LRL Home - Points of Interest

Current Articles & Research Resources, January 31

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

  • Explore the economic outlook for the United States. (Congressional Budget Office, January 2019)
  • Examine characteristics of federal executive agencies. (Administrative Conference of the United States, December 20, 2018)
  • Find details on equalized funding elements of the Foundation School Program. (Legislative Budget Board, January 2019)
  • Consider state laws related to online privacy. (National Conference of State Legislatures, January 7, 2019)

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

  • "Pell grants for prisoners would yield 'cascade' of benefits, advocates say." By Emma Pettit. Chronicle of Higher Education, January 25, 2019, p. A28.
    Discusses the 1994 ban of prisoners receiving Pell Grants and efforts since to reestablish this path to higher education for the prison population. Highlights findings of a recent report on the topic: Investing in Futures: Economic and Fiscal Benefits of Postsecondary Education in Prison.
  • "Early education: Young Americans." Economist, January 26th-February 1st, 2019, pp. 23-24.
    Reports more politicians from both parties are recognizing the importance of quality early education programs. Praises San Antonio's program, Pre-K 4 SA, of full-day preschool for four-year-olds.
  • "Texas school finance: Doing the math on the state's biggest expenditure." Fiscal Notes, January 2019, pp. 1-24.
    Presents a special edition on the history and intricacies of Texas' school finance system, including formulas, school finance litigation, the Foundation School Program, school funding sources, and school finance cost drivers and state/local shares.
  • "Rule would let companies deny many workers in Texas employment benefits." By Ed Sills and AFL-CIO. Internet Resource, January 10, 2019, p. 1.
    Argues that a proposed regulation by the Texas Workforce Commission exceeds their rule-making authority by changing the definition of "employee," allowing them to be called "marketplace contractors" in a digital network business. Suggests this re-definition should be considered by the legislature.
  • "College affordability update: Value, price, and choice in U.S. higher education." By Beth Akers, Kim Dancy, and Jason Delisle. Issue Brief (Manhattan Institute), January 8, 2019, pp. 1-8.
    Updates an earlier analysis of college affordability using the most recent data from the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study.
  • "Making way (hopefully) for 5G." By Thomas M. Lenard and Lawrence J. White. Milken Institute Review, First Quarter 2019, pp. 28-35.
    Explores regulatory issues with the next generation of wireless technologies, collectively known as "5G" infrastructure, and the need for federal agencies to expand the "spectrum" dedicated to wireless communications.
  • "How state-level Child Care Development Fund policies may shape access and utilization among Hispanic families." By Lisa A. Gennetian, Julia Mendez, and Zoelene Hill. National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families, January 2019, pp. 1-9.
    Discusses the Child Care and Development Fund [CCDF], a federal-state child care financial assistance partnership. Details how 13 states, including Texas, implement eligibility requirements, household and work documentation requirements, prioritization of TANF recipients, and availability of program information online in Spanish.
  • "Mr. 2012." National Review, January 28, 2019, pp. 16-18.
    Considers the presidential candidacy of Julián Castro, stating he may be one of the youngest and the only Latino in a crowded Democratic field. Comments that initially he has not inspired broad support and his experience may not be suited to this election.
  • "Marijuana reform on the way?" By Kimberly Reeves. San Antonio Business Journal, January 18, 2019, p. 18.
    Presents the efforts in Texas to decriminalize marijuana use under certain circumstances. Points out the tax savings and tax revenues in other states that have legalized medical and recreational marijuana use.
  • "Top ten issues to watch in 2019." By Julie Lays. State Legislatures, January/February 2019, pp. 10-15.
    Summarizes the top ten pressing issues that will dominate state legislative agendas in 2019. Provides lists of runner-up issues of concern as well as state issues with a federal component.
  • "¿Mi casa es su casa? Restrictive covenants and short-term rentals." By Rusty Adams. Tierra Grande, January 2019, pp. 24-25.
    Reports on the 2018 Texas Supreme Court ruling in Tarr v. Timberwood Park Owners Association Inc., a case that addresses restrictive covenants and short term-term rentals. Includes discussion on what the court did not say.

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.

