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Sunset Commission Self-Evaluation Reports, 2020-2021 Cycle

Self-evaluation reports for the 2020-2021 review cycle are now available on the Sunset Advisory Commission's website.

 

To better understand how the Sunset process works in Texas, see this diagram. The Sunset Commission’s last report of the 2018-2019 cycle, Final Results of Sunset Reviews, was published in June 2019. A comprehensive listing of all of the entities reviewed by the Sunset Commission is available here.

 

 

Cover image by Flickr user Nathan Eaton Jr.

 

Current Articles & Research Resources, September 26

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

  • Explore statistics and data about the U.S. Hispanic population. (Pew Research Center, September 16, 2019)
  • See which states incorporate citizen input into the redistricting process. (National Conference of State Legislatures, September 2019)
  • Consider the FDA's role in regulating e-cigarettes. (Health Affairs Blog, September 17, 2019)
  • Check to see whether a motor carrier business is properly licensed in Texas. (Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, ©2019)

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

  • "When Medicaid takes everything you own." By Rachel Corbett. Atlantic Monthly, October 2019, pp. 72-79.
    Examines the Medicaid Estate Recovery Program, which allows states to seek repayment for Medicaid debt by seizing assets, including houses from the estates of Medicaid recipients. Argues this program strips property from people who can least afford the loss, thereby pushing displaced families back into the welfare system.
  • "Why insurtech startups are flourishing." By Will Anderson. Austin Business Journal, September 13, 2019, p. 22.
    Profiles insurtech companies relocating to Austin, companies that construct technology platforms aiming to lower health insurance costs while decreasing risks for self-employed freelance workers and small businesses.
  • "Drug shortages." Economist, September 14th-20th, 2019, pp. 57-58.
    Examines the causes and consequences of an increasing worldwide shortage of medicines and medical supplies.
  • "Are schools required to be trauma-sensitive?" By Sarah D. Sparks. Education Week, September 4, 2019, pp. 1, 18-19.
    Discusses three active lawsuits that challenge how public schools are addressing student disabilities resulting from trauma.
  • "Quality counts 2019: Educational opportunities and performance in Texas." Education Week, September 4, 2019, pp. 1-7.
    Assesses the educational opportunities and performance of Texas and compares them with the national average. Grades and ranks Texas in three categories: chance for success, school finance, and K-12 achievement.
  • "Post-Harvey auto sales back on track: Texans are on the road again." By Jackie Benton. Fiscal Notes, September 2019, pp. 1-2.
    Discusses the effect of Hurricane Harvey on automobile sales. Charts Texas motor vehicle sales tax collections from fiscal years 2015-2018.
  • "The dynamics of Medicaid enrollment, employment, and beneficiary health status." By Jessica P. Vistnes and Steven C. Hill. Health Affairs, September 2019, pp. 1491-1495.
    Notes that 13.9 percent of new, nonelderly adult Medicaid beneficiaries in 2015-2016 had experienced a decline in health before enrollment, and 14.1 percent had jobs that ended before they enrolled. Advises careful design of Medicaid work requirement policies that consider exemptions, reasonable accommodations, and gaps in employment.
  • "How states can improve America’s immigration system." By John Hudak and Christine Stenglein. Internet Resource, September 10, 2019, pp. 1-14.
    Outlines the role states can play in reforming immigration policy. Includes discussion of immigration detention facilities in Texas.
  • "Should failing schools be closed? What the research says." By Marcus A. Winters. Issue Brief (Manhattan Institute), September 17, 2019, pp. 1-10.
    Relies on available research to argue that it is better for school systems to close persistently ineffective schools that do not show improvement after receiving additional resources and interventions.
  • "Prescriptions on demand: The growth of direct-to-consumer telemedicine companies." By Tara Jain, Richard J. Lu, and Ateev Mehrotra. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), September 10, 2019, pp. 925-926.
    Addresses the increasing popularity of direct-to-consumer [DTC] drug telemedicine and considers potential strengths and weaknesses of this health care model.
  • "Using telemedicine to treat opioid use disorder in rural areas." By Rita Rubin. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), September 17, 2019, pp. 1029-1031.
    Describes how telemedicine has been employed to treat opioid use disorder [OUD] patients in rural areas. Notes the regulatory and reimbursement issues that have slowed progress in implementing telemedicine for treating OUD.
  • "EIA [Energy Information Administration]: Global oil market expected to remain in balance in second half." Oil and Gas Journal, September 2, 2019, pp. 45-46.
    Summarizes the U.S. Energy Information Administration's latest Short-Term Energy Outlook.
  • "Municipal annexation reform in Texas: how a victory for property rights jeopardizes the state's financial health." By Julie Polansky Bell. St. Mary's Law Journal, Vol. 50, No. 2, 2019, pp. 711-738 (Note Length).
    Provides an overview of municipal annexation. Examines the legislative history of recent reforms enacted by SB6, 85th Legislature, 1st C.S. - the Municipal Annexation Right to Vote Act. Considers the future impact of these reforms on cities and the state.
  • "To rein in cities, Texas tries to ban their lobbying." By David Montgomery. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), September 17, 2019, pp. 1-7.
    Discusses proposed legislation from the 86th Legislature (SB29 and HB281) that would have affected lobbying activities by cities, counties, and other local governments. Explains that the legislation did not pass, but may come up in a future legislative session.
  • "State, fed authorities work on hemp regulations, information." By Jessica Domel. Texas Agriculture, September 6, 2019, p. 10.
    Outlines the responsibilities that the Texas Department of Agriculture must contend with now that the 2018 Farm Bill and HB1325, 86th Legislature, have legalized hemp cultivation. Summarizes various aspects hemp farmers must address, such as crop insurance, pesticides, and hemp in food products and supplements.
  • "Rounds: News from America's best medical society." By Amy Lynn Sorrel and Joey Berlin. Texas Medicine, September 2019, pp. 14-16.
    Notes Representative John Zerwas' retirement from the legislature and new role as executive vice chancellor for health affairs with The University of Texas System. Discusses rulemaking phase of implementing SB1264, 86th Legislature, relating to surprise billing.

