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Current Articles & Research Resources, January 30

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

  • See how states are planning for more extreme weather events and natural disasters. (Stateline, January 29, 2020)
  • Explore the differences among Americans relating to their preferred news sources. (Pew Research Center, January 24, 2020)
  • Read about federal funding for women's health services in Texas. (Texas Health and Human Services Commission, January 24, 2020)
  • Consider how Americans like to spend their spare time. (Gallup, January 24, 2020)

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

  • 20.01.44  /  "IDEA turns 45." By Michelle Healy. American School Board Journal, February 2020, 16-20.
    Reviews the positive impact of the Individuals with Disabilities Act [IDEA] since its passage in 1975 but argues its full potential hasn't been realized due to funding challenges. Discusses the effects of IDEA's funding shortages and what can be done to improve and modernize the law.
  • 20.01.45  /  "General counsel's report." By Jim Allison. County Progress, January 2020, pp. 6, 52-55.
    Provides an overview of the 86th Texas Legislature and the issues assigned to legislative committees to study during the interim. Lists almost two dozen bills as assigned to legislative committees that affect county governments.
  • 20.01.46  /  "California exit: Amid an exodus, Golden State loses its luster." By Mark Calvey. Dallas Business Journal, January 17, 2020, pp. 16-19, 22-23.
    Reports the corporate exodus out of California is showing signs of accelerating, and area businesses are bracing for further departures. Points out the top ten states where Californians are moving.
  • 20.01.47  /  "Housing: No place like home." Economist, January 18th-24th, 2020, pp. 3-12.
    Presents special report highlighting shortcomings in current housing policies. Suggests flexible planning systems, appropriate taxation, and financial regulation can turn housing into a force for social and economic stability.
  • 20.01.48  /  "California ride share contracting legislation is a solution in search of a problem." By Ryan Radia. Internet Resource, December 17, 2019, pp. 1-11.
    Argues California's Assembly Bill 5, 2019-2020 Regular Session, which redefines whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor, will negatively impact ride share companies like Uber and Lyft. Discusses how minimum wage, health insurance, employee expenses, and employee leave will result in reduced pay and flexibility for drivers, higher costs for the companies, and higher fares for customers.
  • 20.01.49  /  "A field guide to the taxes of Texas (2020)." Internet Resource, January 27, 2020, pp. 1-26 (Note Length).
    Provides a graphical overview of major Texas state and local taxes, including sales and use, motor vehicle sales, motor fuel, franchise, oil production, and natural gas production taxes. Describes revenue by source, future revenue growth, historical volatility, and major exemptions for each tax. Includes charts on local property and sales taxes.
  • 20.01.50  /  "Municipalities feel the chill of Knick in the air." By Abigail M. Jones. Natural Resources & Environment, Winter 2020, pp. 57-58.
    Summarizes Knick v. Township of Scott, a case recently decided by the United States Supreme Court, which overturned a precedent barring plaintiffs from bringing actions in federal court under the Fifth Amendment's takings clause unless they had already lost in state court. Discusses how this ruling may effect federal challenges to local zoning ordinances by oil and gas companies and fracking moratoriums by municipal governments.
  • 20.01.51  /  "The Texas Pension Review Board: A model for nationwide reform." By Josh B McGee. Report (Manhattan Institute), January 14, 2020, pp. 1-15.
    Commends the Texas Pension Review Board [PRB] for its positive impact on state pension funding policy and offers model legislation for states who wish to create a PRB-style agency. Mentions Senators Paul Bettencourt, Joan Huffman, and Royce West, as well as SB322, 86th Legislature.
  • 20.01.52  /  "Texas sees job, output gains from 2018 U.S. tax cut." By Anil Kumar. Southwest Economy (Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas), Fourth Quarter 2019, pp. 10-13.
    Looks at the effect of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 on state tax calculations, state-level tax breaks, job growth, and economic activity in Texas.
  • 20.01.53  /  "Filling in for the Feds." By Alan Greenblatt. State Legislatures, January/February 2020, pp. 10-16.
    Reports Congress' lack of legislative productivity is placing the burden on states to address the perennial issues that Washington has either failed to address or refused to fund, including infrastructure funding, Medicaid costs, immigration, and gun rights.
  • 20.01.54  /  "Shell's crude awakening." By Justin Worland. Time, January 27, 2020, pp. 40-46.
    Examines how oil and gas companies are responding to concerns regarding climate change. Profiles the Royal Dutch Shell company and discusses its strategies to remake itself and survive in a time when shifting political and economic tides threaten the future of fossil fuels. Mentions oil firms in Texas.