Texas African American History Memorial Exhibit

Entering the Capitol grounds from the south, one of the first monuments visitors see is the Texas African American History Memorial. Unveiled on November 19, 2016, the monument commemorates African American Texans and their contributions to the history and evolution of the Lone Star State. 


To see how the memorial developed in sculptor Ed Dwight's studio and learn about its legislative history, visit the Legislative Reference Library's display featuring the piece. Photographs showing components of the sculpture in different stages, alongside images of the final product, give insight into the artist's process. Placards lining the top of the case outline the eight bills that the legislature passed in the process of making the memorial a reality. (You can also learn more about the monument's legislative history here.)


As Texans prepare to commemorate Black History Month, we hope you'll visit our display and the Texas African American History Memorial to learn more about the wide array of contributions made by Black Texans.


Images, clockwise from top: 

The Texas African American History Memorial display is located in the case nearest the reference desk.


Photos from sculptor Ed Dwight's studio came to the library courtesy of Bill Jones, Esq., Chair of the Texas African American History Memorial Foundation, and help us to see the many steps and intricate work that went into the 27-foot high and 32-foot wide monument.

Current Articles & Research Resources, January 24

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

  • See where the United States ranks among other countries in economic freedom. (The Heritage Foundation, ©2018)
  • Examine teacher pension plans in six states, including Texas. (National Institute on Retirement Security, January 8, 2019)
  • Consider how apprenticeship programs are a path to employment. (The Council of State Governments, January 23, 2019)
  • Explore the Texas Attorney General's new educational website related to opioid misuse and abuse. (Attorney General of Texas, January 22, 2019)

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

  • "OZ: Opportunity zones." By Paul Thompson. Austin Business Journal, January 18, 2019, pp. 4-7.
    Provides a guide to opportunity zones, a new community investment tool created under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to encourage long-term investments in distressed communities throughout the country.
  • "Many SNAP households will experience long gap between monthly benefits even if shutdown ends." By Dorothy Rosenbaum. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, January 22, 2019, pp. 1-8.
    Reports on the lengthy delay between the issuance of February and March benefits for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program [SNAP]. Includes a table of selected states, including Texas, showing SNAP households facing a 50-day or longer gap in benefits.
  • "Refashioning Title IX: Here's what people are saying at" By Steven Johnson. Chronicle of Higher Education, January 11, 2019, p. A20.
    Highlights the huge number of public comments being submitted on the proposed revision of Title IX, gender equity, and sexual assault investigation regulations for higher education institutions. Explains the new regulations will be open for public comment through January 28, 2019. Related information at:
  • "Health economics: Shopping for a Caesarean." Economist, January 12th-18th, 2019, pp. 22-23.
    Reports the new price-transparency rule requiring hospitals to post standard charges for their services online is unlikely to reduce prices, but could instead trigger a price war that results in higher prices.
  • "Moving toward more equitable state tax systems: A "who pays?" follow-up report on tax policy options for advancing equity and addressing income inequality." By Dylan Grundman. Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, January 2019, pp. 1-9.
