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Week in Review, July 28

In this weekly post, we feature online articles and policy reports published recently, and other helpful research tools.
  • Consider policy recommendations related to full-time virtual charter schools. (National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, June 16, 2016)
  • Read a study related to seismic activity in North Texas. (Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors, July 17, 2016)
  • Examine why lead levels in some schools' drinking water can get so high. (Governing, July 26, 2016)
  • Explore public input on school assessment and accountability. (Texas Education Agency, July 2016)
 

Interim Hearings - Week of August 1

Interim Hearings - Week of August 1
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.
August 2 Top
House Research Organization Steering Committee
Topic: House Research Organization budget for fiscal 2017
 
August 3 Top
Senate Committee on Education
Charge: Comprehensive performance review of all public schools in Texas
 
Charge: Structure and performance of Harris County Department of Education and Dallas County Schools
  • Texas Education Code § 11.301, Application of Former Law
  • Vernon's Texas Codes Annotated, Texas Education Code, Volume 2, Title 2 - Appendix - Former Chapters with Continued Application (Former Education Code Chapter 17, County Administration and Chapter 18, Countywide Equalization Fund or County Unit System of Equalization Taxation), Library Call Number: LAW-TEX
 
 
 
Charge: Monitor implementation of legislation, specifically legislation to require a minimum number of minutes of instruction for each school year
August 4 Top
House Committee on County Affairs 
Charge: County cybersecurity policies
Charge: Texas Commission on Jail Standards, resources and structure in oversight, regulation, and enforcement of county jails 
Charge: Internet publication of mug shots and criminal history information  
Charge: Services provided by sheriffs and constables and whether fee schedules allow cost recovery
Charge: Legislative oversight and monitoring of agencies, including Child Protective Services and 1115 Transformation Waiver
 

Week in Review, July 21

In this weekly post, we feature online articles and policy reports published recently, and other helpful research tools.
  • Read about active-duty servicemembers using food assistance. (U.S. Government Accountability Office, July 2016)
  • Track executive compensation at public and private colleges. (The Chronicle of Higher Education, July 17, 2016)
  • Consider that younger seniors account for the largest end-of-life medical bills. (Kaiser Health News, July 14, 2016)
  • Explore how the presidential campaigns for the 2016 election handle information and news. (Pew Research Center, July 18, 2016)
 

New & Noteworthy List for July 2016

The Library is continually adding new books to its collection. Below are the six titles from our July 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. Freedom Colonies: Independent Black Texans in the Time of Jim Crow By Thad Sitton and James H. Conrad
Chronicles the development of the African American communities, known as freedom colonies, created by ex-slaves after the Civil War in rural Texas. Provides insight into the lives of these freedmen land owners - their accomplishments and struggles to create an independent way of life away from an exploitive sharecropping system and despite the lingering effects of the "Black Codes" enacted by the Texas Legislature. Discusses the forces that eventually led to the decline of the freedom colonies and highlights the few communities that have managed to endure into the 21st century.
University of Texas Press, 2005. 248.
333.335 SI88F 2005


 

2. Texas Through Women's Eyes: The Twentieth-Century Experience By Judith N. McArthur and Harold L. Smith
Presents a historical overview of women's achievements in Texas through four eras of the twentieth century with an inclusive focus on rural, working-class, and minority women. Highlights women's leadership roles in working for social reform, the right to vote, better opportunities in education and the workforce, civil rights, feminist issues, and political reform. Provides a selection of primary documents including letters, memoirs, and oral histories, which are meant to allow the reader to experience up close, the efforts and struggles of women in shaping the state of Texas.
University of Texas Press, 2010. 295.
305.4209764 M127T 2010
 


 