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 February 3

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.


For recent posts on Interim Hearings, see Interim Hearing Resources on the LRL homepage. The "Recent Entries" list on the left provides quick access to interim hearings posts from previous weeks.


February 3

House Committee on House Administration

Topic: Budgets for recently appointed committees


February 5

House Committee on Ways & Means

Charge 1.2: HB 1525 and HB 2153, which relate to the collection of sales and use taxes by marketplaces and out-of-state businesses. Monitor the Comptroller of Public Accounts' rules regulating the collection of sales, use, and franchise tax to ensure compliance by marketplace providers and out-of-state businesses and monitor any revenue increases as a result of implementation of these bills.

Charge 5: Review the use of third-party tax collection firms, including law firms and tax specialty firms, by governmental units. Evaluate what methods other states use to collect taxes. Determine whether the use of those firms is cost-effective for the taxing jurisdiction or if the tax collection efforts should be performed by the taxing units directly.

Charge 6: Monitor the State Auditor's review of agencies and programs under the Committee's jurisdiction. The Chair shall seek input and periodic briefings on completed audits for the 2019 and 2020 fiscal years and bring forth pertinent issues for full committee consideration.


February 6

Senate Committee on Business & Commerce

Charge: Electricity: Assess the electricity market in Texas. Examine changes in customer demand, such as on-site storage, distributed generation, and electric vehicles. Study the usage of "non-wires alternatives," including energy storage, and recommend legislative changes if needed. Identify barriers to the electric market at the state or local level. Make recommendations to maintain grid reliability and encourage the continued success of the electric market.

86th Legislative Session Summaries Available

After each legislative session, the House Research Organization (HRO), the Senate Research Center (SRC), and the Texas Legislative Council (TLC) publish overviews of the session's accomplishments. These reports provide summaries of enrolled bills and analysis of major legislation. All three are now available for the 86th Legislature: 

Each overview is organized by topic and gives a unique look at the session. The SRC overview provides brief summaries of all enrolled bills, including an analysis of the appropriations bill. The TLC overview offers summaries of all enrolled legislation, notes effective dates, and contains veto statements. The HRO overview highlights legislation on major topics, including bills that did not pass, and features extensive analysis and statements by supporters and opponents.  

The TLC additionally published New, Renamed, and Abolished State Governmental Entities: 86th Legislature and updated the online statutes and Texas Constitution to reflect the 86th Legislature's enactments and the November 2019 constitutional amendment election outcomes.

If you're looking for information on previous sessions, overviews back to the 48th Legislature can be found at the Legislative Reference Library's Session Summaries page.

Current Articles & Research Resources, January 23

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

  • Explore trends in criminal justice reforms by state. (The Sentencing Project, January 2020)
  • See maps of where Americans are least active. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, January 16, 2020)
  • Find out if you are registered to vote before the deadline for registering to vote in the March primary election. (Texas Secretary of State, accessed January 22, 2020)
  • Review the Administrative Law Handbook 2020. (Texas Attorney General, 2020)