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.

New & Noteworthy Books and Reports: September 2019

The Library is continually adding new books to its collection. Below are the seven titles from our September 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. Priced Out: The Economic and Ethical Costs of American Health Care
By Uwe Reinhardt
Suggests that approaches to health care funding depend on how one views distributive social ethics—to what extent better-off members of society should assist poorer and/or sicker members of society. Disagrees with those who assert that Medicare and Medicaid are unsustainable models. Outlines the author's suggested plan, a "social solidarity vs. rugged individualism" model.
Princeton University Press, 2019. 201 pages.
362.1 R275P 2019


 

 

2. Traveler's Guide to the Firearm Laws of the Fifty States
By J. Scott Kappas
Provides an easy-to-understand reference guide compiling gun-related laws for all fifty states, the District of Columbia, Canada, and Mexico. Includes definitions of important terms and statutory language. Features coverage on vehicle carry of firearms, concealed carry and reciprocity for non-resident licensees, and laws governing possession of all types of firearms. Rates each state for its treatment of firearms, noting any changes in "firearms freedom" from the previous year as well as the reason behind the change.
Traveler's Guide, Inc., 2019. 67 pages.
363.33 T697 2019


 

 

3. Weather in Texas: The Essential Handbook
By George Bomar
Offers an introductory framework describing how weather functions. Discusses specific weather phenomena such as heavy rains, tornadoes, and hurricanes. Includes numerous charts and maps providing information about average weather conditions and extreme events.
University of Texas Press, 2017. 290 pages.
551.69764 B639W 2017


 

 

4. Forecasted Size of Measles Outbreaks Associated with Vaccination Exemptions for Schoolchildren
By David Sinclair
Uses 2018 vaccination rates to evaluate the risk of widespread measles outbreaks occurring in Texas due to increased vaccine exemptions. Reports a 5 percent decrease in the vaccination rate was associated with a 40 - 4,000 percent increase in the potential outbreak size. Suggests that vaccination rates are already low enough in some Texas schools to allow for large measles outbreaks in the Austin and Dallas metropolitan areas.
American Medical Association, 2019. 12 pages.
Online at: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2748595
614.47 SI62V 2019


 

 

5. Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2018
By Edward R. Berchick, Jessica C. Barnett, and Rachel D. Upton
Presents statistics on health insurance coverage in the U.S. in 2018 and changes in coverage between 2017 and 2018. Reports more than 5 million (17.7 percent) Texas residents were uninsured last year, compared with 4.8 million (17.3 percent) in 2017.
U.S. Census Bureau, 2019. 44 pages.
Online at: https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2019/demo/p60-267.pdf
312.0973 P60HC 2019


