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Current Articles & Research Resources, October 31

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

  • Explore statistics related to private correctional facilities. (The Sentencing Project, October 24, 2019)
  • Consider that the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture is finalizing a rule that will allow for hemp production. (AP News, October 29, 2019)
  • See how many people struggle with feeling well rested. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, October 25, 2019)
  • Read about the immigration detention framework established by the Immigration and Nationality Act. (Congressional Research Service, October 24, 2019)

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

  • "State higher education funding cuts have pushed costs to students, worsened inequality." By Michael Mitchell, Michael Leachman, and Matt Saenz. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, October 24, 2019, pp. 1-22.
    Finds that state spending on public colleges and universities is still more than $6 billion below what it was just before the Great Recession in 2008, resulting in tuition increases, faculty reductions, and limited course offerings. Includes state data on higher education funding and tuition increases from 2008-2018, and a Texas fact sheet.
  • "Trends in public opinion on US gun laws: Majorities of gun owners and non-gun owners support a range of measures." By Colleen L. Barry, et al. Health Affairs, October 2019, pp. 1727-1734.
    Examines data from the National Survey of Gun Policy from 2013-2019, and finds that large majorities of both gun owners and non-gun owners strongly support a range of measures to strengthen gun laws in the United States.
  • "Biggert-Waters and rising tides: Searching for enduring reform to the National Flood Insurance Program in today's politics." By Austin Johnson. Houston Law Review, Fall 2019, pp. 227-259 (Note Length).
    Examines the need to reform the current flood insurance system due to repetitive loss properties, continued development in flood plains, and debt. Analyzes how the political process and the political climate affected the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012. Considers policy issues related to stabilizing and reforming the National Flood Insurance Program through buy outs with subsidies and eminent domain.
  • "The electric grid in the digital age." By Mark P. Mills. National Review, October 28, 2019, pp. 40-42.
    Identifies the major reason for increased electricity usage since 2000 as the growing need for real-time availability for digital applications and processes. Argues the "variable" power of wind and solar sources and costs of battery storage facilities cannot handle the uninterrupted energy needs of the exploding digital economy.
  • "The trouble with 'renewables.'" By Benjamin Zycher. National Review, October 28, 2019, pp. 36-37.
    Considers the Green New Deal's support of wind and solar power. Suggests there are problems with these two power sources in terms of economy, capacity, and environmental hazards.
  • "The liquid left behind: Uncertainty about the cleanup costs and liability for water used in fracking." By James T. O'Reilly. Natural Resources & Environment, Fall 2019, pp. 42-44.
    Provides a brief description of hydraulic fracturing and its by-products. Considers issues related to liability in the disposal of wastewater and solid waste from fracking, including orphaned and abandoned wells, property ownership and leases, and seismic activity. Mentions the upcoming United States Supreme Court decision in County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund, regarding water pollution conveyed from a point source to navigable waters by a nonpoint source, such as groundwater.
  • "You're fired." By Jill Lepore. New Yorker, October 28, 2019, pp. 26-31.
    Explores the origins of impeachment in British history, the inclusion in the United States Constitution, and its application in the eighteen impeachment trials held by the United States Senate. Suggests impeachment is a "political experiment" and each "reinvents what impeachment is for, and what it means."
  • "Driving electric: Utilities break into the transportation industry." By Susan Partain. Public Power, September/October 2019, pp. 14-23.
    Considers how public utilities are adapting to the transportation industry's potential increase in the use of electricity for fuel.
  • "Enhancing regulatory commissions' ability to fight climate change: Potential legislative enablements." By David Boonin. Public Utilities Fortnightly, October 2019, pp. 66-68.
    Discusses possible legislative measures that could make regulators and utilities more effective in combatting climate change.
  • "Texas cancer agency seeks new vote of approval." By Jocelyn Kaiser. Science, October 18, 2019, p. 294.
    Discusses the maximum bond amount authorized for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas [CPRIT] if voters approve Proposition 6 in the upcoming constitutional amendments election.
  • "Potential E-Verify deal would give legal status to farmworkers." By Tim Henderson. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), October 24, 2019, pp. 1-6.
    Considers whether congressional Democrats can broker a deal with Republicans to grant legal status to farmworkers currently in the country illegally in exchange for mandatory checks for legal status of all future hires. Points out the variation in job screening for illegal immigration with E-Verify — 94 percent in Georgia compared to 32 percent in Texas during the period ending June 2017.
  • "Texas agriculture needs China trade war resolved." By Russell Boening. Texas Agriculture, October 4, 2019,
    p. 2.
    Addresses the harmful effects the trade war with China is having on Texas farmers and agriculture. States that without a robust trade environment, net farm income in Texas will continue to decline.
  • "Street fight." By Christopher Hooks. Texas Monthly, November 2019, pp. 54-62.
    Discusses the recent Austin City Council decision to decriminalize homelessness, including changes to ordinances related to sleeping, camping, and panhandling in public spaces. Provides background on the origin of the 1996 anti-camping ordinance, reactions to its recent reversal, and complications to decreasing homelessness including rising housing costs and local government revenue caps instituted by SB2, 86th Legislature.
  • "Prop. 5 would provide needed park funding." Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine, November 2019, pp. 10-11.
    Summarizes Proposition 5 in the upcoming constitutional amendments election. Explains its passage would dedicate sales tax revenue from the sale of sporting goods to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission.

