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

  • See how the Texas Tax Amnesty Program works. (Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, February 2018)
  • Read about the effects of cyberbullying on sexual minority youth. (National Institutes of Health, April 16, 2018)
  • Track the wealthiest zip codes in America based on Internal Revenue Service data. (Bloomberg, April 10, 2018)
  • Review data points related to regulatory restrictions in the Texas Administrative Code. (Mercatus Center, March 2018)

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

  • "Imbalance of power." By Terry Carter. ABA Journal: The Lawyer's Magazine, April 2018, pp. 38-44.
    Considers whether President Trump is upsetting the balance of power through assertions of executive power and by pushing the boundaries of the separation of powers.
  • "Note to scientists: breathe easy." By Will Anderson and Jeff Jeffrey. Austin Business Journal, April 6, 2018, pp. 4-5.
    Reports good news for scientists and researchers who rely on grants from the National Institutes of Health [NIH], noting the NIH avoided drastic budget cuts threatened last year. Explains how NIH funding finds its way to Austin's top research centers.
  • "Civics education makes a return." By Story Hinckley. Christian Science Monitor, April 9, 2018, pp. 17-19.
    Identifies Florida as having the "most comprehensive civics education program in the country," suggesting the program prepared students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School for activism in response to their school shooting. Reviews civics education in other states.
  • "U. of Texas System's new online tool breaks down earnings potential for students in different majors." By Katherine Mangan. Chronicle of Higher Education, April 6, 2018, p. A34.
    Discusses the seekUT database tool developed by the University of Texas System and the Census Bureau that allows students to get an idea of what they might earn with different majors and what they are likely to owe from loans.
  • "Shredding separation in the sunshine state." By Liz Hayes. Church & State, April 2018, pp. 7-9.
    Highlights proposed Florida constitutional amendments that would divert taxpayer monies for public education to religious or private schools. Related information at:
  • "Bankruptcies skyrocket as debt multiples hit highs." By Mark Curriden. Dallas Business Journal, March 30, 2018, pp. 16-17.
    Predicts another wave of bankruptcies filed by Texas businesses with historic levels of debt. Notes newly filed corporate restructurings increased more than 42.6 percent in 2017.
  • "Alternatives to Obamacare: abandon ship!" Economist, March 31st-April 6th, 2018, pp. 26-27.
    Discusses alternatives to Obamacare's high-premium health insurance exchanges: short-term health plans, religious cost-sharing ministries, and deregulated health insurance.
  • "Meal delivery programs reduce the use of costly health care in dually eligible Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries." By Seth A. Berkowitz, et al. Health Affairs, April 2018, pp. 353-542.
    Compares inpatient admissions and medical spending among patients enrolled in meal delivery programs versus those not enrolled. Reports lower medical spending and, for those in a medically tailored meal program, fewer inpatient admissions.
  • "Texans should be wary of bullet train proposal." By Alain Leray. Houston Business Journal, April 5, 2018, p. 38.
    Discusses the Texas Central Rail's proposal for high-speed passenger rail services in Texas. Argues the proposal has some drawbacks.
  • "Houston surveys post-Harvey policy landscape: the 'Bayou City' considers land use rules changes." By Kathleen McCormick. Land Lines, April 2018, pp. 20-29.
    Considers the potential for new land regulations in Houston after Hurricane Harvey. Describes the city's flood history and risk, recent resilience efforts including flood mitigation, new floodplain mapping, and home buyouts. See also:
  • "The 7,383 seat strategy." By Joan Walsh. Nation, April 16, 2018, pp. 12-21.
    Examines the Democratic Party's strategy in state legislative races and the effect of increasing Republican control in state legislatures on right-to-work laws, redistricting, and the ability to call a constitutional convention. Notes that in Texas, Democrats are running more legislative candidates than they have since the 1990s.
  • "Offshore wind transmission options, opportunities: challenging tradeoffs." By Seth Parker and Alex Mattfolk. Public Utilities Fortnightly, April 2018, pp. 74-79.
    Explores the commercial and regulatory aspects of competing transmission options to deliver offshore wind energy into the regional transmission grids.
  • "The case for IT consolidation." By Elizabeth Crisp. State Legislatures, April 2018, pp. 24-26.
    Discusses how states can save millions and better guard against security threats by centralizing government information technology services and administration.
  • "Tax overhaul spells changes for next year's returns." By Jessica Domel. Texas Agriculture, April 6, 2018, p. 6.
    Discusses recent tax reform and how deductions, exemptions, and credits have changed for the 2018 tax year.
  • "The risk of speaking up." By Joey Berlin. Texas Medicine, April 2018, pp. 44-47.
    Describes several Texas physicians' experiences as whistleblowers against hospital practices and calls for better protections for these doctors. Includes sidebar on legislative efforts to protect whistleblowing physicians, such as SB833, 85th Legislature, R.S.
  • "Surprise! Balance billing still a focus at the Capitol." By Joey Berlin. Texas Medicine, April 2018, p. 16.
    Describes continued legislative efforts to address surprise medical bills. Mentions SB507 and HB477, 85th Legislature, R.S.
  • "Delay, derail, deny." By Chris Collins. Texas Observer, April/May 2018, pp. 12-19.
    Discusses how lawmakers, the Texas Supreme Court, and the attorney general have contributed to the erosion of the Texas Public Information Act. Quotes Senator Kirk Watson.

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.