 

 

6. Improving School Safety in Texas
By Governor Greg Abbott
Addresses implementation of recommendations made in the School Safety Action Plan and the subsequent update, both released in 2018 in response to school shooting events in Texas. Discusses strategies for making schools safer and preventing threats in advance. Highlights legislation from the 86th Legislature designed to improve school safety and provide funding for these improvements.
Office of the Governor, 2019. 23 pages.
Online at: https://gov.texas.gov/uploads/files/press/Aug_2019_School_Safety_Update.pdf
G648.8 SCH65 2019


 

 

7. Texas Safety Action Report
By Governor Greg Abbott
Summarizes plans to address public safety in the wake of recent mass shootings in Texas. Details the Governor's eight executive orders related to reporting and responding to suspicious activity and threats. Recommends steps some state agencies may take in the immediate future, and policy changes the Legislature should consider regarding firearm safety and underlying issues related to schools and students.
Office of the Governor, 2019. 14 pages.
Online at: https://gov.texas.gov/uploads/files/press/Texas_Safety_Action_Report.pdf
G648.8 SA17 2019


 

 

Current Articles & Research Resources, September 19

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

  • Track obesity prevalence state by state. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, September 12, 2019)
  • Explore the new version of the Constitution Annotated. (Library of Congress, September 16, 2019)
  • View county health data in Texas. (Episcopal Health Foundation, 2019)
  • Read about the American veteran experience. (Pew Research Center, September 10, 2019)

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

  • "The state of the future." By Erin Edgemon. Austin Business Journal, September 13, 2019, pp. 17-20.
    Highlights the Texas Facilities Commission [TFC], the agency that serves as the real estate management and construction group for the state. Points out TFC's role in the Capitol Complex expansion and features an interview with Mike Novak, TFC's executive director.
  • "Builders, developers, weigh benefits of balancing, cutting DFW housing rules." By Bill Hethcock. Dallas Business Journal, September 6, 2019, pp. 12-15.
    Examines the debate between companies seeking to standardize building and land-use regulations across the DFW area and local governments that want the right to control the aesthetics of new development to preserve cities' unique characteristics. Provides overview of HB2439, 86th Legislature.
  • "Shootings and gun laws." Economist, September 7th-13th, 2019, pp. 27-28.
    Highlights research indicating Republican states tend to loosen their gun laws following mass shootings.
  • "Quality counts 2019: Grading the states." Education Week, September 4, 2019, pp. 1, 8-15.
    Provides a comprehensive report card on the United States' K-12 system. Ranks each state based on a range of academic, school finance, and socioeconomic factors.
  • "Schools tackle vaping amid new health problems." By Denise R. Superville and Arianna Prothero. Education Week, August 23, 2019, pp. 1, 17.
    Discusses the health effects of vaping and the different approaches being used by school administrators to stem student vaping.
  • "Prescription drug monitoring program mandates: Impact on opioid prescribing and related hospital use." By Hefei Wen, et al. Health Affairs, September 2019, pp. 1550-1556.
    Reports that state implementation of prescription drug monitoring programs [PDMPs] was associated with reductions in the opioid prescription rate, the opioid-related inpatient stay rate, and the opioid-related emergency department visit rate. Notes significant Medicaid savings represented in these reductions and advocates for continued attention to PDMPs as a tool in tackling the opioid crisis.
  • "Education policy responses to the opioid crisis." By Alyssa Rafa. Internet Resource, September 9, 2019, pp. 1-6.
    Examines the connection between education policy and the opioid crisis. Provides examples of recent state policies and initiatives, including Texas legislation on opioid misuse education in public schools.
  • "Medical use of cannabis in 2019." By Kevin P. Hill. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), September 10, 2019, pp. 974-975.
    Asserts that evidence is lacking that indicates the efficacy of medical cannabis for most conditions for which its use is advocated. Recommends physicians exercise caution when considering cannabis for their patients.
  • "Employee contributions to public pension plans (2019)." National Association of State Retirement Administrators, September 2019, pp. 1-12.
    Examines employee contribution plan designs across states, policies, and recent trends. Includes a table of employee contribution rates by state, including the Employees Retirement System of Texas and the Teacher Retirement System of Texas.
  • "Don't legalize prostitution." By Madeleine Kearns. National Review, August 26, 2019, pp. 22, 24, 26-28.
    Examines the experiences of different countries with legalized prostitution and profiles some young women working as prostitutes. Suggests legalizing prostitution would not make it safer for those involved and would not have the desired effect of decreasing sex trafficking.
  • "The message of measles." By Nick Paumgarten. New Yorker, September 2, 2019, pp. 38-47.
    Explores recent measles outbreaks in the United States, focusing on New York, the first state to pass a vaccination law with a religious exemption. Explains the state removed religious exemptions from the law this summer amid a growing number measles cases and a growing movement of vaccine hesitancy and refusal.
  • "The long-term forecast for the United States economy." By M. Ray Perryman. Perryman Report and Texas Letter, Vol. 36, No. 5, pp. 1-3, 6.
    Highlights recent trends in global trade controversies as well as expectations for long-term domestic economic performance during the 2018 to 2045 period.
  • "PDK poll of the public's attitudes toward the public schools." Phi Delta Kappan, September 2019, pp. K1-K23.
    Presents the results of the 51st annual PDK [Phi Delta Kappan] poll of the public's attitudes toward public schools. Reports Americans named the lack of financial support for public schools as the biggest problem facing their local schools.
  • "Designing better sugary drink taxes." By Anna H. Grummon, et al. Science, September 6, 2019, pp. 989-990.
    Proposes taxing the amount of sugar in a drink per gram instead of taxing by drink volume. Suggests taxing the sugar rather than the drink will encourage consumers to consume drinks with less sugar.
  • "Doctors drive new opioid laws." By Joey Berlin. Texas Medicine, September 2019, pp. 26-28.
    Summarizes new laws relating to opioids that will affect physicians' use of prescription monitoring programs [PMPs] and how physicians prescribe controlled substances.
  • "Clearing the air on cannabis." By Sean Price. Texas Medicine, September 2019, pp. 42-44.
    Highlights HB1325 and HB3703, 86th Legislature, which loosen rules on the use of cannabis oil. Considers the possible effects on physicians and health care practice.
  • "Passing oral safe harbor: How one nurse's experience changed the law." By Tonya R. Poore. Texas Nursing, Summer 2019, pp. 12-13.
    Narrates the personal experience of a nurse whose difficulty invoking "safe harbor" — a nursing peer review committee determination — inspired HB2410, 86th Legislature, which expedites the process.
  • "The battle to draw the battle lines." By Philip Elliott. Time, September 16, 2019 , pp. 44-47.
    Examines efforts by Democrats to regain control of state legislative chambers in order to shape Congress for the next decade. Considers what Republicans are doing to retain their advantage over congressional redistricting.