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.

Interim Hearings – Week of November 4

Today's Committee Meetings on the LRL website is a calendar of interim committee hearings with links to agendas. Below are resources related to upcoming Interim Hearings.


November 4

House Committee on Redistricting (Corpus Christi) 

Topic: 2021 legislative redistricting process and 2020 Census data


November 7

House Select Committee on Mass Violence Prevention & Community Safety (Odessa)

Invited testimony from individuals and families directly impacted by the mass violence that occurred in Midland/Odessa on August 31, 2019, and on the implementation of Executive Orders issued by Governor Abbott on September 5, 2019.


(1) Examine options for strengthening enforcement measures for current laws that prevent the transfer of firearms to felons and other persons prohibited by current law from possessing firearms 

(2) Examine impediments and challenges to the timely reporting of relevant criminal history information and other threat indicators to state and federal databases


(3) Examine the role of digital media and technology in threat detection, assessment, reporting, and prevention, including the collaboration between digital media and law enforcement

(4) Evaluate the ongoing and long-term workforce needs of the state related to cybersecurity, mental health, law enforcement, and related professionals 


(5) Evaluate current protocols and extreme risk indicators used to identify potential threats and consider options for improving the dissemination of information between federal, state, and local entities and timely and appropriate intervention of mental health professionals 

Capitol Spirits, 2019

Leading up to Halloween each year, we gather stories of supernatural and strange happenings in the Lone Star State. Below you'll find tales of hauntings by a madam, a governor, star-crossed lovers, outlaws, pirates, and soldiers. You can find these and more stories on our Capitol Spirits Pinterest board

From the Legislative Reference Library, we hope you have a fun and safe Halloween!!

Blanche DuMont

Austin's warehouse district serves up a front-row seat to lively entertainment, much as the area did in the late 1800s as the epicenter of Austin's red light district (Guy Town). Blanche DuMont, a well-known madam, owned a building at 211 W. 4th. Perhaps Blanche had so much fun, she didn't want to leave. She frequents the dance floor at Oilcan Harry's, the bar currently occupying her old address, and she's thought to be the presence down the street at her namesake bar, DuMont's Down Low.


Governor Pendleton Murrah

Governor Pendleton Murrah had a difficult life. Inaugurated in November 1863 in the midst of the Civil War, he faced this arduous situation while battling tuberculosis and handling the suicide of a young visitor to the Governor's Mansion. When the war ended, he fled to Mexico with Confederate troops, dying shortly after arrival. With so many trials and tribulations, perhaps his ghost, who is seen inside and outside the Governor's Mansion, is in search of a resolution to his misfortunes.



