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

  • Review the results of the recent election in Texas. (Texas Secretary of State, accessed November 6, 2019)
  • Track e-cigarette regulation by state. (Public Health Law Center, ©2019)
  • Read the most recent State of Texas Annual Cash Report. (November 4, 2019)
  • Consider how rural hospitals are in danger of closing. (Southern Office of the Council of State Governments, November 2019)

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

  • "Applying the research and evaluation provisions of the Family First Prevention Services Act." By Amy McKlindon. Child Trends, October 24, 2019, pp. 1-11.
    Highlights the child welfare provisions in the Family First Prevention Services Act of 2018 (H.R. 1892, 115th Congress, Title VII). Discusses next steps for state agencies and legislators in implementation, including funding for evidence-based prevention services to prevent foster care entry, support for kinship caregivers, and criteria for appropriate use of residential treatment.
  • "How states' rights became a liberal environmentalist cause." By Amanda Paulson and Martin Kuz. Christian Science Monitor, October 28, 2019, pp. 18-19.
    Highlights the federal revocation of California's waiver to set state emissions standards. Explains it in terms of the ongoing tension among federalism, states' rights, and specific conservative or liberal policy viewpoints.
  • "An overlooked crisis." By Charles F. McElwee. City Journal (Manhattan Institute), October 23, 2019, pp. 1-3.
    Discusses the effects of declining volunteerism, particularly the shortages in volunteer fire departments and rural EMS agencies. Points out Pennsylvania's legislative initiatives to boost volunteer numbers could serve as a model for other states.
  • "Sandra Bland Act: Prisoner safety measures address at-risk inmates." County Progress, November 2019, p. 18.
    Examines Texas Commission on Jail Standards [TCJS] and county compliance with the Sandra Bland Act. Outlines the new rules and procedures the TCJS adopted that counties must implement by September 1, 2020.
  • "Field of dreams." CQ Weekly, October 15, 2019, pp. 12-19.
    Focuses on the excitement being generated by the fledgling hemp industry, along with growing pains and regulatory uncertainties. Profiles hemp farmers and hemp production in Kentucky, a leading state in the industry.
  • "Impeachment: Trying times." Economist, October 26th-November 1st, 2019, pp. 21-22.
    Discusses impeachment procedures and what a United States Senate trial of President Donald Trump might look like.
  • "Evolving public views on the likelihood of violence from people with mental illness: Stigma and consequences." By Bernice A. Pescosolido, Bianca Manago, and John Monahan. Health Affairs, October 2019, pp. 1735-1743.
    Inspects trends in public perceptions regarding mental illness, potential violence, and coerced treatment. Reports that despite scientific evidence to the contrary, public and political rhetoric persist in convincing people of significant links between mental illness and crime.
  • "The kids are online — and alright." By Camille Crittenden. Issues in Science and Technology, Fall 2019, pp. 43-47.
    Outlines unexpected benefits of access to broadband internet for teens, including a correlation with reduced rates of teen pregnancy and STDs; improved mental health; aiding those at economic risk with job skills and employment opportunities; and civic engagement. Discusses efforts to expand access to broadband, continued disparities in service, and partnerships that should be explored to make access and service equitable.
  • "Credits & incentives update: Texas renews and refines various incentive programs." By Tam Vo and David Bell. Journal of State Taxation, Fall 2019, pp. 19-21.
    Highlights appropriations in the 86th Legislature for economic development incentives, including the Texas Enterprise Fund, Moving Image Industry Incentive Program, Governor's University Research Initiative, tourism promotion, and the Defense Economic Assistance Grant Program. Discusses new transparency requirements of HB3143, 86th Legislature, relating to the Property Redevelopment and Tax Abatement Act.
  • "A shale-gas revolution, if we can keep it." By Mario Loyola. National Review, October 28, 2019, pp. 34-35.
    Argues that fracking has reduced carbon emissions more than climate policies have by producing more plentiful natural gas, which has displaced coal in electric generation. Discusses the political and regulatory obstacles encountered in building pipelines and liquefied natural gas export facilities needed to transport natural gas to markets.
  • "More frac jobs, less crime." By Steven Poruban. Oil and Gas Journal, October 7, 2019, p. 14.
    Summarizes The Impact of Economic Opportunity on Criminal Behavior: Evidence from the Fracking Boom, a recent study from the Center for Growth and Opportunity at Utah State University.
  • "Promoting maternal health in rural and underserved areas." By Darcy Nikol Bryan. Policy Brief (Mercatus Center, George Mason University), October 23, 2019, pp. 1-8.
    Recommends reconsideration of state-level public policies that have exacerbated or initiated barriers to quality and access in rural healthcare, such as scope of practice restrictions, state medical licensing requirements, and limits to telemedicine implementation.
  • "Balancing act: Natural gas and electrification." By Alice Clamp. Public Power, September/October 2019, pp. 26-31.
    Highlights how two utilities, including Texas-based CPS Energy, are addressing ways to adapt to changes, such as increasing electrification. Refers to a report, New Sources of Utility Growth: Electrification Opportunities and Challenges.
  • "The Texas Forensic Science Commission: Oversight and the road map to admissibility of forensic evidence in Texas." By Lynn Garcia and Leigh Savage. Texas Bar Journal, November 2019, pp. 794-796.
    Describes how the Texas Forensic Science Commission's activities affect the admissibility of certain forensic evidence and the efforts underway to continue the integrity and reliability of forensic science in Texas courts.
  • "The Texas Junk Science Writ: A look six years in." By Kirk Cooper. Texas Bar Journal, November 2019, pp. 798-799.
    Discusses the history and applicability of Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 11.073, known as the Junk Science Writ, which allows prisoners to challenge potential wrongful convictions on the basis of new or changed scientific evidence.
  • "Inside the 86th legislative session." By Susan Wright. Texas Builder, September/October 2019, pp. 28-35.
    Summarizes the 86th Legislature from the perspective of the Texas residential construction and development industry, including the Texas Association of Builders' "major legislative accomplishments" on building permits, land development, and the agriculture roll-back tax, as well as broader issues of school finance, property taxes, flood planning, and disaster management.
  • "Critical condition." By Christopher Collins and Sophie Novack. Texas Observer, Nov/Dec 2019, pp. 12-30.
    Presents a series of articles about the lack of health care in rural communities in Texas and the negative impact on Texans. Addresses hospital closures in East Texas and doctor shortages in the Panhandle.

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.