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Resource Highlight: Citation Manuals

Figuring out how to cite sources, especially legislation, often can be a challenge. The LRL has several guides that can help you properly form legal citations.

  • The Greenbook: Texas Rules of Form, 13th edition, by the Texas Law Review, provides guidelines and examples for citing Texas legal authorities. The book describes how to cite constitutional documents, statutes, municipal laws, revisor’s notes, agency materials, historical resources, and more. See our legal citations to legislation post for some Greenbook tips about citing session laws, unenacted bills, and concurrent and joint resolutions.
  • Note that a different citation method is available in the Texas Legislative Council Drafting Manual. (Available online and in print at the library)
  • Legal scholars and practitioners will know that The Greenbook is meant to be a supplement to The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation (20th edition 2015), which provides a more comprehensive view of legal citation and may answer questions not covered in The Greenbook. In cases where you are citing Texas authorities and The Greenbook conflicts with The Bluebook’s guidelines, you should use The Greenbook’s form. 

These manuals are available for checkout at the LRL.


Current Articles and Research Resources, November 9

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

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

  • "Gun control: glimmers of compromise." By Patrik Jonsson and Francine Kiefer. Christian Science Monitor, October 23, 2017, p. 17.
    Presents a Q&A on the status of state and federal gun control efforts in the wake of the recent Las Vegas shooting.
  • "The crisis of civic education." By Derek Bok. Chronicle of Higher Education, October 6, 2017, pp. B3-B5.
    Argues colleges could do more to develop a knowledgeable electorate that actively participates in politics and public affairs.
  • "From theory to practice, hurdles for personalized learning." By Benjamin Herold. Education Week, October 4, 2017, p. 11.
    Summarizes results of study conducted on the effectiveness of "Opportunity by Design" schools, which emphasize personalization and mastery-based learning.
  • "All about octane." By Kristy Moore. Ethanol Today, September/October 2017, pp. 37-38.
    Considers whether or not the octane rating of fuel, regardless of the ethanol content, can be accurately measured and posted for consumers.
  • "Fuel of the future." By Katie Fletcher. Ethanol Today, September/October 2017, pp. 8-21.
    Reports that current testing efforts support a national transition to a higher octane fuel, despite the uncertainty of how regulatory agencies will treat this naturally occurring component of ethanol. Explains what octane is and discusses the benefits that it provides consumers.
  • "Effects of state insurance mandates on health care use and spending for autism spectrum disorder." By Colleen L. Barry, et al. Health Affairs, October 2017, pp. 1754-1761.
    Cites research suggesting that state mandates are an effective tool for broadening access to autism treatment under commercial insurance.
  • "Prevalence, treatment, and unmet treatment needs of US adults with mental health and substance use disorders." By Beth Han, et al. Health Affairs, October 2017, pp. 1739-1747.
    Discusses the low rates at which adults with co-occurring disorders receive mental health care and/or substance use treatment — fewer than ten percent receive treatments for both disorders, and fewer than 50 percent receive treatment for just one disorder.
  • "The state and local tax burden: update for fiscal year 2016." By Ferdinand Hogroian. Journal of MultiState Taxation and Incentives, November/December 2017, pp. 39-40.
    Highlights the most recent state and local business tax burden study by the Council on State Taxation and State Tax Research Institute, showing businesses paid more than $724 billion in taxes in FY 2016 and approximately 44 percent of all state and local taxes in FY 2015.
    (Report at:
  • "State angel and R&D: a comparative analysis of tax credit programs." By Diane Lupke and Andrew Johansson. Journal of MultiState Taxation and Incentives, November/December 2017, pp. 6-23, 44-48.
    Compares state-level angel investor and research and development [R&D] tax credits that encourage economic investment and job creation. Includes a 50-state spreadsheet of current state incentives.
  • "Harvey's historic wrath." By Andy Rhodes. Medallion (Texas Historical Commission), Fall 2017, pp. 4-5.
    Examines the effects of Hurricane Harvey on five State Historic Sites: the Fulton Mansion in Rockport, Sabine Pass Battleground in Port Arthur, Varner-Hogg Plantation in West Columbia, Levi Jordan Plantation in Brazoria, and Fannin Battleground near Goliad.
  • "The forecast for the US economy." By M. Ray Perryman. Perryman Report and Texas Letter, Vol. 34, No. 1, pp. 1-3.
    Forecasts moderate growth for the United States economy over the next five years. Notes immigration reform and trade policy could affect future expansion.
  • "The effect of standards for new vehicle fuel economy and GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions on US consumers." By Joshua Linn, Benjamin Leard, and Yichen Christy Zhou. Resources, Fall 2017, pp. 1-4.
    Explores theoretical and historical effects of vehicle fuel economy and emissions standards on consumers.
    (Report at:
  • "Emails reveal pressures on NIH gun research." By Meredith Wadman. Science, October 20, 2017, p. 286.
    Discusses staff emails related to the fate of the firearms research program at the United States National Institutes of Health.
  • "U.S. floods: the necessity of mitigation." By Beverly A. Cigler. State and Local Government Review, June 2017, pp. 127-139.
    Explores the types, causes, and rising financial costs of flooding and reviews mitigation tools and strategies for all levels of government in responding to flooding disasters.
  • "Legislator who stood up to sexism in '73 sees some progress." By Jen Fifield. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), November 7, 2017, pp. 1-5.
    Profiles Representative Senfronia Thompson, the nation's longest-serving female legislator. Suggests electing more women to state legislatures may help reduce sex discrimination and change the type of state laws enacted.
  • "Borrowing trouble?" By Sean Price. Texas Medicine, October 2017, pp. 52-55.
    Examines how precipitously rising levels of student debt for medical school students are affecting how these new physicians approach medicine. Notes that Texas medical schools have worked hard to keep prices down, with six Texas schools on U.S. News and World Report's top ten most affordable medical schools list.
  • "The problems of parental leave." By Sean Price. Texas Medicine, October 2017, pp. 47-51.
    Explores the value of paid parental leave and notes that several states have established state-financed programs that give access to parental leave. Points out that paid leave might assist with Texas' unusually high maternal mortality rate.
  • "Still affordable." By James P. Gaines and Clare Losey. Tierra Grande, August 17, 2017, pp. 9-13.
    Addresses the decline of housing affordability since 2012. Notes Texas is still better off than the rest of the nation despite the weakening of affordability in some of the larger metropolitan areas in the state.
  • "On the border: transboundary water initiative looks at shared aquifers, governance." By Kathy Wythe. txH2O, Fall 2017, pp. 8-9.
    Describes an interdisciplinary initiative focusing on studying the shared underground water resources at the border between the United States and Mexico.