    Presents state tax policy recommendations to improve economic opportunities and address racial inequities. Discusses best practices in corporate income taxes and overuse of sales taxes as a significant source of state and local revenue. Report at:
  • "How states use Medicaid managed care to deliver long-term services and supports to children with special health care needs." By Kate Honsberger, et al. Internet Resource, November 2018, pp. 1-24.
    Provides a 50-state review and analysis of state Medicaid managed care programs that provide long-term services and supports [LTSS] to children and youth with special health care needs. Notes that Texas is one of three states that have designed stand-alone MLTSS programs to specifically serve Medicaid populations with complex health care needs.
  • "Physicians are steering the conversation about gun violence." By Rita Rubin. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), January 15, 2019, pp. 133-135.
    Interviews Dr. Megan Ranney, one of the leading voices in the "This Is Our Lane" movement, on why firearm violence is a public health issue and how physicians can play an important role in advocating for policy solutions.
  • "Cost-of-living adjustments (2018)." National Association of State Retirement Administrators, December 2018, pp. 1-16.
    Discusses periodic cost-of-living adjustments [COLA] in state and local government pensions, common COLA types and features, COLA costs, and recent changes. Features an appendix of COLA provisions by state, including Texas County & District Retirement System, Employees Retirement System of Texas, Texas Municipal Retirement System, and Teacher Retirement System of Texas.
  • "Deregulation meets markets: Econ 101 shows the way." By Charles Bayless. Public Utilities Fortnightly, January 2019, pp. 46-51.
    Explores problems that arise when regulated prices interact with incorrect pricing signals in the free market. Provides examples of incorrect pricing and its effects.
  • "Is CBD a miracle cure or a marketing scam? (Both)." By Mike Riggs. Reason, February 2019, pp. 26-34.
    Examines the use of CBD [cannabidiol], a compound derived from marijuana and hemp plants. Explains the importance of separating use as a life-changing medicine for the chronically ill from the newly popular luxury self-care products. Suggests federal regulatory barriers need to be changed to allow for proper regulation of products and research into medical uses.
  • "Texas top-ranked state for firm relocations." By Anil Kumar and Alexander T. Abraham. Southwest Economy (Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas), Fourth Quarter 2018, pp. 3-8.
    Analyzes trends in recent corporate relocations to Texas, the net migration rate of employment, and the role of tax incentives.
  • "Rural hospitals in greater jeopardy in non-Medicaid expansion states." By Michael Ollove. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), January 22, 2019, pp. 1-6.
    Examines whether Medicaid eligibility expansion could save rural hospitals that are at risk of closing in Texas and other non-expansion states.
  • "Leveraging LARCs." By Sean Price. Texas Medicine, January 2019, pp. 26-29.
    Argues for LARCs [long-acting reversible contraceptives] to play an increasing role in Texas' solution for reducing maternal mortality. Explains the need for legislation to make LARCs more easily accessible and for continuing medical education to enhance both patient and physician awareness of LARCs.
  • "The survivor." By Aryn Baker. Time, January 28, 2019, pp. 36-43.
    Examines sex trafficking in the United States, focusing on oil and shale drilling communities in North Dakota and Texas. Profiles a survivor of sex trafficking, who now helps other trafficked victims and provides sex-trafficking awareness training for law enforcement, including officers in Odessa, Texas.

