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Week in Review, July 2nd

In this weekly post, we feature online articles and policy reports published recently, and other helpful research tools.
  • Find historic places in Texas with this atlas. (Texas Historical Commission, accessed July 1, 2015)
  • Track West Nile virus activity in Texas. (Texas Department of State Health Services, June 10, 2015)
  • Consider disconnected youth — teens and young adults who are neither working nor in school. (Measure of America, June 2015)
  • Look at expenditures in 2011 for statewide tobacco control programs. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, June 26, 2015)  
 
 

New & Noteworthy List for July 2015

The Library is continually adding new books to its collection. Below are the six titles from our July 2015 New & Noteworthy list.
 

Book Cover Image 1. The Law of the Land: A Grand Tour of Our Constitutional Republic By Akhil Reed Amar
Tells a national story of the United States Constitution through the window of individual states and regions on issues such as civil rights and the Second Amendment. Argues that states are "legal and political building blocks" for federal institutions and ideas. Offers a "Lone Star view" of presidential selection and succession in a chapter on Texas, including the "JFK-LBJ Amendment" after the Kennedy assassination, the presidencies of George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, and the 2016 presidential campaign.
Basic Books, 2015. 357 pages. 342.73 AM13 2015


Book Cover Image 2. Towards More Transparent Justice: The Michael Morton Act's First Year By Texas Appleseed and Texas Defender Service
Evaluates the implementation of the Michael Morton Act with a goal of discovering any obstacles to a defendant seeking access to discovery material. Seeks to identify best practices that may help ease the transition process for district and county attorney offices. Discovers a number of issues with implementation of the Act but notes resolution should come as offices streamline their processes for reviewing and prosecuting cases and defendants litigate their access to specific materials.
Texas Appleseed, 2015. 47 pages. Online at: http://texasdefender.org/wp-content/uploads/Towards_More_Transparent_Justice.pdf 345.73 T65M 2015


Book Cover Image 3. Latino America: How America’s Most Dynamic Population is Poised to Transform the Politics of the Nation By Matt Barreto and Gary M. Segura
Evaluates how a growing Latino population, which will inevitably become the majority racial/ethnic group in many states, including Texas, will affect social issues, both culturally and politically. Analyzes the growing role that Latinos play in the changing American political landscape. Explores diverse attitudes among Latinos on social, governmental, and economic issues, and argues against a tendency to regard Latinos as a homogeneous group, especially when it comes to politics.
PublicAffairs, 2014. 286 pages. 323.1 B275 2014


Book Cover Image 4. The State of the States in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities By David L. Braddock, et al.
Provides a state-by-state breakdown of funding and services provided to individuals with cognitive disabilities. Highlights data regarding the number of people residing in public and private institutions (focusing on the trend of some states closing state-run institutions), funding levels for community services and supports, and factors driving demand for services among different populations. Includes state profiles detailing information on persons by living setting, sources of funding (funding/state/local), and fiscal effort (institutional services v. community/family services). Offers an argument for increased funding to enhance access to technology for individuals with cognitive disabilities in the appendix, “The Rights of People with Cognitive Disabilities to Technology and Information Access".
American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 2015. 217 pages. 362.4 B729S 2015


Book Cover Image 5. Joe the Slave Who Became an Alamo Legend By Ron Jackson Jr. and Lee Spencer White
Provides a fascinating new perspective on a survivor of the battle of the Alamo who has remained in relative obscurity. Chronicles the life of Joe, Colonel William Travis’ slave, who was released by Santa Anna, told his story to the Texas Cabinet, and disappeared. Discusses new evidence that Joe was the brother of a famous abolitionist, William Wells Brown, and the grandson of Daniel Boone.
University of Oklahoma Press, 2015. 325 pages. 976.4 J137 2015


Book Cover Image 6. The City in Texas: A History By David G. McComb
Presents Texas history from an urban point of view, placing the development of Texas cities within their historical context, and identifying how they developed the necessary ingredients of survival: access, purpose or reason for being, and water. Demonstrates how the Texas shift from rural to urban is essential to understanding the state's history and its contemporary character. Emphasizes that 88 percent of Texans live in cities, compared with 82 percent of the United States as a whole, and that these cities have been incubators of innovation and achievement.
University of Texas Press, 2015. 342 pages. 307.76 M134C

Fireworks in Texas

Wednesday, June 24, was the first day of the 4th of July fireworks sales season. State law permits firework sales only during certain periods of the year, one of which is from June 24 through midnight July 4.  
 
