LRL Home - Points of Interest

Interim Hearings – Week of July 23

Today's Committee Meetings on the LRL website is a calendar of interim committee hearings with links to agendas. Below are resources related to upcoming Interim Hearings.

 

July 24

House Committees on Business & Industry and Licensing & Administrative Procedures (Houston) 

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

House Committee on Business & Industry (Houston)

Charge 2 (Partial): Existing law concerning consumer rights and protections, including but not limited to statutes that address deceptive practices, landlord/tenant agreements, and homeowner/contractor disputes. Determine whether the provisions offer adequate guidance and protections in disaster and recovery situations. 

  • Homeowner/Contractor disputes

Senate Select Committee on Violence in Schools & School Security

Charge: Current protective order laws, merits of Extreme Risk Protective Orders, or "Red Flag" laws; Legal due process to protect Second Amendment rights

 

July 25

House Committee on Business & Industry (Houston)

Charge 2: Existing law concerning consumer rights and protections, including but not limited to statutes that address deceptive practices, landlord/tenant agreements, and homeowner/contractor disputes. Determine whether the provisions offer adequate guidance and protections in disaster and recovery situations. 

  • Earned Paid leave/Sick leave
  • Ban the Box
  • State office of Risk Management (SORM)
  • Division of Workers' Compensation (DWC) and Firefighters/EMS
  • Zombie debt
  • Adverse Possession
  • Surprise balance billing

New & Noteworthy List: July 2018

The Library is continually adding new books to its collection. Below are the six titles from our July 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. 51 Imperfect Solutions: States and the Making of American Constitutional Law
By Jeffrey S. Sutton
Highlights the important role of state courts and state constitutions in American constitutional law by examining stories of equal protection, criminal procedure, privacy, free speech, and free exercise of religion. Includes Texas in a discussion of equality and adequacy of school funding.
Oxford University Press, 2018. 278 pages.
342.73 SU87IM 2018


 

 

2. The Grand Duke from Boys Ranch
By Bill Sarpalius
Presents the compelling life story of Lithuanian American Bill Sarpalius, former U.S. Congressman and Texas Senator, who overcame extreme adversity in his youth before embarking on a path of public service. Recounts how his experience at Cal Farley's Boys Ranch changed the trajectory of his life and ultimately led him into state, national, and international politics. Details his many political causes including the launch of the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Addiction (in memory of his mother), and the fight for Lithuania's freedom from the Soviet Union, for which he was named a "Grand Duke."
Texas A & M University Press, 2018. 322 pages.
328.73 S71G 2018


 

 

3. Hate: Why We Should Resist it with Free Speech, not Censorship
By Nadine Strossen
Discusses the ongoing debate on what comprises "hate speech" versus free speech when people publicly express views denigrating a person or a group. Analyzes "hate speech" laws and argues that they are nebulous, unfair, and incompatible with the core principles of the First Amendment, and in the end do more harm than good. Makes the case that the more effective way to limit "hate speech" is through "counterspeech" and activism rather than censorship.
Oxford University Press, 2018. 199 pages.
342.7308 ST89H 2018


 

 

4. Immunization: How Vaccines Became Controversial
By Stuart Blume
Explores the development of vaccine technology, then examines how immunizations have been incorporated into public health policy and practice. Observes that vaccine hesitancy has existed as long as mass vaccination campaigns have been conducted. Predicts that resistance to vaccines can be resolved only by addressing people's mistrust in the governments and pharmaceutical companies that promote immunizations.
Reaktion Books, 2017. 271 pages.
614.47 B625IM 2017


 

 

5. Who Will Care for Us? Long-Term Care and the Long-Term Workforce
By Paul Osterman
Describes the long-term care workforce, detailing how direct care workers are treated and viewed and the nature of their profession's labor market. Argues that enhancing direct care workers' skills and expanding their scope of practice will improve care, attract the workforce required, and reduce system costs. Addresses the political, regulatory, financial, and occupational challenges of meeting the growing demand for long-term care and of reforming the long-term workforce.
Russell Sage Foundation, 2017. 213 pages.
362.160973 OS7W 2017


