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Members Not Returning, 86th Legislature

Below is a list of members (as of January 23, 2018) not returning to the 86th Texas Legislature in their current offices. Note that regardless of election outcomes, all of these legislators will keep their respective seats until January 2019, unless they resign earlier.


To learn more about who will be on the primary ballots, information about candidates by county is available on the Texas Secretary of State's filings by county page.



Rep. Cindy Burkett Running for Texas Senate
Rep. Byron Cook Retiring
Rep. Pat Fallon Running for Texas Senate
Rep. Helen Giddings Retiring
Rep. Larry Gonzales Retiring
Rep. Lance Gooden Running for U.S. Congress
Rep. Jason Isaac Running for U.S. Congress
Rep. Mark Keough Running for Montgomery County judge
Rep. Jodie Laubenberg Retiring
Rep. Larry Phillips Retiring
Rep. Kevin Roberts Running for U.S. Congress
Rep. Leighton Schubert Resigned effective 2/4/2018
Rep. Joe Straus Retiring
Sen. Van Taylor Running for U.S. Congress

Interim Hearings – Week of January 29

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.

Senate Committee on Agriculture, Water & Rural Affairs (Wharton) 

Topic: Impact to agriculture and rural communities from Hurricane Harvey

Charge: Water infrastructure projects in the State Water Plan to mitigate flooding, possible third reservoir in addition to Addicks and Barker, flood mitigation infrastructure and restoration of critical dam infrastructure


Senate Committee on Finance

Charge: Trauma funding

Charge: Texas Emission Reduction Plan (TERP)

Charge: Fee structure review

Charge: Request to exceed review: Review all riders requiring interim action by the Legislative Budget Board to reduce the number of times interim budget modification is necessary.


Topic: Hurricane Harvey relief and recovery


Charge: Impact of Hurricane Harvey on financial institutions

Charge: Mortgage licensure requirements


Senate Committee on State Affairs (San Marcos)

Charge: Freedom of speech on campus


House Committee on Homeland Security & Public Safety (Tyler) 

Topic:  Comprehensive review by the Department of Public Safety on various agency matters, including but not limited to: Driver license operations, Texas/Mexico border security and operations, East Texas Gang/Cartel activity, Safety factors with respect to sedan vs. SUV patrol units, CUP appropriations for FY 18/19 and retire/rehire program

Topic: Interactions between law enforcement and citizens including an update on enactments of new law

Topic: Junior college campus security


Senate Committee on Natural Resources & Economic Development (Houston) 

Charge: Hotel occupancy taxes

Charge: Regulatory barriers, including permitting or registration requirements and fees


Senate Select Committee on Property Tax Reform (Houston) 

Charge: How property tax law could better advance disaster recovery after Hurricane Harvey while ensuring that taxpayers are protected from excessive taxation and wasteful spending

Charge: Statutory changes necessary, if any, for a municipality to be able to redirect revenue from Tax Increment Reinvestment Zones (TIRZ) for a set period of time to assist in paying the costs associated with recovery and rebuilding necessary infrastructure following a disaster declaration by the Governor or President

Current Articles and Research Resources, January 18

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

  • Explore Americans' perceptions of the news media. (Gallup, January 17, 2018)
  • Read about the legislative process in Congress. (Congressional Research Service, January 10, 2018)
  • Consider which drugs are causing lethal overdoses. (FiveThirtyEight, January 17, 2018)
  • Examine the costs of severe weather events. (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2018)