Here are some helpful resources related to fireworks:
 
State laws and regulations:
Additional resources:
 
During the 84th Legislative Session (2015), there were three bills that passed that were related to fireworks. All three go into effect on 9/1/2015.  
  • HB 1150: Relating to the sale of fireworks on and before certain holidays; affecting a provision subject to a criminal penalty.
  • SB 570: Relating to the use of fireworks at certain Texas Department of Transportation rest areas; creating a criminal offense.
  • SB 761: Relating to the taxation of fireworks.
Cover image by flickr user bayasaa.
 

Bill Effective Dates

The library reviews the text of all bills that become law to determine their effective dates, and enters the information into the Texas Legislature Online (TLO). To find the effective date of a bill, lookup the bill in TLO and check the "Last action" field in the history window. In some cases, different sections of a bill may have different effective dates, in which case additional remarks will be given to provide the information.
 
For House and Senate bills from the 84th Regular Session (2015), the two largest groupings are:
  • Effective immediately: 500
  • Effective on 9/1/15: 678
There are also 4 bills from the 83rd Regular Session (2013) that become effective 9/1/2015.
 
The library compiles a more detailed list of bills and their effective dates following each regular and called session. The list is made available on the library's website once it is complete.

Week in Review, June 25th

In this weekly post, we feature online articles and policy reports published recently, and other helpful research tools.
  • Read about a national Medicare fraud takedown. (U.S. Department of Justice, June 18, 2015)
  • Consider emergency savings and how earnings affects an individual's ability to save. (Bankrate, June 23, 2015)
  • Take a look at state and local tax revenue estimates for the first quarter of 2015. (U.S. Census Bureau, June 23, 2015)
  • Review the 2013 American Housing Survey factsheets for select metropolitan areas, including the Austin–Round Rock, Houston, and San Antonio areas. (U.S. Census Bureau, June 2015)
  • Explore the results of a study about the number of obese and overweight Americans. (Los Angeles Times, June 22, 2015)
 
 

Bill Statistics for the 84th R.S.

June 21 was the last day the Governor could sign, veto, or allow to become law without his signature bills presented to him less than 10 days (not counting Sundays) prior to final adjournment of the 84th Regular Session.
 
The following bill statistics were calculated on June 23 at 11:15 a.m.
  • To see how these statistics have changed since last week, please view our blog post from June 17
  • To learn about session law chapter numbers and copies of signed bills, please view our blog post from June 10.
 
House and Senate Bills
Filed 6,276
Sent to the Governor 1,323
Signed by the Governor 1,117
Signed by the Governor w/line-item veto 2
Vetoed by the Governor 41
Filed without the Governor's signature 163
House and Senate Joint Resolutions
Filed 200
Filed with the Secretary of State 7
House and Senate Concurrent Resolutions
Filed 174
Filed with the Secretary of State 15
Sent to the Governor 85
Signed by the Governor 84
Vetoed by the Governor 1
 

Week in Review, June 18th

In this weekly post, we feature online articles and policy reports published recently, and other helpful research tools.
  • Explore the 50-state scorecard to see how Texas ranks among the states. (Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, June 2015)
  • Track the number of heatstroke deaths of children left in cars. (Department of Meteorology & Climate Science, San Jose State University, updated June 17, 2015)
  • Read about how FEMA is reforming the National Flood Insurance Program claims and appeals process. (Federal Emergency Management Agency, June 5, 2015)
  • Review the FDA's ban of industrially produced trans fat in food intended for human consumption. (Food and Drug Administration, June 17, 2015)
 
 

Bill Statistics, June 17th

June 21 is the last day the Governor can sign, veto, or allow to become law without his signature bills presented to him less than 10 days (not counting Sundays) prior to final adjournment of the 84th Regular Session.
 