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

  • 20.01.33  /  "Preventing tragedy: Learning from one another, states take steps to make schools safer." By Joel Sams. Capitol Ideas, Issue 5 2019, pp. 22-25.
    Discusses school safety provisions of Florida Senate Bill 7026 (2018), and school safety policies adopted in several states relating to building security, extreme risk protection orders, and threat assessment programs.
  • 20.01.34  /  "Attrition rate down to 21%, but Texas high schools lost over 88,000 students last year." By Roy L. Johnson. IDRA Newsletter (Intercultural Development Research Association), November-December 2019, pp. 5-6.
    Presents the results of the 34th annual report on trends in dropout and attrition rates in Texas public schools. Explains latest data shows continued, gradual improvement, but Latino and Black students were two times more likely to leave school without graduating than White students.
  • 20.01.35  /  "Large-capacity magazine bans linked with fewer mass shootings, deaths." By Jennifer Abbasi. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), January 14, 2020, pp. 108-109.
    Considers a recent study published in the American Journal of Public Health that found a correlation between large-capacity magazine bans and lower rates of high-fatality mass shooting deaths.
  • 20.01.36  /  "Rurality and risk of perinatal depression among women in the United States." By Nichole Nidey, et al. Journal of Rural Health, Winter 2020, pp. 9-16.
    Reports that the odds of perinatal depression risk were higher by 21 percent among rural versus urban women, adjusted for race, ethnicity, and maternal age. Notes that the risk difference is not significant when adding maternal education, health insurance coverage, and WIC participation.
  • 20.01.37  /  "Observations from the trenches — Wayfair, a year and a half later." Journal of State Taxation, Winter 2019, pp. 29-34.
    Describes the effects of economic nexus changes in South Dakota v. Wayfair from a business compliance perspective. Addresses sales and use tax compliance software and the role of state governments in regulating sales tax sourcing and e-filing and online registration.
  • 20.01.38  /  "The border of business." By Jessica Corso. San Antonio Business Journal, January 10, 2020, pp. 11-14.
    Examines how the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement [USMCA] may impact the Texas economy. Highlights the value of exports from Texas to Mexico, estimated at $260 billion per year, and how the USMCA might affect this value.
  • 20.01.39  /  "Gentrification transforming neighborhoods in big Texas cities." By Yichen Su. Southwest Economy (Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas), Fourth Quarter 2019, pp. 3-7.
    Analyzes gentrification and neighborhood transition trends in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin. Includes statistics on college graduates, income, racial and ethnic groups, housing construction, and home values in these cities, and discusses the implication of displacing at-risk, vulnerable populations to suburban areas.
  • 20.01.40  /  "Body cameras may not be the easy answer everyone was looking for." By Lindsey Van Ness. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), January 14, 2020, pp. 1-7.
    Highlights studies showing mixed results on body cameras leading to reductions in use of force by police or how people view the police.
  • 20.01.41  /  "Texas Legislature to study, focus on interim charges in 2020." By Julie Tomascik. Texas Agriculture, January 3, 2020, p. 9.
    Reports on some of the issues the Texas Legislature will examine in interim studies. Lists topics important to rural Texans and farmers, including eminent domain, rural broadband, personal property tax, groundwater regulation, hemp, food labels, and pesticide application.
  • 20.01.42  /  "Breaking down barriers." By Sean Price. Texas Medicine, January 2020, pp. 42-44.
    Describes the benefits of long-acting reversible contraceptives [LARCs] and the regulatory barriers to prescribing them for women and their physicians. Notes the Texas Health and Human Services Commission's plans to study ways to improve access to LARCs by decreasing financial and administrative burdens.
  • 20.01.43  /  "Something in the air." By Christopher Collins. Texas Observer, January/February 2020, pp. 24-29.
    Investigates the effect of fecal dust pollution generated by cattle feedlots on Texans living in the Panhandle. Reports communities in feedlot hot spots have some of the highest levels of asthma in Texas and have little recourse but to move due to the lack of state regulation.

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 January 27

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.


For recent posts on Interim Hearings, see Interim Hearing Resources on the LRL homepage. The "Recent Entries" list on the left provides quick access to interim hearings posts from previous weeks.


January 28

Senate Committee on Intergovernmental Relations (Brownsville)

Charge 1: Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program: Review existing regulations governing the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program and the Qualified Allocation Plan to determine whether regulations exist that unnecessarily increase the cost of developing and maintaining affordable housing. Make recommendations to provide regulatory relief and provide greater development of affordable housing in Texas. 

Charge 2: Federal Housing Review: Study all federal housing programs accessible to Texas. Make recommendations that ensure the state maximizes the use of those programs.

Charge 3: Infrastructure Resiliency: Examine the authority special purpose districts have to generate natural disaster resilient infrastructure. Determine ways state government can work with special purpose districts to mitigate future flooding and promote more resilient infrastructure. Make recommendations on how special purpose districts may use their statutory authority to assist in mitigating damage from future natural disasters.

