  • "The state of manufacturing." By Evan Hoopfer. Dallas Business Journal, November 24, 2017, pp. 4-6.
    Discusses the growth in manufacturing jobs and tracks how North Texas compares to its national and state counterparts.
  • "Disaster relief: defrauding the do-gooders." Economist, November 25th-December 1st, 2017, pp. 55-56.
    Reports countries are becoming more active in seeking to uncover and punish fraud related to humanitarian aid and natural and man-made disasters.
  • "Mental health: me, myself and iPhone." Economist, November 25th-December 1st, 2017, pp. 26, 28.
    Considers whether the current increase in the suicide rate among 15-to-19-year-olds coincides with the rise of social media and the time spent staring at phone screens.
  • "Why the Republican tax plans do nothing to help genuine small businesses." By Hunter Blair. EPI Issue Brief, November 29, 2017, pp. 1-8.
    Rebuts claims that Republican tax plans will help small businesses by lowering top tax rates on "pass-through" income. Explains the relationship between pass-through businesses and small businesses.
    See: http://www.epi.org/files/pdf/138390.pdf
  • "Making a case for sanctuary hospitals." By Altaf Saadi, Sameer Ahmed, and Mitchell H. Katz. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), December 5, 2017, pp. 2079-2080.
    Argues that hospitals should develop clear sanctuary policies so community members can seek medical care regardless of their immigration status. Highlights several Texas anecdotes in which patients were targeted by United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement [ICE] agents.
  • "The success of state newborn screening policies for critical congenital heart disease." By Alex R. Kemper, Wendy K.K. Lam, and Joseph A. Bocchini Jr. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), December 5, 2017, pp. 2087-2088.
    Reports that statewide implementation of mandatory newborn screening policies for critical congenital heart disease was associated with a significant decrease in infant cardiac deaths between 2007 and 2013.
  • "Electricity or natural gas: which holds the real price advantage?" By Mark Beyer. Public Utilities Fortnightly, December 2017, pp. 48-49.
    Compares the price advantages of electricity and natural gas.
  • "How does innovation impact customers?: no two are alike." By Sheri Givens. Public Utilities Fortnightly, November 2017, pp. 16-18.
    Considers how innovations impact residential utility customers. Suggests ways for utilities to accommodate innovations based on different customer preferences.
  • "For foster care kids, college degrees are elusive." By Teresa Wiltz. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), December 7, 2017, pp. 1-4.
    Reports on state programs that help foster care youth get into and through college or vocational school.
    See: http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2017/12/07/for-foster-care-kids-college-degrees-are-elusive
  • "More protection for property owners: how TAB influenced policy to protect homeowners during the 85th First Called Special Session." By Eddie Martin. Texas Builder, November/December 2017, pp. 23-24.
    Discusses efforts of the Texas Association of Builders relating to the home building industry and property rights in the 85th Legislature, 1st C.S., specifically relating to HB7 (tree credits for mitigation fees) and SB6 (annexation).
    See: http://www.texasbuilders.org/site/publisher/files/TXBuilder_NovDec17_FINAL.pdf#page=23
  • "Overcoming the storm." By Lorraine Urey. Texas Builder, November/December 2017, pp. 12-16.
    Surveys Hurricane Harvey's damage to Texas homes and describes the main obstacle facing the rebuilding effort: a skilled construction labor shortage. Mentions recent education reform in HB5, 83rd Legislature, R.S., allowing students to earn construction industry or trade certifications.
    See: http://www.texasbuilders.org/site/publisher/files/TXBuilder_NovDec17_FINAL.pdf#page=12
  • "A slap at employment law?" By W. Gary Fowler. Texas Lawyer, December 2017, pp. 24-25.
    Comments on recent court decisions concerning the impact of the Texas Citizens Participation Act on employment law issues such as defamation and trade secrets. Notes the law was enacted by HB2973, 82nd Legislature, R.S., as a way to prevent lawsuits that deter free speech.
  • "Giving up the gavel: after five terms as House speaker, Joe Straus calls it quits." By R.G. Ratcliffe. Texas Monthly, December 2017, pp. 54, 56.
    Offers Speaker Joe Straus' thoughts on why he decided not to run for reelection, what it takes to achieve success as Speaker, and whether he might be open to running for statewide office.
  • "An 87-year-old nun said she was raped in her nursing home. here’s why she couldn't sue." By Haley Sweetland Edwards. Time, November 27, 2017, pp. 54-59.
    Reports an increasing number of nursing homes are requiring incoming residents to sign arbitration agreements as a condition of admission. Notes residents are often unaware they have relinquished their legal rights to have claims of negligence and criminal conduct heard in court. Addresses an arbitration case involving rape.
    See: http://time.com/5027063/87-year-old-nun-said-she-was-raped-in-her-nursing-home/