 

 

6. The Humor and Drama of Early Texas
By George U. Hubbard
Offers a series of historical vignettes telling stories of early Texans on the frontier. Relates humorous and dramatic tales about gunslingers, statesmen, the railroads, Texas independence, and much more.
Republic of Texas Press, 2003. 296 pages.
976.4 H861H 2003

 

Current Articles & Research Resources, July 12

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

  • Examine the relationships among opioid use, unemployment, and poverty levels. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, June 29, 2018)
  • Explore the efforts over time to preserve the Declaration of Independence. (Popular Mechanics, July 3, 2018)
  • Discover the differences between serving sizes and portion control. (Cooking Light, July 3, 2018)
  • Consider the effects of alcohol on pedestrians. (Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), July 5, 2018)

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

  • "Under questioning." By Kevin Davis. ABA Journal: The Lawyer's Magazine, July 2018, pp. 36-43.
    Discusses the Chicago police legacy of extracting false confessions. Notes the city has paid more than $500 million in the past decade to settle misconduct and wrongful conviction lawsuits.
  • "Austin finds new weapon to combat lack of affordable housing." By Marissa Luck. Austin Business Journal, June 29, 2018, p. A8.
    Explains how Habitat for Humanity was able to use a "super density bonus" ordinance to increase the number of affordable housing units the organization is building in a transit-oriented development [TOD] district. Suggests the same concept could be applied in other TOD districts throughout the city.
  • "Detention centers are big business." By Alex Wayne, Jonathan Levin, and Jennifer Epstein. Bloomberg Businessweek, June 25, 2018, pp. 38-39.
    Explores how the zero-tolerance immigration policy led to an increase in children being placed in the custody of federal authorities, driving the need for more detention centers.
  • "New farm bill could shift funds for states." By Leslie Haymon. Capitol Ideas, May/June 2018, pp. 18-21.
    Previews significant changes to federal agricultural programs in the renewal of the farm bill in Congress, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, support for agricultural producers, rural broadband, and the Conservation Stewardship Program. Includes a title-by-title guide to the farm bill. Related information at: https://agriculture.house.gov/farmbill/ and https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/2.
  • "Should cryptocurrencies be regulated like securities?" By Diego Zuluaga. CATO Briefing Papers, June 25, 2018, pp. 1-6.
    Discusses the negative consequences of subjecting cryptocurrencies to onerous securities registration requirements.
  • "Home ownership: A fading hope for many in DFW." By Bill Hethcock. Dallas Business Journal, June 22, 2018, pp. 16-18.
    Discusses factors that have shifted a large percentage of home buyers into the rental market. Notes the median sales price for an existing home in the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington market has increased by 33 percent in just three years, and the wait time for a newly constructed home has doubled. Related information at: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/07/19/more-u-s-households-are-renting-than-at-any-point-in-50-years/.
  • "Cities: In praise of gentrification." Economist, June 23rd-29th, 2018, pp. 23-24.
    Extols the benefits of gentrification, highlighting studies that rebut the association between gentrification and displacement. Considers the reasons for the antipathy towards gentrification.
  • "State contracting: Spending — and watching — taxpayer dollars." Fiscal Notes, June/July 2018, pp. 7-10.
    Discusses the state's purchasing system, procurement policy and training, increased Comptroller oversight as a result of SB20, 84th Legislature and SB533, 85th Legislature, R.S., and the Legislative Budget Board's contract database.
  • "Women in the Texas workforce: State economy depends on women's success." By Brian Wellborn. Fiscal Notes, June/July 2018, pp. 1, 3-6.
    Highlights the economic impact of Texas women by industrial sector.
  • "How Texas hospitals help patients craft an end-of-life plan." By Mary Ann Roser. Internet Resource, May/June 2018, pp. 1-2.
    Considers increasing interdisciplinary efforts by Texas hospitals to improve end-of-life care for patients and their families. Points out the work of the Palliative Care Interdisciplinary Advisory Council, authorized by HB1874, 84th Legislature.
  • "Abortion-related adverse events by facility type." By Carolyn L. Westhoff and Anne R. Davis. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), June 26, 2018, pp. 2481-2482.
    Examines a study that found little difference in the occurrence of abortion-related morbidities and adverse events at ambulatory surgery centers vs. office-based settings. Highlights HB2, 83rd Legislature, 2nd C.S., as a case study of overly restrictive law that provides no discernible safety benefits.
  • "Evaluation of occupational exposure limits for heat stress in outdoor workers — United States, 2011–2016." By Aaron W. Tustin, et al. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), July 6, 2018, pp. 1-5.
    Reports that heat-related deaths can occur in temperatures in the mid-80s Fahrenheit for outdoor workers, not just at higher temperatures. Recommends that employers implement acclimatization programs, training to recognize heat stress symptoms and to deliver first aid, and provision of rest breaks, shade, and water.
  • "EIA: Gulf Coast port limitations may drive crude export costs higher." By Nick Snow. Oil and Gas Journal, June 4, 2018, p. 34.
    Reports that the Energy Information Administration has found that crude oil export costs could rise due to limited tanker loading capacities at Gulf Coast onshore ports that are unable to accommodate the largest of crude carriers. Related information at: https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=36232.
  • "State-of-the-art wildfire protection: When a utility is challenged by broader resilience responsibility." Public Utilities Fortnightly, June 1, 2018, pp. 20-25.
    Provides a Q&A with the president of a gas and electric utility in California regarding ways the utility has adapted to various challenges from wildfires.
  • "The U.S. needs more immigrants." By Jack Goldstone. Reason, August/September 2018, pp. 54-58.
    Argues young workers are a key economic resource, and the United States needs immigrants to provide this resource in sufficient numbers for a vibrant economy.
  • "See-through solar cells could power offices." By Robert F. Service. Science, June 29, 2018, p. 1386.
    Discusses the technology and energy efficiency behind solar windows that could be used in commercial and residential construction.
  • "Market design change approved." Texas Public Power, June 2018, pp. 4-5, 7.
    Reports that ERCOT's board of directors has approved an adjustment in response to the Public Utility Commission's directive to revise the Operating Reserve Demand Curve. Summarizes the 2017 State of the Market Report for the ERCOT Electricity Markets. Related information at: http://interchange.puc.texas.gov/Search/Filings?UtilityType=A&ControlNumber=47199&
    ItemMatch=Equal&DocumentType=ALL&SortOrder=Ascending
    . Report at: https://www.potomaceconomics.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/2017-State-of-the-Market-Report.pdf.