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 September 23

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.

 

September 26

Senate Select Committee on Mass Violence Prevention & Community Safety 

Topic: Organizational and informational matters

Legislative Intent in the Minutes

Many LRL researchers are interested in legislative intent—understanding why a bill becomes law, and who proposes ideas or reforms. However, "intent" is not always explicitly spelled out.

 

In more recent years, legislative intent often can be found in bill analyses within the bill files. It sometimes is recorded in the text of the bill or in the house or senate journals.

 

As we work on digitizing past committee minutes, we have also found some instances where legislative intent was added to the record in committee hearings.

Both of these intent documents are noted as reports in the committee minutes database records for their respective committees and sessions. You also can access them via the bills' records in the Legislative Archive System.

 

Conducting legislative research involves consulting a wide range of documents and close attention to detail. But checking everything is worth it—you never know which resource will provide the information you need!

Current Articles & Research Resources, September 12

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

  • Explore the monthly state Revenue Watch. (Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, updated September 2019)
  • Read about the end of the Driver Responsibility Program. (Texas Department of Public Safety, August 27, 2019)
  • Get a list of party leaders in the Congress going back to 1789. (Congressional Research Service, September 4, 2019)
  • Review power-saving tips for homes. (Public Utility Commission of Texas, accessed September 12, 2019)