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.

Research Minute: Legislators and Leaders Resources

Seeking information about Texas’ elected leadership? The Legislators and Leaders section of our website compiles myriad resources to aid your research. You can…


Interim Hearings – Week of November 13

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.


November 14

House Committee on Public Education 

Charge: Unintended punitive consequences to both students and districts in the state accountability system as a result of Hurricane Harvey

Charge: Educational opportunities offered to students displaced by Hurricane Harvey


November 15

House Select Committee on Economic Competitiveness

Topic: Long-term competitiveness and economic development issues


Senate Committee on Transportation

Charge:  Unified Transportation Program (UTP) and project selection decisions from the statewide transportation plan

Charge: Transportation infrastructure – impact of Hurricane Harvey 

Current Articles and Research Resources, November 2

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

  • Explore the most recent release of documents related to the JFK assassination. (National Archives, October 26, 2017)
  • See how Google tracks America's health. (Fortune, October 25, 2017)
  • Examine proposed tax reform. (Penn Wharton, October 30, 2017)
  • Consider the regulation of dietary supplements. (Pew Charitable Trusts, October 24, 2017)
  • Read about the 1998 Federal Vacancies Act. (Congressional Research Service, October 30, 2017) 

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

  • "Amazon's Texas two-step." By Greg Barr. Austin Business Journal, October 13, 2017, pp. A10-A12.
    Discusses Amazon's growing footprint in Austin and Central Texas, now one of the area's largest employers.