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 July 16

Today's Committee Meetings on the LRL website is a calendar of interim committee hearings with links to agendas. Below are resources related to upcoming Interim Hearings.

 

 

July 17

House Committee on Agriculture & Livestock

Charge: Role of Texas Department of Agriculture and the Texas Animal Health Commission in the response to Hurricane Harvey; Impact of hurricane on producers in the agriculture and livestock industries in Texas 

Charge: How to improve, promote, and standardize the Texas olive and olive oil industry; Necessity of creating a commodity board or similar type of organization 

Charge: Privatizing Texas Department of Agriculture's Seed Certification Program and related areas through a nonprofit crop improvement association

Charge: Rules, regulations, and enforcement authority of the Texas Department of Agriculture's Structural Pest Control Service

Charge: Evaluate the uses of industrial hemp and the economic feasibility of developing an industrial hemp market

 

July 18

Senate Select Committee on Violence in Schools & School Security

Charge: Root cause of mass murder in schools including, but not limited to, risk factors such as mental health, substance use disorders, anger management, social isolation, the impact of high intensity media coverage, and desensitization to violence resulting from video games, music, film, and social media

 

House Committee on Culture, Recreation & Tourism and House Committee on Agriculture & Livestock (Joint Hearing)

Charge: Cause of declining populations of monarch butterflies and bees; impact of these migratory species' decline on agricultural production and the economy

Monarch Butterflies:

Bees:

 

House Committee on Culture, Recreation & Tourism

Charge 1: Roles of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's and the Texas Historical Commission's in the response to Hurricane Harvey; economic, recreational, and biological impacts and needed repairs from Harvey as they relate to applicable state agencies and the following areas and industries under the purview of the Committee:

