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Current Articles & Research Resources, April 26

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

  • Explore partnerships between public school districts and charter schools. (National Conference of State Legislatures Blog, April 23, 2018)
  • Read about the alternative response option in child welfare cases. (Texas Public Policy Foundation, April 19, 2018)
  • Consider public concerns over misinformation online. (Pew Research Center, April 19, 2018)
  • Find a drop-off location to dispose of prescription medications safely. (Attorney General of Texas, accessed April 25, 2018)

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

  • "REAL ID: What Americans should expect." By Asia London Palomba. Christian Science Monitor, April 16, 2018, p. 17.
    Presents a Q&A discussion of the implementation of the REAL ID Act passed in 2005. Provides a map showing which states are in compliance with the law—Texas is compliant. Related information at:
  • "When a grand idea grows old." By Karin Fischer. Chronicle of Higher Education, April 13, 2018, pp. A14-A18.
    Examines the 60-year-old California master plan of education which set up a three-tier system to educate a large population while still providing for advanced research institutions.
  • "Data privacy: Copy that; The GDPR: The joys of data hygiene." Economist, April 7th-13th, 2018, pp. 10-11, 53-54.
    Promotes the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation [GDPR] as a model for America, noting businesses that serve European customers will have to comply with the GDPR. Points out the benefits of complying with the new data protection law. Related information at:
  • "Death: Funerals of the future." Economist, April 14th-20th, 2018, pp. 51-53.
    Explains how the Internet, changing norms, customer demand, and competition from new businesses are disrupting the funeral industry. Reports the industry's revenue is expected to stagnate between 2016 and 2021, noting the long-term trend towards cremation: less than four percent in 1960 but expected to rise to 79 percent by 2035.
  • "Information and college decisions: Evidence from the Texas GO Center project." By Jesse M. Cunha, Trey Miller, and Emily Weisburst. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, March 2018, pp. 151-170.
    Examines the effectiveness of Texas GO Centers, peer-run information centers that assist historically under-served students prepare and plan for college. Concludes the centers have led to a significant increase in college application rates and a limited increase in college enrollment rates, but no increase in college completion rates. Related information at:
  • "Ethanol's regulatory battle." By Kristy Moore. Ethanol Today, March/April 2018, pp. 26-27.
    Considers ethanol's role in the motor fuel industry's current regulatory environment.
  • "Solar power in Texas: The next big renewable?" By Patrick Graves and Bruce Wright. Fiscal Notes, April 2018, pp. 1, 3-5.
    Assesses the energy capacity and economic impact of Texas' solar industry. Highlights the role of local government in supplementing energy needs with solar power.
  • "We need new rules for self-driving cars." By Jack Stilgoe. Issues in Science and Technology, Spring 2018, pp. 52-57.
    Explores the development and proliferation of self-driving cars. Discusses potential legal and regulatory approaches to the use of self-driving cars and their integration into transportation infrastructure.
  • "Robert Kerns, PhD: Researching nondrug approaches to pain management." By Jennifer Abbasi. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), April 17, 2018, pp. 1535-1537.
    Interviews Kerns about his research and work with the VA [United States Department of Veterans Affairs] on pain management for veterans. Focuses on new efforts to study the effectiveness of nondrug approaches to pain management in light of the opioid epidemic, with treatments ranging from chiropractic care to cognitive behavioral therapy to tai chi.
  • "State of the states 2017: Texas." By Ken Helvey. Journal of Education Finance, Winter 2018, pp. 311-313.
    Presents a summary of Texas legislative activity affecting P-12 education in 2017. Highlights funding priorities, changes to funding formulas, school finance litigation, charter schools, and per pupil spending.
  • "Court to review physical presence nexus standard." By Debra S. Herman and K. Craig Reilly. Journal of MultiState Taxation and Incentives, May 2018, pp. 43-46.
    Previews United States Supreme Court consideration of South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., et al., which could possibly overturn the physical presence nexus standard for Internet sales and use tax collections from the Quill Corp v. North Dakota decision in 1992. Briefly discusses other petitions pending before the Court, including a Virginia county's challenge to the import-export clause. Related information at: and
  • "Small towns think big on reliability." By Susan Partain. Public Power, March/April 2018, pp. 16-22.
    Explores six different factors related to reliability at several smaller public power utilities.
  • "There are too many kids on the sex offender registry." By Lenore Skenazy. Reason, May 2018, p. 9.
    Argues sex offender registries are based on flawed theories and are in reality adding many children to the list who are not likely to reoffend.
  • "Gone to Texas: Migration vital to growth in the Lone Star State." By Pia M. Orrenius, Alexander T. Abraham, and Stephanie Gullo. Southwest Economy (Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas), First Quarter 2018, pp. 3-11.
    Analyzes domestic and international migration to Texas and the labor market outcomes, lower immigrant earnings, and other economic effects of migration.
  • "'The future' of pain treatment?" By Joey Berlin. Texas Medicine, April 2018, pp. 38-42.
    Examines a Fort Worth anesthesiology group's "zero narcotics" approach to surgery pain control using nerve-blocking and nonopioid medications. Presents physicians' arguments for and against the need for opioids in pain management.
  • "Indoctrinated." By Sophie Novak. Texas Observer, April/May 2018, pp. 20-24.
    Shares the difficult hospital experience of Representative Donna Howard's daughter after she suffered a miscarriage, to highlight the potential negative effects of the new Texas fetal remains law. Reports the law, which mandates the burial or cremation of fetal remains after miscarriages or abortions, has been blocked pending a trial set for the summer.