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 and Research Resources, December 7

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

  • Consider new flexibility granted to the states for operating food stamp programs. (Politico, December 5, 2017)
  • Read about amicus briefs filed for Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. (Heritage Foundation, December 5, 2017)
  • Explore how new technologies can help manage diabetes. (National Institutes of Health, December 2017)
  • Find resources related to vaccinating against and tracking the flu in Texas. (Texas Department of State Health Services, last updated October 9, 2017)

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

  • "Guardian of the vote." By Jill Leovy. Atlantic Monthly, December 2017, pp. 16, 18, 20.
    Reports on Barbara Simons and her work with the nonprofit, Verified Voting, and their goal of getting paper ballots in every state to combat the vulnerability of electronic systems.
    (See: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/12/guardian-of-the-vote/544155/)
  • "Unnatural disaster." By Shannon Sims. Bloomberg Businessweek, November 20, 2017, pp. 52-59.
    Examines the legal aspects of flood control measures implemented in west Houston during Hurricane Harvey. Quotes Senator Joan Huffman.
  • "The scholars behind the quest for reparations." By Marc Parry. Chronicle of Higher Education, November 17, 2017, pp. A14-A16.
    Highlights the work of Hilary Beckles and other historians as they seek reparations for slavery. Explains new scholarship focuses on the role slavery played in the development of American capitalism.
  • "Emergency management." By Andrew Siddons. CQ Weekly, November 13, 2017, pp. 24-28.
    Discusses the current opioid crisis in the United States. Examines how Scott Gottlieb, the new commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration [FDA], plans to address the crisis.
  • "Wages: great again." Economist, November 18th-24th, 2017, pp. 23-24.
    Discusses the surge in wages for workers in blue-collar occupations. Notes the acceleration in manufacturing employment this year in Texas and surrounding oil states.
  • "Health IT in Texas: the doctor is ... online." By Lauren Mulverhill. Fiscal Notes, November 2017, pp. 7-10.
    Examines health information technology as a promising solution for the challenges of rural health care and the physician shortage, including the expansion of telemedicine enacted by SB1107, HB1697, SB922, and SB1633, 85th Legislature, R.S.
    (See: https://comptroller.texas.gov/economy/fiscal-notes/2017/november/health-it.php#article)
  • "Statewide payment and delivery reform: do states have what it takes?" By Judy Feder, et al. Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law, December 2017, pp. 1113-1125.
    Cautions federal and state policy makers that state leaders' political desire to be the stewards of health care for the state's entire population may be affected by statutory authority and purchasing power.
  • "Are sugar-sweetened beverages taxes legal? Williams v. Philadelphia." By Kevin A. Diehl. Journal of State Taxation, Winter 2017, pp. 17-22, 38.
