LRL Home - Points of Interest

Current Articles & Research Resources, January 16

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

  • Read about how to file your taxes for free. (ProPublica, January 10, 2020)
  • Consider how the political climate in Texas may change as more people move here from out of state. (Stateline, January 13, 2020)
  • Consider a recent Fifth Circuit ruling related to the Affordable Care Act. (Health Affairs, January 13, 2020)
  • Review toll increases. (Texas Department of Transportation, December 23, 2019)

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

  • 20.01.17  /  "To be better citizens, students sue for the right to learn civics." By Stacy Teicher Khadaroo. Christian Science Monitor, December 30, 2019, pp. 6-7.
    Discusses a class-action lawsuit currently before a United States District Court in Rhode Island in which students argue they have a constitutional right to an adequate civics education to prepare them for successful participation in a democracy.
  • 20.01.18  /  "Project Blitz 2.0." By Rob Boston. Church & State, January 2020, pp. 4-5.
    Provides an example of state legislation promoted by the Project Blitz campaign to weaken church-state separation, the Ohio Student Religious Liberties Act of 2019.
  • 20.01.19  /  "New law news: House Bill 2820 eliminates TRS's 403(b) registry." Classroom Teacher (Texas Classroom Teachers Association), Fall 2019, p. 5.
    Discusses why HB2820, 86th Legislature, which removed the Teacher Retirement System's regulatory authority over 403(b) investment products, was enacted. Addresses potential problems with the new law.
  • 20.01.20  /  "Sex education in Texas schools: TexEd." Economist, January 4th-10th, 2020, pp. 18-19.
    Discusses the Austin Independent School District's [AISD] revised Human Sexuality & Responsibility Curriculum. Notes the controversy surrounding AISD's decision may foreshadow a larger battle when the State Board of Education considers revising state health and sex education standards in 2020.
  • 20.01.21  /  "Sexual assault: Her word against his." Economist, January 4th-10th, 2020, pp. 42-44.
    Explains why few rapists are convicted. Uses a fictional case study to illustrate the difficulty of weighing "he-said-she-said" evidence.
  • 20.01.22  /  "Tax trends at the dawn of 2020." By Jared Walczak. Fiscal Fact (Tax Foundation), January 6, 2020, pp. 1-21.
    Looks at trends in state tax policy in 2020, including sales taxes on e-commerce after Wayfair v. South Dakota, legalization and taxation of marijuana, and taxation of sports betting.
  • 20.01.23  /  "California sets off privacy scramble." By Jeff John Roberts. Fortune, January 2020, pp. 18-19.
    Discusses national implications of the new California Consumer Privacy Act on businesses and consumers. Notes over twenty other states are copying the California law.
  • 20.01.24  /  "Out-of-network billing and negotiated payments for hospital-based physicians." By Zack Cooper, et al. Health Affairs, January 2020, pp. 24-32.
    Estimates that specialists' ability to bill out of network raises total health care costs for people with employee-sponsored insurance by approximately 3.4 percent ($40 billion). Proposes that hospitals be required to sell a package of facility and physician services to protect patients and provide a competitively determined price.
  • 20.01.25  /  "Structural urbanism contributes to poorer health outcomes for rural America." By Janice C. Probst, Jan Marie Eberth, and Elizabeth Crouch. Health Affairs, December 2019, pp. 1976-1984.
    Argues that biases in current models of health care funding treat health care as a service for an individual, rather than as infrastructure for a population. Suggests conceptualizing rural health care as infrastructure — similar to roads, telecommunications, and electricity — and adopting funding models accordingly.
  • 20.01.26  /  "Texas higher education law aims to improve outcomes for students in developmental education." By Bricio Vasquez. IDRA Newsletter (Intercultural Development Research Association), November-December 2019, pp. 1-2, 6.
    Explains that too many community college students are placed in non-credit remedial classes due to reliance on a single measure of college readiness with the unintended consequence of hindering progress and raising student attrition. Cites HB2223, 85th Legislature, R.S.; presents alternative approaches to college placement.
  • 20.01.27  /  "Marijuana update for practitioners: There is a bright line, a grey one." By Janel Greiman. Journal of MultiState Taxation and Incentives, January 2020, pp. 10-34.
    Analyzes the changing landscape of state laws legalizing recreational and medical marijuana and the tax implications. Includes a state-by-state list of marijuana or cannabis statutes, regulations, and voter-approved ballot initiatives, as well as a table of marijuana cultivation application and license fees across the states.
  • 20.01.28  /  "State and local government spending on public employee retirement systems." National Association of State Retirement Administrators, Updated December 2019, pp. 1-6.
    Describes nationwide spending on public pensions and trends in pension costs and financing. Notes Texas' pension contribution was 3.07 percent of all state and local government direct general spending in fiscal year 2017, compared to the United States average of 4.71 percent.
  • 20.01.29  /  "Scoot over: How electric scooters violate the ADA and what cities can do to maintain Title II compliance." By Jo Ann Mazoch. SMU Law Review, Fall 2019, pp. 871-893.
    Highlights the ways in which electric scooters violate the Americans with Disabilities Act and the problems that electric scooters create for cities. Introduces solutions that allow cities to keep sidewalks accessible for people with disabilities.
  • 20.01.30  /  "Neighborhood Centers, Inc. v. Walker: The curious outcomes of new charter school legislation in Texas." By Brittny Mandarino. South Texas Law Review, Summer 2019, pp. 639-645.
    Discusses Texas legislation related to open enrollment charter schools and efforts to provide increasing protection for students and employees. Examines Neighborhood Centers, Inc. v. Walker and how a recent change in the applicability of laws to charter schools, HB1170, 84th Legislature, has affected the protection of employees under the Texas Whistleblower Act.
  • 20.01.31  /  "Electric cars will challenge state power grids." By Alex Brown. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), January 9, 2020, pp. 1-6.
    Examines whether states will be able to sufficiently boost power production to meet the increase in consumption from electric vehicles.
  • 20.01.32  /  "Taking privacy to a new level." By Sean Price. Texas Medicine, January 2020, pp. 28-29.
    Outlines the new privacy protections set out by HB4390, 86th Legislature, which dropped the threshold for breach reporting from 500 patients to 250, requires medical entities to report breaches to the Texas attorney general's office within 60 days, and established the Texas Privacy Protection Advisory Council.