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

  • "Marital discord." By Jonathan Black. ABA Journal: The Lawyer's Magazine, January 2018, pp. 16-18.
    Highlights several states' efforts to change minimum-age marriage laws and to prohibit forced marriages.
  • "The Texas GED problem is getting worse." By Chandra Villanueva. Center for Public Policy Priorities, January 2018, pp. 1-14.
    Reports on the decline in the number of individuals taking and passing the General Equivalency Diploma [GED] exam. Addresses the need for the state to follow students who receive a high school equivalency and track their career and educational outcomes.
  • "'Always think deeply.'" Chronicle of Higher Education, January 5, 2017, pp. A6-A7.
    Interviews Ruth J. Simmons, former president of Brown University and current president of Prairie View A&M University, about her career and coming out of retirement to guide Prairie View.
  • "A dying town." By Sarah Brown and Karin Fischer. Chronicle of Higher Education, January 5, 2017, pp. A14-A23.
    Discusses current research correlating low education levels in areas of economic malaise with poorer health outcomes.
  • "High-tax states: tax replanning." Economist, January 6th-12th, 2018, pp. 17-18.
    Examines how states might try to circumvent the new federal tax law.
  • "Mortality quadrupled among opioid-driven hospitalizations, notably within lower-income and disabled white populations." By Zirui Song. Health Affairs, December 2017, pp. 2054-2061.
    Examines opioid-driven hospitalizations in the United States. Finds that while the total volume has remained stable, it has shifted from diagnoses involving opioid dependence toward those centered on opioid or heroin poisoning, with patients more likely to be white, ages 50-64, Medicare beneficiaries with disabilities, and residents of low-income areas.
  • "Only one in twenty justice-referred adults in specialty treatment for opioid use receive methadone or buprenorphine." By Noa Krawczyk, et al. Health Affairs, December 2017, pp. 2046-2053.
    Investigates whether the criminal justice system refers people to the highest standard of treatment for opioid use disorder, methadone or buprenorphine. Reports that only 4.6 percent of justice-referred clients received such treatment, compared to 40.9 percent of those referred by other sources.
  • "Five ethical values to guide health systems reform." By Lawrence O. Gostin. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), December 12, 2017, pp. 2171-2172.
    Outlines five critical values for health care reform – universal access, equitable access, affordable access (cost), quality, and choice. Explains the trade-offs and why certain values should take priority.
  • "State fiscal effort and juvenile incarceration rates: are we misdirecting our investment in human capital?" By Jessica McGrath Ellison, William Owlings, and Leslie S. Kaplan. Journal of Education Finance, Summer 2017, pp. 45-63.
    Examines whether an increase in state fiscal effort for education is associated with decreased juvenile incarceration rates over the last 25 years in all 50 states.
  • "The waning impact of school finance litigation on inequality in per student revenue during the adequacy era." By Dennis J. Condron. Journal of Education Finance, Summer 2017, pp. 1-20.
    Examines how adequacy lawsuits affected inequality in school funding within states from 1990 to 2011. Finds adequacy litigation helped reduce inequality during the 1990-2000 period, but in contrast, from 2001-2011 in which there were fewer lawsuits, revenue inequality increased.
  • "Building a blue Texas." By John Nichols. Nation, December 18/25, 2017, pp. 12-15.
    Speculates on the future of the Democratic Party in Texas and examines the revival of progressive-populist politics in the state.
  • "The glut economy." By Lawrence Wright. New Yorker, January 1, 2018, pp. 42-50, 52-53.
    Examines the history of boom and bust in the Texas energy industry and the role the industry currently plays in the Texas economy. Discusses the industrialization of communities and environmental concerns in areas of intensive drilling.
  • "Industry insights: innovations put sustainable water systems in reach." By Frank Zammataro. Opflow, December 2017, pp. 6-7.
    Explores how renewable energy, conservation, and efficiency can provide a new vision for United States water operations.
  • "Industry and government partner to secure the grid." By Nidhi Chaudhry. Public Power, November/December 2017, pp. 12-17.
    Argues that, with the increasing complexity of the electric grid, it has become more critical for coordinated efforts across the industry and with federal agencies to appropriately respond to growing threats. Mentions disaster preparedness in Houston prior to Hurricane Harvey.
  • "New, higher tolls for 2018." By Elaine S. Povich. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), January 9, 2018, pp. 1-6.
    Reports the lack of funding from gas taxes and the growing popularity of fuel-efficient cars means more states are likely to impose tolls on "free" roads or build more toll-only lanes in 2018.
  • "Big changes coming for Texas Family Code in 2018." By Kris Balekian Hayes. Texas Lawyer, January 2018, pp. 34-36.
    Points out upcoming changes to Texas child support laws, enacted by SB550, 84th Legislature, R.S.
  • "Same-sex common law marriage." By Jeff Anderson. Texas Lawyer, January 2018, pp. 26, 28-29.
    Addresses whether the United States Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage can be applied retroactively to same-sex couples married informally through common-law before the date of enactment, June 26, 2015.
  • "New report finds — surprise — indigent defense attorneys shouldn’t be under the control of the state prison system." By Michael Barajas. Texas Observer, January 11, 2018, pp. 1-3.
    Highlights a recent report by the State Bar of Texas which suggests that the State Counsel for Offenders suffers from a conflict of interest between its mission and its position as an office within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
    Report at:

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.