Waco's Cameron Park

Looking for a target-rich environment to do a little ghost hunting? You could not do better than Waco's Cameron Park. Look for the outlaws of Lindsey Hollow and the star-crossed lovers at the top of Lover's Leap. Partake of the haunting atmosphere of the Witch's Castle, Jacob's Ladder, and the Motorcycle Pits. Your roadmap is at "The Haunting of Cameron Park," by Terri Jo Ryan. 


John Wilkes Booth's Trip to Granbury

John St. Helen was well-known in Granbury in the 1870s as a bartender in town who occasionally acted in productions at the Granbury Opera House. Is his ghost the man seen in the lobby wearing a  white shirt, black pants, and tall boots, or the presence who folds down a seat in the balcony? And was John St. Helen really President Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth? Recent research indicates this might not be such a far-fetched idea. [Photo by Kairos14; CC BY-SA 3.0; Wikipedia Commons]    


Jean Lafitte's Treasure

Jean Laffite, the infamous pirate, plundered ships in the Gulf of Mexico and many think he left some of his treasure along the Texas coast. Did he bury $2 million in silver bars in the Sabine River? Native American legend speaks of his ghostly pirate band retrieving chests from a sunken vessel. Perhaps they did not get it all, but seek at your peril. Later treasure hunters report demons guard the stash.


The Confederate Soldier of Thompson's Island Bridge

What was it like for young Confederate soldiers to go off to war? Two young brothers growing up near San Marcos faced the unknown by promising each other they would return to their home when the fighting was finished—no matter what. One brother lived to return home, but the other died in the war. Perhaps the slain brother kept his promise to his sibling. Late at night you might see him on San Marcos' Thompson Island Bridge—waiting for his brother or reminding you of the evils and costs of war.


Cover image by Daniel Mingus


Current Articles & Research Resources, October 24

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

  • Read about Amazon's role in state and local elections. (Reuters, October 15, 2019)
  • Review data related to vaping-associated lung injury cases in Utah. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, October 22, 2019)
  • Consider what some states are doing to address noise pollution's effect on wildlife. (Stateline, October 22, 2019)
  • Find out where to dispose of unused prescription medications properly. (Drug Enforcement Administration, accessed October 23, 2019)