Charge 4: Monitoring: Monitor the implementation of legislation addressed by the Senate Committee on Intergovernmental Relations passed by the 86th Legislature, as well as relevant agencies and programs under the committee's jurisdiction. Specifically, make recommendations for any legislation needed to improve, enhance, or complete implementation of the following:


January 30

House Committee on State Affairs   

Charge 1: Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee's jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 86th Legislature. Conduct active oversight of all associated rulemaking and other governmental actions taken to ensure intended legislative outcome of all legislation, including the following:

  • SB 14HB 1960, and HB 2422, which relate to broadband services provided by electric cooperatives. Monitor the implementation of the legislation, including the status of rural electric cooperatives deploying broadband fiber in underserved areas. Monitor the efforts of the Texas Department of Transportation in executing state coordination of certain broadband development projects in rural areas.

  • SB 475 and SB 936, which relate to the security of the state's electric grid. Monitor the creation of the Texas Electric Grid Security Council and its efforts to facilitate the aggregation, coordination, and dissemination of best security practices for the electric industry, including generation, transmission, and delivery of electricity. Evaluate the efforts between the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC), electric utilities, and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) to ensure collaboration related to cybersecurity issues and make recommendations to achieve the highest level of security within the state's electric grid.
  • SB 1497, which relates to the registration and regulation of brokers by the Public Utility Commission. Evaluate the effects of requiring registration with the Public Utility Commission of a person providing electric brokerage services and whether these efforts have assisted with customer complaints and corrective measures, deterred entities acting in bad faith, and increased customer protections in the retail electric market.

Charge 2: Receive an update on the 2020 electric reliability forecasts announced by ERCOT and review operational successes and issues from the summer of 2019. The Committee will receive invited testimony from the PUC, ERCOT and other interested parties. Study the electric market to determine potential barriers in attracting sufficient energy supply; examine the obstacles and/or incentives for the development and deployment of new energy supply technology and peak system energy demand management technology; evaluate opportunities for competitive development of energy supply microgrids and the potential for enhancing reliability by transitioning municipally owned utilities to focus on transmission and distribution functions. Examine the enhancement of retail customers' energy supply management capability through promotion of greater retail price transparency. Examine and

make recommendations concerning the build-out of necessary infrastructure to support the increased proliferation of electric vehicles, considering impacts to consumers.

New & Noteworthy Books and Reports: January 2020

The Library is continually adding new books to its collection. Below are the titles from our January 2020 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. Elderhood: Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine, Reimagining Life
By Louise Aronson
Examines aging with the goal of changing perceptions and practices in the medical field and giving society a new appreciation for growing old. Draws from anecdotes from the author's personal life and work as a geriatrician, as well as history, science, literature, and popular culture, to provide the perspective that elderhood is simply another unique stage of life with positive and negative facets.
Bloomsbury Publishing, 2019, 449 pages
362.60973 AR67EL 2019



2. The Essential J. Frank Dobie
By Steven L. Davis, editor
Gathers in one volume the "most vital" writings of J. Frank Dobie, an environmentalist, civil rights advocate, folklorist, and writer who has been called the father of Texas literature. Includes pieces that inspired readers to action ranging from establishing what would become Big Bend National Park to saving the Texas Longhorn breed of cattle from extinction. Explores his sometimes controversial opinions on serious political topics, as well as more lighthearted matters like cedar fever.
Texas A & M University Press, 2019, 305 pages
818.5209 D297ES 2019



3. In Pain: A Bioethicist's Personal Struggle with Opioids
By Travis N. Rieder
Recounts the author's devastating experience with opioid dependence and withdrawal that began with a motorcycle accident, followed by multiple surgeries and poor pain management. Examines the inadequacy of the American healthcare system when it comes to managing pain with opioid therapy. Discusses the history of opioids since their invention in the 1800s, the changing attitudes about pain management, and how to improve the treatment of chronic pain in a manner that helps patients but avoids opioid dependence.
Harper, 2019, 297 pages
362.29 R442IN 2019



4. Modernizing the Electric Grid: State Role and Policy Options
By Glen Andersen, Megan Cleveland, and Daniel Shea
Analyzes the current U.S. system of electricity generation, transmission, and distribution, the components of the modern electric grid, and the recent explosion of new technologies, from electric vehicles to energy storage. Recommends policy and regulatory approaches to update the electric grid for a modern energy system. Continues the discussion in an accompanying podcast, Power Play: States Address U.S. Electric Grid.
National Conference of State Legislatures, 2019, 51 pages
Online at:
343.0929 AN23M 2019