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.

TxLege Terms: Concurrent/Joint/Simple Resolutions

In this occasional series, we explain terms used in the Texas legislative environment.


Texas legislators can introduce three types of resolutions*: 


Concurrent Resolution—A type of legislative measure that requires adoption by both chambers of the legislature and generally requires action by the governor. A concurrent resolution is used to convey the sentiment of the legislature and may offer a commendation, a memorial, a statement of congratulations, a welcome, or a request for action by another governmental entity. Concurrent resolutions are also used to memorialize (petition) the U.S. Congress, express the views of the legislature, designate official state symbols, and adopt official date or place designations. Additionally, concurrent resolutions are used for administrative matters that require the approval of both chambers, such as providing for adjournment or a joint session, but these types of concurrent resolutions do not require action by the governor.


Joint Resolution—A type of legislative measure that requires adoption by both chambers of the legislature but does not require action by the governor. A joint resolution is used to propose amendments to the Texas Constitution, ratify amendments to the U.S. Constitution, or request a constitutional convention to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Before becoming effective, the provisions of joint resolutions proposing amendments to the Texas Constitution must be approved by the voters of Texas.


Simple Resolution—The type of legislative measure that is considered only within the chamber in which it is filed. A simple resolution can offer a commendation, a memorial, a statement of congratulations, a welcome, or the views of that chamber. This type of measure is also used to name a mascot, memorialize (petition) the U.S. Congress, adopt or change rules of procedure, initiate a study by a single chamber, and request action by another governmental entity.


Resolutions in the 85th Legislature
Concurrent Resolutions, 85R
Concurrent Resolutions, 85(1)
Joint Resolutions, 85R
Joint Resolutions, 85(1)
Simple Resolutions, 85R
Simple Resolutions, 85(1)


*Definitions taken from the Texas Legislative Glossary, published by the Texas Legislative Council for the 85th Legislature.

Interim Hearings – Week of April 30

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.


April 30

House Select Committee on Texas Ports, Innovation & Infrastructure (Corpus Christi) 

Charge: Maritime port program for "Funding of Port Security, Projects, and Studies" in Chapter 55 of the Texas Transportation Code; Address maritime-related port access and freight mobility needs

Charge: Benefits of SB 28, 85th Legislature, R.S., funding of ship channel improvements

Charge: Maintenance and dredging to ensure navigable waterways and channels, alternative funding to remain competitive in post-Panama Canal expansion era


May 1

House Committee on Corrections

Charge 1: Texas Department of Criminal justice response to Hurricane Harvey, operational stability of state criminal justice institutions following a natural disaster

Charge 2: Social workers and peer support specialists in the Texas criminal justice system

Charge 4: Treatment options, services, and programs available to women in institutional settings, on community supervision, on parole, and in community-based programs


Senate Committee on Business & Commerce

Charge: Grid reliability

Charge: Free market electricity


May 2

House Committee on Business & Industry (South Padre Island) 

Charge 1 (Partial): Workforce to rebuild key infrastructure, as well as residential and commercial properties damaged by Hurricane Harvey; labor needs within construction industry

Charge 5: Texas workers' compensation system, including existing policies on compounded pharmaceuticals and designated doctor assessments; trends in employer participation


May 3

House Committee on Business & Industry (Brownsville)

Charge 1 (Partial): Workforce to rebuild key infrastructure, as well as residential and commercial properties damaged by Hurricane Harvey; labor needs within construction industry

Charge 6: Monitor agencies and programs under the Committee's jurisdiction and implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 85th Legislature, specifically:


Current Articles & Research Resources, April 19

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

  • See how the Texas Tax Amnesty Program works. (Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, February 2018)
  • Read about the effects of cyberbullying on sexual minority youth. (National Institutes of Health, April 16, 2018)
  • Track the wealthiest zip codes in America based on Internal Revenue Service data. (Bloomberg, April 10, 2018)
  • Review data points related to regulatory restrictions in the Texas Administrative Code. (Mercatus Center, March 2018)