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

  • "Pocket prairies: Natural solutions to unnatural flooding." By Henry Gass. Christian Science Monitor, October 21, 2019, pp. 18-19.
    Highlights the numerous "pocket prairies" established in Houston, and nearby native prairies, the Deer Park Prairie and the Katy Prairie Conservancy. Explains their role in handling storm water and providing wildlife habitat and park space.
  • "Total state and local business taxes: State-by-state estimates for FY18." Council on State Taxation, October 17, 2019, pp. 1-25.
    Compares state and local business taxes paid in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, including business property taxes, sales and excise taxes, gross receipts taxes, corporate income and franchise taxes, unemployment insurance taxes, and pass-through business taxes. Finds Texas' business share of total state and local taxes was 62.3 percent in fiscal year 2018. Notes a majority of the increase in severance taxes occurred in Texas due to higher oil prices, and Texas had the largest dollar increase ($2.4 billion) in business property tax revenue.
  • "Eyes on the border wall." By Camila DeChalus. CQ Weekly, October 7, 2019, pp. 22-25.
    Details the technologies being used to supplement security at the Texas border with Mexico and the federal government's efforts to fund and deploy newer high-tech equipment. Addresses how eminent domain issues and Texas landowners' privacy rights are affected by the technological approaches to border security.
  • "Suffering in many languages." By Tanvi Misra and Camila DeChalus. CQ Weekly, September 30, 2019, pp. 20-25.
    Addresses the significant increase in people from India and other South Asian countries seeking asylum in the United States. Discusses the unique challenges encountered by non-Spanish-speaking migrants and the desperate measures they take for assistance.
  • "Self-driving cars: Autonomous ways." Economist, October 12th-18th, 2019, pp. 65-66.
    Points out China's approach to self-driving cars — heavy on infrastructure and government oversight — may surpass that of western car makers, placing the country at the forefront of an estimated $2 trillion market by 2040.
  • "Sports events pose risks for violence." By Arianna Prothero and Denisa R. Superville. Education Week, September 25, 2019, pp. 1, 14-15.
    Discusses challenges of protecting students and the public from acts of violence at school-sponsored athletic events. Focuses on school districts in Texas.
  • "The K-12 takeover: Big philanthropy's bid to privatize education." By Andrea Gabor. Harper's Magazine, November 2019, pp. 55-63,
    Looks at the influence of philanthropists on charter schools, including the Knowledge Is Power Program [KIPP], away from a "vision of teacher- and community-led schools" to centers of educational and social reform.
  • "Background checks for firearm purchases: Problem areas and recommendations to improve effectiveness." Health Affairs, October 2019, pp. 1702-1710.
    Explains why the benefits of background checks in reducing the risk of firearm violence have been seen only among those directly affected, and not at the population level. Recommends actions to remedy the design and implementation of background checks so they can better prevent violence.
  • "Linking public safety and public health data for firearm suicide prevention in Utah." By Catherine Barber, et al. Health Affairs, October 2019, pp. 1695-1701.
    Presents a case study of how firearm stakeholders, state agency representatives, legislators, and suicide researchers came together in Utah to study firearm suicide prevention and deliver actionable findings for all parties.
  • "High unintended pregnancy rate spurs efforts to ease contraceptive access." By Rita Rubin. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), October 15, 2019, pp. 1434-1436.
    Outlines approaches to improve contraceptive access that could be undertaken at the federal, state, and private industry levels, including producing an over-the-counter oral contraceptive product, permitting pharmacists to prescribe contraceptives, online resources, and addressing insurance issues.
  • "The long-term outlook for the Texas economy." By M. Ray Perryman. Perryman Report and Texas Letter, Vol. 36, No. 7, pp. 1-3, 6.
    Summarizes the latest long-term projections for the Texas economy. Considers the impact of the oil and gas sector on the state.
  • "Buying solar energy by the minute: Aligning benefits with costs." By Robert L. Borlick. Public Utilities Fortnightly, October 2019, pp. 38-40, 65.
    Focuses on the solar energy incentive programs known as Net Energy Metering. Reviews various incentives provided for residential rooftop solar photovoltaic systems in some states, including Texas.
  • "Tech giants fight digital right-to-repair bills." By Elaine S. Povich. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), October 16, 2019, pp. 1-5.
    Examines states' lack of success in passing legislation that will allow independent repair shops and consumers to gain access to manufacturers' parts, manuals, and schematics for cellphones.
  • "Legislative summary: 86th Texas legislative session." Texas Board of Nursing Bulletin, October 2019, pp. 6-8.
    Provides summaries of bills affecting the nursing profession.
  • "Vote for CPRIT." By Sean Price. Texas Medicine, October 2019, pp. 18-23.
    Highlights the achievements and contributions of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas [CPRIT]. Urges support of the constitutional amendment to extend CPRIT's funding.

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.

Interim Hearings – Week of October 28

Today's Committee Meetings on the LRL website is a calendar of interim committee hearings with links to agendas. Below are resources related to upcoming Interim Hearings.


October 28

House Committee on Public Education  

Topic: Texas Education Agency's implementation of House Bill 3 (86-R) and House Bill 22 (85-R)


October 29

Senate Select Committee on Redistricting

Topic: Organizational matters and invited testimony


October 30

Charge: Consider the role digital media, dark web networks, and overall cultural issues play in the promotion of mass violence and how these contribute to the radicalization of individuals and incitement of racism, white supremacy and domestic terrorism.

Research the link between violent video games and recent mass shootings in Texas and examine the impact of the overall fraying culture on mass shootings, including increased violence, tolerance for violence, and extremist views in our society.

Charge: Study whether the state’s interest in public safety and its ability to deter violence and dangerous conduct is enhanced by prohibiting individuals from wearing masks to intimidate others, incite violence, or engage in criminal activity, while protecting First Amendment rights to free speech and free exercise of religion.