  • "EPA: its course in the Trump era." By Amanda Paulson. Christian Science Monitor, October 16, 2017, p. 17.
    Reviews the actions by the new Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] Administrator, Scott Pruitt, and finds a lot in common with EPA actions at the beginning of the Reagan administration. Explains the difficulty in attempting to undo established rules.

  • "Grit and the gridiron rescue a town." By Carmen K. Sisson. Christian Science Monitor, October 23, 2017, pp. 24-30.
    Reports on Refugio, Texas, and the town's Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts. Explains the schools and football team have provided an important focal point and symbolize the strength of the citizens.

  • "The long last miles to college." By Eric Hoover. Chronicle of Higher Education, October 13, 2017, pp. A14-A18.
    Features the experiences of two low-income students from Dallas in their summer between high school graduation and starting college.

  • "Power of the purse." By Kate Ackley. CQ Weekly, October 23, 2017, pp. 16-23.
    Argues a surge in women campaign donors is reshaping the political landscape in the United States. Examines what is fueling this increased engagement in the political system by women from both parties and inspiring more women to run for elective office.

  • "E-commerce: the new bazaar." Economist, October 28th-November 3rd, 2017, pp. 3-12.
    Examines how the new breed of e-commerce conglomerates, including Amazon and Alibaba (China), are reshaping retailing, manufacturing, and logistics and assesses their broader impact on society.

  • "Innovative justice: Oxy-courting." Economist, October 21st-27th, 2017, p. 30.
    Profiles the country's first opioid court and considers whether this type of court can be replicated in other cities.

  • "Opioid abuse and poisoning: trends in inpatient and emergency department discharges." By Dario Tedesco, et al. Health Affairs, October 2017, pp. 1748-1753.
    Analyzes data that show inpatient and emergency department discharge rates increasing across the study period. Observes a decline for prescription opioid-related discharges beginning in 2010, while a sharp increase in heroin-related discharges begins in 2008.

  • "A real fix for traffic." By Daniel Herriges. Milken Institute Review, Fourth Quarter 2017, pp. 66-78.
    Debates the definition of "traffic" as a problem of volume, delay, or distribution. Examines measures for alleviating traffic woes at a reasonable expense, such as congestion pricing, public transit, and highway planning.

  • "Less gun violence without new gun laws." By Robert Verbruggen. National Review, October 30, 2017, pp. 18-19.
    Argues focusing on specific geographic areas and the tiny percent of the population most involved in gun violence will do more to stop gun violence than new gun control laws.

  • "API, other groups want new NAFTA to retain crucial ISDS [Investor-State Dispute Settlement] provision." By Nick Snow. Oil and Gas Journal, October 2, 2017, pp. 26-27.
    Discusses which provisions from the North American Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA] the American Petroleum Institute [API] and several other trade associations from United States industries would like to retain.

  • "'Fractivism' in the city: assessing defiance at the neighborhood level." By Jonathan M. Fisk, Yunmi Park, and Zachary Mahafza. State and Local Government Review, June 2017, pp. 105-116.
    Analyzes the oil and gas politics of fracking in Denton, Texas, and Longmont, Colorado. Charts the extent of voter support of proposed fracking bans using spatial and political data.

  • "Inside the 85th legislative session." By Felicia A. Wright. Texas Builder, September/October 2017, pp. 30-37.
    Summarizes the 85th Legislature, Regular and First Called Sessions, from the perspective of the Texas residential construction and development industry, including legislation on development and zoning, property taxes, workforce, linkage fees, special districts, the state water plan, housing and community development, and tree credits.