Who Is...Gammel?

Every now and then, LRL patrons will ask a question like, "who is Vernon and why is his name on the Texas statutes?" To which we say, "good question!" People often conduct legislative history research with a tight deadline that doesn't leave much time for musing over the origins of the sources, but it can be instructive to learn about who has worked to compile Texas' laws over the years. In our occasional "Who Is…" series, we'll take a look at some of the important resources for studying Texas legislative history and the publishers, lawyers, and legal scholars behind them. Check out our previous entries on VernonSayles, and Paschal; in this post we're focusing on H.P.N. Gammel.


When the old Capitol building burned in 1881, the state lost not only a government building but also its stored copies of session laws and other government records, some dating to the Republic of Texas.  Fortunately, a quick-thinking bookseller saw an opportunity for preservation…and a business venture. H.P.N. Gammel’s The Laws of Texas (1822-1897) was the result of his conservation effort and became an essential item in Texas law libraries.[1]


Hans Peter Mareus Neilsen Gammel was born in 1854 in Grenå, Denmark, then immigrated to Chicago in the mid-1870s. At first, Hans was content to stay with his sisters and work to save money to bring his wife, Marie, and baby daughter, Marietta, to Chicago. However, his brother, Nels, had ventured west and had some success in the gold fields. Nels offered to loan the money for Marie and Marietta’s boat fare while Hans accompanied him back west. The brothers made—and lost—money in their ventures together. Rather than returning to Chicago, they decided to go to Texas, attracted by a few Scandinavian settlements near Austin.[2]


Gammel started out in Texas putting up poles and stringing wire for a telegraph company, but he needed a more permanent business when his wife and daughter joined him in Texas at the end of the 1870s. He rented space at Hickory (now 8th Street) and Congress Avenue in Austin, where they could have a storefront with an apartment in the back. He occasionally took contract jobs with telegraph companies, while Marie ran the shop.[3]


The store initially sold writing paper, jewelry, and other general items. One day, however, a man asked to borrow money, offering 24 used books as security. Seeing an opportunity, Hans bargained to buy the books outright for 25 cents. First he read them, helping him begin to understand the public’s reading preferences, and then he bundled them in six-book sets for 25 cents each. And thus, a bookseller’s career began.[4]


Gammel wrote in his diary that his was the “first and only bookstore of any type in this part of the state,” and that he became known as the "10¢ man": “I would buy anything for 5¢ and sell for 10¢. I am sure I sold books worth 5 to 10 dollars for 10 cts., but I am also sure they cost me less.”[5]


Tragedy struck the Gammel family in 1880, when both he and his wife got sick. They sent Marietta to stay with friends, Hans spent six weeks in the hospital, and Marie died. Once Hans regained his health, he sent Marietta to school during the day at the Convent of St. Mary so he could reopen his book stalls. In 1881, he married Josephine Ledel, a Swedish immigrant, at a Pflugerville church.[6]


The couple had been married for just a few months when the Capitol caught fire. At his shop down the street, Gammel witnessed efforts to throw papers and books out the windows to save them, but the combination of fire, rain, and wind had wreaked havoc on the papers, and the building’s superintendent wanted them hauled away. Gammel recalled:


“…I got permission from the authorities to do this job. It meant extra money! That night I lay awake thinking of what I would do with all the rubble. I did not have much knowledge—especially about law books—but the beginning of my love of books had become rooted, and the fact of knowing that all the knowledge and records in those papers would be lost preyed on my mind. I wondered if any of them could be salvaged.