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

  • "Supreme Court report: Contentious cases." By Mark Walsh. ABA Journal: The Lawyer's Magazine, September-October 2019, pp. 18-19.
    Highlights high-profile issues the United States Supreme Court will consider during the term that begins on October 7, including LGBT rights, the future of DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals], and gun rights.
  • "Homeschooling and educational freedom: Why school choice is good for homeschoolers." By Kerry McDonald. CATO Briefing Papers, September 4, 2019, pp. 1-8.
    Presents an overview of homeschooling trends. Argues educational freedom creates momentum for families to seek alternatives to conventional mass schooling.
  • "Manufacturing in Texas: Factory of the future; How is DFW positioned for the industry's future; Incentives." By Evan Hoopfer. Dallas Business Journal, August 30, 2019, pp. 5-10, 12, 14-21.
    Questions whether Texas should be doing more to attract advanced manufacturing jobs. Mentions the state scored a "C" in manufacturing industry health.
  • "The American economy: Areas of concern." Economist, August 31st-September 6th, 2019, pp. 19-20.
    Points out weaknesses in several economic sectors, including manufacturing, construction, and energy industry employment. Mentions the present slowdown may prove politically consequential.
  • "Schools face Latino kids' fears after shootings." By Stephen Sawchuck, Denisa R. Superville, and Hector Alejandro Arzate. Education Week, August 21, 2018, pp. 5-6.
    Examines how school districts in Texas are responding to the mass shooting in El Paso, in which Hispanics were targeted. Discusses steps being taken by schools to alleviate the fears of Hispanic students and their families.
  • "Can Medicaid expansion prevent housing evictions?" By Heidi L. Allen, et al. Health Affairs, September 2019, pp. 1451-1457.
    Evaluates the possible correlation between expansion of Medicaid and lower rates of evictions. Concludes that health insurance coverage is associated with improved housing stability.
  • "Emergency department closures and openings: Spillover effects on patient outcomes in bystander hospitals." By Renee Y. Hsia and Yu-Chu Shen. Health Affairs, September 2019, pp. 1496-1504.
    Suggests high-occupancy hospitals are the most sensitive to nearby emergency department [ED] closures, while other hospitals absorb increased demand in emergency care without significant negative impact on patient outcomes. Observes that significant effects appear only when driving time to an ED changes by 30 minutes or more. Notes utilization as well as distance from neighboring EDs should be taken into account when deciding to open or close an ED.
  • "Campus sexual assault policies." By Molly Sarubbi. Internet Resource, August 26, 2019, pp. 1-6.
    Reviews 2019 state legislative activity relating to postsecondary campus sexual assault. Highlights legislation, including Texas bills, that address awareness and prevention, reporting guidelines and procedures, and assessment and accountability.
  • "Lessons learned from the opioid epidemic." By Joshua M. Sharfstein and Yngvild Olsen. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), September 3, 2019, pp. 809-810.
    Summarizes missteps made by physicians, regulators, hospitals, and other entities, that made possible the significant scale of the opioid epidemic. Calls for reflection and accountability moving forward.
  • "The rush to restrict gun rights." By Charles C.W. Cooke. National Review, August 26, 2019, pp. 14-15.
    Argues that evidence does not support the effectiveness of proposed gun-control policies and that the First and Second Amendments should be defended. Advocates for surveillance of hate groups and prosecution when warranted and for technology companies to decline to provide technical assistance and support to them.
  • "Protecting elections from social media manipulation." By Sinan Aral and Dean Eckles. Science, August 30, 2019, pp. 858-861.
    Calls for more research into how social media can affect and influence elections. Explores some of the challenges of measuring the manipulation of social media, including consumer privacy concerns.
  • "It's a wrap! How nurses advocated for their profession in the 86th legislative session." By Cindy Zolnierek. Texas Nursing, Summer 2019, pp. 8-9.
    Summarizes passed and failed legislation of interest to nursing professionals.

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 September 16

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.

 

September 17

Topic: Organizational meeting and invited testimony on implementation of Executive Orders issued by Governor Abbott on September 5, 2019, and other items under the committee's jurisdiction

 

September 18

House Committee on House Administration 

Topic: Budget for a recently appointed select committee

Legislative Wrap-ups, 86th Legislature

Following each legislative session in Texas, organizations, state agencies, and other entities publish "wrap-ups" summarizing new laws and key legislative developments in areas ranging from education to real estate to water conservation. Wrap-ups can range from a simple list of bills to a detailed report that includes background information and expert analysis.

 

The LRL tracks legislative wrap-ups, as we find them to be an excellent research tool and summary of the topics covered during a particular session. Listed below is a short selection. To find one on a topic that interests you, check the websites of organizations or state agencies that focus on the issue, or contact the library for assistance.