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.

Resource Highlight: State Budget Timeline

Check out the LRL's state budget timeline as you follow the budget process for the 2020–2021 biennium. The Senate and House's preliminary funding recommendations will be posted when both bills are filed, as will the governor's budget recommendations.


You can click through the timeline to see what is scheduled to happen in each date range. The LRL will add links to documents as they are released.


Past budget timelines are available in PDF form just below the timeline, as well as a variety of other budget resources. Be sure to check back for updates as budget planning progresses for the upcoming biennium.


Current Articles & Research Resources, January 17

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

  • Explore NCSL's updated State Tax Actions database. (National Conference of State Legislatures, December 17, 2018)
  • Examine an in-depth look at the relationship between resources and population. (Cato Institute, December 4, 2018)
  • Read about how excessive social media use is similar to drug addiction. (Michigan State University, January 10, 2019)
  • Consider the cybersecurity risks created by the partial federal government shutdown. (Wired, January 16, 2019)

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

  • "History lessons." By Glenn Cook. American School Board Journal, February 2019, pp. 22-26.
    Discusses the challenges of teaching history in public schools. Addresses the problems with the current teaching model and the difficulty of teaching the complex topics of slavery and immigration.
  • "What businesses want from Texas lawmakers this year." By Kimberly Reeves. Austin Business Journal, January 11, 2019, p. 12.
    Discusses the business community's top priorities for the 86th Legislature: preserving economic development incentives and tax abatements.
  • "Officials deploy new tools, overcome obstacles to protect elections." By Sean Slone. Capitol Ideas, November/December 2018, pp. 36-39.
    Reviews various election security initiatives in the states in response to the cyberattacks of the 2016 election, including interagency partnerships, technology improvements, and new communications protocols. Reports on the new Council of State Governments Election Cybersecurity Initiative Guide for state and local officials, released in December 2018. Report at:
  • "Child welfare agency spending in Texas." Child Trends, December 20, 2018, pp. 1-8.
    Summarizes FY 2016 expenditures of child welfare agencies in Texas, including federal (Title IV-E, Title IV-B, Medicaid, TANF), state, and local expenditures. Details Texas' use of funds on preventive services and adoption and guardianship costs. Report at:
  • "Saving Arizona." By Rob Boston. Church & State, January 2019, pp. 6-8.
    Explains how six women used the citizens' referendum process to defeat legislation expanding Arizona's voucher plan (Proposition 305). Related information at:,_
  • "Funding public education (and other legislative priorities)." Classroom Teacher (Texas Classroom Teachers Association), Winter 2018-19, pp. 10-13.
    Highlights education issues that are a priority for the 86th Legislature. Addresses school finance, teacher salaries, pensions, school safety, and more.
  • "Are we at a tipping point?" By Lorraine Glennon. Consumer Reports, February 2019, pp. 35-41.
    Examines the inequities and fraud associated with the gratuity economy and potential remedies. Includes a brief history of tipping.
  • "Education: Grad inflation." Economist, January 5th-11th, 2019, pp. 18-19.
    Considers the role of online credit recovery courses in high school graduation-rate inflation.
  • "The battle over NAFTA has just begun." By Lori Wallach. Nation, January 14/21, 2019, pp. 16-19.
    Discusses challenges of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, signed November 30, 2018. Criticizes the lack of consumer protection and labor standards, as well as the addition of monopoly rights for the pharmaceutical industry.
  • "Unwatched pot." By Malcolm Gladwell. New Yorker, January 14, 2019, pp. 18-21.
    Considers whether enough is known about marijuana to make good public health policy decisions. Contrasts the study of marijuana with the more exhaustive study of nicotine.
  • "Texas pre-K enrollment exceeds U.S. rate." By Stephanie Gullo. Southwest Economy (Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas), Fourth Quarter 2018, p. 9.
    Discusses the status of pre-kindergarten funding in Texas and finds that 49.4 percent of Texas four-year-olds were enrolled in state-funded pre-kindergarten programs in 2016-17, compared with 32.7 percent nationally.
  • "Medicaid 'buy-in' could be a new health care option for the uninsured." By Michael Ollove. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), January 10, 2019, pp. 1-6.
    Examines the viability of state Medicaid buy-in programs and likely political challenges from the insurance industry and the federal government.
  • "Eminent domain a priority issue for Texas Farm Bureau." Texas Agriculture, January 4, 2018, p. 2.
    Provides excerpts from the Texas Farm Bureau president's address to the organization's annual meeting, highlighting eminent domain reform as the most important issue in Texas agriculture.
  • "New allies at the Capitol." By Joey Berlin. Texas Medicine, January 2019, pp. 30-31, 33
  • Profiles Representatives Steve Allison, Cody Harris, Julie Johnson, and John Turner, as examples of freshman pro-medicine legislators.
  • "On call at the Capitol." By Joey Berlin and Sean Price. Texas Medicine, January 2019, pp. 20-25.
    Outlines the Texas Medical Association's primary goals for the 86th Legislature, such as improving Medicaid coverage, addressing insurance issues such as prior authorization and network adequacy, and public health objectives.
  • "The power of the Permian." By Justin Worland. Time, January 14, 2019, pp. 22-27.
    Examines how the oil and gas industry in the Permian Basin is affecting the economy, the international energy industry, the environment, and Texas.

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.

Succeeding Spouses

Over the years, the Texas Legislature has seen several spouses follow in their partner's legislative footsteps. On our Women Members of the Texas Legislature, 1923-present page, footnotes indicate the five instances in which a legislator succeeded her spouse in an unexpired term following his death, and the three wives who served as temporary acting representatives during their husbands' military deployments. (Footnotes also point out where women were elected but never sworn into a legislator's role.) 

