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

  • Examine how the economy is shaping up after President Trump's first year in office. (Forbes, January 18, 2018)
  • Read about a working group's findings on the state of early education in America. (National Conference of State Legislatures, January 18, 2018)
  • Follow updates from Texas' oil and gas regulatory agency. (Railroad Commission of Texas, last updated January 23, 2018)
  • Try out the revamped Texas Unclaimed Property database. (Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, accessed January 24, 2018)

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

  • "Will Austin sick leave rules irk Texas lawmakers?" By Daniel Salazar. Austin Business Journal, January 19, 2018, p. 8.
    Considers how Texas legislators would react to local ordinances requiring employers to provide some type of paid sick leave to their employees.
    Reports at: and
  • "Legislative stars from the 2017 Texas Legislature." Classroom Teacher (Texas Classroom Teachers Association), Winter 2017-18, pp. 13-15.
    Presents members of the 85th Legislature designated "legislative stars" by the Texas Classroom Teachers Association. Highlights education-related issues and legislation backed by these lawmakers.
  • "Missy Shorey has the most impossible job in Dallas." By Eric Celeste. D Magazine, February 2018, pp. 36-37.
    Describes the challenges facing the new chair of the Dallas County Republican Party as she works to recruit and support Republicans in a county that has elected more Democratic candidates in recent elections.
  • "America's trade policies: steel wars." Economist, January 13th-19th, 2018, pp. 63-64.
    Considers the Trump administration's options for addressing the dramatic increase in steel imports — whether the increase poses a threat to America's national security.
  • "Trump and the economy: no discredit where none is due." Economist, January 13th-19th, 2018, p. 23.
    Evaluates the Trump administration's economic policy. Assesses the prospects for the American economy in 2018.
  • "State agencies and 'legacy' systems: the cost of aging government technology." By Courtney King and Bruce Wright. Fiscal Notes, December 2017-January 2018, pp. 1, 3-5.
    Examines trends in information technology [IT] spending at Texas state agencies, the consequences of an aging IT infrastructure, and the growing skills gap in Texas' ability to maintain legacy IT systems.
  • "State of Texas children 2017: child well-being in the Rio Grande Valley." By Kristie Tingle, Madeline Haynes, and DongMei Li. Internet Resource, November 29, 2017, pp. 1-13.
    Outlines current and historical policies that contribute to children's lack of economic, educational, and health opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley. Offers key policy recommendations for improving the welfare of Valley children.
  • "Taxes and sugar-sweetened beverages." By Lisa M. Powell and Matthew L. Maciejewski. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), January 16, 2018, pp. 229-230.
    Debates the efficacy of imposing excise taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages as an approach to reduce obesity.
  • "Medication-assisted opioid treatment prescribers in federally qualified health centers: capacity lags in rural areas." By Emily B. Jones. Journal of Rural Health, Winter 2018, pp. 14-22.
    Highlights the significance of health care centers in providing access to medication-assisted substance use disorder treatment services.
  • "Friend of science." By Julie Kelly. National Review, January 22, 2018, pp. 12-13.
    Profiles Texas Congressman Lamar Smith and his tenure as Chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.
  • "Can big data help save abused kids?" By Naomi Schaefer Riley. Reason, February 2018, pp. 29-38.
    Explores the potential of predictive risk modeling and use of big data in pursuit of better risk assessment calculations in child welfare cases. Describes a current project, the Allegheny Family Screening Tool, as a promising model.
  • "Air pollution's hidden impacts." By Joshua Graff Zivin and Matthew Neidell. Science, January 5, 2018, pp. 39-40.
    Discusses how air pollution can affect the economy because of changes to worker productivity.
  • "The funded status of local pensions inches closer to states." By Jean-Pierre Aubry, Caroline V. Crawford, and Alicia H. Munnell. State and Local Pension Plans (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College), January 2018, pp. 1 -13.
    Assesses the current status of local pension plans and compares trends in funded status for state and local plans. Includes funded ratio and percentage of Annual Retirement Contribution [ARC] paid for pensions in the cities of Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio.
  • "Globalization's effects on Texas manufacturing." By Luis B. Torres and Wesley Miller. Tierra Grande, January 2018, pp. 2-6.
    Explores the effects of NAFTA and China's accession into the World Trade Organization [WTO] on Texas manufacturing employment. Argues that while Texas manufacturing would benefit from updates to NAFTA, eliminating the agreement would present greater risks.
  • "A year ago, they marched. Now a record number of women are running for office." By Charlotte Alter. Time, January 29, 2018, pp. 26-33.
    Discusses the surge of first-time female candidates running for office in 2018. Spotlights Erin Zwiener, a Texas House candidate, and quotes several other Texas female candidates.

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.