 

State Agencies

 

Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC)

 

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ)

 

 

Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities

 

Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ)

 

Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR)

 

Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR)

 

Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT)

 

Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB)
Summary of Higher Education Legislation - 86th Texas Legislature

 

Texas Judicial Council
Texas Judiciary Legislative Update

 

Associations and Organizations

American Planning Association

 

National Association of Social Workers (Texas Chapter)

 

State Bar of Texas

 

Texas Association of Business (TAB)

 

Texas Association of School Boards (TASB)

 

Texas Homeowners Association Law

 

Texas Land Title Association (TLTA)

 

Texas Municipal League (TML)

 

Texas NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws)

 

Texas Nurse Practitioners (TNP)

 

Texas Water Conservation Association
86th Texas Legislature Wrap-Up

Current Articles & Research Resources, September 5

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

  • See how paid sick leave by industry has changed over time in the last decade. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, August 30, 2019)
  • Track which states have smart meter opt-out policies. (National Conference of State Legislatures, August 20, 2019)
  • Review statistics related to domestic terrorism. (Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University, August 29, 2019)
  • Read about Texas' 10-year transportation plan. (Texas Department of Transportation, August 29, 2019)

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

  • "Inclusive approach to immigrants who are undocumented can help families and states prosper." By Erica Williams, Eric Figueroa, and Wesley Tharpe. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, August 21, 2019, pp. 1-22. Discusses the contributions of undocumented immigrants to state economies and finances. Includes 50-state chart of state and local taxes paid by unauthorized immigrants. Mentions the Texas law banning sanctuary cities.
  • "As white supremacists twist history, scholars seek to right the record." By Emma Pettit. Chronicle of Higher Education, August 16, 2019, p. A23.
    Explains academics are becoming more active in refuting what they consider a distortion of history being promulgated by white supremacists. Quotes one scholar as stating "our complacency becomes complicity" when academics do not speak out against the mistaken vision of medieval Europe as an all-white space.
  • "Texas and the 1115 Medicaid waiver: Action needed to ensure federal aid." By David Green, Spencer Grubbs, and Joyce Jauer. Fiscal Notes, August 2019, pp. 1, 3-5.
    Highlights the importance of renewing Texas' section 1115 Medicaid waiver, set to provide the state with up to $25 billion from 2018 to 2022, for the medically uninsured and "safety net" hospitals. Details the amounts of federal funding available under the waiver for uncompensated care and the Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment Program [DSRIP].
  • "New discipline and safety policies for Texas." By Morgan Craven. IDRA Newsletter (Intercultural Development Research Association), June-July 2019, p. 3.
    Details bills passed by the 86th Legislature that focus on school safety in response to school shootings.
  • "Success of opt-in organ donation policy in the United States." By Alexandra Glazier and Thomas Mone. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), August 27, 2019, pp. 719-720.
    Argues that the United States should build on its current opt-in organ donation policy to increase the number of registered donors. Cites data demonstrating that opt-in policies in the United States are associated with higher organ donation rates than almost every country with an opt-out policy as the legal default.
  • "Changes in opioid-involved overdose deaths by opioid type and presence of benzodiazepines, cocaine, and methamphetamine — 25 states, July–December 2017 to January–June 2018." By R. Matt Gladden, et al. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), August 30, 2019, pp. 1-8.
    Observes that opioid deaths decreased in the study time period by five percent overall and decreased for prescription opioids and illicit synthetic opioids, excluding illicitly manufactured fentanyl [IMF]. Highlights that IMF deaths increased eleven percent, noting the need for broadened outreach efforts to persons at high risk for IMF overdoses.
  • "Criminal immigrants in Texas in 2017." By Alex Nowrasteh. Policy Brief (CATO Institute), August 27, 2019,
    pp. 1-7.
    Finds that conviction and arrest rates for illegal immigrants were lower than those of native-born Americans in just about every case, including homicide, sex crimes, larceny, and most other crimes.
  • "Success of red flag laws might depend on mental health teams." By Christine Vestal. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), August 26, 2019, pp. 1-7.
    Highlights the behavioral services and threat assessment unit within the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office in Florida, which works to identify people who may pose a threat of violence and intervenes if warranted. Suggests having this type of unit in place may be necessary to make red flag laws work.
  • "Power shift." By Michael E. Webber. Texas Monthly, September 2019, pp. 100-105, 122, 127-128.
    Outlines how Texas could be a leader in the energy industry, both economically and environmentally, by supporting natural gas, wind, and solar infrastructure and markets.

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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