5. Redistricting Law 2020
By Michelle Davis, et al.
Explains fundamentals of current redistricting law to assist legislators and their staff with the upcoming redrawing of electoral districts. Addresses ten major legal topics that are applicable to redistricting. Highlights new developments in redistricting law relating to the Voting Rights Act, partisanship, legislative privilege, and population. Includes summaries of each legal topic by chapter, relevant case law from this decade, and historic Supreme Court cases.
National Conference of State Legislatures, 2019, 282 pages
Online at:
328.3345 N2135 2020



6. Regional Differences in the Drugs Most Frequently Involved in Drug Overdose Deaths: United States, 2017
By Holly Hedegaard, et al.
Studies data from the 2017 National Vital Statistics System-Mortality files to compare drugs most frequently involved in drug overdose deaths, grouped by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regions. Argues that understanding regional differences of drugs used in overdose deaths could assist prevention and policy efforts.
National Center for Health Statistics, 2019, 16 pages
Online at:
362.6 H358 2019



Current Articles & Research Resources, January 16

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

  • Read about how to file your taxes for free. (ProPublica, January 10, 2020)
  • Consider how the political climate in Texas may change as more people move here from out of state. (Stateline, January 13, 2020)
  • Consider a recent Fifth Circuit ruling related to the Affordable Care Act. (Health Affairs, January 13, 2020)
  • Review toll increases. (Texas Department of Transportation, December 23, 2019)