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 20

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.

 

For recent posts on Interim Hearings, see Interim Hearing Resources on the LRL homepage. The "Recent Entries" list on the left provides quick access to interim hearings posts from previous weeks.

 

January 21

House Committee on Elections

Charge 1: Oversight of rulemaking and other governmental actions taken to ensure intended legislative outcome of the following legislation:

  • HB 933, which requires election information to be posted on the Secretary of State's (SOS) and each county's internet website. Monitor the costs associated with implementing the legislation. Work with the SOS to determine which office elections should be included in the website.
  • HB 1421, which strengthens the cybersecurity of the state's election infrastructure. Review the program required under the bill to train county election officers in the best practices for identifying and reducing cybersecurity threats.
  • HB 2504, which modifies ballot access requirements for non-major party nominees. Review the provision requiring the SOS to establish rules implementing the fees and petitions.
  • HB 4130, which requires the SOS to develop procedures for adequately certifying electronic poll books. Review the provision requiring the secretary of state to adopt rules mandating real-time updates for electronic poll book use during the early voting period or under the countywide polling place program. Monitor and report on countywide polling. Examine the number and location of polling places, polling booths, and wait times for voting

 

House Committee on Redistricting (Plano) 

Topic: 2021 legislative redistricting process and 2020 Census data

 

 

January 22

House Committee on Redistricting (Arlington) 

Topic: 2021 legislative redistricting process and 2020 Census data

 

Senate Committees on Natural Resources & Economic Development and Water & Rural Affairs (Joint Hearing) 

Charge: Future Water Supply: Examine current laws, processes, and water storage options and availability. Make recommendations promoting the state's water supply, storage, availability, valuation, movement, and development of new sources.

