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.