New & Noteworthy Books and Reports: October 2019

The Library is continually adding new books to its collection. Below are the six titles from our October 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. Big Wonderful Thing: A History of Texas
By Stephen Harrigan
Explores the wide range of Texas history, geography, and experience through the eyes of a journalist and novelist. Presents narrative in chapters that read like magazine articles, rich in detail and well-illustrated with photographs, paintings, and maps. Portrays both famous figures and the lesser-known from diverse backgrounds who have impacted Texas' political, economic, and cultural landscape.
University of Texas Press, 2019. 834 pages.
976.4 H235B 2019



2. The Geography of Risk: Epic Storms, Rising Seas, and the Cost of America's Coasts
By Gilbert M. Gaul
Investigates the cost of sustaining coastal communities' recurrent experiences of hurricanes, coastal erosion, and flooding. Questions the cyclical pattern of the government annually spending billions of dollars to rebuild damaged coastal housing and infrastructure, while heavily subsidizing flood insurance. Points out the futility of developing barrier islands and other areas that may not be sustainable much longer.
Sarah Crichton Books, 2019. 286 pages.
363.34922 G235G 2019



3. The Knowledge Gap: The Hidden Cause of America's Broken Education System--and How to Fix It
By Natalie Wexler
Criticizes the current focus on reading comprehension in American elementary education, which was reinforced by federal No Child Left Behind requirements and standardized testing. Argues that the educational system should focus more on teaching knowledge and critical thinking, including social studies and science, and that this content-focused curriculum should begin at an earlier age.
Avery, 2019. 324 pages.
372.6 W541K 2019



4. Love Your Enemies: How Decent People Can Save America from Our Culture of Contempt
By Arthur C. Brooks
Considers the idea that the current atmosphere of intolerance and incivility in the U.S. has created a culture of contempt, allowing us to devalue people who disagree with us. Argues that the seemingly "soft" virtues of love, friendship, and warm-heartedness, are actually the best qualities to achieve real progress in today's mean-spirited political and cultural conversations. Provides strategies on how to "disagree better" when engaging in public discourse with ideological opponents.
Broadside Books, 2019. 242 pages.
320.973 B791L 2019



5. Troubled Water: What's Wrong with What We Drink?
By Seth Siegel
Argues that cost containment has been prioritized over public health, leading to drinking water in many United States communities being contaminated with various undesirable chemicals. Explains how known technology and affordable investments in water utilities and private wells could provide Americans with very clean and healthy drinking water.
Thomas Dunne Books, 2019. 330 pages.
613.287 SI15T 2019



6. Peg Leg: The Improbable Life of a Texas Hero, Thomas William Ward, 1807-1872
By David C. Humphrey
Details the life of Thomas William Ward, an Irish immigrant and notable public figure in Texas history who was elected chief clerk of the House of Representatives, 1839-1840. Examines his service during the Texas Revolution, including the loss of his leg at the siege of Bexar which resulted in his nickname "Peg Leg." Discusses his terms as land commissioner of the General Land Office and involvement in the Archives War, his three separate tenures as mayor of Austin, and his appointment as the United States consul to Panama. Illustrates Ward's fiery personality and temper, exemplified by his readiness to engage in duels and his difficult marriage and contentious divorce with Susan L. Marston.
Texas State Historical Association, 2009. 340 pages.
327.730092 H884P 2009



Current Articles & Research Resources, October 17

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

  • Read about rural population growth in recent years. (National Conference of State Legislatures, September 2019)
  • Consider the impact of electric scooters. (Council of State Governments, September 2019)
  • Explore how Texas' economy compares with other states. (Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, accessed October 16, 2019)
  • Get current information about the upcoming elections. (Texas Secretary of State, accessed October 16, 2019)