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

  • "Imbalance of power." By Terry Carter. ABA Journal: The Lawyer's Magazine, April 2018, pp. 38-44.
    Considers whether President Trump is upsetting the balance of power through assertions of executive power and by pushing the boundaries of the separation of powers.
  • "Note to scientists: breathe easy." By Will Anderson and Jeff Jeffrey. Austin Business Journal, April 6, 2018, pp. 4-5.
    Reports good news for scientists and researchers who rely on grants from the National Institutes of Health [NIH], noting the NIH avoided drastic budget cuts threatened last year. Explains how NIH funding finds its way to Austin's top research centers.
  • "Civics education makes a return." By Story Hinckley. Christian Science Monitor, April 9, 2018, pp. 17-19.
    Identifies Florida as having the "most comprehensive civics education program in the country," suggesting the program prepared students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School for activism in response to their school shooting. Reviews civics education in other states.
  • "U. of Texas System's new online tool breaks down earnings potential for students in different majors." By Katherine Mangan. Chronicle of Higher Education, April 6, 2018, p. A34.
    Discusses the seekUT database tool developed by the University of Texas System and the Census Bureau that allows students to get an idea of what they might earn with different majors and what they are likely to owe from loans.
  • "Shredding separation in the sunshine state." By Liz Hayes. Church & State, April 2018, pp. 7-9.
    Highlights proposed Florida constitutional amendments that would divert taxpayer monies for public education to religious or private schools. Related information at:
  • "Bankruptcies skyrocket as debt multiples hit highs." By Mark Curriden. Dallas Business Journal, March 30, 2018, pp. 16-17.
    Predicts another wave of bankruptcies filed by Texas businesses with historic levels of debt. Notes newly filed corporate restructurings increased more than 42.6 percent in 2017.
  • "Alternatives to Obamacare: abandon ship!" Economist, March 31st-April 6th, 2018, pp. 26-27.
    Discusses alternatives to Obamacare's high-premium health insurance exchanges: short-term health plans, religious cost-sharing ministries, and deregulated health insurance.
  • "Meal delivery programs reduce the use of costly health care in dually eligible Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries." By Seth A. Berkowitz, et al. Health Affairs, April 2018, pp. 353-542.
    Compares inpatient admissions and medical spending among patients enrolled in meal delivery programs versus those not enrolled. Reports lower medical spending and, for those in a medically tailored meal program, fewer inpatient admissions.
  • "Texans should be wary of bullet train proposal." By Alain Leray. Houston Business Journal, April 5, 2018, p. 38.
    Discusses the Texas Central Rail's proposal for high-speed passenger rail services in Texas. Argues the proposal has some drawbacks.
  • "Houston surveys post-Harvey policy landscape: the 'Bayou City' considers land use rules changes." By Kathleen McCormick. Land Lines, April 2018, pp. 20-29.
    Considers the potential for new land regulations in Houston after Hurricane Harvey. Describes the city's flood history and risk, recent resilience efforts including flood mitigation, new floodplain mapping, and home buyouts. See also:
  • "The 7,383 seat strategy." By Joan Walsh. Nation, April 16, 2018, pp. 12-21.
    Examines the Democratic Party's strategy in state legislative races and the effect of increasing Republican control in state legislatures on right-to-work laws, redistricting, and the ability to call a constitutional convention. Notes that in Texas, Democrats are running more legislative candidates than they have since the 1990s.
  • "Offshore wind transmission options, opportunities: challenging tradeoffs." By Seth Parker and Alex Mattfolk. Public Utilities Fortnightly, April 2018, pp. 74-79.
    Explores the commercial and regulatory aspects of competing transmission options to deliver offshore wind energy into the regional transmission grids.
  • "The case for IT consolidation." By Elizabeth Crisp. State Legislatures, April 2018, pp. 24-26.
    Discusses how states can save millions and better guard against security threats by centralizing government information technology services and administration.
  • "Tax overhaul spells changes for next year's returns." By Jessica Domel. Texas Agriculture, April 6, 2018, p. 6.
    Discusses recent tax reform and how deductions, exemptions, and credits have changed for the 2018 tax year.
  • "The risk of speaking up." By Joey Berlin. Texas Medicine, April 2018, pp. 44-47.
    Describes several Texas physicians' experiences as whistleblowers against hospital practices and calls for better protections for these doctors. Includes sidebar on legislative efforts to protect whistleblowing physicians, such as SB833, 85th Legislature, R.S.
  • "Surprise! Balance billing still a focus at the Capitol." By Joey Berlin. Texas Medicine, April 2018, p. 16.
    Describes continued legislative efforts to address surprise medical bills. Mentions SB507 and HB477, 85th Legislature, R.S.
  • "Delay, derail, deny." By Chris Collins. Texas Observer, April/May 2018, pp. 12-19.
    Discusses how lawmakers, the Texas Supreme Court, and the attorney general have contributed to the erosion of the Texas Public Information Act. Quotes Senator Kirk Watson.