3. The Captured: A True Story of Abduction by Indians on the Texas Frontier By Scott Zesch
Documents the stories of several Texas children who were abducted by Native American tribes during the 1860's and 1870's. Examines how the children frequently became attached to the Native American families they lived with, and illustrates their struggles to reintegrate with their families after being recovered. Highlights the life of Adolph Korn, an ancestor of the author, who was abducted in 1870 and spent three years training as a warrior with the Comanche's tribe before being returned to his family, where he never fully reintegrated into white society.
St. Martin's Press, 2004. 362.
976.4404 Z56C 2004


 

 

4. The Red River Bridge War: A Texas-Oklahoma Border Battle By Rusty Williams
Examines the two-week conflict between Texas and Oklahoma during the summer of 1931, at the start of the Great Depression, over a private toll bridge that connected the two states over the Red River. Chronicles the tense day-to-day stand off and clashes between these two sovereign states. Provides a historical context to today's current popularity of toll roads and privatized highways.
Texas A&M University Press, 2016. 275.
976.4062 W675R 2016
 


 

5. The Road Taken: The History and Future of America's Infrastructure By Henry Petroski
Highlights the previous decisions (good and bad) that have led to the development of our roads, bridges, and traffic habits. Emphasizes how important infrastructure is to our economic health and suggests tight economic times, partisan politics, and public skepticism make it difficult to find the resources to fix current problems. Discusses funding and financing of projects, including public-private partnerships.
Bloomsbury, 2016. 322.
388.10973 P448R 2016



 

6. The Rise and Fall of the Voting Rights Act By Charles S. Bullock III, Ronald Keith Gaddie, and Justin J. Wert
Analyzes changing legislation and the future of voting rights in the United States, tracing the Voting Rights Act from its inception in 1965 through the Supreme Court's 2013 decision in Shelby County v. Holder. Discusses redistricting, preclearance review, voter identification laws, and voter participation and registration in Texas. Explores potential next steps after the Shelby County ruling, including proposals to restore the preclearance process.
University of Oklahoma Press, 2016. 240.
342.73072 B876R 2016

 

 

 

Interim Hearings - Week of July 25

Interim Hearings - Week of July 25  
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.
 
July 25
Charge: Surface water and groundwater
 
Charge: State Water Plan
 
Charge: Monitor implementation of legislation, specifically monitor the Texas Water Development Board's process in the identification and designation of brackish groundwater zones
 
Topic: Report and testimony from the Comptroller of Public Accounts regarding the financial condition of this state
 

Week in Review, July 14

In this weekly post, we feature online articles and policy reports published recently, and other helpful research tools.
  • Examine the link between alcohol and heart disease. (BMJ, June 14, 2016)
  • Read about the push to end straight-ticket voting.  (Governing, July 14, 2016)
  • Consider the shortage of geriatricians. (Kaiser Health News, July 13, 2016)  
  • See which consumer complaints made a top-ten list. (Consumer Federation of America, July 13, 2016)
  • Explore the impact of funds redirected away from state and local health departments toward the national Zika response. (National Association of County and City Health Officials, May 2016)
 

In the Ring with Senator A.R. "Babe" Schwartz

This is the first installment in our new series, "Texas Treasures," highlighting some of the men and women who have served in the Texas Legislature. 
 
Sen. Babe Schwartz can still pack a punch. On July 17, the former senator will celebrate his 90th birthday, and he shows no signs of throwing in the towel. Born on Galveston Island in 1926, Schwartz represented his home county in the Texas House of Representatives from 1955-1959, and in the Texas Senate from 1960-1981. He remains active in the Texas legislative community today as a lobbyist.
 
Known for his "stinging, colorful oratory," Senator Schwartz landed more than a few verbal punches during his service in the Legislature. In fact, he gained such a reputation for enjoying a good fight that at one point, Lt. Governor Hobby gave Schwartz a pair of boxing gloves (shown below) after one of his debates with another member. The gloves are now a prized part of the senator's interesting collection of memorabilia.
 