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

  • 20.01.17  /  "To be better citizens, students sue for the right to learn civics." By Stacy Teicher Khadaroo. Christian Science Monitor, December 30, 2019, pp. 6-7.
    Discusses a class-action lawsuit currently before a United States District Court in Rhode Island in which students argue they have a constitutional right to an adequate civics education to prepare them for successful participation in a democracy.
  • 20.01.18  /  "Project Blitz 2.0." By Rob Boston. Church & State, January 2020, pp. 4-5.
    Provides an example of state legislation promoted by the Project Blitz campaign to weaken church-state separation, the Ohio Student Religious Liberties Act of 2019.
  • 20.01.19  /  "New law news: House Bill 2820 eliminates TRS's 403(b) registry." Classroom Teacher (Texas Classroom Teachers Association), Fall 2019, p. 5.
    Discusses why HB2820, 86th Legislature, which removed the Teacher Retirement System's regulatory authority over 403(b) investment products, was enacted. Addresses potential problems with the new law.
  • 20.01.20  /  "Sex education in Texas schools: TexEd." Economist, January 4th-10th, 2020, pp. 18-19.
    Discusses the Austin Independent School District's [AISD] revised Human Sexuality & Responsibility Curriculum. Notes the controversy surrounding AISD's decision may foreshadow a larger battle when the State Board of Education considers revising state health and sex education standards in 2020.
  • 20.01.21  /  "Sexual assault: Her word against his." Economist, January 4th-10th, 2020, pp. 42-44.
    Explains why few rapists are convicted. Uses a fictional case study to illustrate the difficulty of weighing "he-said-she-said" evidence.
  • 20.01.22  /  "Tax trends at the dawn of 2020." By Jared Walczak. Fiscal Fact (Tax Foundation), January 6, 2020, pp. 1-21.
    Looks at trends in state tax policy in 2020, including sales taxes on e-commerce after Wayfair v. South Dakota, legalization and taxation of marijuana, and taxation of sports betting.
  • 20.01.23  /  "California sets off privacy scramble." By Jeff John Roberts. Fortune, January 2020, pp. 18-19.
    Discusses national implications of the new California Consumer Privacy Act on businesses and consumers. Notes over twenty other states are copying the California law.
  • 20.01.24  /  "Out-of-network billing and negotiated payments for hospital-based physicians." By Zack Cooper, et al. Health Affairs, January 2020, pp. 24-32.
    Estimates that specialists' ability to bill out of network raises total health care costs for people with employee-sponsored insurance by approximately 3.4 percent ($40 billion). Proposes that hospitals be required to sell a package of facility and physician services to protect patients and provide a competitively determined price.
  • 20.01.25  /  "Structural urbanism contributes to poorer health outcomes for rural America." By Janice C. Probst, Jan Marie Eberth, and Elizabeth Crouch. Health Affairs, December 2019, pp. 1976-1984.
    Argues that biases in current models of health care funding treat health care as a service for an individual, rather than as infrastructure for a population. Suggests conceptualizing rural health care as infrastructure — similar to roads, telecommunications, and electricity — and adopting funding models accordingly.
  • 20.01.26  /  "Texas higher education law aims to improve outcomes for students in developmental education." By Bricio Vasquez. IDRA Newsletter (Intercultural Development Research Association), November-December 2019, pp. 1-2, 6.
    Explains that too many community college students are placed in non-credit remedial classes due to reliance on a single measure of college readiness with the unintended consequence of hindering progress and raising student attrition. Cites HB2223, 85th Legislature, R.S.; presents alternative approaches to college placement.
  • 20.01.27  /  "Marijuana update for practitioners: There is a bright line, a grey one." By Janel Greiman. Journal of MultiState Taxation and Incentives, January 2020, pp. 10-34.
    Analyzes the changing landscape of state laws legalizing recreational and medical marijuana and the tax implications. Includes a state-by-state list of marijuana or cannabis statutes, regulations, and voter-approved ballot initiatives, as well as a table of marijuana cultivation application and license fees across the states.
  • 20.01.28  /  "State and local government spending on public employee retirement systems." National Association of State Retirement Administrators, Updated December 2019, pp. 1-6.
    Describes nationwide spending on public pensions and trends in pension costs and financing. Notes Texas' pension contribution was 3.07 percent of all state and local government direct general spending in fiscal year 2017, compared to the United States average of 4.71 percent.
  • 20.01.29  /  "Scoot over: How electric scooters violate the ADA and what cities can do to maintain Title II compliance." By Jo Ann Mazoch. SMU Law Review, Fall 2019, pp. 871-893.
    Highlights the ways in which electric scooters violate the Americans with Disabilities Act and the problems that electric scooters create for cities. Introduces solutions that allow cities to keep sidewalks accessible for people with disabilities.
  • 20.01.30  /  "Neighborhood Centers, Inc. v. Walker: The curious outcomes of new charter school legislation in Texas." By Brittny Mandarino. South Texas Law Review, Summer 2019, pp. 639-645.
    Discusses Texas legislation related to open enrollment charter schools and efforts to provide increasing protection for students and employees. Examines Neighborhood Centers, Inc. v. Walker and how a recent change in the applicability of laws to charter schools, HB1170, 84th Legislature, has affected the protection of employees under the Texas Whistleblower Act.
  • 20.01.31  /  "Electric cars will challenge state power grids." By Alex Brown. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), January 9, 2020, pp. 1-6.
    Examines whether states will be able to sufficiently boost power production to meet the increase in consumption from electric vehicles.
  • 20.01.32  /  "Taking privacy to a new level." By Sean Price. Texas Medicine, January 2020, pp. 28-29.
    Outlines the new privacy protections set out by HB4390, 86th Legislature, which dropped the threshold for breach reporting from 500 patients to 250, requires medical entities to report breaches to the Texas attorney general's office within 60 days, and established the Texas Privacy Protection Advisory Council.

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 January 20

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.


For recent posts on Interim Hearings, see Interim Hearing Resources on the LRL homepage. The "Recent Entries" list on the left provides quick access to interim hearings posts from previous weeks.


January 21

House Committee on Elections

Charge 1: Oversight of rulemaking and other governmental actions taken to ensure intended legislative outcome of the following legislation:

  • HB 933, which requires election information to be posted on the Secretary of State's (SOS) and each county's internet website. Monitor the costs associated with implementing the legislation. Work with the SOS to determine which office elections should be included in the website.
  • HB 1421, which strengthens the cybersecurity of the state's election infrastructure. Review the program required under the bill to train county election officers in the best practices for identifying and reducing cybersecurity threats.
  • HB 2504, which modifies ballot access requirements for non-major party nominees. Review the provision requiring the SOS to establish rules implementing the fees and petitions.
  • HB 4130, which requires the SOS to develop procedures for adequately certifying electronic poll books. Review the provision requiring the secretary of state to adopt rules mandating real-time updates for electronic poll book use during the early voting period or under the countywide polling place program. Monitor and report on countywide polling. Examine the number and location of polling places, polling booths, and wait times for voting