  • Maribelle Stewart appears to be the first wife to complete her husband's term in the Texas Legislature following his death. W. Lacy Stewart (Senate, 50th Legislature) passed away on March 22, 1947. Maribelle won a special election to fill the vacancy, but she resigned her seat representing Senate District 16 in 1948 when she remarried.
  • Persis Henderson (House, 51st) succeeded her husband, A. Robin Henderson (House, 49th-51st) in representing House District 61 when he died on March 15, 1949. Persis won a special election to fill the seat (running as Mrs. A. Robin Henderson); she announced for reelection to a full term but withdrew her candidacy, citing low legislative pay and the high cost of living in Austin.
  • Sue Hairgrove (House, 60th) won a special election to succeed her husband, Jim Hairgrove (House, 60th) for the House District 20-F seat when he passed away on April 12, 1967.
  • Lou Nelle Sutton (House, 64th-70th) succeeded her husband, G.J. Sutton (House, 63rd-64th), following his death on June 22, 1976, and her special election win to represent House District 57-E on August 7, 1976. Lou Nelle went on to be reelected to the 65th-70th Legislatures.
  • Myra Crownover (House, 76th-84th), in a May 2000 special election, succeeded her husband, Ronny Crownover, (House, 76th) following his death on March 26, 2000. She continued to represent House District 64 for nearly two decades.
  • Valerie Corte (House, 79th, 81st), Cheri Isett (House, 79th), and Melissa Noriega (House, 79th) were selected by their husbands to serve as temporary acting representatives during military deployments. Frank Corte (House, 73rd-81st) was called to military service during his legislative service twice; Carl Isett (75th-81st) and Rick Noriega (House, 76th-80th) were each called once during their time in the House. 

In addition to spouses filling unexpired terms, there are several other cases where spouses succeeded their partners in the legislature, separated by a few years or by redistricting. (And in the first case, separated by divorce, too.)

  • Neveille Colson (House, 46th-50th Legislatures; Senate, 51st-59th Legislatures), the first woman to serve in both chambers of the legislature, was elected to represent House District 27 a couple years after her then-husband, Nall Colson (House, 43rd-44th), lost the seat. The couple divorced in 1938, before Neveille took office in 1939.
  • Betty Denton (House, 65th-73rd) represented McLennan County, House District 35-A, following her husband, Lane Denton (House, 62nd-64th), who resigned the House District 35-1 seat to run for the Texas Railroad Commission. Redistricting meant that while they represented the same county, the district was different.
  • Sam Harless (House, 86th) appears to be the first husband to fill a seat formerly occupied by a wife. He was elected in November 2018 to serve House District 126; Patricia Harless served the district from the 80th-84th Legislatures.
  • Angela Paxton (Senate, 86th-87th), elected in November 2018, serves Senate District 8, the same seat that her husband, current Attorney General Ken Paxton (House, 78th-82nd, Senate, 83rd), occupied.
  • Frances Rountree and Cora Strong were the first widows of legislators elected to serve in the Texas Legislature, both serving as representatives in the 42nd Legislature. Cora's husband, N.R. Strong, died while representing House District 55 during the 41st Legislature. Cora was elected to the seat for the following session. Frances' husband, Lee J. Rountree (House, 37th-38th), died at his desk in the House chamber in 1923. In 1930, running as "Mrs. Lee J. Rountree," Frances was elected to the House; however, redistricting in the intervening years changed the House District number for Brazos County from 22 to 26.

This blog post is the first in a series, with posts to come on legislative siblings, parents/children, and other family connections.

New & Noteworthy: January 2019

The Library is continually adding new books to its collection. Below are the seven titles from our January 2019 New & Noteworthy list

Check out and delivery of New & Noteworthy titles is available to legislative staff in Capitol and District offices. To arrange check out and delivery of any of these items, you can submit an online request through the New & Noteworthy page on our website, contact the library at 512-463-1252, or use our PDF request form.


