LRL Home - Points of Interest

Current Articles & Research Resources, August 15

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

  • Examine safety concerns related to automated vehicles. (Governors Highway Safety Association, August 6, 2019)
  • Explore resources and statistics related to capital punishment. (National Conference of State Legislatures, July 30, 2019)
  • Consider precautions to prevent wildfires before operating equipment outdoors. (Texas A&M Forest Service, August 12, 2019)
  • Review pedestrian safety tips. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, July 15, 2019)

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

  • "Face off? The promises and perils of losing anonymity." By Eoin O'Carroll. Christian Science Monitor, July 29, 2019, pp. 18-19.
    Discusses the growing use of facial recognition technology and the resulting concerns about its application. Identifies early attempts at legislating its use.
  • "Oncor's powerful response to severe situations." By Catherine Leffert. Dallas Business Journal, August 2, 2019, pp. 12-14.
    Discusses how Oncor Electric Delivery handles mass power outages. Points out the emergency management preparedness strategies that enabled the rapid restoration of power to thousands of Dallas-Fort Worth customers affected by severe storms that struck on June 9.
  • "The economics of Texas BBQ: It's not your grandpa's barbecue anymore." By Patrick Graves. Fiscal Notes, July 2019, pp. 1-6.
    Explores the economic growth and recent diversification of the barbecue industry in Texas. Notes there are now 2,500 Texas barbecue outlets, an increase of 12 percent from four years ago. 
  • "The workforce-training grant: A new bridge from high school to career." By Oren Cass. Issue Brief (Manhattan Institute), July 16, 2019, pp. 1-14.
    Proposes a grant-based program to motivate private-sector employers to provide on-the-job experience with employer-sponsored training to people who do not pursue a college degree as their path to employment.
  • "Can taxes and subsidies improve health?" By Ramanan Laxminarayan and Amit Summan. Milken Institute Review, Third Quarter 2019, pp. 18-27.
    Examines the effectiveness of "sin taxes" on tobacco and alcohol, and other taxes on sodas and junk food, in public health policy. Looks at the option of redirecting agricultural or energy subsidies to healthy foods.
  • "Will America ever have high-speed trains?" By Lawrence M. Fisher. Milken Institute Review, Third Quarter 2019, pp. 70-80.
    Explores the potential for high-speed rail in the United States, amid "buy American" stipulations for governments receiving federal funds. Discusses cost overruns, engineering controversy, and delays in the California High-Speed Rail project. Considers the development and eminent domain concerns of the Texas Central Railway project from Dallas-Fort Worth to Houston.
  • "Myths of student-loan debt." By Robert Verbruggen. National Review, July 29, 2019, pp. 28-30.
    Recommends solving the student-loan debt problem with increased use of the "income-share agreement" [ISA], in which a student agrees to pay a certain percentage of income for a certain number of years in exchange for the lender funding his education.
  • "2018 carbon dioxide emission trends: Explaining the 2018 increase." By Daniel Klein. Public Utilities Fortnightly, July 2019, pp. 122-127.
    Analyzes the United States Energy Information Administration's [EIA] first full year's estimates of energy use and carbon dioxide emissions during 2018. Related information at: https://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/data/monthly/.
  • "Toolbox: Redrawing maps the right way." By Jeffrey M. Wice and Frank M. Strigari. State Legislatures, July/August 2019, pp. 38-40.
    Offers suggestions on how to improve the redistricting process and avoid costly litigation. 
  • "The 141st day." By Celeste Embrey. Texas Banking, August 2019, pp. 8-11.
    Presents a session wrap-up of banking issues, including subcontractors, Sunset legislation, the Equifax data breach, and cybersecurity.
  • "Charting medicine's statehouse progress." By Joey Berlin and Sean Price. Texas Medicine, August 2019, pp. 16-24.
    Recaps the 86th Texas Legislature, highlighting enrolled legislation significant to physicians and health care. 
  • "Making telemedicine work." By Sean Price. Texas Medicine, August 2019, pp. 26-29.
    Outlines the steps physicians should take when preparing to provide telemedicine services. Highlights HB3345, 86th Legislature, which will help physicians choose the best telemedicine platform for them. 

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.

Library Update

After being in our restored space for more than 20 years, the Texas State Preservation Board has planned a renovation of the Legislative Reference Library. New carpet, paint, public computer stations, added staff work areas, and other updates are on the horizon for the LRL.

 

As with any big renovation project, this means that the LRL's operations will have to temporarily relocate from the Capitol! We will be based on the fourth floor of the John H. Reagan Building; our Capitol space will be closed. The LRL will continue to offer reference and research assistance, check out library materials, send Current Articles and New & Noteworthy emails, produce the Legislative Clipping Service, and provide other library services. The renovation will begin in August and will take approximately five months.

 

Please continue to call us at (512) 463-1252 and/or email us at LRL.Service@lrl.texas.gov with your reference and research needs.

