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

  • See how accessing legislation via smartphones has been on the rise. (In Custodia Legis, August 16, 2018)
  • Chart what's going on so far in 2018. (Recode, August 13, 2018)
  • Learn how to trace emails from the source. (MakeUseOf, August 20, 2018)
  • Read about how teens and parents manage time on smartphones and similar devices. (Pew Research Center, August 22, 2018)

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

  • "Threatening words." By David L. Hudson. ABA Journal: The Lawyer's Magazine, August 2018, pp. 56-61.
    Reviews United States Supreme Court opinions that illustrate how the court has struggled to develop clear guidelines for determining when rants and raves — "true threats" — exceed the boundaries of protected speech.
  • "How ICE went rogue." By Franklin Foer. Atlantic Monthly, September 2018, pp. 56-70.
    Examines the growth of United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement [ICE] as immigration has become one of the highest priorities of federal law enforcement. Explores the heavy reliance on private contractors, with ICE employing more outside contractors than federal employees.
  • "Push to kill sick-leave mandate continues." By Daniel Salazar. Austin Business Journal, August 17, 2018, p. 4.
    Reviews the Texas Public Policy Foundation's lawsuit challenging Austin's sick-leave ordinance. Mentions an amicus brief filed on behalf of 29 state lawmakers who are part of the Texas Conservative Coalition. Related information at:
  • "Robin Steinberg is disrupting the bail system that keeps poor defendants in jail before trial." By Simon Montlake. Christian Science Monitor, July 30, 2018, pp. 39-40.
    Highlights the work of Robin Steinberg and her Bronx Freedom Fund, a revolving nonprofit fund paying bail for poor people. Explains the concept has expanded into the Bail Project that will operate in over 40 locations and has received funding as a TED Audacious Project. Includes a discussion of "bail disrupters," project assistants who track and assist low-income defendants to ensure they can appear for their court dates.
  • "Baylor used football program as scapegoat, says ex-director." By Sarah Brown. Chronicle of Higher Education, August 3, 2018, p. A21.
    Presents the views of Ian McCaw, former Baylor University athletics director, regarding the high-profile sexual-assault scandal that led to his resignation. Reports on a deposition in which McCaw claims board members and university administrators ensured the focus was on the football program in order to deflect from the more widespread failure to adequately address problems at their administrative level.
  • "Sick of confusing medical bills?" By Penelope Wang. Consumer Reports, September 2018, pp. 44, 46-52.
    Discusses the medical billing process. Points out how people can protect their finances before, during, and after a medical procedure.
  • "Land-value tax: On firmer ground." Economist, August 11th-17th, 2018, pp. 18-20.
    Considers the appeal of land-value taxes. Notes critics' concerns about their fairness, viability, and effectiveness.
  • "Voter purges: On election day, stay away." Economist, August 11th-17th, 2018, pp. 22-23.
    Discusses the dramatic increase in state voter purges in recent years. Report at:
  • "Impact of Medicaid expansion on coverage and treatment of low-income adults with substance use disorders." By Mark Olfson. Health Affairs, August 2018, pp. 1208-1215.
    Assesses the impact of expanded Medicaid eligibility on insurance and treatment rates for people with substance use disorders. Finds that while insurance rates increased in expansion and nonexpansion states, there was no corresponding increase in overall substance use disorder treatment in either category.
  • "Increasing fatality rates from preventable deaths in teenagers and young adults." By Lois K. Lee and Rebekah Mannix. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), August 14, 2018, pp. 543-544.
    Highlights recent trends of increasing numbers of teenagers and young adults dying from potentially preventable causes, such as drug overdoses, motor vehicle crashes, and firearms. Advocates for policies to prevent and treat opioid addiction, build safer motor vehicles and roadways, increase mental health services, and restrict access to firearms.
  • "Sharing is caring?" By Joey Berlin. Texas Medicine, August 2018, pp. 30-32.
    Discusses health care sharing ministries, an increasingly popular health insurance alternative. Calls for greater transparency from these ministries to help physicians and patients better understand how their health coverage works.

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.