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Week in Review, October 20

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

  • Read about student debt at graduation for the class of 2015. (Institute for College Access & Success, October 2016)
  • Consider how voter ID laws and litigation may affect the election. (Stateline, October 19, 2016)
  • Examine police face recognition policies throughout the country. (Georgetown Law Center on Privacy & Technology, October 18, 2016)
  • Find out which states retirees may want to avoid because of an unfavorable tax climate. (Kiplinger, October 2016)

The Economic Stabilization Fund, a.k.a. The Rainy Day Fund

The following information about the Texas Economic Stabilization Fund, commonly called the "Rainy Day Fund," may be of interest. The fund was created in 1988 by the 70th Legislature to set aside state revenue for when revenue shortfalls occur.

For general information about the Rainy Day Fund, including enacting legislation, voting requirements, and constitutional provisions, please see our February 2011 post FAQs about the Economic Stabilization ("Rainy Day") Fund.

For a recent update on the fund, please see the Texas Comptroller's June 2016 report as well as the September 2016 article in Fiscal Notes. 

What is the current and historical balance of the ESF? 

The Economic Stabilization Fund is listed in the Texas Comptroller's Texas Annual Cash Report as fund number 0599 Economic Stabilization Fund. In fiscal year 2015, 0599 Economic Stabilization Fund had an ending balance of $8,468,905,380. The below table lists a number of data points about the fund back to 1990, including:

  • Ending balance each fiscal year
  • Bills that have spent (appropriated) money from the fund
  • Oil and natural gas production tax revenue transferred to the fund
  • Constitutional cap

Cover image by Adrianna Calvo

Interim Hearings - Week of October 24

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 26

Senate Committee on Finance

Topic: Child Protective Services' (CPS) plan to ensure timely contact with children at immediate risk of abuse or neglect, impact of CPS initiatives funded in the 2016-17 General Appropriations Act, and status of CPS Transformation

Topic: LBB update on fiscal years 2016-17 supplemental costs for the General Appropriations Act

Week in Review, October 13

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

  • Examine the landscape of legal education today. (Access Group Center for Research & Policy Analysis, posted to Social Science Research Network on October 11, 2016)
  • Read about how candidate vacancies are filled around election season. (Congressional Research Service, October 6, 2016)
  • Explore the linguistic differences across the U.S. (Business Insider, September 30, 2016)
  • See what options Texas voters have to show identification or supporting documentation at the polls. (Texas Secretary of State, September 21, 2016)

Interim Hearings - Week of October 17

Interim Hearings - Week of October 17
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 17
House Committee on Public Education
Topic: School choice programs
October 18
Joint Interim Committee to Study Border Security
Topic: Implementation of HB 11, 84th Legislature, R.S., and additional border security efforts

Week in Review, October 6

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

  • Explore data visualizations on population and demographics. (U.S. Census Bureau, accessed October 5, 2016)
  • Read about word count limits on legal briefs. (The New York Times, October 3, 2016)
  • Examine the political aspects of climate issues. (Pew Research Center, October 4, 2016)
  • See which Texas university makes the list of the top 25 public colleges of 2016. (Forbes, 2016)

Interim Hearings - Week of October 10

Interim Hearings - Week of October 10

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.


Week of October 10 

October 12

House Committee on General Investigating & Ethics 

Charge 4: State agencies' use of emergency leave and settlement payments


House Committee on Insurance 

Charge 4: Texas credit for reinsurance statutes and effect on market capacity, cost of regulatory compliance, and prospect of federal preemption, and alternative credit for reinsurance statutes in other jurisdictions


Charge 5: Implementation of SB 900, 84th Legislature, R.S., including rulemaking by Texas Department of Insurance and adoption of updated plan of operation by Texas Windstorm Insurance Association


Joint Legislative Committee on Aging

Topic: Geriatric training and continuing education among physical and mental health professionals 


Topic: Collaborative and innovative aging services across the state 

October 13

House Committee on Natural Resources

Charge 3: Freshwater loss 


Charge 1: Regional and state water planning processes, with emphasis on integration of HB 4, 83rd Legislature, R.S., regional planning groups, groundwater management, drought of record, and related issues 