Charge: Groundwater Regulatory Framework: Study the state's groundwater regulatory framework and make recommendations to improve groundwater regulation, management, and permitting.

Members Not Returning, 87th Legislature

Below is a list of members (as of January 10, 2020) not returning to the 87th Texas Legislature in their current offices. Note that regardless of election outcomes, all of these legislators will keep their respective seats until January 2021, unless they resign earlier.

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

 

Rep. César Blanco Running for Texas Senate
Rep. Dwayne Bohac Retiring
Rep. Dennis Bonnen Retiring
Rep. Jessica Farrar Resigned effective 9/30/2019
Rep. Eric Johnson Elected Mayor of Dallas, sworn in 6/17/2019
Rep. Mike Lang Running for Hood County Commissioner
Rep. Rick Miller Retiring
Poncho Nevárez Retiring
Rep. Jonathan Stickland Retiring
Rep. John Wray Retiring
Rep. Bill Zedler Retiring
Rep. John Zerwas Retiring to take new position as Executive Vice Chancellor of Health Affairs, The University of Texas System; resignation effective 9/30/19
Sen. José Rodríguez Retiring

 

Current Articles & Research Resources, January 9

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

  • Explore state legislation related to maternal and child health. (National Conference of State Legislatures, December 20, 2019)
  • Consider the legal status of smokable hemp. (Stateline, January 6, 2020)
  • Examine campaign and election security policy. (Congressional Research Service, January 2, 2020)
  • Read about which diet tops the list of best diets overall. (U.S. News and World Report, accessed January 8, 2020)