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.

New & Noteworthy List for April 2018

The Library is continually adding new books to its collection. Below are the six titles from our April 2018 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 and delivery of any of these items, you can submit an online request through the New & Noteworthy page on our website, contact the library at 512-463-1252, or use our PDF request form.


1. Higher Education In Texas: Its Beginnings to 1970
By Charles R. Matthews
Provides a broad historical view of higher education in Texas, highlighting important legislation passed in support of higher education, particularly the Permanent University Fund. Includes chapters on religious colleges, state normal schools and colleges, and community/junior colleges, as well as examining historical access to higher education for women, African Americans, and Hispanics.
University of North Texas Press, 2018. 326 pages.
378.764 M432 2018



2. Decarcerating America: From Mass Punishment to Public Health
By Ernest Drucker, ed.
Compiles policy ideas from across the criminal justice reform movement, exploring how America can move from mass incarceration to reform of the entire criminal justice process, from arrest and sentencing to inmate rehabilitation, prisoner re-entry, support for mental health and drug treatment issues, and new industries to replace the prison economy. Approaches mass incarceration using a public health model, examining primary interventions to prevent incarceration, secondary interventions to make prison conditions more humane, and tertiary interventions to address the impact of mass incarceration on entire communities.
The New Press, 2018. 309 pages.
364.60973 D84D 2018



3. Unhealthy Politics: The Battle over Evidence-Based Medicine
By Eric M. Patashnik, Alan S. Gerber, Conor M. Dowling
Asserts that the U.S. medical system is not basing many new treatments and medical decisions on sound science. Argues that despite government efforts to promote evidence-based conclusions, treatments and procedures are adopted with little or no fact-based evidence and analysis, due to a combination of partisan debates, an influential medical industry, and a public burdened with rising medical costs. Notes that the pharmaceutical and health products industries consistently top federal campaign contributions, causing tremendous pressure on policy makers to maintain the health care status quo.
Princeton University Press, 2017. 223 pages.
362.1 P27U 2017



4. The Broken Spoke: Austin's Legendary Honky-Tonk
By Donna Marie Miller
Recounts the history of the Broken Spoke, the renowned Austin music venue and dance hall, through the eyes of the owners and those who frequented it regularly. Highlights its impact on the community and the Texas Legislature, noting both Republican and Democratic lawmakers could often be found there on Legislators' and Speakers' nights.
Texas A & M University Press, 2017. 212 pages.
792.709765 M613B 2017



5. Tattooed on My Soul: Texas Veterans Remember World War II
By Stephen M. Sloan, Lois E. Myers, and Michelle Holland, editors.
Profiles a cross-section of Texas veterans who gave eyewitness testimony to Baylor University's Institute for Oral History about their World War II experiences. Details first-hand accounts of a diverse group of Texas veterans from each branch of the military who lived through World War II. Documents not only war time stories, but also pre-war and post-war experiences of these Texas veterans.
Texas A&M University Press, 2015. 275 pages.
940.54 SL52T 2015



6. Newell's History of the Texas Revolution
By Rev. Chester Newell
Presents a new edition of History of the Revolution in Texas, Particularly of the War of 1835 & 1836, originally published in 1838. Provides an account of the Texas Revolution by Chester Newell, who interviewed participants such as Sam Houston and Mirabeau B. Lamar a year after the events. Includes a section on the geography, topography, statistics, and other characteristics of Texas in the mid-1830s intended for potential immigrants.
Copano Bay Press, 2015. 186 pages.
976.4 N442 2015

Interim Hearings – Week of April 23

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.


Charge 3: Permitting, siting, and regulatory processes for solid waste landfills

Charge 4: Economic impact of National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS)

Charge 5: TCEQ expedited air permitting program


House Committee on Human Services

Charge 2: Managed Care – Medicaid Managed Care history, initiatives of managed care organizations (MCOs) to improve quality and coordination of care, Health and Human Services Commission's (HHSC) oversight of MCOs



House Committee on Investments & Financial Services 

Charge: Impact and risks of a credit bureau security breach on Texans

Charge: Financial technology policy challenges

Topic: Cryptocurrency's potential role in financial sector


Senate Committee on Transportation

Charge: Project acceleration 

Charge: Unified Transportation Program (UTP) 

Charge: Monitor implementation of legislation, specifically:

  • Statutory changes specified in Texas Department of Transportation's (TxDOT) sunset legislation:
    1. requiring toll road entities to use toll revenue to pay back TxDOT for grants used to construct toll roads.
    2. prohibiting TxDOT from operating or transferring a HOV lane as a tolled lane.
    3. authorizing TxDOT to convert non-tolled lanes as toll lanes – only if the number of non-tolled lanes is greater than or equal to the number in existence before the toll conversion project.
    4. prohibiting TxDOT from awarding contracts unless the contractor participates in E-verify

  • Progress of Texas Department of Transportation's (TxDOT) efforts to issue an annual permit for transporting overweight, sealed intermodal shipping containers on TxDOT approved routes within 30 miles of a port of entry or an international bridge.