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

  • "Fort Worth asks: Can a Klan hall become a place of healing?" By Henry Gass. Christian Science Monitor, September 30, 2019, pp. 8-9.
    Highlights the move to transform a former Fort Worth Ku Klux Klan hall into a shared community space focusing on dialogue and equity, while also promoting a better understanding of racist events in the city's history.
  • "Laboring against discrimination." By Samantha Sokol. Church & State, October 2019, pp. 4-5.
    Highlights the United States Department of Labor's proposed rule that would expand a religious exemption available to taxpayer-funded federal contractors. Surmises the rule would allow religiously-affiliated contractors to claim a religious right when they refuse to hire or fire certain people.
  • "Borderline despair: How the U.S. is warehousing asylum-seekers." By Camila DeChalus. CQ Weekly, September 30, 2019, pp. 14-19.
    Examines the impact the Migration Protection Protocols [MPP] policy, also known as the Remain in Mexico program, is having on those who are seeking asylum in the United States. Argues these new restrictions on asylum are discouraging migrants from entering the United States legally.
  • "Texas: The magenta mammoth." Economist, October 5th-11th, 2019, pp. 21-22.
    Considers the prospects of Democrats winning Texas in the 2020 elections.
  • "High court case tests faith-based use of tax credits." By Mark Walsh. Education Week, October 2, 2019, pp. 1, 10-11.
    Provides background information on the upcoming United States Supreme Court case Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, which addresses whether groups can receive state tax credits for private school scholarship donations. Suggests the high court's ruling could be significant for K-12 education and potentially affect state constitutional provisions in 37 states.
  • "The law and ethics of fetal burial requirements for reproductive health care." By Dov Fox, I. Glenn Cohen, and Eli Y. Adashi. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), October 8, 2019, pp. 1347-1348.
    Considers the legal and ethical ramifications of recent and historical fetal burial requirement cases that have been heard by the United States Supreme Court, with Box v. Planned Parenthood being the most recent.
  • "Patterns of telehealth use among rural Medicaid beneficiaries." By Jean A. Talbot, et al. Journal of Rural Health, Summer 2019, pp. 298-307.
    Provides information about telehealth use in 2011, including the prevalence of telehealth use among rural and urban Medicaid beneficiaries, characteristics of telehealth users, reimbursement policies, and unique rural service needs.
  • "The danger of being 'endangered.'" By Shawn Regan. National Review, September 30, 2019, pp. 21-23.
    Considers new revisions to the Endangered Species Act regulations, including the restoration of a regulatory distinction between threatened and endangered species. Suggests the new rules will encourage states, landowners, and conservationists to collaborate better on recovery efforts for threatened species.
  • "The right to make arms." By Kevin D. Williamson. National Review, September 30, 2019, pp. 41-43.
    Discusses the Remington Arms Co. v. Soto case, currently before the United States Supreme Court, and the question of whether the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act [PLCAA] exception would stop Connecticut families in their attempt to sue Remington for its Bushmaster rifle advertising.
  • "The challenges of economic growth." By M. Ray Perryman. Perryman Report and Texas Letter, Vol. 36, No. 6, pp. 1-3, 6.
    Quantifies the importance of proactive actions to address challenges associated with the demands of rapid expansion in an area's population and economy. Uses the unprecedented growth in Midland, Texas as a case study.
  • "How one school is tackling the youth vaping epidemic." By Christine Vestal. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), September 23, 2019, pp. 1-9.
    Reports school administrators are using a combination of strategies to reduce student vaping at South Portland High School in Maine: limiting suspensions, giving students behavioral health assessments, providing alternative ways to socialize, and offering mental health and addiction counseling.
  • "An abridged guide to the 86th Texas Legislature for county clerks." By Teresa Keil. Texas County Progress, October 2019, pp. 34, 38, 55.
    Lists a dozen bills passed during the 86th Texas Legislature that affect county clerks and how they perform their duties.
  • "Moving on." By Amy Lynn Sorrel. Texas Medicine, October 2019, p. 48.
    Profiles Representative John Zerwas, MD, highlighting his significant legislation relating to medicine and noting his new role as the University of Texas System's executive vice chancellor for health affairs.

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.

Interim Hearings – Week of October 21

Today's Committee Meetings on the LRL website is a calendar of interim committee hearings with links to agendas. Below are resources related to upcoming Interim Hearings.


October 21

Senate Select Committee on Mass Violence Prevention & Community Safety (El Paso)

Charge: Learn firsthand, the personal, family, and community impact of mass shootings in Texas by hearing from victims of mass violence in Dallas, Santa Fe, Sutherland Springs, El Paso, and Midland/Odessa. Conduct hearings in Austin, El Paso, and the Midland/Odessa area to meet with victims and their families in those communities.