  1. State parks
  2. Wildlife and fish
  3. Historic sites and buildings
  4. Art and cultural resources
  5. Travel and tourism
  6. Recommendations for timely recovery of these areas from Harvey, and mitigation of future natural disasters

Charge 2: Feasibility of establishing and mobilizing a volunteer contingency of private boat owners through the boat registration and license database administered by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to assist first responders during natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey

 

House Committee on Urban Affairs

Charge 5: Local government oversight of abandoned and substandard buildings, including buildings of historical significance

Charge 7: Monitor agencies and programs under the Committee's jurisdiction and implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 85th Legislature

 

 

July 19

House Committee on Special Purpose Districts

Topic: Discussion of sections of the interim report

Top

 

Pest Practices: A Legislative Battle with the Boll Weevil

In 2015, Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller announced that the boll weevil had been completely eradicated in the West Texas Maintenance Area, and that it was functionally eradicated in several other regions. Around a hundred years after the cotton crop pest was first noted to be in Texas, the bugs are finally, mostly, gone...or at least more controlled.

 

But in the late 1800s and early 1900s, the snout beetle's destructive impact on the Texas cotton industry was looking quite dire. Described in the Handbook of Texas Online as "one of the most devastating pests ever introduced to American agriculture," an estimated 700,000 bales were lost to the boll weevil in 1904, at a cost of $42 million. The blow to Texas' cotton culture kept growing as the insects spread to every cotton production area in Texas. Boll weevils resisted all of the agriculture industry's conventional insecticides and anti-pest practices of the time.

 

Something had to be done. In 1899, the state appointed Frederick W. Mally as state entomologist and charged him with combating the weevils. His plans were lauded by subsequent entomologists, but heavy rainfall and the Galveston hurricane of 1900, along with inadequate funding, derailed his efforts.

 

E. Dwight Sanderson was named the next state entomologist in 1901. The state also decided to try a new tactic. With HB 243, 28R, the legislature appropriated a $50,000 prize "to be paid to any one who will discover and furnish a practical remedy that will exterminate the cotton boll weevil, and $2,500.00 for expenses and per diem of committee to pass on the findings of said person or persons." In today's dollars, that prize would be more than $1 million—but still just a fraction of the money that was lost annually to the boll weevil's destruction. Gov. S.W.T. Lanham announced the award 115 years ago this week, on the steps of the Capitol in July 1903. 

 

According to the Handbook of Texas, "the prize offered by the legislature made both themselves and the boll weevil a figure of fun for newspapers throughout the nation, and this episode is sometimes found in civics or government texts as an illustration of the foolishness of lawmaking bodies." Although Texas newspaper articles testify to citizens' interest in the prize, it was never claimed.

 

Between 1899 and 2013, 32 bills were introduced with "boll weevil" in the caption, illustrating the ongoing battle with the bugs. The current statutes on "Cotton Diseases and Pests" can be found in Chapter 74 of the Agriculture Code. Starting around 1903, boll weevil pest management efforts began to see more promising results on Walter C. Porter's demonstration farm at Terrell, under the leadership of Seaman A. Knapp. Most recently, with the help of the Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation (established by SB 30, 73R), boll weevils are much fewer and farther between in Texas now…without the incentive of cash prizes from the Legislature. 

 

The Austin-American Statesman, Saturday, July 18, 1903 excerpt courtesy of Newspapers.com. Tile image courtesy of the Internet Archive and Flickr Creative Commons, from the 26th Annual Catalogue and Pricelist of Seeds, 1899 (Alexander Seed Company), U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agriculture Library.

New Books and Reports

In addition to our monthly New & Noteworthy service, you can view our new books page at any time to discover recent acquisitions to our print holdings. Currently the list includes history, biographies, constitutional law, books for our Young Texans section, and more. To arrange check out and delivery of any of these items (which circulate to the legislative community), please call the library at 512-463-1252.