House Committee on Environmental Regulation

Charge 1: Texas Commission on Environmental Quality's (TCEQ) response and clean-up efforts related to Hurricane Harvey, debris removal, natural disaster response


Senate Committee on Higher Education

Charge: 60x30TX Statewide Plan Review



House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence  (El Paso) 

Charge 3: Enforcement of criminal laws against low-level possession of marijuana

Charge 8: Monitoring agencies and programs under the Committee's jurisdiction and implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 85th Legislature



Charge 1: Effects of Hurricane Harvey on the courts and legal system

Charge 3: Statutes prescribing fees in civil and criminal matters; fees that may be challenged on grounds similar to those raised in Salinas v. Texas (Tex. Court of Crim. Apps., March 8, 2017)

Charge 7: Monitor implementation of the statewide electronic database of court records ("re:SearchTX")

Current Articles & Research Resources, April 12

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

  • Track felony offenses in Texas by code and category. (Texas Legislative Council, April 2018)
  • Map border checkpoints within the U.S. along the U.S.–Mexico border. (Cato Institute, accessed April 12, 2018)
  • Examine discipline disparities in K-12 education. (U.S. Government Accountability Office, March 2018)
  • See which produce is more likely to contain pesticide residue. (Environmental Working Group, 2018)
  • Explore political opinions of America's voting-age youth. (Harvard Institute of Politics, April 11, 2018)

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

  • "Boundary lines." By Mark Walsh. ABA Journal: The Lawyer's Magazine, April 2018, pp. 54-59.
    Examines whether new methods of analysis, specifically the use of mathematical principles, can help courts identify partisan gerrymandering that goes too far.
  • "How states use funds under the TANF block grant (2018)." By Liz Schott, Ife Floyd, and Ashley Burnside. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Updated April 2, 2018, pp. 1-19.
    Examines the use of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families [TANF] funds by state governments in 2016. Finds states spend slightly more than half of their combined federal and state TANF dollars on the core welfare reform areas of basic assistance, child care for low-income families, and work supports. Includes several state tables on TANF spending and identifies Texas as a state in the "Race to the Bottom," spending only six percent of TANF funds on basic assistance in 2016.
  • "New help for homeless college students." By Story Hinckley. Christian Science Monitor, April 2, 2018, pp. 17, 19-20.
    Highlights California programs that provide housing and food assistance to help homeless students stay in community colleges and other higher education institutions.
  • "Students want faster degrees. Colleges are responding." By Julian Wyllie. Chronicle of Higher Education, April 6, 2018, pp. A8-A10, A12.
    Highlights new college degree programs such as Purdue University's "Degree in 3" that allow students to graduate in three years. Explains these programs appeal to students who are cost-conscious or eager to start their careers.
  • "Facebook and democracy: the antisocial network." Economist, March 24th-30th, 2018, pp. 21-22.
    Considers whether the scandal over the use of Facebook's data by political consultant Cambridge Analytica will lead to stricter regulations concerning data protection and digital privacy.
  • "Gun laws: what works." Economist, March 24th-30th, 2018, pp. 26-27.
    Reports the absence of a federal response to mass shootings has spurred several states and cities to pass gun control laws that seem to be saving lives. Divides the laws into three categories: laws that increase scrutiny of gun buyers, "extreme-risk protection order" laws, and laws that tighten rules on gun storage.
  • "Florida extends private-school vouchers to bullied students." By Arianna Prothero. Education Week, March 21, 2018, pp. 18-19.
    Examines Florida's recently enacted law, which offers bullied students Hope Scholarships to attend private schools.
  • "Appropriately framing child health care spending: a prerequisite for value improvement." By Kao-Ping Chua, et al. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), March 20, 2018, pp. 1087-1090.
    Argues that stakeholders, including policy makers, should reject language that frames child health care spending as small when compared with adult health care spending. Lists reasons why this is problematic.
  • "Sharing connections." By Leonie Heyworth. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), April 3, 2018, pp. 1323-1324.
    Narrates a physician's experience providing telehealth services to a Vietnam veteran who evacuated his home during Hurricane Harvey. Advocates for a partnership between government entities and the private sector so telehealth can continue to be a tool for disaster relief and more.
  • "The 'nice girl' who saved the Second Amendment." By John J. Miller. National Review, April 16, 2018, pp. 25-27.
    Profiles historian Joyce Lee Malcolm and her research cited in the Supreme Court's Heller decision recognizing an individual right to possess a firearm. Related information at:
  • "A new health-care debate." By Yuval Levin and Ramesh Ponnuru. National Review, April 16, 2018, pp. 28-30.
    Advocates for more market-friendly health care policy reforms through block grants for Medicaid and Obamacare funds, and more state control.
  • "Dirty politics." By Margaret Talbot. New Yorker, April 2, 2018, pp. 38-51.
    Profiles Scott Pruitt and his efforts at the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] to focus on "EPA originalism" by grounding EPA action specifically on federal statutes and not pursuing additional, new environmental threats.
  • "Bordernomics: the US–Mexico border region." By M. Ray Perryman. Perryman Report and Texas Letter, Vol. 35, No. 2, pp. 1-3, 6.
    Describes the economy of the US–Mexico border region to determine regional dynamics and identify actions which could increase the level of trade and economic activity between the two nations.
  • "Infrastructure by the people, for the people." By John Godfrey. Public Power, March/April 2018, pp. 39.
    Emphasizes the importance of infrastructure with regard to public utilities. Explains why the American Public Power Association will oppose any effort by the federal government to move toward privatization of electric utilities.
  • "License overload?" By Albert Downs and Iris Hentze. State Legislatures, April 2018, pp. 18-19, 21-22.
    Reports that over 25 percent of today's workforce hold jobs that require an occupational license. Notes several states are reviewing licensing requirements and considering policy changes.
  • "TMA makes medicine's case post-Harvey." By Joey Berlin. Texas Medicine, March 2018, pp. 44-45.
    Reviews the Texas Medical Association's work with legislators to address challenges from Hurricane Harvey.
  • "ERCOT predicts record-breaking peak power demand this summer." Texas Public Power, March 2018, p. 1.
    Summarizes the Electric Reliability Council of Texas' [ERCOT] Preliminary Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy [SARA] for Summer 2018. Updates expectations for Spring 2018 based on the final SARA report. Reports at: and
  • "Public power: a rich history, a bright future." By Delia Patterson. Texas Public Power, March 2018, pp. 3, 6-7.
    Provides a brief history of the public power business model. Argues that, as an integral part of the nation's electric utility infrastructure, public power utilities continue to play an important role.
  • "What can we do to stop it?" By Sean Gregory, et al. Time, April 2, 2018, pp. 32-35.
    Presents six steps for reducing gun violence in the United States. Argues it is more effective to tackle the problem as a public health issue rather than a political one.

