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

  • Explore partnerships between public school districts and charter schools. (National Conference of State Legislatures Blog, April 23, 2018)
  • Read about the alternative response option in child welfare cases. (Texas Public Policy Foundation, April 19, 2018)
  • Consider public concerns over misinformation online. (Pew Research Center, April 19, 2018)
  • Find a drop-off location to dispose of prescription medications safely. (Attorney General of Texas, accessed April 25, 2018)

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

  • "REAL ID: What Americans should expect." By Asia London Palomba. Christian Science Monitor, April 16, 2018, p. 17.
    Presents a Q&A discussion of the implementation of the REAL ID Act passed in 2005. Provides a map showing which states are in compliance with the law—Texas is compliant. Related information at:
  • "When a grand idea grows old." By Karin Fischer. Chronicle of Higher Education, April 13, 2018, pp. A14-A18.
    Examines the 60-year-old California master plan of education which set up a three-tier system to educate a large population while still providing for advanced research institutions.
  • "Data privacy: Copy that; The GDPR: The joys of data hygiene." Economist, April 7th-13th, 2018, pp. 10-11, 53-54.
    Promotes the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation [GDPR] as a model for America, noting businesses that serve European customers will have to comply with the GDPR. Points out the benefits of complying with the new data protection law. Related information at:
  • "Death: Funerals of the future." Economist, April 14th-20th, 2018, pp. 51-53.
    Explains how the Internet, changing norms, customer demand, and competition from new businesses are disrupting the funeral industry. Reports the industry's revenue is expected to stagnate between 2016 and 2021, noting the long-term trend towards cremation: less than four percent in 1960 but expected to rise to 79 percent by 2035.
  • "Information and college decisions: Evidence from the Texas GO Center project." By Jesse M. Cunha, Trey Miller, and Emily Weisburst. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, March 2018, pp. 151-170.
    Examines the effectiveness of Texas GO Centers, peer-run information centers that assist historically under-served students prepare and plan for college. Concludes the centers have led to a significant increase in college application rates and a limited increase in college enrollment rates, but no increase in college completion rates. Related information at:
  • "Ethanol's regulatory battle." By Kristy Moore. Ethanol Today, March/April 2018, pp. 26-27.
    Considers ethanol's role in the motor fuel industry's current regulatory environment.
  • "Solar power in Texas: The next big renewable?" By Patrick Graves and Bruce Wright. Fiscal Notes, April 2018, pp. 1, 3-5.
    Assesses the energy capacity and economic impact of Texas' solar industry. Highlights the role of local government in supplementing energy needs with solar power.
  • "We need new rules for self-driving cars." By Jack Stilgoe. Issues in Science and Technology, Spring 2018, pp. 52-57.
    Explores the development and proliferation of self-driving cars. Discusses potential legal and regulatory approaches to the use of self-driving cars and their integration into transportation infrastructure.
  • "Robert Kerns, PhD: Researching nondrug approaches to pain management." By Jennifer Abbasi. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), April 17, 2018, pp. 1535-1537.
    Interviews Kerns about his research and work with the VA [United States Department of Veterans Affairs] on pain management for veterans. Focuses on new efforts to study the effectiveness of nondrug approaches to pain management in light of the opioid epidemic, with treatments ranging from chiropractic care to cognitive behavioral therapy to tai chi.
  • "State of the states 2017: Texas." By Ken Helvey. Journal of Education Finance, Winter 2018, pp. 311-313.
    Presents a summary of Texas legislative activity affecting P-12 education in 2017. Highlights funding priorities, changes to funding formulas, school finance litigation, charter schools, and per pupil spending.
  • "Court to review physical presence nexus standard." By Debra S. Herman and K. Craig Reilly. Journal of MultiState Taxation and Incentives, May 2018, pp. 43-46.
    Previews United States Supreme Court consideration of South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., et al., which could possibly overturn the physical presence nexus standard for Internet sales and use tax collections from the Quill Corp v. North Dakota decision in 1992. Briefly discusses other petitions pending before the Court, including a Virginia county's challenge to the import-export clause. Related information at: and
  • "Small towns think big on reliability." By Susan Partain. Public Power, March/April 2018, pp. 16-22.
    Explores six different factors related to reliability at several smaller public power utilities.
  • "There are too many kids on the sex offender registry." By Lenore Skenazy. Reason, May 2018, p. 9.
    Argues sex offender registries are based on flawed theories and are in reality adding many children to the list who are not likely to reoffend.
  • "Gone to Texas: Migration vital to growth in the Lone Star State." By Pia M. Orrenius, Alexander T. Abraham, and Stephanie Gullo. Southwest Economy (Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas), First Quarter 2018, pp. 3-11.
    Analyzes domestic and international migration to Texas and the labor market outcomes, lower immigrant earnings, and other economic effects of migration.
  • "'The future' of pain treatment?" By Joey Berlin. Texas Medicine, April 2018, pp. 38-42.
    Examines a Fort Worth anesthesiology group's "zero narcotics" approach to surgery pain control using nerve-blocking and nonopioid medications. Presents physicians' arguments for and against the need for opioids in pain management.
  • "Indoctrinated." By Sophie Novak. Texas Observer, April/May 2018, pp. 20-24.
    Shares the difficult hospital experience of Representative Donna Howard's daughter after she suffered a miscarriage, to highlight the potential negative effects of the new Texas fetal remains law. Reports the law, which mandates the burial or cremation of fetal remains after miscarriages or abortions, has been blocked pending a trial set for the summer.

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.