  • "New balance, new beginning." By Joey Berlin. Texas Medicine, October 2017, pp. 22-29.
    Praises the passage of SB1148, 85th Legislature, R.S., which restricts the use of maintenance of certification [MOC] as a condition for physician licensure or registration.

  • "The campus culture wars." By Katy Steinmetz. Time, October 23, 2017, pp. 48-55.
    Discusses conflicts on college campuses related to free speech and censorship concerns. Reports campus division over free speech and voicing cultural beliefs has led several state legislatures to consider bills that prevent the disruption of controversial speech at universities.


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...John Sayles?

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 entry on Vernon; in this post, we're looking at John Sayles.


John Sayles was a prolific legal mind for Texas, producing more than 15 works on Texas law. Most notably, he prepared what can be considered the last important unofficial compilation of Texas laws, Sayles' Early Laws of Texas. Additionally, the state's first set of annotated statutes were edited by John and his son, Henry, in 1888.[1] Father and son kept these statutes and annotations up to date until the 1911 revision, when the Vernon Law Book Company bought the copyright.


Born in Ithaca, New York, in 1825, Sayles taught in various schools as a young man to finance his education. He earned his bachelor of arts degree from Hamilton College in New York in 1845, then moved to Texas, seeking opportunity in the country's newest state. He taught school in Brenham, read law, and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1846. He purchased a plantation and in 1849, married Mary Elizabeth Gillespie. They went on to have six children.[2] According to the U.S. Eighth Census in 1860, Sayles was reported as holding 44 enslaved people, $15,000 in real property, and $61,000 in personal property[3]—which, taking inflation into account, would have made him a millionaire by today's standards.


From 1855-1856, Sayles represented Washington County in the House of Representatives of the 6th Legislature.[4] Historian Ralph A. Wooster identified Sayles as a member of the Texas Know-Nothing party.[5] Following Sayles' term in the legislature, he taught at Baylor University in its newly formed law department from 1857-1860. He also started his publishing work, with such titles as A Treatise on the Practice of the District and Supreme Courts of the State of Texas (1858), which the Handbook of Texas describes as a "forerunner of special studies on probate law, justice of the peace jurisdiction, business transactions, and Masonic jurisprudence."[6]


Baylor's law department became inactive when many male students and faculty, including Sayles, left to join Confederate troops in the Civil War. He served in the 4th Infantry Regiment as a Colonel, then attained the rank of Brigadier General and served with Brigade No. 23.


When the war was over, Sayles resumed his legal practice and teaching at Baylor. He also continued to compile and publish Texas law, including various editions of the Texas Constitution. The HathiTrust makes available digital versions of many of his works.


Users of Sayles' texts, then and now, note that he does not discuss all of the Early Laws of Texas—he omits many statutes. His interest seems to fall primarily in the land and colonization laws of Spain and Mexico, and so the publication is most useful for land-title research. Among other information, Sayles provides a glossary of terms used in the old surveys and land grants and a table of land measures, which can be very helpful to researchers unfamiliar with the jargon of the day and industry.[7]


John moved to Abilene around 1886 with his son, Henry, where they practiced as Sayles & Sayles and collaborated on legal publications. John died in 1897, but Henry continued the work of updating the annotated statutes until the Vernon company bought the copyright and took over the publication.[8]


Photograph of John Sayles courtesy of the Texas Jurists Collection, 1936-1992, Tarlton Law Library, Jamail Center for Legal Research. Photo of Sayles volumes at the Legislative Reference Library courtesy of LRL staff.

[1] "Legislation," rev. by Linda Gardner, A Reference Guide to Texas Law and Legal History, edited by Karl T. Gruben and James E. Hambleton, Austin, TX: Butterworth Legal Publishers, 1987, pp. 16-17.

[2] Handbook of Texas Online, "Sayles, John," accessed August 29, 2017,

[3] Ralph A. Wooster, "An Analysis of the Texas Know Nothings," The Southwestern Historical Quarterly 70, July 1966-April 1967, Texas State Historical Association. ( accessed August 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association, p. 446.