The next morning I put on my hip boots, armed myself with a pick and a shovel, and waded and worked in the slush for days hauling all the rubble—wagonloads of it—to my little house on 8th Street. Mrs. Gammel was not happy about it but she helped me to dry out anything that was not burned to a crisp. We used up all the clothes lines in the yard and strung rope between the trees and on the porches. Then I sorted the papers out the best I could and stacked them in bundles—for why I did not know. I just knew they should not be destroyed.”[7]


Nearly a decade later in 1892, Gammel bought a print shop and established the Gammel Book Company. The press’ first big job was John C. Duval’s Early Times in Texas, and he later printed C.W. Raines’ Bibliography of Texas and Noah Smithwick’s Evolution of a State. Gammel’s primary ambition, however, was to obtain a contract from the House and Senate to print legal documents. His daughter, Dorothy Gammel Bohlender, recalled “It was not by accident that his ‘place of business’ always was near the capitol building. His ‘locality in Austin,’ as he said, gave him a chance to be in touch with events affecting all of Texas, and he wanted to be as close as possible to the men participating in those events.”[8]


Around the same time that Gammel began his printing work, Gov. James S. Hogg appointed C.W. Raines librarian of the Texas State Library. Gammel and Raines developed a mutually beneficial friendship: as a bookseller, Gammel was uniquely equipped to help Raines locate materials for the State Library, and as a printer, he could publish Raines’ scholarly works. On Raines’ part, his legal background and research experience made him a valuable partner to Gammel in putting in order the bundles of papers saved from the Capitol.[9]


In 1898, Gammel published the first of what would be a ten-volume set, The Laws of Texas, 1822-1897. He planned to release one volume every 60 days till completed and set up a system for subscribers to pay as they received volumes.[10] Raines wrote an introduction for it, in which he noted that “these volumes are in the nature of original evidence for the student of our jurisprudence, and that nowhere else can it be so well studied as to its origin, character, successive changes, and its present status as a blended system of the Roman Civil Law and the Common Law of England.”[11]


Gammel’s efforts were widely acclaimed by the Texas legal community. Legal historian Marian Boner attributes some of the success of his publication to the production of two indices that made the texts more accessible, one compiled by George Finlay and D.E. Simmons, and the other by Raines.[12]


With the exception of a brief move to El Paso in the early 1900s, Gammel remained in Austin and in the book business for the rest of his life. He became the state printer in 1901, taking up where his Laws of Texas left off and printing the legislature’s most recent efforts.[13] The bookstore moved occasionally but always was somewhere around Congress Avenue. He died in Austin in 1931 and his son, H.P.N. Gammel Jr., continued the business until his death in 1941.[14] Gammel’s personal book collection had grown in size and substance, and his heirs sold the bulk of it to the notable Texana collector Earl Vandale, who in turn sold his collection to the University of Texas.[15]


When Gammel left Denmark, he had no idea his future lay in legal documents, books, and Texas. The Capitol fire helped to transform him from an everyday bookseller to a preserver and publisher of Texas legal history.


Images from top: 

H.P.N. Gammel after he arrived in Austin, taken from H.P.N. Gammel: Texas Bookman, by Dorothy Gammel Bohlender and Frances Tarlton McCallum, Waco, TX: Texian Press, 1985.


Ads for Gammel’s Old Book Store:  top, Austin Weekly Statesman, (Austin, Tex.), Vol. 18, No. 21, Ed. 1 Thursday, April 4, 1889. ( accessed December 7, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; bottom: St. Edward's Echo (Austin, Tex.), Vol. 5, No. 7, Ed. 1, April 1924. ( accessed January 9, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting St. Edward’s University.


Title page from Gammel's. The Laws of Texas, 1822-1897 Volume 1, 1898; Austin, Texas. ( accessed January 9, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,


Horse-drawn fire wagon on Congress Avenue, photograph circa 1892. “Gammel’s Old Book Store” is on the far right. ( accessed December 7, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Austin History Center, Austin Public Library. 

[1] Dorothy Gammel Bohlender, Handbook of Texas Online, "Gammel, Karl Hans Peter Marius Neilsen," accessed November 27, 2017,

[2] Dorothy Gammel Bohlender and Frances Tarlton McCallum, H.P.N. Gammel: Texas Bookman, Waco, TX: Texian Press, 1985, pp. 3-6.

[3] Bohlender and McCallum, pp. 7-8.

[4] Ibid., p. 9.

[5] Ibid., pp. 11-12.

[6] Ibid., pp. 15-23.

[7] Ibid., p. 27.

[8] Ibid., p. 43-45.

[9] Ibid., pp. 45-46.