The following bill statistics were calculated on June 17 at 9:15 a.m. To see how these statistics have changed since last week, and to learn about session law chapter numbers and copies of signed bills, please view our blog post from June 10.
 
House and Senate Bills
Filed 6,276
Sent to the Governor 1,323
Signed by the Governor 587
Vetoed by the Governor 4
Filed without the Governor's signature 60
House and Senate Joint Resolutions
Filed 200
Filed with the Secretary of State 7
House and Senate Concurrent Resolutions
Filed 174
Filed with the Secretary of State 15
Sent to the Governor 85
Signed by the Governor 46
Vetoed by the Governor 1
 

Week in Review, June 11th

In this weekly post, we feature online articles and policy reports published recently, and other helpful research tools.
  • Explore the EPA's study on hydraulic fracturing. (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, June 4, 2015)
  • Consider the effects of state Medicaid expansion. (Executive Office of the President, Council of Economic Advisers / The White House, June 2015)
  • Read about how Texas paid for millions in unapproved Medicaid orthodontic services. (Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, June 2015)
  • Get the numbers on executive compensation at public and private colleges state by state. (The Chronicle of Higher Education, June 8, 2015)
  • Learn ways to prevent melanoma. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, June 2015)
 
 

84th R.S. Bill Statistics and FAQs

House and Senate Bills
Filed 6,276
Sent to the Governor 1,323
Signed by the Governor 355
Vetoed by the Governor 4
Filed without the Governor's signature 20
House and Senate Joint Resolutions
Filed 200
Filed with the Secretary of State 7
House and Senate Concurrent Resolutions
Filed 174
Filed with the Secretary of State 15
Sent to the Governor 85
Signed by the Governor 33
Vetoed by the Governor 1
 
What happens now?
The 84th Regular Session ended June 1, 2015. Bills that passed both the House and the Senate were sent to the Governor for him to sign, veto, or allow to become law without his signature. Joint Resolutions that passed both chambers of the Legislature were filed with the Secretary of State, and will be on the ballot for the November 3, 2015 election.
 
How much time does the Governor have to act on a bill?
If a bill is sent to the Governor during the legislative session, the Governor has 10 days (not counting Sundays) to sign the bill or return the bill to the Legislature with objection. If after 10 days the bill is not returned to the Legislature by the Governor with objections or he has not yet signed it, the bill becomes law as if the Governor had signed it.
 
If the Legislature has adjourned sine die, or if the bill is presented to the Governor less than 10 days (not counting Sundays) prior to final adjournment, the Governor has 20 days (counting Sundays) after the final day of the session to sign or veto the bill. If neither action is taken, the bill becomes law without the Governor's signature (Texas Const. art. IV, § 14).
 
Sunday, June 21, is the 20th day following final adjournment of the 84th Regular Session. It is the last day the Governor can sign or veto  bills passed during the 84th Regular Session. To view veto proclamations issued by Governor Abbott for the 84th Regular Session, please visit the library's Vetoed Bills page.
 
Bill Effective Dates
The library reviews the text of all bills that become law to determine their effective dates, and enters the information into the Texas Legislature Online. To find the effective date of a bill, check the "Last action" field on the bill's main page. In some cases, different sections of a bill may have different effective dates, in which case remarks will be given to provide the information.
 
In addition to updating the Texas Legislature Online with effective date information, the library compiles a list of bills and their effective dates following each regular and called session. The list is made available on the library's website once it is complete.
 
Signed Copies of Bills
Bills that the Governor signed or allowed to become law without his signature are sent to the Secretary of State's office, where they are made available online on the Bills and Resolutions page.
 
You can determine whether a bill sent to the Governor was signed or filed without signature by checking the bill in the Texas Legislature Online. If the bill passed but was filed without signature, you will see the action "Filed without the Governor's signature."
 
Session Law Chapter Numbers
The Secretary of State's Bills and Resolutions page also lists the session law chapter number that is assigned to each bill that has become law. The session laws contain the text of all bills passed into law during a particular legislative session. Chapter numbers are used primarily for citing a bill in a legislative history annotation.

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