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.

National Library Week 2018

In honor of National Library Week, we compiled some interesting facts about the Legislative Reference Library. Did you know…

  • The LRL's current location on the second floor of the State Capitol has been in continuous use as a library since 1889. Learn more about the library's adaptive historical room treatment.
  • The Legislative Reference Library was created by Acts 1969, 61st Leg., p. 154, Ch. 55 (Senate Bill 263) and placed under the direct supervision of the Texas Legislature. However, the LRL's beginnings date to 1909, when the newly formed Texas Library and Historical Commission (now the Texas State Library and Archives Commission) was directed to establish "a section of the State Library for legislative reference and information" (Acts 1909, 31st Leg., p. 126, Ch. 70 (House Bill 142).
  • The library's print collection includes original bill files from the 63rd Legislature (1973) to the present, session laws dating back to the Republic of Texas, Texas House and Senate Journals back to the 1890s, Texas agency documents, books and periodicals covering a wide range of topics, and more. Our oldest Texas print title is the Laws Passed at a Special Session of the Sixth Congress of the Republic of Texas, dated 1842.
  • Our librarians are consistently working to add digitized records to our already significant collection of electronic resources. The Legislative Archive SystemTexas Legislators: Past & Present, and Constitutional Amendments are just a few of the many digital resources that can be accessed at the Capitol and beyond.
  • The Legislative Clipping Service and Clippings Archive marked its 40th anniversary in 2016 and covers the period 1900 to the present. In addition to clipping articles from about 25 Texas daily newspapers, the database includes links to bills and reports referenced in the clippings.
  • This blog, Points of Interest, hit the 1 million views mark in February 2018. With posts ranging from bill statistics to resources for interim hearings to historical perspectives and more, the blog is just one more tool we use to share our resources with the legislative community and public.

This is only a brief glance at the Legislative Reference Library's efforts to serve members of the Texas Legislature, state agencies, and the public. We invite you to explore our website, read our blog, follow us on Twitter and Pinterest, and/or subscribe to one of the library's RSS feeds to learn more about our tools and services available for legislative research.


Image: The Texas State Library, circa 1915. Photo courtesy of the Texas State Preservation Board.