[10] Gammel, Hans Peter Mareus Neilsen, “Compiler’s Notice,” The Laws of Texas, 1822-1897 Volume 1, 1898; Austin, Texas. ( accessed December 4, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,

[11] Raines, C.W., “Introduction,” in Gammel's The Laws of Texas, 1822-1897 Volume 1, 1898; Austin, Texas. ( accessed December 4, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,

[12] Marian Boner, “The Attorney as Author: Books Written and Used by Texas Lawyers,” Centennial History of the Texas Bar, 1882—1982, Austin, TX: The Committee on History and Tradition of the State Bar of Texas, 1981, p. 148.

[13] Boner, p. 148.

[14] "The First Comprehensive Compilation of Texas Law," Jamail Center for Legal Research - Tarlton Law Library, accessed December 4, 2017,

[15] Bohlender and McCallum, pp. 78-79.

Interim Hearings – Week of January 22

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.


January 22

Topic: Texas Facilities Commission Capitol Complex Master Plan


January 23

House Committee on Environmental Regulation, Subcommittee on Air Quality and Municipal Landfills

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


House Committee on Environmental Regulation (upon adjournment of the Subcommittee) 

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

Hurricane Response (TCEQ Executive Director's regulatory  guidance, suspension of TCEQ rules, TCEQ resources for Texas residents in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, disaster relief funding, current conditions of drinking water and air quality), Texas Commission on Environmental Quality



Senate Committee on Business & Commerce (Houston)

Charge 1: Hurricane Harvey related property and casualty insurance claims data analysis (Texas Department of Insurance)

  • Mandatory Data Call for Information Regarding Claims Resulting from Hurricane Harvey (Commissioner's Bulletins # B-0035-17 and # B-0034-17), Texas Department of Insurance, September 21, 2017

Charge 2: Health insurance market stability

Charge 3: Implementation of legislation in the 85th Legislature, R.S., including settlement of out-of-network health benefit claims involving balance billing and patient's explanation of benefits statements

Current Articles and Research Resources, January 11

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

  • Consider factors contributing to higher tolls across the country. (Stateline, January 9, 2018)
  • Track what members of Congress are doing. (In Custodia Legis, January 8, 2018)
  • Read about this year's flu season. (National Public Radio, January 9, 2018)
  • See what to look for in the night sky every month. (National Geographic, December 28, 2017)

