LRL Home - Points of Interest - Posts by TexasLRL

Week in Review, September 29

In this weekly post, we feature online articles and policy reports published recently, and other helpful research tools.
  • Review upcoming cases for the U. S. Supreme Court's next term.
  • Read about driverless car regulations. (Governing, September 27, 2016)
  • Examine how bullying affects the educational environment. (American Educational Research Journal, September 14, 2016)
  • Track recent flu activity. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, updated September 28, 2016)
  • Find places to enjoy fall foliage and stargazing in Texas parks. (mySA, September 15, 2016)

New & Noteworthy List for September 2016

The Library is continually adding new books to its collection. Below are the six titles from our September 2016 New & Noteworthy list.
 
Check out and delivery of New & Noteworthy titles is available to legislative staff in Capitol and District offices. To arrange check out of any of these items, you can submit an online request through the New & Noteworthy page on our website, or contact the library at 512-463-1252.
 

1. Cartooning Texas: One Hundred Years of Cartoon Art in the Lone Star State By Maury B. Forman
Chronicles Texas history through the lively art form of political cartooning from 1890 to 1990, providing context and explanations for each cartoon. Highlights the exploits of numerous colorful and unforgettable politicians and the dominating issues of their time. Notes many of the issues, including election fraud, voting rights, race relations, civil rights, education, taxes, and the economy, still resonate decades later.
Texas A&M University Press, 1993. 193 pages.
320.9764 C249


 

 

2. Don't Throw Feathers at Chickens: A Collection of Texas Political Humor By Charles Herring, Jr. and Walter Richter
Offers a sampling of political humor, wit, and wisdom by or about Texas politicians and officeholders. Provides source notes and a name index to help locate favorite speakers. Includes an introduction by former Texas governor Ann Richards and contributions by political cartoonist Ben Sargent and political commentator Sam Kinch, Jr.
Wordware Publishing, Inc., 1992. 191 pages.
808.87 H435D 1992


 

 

3. A Browser's Book of Texas Quotations By Steven A. Jent
Compiles 700 noteworthy quotations on themes related to Texas, including politicians, the Lege, oil, race relations, criminal justice, country life, livestock, weather, and the "Texas mystique." Includes famous last words, epitaphs, and quotes from Texas governors, such as Governor Joseph D. Sayers (1898-1902): "A Texas Governor only has two happy days: the day he is inaugurated and the day he retires."
Republic of Texas Press, 2001. 265 pages.
808.8 B825 2001


 

 

4. America's God and Country Encyclopedia of Quotations By William J. Federer
Provides over 2,100 quotations from 700 sources on topics such as character, virtue, law, religious freedom, faith, courage, liberty, Providence, God, and government. Features quotations from founding fathers, presidents, statesmen, court decisions, constitutions, military heroes, African-American leaders, women leaders, business leaders, scientists, and more. Presents entries in alphabetical order, fully footnoted and often illustrated, with entry and topical indexes.
Fame Publishing, 1996. 845 pages.
808.8 AM35 1996


 

 

5. Great Quotations on Religious Freedom By Albert J. Menendez and Edd Doerr
Presents an easy-to-use compilation of quotations by philosophers, church leaders, journalists, writers, American presidents, and many others. Provides a variety of viewpoints and covers an assortment of topics, including abortion rights, school prayer, creationism, constitutions, separation of church and state, and religious tolerance. Compiles quotations from several sources including inaugural addresses, congressional testimony, newspaper editorials, magazine articles, and religious materials. Includes a special section containing judicial quotes on religious liberty going back to 1872, mainly from U.S. Supreme Court cases.
Prometheus Books, 2002. 250 pages.
808.8 G798R


 

 

6. Can You Say a Few Words?: How to Prepare and Deliver a Speech for Any Special Occasion By Joan Detz
Presents practical advice, examples, and tips for handling a variety of special occasion speaking situations. Organizes information alphabetically by occasion, including a section on impromptu speeches that offers advice and guidelines for avoiding an "off-the-cuff disaster." Highlights information in a brief, easy-to-browse format that will help the speaker honor special moments with words that make a difference.
St. Martin's Griffin, 2006. 175 pages.
808.5 D486C 2006


 

 

7. Speaker's Treasury of Political Stories, Anecdotes, and Humor By Gerald Tomlinson
Presents a trove of stories, anecdotes, and "one-liners" that focus on the political arena and are ideal for energizing and strengthening speeches. Highlights the thought-provoking and insightful to the humorous and inane. Lists entries by subject matter and in chronological order. Points out that one should be able to find a "politically related story for almost every kind of speech or speaking occasion."
Prentice Hall, 1990. 349 pages.
808.8 T597

 

 

Interim Hearings - Week of October 3

Interim Hearings - Week of October 3
Today's Committee Meetings on the LRL website is a calendar of interim committee hearings with links to agendas. Below are resources related to upcoming Interim Hearings.
October 3
Senate Select Committee on Property Tax Reform & Relief (Plano) 
Charges: Property tax process and Tax burden
 