[4] "John Sayles," Texas Legislators: Past & Present, Legislative Reference Library of Texas, accessed August 29, 2017,

[5] Wooster, p. 416.

[6] Handbook of Texas Online.

[7] "Legislation," p. 16

[8] Handbook of Texas Online.

Interim Hearings - Week of November 6

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.


November 6

Senate Committee on Education (Houston)

Charge: State and local K-12 hurricane recovery efforts, crisis management response of TEA

Charge: School finance impact of student enrollment calculations or property valuation, student displacement from Hurricane Harvey


November 8

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


Senate Committee on Health & Human Services

Charge: Public health response to Hurricane Harvey   

Charge: Juvenile justice and child welfare systems - impact of Hurricane Harvey   

Charge: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Disaster-SNAP programs following Hurricane Harvey 

New & Noteworthy List for October 2017

The Library is continually adding new books to its collection. Below are the six titles from our October 2017 New & Noteworthy list. We are highlighting ghost stories, mysteries, legends, and the unexplained for Halloween.

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. Ghosts of Austin, Texas: Who They Are and Where to Find Them
By Fiona Broome
Provides a ghost hunting guide to Austin's haunted landmarks and cemeteries, famous "strong-willed" spirits, and advice on the top ten places to find ghosts and how to get the perfect ghastly photo. Includes the Texas Capitol, Texas Governor's Mansion, Driskill Hotel, the Shoal Creek "curse," and Austin's nightly display of 1.5 million bats under Congress Avenue from March to November, as well as haunted sites near Austin in Burnet, Gonzales, and La Grange.
Schiffer Pub. Ltd., 2007. 255 pages.
976.43 B791G 2007



2. Haunted Texas: Ghosts and Strange Phenomena of the Lone Star State
By Alan Brown
Compiles a treasure trove of ghostly and mystifying tales from all parts of Texas. Highlights eerie stories of supernatural guests at the Governor's Mansion, a fiddle playing library ghost, phantom cattle, UFO sightings, the Lake Worth monster, and spirits of the Alamo.
Stackpole Books, 2008. 122 pages.
976.43 B812H 2008



3. Texas Unexplained: Strange Tales and Mysteries from the Lone Star State
By Jay Sharp
Examines some of the more colorful mysteries in Texas that have never been solved. Includes stories of ghosts, apparitions, strange lights, and eerie sounds, and discusses Texas places where one can go to observe these phenomena first hand.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Press, 1999. 134 pages.
P400.8 UN2ST



4. Austin Murder & Mayhem
By Richard Zelade
Presents an anthology of over a dozen stories revolving around murder and other tales of vengeance in Texas. Details many events with excerpts from the newspapers of the time in sometimes graphic detail. Includes the 1903 shooting death of State Comptroller Robert Marshall Love at his desk in the state capitol by a former employee.
The History Press, 2015. 142 pages.
364.1523 Z49A 2015



5. Legends & Lore of the Texas Capitol
By Mike Cox
Highlights the tales and personalities that have been part of the Texas Capitol’s storied past, including ghost sightings and an unsolved murder. Sorts truth from legend and presents little known tidbits that enrich and preserve the historical record.
The History Press, 2017. 223 pages.
976.4 C877L 2017



6. Texas Obscurities: Stories of the Peculiar, Exceptional & Nefarious
By E.R. Bill
Recounts events not often included in Texas history classes. Ranges from firsts, like America's first all-female Supreme Court and first female sheriff; to the unusual, like weaponizing bats, the Aurora "spaceman," and Japanese balloon bombs; to the shameful, like the Slocum and Porvenir Massacres
The History Press, 2013. 158 pages.
976.4 B498T 2013

Current Articles and Research Resources, October 26

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

  • Review employment projections, largely driven by the health care industry. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, October 24, 2017)
  • Look ahead to the expected winter weather outlook. (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, October 19, 2017)
  • Read about EPA Administrator Pruitt's meeting related to cleanup of the San Jacinto Superfund site. (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, October 20, 2017)
  • Consider the manufactured home industry's role in providing affordable housing. (Stateline, October 24, 2017)

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

  • "Jobs are back, but ..." By Mark Trumbull. Christian Science Monitor, October 16, 2017, pp. 24-30.
    Explains unemployment is down, but in spite of some personal improvement, many workers still experience great anxiety about what their employment future holds.

