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.