 

Current Articles & Research Resources, August 8

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

  • Explore reasons the teen birth rate is dropping. (Pew Research Center, August 2, 2019)
  • Track President Trump's judicial appointments. (Heritage Foundation, updated August 2, 2019)
  • Consider whether college should come with a money-back guarantee. (Manhattan Institute, July 9, 2019)
  • Learn what to expect about invitations to respond to the 2020 Census. (U.S. Census Bureau, May 9, 2019)

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

  • "Behind the 'cannabusiness' boom." By Paul Thompson. Austin Business Journal, August 2, 2019, pp. 12-15.
    Discusses how HB3703 and HB1325, 86th Legislature, are paving the way for hemp and cannabis product entrepreneurs to flourish.
  • "The real cannabis rush." By Craig Giammona, Bruce Einhorn, and Ashley Robinson. Bloomberg Businessweek, July 22, 2019, pp. 16-18.
    Examines the economic effects of the legalization of hemp and hemp products. Questions whether hemp will saturate the global market and affect prices.
  • "Special report: DFW's opportunity knocks." By Craig M. Douglas and Claire Ballor. Dallas Business Journal, July 26, 2019, pp. 14-19.
    Presents a primer on the Opportunity Zone program established under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and raises potential red flags. Identifies designated opportunity zones in core Dallas-Fort Worth counties.
  • "Overcrowded primaries: A Democratic dilemma." Economist, July 27th-August 2nd, 2019, pp. 19-20.
    Traces the roots of the current system of nominating presidential candidates. Considers whether political parties should let anyone run for president.
  • "The changing landscape of homeschooling in the United States." By Aaron Hirsh. Internet Resource, July 2019, pp. 1-8.
    Examines the state of homeschooling in the United States in 2019. Includes discussion of the changing demographics of homeschoolers, the new models of homeschooling, and state policies that govern homeschooling.
  • "Student debt: An overlooked barrier to increasing teacher diversity." By Bayliss Fiddiman, Colleen Campbell, and Lisette Partelow. Internet Resource, July 9, 2019, pp. 1-18.
    Examines the student loan debt of Black and Latinx teachers. Argues the debt burden of teachers of color is a deterrent to diversifying the teaching workforce. Offers policy recommendations for reducing the student debt of minority teachers and increasing the chances they will enter or remain in the teaching profession.
  • "California energy storage initiatives: Surfing the storage wave." By Nathan C. Howe, Stuart Murray, and Sarah Elias. Natural Resources & Environment, Summer 2019, pp. 18-22.
    Discusses California's policy initiatives in energy storage development that have resulted from their increased use of intermittent renewable energy resources such as wind and solar power. Highlights the efforts of other jurisdictions active in storage development, including: minimum storage capacity targets, wholesale market frameworks, and new rate structures to incentivize customer storage.
  • "Permian pipeline projects race to remove export bottlenecks." By Christopher E. Smith. Oil and Gas Journal, July 1, 2019, pp. 59-61.
    Highlights planned pipeline projects that will help transport crude oil from the Permian Basin to the Gulf Coast.
  • "Wanted: Lawyers for rural America." By April Simpson. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), June 26, 2019, pp. 1-7.
    Reports the decline of rural lawyers has created "legal deserts" in several states, limiting vulnerable populations' access to legal representation. Discusses several states' efforts to curb the decline and to use non-lawyers to narrow the justice gap.
  • "Lingering effects of subprime lending." By Luis B. Torres, Carter Neill, and Clare Losey. Tierra Grande, July 2019, pp. 19-25.
    Examines how mortgage lending has changed in Texas since the fallout from subprime lending and the Great Recession. Details changes by city and race for Austin, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio.

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: Legislative Committee Minutes Online

The following legislative committee minutes in the LRL collection are scanned and available on our Committee minutes and related documents page:

 

House: 42nd – 77th

Senate: 27th – 77th

Interim: 38th – 77th

 

We most recently added interim minutes from the 62nd Legislature (1971-1972). As always, some committees are unique (see the interim committees on vegetable marketing and imported fire ant infestation), and others address major issues like school finance and coastal resources that the Legislature continues to work on today.

 

Minutes and other committee records from the 77th Legislature (2001) onward are available via Texas Legislature Online.

Current Articles & Research Resources, August 1

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

  • Explore interactive data related to the National Do Not Call Registry. (Federal Trade Commission, July 30, 2019)
  • See when the sales tax holiday for school supplies takes place. (Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, July 2019)
  • Examine the political geography of major metropolitan areas. (FiveThirtyEight, May 20, 2019)
  • Track U.S. government data breaches since 2014. (Comparitech, July 24, 2019)