Charge 9: Legislative oversight and monitoring, including review of the surface water permitting process in Texas 

Joint Legislative Committee on Aging 

Topic: Influenza and bacterial pneumonia disease in long term care facilities


Topic: Elderly financial abuse

House Committees on Agriculture & Livestock and Natural Resources (Joint Hearing)

Charge: Sources of water used by Texans in the production of food and fiber; water delivery methods, water conservation goals, and water-usage management practices in agriculture

Frank Calhoun Reflects on a Half-Century Under the Dome

This is the second installment in our new series, "Texas Treasures," highlighting some of the men and women who have served in the Texas Legislature. In our first post, we featured Sen. A.R. "Babe" Schwartz.
Frank Calhoun comically attributes much of his success in life to the fact that he "keeps showing up." 
Frank Calhoun Rep. Frank Calhoun, 61st Legislature (1969).
And show up he has. Frank represented Taylor County in the House of Representatives from 1967-1975, and he has been a reliable presence in the Capitol ever since. Frank announced his retirement early this year after being active in Texas politics for over 50 years.
Frank was a law student at the University of Texas when he landed his first job in the Capitol in 1957. As an Assistant Sergeant-at-Arms, he was responsible for distributing messages to House offices and performing other clerical tasks. But mostly he sat on a stool in a dark elevator with a law book in hand, an experience he shares with other former lawmakers
"It was simple. People would get on the elevator, and I would punch the button." It wasn't glamorous, but being able to study while he worked was a great benefit. "It never occurred to me that one day I might be elected to the Legislature. I just wanted to get through school and become a lawyer."
After Frank passed the bar exam he went home to Abilene and became a lawyer. His interest and involvement in his community naturally extended to Democratic politics.
In 1966, when redistricting created an opportunity for someone from Abilene to be elected to the House of Representatives, Frank was recruited. "Four men called me to a meeting over a bottle of single malt and told me I was going to run. They agreed to take care of raising all the money. All I had to do was get elected."
During the last of Frank's four terms in the House, he was selected as a delegate to the State Constitutional Convention, which attempted to redraft a new constitution for Texas. The Constitution, he explained, "should reflect the contract between the people and their government." Instead it was a "statutory tangle." Regrettably, the Con-Con's revision failed by three votes. "That was the culmination of my legislative service and one of the most significant experiences."
Frank's involvement in politics continued after he left the Legislature and joined the Houston law firm of Liddell, Sapp, Zivley, Hill & LaBoon where he specialized in legislative and administrative matters.
Frank remembers his time in the Legislature as a very satisfying and interesting experience. Serious moments were frequently interspersed with humor and fun. "I got to know people from all over the state . . . Relationships develop. Periods of great stress forge friendships that never fade."
Several of the friendships Frank forged during those years are celebrated annually at Hilary Doran's ranch near Del Rio. Hilary extended the first invitation in 1967, and his friends have been showing up every November since. Frank expects this year's meeting of "The Extinguished" to be the last in a treasured tradition.
Frank has only missed one Doran Ranch meeting in 48 years. Most members of the group have been former legislators or legislative staff, several of whom have died in recent years.
The first invitation included wives, but it quickly became a "men's deal." "There was hunting, drinking, and carrying on . . . not a lot there for a woman to enjoy." Now the activities are pretty much limited to cigar smoking and dominos. "The guys stopped bringing their guns several years ago," Frank reminisced. "We are no longer angry at the deer."
Del Rio group Back row, left to right: Rayford Price, L.E. "Lee" Arnold, Dick Callahan, Walter Fisher, Glenn Biggs, Frank Calhoun, Guy Floyd
Front row, left to right: Charlie Schnabel, Hilary Doran, Neil Caldwell, Bill Finck
Frank Calhoun Frank Calhoun and Hilary Doran at Doran Ranch, November 2005.
 Deceased members include: Bob Johnson, Don Cavness, Ed Howard, Jim Wardle, Jim Kaster, and Randy Pendleton. Not pictured are: Glenn Biggs, Dick Cory, David Crews, and Grant Jones. Bottom photo: The lodge at Doran Ranch.

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



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