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

  • 20.01.01  /  "A full count." By Michelle Healy. American School Board Journal, December 2019, pp. 26-29.
    Discusses the efforts of school districts across the United States to help ensure students are accurately counted in the 2020 Census. Reports 36 states lost $550 million in federal funding each year due to an undercount of children in the 2010 Census.
  • 20.01.02  /  "Cannabis: Green rolls in — slowly — under bigger state program." By Paul Thompson. Austin Business Journal, December 13, 2019, p. A4.
    Considers how legalization of hemp production and expansion of the state's Compassionate Use Program will affect the cannabis industry and the medical cannabis market. Mentions HB3703 and HB1325, 86th Legislature.
  • 20.01.03  /  "HB 3 and assessment: Comprehensive bill bringing changes to classrooms across Texas." Classroom Teacher (Texas Classroom Teachers Association), Fall 2019, pp. 9-11.
    Addresses the programmatic changes of HB3, 86th Legislature, relating to teacher incentive allotment/local teacher designation systems, additional school year days, literacy achievement academies, and assessment. Includes discussion of HB3906, 86th Legislature, another key bill on assessment.
  • 20.01.04  /  "Thanks for the support." Classroom Teacher (Texas Classroom Teachers Association), Fall 2019, pp. 14-15.
    Highlights members of the 86th Legislature who stood out for supporting teachers. Presents education-related issues and legislation backed by these lawmakers.
  • 20.01.05  /  "The shocking rise of Rx drug prices." By Lisa L. Gill. Consumer Reports, January 2020, pp. 38-48.
    Examines the factors that contribute to ballooning drug costs and how people can pay less for their medications.
  • 20.01.06  /  "At the heart of the crisis." By Sandhya Raman. CQ Weekly, December 9, 2019, pp. 14-19, 21.
    Examines how officials in Dayton, Ohio, have been able to significantly reduce opioid overdose deaths in their community. Attributes their progress to a variety of factors, including increased access to the overdose reversal drug naloxone, interagency teams sharing resources and data, and the involvement of community outreach groups.
  • 20.01.07  /  "Adoption: Fostering enmity." Economist, December 7th-13th, 2019, pp. 28-29.
    Discusses a proposed rule by the United States Department of Health and Human Services that would allow recipients of federal grants from the agency, including faith-based adoption agencies and foster care providers, to exclude same-sex couples on religious grounds.
  • 20.01.08  /  "Rural-urban differences in severe maternal morbidity and mortality in the US, 2007-15." By Katy Backes Kozhimannil, et al. Health Affairs, December 2019, pp. 2077-2085.
    Finds that while severe maternal morbidity and mortality increased among both rural and urban residents from 2007-2015, rural residents had a nine percent greater probability of severe maternal morbidity and mortality. Considers clinical factors, such as the opioid epidemic and workforce shortages, as well as social factors, such as housing, racism, food security, and more.
  • 20.01.09  /  "Using incentives within the market for prosperity: What every community needs to know to optimize economic development [Part Two]." By M. Ray Perryman. Perryman Report and Texas Letter, Vol. 36, No. 10, pp. 1-7.
    Focuses on the use of incentives, pointing out some of the key components of the appropriate use of this type of economic development tool.
  • 20.01.10  /  "Net neutrality is back once again: Questions remain." By Steve Goodman. Public Utilities Fortnightly, December 2019, p. 64.
    Provides an update on the state of net neutrality. Refers to a recent decision in a case challenging the Federal Communication Commission's most recent rulemaking order on net neutrality.
  • 20.01.11  /  "Expert views on gun laws." By Arthur Z. Berg, John R. Lott, Jr., and Gary A. Mauser. Regulation (CATO Institute), Winter 2019-2020, pp. 40-47.
    Compares the views of public health researchers with those of criminologists and economists on a wide range of gun control policies. Finds that academics from different fields vary widely in their views on the effectiveness of gun control.
  • 20.01.12  /  "Is the sky really falling? A closer look at the current pension "crisis" and the constitutionality of retroactive pension reform." By Aaron Wallace. South Texas Law Review, Summer 2019, pp. 597-638 (Note Length).
    Argues that there is not a pension crisis, and if there is credible risk, retroactive pension reform is not the only viable solution. Describes the Contracts Clause, the history of its application by the United States Supreme Court, and how it could be used to challenge pension reform. Highlights changes to the Houston Firefighters Relief and Retirement Fund, SB2190, 85th Legislature, R.S., and Texas' failure to recognize pensions as contractual obligations.
  • 20.01.13  /  "The persecution of Alfred Brown." By Angela Morris. Texas Lawyer, January/February 2020, p. 14-15.
    Examines the role of the Texas Attorney General and the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts in proceedings required under the Tim Cole Act to determine whether victims of wrongful incarceration are entitled to state compensation.
  • 20.01.14  /  "Far-reaching implications." By Joey Berlin. Texas Medicine, December 2019, pp. 26-28.
    Points out that Texas' high uninsured rate impacts not only uninsured people but also shapes the healthcare industry, influences public health conditions, affects school and work attendance, and produces other ripple effects.
  • 20.01.15  /  "Shot in the dark." By Laura Beil. Texas Monthly, January 2020, pp. 76-87.
    Profiles Dorothy O'Connell (a Brazoria County resident), her use of stem cell therapy to cure arthritis, and the resulting medical complications that almost killed her. Discusses the stem cell industry and its lack of regulation, including the Food and Drug Administration's role, the history of the clinic and companies that supplied her treatment, and related legislation, HB810, 85th Legislature, R.S. Mentions Representatives Tan Parker and Drew Springer.
  • 20.01.16  /  "The prison inside prison." By Michael Barajas. Texas Observer, January/February 2020, pp. 12-22.
    Details the harmful psychological effects of long-term solitary confinement on inmates in prisons operated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Provides a history of the use and abuse of the controversial punishment in the United States and efforts to reform the practice. Mentions legislation filed in 2019 that, had it passed, would have provided oversight of offenders' conditions of confinement. Quotes Representative Carl Sherman.

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 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.

 

For recent posts on Interim Hearings, see Interim Hearing Resources on the LRL homepage. The "Recent Entries" list on the left provides quick access to interim hearings posts from previous weeks.