  • "How much gerrymandering is too much?" By Paul Basken. Chronicle of Higher Education, October 20, 2017, p. A19.
    Interviews Phillip Rocco, a political scientist at Marquette University, regarding the social science research calling attention to efficiency gaps in state redistricting plans.

  • "Mr. Bezos goes to Washington." By Carolyn M. Proctor. Dallas Business Journal, October 13, 2017, pp. 20-21.
    Discusses Jeff Bezos' growing influence on lawmakers and public policy in Washington, D.C., noting Amazon's increasing lobbying expenditures has placed the company on the top 20 list of biggest lobbying spenders nationwide.

  • "Renegotiating NAFTA: preparing for the worst." Economist, October 21st-27th, 2017, pp. 69-70.
    Questions whether the Trump administration is negotiating in good faith, describing the latest set of trade demands as "so extreme that they allow no room for negotiation."

  • "Even as schools reopen, storm recovery remains painful." By Marva Hinton and Corey Mitchell. Education Week, October 11, 2017, p. 6.
    Discusses current hurricane recovery efforts of schools in Florida and Texas. Addresses the challenges faced by Aransas County and Port Aransas school districts in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

  • "Watch list: high court, 2017-2018 term." By Mark Walsh. Education Week, October 4, 2017, pp. 16-17.
    Highlights education-related cases the United States Supreme Court will hear in the current term.

  • "Emergency department visits for firearm-related injuries in the United States, 2006-14." By Faiz Gani, Joseph V. Sakran, and Joseph K. Canner. Health Affairs, October 2017, pp. 1729-1738.
    Reports that firearm-related injuries result in an annual financial burden of approximately $2.8 billion in emergency department and inpatient charges.

  • "Freestanding emergency departments preferentially locate in areas with higher household income." By Cedric Dark, Yingying Xu, and Vivian Ho. Health Affairs, October 2017, pp. 1712-1719.
    Finds that freestanding emergency departments are more likely to be in areas that could yield higher profit, rather than areas of high demand. Notes that Texas is the epicenter of the freestanding emergency room movement.

  • "Mitigating the mental and physical health consequences of Hurricane Harvey." By James M. Shultz and Sandro Galea. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), October 17, 2017, pp. 1437-1438.
    Highlights the likely long-term health concerns Hurricane Harvey survivors may face and discusses ways Texas could create a recovery and reconstruction plan that strengthens public mental health.

  • "Ten steps the federal government should take now to reverse the opioid addiction epidemic." By Andrew Kolodny and Thomas R. Frieden. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), October 24/31, 2017, pp. 1537-1538.
    Suggests ten steps to address the opioid epidemic, broken into two categories: preventing opioid addiction and overdoses and treatment and harm reduction for current users.

  • "EIA: world energy consumption to increase by 28% by 2040." Oil and Gas Journal, October 2, 2017, p. 38.
    Summarizes the United States Energy Information Administration's latest International Energy Outlook 2017.
    (Report at:

  • "Oil pipeline profits soar, natgas net softens." By Christopher E. Smith. Oil and Gas Journal, October 2, 2017, pp. 66-84.
    Examines the United States' regulated interstate oil and natural gas pipeline system for 2016. Includes analyzed data that are compiled from annual and periodic reports filed with FERC [Federal Energy Regulatory Commission].

  • "For teachers, a better kind of pension plan." By Marcus A. Winters. Phi Delta Kappan, October 2017, pp. 32-36.
    Explains the advantages and disadvantages of the widely used defined benefit retirement plans offered to public school teachers.