October 22

House Committee on Redistricting (Lone Star College-North Harris, Houston)

Topic: 2021 legislative redistricting process and 2020 Census data


October 23

House Committee on Redistricting (Texas Southern University, Houston)

Topic: 2021 legislative redistricting process and 2020 Census data

Legislative Families: Siblings

The Texas Legislature has seen many siblings who have legislative service in common. As of 2019, there have been 46 sibling sets!* Read on for a list of brothers and sisters who have shared time in the Capitol (along with some interesting details about a few of these family units).


Ten sets of siblings have had overlap in their years of service (though not necessarily in the same chamber): 

  • Dennis Bonnen and Greg Bonnen

    • Dennis serves in the House, 1997–present (75th–86th)
    • Greg serves in the House, 2013–present (83rd–86th)
  • William H. Bourland and James G. Bourland
    • William served in the House, 1846–1849 (1st–2nd), and 1853–1855 (5th)
    • James served in the Senate, 1846–1849 (1st–2nd)
  • James Washington Guinn and Robert Guinn
    • Robert served in the Senate, 1853–1870 (5th–11th)
    • James served in the House, 1863–1866 (10th–11th)
  • Ross Hardin and Doss Hardin The first and only twins to serve in the Texas Legislature. Read a speech given by Doss Hardin at Baylor University's 1939 "Convention of Twins" that was read into the Senate Journal record.
    • Ross served in the House, 1935–1941 (44th–46th)
    • Doss served in the Senate, 1938–1940 (45th–46th)
  • Jim Keffer and Bill Keffer
    • Jim served in the House, 1997–2017 (75th–84th)
    • Bill served in the House, 2003–2007 (78th–79th)
  • William Henry Pope and Alexander Pope In an act of brotherly devotion, Alexander died when shot by W.T.S. Keller "while endeavoring to prevent him from shooting his brother, W.H. Pope" during a child custody trial. William was shot but survived the assault.
    • William served in the Senate, 1883–1893 (18th–22nd)
    • Alexander served in the House, 1887–1889 (20th–21st)
  • Joseph Draper Sayers and William Sayers
    • Joseph served in the Senate, 1873–1874 (13th)
    • William served in the House, 1873–1876 (13th–14th)
  • Henry Berryman Terrell and George Butler Terrell The Terrells appear to be the first brothers to serve at the same time, in the same chamber.
    • H.B. served in the House, 1901–1909 (27th–30th), and in the Senate, 1909–1915 (31st–34th)
    • George served in the House, 1899–1903 (26th–27th), 1907–1913 (30th–32nd), 1917–1920 (35th–36th), and 1931–1933 (42nd)
  • Carlos Uresti and Tomas Uresti
    • Carlos served in the House, 1997–2006 (75th–79th), and in the Senate, 2006–2018 (79th–85th)
    • Tomas served in the House, 2017–2019 (85th)
  • Phillip L. Willis and Doyle Willis The Willis brothers are noted as the first siblings to serve two consecutive terms together in the Texas House of Representatives (HR 95, 74R).
    • Phillip served in in the House, 1947–1949 (50th–51st)
    • Doyle served in the House, 1947–1953 (50th–52nd), 1969–1971 (61st), and 1973–1997 (63rd–74th), and in the Senate, 1953–1963 (53rd–57th) 

No siblings have served at the same time in the Senate, according to our research.


Other siblings served in the Legislature at different times:

*This blog post is the second in a series, with a previous post on legislative spouses, and posts to come on legislative parents/children, and other family connections. We've attempted to identify all of the legislative siblings, but let us know if you think we missed some! This information is provided as a public service by the Legislative Reference Library. The Legislative Reference Library makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy and makes no warranty in regard to its use. Users assume all risk of reliance on the information included on this site.