 

January 15

House Committee on Insurance (Rockport) 

Texas Windstorm Insurance Association

Charge 1: Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee's jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 86th Legislature. Conduct active oversight of all associated rulemaking and other governmental actions taken to ensure intended legislative outcome of all legislation, including the following:

  • HB 1900, which amends the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) operations and funding practices. Review the rulemaking process by the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) and the adoption of an updated plan of operation by TWIA. Monitor whether the purchase of reinsurance has increased or declined and determine whether this provision of the legislation has had any impact on premium rates. Monitor the appointment and work of the Legislative Funding and Funding Structure Oversight board.

Bills Effective, January 2020

On January 1, 2020, 24 bills passed during the 86th Legislature took effect. In addition, provisions of 14 bills passed during the 86th Legislature became effective.

 

Sections of bills passed during the 84th Legislature also took effect on January 1.

 

To keep up with new laws throughout the year, check the Library's list of bill effective dates.

Interim Hearings – Week of January 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.

 

For recent posts on Interim Hearings, see Interim Hearing Resources on the LRL homepage. The "Recent Entries" list on the left provides quick access to interim hearings posts from previous weeks.

 

January 9

House Select Committee on Mass Violence Prevention & Community Safety (El Paso)

Duties:

(1) Examine options for strengthening enforcement measures for current laws that prevent the transfer of firearms to felons and other persons prohibited by current law from possessing firearms 

(2) Examine impediments and challenges to the timely reporting of relevant criminal history information and other threat indicators to state and federal databases 

(3) Examine the role of digital media and technology in threat detection, assessment, reporting, and prevention, including the collaboration between digital media and law enforcement 

(4) Evaluate the ongoing and long-term workforce needs of the state related to cybersecurity, mental health, law enforcement, and related professionals  

(5) Evaluate current protocols and extreme risk indicators used to identify potential threats and consider options for improving the dissemination of information between federal, state, and local entities and timely and appropriate intervention of mental health professionals 

House Committee on Redistricting (El Paso) 

Topic: 2021 legislative redistricting process and 2020 Census data

 

January 10

House Committee on Redistricting (El Paso) 

Topic: 2021 legislative redistricting process and 2020 Census data

Texas Recognition Months, Weeks, and Days

Recognition months, weeks, and days call attention to health issues, industries, people, and more. Some are codified in Government Code § 662. In addition, senators and representatives pass resolutions in each session to commemorate even more awareness dates. Below is a sampling of recognition months, weeks, and days observed with resolutions and bills by the 86th Legislature; click here to see a list of all the recognition dates from this past session.

 

January

Sexual Assault Survivors Day (January 28)—HB 2298

Community College Day (January 30)—SR 84

 

February

American Heart Month—HR 2140

Texas Homemade Pie Day (February 16)—HR 617

 

March

National Athletic Training Month—HR 1180

Master Sergeant Jonathan J. Dunbar Day (March 30)—HB 295

 

April

Minority Cancer Awareness Month—HR 1391

National Donate Life Month—HR 2141

 

May

Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month—HR 2142SR 528

International Internal Audit Awareness Month—HR 1514SR 698

 

June

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Awareness Month—HB 405

Veteran Suicide and PTSD Awareness Month—HCR 148

 

July

Space Exploration Day (July 20)—HB 3084

First Lady Frances Cox Henderson Bicentennial Day (July 21)—SR 163

 

September

Pulmonary Fibrosis Awareness Month—HR 137HR 2144

Quanah Parker Day (second Saturday of September)—SCR 7

 

October

Veterinary Technician Week—HB 2471

 

November

American Diabetes Month—HR 2145

Municipal Courts Week (first week of November)—HR 1658

 

The year 2020

"The Year to Embrace the Gulf"—HCR 140

Current Articles & Research Resources, December 19

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

  • Consider how many homeowners are interested in having solar panels installed on their homes. (Pew Research Center, December 17, 2019)
  • Review a map of recent flu activity. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, December 2019)
  • Read the Natural Resources newsletter, new from the Texas Comptroller's office. (Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, December 12, 2019)
  • Explore current and archived economic indicators. (U.S. Census Bureau, 2019)

