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

  • Explore state legislator viewpoints on the state and local tax deduction. (American Legislative Exchange Council, November 1, 2017)
  • Consider the separation of powers related to the use of nuclear weapons. (Congressional Research Service, November 3, 2017)
  • Find statistics related to hate crimes. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, November 13, 2017)
  • Review results from the November 7, 2017 constitutional amendments election. (Texas Secretary of State, accessed November 15, 2017)

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

  • "Measuring justice." By James Podgers. ABA Journal: The Lawyer's Magazine, November 2017, pp. 66-68.
    Presents global rankings on how well countries perform on eight specific factors, prepared by the World Justice Project in its Rule of Law Index, 2016 edition.
    (Related information at:
  • "Syllabus for civility." By Stacy Teicher Khadaroo. Christian Science Monitor, November 13, 2017, pp. 24-30.
    Highlights the establishment of "bridge-building" groups on college campuses with a goal of providing forums for "responsible discourse" where there can be civil conversation amongst those with different points of view.
  • "A new redline is holding back South Dallas entrepreneurs." By Jon Prior. Dallas Business Journal, November 3, 2017, pp. 4-6, 8.
    Highlights the inequity in Small Business Administration [SBA] loan distribution among small businesses in Dallas' southern and northern neighborhoods. Notes white small business owners received 60 percent of the SBA's financing in 2016.
  • "Tax reform: deducting deductions." Economist, November 4th-10th, 2017, pp. 23-24.
    Suggests elimination of state and local tax deductions would make federal taxes more progressive.
  • "Texas politics: thus spake Joe." Economist, November 4th-10th, 2017, p. 29.
    Discusses House Speaker Joe Straus' retirement and how his departure could affect 2018 primary campaigns.
  • "Factors associated with increased US health care spending." By Patrick H. Conway. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), November 7, 2017, pp. 1657-1658.
    Examines a report that shows health care spending (after adjusting for price inflation) has increased by $933.5 billion between 1996 and 2013. Outlines possible contributing factors and ways states can address this unsustainable growth.
  • "Conventional wisdom." By Richard Krietner. Nation, November 20/27, 2017, pp. 20-24.
    Presents aspects of the movement for an Article V constitutional convention.
  • "Win-win: pensions efficiently serve American schools and teachers." By Christian E. Weller. National Institute on Retirement Security, October 26, 2017, pp. 1-30 (Note Length).
    Analyzes defined benefit [DB] teacher pension plans from a labor management perspective, including the benefits of teacher retention and effectiveness for school districts. Contrasts DB plans with defined contribution [DC] 401k-style plans.
  • "What NAFTA does?" By Kevin D. Williamson. National Review, November 13, 2017, pp. 26, 28-29.
    Criticizes Trump administration efforts to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA], suggesting the treaty agreement has been a success for the United States. Explains NAFTA could use "freshening up" and discusses what factors should be considered.
  • "Blending high school and college can sharpen the focus of each." By Joel Vargas, Sarah Hooker, and Carol Gerwin. Phi Delta Kappan, November 2017, pp. 13-18.
    Highlights the experiences of a Rio Grande Valley student to demonstrate the value of giving students a head start on college with early college programs. Argues high schools and colleges each have distinct, important roles, but blurring the boundaries can improve educational outcomes.
  • "Ready for a fifty percent demand spike?: electric vehicles are coming." By Curt Underwood. Public Utilities Fortnightly, October 2017, pp. 60, 65.
    Considers how increasing the number of electric vehicles on the road will affect electric generation, transmission, and distribution. Offers suggestions that may help the electric utilities industry with this challenge.
  • "Crisis in the country." By Sean Price. Texas Medicine, November 2017, pp. 55-59.
    Explores the high number of rural hospital closures in Texas and the effects on the communities and local physicians. Notes telemedicine's role in filling the gap.
  • "A flood of problems." By Sean Price and Joey Berlin. Texas Medicine, November 2017, pp. 22-35.
    Intermingles physicians' and patients' stories from Hurricane Harvey with discussion of health care issues in the storm's wake, including public and mental health concerns. Describes the legislative response to Harvey thus far.
  • "Coal plant closures in Texas continue." Texas Public Power, October 2017, p. 1.
    Indicates which coal plants in Texas are scheduled for retirement. Considers how these closures will affect various aspects of electric utilities.
  • "Ahead of the curve: Hill Country stakeholders proactively create Upper Llano River watershed protection plan." By Claire Corley. txH2O, Fall 2017, pp. 27-30.
    Describes the efforts of local stakeholders to partner with several programs and agencies to develop a watershed protection plan for the Upper Llano River.

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.