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

  • "Getting in range." By Jacob Fischler. CQ Weekly, July 8, 2019, pp. 31-33.
    Discusses impact of the Volkswagen emission test settlement on the electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the United States. Notes Texas plans to spend $31.4 million of the settlement, more than any other state, to expand the state's infrastructure and alleviate range anxiety.
  • "Garland is building its own workforce of the future." Dallas Business Journal, July 19, 2019, p. 6.
    Profiles Garland Independent School District's Gilbreath-Reed Career and Technical Center, a state-of-the-art facility that is developing a skilled workforce pipeline for businesses in Garland and surrounding areas. Includes interview with Paul Mayer, CEO of the Garland Chamber of Commerce.
  • "Innovation in insurance: Run for cover." Economist, July 20th-26th, 2019, pp. 59-60.
    Reports on the lack of innovation in the insurance industry, noting insurers' products and processes are losing touch with 21st-century life. Points out insurers' weaknesses and growing competition from reinsurers, digital entrepreneurs, and Big Tech (Amazon, Apple, and Google).
  • "Surveillance technology: Vision quest." Economist, July 13th-19th, 2019, p. 28.
    Highlights a recent hearing of the United States House Committee on Homeland Security that examined the federal government's use of facial recognition and biometric technologies, as well as the civil liberties implications of these technologies.
  • "Kicking back kicks in for rural counties: Texas state parks provide economic boost to local economies." By Ramona Reeves. Fiscal Notes, July 2019, pp. 1-4.
    Highlights the economic benefits of state parks for rural and less populated areas of Texas. Notes state parks accounted for $891 million in sales activities in 2018 and $240 million in economic impact on area resident incomes, according to a January 2019 report by Texas A&M University.
  • "Depth over breadth." By Daniel Kreisman and Kevin Stange. Internet Resource, Fall 2019, pp. 1-8.
    Analyzes results of a study conducted on the value of vocational education in high schools. Examines the relationship between vocational or career and technical coursework and high school graduates’ success in college or in the workforce. Discusses policy implications for high schools.
  • "Local Rep urges protest of TWIA rate hike." By Suzanne Freeman. Internet Resource, July 25, 2019, pp. 1-3.
    Reports that the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association [TWIA] may increase insurance rates at their August board meeting. Includes reactions from Representatives Todd Hunter and Mayes Middleton. Mentions SB615, 86th Legislature.
  • "Pharmacy benefit manager reform: Lessons from Ohio." By Trevor J. Royce, Sheetal Kircher, and Rena M. Conti. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), July 23/30, 2019, pp. 299-300.
    Describes Ohio's efforts to increase pharmacy benefit manager [PBM] accountability, promote more transparent pass-through pricing, and reduce the use of pharmacy gag clauses.
  • "States should reject corporate demands for "deferred tax" deductions." By Michael Mazerov. Journal of MultiState Taxation and Incentives, July 2019, pp. 22-29.
    Analyzes the arguments for providing corporations deferred tax deductions at the time of a state rate increase. Finds adverse effects on stockholders and stock prices implausible and recommends no additional states grant such deductions.
  • "Nexus news: Does due process provide any protection at all?" By June Summers Haas and Daniel L. Stanley. Journal of State Taxation, Summer 2019, pp. 9-12.
    Discusses the implications of two recently decided court cases related to protections provided by the Due Process Clause in the aftermath of South Dakota v. Wayfair. Summarizes Greenscapes Home and Garden Products v. Testa, in which a Georgia company has been required to pay Ohio's commercial-activity tax, and North Carolina Dep't of Revenue v. Kimberly Rice Kaestner 1992 Family Trust, concerning the efforts of North Carolina to tax the trust income of a resident.
  • "Are fiscal rules an effective restraint on government debt?" By Veronique de Rugy and Jack Salmon. Policy Brief (Mercatus Center, George Mason University), July 16, 2019, pp. 1-15.
    Assesses the underlying problems with the United States' budgetary process and explores the effectiveness of fiscal rules in restraining government spending growth. Presents examples of countries that have proven effective at controlling spending.
  • "Fortnightly Smartest Communities 2019: Austin, Columbus, San Antonio, Spokane, suburban Birmingham." Public Utilities Fortnightly, July 2019, pp. 22-57 (Note Length).
    Highlights achievements of the winners of Fortnightly Smartest Communities 2019, including Austin and San Antonio.
  • "Driven to distraction." By Ann Kitch. State Legislatures, July/August 2019, pp. 32-33.
    Reports 2019 has been an active year for state legislation relating to distracted driving. Points out the challenges of enforcing and assessing the effectiveness of handheld phone bans.
  • "Real estate wins at the Texas Capitol." By Jaime Lee. Texas Realtor, July 2019, pp. 18-22.
    Highlights legislation of interest to the Texas real estate industry that was enacted by the 86th Legislature. Presents the 86th Texas Legislature Hall of Fame, recognizing legislators who championed pro-consumer and private property rights legislation.
  • "Keeping house." By Ali Anari. Tierra Grande, July 2019, pp. 6-9.
    Discusses the effect of location on homeownership affordability in the United States and Texas. Ranks homeownership affordability by state and by Texas cities. Notes that the affordability gap between Texas and the nation has narrowed since the Great Recession.

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.