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

  • "Why it feels like everything is going haywire." By Jonathan Haidt and Tobias Rose-Stockwell. Atlantic Monthly, December 2019, pp. 57-60.
    Explores the evolution of social media to explain how it has changed political discourse. Suggests reforms that would make social media more constructive and less destructive.
  • "Warning: Our schools contain vaping." By Sarah Gray. ATPE News (Association of Texas Professional Educators), Winter 2019, pp. 22-25.
    Discusses the problem of vaping in Texas schools. Provides statistics on e-cigarette usage in schools and mentions SB21, 86th Legislature, which raised the age for using tobacco products to 21.
  • "Threat to booze startups' profits emerges in D.C." By Paul Thompson. Austin Business Journal, December 6, 2019, p. 16.
    Reports on a federal excise tax break for craft distilleries that is set to expire on December 31, 2019. Notes that without this tax break, a significant number of "mom and pop" distilleries will go out of business. Related information at: https://www.congress.gov/116/bills/hr1175/BILLS-116hr1175ih.pdf.
  • "What happens after misconduct on campus?" By Emma Pettit. Chronicle of Higher Education, November 29, 2019, pp. A22, A24.
    Considers what actions should be taken by the professor, department, and institution after sexual misconduct has occurred. Highlights the case of University of Texas at Austin professor Coleman Hutchison and the steps the university is taking in response to student protests.
  • "Abuzz over new crop." By Ellyn Ferguson. CQ Weekly, December 2, 2019, pp. 32-34.
    Discusses intent of recent federal hemp regulation. Addresses the challenges of encouraging the fledgling hemp industry and deterring marijuana growers. Mentions hemp production legislation in Texas and Ohio.
  • "Energy storage: To have and to hold." Economist, November 30th-December 6th, 2019, pp. 60-61.
    Reports the battery industry faces several barriers to broader energy storage deployment, as well as a patchwork of rules and regulations.
  • "For many young people, H.S. diploma enough for success." By Catherine Gewertz. Education Week, November 27, 2019, p. 5.
    Summarizes results of two surveys conducted on the value of a college degree. Discusses why a number of Americans believe a high school diploma is sufficient for achieving success.
  • "Declines in pediatric mortality fall short for rural US children." By Janice C. Probst, Whitney Zahnd, and Charity Breneman. Health Affairs, December 2019, pp. 2069-2076.
    Reports that rural children experienced higher mortality rates than urban children, with non-Hispanic black infants and American Indian/Alaska Native children being particularly at risk. Recommends ongoing surveillance of rural children's health, and policies targeting the leading causes of death in rural populations, unintentional injury and suicide.
  • "Rural hospitals: Here today, gone tomorrow." By Nick Bowman. Internet Resource, November 2019, pp.1-24.
    Discusses the recent struggles of rural hospitals and federal efforts to support them through loans, grants, and Medicare reimbursement. Reviews legislation by the fifteen Southern Legislative Conference member states that addresses rural health and rural hospitals.
  • "Surprise bills vary by diagnosis and type of admission." By Karen Pollitz, et al. Internet Resource, December 9, 2019, pp. 1-5.
    Analyzes surprise medical bills and finds that certain groups of patients — patients with surgical and mental health admissions, heart attack patients, and women undergoing mastectomies — may have a higher risk of surprise bills.
  • "What can the United States learn from pharmaceutical spending controls in France?" By Marc A. Rodwin. Internet Resource, November 2019, pp. 1-11.
    Examines France's system of pharmaceutical price and spending controls as a case study. Identifies potential approaches that private and public payers in the United States could use to reduce drug spending without restricting access to new drugs.
  • "Risk sharing: How to hold colleges accountable for the education they provide." By Beth Akers. Issue Brief (Manhattan Institute), December 10, 2019, pp. 1-7.
    Analyzes how the federal government can better measure college quality in order to police access to its student aid.
  • "Cannabidiol products are everywhere, but should people be using them?" By Rita Rubin. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), December 10, 2019, pp. 2156-2158.
    Observes the recent explosion of the CBD [cannabidiol] market, with products ranging from seizure medication and dietary supplements to bath salts and dog biscuits. Considers the problem of determining which CBD products are legal and calls for more research studies to ensure CBD's safe usage.
  • "The opioid crisis, corporate responsibility, and lessons from the tobacco Master Settlement Agreement." By Cheryl Healton, Robert Pack, and Sandro Galea. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), December 3, 2019, pp. 2071-2072.
    Considers how to frame a potential opioid Master Settlement Agreement [MSA], using lessons learned from the tobacco MSA. Proposes that the opioid settlement should create funds dedicated exclusively to proven public health approaches to directly address the opioid epidemic.
  • "Medicaid use among older low-income Medicare enrollees in California and Texas: A tale of two states." By Jacqueline L. Angel, Ronald J. Angel, and Phillip Cantu. Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law, December 2019, pp. 885-909.
    Examines Medicaid participation data among Medicare recipients 65 and older in California and Texas, with a particular focus on the older Mexican-origin population. Reports that Texans were more likely than Californians to report coverage at some point in the 17-year follow-up.
  • "The public pension slow burn: When is the flash point?" By Thomas J. Healey. Milken Institute Review, Fourth Quarter 2019, pp. 63-66, 68-70.
    Explores the public pension funding gap in five states — New Jersey, Kentucky, Illinois, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania — that comprises more than a third of the total unfunded pension liabilities in all 50 states combined.
  • "Renewable natural gas: What can we do to move ahead?" By Andreas Thanos, et al. Public Utilities Fortnightly, December 2019, pp. 28-31, 63.
    Discusses recent efforts by states to address renewable natural gas [RNG].
  • "Tiny homes for Austin's homeless." By Chris Moody. Reason, January 2020, pp. 35-40.
    Profiles Austin's Mobile Loaves and Fishes and its Community First! Village providing housing and community for some of Austin's homeless population.
  • "The Texas attorney discipline system." By Seana Willing. Texas Bar Journal, December 2019, pp. 844-845.
    Examines the initial impact of the Sunset Advisory Commission's recommendations to improve the efficiency of the attorney disciplinary system, following the State Bar's sunset review process and legislative changes enacted by SB302, 85th Legislature, R.S.
  • "Q&A: Food allergies in children." By David Doolittle. Texas Medicine, December 2019, pp. 6-7.
    Interviews Austin allergist Allen Lieberman, who asserts that there is a food-allergy epidemic right now. Notes SB66, 84th Legislature, which allowed schools to have undesignated epinephrine that can be used for any child experiencing an allergic reaction.