Senator Schwartz has always been a bit of a brawler, especially when it comes to causes and people he cares about. Fortunately for the citizens of Texas, protecting our coastal resources is one of the things he cares most about. One of the senator's most significant legislative accomplishments was passage of the Coastal Public Lands Management Act of 1973, which made Texas a leader in coastal preservation.
 
After a career of advocating for Texas beaches and ensuring public access to them, it is  fitting that the city of Galveston would recognize Senator Schwartz' legacy by naming a new beach in his honor. Babes's Beach, formerly a forgotten stretch of submerged shoreline located west of 61st street, is now fully restored and is "about as pretty as it gets," according to John Schwartz, the senator's son. "And yes, you can expect a bunch of tourists to come there looking for the babes. That's probably part of the idea."
 
Senator Schwartz and his wife Marilyn, a champion of Texas beaches in her own right, were joined at the beach dedication ceremony on May 25th, by a large group of family and friends. Standing on the strand accepting the honor, Schwartz spoke of his love for the island. "I won the lottery being born in Galveston."
 
And Galveston, one could argue, hit the jackpot when the citizens chose Babe Schwartz to represent them in the Legislature. Without Babe in their corner, the island -- and the entire Texas coast -- would not be what it is today.
 
Thank you and Happy Birthday, Senator Schwartz! We think you are the greatest!
 
 
(Pictured below: Senator Schwartz and his wife Marilyn attended the beach dedication ceremony with their family.  Photo courtesy of Senator Schwartz.   On the right, Sen. Schwartz wears his boxing glove given to him by Lt. Governor Hobby.)
 
 
(Photos of Senator and Mrs. Schwartz courtesy of the Texas Senate.)
 

Interim Hearings - Week of July 18

Interim Hearings - Week of July 18
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.
July 18 Top
Charge: Funding the state's transportation including Proposition 1, 83rd 3rd C.S., and Proposition 7, 84th R.S.; budget structure for TxDOT
 
July 19 Top
House Committee on Appropriations
Charge 16: Effectiveness of the Department of Public Safety's use of border security funds, border security metrics
House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Articles I, IV & V  Charge: Deferred maintenance and physical plant needs of state buildings
 
July 21Top
House Committee on County Affairs 
Charge: County cybersecurity policies
 
Charge: Texas Commission on Jail Standards, resources and structure in oversight, regulation, and enforcement of county jails 
 
Charge: Internet publication of mug shots and criminal history information  
 
Charge: Services provided by sheriffs and constables and whether fee schedules allow cost recovery
 
Charge: Legislative oversight and monitoring of agencies, including Child Protective Services and 1115 Transformation Waiver
 
Joint Oversight Committee on Government Facilities 
Topic: Status of deferred maintenance and new buildings in the Capitol Complex and North Austin Complex approved by the 84th Legislature
 

Week in Review, July 7

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

Interim Hearings - Weeks of July 4 and 11

Interim Hearings - Weeks of July 4 and 11
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.
July 7 Top
House Committee on County Affairs
Charge: Texas Commission on Jail Standards, resources and structure in oversight, regulation, and enforcement of county jails 
Charge: Internet publication of mug shots and criminal history information  
Charge: Risk and mitigation of wildfires, floods, and other natural hazards in the wildland-urban interface; natural disasters  
Charge: County cybersecurity policies
Charge: Services provided by sheriffs and constables and whether fee schedules allow cost recovery
Charge: Legislative oversight and monitoring of agencies, including Child Protective Services and 1115 Transformation Waiver
July 12 Top
House Committee on General Investigating & Ethics
Charge 4: State agencies' use of emergency leave and settlement payments
House Committee on Human Services
Charge 3: Foster care system
July 13 Top
House Committees on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Article II and Public Health (Joint Hearing)
Joint charge: Trauma system in the state of Texas
Charge 9: Hospital reimbursement methodologies, including rural and children's hospitals; extension of the Texas Healthcare Transformation and Quality Improvement 1115 waiver
Topic: State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT)
 

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