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.