    Highlights the legal arguments in a recent Pennsylvania soda tax case in which the appellate court found that the City of Philadelphia's beverage tax did not violate the Sterling Act's prohibition on duplicative taxes, and does not fall under the preempted sales tax category.
    (Related information at: http://www.pacourts.us/assets/opinions/Commonwealth/out/2077cd16_6-14-17.pdf)
  • "The new frontier: automobile insurance in the ride-share world." By Catherine L. Hanna. Journal of Texas Insurance Law, Fall 2017, pp. 17-20.
    Discusses how ridesharing challenges the traditional insurance dichotomy between personal and commercial activities. Explains the effect of HB1733, 84th Legislature.
    (Related information at: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=84R&Bill=HB1733)
  • "American families are broken and blended." By Robert Verbruggen. National Review, November 27, 2017, pp. 18, 20.
    Reports that about 40 percent of children in the United States are born to unmarried parents. Comments on the economic, technological, and cultural developments that have led to this situation and result in children experiencing a number of family-structure transitions.
  • "The serial-killer detector." By Alec Wilkinson. New Yorker, November 27, 2017, pp. 30-35.
    Highlights the Murder Accountability Project [MAP], which seeks to track and accurately account for unsolved homicides in the United States, including identifying potential serial killers.
    (Related information at: http://www.murderdata.org/)
    (See: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/11/27/the-serial-killer-detector)
  • "Gerrymandering educational opportunity." By Meredith P. Richards. Phi Delta Kappan, November 2017, pp. 65-70.
    Argues that gerrymandering school attendance zones can create educational communities that increase diversity and improve educational opportunities.
  • "Energy and politics at FERC: an independent agency?" By Robin Lunt. Public Utilities Fortnightly, November 2017, p. 65.
    Discusses United States Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry's role in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's [FERC] proposed rule that addresses rates for wholesale electricity markets.
    (Related information at: https://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2017/09/f37/Secretary%20Rick%20Perry's%20Letter%20to%20the%20Federal%20Energy%20Regulatory%20Commission.pdf)
  • "How immigration crackdowns screw up Americans' lives." By Shikha Dalmia. Reason, December 2017, pp. 26-36.
    Explains how American citizens are harmed in overzealous immigration crackdowns, which include deporting American citizens, treating border towns as hostile territory, and driving restaurateurs out of business.
  • "FERC to issue rule on markets to preserve 'fuel-source.'" By Paul Ciampoli. Texas Public Power, October 2017, pp. 3, 6-8.
    Discusses the Federal Energy Regulatory Committee's [FERC] proposed rule addressing rates for wholesale electricity markets.
    (Related information at: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/10/10/2017-21396/grid-resiliency-pricing-rule