 

In addition, several reports of interest to the legislative community have been published by the Texas Legislative Council in the past few months. Learn more about opioids, rural Texas, felony offenses, and constitutional amendments:

Current Articles & Research Resources, June 28

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

  • Read about the U.S. Supreme Court's decision related to cell phone location tracking and Fourth Amendment rights. (Electronic Frontier Foundation, June 22, 2018)
  • Consider recent facts about the death penalty in the U.S. and around the world. (Pew Research Center, June 27, 2018)
  • Check on the water quality before heading to Texas' beaches. (Texas General Land Office, accessed June 27, 2018)
  • Review the 2018 Kids Count Data Book. (Annie E. Casey Foundation, June 27, 2018)

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

  • "Investigations, subpoenas, fines: City unveils details on how new sick-leave ordinance could be enforced." By Daniel Salazar. Austin Business Journal, June 22, 2018, p. 10.
    Discusses the proposed rules for implementing the administrative, investigation, and civil penalty assessment provisions of Austin's Earned Sick Time ordinance, which becomes effective beginning October 1, 2018. Related document at: http://www.austintexas.gov/edims/document.cfm?id=300812
  • "Four states with robust prescription drug monitoring programs reduced opioid dosages." By Rebecca L. Haffajee, et al. Health Affairs, June 2018, pp. 964-974.
    Examines state prescription drug monitoring programs [PDMPs] and the implementation by four states of robust registration and use mandates. Reports that robust PDMPs may be able to significantly reduce opioid dosages dispensed, percentages of patients receiving opioids, and high-risk prescribing. 
  • "Wind and solar energy will keep power prices low and avoid blackouts." By Meghan Nutting. Houston Business Journal, June 15, 2018, p. 42.
    Examines the advantages of renewable energy technologies over older, costlier, and polluting technologies. Discusses how solar energy can reduce the likelihood of blackouts during heat waves and how wind farms can operate during heavy storms to deliver continuous power. 
  • "Many recommend teaching mental health in schools. Now two states will require it." By Christine Vestal. Internet Resource, June 15, 2018, pp. 1-7.
    Discusses the inclusion of mental health education in public schools. Reports New York recently enacted legislation that requires mental health instruction in K-12 grades; Virginia now requires it in the ninth and tenth grades. Notes Texas is one of twenty states that does not require counselors in public schools.
  • "Redefining disability." By Robert Verbruggen. National Review, June 25, 2018, pp. 30-32.
    Argues the current disability system needs to be reformed. Explores the advantages of temporary or partial benefits and of holding employers accountable for their workers' claims. 
  • "Under fire." By Jim Geraghty. National Review, June 25, 2018, pp. 16-17.
    Reviews the National Rifle Association's successes and setbacks in furthering their agenda at both the federal and state levels. 
  • "Security: Technology advances expand water system security options." By Nelson Mix, et al.  Opflow, May 2018, pp. 10-14.
    Profiles several enhanced technologies that provide new opportunities for water utilities to upgrade and improve security monitoring.
  • "The economic forecast for Texas." By M. Ray Perryman. Perryman Report and Texas Letter, Vol. 35, No. 4, pp. 1-3, 6.
    Presents the state's economic forecast for the next five years. Indicates the state economy will continue its upward trend and will outpace the national economy. 
  • "We're still competing: Perspectives on competition from regulation veteran." Public Utilities Fortnightly, June 1, 2018, pp. 32-35.
    Shares the perspective of the former Texas Public Utilities Commission Chair Barry Smitherman regarding competition and transmission in the energy market, as well as the future of the electric power industry. Related document at: https://www.ferc.gov/industries/electric/indus-act/trans-plan.asp
  • "Innocent until proven guilty, but only if you can pay." By Scott Shackford. Reason, August/September 2018, pp. 22-29.
    Discusses the cash bail system, which makes it more likely that poor defendants will be imprisoned while they await trial. Explains various attempts at reform, including the recent Harris County lawsuit, and identifies unintended consequences that might occur. Related document at: http://www.ca5.uscourts.gov/opinions/pub/17/17-20333-CV0.pdf
  • "Lien on me." By John Council. Texas Lawyer, July 2018, pp. 24-26.
    Comments on recent Texas Supreme Court decision, In re North Cypress Medical Center Operating Co., Ltd., relating to medical billing disputes. Considers the decision's impact on health care price transparency. Related document at: https://lrl.texas.gov/scanned/archive/2018/38419.pdf
  • "TMA: TMB should stop hiding experts' reviews of complaints." By Joey Berlin. Texas Medicine, June 2018, pp. 12-13.
    Reports on the Texas Medical Association's [TMA] testimony before the Sunset Advisory Commission's April hearing on the Texas Medical Board [TMB]. Highlights the TMA's recommendations for amending how the TMB handles complaints against physicians. 