House Committee on Redistricting (Plano) 

Topic: 2021 legislative redistricting process and 2020 Census data



January 22

House Committee on Redistricting (Arlington) 

Topic: 2021 legislative redistricting process and 2020 Census data


Senate Committees on Natural Resources & Economic Development and Water & Rural Affairs (Joint Hearing) 

Charge: Future Water Supply: Examine current laws, processes, and water storage options and availability. Make recommendations promoting the state's water supply, storage, availability, valuation, movement, and development of new sources.

Charge: Groundwater Regulatory Framework: Study the state's groundwater regulatory framework and make recommendations to improve groundwater regulation, management, and permitting.

Members Not Returning, 87th Legislature

Below is a list of members (as of January 10, 2020) not returning to the 87th Texas Legislature in their current offices. Note that regardless of election outcomes, all of these legislators will keep their respective seats until January 2021, unless they resign earlier.

To learn more about who will be on the primary ballots, information about candidates by county and party is available on the Texas Secretary of State's candidate ballot order page.


Rep. César Blanco Running for Texas Senate
Rep. Dwayne Bohac Retiring
Rep. Dennis Bonnen Retiring
Rep. Jessica Farrar Resigned effective 9/30/2019
Rep. Eric Johnson Elected Mayor of Dallas, sworn in 6/17/2019
Rep. Mike Lang Running for Hood County Commissioner
Rep. Rick Miller Retiring
Rep. Poncho Nevárez Retiring
Rep. Jonathan Stickland Retiring
Rep. John Wray Retiring
Rep. Bill Zedler Retiring
Rep. John Zerwas Retiring to take new position as Executive Vice Chancellor of Health Affairs, The University of Texas System; resignation effective 9/30/19
Sen. José Rodríguez Retiring

Current Articles & Research Resources, January 9

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

  • Explore state legislation related to maternal and child health. (National Conference of State Legislatures, December 20, 2019)
  • Consider the legal status of smokable hemp. (Stateline, January 6, 2020)
  • Examine campaign and election security policy. (Congressional Research Service, January 2, 2020)
  • Read about which diet tops the list of best diets overall. (U.S. News and World Report, accessed January 8, 2020)