Current Articles & Research Resources, October 10

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

  • Review the legal authority  behind appropriating money for border wall construction. (Congressional Research Service, October 2, 2019)
  • Consider strategies to stop or slow the spread of the flu. (National Conference of State Legislatures, October 2019)
  • Read about whether sin taxes  are a reliable source of state revenue. (Tax Policy Center, October 2019)
  • Explore how cable companies use hidden fees  to increase consumers' cable bills. (Consumer Reports, October 2019)

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

  • "Alarms sound on air rescues." By Mary Ellen McIntire. CQ Weekly, September 23, 2019, pp. 24-26.
    Details challenges faced by Congress and the states in their efforts to protect consumers from balance billing, a practice that can result in unexpected and exorbitant bills for air ambulance services.
  • "Electronic monitoring: Pricey tags." Economist, September 28th-October 4th, 2019, pp. 24, 26.
    Suggests the high fees and burdensome conditions associated with electronic monitoring are comparable to the type of injustices imposed by cash bail. Notes monitoring stigmatizes people who have not been convicted of a crime and drives them into debt.
  • "Taxing out-of-state sellers: New state tax laws may bring in $500 million annually." By Shannon Halbrook. Fiscal Notes, September 2019, pp. 6-9.
    Discusses state tax policy on Internet sales tax revenue after South Dakota v. Wayfair and changes in Texas law and regulations, including an amended Comptroller's rule, and HB1525 and HB2153, 86th Legislature.
  • "You down with CBD? Yea you know me  states look to incentivize and tax growing hemp industry." By Daniel G. Mudd. Journal of MultiState Taxation and Incentives, October 2019, pp. 32-34.
    Chronicles the development of the hemp industry and growth of hemp-based products such as the popular cannabidiol [CBD]. Highlights state incentive programs for hemp cultivation in Kentucky and Colorado, and state taxation of hemp in Vermont, Louisiana, and Montanna.
  • "States are depriving innocent people of their Second Amendment rights."  By Jacob Sullum, Reason, November 2019, pp. 46-51.
    Considers red flag laws used to obtain extreme risk orders to seize firearms. Reviews the history of enactment of these laws and explains problems with their application. Offers suggestions for improving the laws and due process protections.
  • "Texas' energy base drives climate concerns as renewables expand." By Jesse Thompson and Emma Marshall. Southwest Economy (Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas), Third Quarter 2019, pp. 9-13.
    Reports the state's high industrial share of carbon emissions and its leadership role in renewable energy will place Texas in the center of the debate about climate change and the reduction of greenhouse gases.
  • "Education: Learning from the best."  By Michelle Exstrom. State Legislatures, September/October 2019, pp. 12-16.
    Discusses four common elements of world-class educational systems. Considers how states can apply lessons learned from studying high-performing education systems to improve student achievement and prepare higher-skilled workers. (Report at
  • "Climate change could make borrowing costlier for states and cities." By Alex Brown.  Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), October 1, 2019, pp. 1-7.
    Considers how the bond sectors' increasing attention to climate risk issues will affect the municipal bond market. Mentions Port Arthur, Texas, experienced credit downgrades after major hurricanes.
  • "Q&A with Ernesto Ballesteros: Person taked with overseeing cybersecurity matters for Texas provides a glimpse of goals, initiatives and priorities." Texas Banking, October 2019, pp. 14-16.
    Interviews Ernesto Ballesteros, state cybersecurity coordinator and chairman of the Texas Cybersecurity Council, about cybersecurity matters generally, recent ransomware attacks in rural Texas communities, and cybersecurity awareness for the Texas banking industry. Discusses the composition and charge of the Texas Cybersecurity Council, established in 2013 (SB1102, 83rd Legislature, R.S.) and expanded in 2017 (HB8, 85th Legislature, R.S.).
  • "Battling over the past." By Christopher Hooks. Texas Monthly, October 2019, pp. 82-85, 154-158.
    Contrasts recent trends in Texas history to correct the historical record and be more inclusive with efforts to maintain traditional accounts. Discusses legislation to replace Confederate Heroes Day with Civil War Remembrance Day (HB1242, 84th Legislature) and to restrict the removal or alteration of certain monuments from public property (SB1663, 86th Legislature). Mentions Senator Brandon Creighton..

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.


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