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 Exhibit: Texas Law & Order...And The Compilers Behind It

It's easy to take for granted the work of compiling the law. Once the session is over and the governor signs the bills, everything is done, right? Far from it. Preparing volumes that update the law requires time and careful consideration. In this display we took a look at some of the important resources for studying Texas legislative history and the people who laid the foundations for the structure of our laws.

 

Drawing from our "Who Is..." blog series, the exhibit profiles the lives and work of George W. PaschalJohn SaylesH.P.N. Gammel, and Joseph W. Vernon, all of whose contributions we see reflected in our contemporary Texas legislative publications. Learn who hung up the laws to dry after the Capitol fire, who represented the Cherokee Nation in several important cases, who helped establish the law department at Baylor University, and who never resided in Texas but has his name on our law publications today. (And if you can't make it in person, click on the collages below to learn more about Texas' law compilers.)

 

 

Current Articles & Research Resources, June 21

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

  • Explore housing and homeownership trends. (Joint Center for Housing Studies, June 2018)
  • Review the definitions of "rural" in the Texas statutes and rules. (Texas Legislative Council, June 2018)
  • Consider the economic aspects of groundwater in Texas. (Texas Water Journal, May 21, 2018)
  • Explore sheriffs' fees by county. (Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, accessed June 21, 2018)