October 4
Charge 1: Texas Department of Transportation's role in responding to natural disasters
 
Charge 7: Oversize or overweight corridors
Senate Committee on Criminal Justice
Charge 1: Law enforcement - community engagement, dangers to law enforcement officers, threat assessment data, reducing number of injuries and deaths to or by law enforcement officers
October 5
Senate Committee on Business & Commerce
Charge: Occupational licensing
Charge: Lawsuits related to property claims from hail storms and weather events
Charge: Implementation of legislation addressed by the committee during the 84th Legislature, specifically:  changes made to the operation of the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association, and regulation of public insurance adjusters
Senate Committee on State Affairs
Charge: Current ethics laws governing public officials and employees, public officials' reporting requirements to Texas Ethics Commission, categorization of ethics reporting violations
Joint Interim Committee to Study a Coastal Barrier System
Topic: Desirability and feasibility of constructing a coastal barrier system
 
 

Week in Review, September 22

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

  • Examine the direct appeals process in Texas death penalty cases. (Texas Defender Service, September 20, 2016)
  • Consider the economic and political strengths of North America. (Texas Border Coalition, September 19, 2016)
  • Read about smaller student loan payments for borrowers. (Urban Institute, September 2016)
  • Explore whether wearable fitness trackers help to get a person in shape. (Journal of the American Medical Association, September 20, 2016)

 

#TxLege Trivia: When Was the Senate's Official Seal Adopted?

One of the fun things about the Legislature is the history behind even the smallest details. In this post, we explore the history of the Texas Senate seal, which was adopted in 1977.
 
Official seals lend authenticity and are used in letterheads, publications, and a variety of other official documents. In the Texas Legislature, both the House and the Senate have their own seals, as do many state offices, departments, and political subdivisions. Often, these seals are slight variations of the State of Texas seal.  
 
Prior to 1977, many Senate documents used a version of the State of Texas seal that included nine dots arranged in three groups of three (shown below left). This version of the state seal was commonly used in Senate Journals, appearing as late as 1983 and as early as 1931. It also appeared on many Senate interim committee reports.  Other versions of the state seal were also used by the Senate; one version had three dots spaced equally across the bottom (below center), and another version had an ornamental border centered on a cross pattée (below right).
 
 
The Senate seal in use today was adopted in 1977 by SR 262, 65th RS by Senator Betty Andujar. The seal was to consist of "a star of five points above a gavel, both encircled by olive and live oak branches, and a border bearing the words 'The Senate of Texas'."  Little information is available about how the design was developed, but, like many other agency seals, the Senate seal represents a slightly modified version of the State of Texas seal.  A drawing of the seal from SR 262 is below, next to the Senate seal you see used today. 
 
 
Did you know? Section 17.08 of the Texas Business and Commerce Code requires that a person must obtain a license to use the Texas State Seal for a commercial purpose. See the Secretary of State's website for more details. 
 

Interim Hearings - Week of September 26

Interim Hearings - Week of September 26
Today's Committee Meetings on the LRL website is a calendar of interim committee hearings with links to agendas. Below are resources related to upcoming Interim Hearings.
September 26 Top
House Committee on Ways & Means
Charge 1: Aspects of the property tax system that contribute to rising property tax levies and taxpayer dissatisfaction
Charge 2: Impact of franchise tax repeal
Charge 3: Impact of ongoing tax litigation, including American Multi-Cinema, Inc. v. Hegar, on revenue stability
Charge 4: State Auditor's review of Chapter 313 agreements
Charge 6: Competitiveness of Texas' tax structure for marine goods and services compared to other states
Charge 8: Implementation of increased residence homestead exemption as approved by the voters in Proposition 1 (SJR 1, 84th Legislature, R.S.)
 
September 28 Top
House Committees on Appropriations and Public Education (Joint Hearing) 
Charges related to school finance including, but not limited to, Additional State Aid for Tax Reduction (ASATR), recapture, and the Cost of Education Index (CEI)
Topic: Border security and operations, including efforts of local law enforcement
Topic: Legislative oversight and monitoring of agencies
 
Charge 1: Texas Department of Transportation's role in responding to natural disasters
Charge 7: Oversize or overweight corridors
Topic: Transportation funding mechanisms, including Texas Emissions Reduction Plan funds, reduction and rededication of Motor Fuels Tax Collection timely payment deduction including Comptrollers administrative and enforcement allowance associated with motor fuels tax collection
Topic:  Transportation reinvestment zones for use by municipalities and counties transportation funding
Topic:  Short or long term funding options that could enhance transportation construction, design, planning, or maintenance
Charge 1: Implementation of federal regulations
House and Senate Select Committees on State Real Property Data Collection, Reporting, & Assessment (Joint Hearing) 
Topics: Update from agencies on the status of the report on the statewide strategy, required by HB 3750, 84th R.S., that will ensure all real property owned by the state is adequately insured;  potential benefits of maintaining a comprehensive database of all real property owned by the state
September 29 Top
House Committees on Appropriations and Public Education (Joint Hearing) 
Charges related to school finance including, but not limited to school facilities
House Committee on Pensions
Charge 5: Investment performance benchmarks utilized by the state's pension funds and impact of portfolio diversification and short-and long-term market assumptions
Senate Select Committee on Property Tax Reform & Relief  (Houston) 
Charges: Property tax process and Tax burden
 