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 and Research Resources, November 30

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

  • Track the legislative priorities of members of Congress. (ProPublica, November 20, 2017)
  • Review the financial soundness of the National Flood Insurance Program. (Congressional Budget Office, November 14, 2017)
  • Explore aspects of the opioid crisis. (National Conference of State Legislatures, ©2017)
  • Examine the most congested roadways in Texas. (Texas A&M Transportation Institute, ©2017)
  • Find opinions from current and past Texas attorneys general. (Attorney General of Texas, accessed November 29, 2017)

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

  • "A billionaire's war on poverty." By Simon Montlake. Christian Science Monitor, November 20, 2017, pp. 24-30.
    Highlights the varied charitable projects of Tulsa philanthropist George Kaiser and his new mission to create a comprehensive strategy of public programs to target every poor child in Tulsa from birth until third grade. Suggests his success derives from the partnering of evidenced-based analytics and empathy.

  • "For civil-war scholars, a settled question that will never die: What caused the war?" By Julia Martinez. Chronicle of Higher Education, November 10, 2017, p. A45.
    Explores the views of three historians on why the American public has a difficult time accepting slavery as the central cause for the Civil War. Quotes one as suggesting two questions are merged as one: what caused the war and why people fought in it.

  • "Skills gap growing in North Texas, though severity varies; What's being done to bridge the skills gap." By Bill Hethcock. Dallas Business Journal, November 17, 2017, pp. 4-6.
    Discusses the strong demand for middle-skill workers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, with jobs in health care as the hardest to fill. Points out how collegiate academies, "Year Up" programs, and the Fellowship Initiative are helping to close the skills gap in North Texas.

  • "For-profit colleges: decline and fall." Economist, November 11th-17th, 2017, pp. 28-29.
    Reports on the suspension of two Obama administration rules designed to protect students from predatory for-profit colleges. Mentions for-profit enrollment has declined by 33 percent.

  • "Health care in America: the right dose?" Economist, November 4th-10th, 2017, pp. 61-62.
    Considers whether a merger between CVS Health and Aetna would provide strong incentives to offer consumers more access to primary care, better health care outcomes, and lower prices.

  • "GOP tax plan could affect K-12 aid, teachers' pocketbooks." By Andrew Ujifusa. Education Week, November 15, 2017, pp. 19-20.
    Details how the proposed federal tax legislation could impact school finance, teachers, school choice, and charter schools.

  • "In Florida, laissez-faire approach to monitoring private school vouchers." Education Week, November 15, 2017, pp. 1, 12-13.
    Discusses pros and cons of Florida's hands-off approach to regulating private schools receiving state aid in the form of publicly funded school vouchers. Details one parent's struggle with private school choice and her special needs child.

  • "Education effects of banning access to in-state resident tuition for unauthorized immigrant students." By Alexander Villarraga-Orjuela and Brinck Kerr. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, December 2017, pp. 621-643.
    Discusses the effects of state laws that prevent unauthorized immigrant students from receiving in-state tuition and other state financial benefits for higher education. Examines policies implemented in Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, and Ohio, and their effect on college enrollment, school dropout rates of undocumented students, and enrollment of United States citizens.

  • "Building blocks for addressing social determinants of health." By Stuart M. Butler. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), November 21, 2017, pp. 1855-1856.
    Suggests that to support social factors in health, more states should adopt "children's cabinets" and/or "health cabinets" to coordinate departments dealing with medical care as well as housing, transportation, social services, and education.

  • "Five key takeaways from the recently-passed 'Hail Bill.'" By Emily Buchanan. Journal of Texas Insurance Law, Fall 2017, pp. 3-5.
    Examines five components of HB1774, 85th Legislature, R.S., as it relates to insurance claims. Highlights the quandary for Texans facing Hurricane Harvey damage and the overlapping effective date of this new law.
    (Related information at: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=85R&Bill=HB1774)

  • "Cost-of-living adjustments (2017)." NASRA Issue Brief (National Association of State Retirement Administrators), November 2017, pp. 1-16.
    Discusses periodic cost-of-living adjustments [COLA] in state and local government pensions and common COLA types and features, as well as COLA costs and recent changes. Features an appendix of COLA provisions by state, including Employees Retirement System of Texas and Teacher Retirement System of Texas.
    (See: http://www.nasra.org/files/Issue%20Briefs/NASRACOLA%20Brief.pdf)

  • "Utilities can do more to partner with customers: regain the connection." By John Hargrove. Public Utilities Fortnightly, November 2017, pp. 60-61.
    Argues that by changing their business models utilities can take advantage of opportunities to serve as energy experts for their customers.

  • "Facing more 'hoops.'" By Joey Berlin. Texas Medicine, November 2017, pp. 37-43.
    Debates the use of prior authorization requirements from health plans to battle the opioid crisis, with some physicians supporting such initiatives and others considering them to be inefficient and ineffective.
    (See: https://www.texmed.org/Template.aspx?id=45914)

  • "EIA says electricity prices reflect rising delivery costs." Texas Public Power, October 2017, p. 9.
    Summarizes a recent article from the United States Energy Information Administration's publication Today in Energy that focuses on the relationship between the cost of fuels for producing electricity and the average retail price of electricity.
    (Related information at: https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=32812)

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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