  • "High Texas student loan delinquency rates underscore deeper challenges." By Wenhua Di and Stephanie Gullo. Southwest Economy (Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas), Third Quarter 2017, pp. 14-17.
    Examines the increase in Texas student loan delinquencies, student and consumer debt levels and patterns, and issues with difficult student loan repayment terms.

  • "Texas taxes: who bears the burden?" By Jason L. Saving. Southwest Economy (Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas), Third Quarter 2017, pp. 3-7.
    Discusses Texas' relatively low per-capita tax burden, carried in large portion by low-income households, and the implications for lawmakers in setting tax policy and delivering state services.

  • "The audacious launch of the city of Houston: capital of the Republic of Texas." By Stephen C. Cook. Southwestern Historical Quarterly, October 2017, pp. 122-144.
    Presents an adaptation of Texas State Historical Association President Stephen C. Cook's presidential address in March 2017, exploring the founding of the city of Houston in August 1836, Houston's site selection at the confluence of the Buffalo and White Oak Bayous, and its designation as the capital of the Republic. Mentions the devastating flooding in August 2017 due to Hurricane Harvey.

  • "Aye for modernizing voting." By Wendy Underhill and Amanda Buchanan. State Legislatures, October/November 2017, pp. 26-29.
    Summarizes states' policy goals for improving elections and updating aging voting systems.

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.

Capitol Spirits: Bats!

For the past few years around Halloween, we've shared ghostly stories relating to Texas—see last year's post and our "Capitol Spirits" Pinterest board. This year, we thought we'd do something a little different and write about one of Texas' official state symbols that is commonly associated with Halloween: bats.


After all, Texas' official flying mammal is the Mexican free-tailed bat, per SCR 95, 74R. Did you know that Texas is home to the world's largest known bat colony, in Bracken Cave Preserve in Comal County? Bracken Cave is host to more than 15 million Mexican free-tailed bats, making it one of the largest concentrations of mammals on Earth. Texas also boasts the world's largest urban bat colony, with about 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats residing under the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin, right down the street from the Texas Capitol.


These bats live in Texas from around March through late October, then migrate to warmer southern climes in Mexico. Both the bridge and Bracken Cave are maternity colonies, meaning that millions of baby bats are born in these locations each summer, too. 


Some people are concerned about bats, with practical worries about rabies and guano and/or fears of the supernatural connotations of the creature. However, Bat Conservation International (headquartered in Austin) works to educate the public that bats are safe as long as people don't try to handle them, guano is good fertilizer, and bats offer excellent natural pest control services! A nursing mother bat consumes up to her body weight in insects each night. It's been estimated that all together, the Bracken Cave bats eat 250 tons of insects, and that the Austin bats eat five to ten tons of insects.


However, Bracken Cave and Austin are not the only places bats live in Texas, and our state is home to 32 of the 47 species of bats found in the United States. For information about where to go to view a bat emergence (when they come out to hunt insects at dusk), visit the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department's Bat-Watching Sites of Texas guide.


In addition to bats, there are a couple of other Texas state symbols associated with Halloween. The pumpkin was declared the official state squash in 2013 (HCR 87, 83R), with Texas being the fourth leading state in commercial pumpkin production. And while the official rodeo drill team (HCR 136, 80R) is distinctly of this plane, the Ghostriders' eerie name evokes the story of a cattle drive gone awry that inspired ghost stories and the famous song, "Ghost Riders in the Sky."



"Bat-Watching Sites of Texas," Texas Parks & Wildlife Department,, accessed 2017 September 29.


"Bracken Cave: Protecting a Jewel in Texas," Bat Conservation International,, accessed 2017 September 29.


"Protect Mega-Populations: Congress Avenue Bridge," Bat Conservation International,, accessed 2017 September 29.



Top right: Bats emerging from the Bracken Cave, photo by Flickr user U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters.

Bottom left: People watch the bat emergence from the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge and from boats on Lady Bird Lake in Austin, photo by Flickr user Woody Hibbard.

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