New & Noteworthy List for October 2023

A bibliography of books, reports, and other documents recently added to the Legislative Reference Library collection.

1. Baby Ninth Amendments: How Americans Embraced Unenumerated Rights and Why It Matters
By Anthony B. Sanders
Examines the history and interpretation of unenumerated rights, or the "etcetera clause" in state constitutions known as the "Baby Ninth Amendments." Explores how they differ from the Ninth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which reads "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." Argues state judges need to protect the rights retained by the people that these "etcetera clauses" are designed to guarantee since courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, have historically ignored the Ninth Amendment. Notes the State of Texas did not retain its (proto) Baby Ninth Amendment when it adopted its 1845 Constitution or later constitutions.
University of Michigan Press, 2023. 199 pages.
342.7308 SA194 2023
2. The Civic Bargain: How Democracy Survives
By Brook Manville and Josiah Ober
Challenges the idea - bolstered by poll results and punditry - that democracy is in trouble, not just in the U.S. but around the world. Offers a guide for citizens to recommit to democratic ideals, including full participation in the democratic process; investment in civic education; and compromise and good-faith engagement with one another. Examines key moments in democracy's history, comparing ideas that succeeded and failed to provide a road map for how modern democracies can survive and thrive.
Princeton University Press, 2023. 312 pages.
321.8072 M295 2023
3. Mr. Texas
By Lawrence Wright
Presents the fictional story of an Iraq war veteran and West Texas rancher named Sonny Lamb, who was propelled to run for the Texas House of Representatives after saving a child and her horse from a barn fire. Conveys a realistic portrait of the Texas legislature, including characters modeled after political giants such as Bob Bullock, based on years of research and interviews with Texas political insiders. Portrays powerful lobbyists, party infighting, pig hunts, and the battle between belief and pragmatism as characters work on behalf of the people of the state.
Alfred A. Knopf, 2023. 323 pages.
813.54 W947 2023
4. Recoding America: Why Government is Failing in the Digital Age and How We Can Do Better
By Jennifer Pahlka
Seeks to explain issues in the provision of digital government services, illustrated by firsthand examples of projects such as the launch of and fixing California’s COVID-era unemployment insurance. Critiques decision making processes which divide the roles of policy creation and implementation. Highlights government practices, such as contracting requirements and lack of user research, and provides a guide on how to better the processes and create more secure, user-friendly digital services.
Metropolitan Books, Henry Holt and Company, 2023. 319 pages.
352.7 P141 2023
5. Traveler's Guide to the Firearm Laws of the Fifty States
By J. Scott Kappas
Provides short explanations of laws most relevant for people traveling with firearms for all fifty states, the District of Columbia, Canada, and Mexico. Discusses vehicle carry, concealed carry and reciprocity for non-resident licensees, and laws governing possession of firearms for each state. Rates the states for its treatment of firearms on a scale of total prohibition to total freedom. Includes definitions of important terms and statutory language.
Traveler's Guide, 2023. 67 pages.
363.33 T697 2023
6. The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together
By Heather McGhee
Proposes that institutionalized racism negatively affects all demographics of the American population. Argues that the concept of zero-sum game has been used to create discriminatory policies, despite hurting those it claims to protect, by removing beneficial social amenities from all community members. Provides examples of decisions related to pools, parks, and functioning schools that have harmed and continue to harm communities for generations. Claims that effective changes in policy must first start with changes in cultural attitudes.
One World, 2021. 415 pages.
305.800973 M478 2021