1. Topics for the 86th Legislature.
By House Research Organization
Highlights prominent issues lawmakers are expected to consider during the 86th Texas Legislature. Provides succinct summaries of a variety of topics including school finance, property taxes, Hurricane Harvey, school safety, criminal penalties, transportation funding, and Medicaid.
House Research Organization, 2018. 15 pages.
Online at:
L1801.9 ST94 86-1



2. Implementation of 2017 Sunset Recommendations: Compliance Report
By Sunset Advisory Commission
Provides the status of state agencies’ progress in implementing Sunset recommendations and required statutory changes from the 85th Legislature. Contains bill provisions along with the status and comments on implementation for ten agencies, including the Texas Department of Transportation and the Employees Retirement System of Texas.
Sunset Advisory Commission, 2019. 56 pages.
Online at:
S1500.8 IM7C 2019



3. State of Texas Annual Cash Report, Fiscal 2018
By Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Provides insight into the state's financial condition, detailing revenues and expenditures on a cash basis, as required by Texas Government Code § 403.013. Reflects revenue and expenditure details for all funds in the Texas Treasury.
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, 2018. 472 pages.
Online at:
C2600.3 R299C 2018



4. The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas are Setting Up a Generation for Failure
By Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt
Examines social trends that the authors argue have resulted in the spread of three great "untruths": fragility, emotional reasoning, and an "us versus them" mentality. Describes how these "untruths" have taken hold in American childhood and education and are affecting free speech in our country's universities.
Penguin Press, 2018. 269 pages.
306.20973 L969C 2018



5. Reduce, Reuse, Reimagine: Sorting Out the Recycling System
By Beth Porter
Presents the history, efficacy, and problems of recycling and waste disposal. Reports that the U.S. currently recycles approximately only 34 percent of its waste, while other countries recycle twice this quantity. Identifies actions necessary to employ and strengthen recycling systems.
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2018. 164 pages.
363.72 P833R 2018



6. Women in Texas History
By Angela Boswell
Provides a chronological overview of women's history in Texas, from Native American Texas to the end of the twentieth century. Considers physical, geographic, legal, political, social, and cultural factors that challenged and shaped Texas women's roles in creating the state of Texas. Includes a section on women in politics, including state legislators such as Sen. Barbara Jordan, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, Rep. Senfronia Thompson, Rep. Irma Rangel, and other political female "firsts."
Texas A&M University Press, 2018. 275 pages.
305.409764 B657W 2018



7. Austin, Texas
By Karen R. Thompson and Kathy R. Howell
Documents the unique history of Austin with more than 200 vintage photographs. Highlights the public face of the city in sections on the Texas Capitol, University of Texas, and downtown. Provides a peek at everyday life with photos of business, entertainment, and educational activities, among other pursuits.
Arcadia Publishing, 2000. 128 pages.
976.431 T374A 2000



Legislative Agency Service Fair, January 24

At the beginning of each session, the Legislative Agency Service Fair provides an opportunity for new members and their staff to learn more about the services each agency offers.


This year, the fair will be held on Thursday, January 24, from 10:30 until noon, in the Legislative Reference Library, Capitol, 2N.3.


Staff from the following legislative agencies will be in attendance: Legislative Budget Board, Legislative Reference Library, State Auditor's Office, Sunset Advisory Commission, and Texas Legislative Council. Also attending will be a representative from the National Conference of State Legislatures. You might come away with more than information—we will have selected publications and other items to give away.


Please drop by the fair to learn more about how legislative agencies can support your work!


Rep. Dade Phelan (HD-21) reviews materials from the Legislative Reference Library with LRL Assistant Director, Catherine Wusterhausen, at the 2015 agency fair.

Current Articles & Research Resources, January 10

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

  • Review how to read bills and statutes. (Texas Legislative Council, accessed January 9, 2019)
  • Explore trends in crime in the U.S. (Pew Research Center, January 3, 2019)
  • Read about the status of the special counsel investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 elections. (Congressional Research Service, January 2, 2019)
  • View recent state legislation related to financial crimes against the elderly. (National Conference of State Legislatures, January 3, 2019)