Week in Review, September 15

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

  • Try the online eminent domain database. (Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, September 6, 2016)
  • Consider the role of family caregivers. (Health Affairs Blog, September 8, 2016)
  • Track pollinators in this year's BioBlitz. (Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, accessed September 14, 2016)
  • Explore changes in rates of health insurance coverage in the U.S. between 2014 and 2015. (U.S. Census Bureau, September 13, 2016)

 

Interim Hearings - Week of September 19

Interim Hearings - Week of September 19
Today's Committee Meetings on the LRL website is a calendar of interim committee hearings with links to agendas. Below are resources related to upcoming Interim Hearings.
September 20 Top
(Fort Stockton, TX)
Charge 6: Joint groundwater planning, including HB 200, 84th Legislature, R.S., and ongoing legal developments concerning ownership access to groundwater and impact on property rights and groundwater management
House Committee on County Affairs
Topic: Racial disparities during traffic stops within Texas Department of Public Safety, the constitutionality of equal protection claims and concerns that arise from DPS racial disparities, de-escalation tactics, and diversion before booking
 
September 21 Top
 
House Committees on County Affairs and Criminal Jurisprudence  (Joint Hearing) 
Charge: Pretrial service and bonding practices, bail and pre-trial confinement decisions
House Committee on Elections
Charge 2: Voter registration rolls
Charge 4: Mail-ballot fraud
Charge 5: Compliance with campaign finance reporting laws by local officials and candidates
House Committee on Land & Resource Management
Charge: Regulatory authority of municipalities in their extraterritorial jurisdiction, current annexation policies
Charge: Legislative oversight and monitoring of agencies
 
(Del Rio, TX)
Charge 6: Joint groundwater planning, including HB 200, 84th Legislature, R.S., and ongoing legal developments concerning ownership access to groundwater and impact on property rights and groundwater management
See September 20, above
 
September 22 Top
House Committee on Appropriations
Charge 8: Ongoing implementation of SB 20, 84th Legislature, R.S., and Article IX, Sec. 7.12 of the General Appropriations Act, HB 1, 84th R.S., study of trends in state contracting as developed by the Legislative Budget Board
House Committee on Elections
Charge 1: Petition process for addressing local ordinances
Charge 3: Transparency of local bond elections
Charge 6: Legislative oversight and monitoring of agencies, specifically: methods by which local election officials are informed about changes to election law
 
House Select Committee on Mental Health
Topics: Mental health/behavioral care services in Texas, including, but not limited to, Texas' State Hospitals and mental health bed allocation, and availability of mental health services on the campuses of Texas institutions of higher education
 

Week in Review, September 8

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

  • Track a 7.2% increase in traffic fatalities from 2014 to 2015. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, August 2016)
  • Examine the financial costs to youths and families of youths involved in the juvenile justice system. (Juvenile Law Center, 2016)
  • Read about the new federal rule regarding antibacterial soaps. (Federal Register, September 6, 2016)
  • Consider the nature of economic inequality in America. (Cato Institute, September 7, 2016)

 

New Texas School Finance Litigation Archive

The LRL has launched the "Texas School Finance Litigation Archive," a new research tool that provides access to select court documents from school finance litigation in Texas dating back to the 1970s. The site is free and available to the public, and is intended to familiarize users with the history of school finance litigation in Texas, and provide them with a broad range of resources on the subject.
 
The earliest court documents featured on the site are from the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court case San Antonio ISD v. Rodriguez, a school finance lawsuit that originated in Texas.  The case is considered to be the first school finance lawsuit in Texas, and was followed by several subsequent lawsuits. Users can view the docket for the case at the federal district court level, and read the opinions from both the federal district court and the U.S. Supreme Court.
 
In addition to San Antonio v. Rodriquez documents, users will also find court documents from  Edgewood I and II, West Orange-Cove I and II, and the recent school finance case, Williams v. Texas Taxpayers & Student Fairness Coalition, et al. Of special note are trial transcripts from Edgewood I, a case that has been included in the Travis County Historical Records project because of its historical significance.
 
In addition to court records, the page also provides a timeline of key court rulings, as well as legislative reports and a comprehensive bibliography on various aspects of school finance.
 
The project was made possible by the participation of a number of courts and libraries, including:
  • National Archives, Fort Worth, Texas and Washington, D.C.
  • Tarlton Law Library, University of Texas at Austin School of Law
  • Texas State Law Library
  • Texas State Library and Archives Commission
  • Texas Taxpayers and Research Association
  • Texas Third Court of Appeals
  • Travis County Archives
  • Travis County District Clerk's Office
  • Travis County Law Library
  • U.S. Court of Appeals Library for the 5th Circuit, New Orleans, LA
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio
Image by StockSnap user Krzysztof Puszczynski.

More Entries