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

  • 20.01.01  /  "A full count." By Michelle Healy. American School Board Journal, December 2019, pp. 26-29.
    Discusses the efforts of school districts across the United States to help ensure students are accurately counted in the 2020 Census. Reports 36 states lost $550 million in federal funding each year due to an undercount of children in the 2010 Census.
  • 20.01.02  /  "Cannabis: Green rolls in — slowly — under bigger state program." By Paul Thompson. Austin Business Journal, December 13, 2019, p. A4.
    Considers how legalization of hemp production and expansion of the state's Compassionate Use Program will affect the cannabis industry and the medical cannabis market. Mentions HB3703 and HB1325, 86th Legislature.
  • 20.01.03  /  "HB 3 and assessment: Comprehensive bill bringing changes to classrooms across Texas." Classroom Teacher (Texas Classroom Teachers Association), Fall 2019, pp. 9-11.
    Addresses the programmatic changes of HB3, 86th Legislature, relating to teacher incentive allotment/local teacher designation systems, additional school year days, literacy achievement academies, and assessment. Includes discussion of HB3906, 86th Legislature, another key bill on assessment.
  • 20.01.04  /  "Thanks for the support." Classroom Teacher (Texas Classroom Teachers Association), Fall 2019, pp. 14-15.
    Highlights members of the 86th Legislature who stood out for supporting teachers. Presents education-related issues and legislation backed by these lawmakers.
  • 20.01.05  /  "The shocking rise of Rx drug prices." By Lisa L. Gill. Consumer Reports, January 2020, pp. 38-48.
    Examines the factors that contribute to ballooning drug costs and how people can pay less for their medications.
  • 20.01.06  /  "At the heart of the crisis." By Sandhya Raman. CQ Weekly, December 9, 2019, pp. 14-19, 21.
    Examines how officials in Dayton, Ohio, have been able to significantly reduce opioid overdose deaths in their community. Attributes their progress to a variety of factors, including increased access to the overdose reversal drug naloxone, interagency teams sharing resources and data, and the involvement of community outreach groups.
  • 20.01.07  /  "Adoption: Fostering enmity." Economist, December 7th-13th, 2019, pp. 28-29.
    Discusses a proposed rule by the United States Department of Health and Human Services that would allow recipients of federal grants from the agency, including faith-based adoption agencies and foster care providers, to exclude same-sex couples on religious grounds.
  • 20.01.08  /  "Rural-urban differences in severe maternal morbidity and mortality in the US, 2007-15." By Katy Backes Kozhimannil, et al. Health Affairs, December 2019, pp. 2077-2085.
    Finds that while severe maternal morbidity and mortality increased among both rural and urban residents from 2007-2015, rural residents had a nine percent greater probability of severe maternal morbidity and mortality. Considers clinical factors, such as the opioid epidemic and workforce shortages, as well as social factors, such as housing, racism, food security, and more.
  • 20.01.09  /  "Using incentives within the market for prosperity: What every community needs to know to optimize economic development [Part Two]." By M. Ray Perryman. Perryman Report and Texas Letter, Vol. 36, No. 10, pp. 1-7.
    Focuses on the use of incentives, pointing out some of the key components of the appropriate use of this type of economic development tool.
  • 20.01.10  /  "Net neutrality is back once again: Questions remain." By Steve Goodman. Public Utilities Fortnightly, December 2019, p. 64.
    Provides an update on the state of net neutrality. Refers to a recent decision in a case challenging the Federal Communication Commission's most recent rulemaking order on net neutrality.
  • 20.01.11  /  "Expert views on gun laws." By Arthur Z. Berg, John R. Lott, Jr., and Gary A. Mauser. Regulation (CATO Institute), Winter 2019-2020, pp. 40-47.
    Compares the views of public health researchers with those of criminologists and economists on a wide range of gun control policies. Finds that academics from different fields vary widely in their views on the effectiveness of gun control.
  • 20.01.12  /  "Is the sky really falling? A closer look at the current pension "crisis" and the constitutionality of retroactive pension reform." By Aaron Wallace. South Texas Law Review, Summer 2019, pp. 597-638 (Note Length).
    Argues that there is not a pension crisis, and if there is credible risk, retroactive pension reform is not the only viable solution. Describes the Contracts Clause, the history of its application by the United States Supreme Court, and how it could be used to challenge pension reform. Highlights changes to the Houston Firefighters Relief and Retirement Fund, SB2190, 85th Legislature, R.S., and Texas' failure to recognize pensions as contractual obligations.
  • 20.01.13  /  "The persecution of Alfred Brown." By Angela Morris. Texas Lawyer, January/February 2020, p. 14-15.
    Examines the role of the Texas Attorney General and the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts in proceedings required under the Tim Cole Act to determine whether victims of wrongful incarceration are entitled to state compensation.
  • 20.01.14  /  "Far-reaching implications." By Joey Berlin. Texas Medicine, December 2019, pp. 26-28.
    Points out that Texas' high uninsured rate impacts not only uninsured people but also shapes the healthcare industry, influences public health conditions, affects school and work attendance, and produces other ripple effects.
  • 20.01.15  /  "Shot in the dark." By Laura Beil. Texas Monthly, January 2020, pp. 76-87.
    Profiles Dorothy O'Connell (a Brazoria County resident), her use of stem cell therapy to cure arthritis, and the resulting medical complications that almost killed her. Discusses the stem cell industry and its lack of regulation, including the Food and Drug Administration's role, the history of the clinic and companies that supplied her treatment, and related legislation, HB810, 85th Legislature, R.S. Mentions Representatives Tan Parker and Drew Springer.
  • 20.01.16  /  "The prison inside prison." By Michael Barajas. Texas Observer, January/February 2020, pp. 12-22.
    Details the harmful psychological effects of long-term solitary confinement on inmates in prisons operated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Provides a history of the use and abuse of the controversial punishment in the United States and efforts to reform the practice. Mentions legislation filed in 2019 that, had it passed, would have provided oversight of offenders' conditions of confinement. Quotes Representative Carl Sherman.

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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