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

  • "'The system must be transformed.'" By Bill Hethcock. Austin Business Journal, December 8, 2017, pp. 12-13.
    Features interview with Baylor Scott & White CEO Jim Hinton on the future of health care and the advantages of combining the finance and delivery of health care into a single system.
  • "Building healthier communities for an aging population." By Debra Miller and Emily McCarthy. Capitol Ideas, November/December 2017, pp. 32-33.
    Highlights AARP's Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable Act [CARE Act] which aims to improve coordination and communications between seniors, their loved ones, and hospitals.
  • "Shining a spotlight on women veterans." By Shawntaye Hopkins. Capitol Ideas, November/December 2017, pp. 34-35.
    Describes the contributions of women in the armed forces. Highlights recent efforts in Oregon, Georgia, and California to recognize and advocate for women veterans, including a traveling portrait exhibit of Oregon women veterans entitled, "I Am Not Invisible."
  • "Can bipartisan buddies win over Texas?" By Henry Gass. Christian Science Monitor, December 11, 2017, pp. 18-20.
    Highlights the bipartisan friendship of United States Representatives Will Hurd and Beto O'Rourke. States that although bipartisanship is difficult in today's political world, views may be changing as many voters want political leaders to compromise to get things done.
  • "Doing Houston wrong." By Joel Kotkin. City Journal (Manhattan Institute), December 13, 2017, pp. 1-6.
    Suggests critics are wrong to blame Houston's approach to urban development for Hurricane Harvey's massive flooding damage. Advocates bolstering infrastructure resiliency through flood control systems rather than through additional zoning or abandonment of the city's current growth model.
  • "Public education: keeping the wheels turning." Economist, December 23rd, 2017-January 5th, 2018, pp. 39-40.
    Explains why America's school funding model — levies on property taxes — is not as regressive as some critics contest. Notes other countries do a better job of directing resources to children who need extra help.
    Related information at:
  • "Safer nicotine: the tobacco paradox." Economist, December 23rd, 2017-January 5th, 2018, pp. 85-86.
    Discusses the changing landscape of the tobacco industry. Explains the Food and Drug Administration is working on a regulatory process to make it easier for companies to introduce safer products.
  • "The uninsured do not use the emergency department more — they use other care less." By Ruohua Annetta Zhou, et al. Health Affairs, December 2017, pp. 2115-2122.
    Debunks the common misperception that the uninsured use the emergency department [ED] more. Explains insured and uninsured adults use the ED at very similar rates and in very similar circumstances, and the uninsured use other types of care much less than the insured.
  • "Determining health effects of hazardous materials released during Hurricane Harvey." By M.J. Friedrich. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), December 19, 2017, pp. 2283-2285.
    Discusses efforts to sample the air, water, and sediment, track hazardous chemical exposures, and identify ways we can improve risk management to protect communities from future disasters like Hurricane Harvey.
  • "Ag tech poses difficult state tax questions." By Matthew C. Boch, Cal McCastlain, and T.J. Lawhon. Journal of MultiState Taxation and Incentives, January 2018, pp. 34-36.
    Describes recent digital technology and artificial intelligence developments in the agricultural sector, designed to increase crop yields and improve operational efficiency, and the ambiguous relationship to decades-old state tax provisions, agricultural exemptions, and conservation credits.
  • "Collecting our thoughts on collecting states' use taxes." By Shirley Sicilian. Journal of MultiState Taxation and Incentives, January 2018, pp. 20-25, 48.
    Analyzes state approaches to minimizing the impact of the physical presence requirements in the Quill decision, and outlines use tax collection, notice, and reporting responsibility in certain states. Related information at:
  • "The myth of the playground pusher." By C.J. Ciaramella and Lauren Krisai. Reason, January 2018, pp. 41-49.
    Reviews the use of drug-free school zones in the various states. Explains drug-free school zone laws are rarely used to prosecute sales of drugs to minors, but have become a vehicle to give prosecutors increased leverage in a variety of drug cases.
  • "A matter of trust." By Matthew Huston. Science, December 15, 2017, pp. 1375-1377.
    Explores public attitudes toward autonomous vehicles.
  • "Why free college tuition is spreading from cities to states." By Marsha Mercer. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), January 5, 2018, pp. 1-4.
    Reports 200 localities and twelve states are offering free tuition programs. Notes mixed results in meeting goals of producing more workers with marketable skills and helping local economies.
  • "Bad medicine." By Sean Price. Texas Medicine, December 2017, pp. 49-54.
    Calls for state legislative policy to help people safely dispose of unwanted medicines, noting this would reduce chances of poisonings or misuse and keep these chemicals out of the water system. See:
  • "Big Spring vs. big oil." By Christopher Collins. Texas Observer, December 2017, pp. 26-31.
    Explores the effects groundwater mining and Permian Basin fracking operations are having on rural Texas towns. Argues groundwater districts' lax rules on water pumping and water companies lack of transparency risks depletion of these communities only sources of drinking water.
  • "ERCOT generation outlook released." Texas Public Power, November-December 2017, pp. 5, 7.
    Summarizes the following two reports from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas [ERCOT]: Final Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy for the ERCOT region (SARA): Winter 2017-18 and Preliminary Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy for the ERCOT region (SARA): Spring 2018. Report at:
    Report at:


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 January 2018

The Library is continually adding new books to its collection. Below are the six titles from our January 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. Blue Marble Health: An Innovative Plan to Fight Diseases of the Poor Amid Wealth
By Peter J. Hotez
Provides new public health framework called "blue marble health," which acknowledges that the world’s "neglected tropical diseases" [NTDs] are increasingly found not just in developing countries but also among the extremely poor who live in wealthy countries like the United States. Commends recent Texas legislation that called for surveillance of NTDs; advocates for continued legislative action and better physician training and research on diagnosing and treating these diseases.
Johns Hopkins University Press, 2016. 205 pages.
362.1086 H797B 2016



2. The Last Sheriff in Texas: A True Tale of Violence and the Vote
By James P. McCollom
Highlights the controversial tenure of Sheriff Vail Ennis, who was elected in 1944 and by 1947 had killed seven men, making him the first Bee County sheriff to kill anyone. Details the efforts of Representative Johnny Barnhart, Beeville's "favorite son," to remove Sheriff Vail from his office. Resonates with issues in present-day headlines: excessive force in law enforcement, election fraud, the power of the oil industry, and mistrust of politicians and the political process.
Counterpoint Press, 2017. 260 pages.
976.4 M133L 2017