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

  • "Breakdown." By Julianne Hill. ABA Journal: The Lawyer's Magazine, January-February 2019, pp. 37-43. Reports on how states are using prisons and jails to house mentally ill persons who have not been convicted of crimes, due to the lack of psychiatric hospital beds and community-based mental health services.
  • "Student crossing." By Story Hinckley. Christian Science Monitor, November 26, 2018, pp. 24-30.
    Profiles the Luna County, New Mexico, school system's inclusion of students who live in a nearby Mexican town. Quotes the Deming, New Mexico, mayor on the value of the cross-border education program in educating future citizens and leaders. Explains the value of building the potential local tax base in a small rural town and reducing future welfare expenditures.
  • "'I'm solution-agnostic'." Chronicle of Higher Education, December 14, 2018, p. A6-A7.
    Interviews Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist from Texas Tech University and one of the authors of the recent National Climate Assessment, on climate change and her role in the discussions surrounding this topic. Report at:
  • "The people have spoken: Private school vouchers have a long track record of failure at the ballot box." By Rob Boston. Church & State, January 2019, pp. 9-11.
    Provides an overview of high-profile state legislative proposals since 1967 that sought to establish voucher plans or other types of public aid to private and religious schools but were defeated at the ballot box.
  • "1,800 companies left California in a year — with a lot bound for Texas." By Bill Hethcock. Dallas Business Journal, December 21, 2018, pp. 14-15.
    Points out the top reasons California companies are relocating to states with a better business climate. Notes the top ten states and cities that gained the most from California business relocations and migrations.
  • "Municipal limits: Less than the sum of their parts." Economist, December 22nd, 2018-January 4th, 2019, pp. 41-42.
    Considers the negative effects of municipal fragmentation, using the current structure in Birmingham, Alabama, as an example. Offers examples of approaches cities and metro areas can take to build and maintain regional cooperation, promote unity, and deliver better services to all residents. Related information at:
  • "How is telemedicine being used in opioid and other substance use disorder treatment?" By Haiden A. Huskamp, et al. Health Affairs, December 2018, pp. 1940-1947.
    Argues that tele-SUD [telemedicine for substance use disorder] is being under-utilized and could increase access to SUD treatment, particularly in rural areas. Notes regulatory and reimbursement barriers and that Congress and the states are passing legislation to address them.
  • "Telehealth in health centers: Key adoption factors, barriers, and opportunities." By Ching-Ching Claire Lin, et al. Health Affairs, December 2018, pp. 1967-1974.
    Examines factors associated with adoption of telehealth services by health centers and barriers to use, such as cost, reimbursement, and technical issues. Notes that Medicaid reimbursement policies promoting live video and store-and-forward services were associated with a greater likelihood of telehealth adoption and potentially improved access to care.
  • "States move to substitute opioids with medical marijuana to quell epidemic." By Rebecca Voelker. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), December 18, 2018, pp. 2408-2410.
    Considers the pros and cons of states adopting laws and regulations allowing certain patients with opioid prescriptions instead to buy cannabis at a registered dispensary with a physician's written certification.
  • "EPA finalizes amendments to refinery emissions control requirements." Oil and Gas Journal, December 3, 2018, pp. 37-38.
    Clarifies the Environmental Protection Agency's final rule, amending the National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants and New Source Performance Standards for refineries, which recently went into effect. Related information at:
  • "FCC's decision accelerating broadband deployment: They struck a decent balance." By Steve Goodman. Public Utilities Fortnightly, December 2018, pp. 52-53.
    Examines the role of local and state governments in light of the Federal Communications Commission's recent decision regarding broadband deployment. Related information at:
  • "Austin Energy launches school EV program." Texas Public Power, November-December 2018, p. 9.
    Provides information about EVs for Schools, an Austin Energy program that focuses on installing electric vehicle charging stations at Austin Independent School District campuses. Related information at:
  • "Georgetown wins $1 million prize for local solar panels." Texas Public Power, November-December 2018, p. 8.
    Highlights a prize Georgetown won that will be used to generate renewable energy locally. Related information at:
  • "The forgotten lessons of LBJ's domestic legacy." By Rebecca Shimoni Stoil. Washington Monthly, January/February/March 2019, pp. 33- 37.
    Explores the coalition building behind the success of some aspects of The Great Society, such as Medicare and federal student loans.

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.

Bills Effective, January–April 2019

In January 2019, 6 bills or sections thereof that were passed by the 85th Legislature take effect. Sections of three bills passed by the 84th Legislature also take effect this month.


In addition, sections of HB 29, 85th Legislature, will take effect on March 1, 2019, and HB 2803 and SB 1969 will take effect on April 1, 2019.


To keep up with new laws throughout the year, check the Library's list of bill effective dates.

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