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

  • "Solar energy: On the solarcoaster." Economist, June 16th-22nd, 2018, pp. 53-55.
    Examines whether the global solar (photovoltaic) industry can survive without subsidies.
  • "Voting: Multiple choice." Economist, June 16th-22nd, 2018, pp. 21-22.
    Discusses Maine's first statewide election using ranked-choice voting [RCV], where voters rank the entire field by preference, from first to last, rather than voting for a single candidate. Considers the pros and cons of RCV elections.
  • "Ready for shooter? Some school police say no." By Evie Blad. Education Week, June 6, 2018, pp. 1, 11-13.
    Discusses results of national survey conducted of school resource officers by Education Week Research Center. Reports on how prepared these officers feel they are for active-shooter situations in schools. Mentions Governor Greg Abbott. Report at: https://www.edweek.org/media/school-resource-officer-survey-copyright-education-week.pdf
  • "Schools see new dilemma in teens who cyberbully themselves." By Sasha Jones. Education Week, May 30, 2018, p. 18.
    Addresses digital self-harm in schools, a new form of expression that some students are using to cope with emotional pain and self-hatred. Discusses the difficulty school officials are having assisting students who are cyberbullying themselves.
  • "Frequent emergency department users: A statewide comparison before and after Affordable Care Act implementation." By Shannon McConville, et al. Health Affairs, June 2018, pp. 881-889.
    Reports that the likelihood of being a frequent emergency department [ED] user decreased in the two years following implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Notes that the largest predictors of frequent ED use included having a diagnosis of a mental health condition or a substance use disorder.
  • "Texas residents’ views on state and national health policy priorities." By Liz Hamel, et al. Internet Resource, June 2018, pp. 1-16.
    Reports that according to a 2018 Texas Health Policy Survey, over half of Texans wanted the state legislature to increase spending on health care programs, and two-thirds of Texans said the state should expand its Medicaid program and better ensure that low-income adults can get the health care they need.
  • "The ethics of Medicaid's work requirements and other personal responsibility policies." By Harald Schmidt and Allison K. Hoffman. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), June 12, 2018, pp. 2265-2266.
    Recommends safeguards the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services should put in place for states implementing work requirements, to ensure they are prioritizing protecting health over political goals.
  • "Vital signs: Trends in state suicide rates — United States, 1999–2016 and circumstances contributing to suicide — 27 states, 2015." By Deborah M. Stone, et al. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), June 8, 2018, pp. 1-8.
    Reports that during 1999-2016, suicide rates increased in nearly every state. Includes a map that indicates Texas' rate increased in the 19 to 30 percent range.
  • "Finished water: Zero-discharge treatment plant converts brackish wastewater to extend Texas drinking water supply." Opflow, May 2018, p. 40.
    Highlights the El Paso Full Recovery Desalination Plant.
  • "Multiservice utilities: A one-stop shop for communities." Public Power, May-June 2018, pp. 28, 30-32.
    Explores benefits and challenges to public power utilities that are multiservice providers for their communities.
  • "How to (legally) make your own off-the-books handgun." By Mark McDaniel. Reason, July 2018, pp. 47-52.
    Discusses the considerations the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives uses in determining whether specific gun parts fall under the definition of a firearm. Provides instructions for assembling a Glock 17 handgun and suggests debates over gun control that focus on commercial manufacture may be futile when considering such homemade weapons.
  • "Federal bill would limit opioid scrips for acute pain." By Joey Berlin. Texas Medicine, June 2018, pp. 42-44.
    Discusses proposed three-day limit on opioid prescriptions for acute pain that is part of United States Senate Bill 2456, also known as the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) 2.0. Includes opinions from pain doctors on the measure.
  • "Rate case scheduling rule adopted." Texas Public Power, May 2018, p. 4.
    Provides an update on a rule the Public Utilities Commission of Texas adopted at their April 12 meeting. Related information at: http://www.puc.texas.gov/agency/rulesnlaws/subrules/electric/25.247/47545adt.pdf
  • "System benefit repeal." Texas Public Power, May 2018, pp. 4-5.
    Reports that the Public Utilities Commission of Texas approved a proposal repealing and amending rules regarding the System Benefit Fund, which was previously eliminated by the Legislature. Related information at: https://www.puc.texas.gov/industry/projects/electric/47343/47343adt.pdf

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 June 25

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.

 

 

June 25

House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence

Charge: Penal laws, "red flag" or mental health protective orders for firearms (school safety)

Charge: Current statutes designed to protect minors from accessing firearms without proper supervision; safe firearm storage

 

June 26

House Select Committee on Opioids & Substance Abuse

Charge: Impact of overdose reporting defense laws known as "Good Samaritan" laws

Charge: How opioids and substance abuse have impacted the normal scope of work for law enforcement, first responders, and hospital emergency department personnel

 

June 27

Appropriations Charge 18/General Investigating & Ethics Charge 10: Monitor agencies and programs under the Committee's jurisdiction and implementation of legislation:

Oversight of the Texas Health & Human Services Commission's management of Medicaid managed care contracts

 

House Committee on Land & Resource Management (Brownsville)

Charge: Local and state zoning and land use regulations, balance of disaster preparedness and private property rights

 

House Committee on Public Education

Charge: Effectiveness of schools' current multi-hazard emergency operation plans, violence prevention strategies

Charge: Current school facilities and grounds, research-based 'best practices' to provide a more secure environment

 

June 28

House Committees on Defense & Veterans' Affairs and Homeland Security & Public Safety (9:00 A.M., Joint Hearing)

Charge: Experience of other states in prioritizing retired peace officers and military veterans for school security

 

House Committee on Homeland Security & Public Safety (15 minutes after adjournment of 9:00 A.M. Joint Hearing)

Charge: Options to increase the number of school marshals available, and current statutory requirements that limit utilization of the program

 

House Committees on Public Education and Public Health (9:00 A.M., Joint Hearing)

Charge: Mental health services for children, strategies to enhance overall school safety

 

House Committee on Public Health (1:00 P.M.)

Charge: Population health and health care delivery in rural and urban medically underserved areas, role of telemedicine, rural hospital closures

 

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