3. Not a Crime To Be Poor: The Criminalization of Poverty in America
By Peter B. Edelman
Examines how the poor are financially victimized by the U.S. criminal justice system. Documents numerous cases where the punishment for minor violations committed by low income individuals far exceeds the crime. Reports that fines often multiply exponentially, drivers' licenses are repeatedly suspended, or individuals are incarcerated because they are unable to pay the fees and fines levied - essentially turning our court system into debtors' prisons. Offers strategies for ending this epidemic of disproportionate punishments that criminalizes the poor.
The New Press, 2017. 293 pages.
362.5 ED27N 2017



4. River of Hope: Forging Identity and Nation in the Rio Grande Borderlands
By Omar S. Valerio-Jimenez
Explores how Spain, Mexico, and the United States competed for control of the lower Rio Grande borderlands, and thereby shaped the social and political identities of the region's inhabitants. Suggests the period from 1749 to 1900 saw the "transformation of privileged Spanish subjects into neglected Mexican citizens and, ultimately into unwanted American citizens."
Duke University Press, 2013. 369 pages.
305.8 V237R 2013



5. Body-Worn Cameras: Laws and Policies in the South
By Nick Bowman
Examines the history of body-worn cameras in law enforcement, including predecessors to the cameras and the origins of camera use in Britain and the United States. Considers policy issues relating to implementation of body-worn cameras, including camera features and quality, data storage, staffing, and privacy. Details body-worn camera laws and regulations in fifteen states, including Texas.
Southern Legislative Conference, Council of State Governments, 2017. 23 pages.
363.23 B684B 2017



6. Texas Legislative Law Handbook
By Kevin C. Stewart
Provides guidance on how to navigate the legislative process in Texas, including how to draft legislation. Discusses principles relating to points of order and how to use them to "scrub" (kill) bills. Includes chapters on statutory interpretation, administrative law, as well as campaign and ethics law. Features appendices with drafting and bill-scrubbing checklists, a rule referencing list, and vote requirements of each chamber.
The Law Offices of Kevin C. Stewart, 2018. 270.
328.764 ST49T 2018



Interim Hearings – Week of January 15

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.


January 16

House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence CANCELED

Charge: Death penalty for defendants with serious mental illness or intellectual and developmental disabilities


January 17

House Committee on Defense & Veterans' Affairs CANCELED

Charge: Impact of Hurricane Harvey related to the Texas Military Department, Emergency Management Council, and the Texas Division of Emergency Management


January 18

House Committee on General Investigating & Ethics (Houston) 

Charge:  Oversight of federal, state, local, and charitable funds spent in response to Hurricane Harvey

House Committee on Urban Affairs (Houston)

Topic: Short- and long-term housing needs and related issues resulting from Hurricane Harvey and associated flooding

Current Articles and Research Resources, January 4

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

  • Find resources related to homeowners' associations law. (Library of Congress, December 7, 2017)
  • Consider issues related to face scanning in airports. (Georgetown Law, Center on Privacy & Technology, December 21, 2017)
  • Examine graduation rates by state. (Education Week, December 7, 2017)
  • Explore the Congressional Record from its first issue forward. (U.S. Government Publishing Office, January 3, 2018)