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.

Holidays at the Capitol

Around the week after Thanksgiving, the holidays start to pop up in and around the Texas Capitol! The House and Senate Chambers are decorated with Virginia pine trees from a north Texas tree farm. The trees were harvested and transported with assistance from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). The TPWD park rangers from Eisenhower State Park named the Senate tree "Mamie" (after former First Lady Eisenhower), and Lake Mineral Wells State Park rangers called the House's tree "Ruby," honoring the beautiful red color of the cardinals who reside in their park. 

 

Clockwise from left: 1) Senate chambers decorated with "Mamie," as well as its traditional poinsettias on each desk. 2) Wreaths adorn the gallery of the Senate. 3) Each representative's district contributes an ornament to decorate "Ruby." 4) The day after "Ruby" arrived in the House chamber, staff worked to adorn the tree with lights and other decorations.

 

 

Holiday spirit is not contained to the chambers, though! The sights and sounds of the season are all over through the month of December. You can read past blog posts to learn more about the holiday season at the Capitol.

 

Clockwise from left: 1) Visitors approaching the Capitol from Congress will see the tree just outside the Capitol grounds. 2) A wreath adorns the door into the Governor's Public Reception Room on the second floor of the Capitol. 3) The "Holiday Wishes" tree gives Capitol staffers the opportunity to fill holiday wishes for children in the care of Child Protective Services. 4) and 5) The Capitol Rotunda plays host to many different performing groups throughout the holiday season. 4) On December 16, members of the Austin Symphony donned reindeer antlers as they performed and children gathered around. 5) The Dripping Springs High School Jazz Cats sang in the Rotunda on December 5.

 

More Entries