Cover image: Rendering detail of the LRL by Laura Chapa. Image courtesy of the Texas State Preservation Board.

Interim Hearings – Week of April 16

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.

House Committee on Land & Resource Management

Topic: Testimony from the General Land Office regarding programs offered by the Veterans Land Board and the GLO's coastal management programs


House Committee on Natural Resources Top

Charge 2: Additional issues related to Hurricane Harvey and flooding issues in general:

  1. Development of the initial State Flood Plan by the Texas Water Development Board, and how the plan might be enhanced or focused in light of Harvey
  2. Science and data availability and needs related to flood risk and to responding to flood events
  3. Best methods of providing state financial assistance for flood infrastructure needs
  4. Opportunities for improved collection and storage of flood flows for future supply needs
  5. The role of voluntary land conservation efforts, including conservation easements, in preventing and mitigating flooding


House Select Committee on Opioids & Substance Abuse Top

Continuation of Charge 1: Prevalence and impact of substance use, substance use disorders, opioids, and synthetic drugs in Texas 

Charge 2: Prevalence and impact of substance use and substance use disorders in pregnant women, veterans, homeless individuals, and people with co-occurring mental illness, and impact of opioids; programs in other states to reduce substance abuse 

Charge 3: Policies and guidelines used by state agencies to monitor for and prevent abuse of prescription drugs in state-funded or state-administered programs, including Texas Medicaid Program, the Division of Workers' Compensation of the Texas Department of Insurance, the Teacher Retirement System, and the Employee Retirement System  


House Committee on Transportation Top

10:00 AM

Charge: Ability of Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to deliver highway construction projects that reduce congestion and improve mobility

House Committee on Transportation Top

1:00 PM

Charge: Impact of energy exploration and production on state and county roads


House Committee on Appropriations Top

Charge: Economic Stabilization Fund (ESF); current methodology used to set ESF cap

Charge: One-time funding and deferral measures

Charge: Implementation of SB 20, 84th Legislature, R.S.; SB 533 and SB 255, 85th Legislature, R.S. (State agency contracting)

Charge: Implementation of Article IX, Sec. 9.13 of the General Appropriations Act (Cybersecurity, information technology, cloud computing)

Charge: Effectiveness of funds appropriated for border security operations


Charge 8: Funding for adult probation departments and juvenile justice system

Charge 9: State crime lab operational structure

Charge 18: Monitor agencies and programs under the Committee's jurisdiction and implementation of legislation, specifically: Department of Public Safety efforts to eliminate sexual assault kit backlog


House Committee on Energy Resources Top

Charge: Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) response to Hurricane Harvey; protection of the public, natural resources, environment, infrastructure, and industrial facilities in natural disasters; fuel reserves for first responders

Charge: Gas Reliability Infrastructure Program 

Charge: Frac sand mining in the Permian Basin 

Charge: Decommissioning of commercial wind energy facilities 

Charge: Investment in public infrastructure and workforce development in the Permian Basin region  

Charge: Monitor agencies and programs under Committee's jurisdiction and implementation of legislation passed by 85th Legislature, specifically:  

  1. Long-term funding solutions for a stable regulatory structure
  2. Adequacy of well-plugging processes and funds
  3. Cleanup and removal of abandoned equipment
  4. Seismic research needs for the University of Texas Bureau of Economic Geology and any response to research findings by the RRC


House Committee on Public Education Top

Charge: Monitor implementation of legislation, specifically: HB 21, 85th Legislature, 1st C.S.; HB 22 and SB 179, 85th Legislature, R.S.

Topic: Update from the Texas Education Agency regarding issues related to Hurricane Harvey


House Committee on Transportation Top

Charge: Efficacy of existing transportation finance mechanisms from state, regional, and local perspectives

Charge: Texas' various toll authorities and transparency and stakeholder responsiveness


House Committee on Public Health Top

Charge: Treatment of traumatic brain injury, Alzheimer's, and dementia, and opportunities for advancing treatment and cures 

Charge: Organ and bone marrow donations 

Current Articles & Research Resources, April 5

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

  • See how highway deck parks improve quality of life in cities. (Stateline, April 2, 2018)
  • Read about federal legislation that would improve transparency related to federal unfunded mandates. (Council of State Governments, March 28, 2018)
  • Examine racial disparities in incarceration rates. (Vera Institute of Justice, February 2018)
  • Consider the results of a blind taste test of recycled water. (EurekAlert!, March 13, 2018)