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

  • "No way out." By Barbara Bradley Hagerty. Atlantic Monthly, January/February 2018, pp. 54-66.
    Profiles the case of Benjamine Spencer, sentenced to life for the 1987 Dallas murder of Jeffrey Young. Examines the work of Jim McCloskey and Centurion Ministries in trying to prove Spencer's innocence.
  • "Shale oil." By Alex Nussbaum and David Wethe. Bloomberg Businessweek, January 8, 2018, p. 72.
    Discusses the future of shale oil producers, particularly those in the Permian Basin. Details anxiety in the oil market regarding the shale oil industry's sustainability.
  • "Insecure ballots." By Warren Richey. Christian Science Monitor, December 11, 2017, pp. 26-32.
    Presents the findings of a Christian Science Monitor study of the vulnerabilities of the American election system.
  • "It's open season." By Dean DeChiaro. CQ Weekly, December 4, 2017, pp. 30-33.
    Discusses changes in immigration policy under the Trump administration — specifically, the removal of prosecutorial discretion when enforcing immigration law. Highlights the case of an undocumented girl with cerebral palsy who was arrested and detained in Texas after seeking medical help.
  • "Business and society: America Inc gets woke." Economist, December 2nd-8th, 2017, pp. 53-55.
    Reports reactions to the Trump administration are reinforcing a longer-term trend for former apolitical businesses to make their voices heard on social issues.
  • "Older Americans were sicker and faced more financial barriers to health care than counterparts in other countries." By Robin Osborn, et al. Health Affairs, December 2017, pp. 2123-2132.
    Surveys elderly adults across eleven countries and finds that seniors in the United States were sicker than their counterparts in other countries and faced more financial barriers to health care.
  • The promises and pitfalls of treating addiction." By Jessica L. Gregg. Health Affairs, December 2017, pp. 2204-2206.
    Relates an addiction medicine physician's personal experience treating opioid addiction. Notes that addressing the epidemic will require involvement from primary care providers, not just specialized treatment facilities.
  • "Houston area law enforcement leaders favor drug policy reform." Internet Resource, 12/08/2017, pp. 1-8.
    Offers informed perspectives on the detrimental effects of the war on drugs as well as a rationale for a new approach to dealing with nonviolent drug offenders. Includes excerpts from interviews with Sylvester Turner, Rodney Ellis, Art Acevedo, and others.
  • "Texas ranks higher in oil and gas allure." Oil and Gas Journal, December 4, 2017, pp. 34-35.
    Reports that, according to the Fraser Institute of Canada's annual Global Petroleum Survey, Texas holds the top rank as the "most attractive jurisdiction globally for oil and gas investment."
    Report at:
  • "Public health: lead in drinking water: past, present, and future." By Caroline Russell, Philip Brandhuber, and Darren Lytle. Opflow, December 2017, pp. 10-15.
    Explores the regulation and use of lead in plumbing materials.
  • "The end of free speech." By Katherine Mangu-Ward. Reason, January 2018, pp. 18-26.
    Argues that both the right and the left are willing to abridge free speech rights in the "service of partisan goals." Highlights recent events such as NFL player protests and Charlottesville rallies.
  • "Not so fast." By Jeffrey Mervis. Science, December 15, 2017, pp. 1370-1374.
    Discusses autonomous vehicles and whether they will be a realistic transportation option in the near future.
  • "On record: Dan Patrick, Texas Lieutenant Governor, author." By Gene Rose. State Legislatures, January 2018, pp. 24-25.
    Interviews Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick about Hurricane Harvey and ongoing recovery efforts.
  • "Top 10 in 2018." By Julie Lays. State Legislatures, January 2018, pp. 10-13.
    Highlights the biggest issues that will have a wide impact and presence in almost every state legislature in 2018.
  • "Courthouse security." By Julie Anderson. Texas County Progress, December 2017, pp. 12-14.
    Recounts two high-profile shootings that took place in Texas county courthouses and led the Texas Legislature to enact SB42, 85th Legislature, R.S.
  • "Closing the gap." By Joey Berlin. Texas Medicine, December 2017, pp. 22-28.
    Discusses the value and importance of SB507, 85th Legislature, R.S., which will greatly expand mediation for out-of-network medical bills. Notes additional measures that would help eliminate balance billing.
  • "Difficult situations." By Joey Berlin. Texas Medicine, December 2017, pp. 37-42.
    Examines the Texas Advance Directives Act that was challenged in court in summer 2017. Explores the challenge of reconciling the wishes of a patient or the patient's health care decider with the ethical duties of a physician.
  • "Bordering on an outbreak." By Sophie Novak. Texas Observer, December 2017, pp. 12-16.
    Details Brownsville's battle with the Zika virus. Considers how the South Texas climate and the international border pose challenges to the efforts to address Zika outbreaks.
  • "The silence breakers." By Edward Felsenthal, et al. Time, December 18, 2017, pp. 30-56, 58-62, 64, 66-68, 70-71 (Note Length).
    Presents Time Magazine's Person of the Year — the Silence Breakers — the people who have launched a "revolution of refusal" by speaking publicly about their experiences with sexual harassment and assault.

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.

Interim Hearings – Week of January 8

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.


January 12

Charge: Use of federal funds in response to Hurricane Harvey, federal funds and investment in infrastructure projects to reduce impact of future natural disasters

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