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

  • "Reckless requests." By Lorelei Laird. ABA Journal: The Lawyer's Magazine, March 2018, pp. 16-18.
    Considers Washington State's and Florida's efforts to modify their public records laws, including provisions relating to attorney fees and excessive requests.
  • "From opposition to preparation, Austin businesses gear up for sick-leave rules." By Daniel Salazar. Austin Business Journal, March 23, 2018, pp. 4-6.
    Reports on Austin's mandated sick leave ordinance and the impact on business owners' operations.
  • "Is student debt big enough to hold back the economy?" By Dan Bauman. Chronicle of Higher Education, March 16, 2018, p. A25.
    Examines student debt in terms of what research shows as to its effect on small-business start-ups, borrowers purchasing homes, and which segments of the student population holds the most debt.
  • "Autonomous vehicles: a driverless tragedy." Economist, March 24th-30th, 2018, pp. 73-74.
    Discusses the call for tighter rules and safety standards for the testing of autonomous vehicles, in the wake of the first known case of a pedestrian being killed by a self-driving car in Tempe, Arizona.
  • "The geopolitics of energy: the new power superpowers." Economist, March 17th, 2018, pp. 1, 3-12.
    Reports on the geopolitical implications of the transition from fossil fuels to cleaner energy and pinpoints the winners and losers.
  • "DACA continues for now, as does uncertainty for 'dreamers'." By Corey Mitchell. Education Week, March 7, p. 6.
    Discusses the United States Supreme Court's refusal to intervene in the legal battle over DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Addresses the effect President Trump's current immigration policy is having on DACA eligible students' behavior and attendance.
  • "States confront a range of hurdles to swift action on school security." By Daarel Burnette II. Education Week, March 7, 2018, pp. 8-9.
    Discusses school security strategies governors and state legislatures are considering in light of the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Quotes Governor Greg Abbott.
  • "The pain refugees: the forgotten victims of America's opioid crisis." By Brian Goldstone. Harper's Magazine, April 2018, pp. 53-61.
    Explores the complexities of the opioid addiction and overdose crisis, beyond the standard narrative of "doctors as dupes and patients as victims."
  • "From payday loans to pawnshops: fringe banking, the unbanked, and health." By Jerzy Eisenberg-Guyot, et al. Health Affairs, March 2018, pp. 429-437.
    Examines the correlation between health and the use of fringe banking (including payday lenders and check cashers) and/or being unbanked (not having one's own bank account). Suggests expanding social welfare programs and labor protections to reduce the need for such stressful financial programs, thus reducing the stresses fringe services place on physical and mental health.
  • "Parent mentoring program increases coverage rates for uninsured Latino children." By Glenn Flores, et al. Health Affairs, March 2018, pp. 403-412.
    Evaluates the effects of parent mentors on insuring Latino children eligible for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program [CHIP] from 2011-15 in Dallas County, Texas.
  • "Current developments in state and local tax: federal tax reform and other significant developments." By Mark L. Nachbar and Mary F. Bernard. Journal of State Taxation, Spring 2018, pp. 7-10, 38-39.
    Provides a brief overview of how the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will impact state and local taxes. Explores other significant tax developments for individual states, including Texas.
    Related information at:
  • "Against a weed industry." By Jonathan Caulkins. National Review, April 2, 2018, pp. 27-29.
    Argues against a for-profit industry for cannabis products at this time. Advocates restricting legal supply to nonprofit organizations and offers suggestions as to how this idea could be accomplished.
  • "The graying of the welfare state." By William Voegeli. National Review, March 19, 2018, pp. 27-30.
    Examines how increased longevity and declining birthrates are increasing the fiscal, political, and social challenges related to "welfare state" programs such as Social Security and Medicare.
  • "U.S. electric transportation: getting in gear." By Michael Britt and Tom Flaherty. Public Utilities Fortnightly, March 2018, pp. 32-39, 71.
    Argues that, by collaborating with the global original equipment manufacturer community, utilities can play a more active role in spreading public awareness and encouraging commercial adoption of electric transportation. Provides examples of what other countries have done.
  • "Guns, code, and freedom." By Mark McDaniel. Reason, April 2018, pp. 48-55.
    Presents an interview with Cody Wilson, the Austin-based gun-rights activist, who "launched the age of the digital gun" with the publication of files showing how to make a 3D-printed pistol.
  • "For end-of-life care, fresh challenges begin." By Joey Berlin. Texas Medicine, March 2018, pp. 24-29.
    Discusses SB11, 85th Legislature, 1st C.S., which establishes new requirements for in-hospital do-not-resuscitate orders.
  • "Fostering change." By Sean Price. Texas Medicine, March 2018, pp. 32-35.
    Examines SB11, 85th Legislature, R.S., by focusing on the new requirement that foster children "be seen by a physician within three business days of coming into the care of Child Protective Services."
  • "The young and the relentless." Time, April 2, 2018, pp. 24-31.
    Profiles student leaders of the new grassroots movement against gun violence that sprang up in response to the mass shooting at their school in Parkland, Florida. Discusses what students have achieved so far and their goals for the movement.

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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