LRL Home - Points of Interest

Current Articles & Research Resources, February 27

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

  • Find out what you need to bring to the polls in order to vote. (Texas Secretary of State, February 24, 2020)
  • Track COVID-19 cases on a global scale. (Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering, updated February 11, 2020)
  • Explore the Smithsonian's repository of 2-and 3-dimensional images released into the public domain. (Smithsonian Magazine, February 25, 2020)
  • Search the Purple Book, the FDA's database of FDA-approved biological products. (United States Food and Drug Administration, accessed February 26, 2020)

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

  • 20.02.36  /  "When Trump doesn't love you back." By Bryan Gruley and Joe Deaux. Bloomberg Businessweek, February 17, 2020, pp. 48-53.
    Profiles the effects the Trump administration's steel tariffs have had on JSW Steel USA Inc., in Baytown, Texas. Details how JSW Steel once backed the tariffs but is now suing the federal government.
  • 20.02.37  /  "By 2020, they said, 2 out of 3 jobs would need more than a high-school diploma. Were they right?" By Goldie Blumenstyk. Chronicle of Higher Education, February 21, 2020, p. A19.
    Reviews trends in the level of education achieved and requirements for certain jobs in terms of a 2013 prediction from Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce forecasting that 63 percent of all jobs would need some education beyond high school by 2020. Explains the prediction came true but that broad trends can be misleading.
  • 20.02.38  /  "The other war on [avian] migrants." Economist, February 22nd-28th, 2020, p. 34.
    Reports on a proposed regulation that would weaken the criminal scope of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act [MBTA] by ending the decades-old practice of penalizing the "incidental take" of protected birds. Notes the United States Fish and Wildlife Service's proposal would clarify that the MBTA's criminal scope extends only to conduct that intentionally injures birds.
  • 20.02.39  /  "Peter Hotez, vaccine campaigner: Anger in a time of autism." Economist, February 22nd-28th, 2020, pp. 29-30.
    Describes efforts by the co-founder of the National School of Tropical Medicine (Baylor College of Medicine) in Houston to educate parents on vaccine safety and to counter the anti-vaccine movement.
  • 20.02.40  /  "How four communities are facing the future." By Benjamin Herold. Education Week, February 5, 2020, pp. 23-27.
    Compares the city of Austin's approach to providing K-12 workforce preparation with three very different local communities in Connecticut, Georgia, and Wyoming.
  • 20.02.41  /  "Ranks of homeless students surging." By Sarah D. Sparks. Education Week, February 12, 2020, pp. 1, 20-21.
    Discusses the effects of the record-high influx of homeless students on schools in the United States. Reports Texas schools have had over a 9.5 percent increase in enrolled homeless students since 2015. Mentions Bastrop, Texas.
  • 20.02.42  /  "Drug price moderation in Germany: Lessons for U.S. reform efforts." By James C. Robinson, Patricia Ex, and Dimitra Panteli. Internet Resource, January 2020, pp. 1-8.
    Outlines how Germany employs positive and negative incentives to encourage drugmakers to moderate drug prices, with minimal government intervention. Describes how the United States could apply similar principles to price-setting for drugs and other health care technologies.
  • 20.02.43  /  "The lost city of Montopolis." By Kevin D. Williamson. National Review, February 24, 2020, pp. 30-32.
    Highlights the homeless situation in Austin and Governor Abbott's response to it. Discusses the state-owned property being used as a temporary encampment. Considers factors leading to homelessness.
  • 20.02.44  /  "Bankruptcies increase." By Mikaila Adams. Oil and Gas Journal, February 3, 2020, p. 14.
    Reviews bankruptcies filed by North American oil and gas producers since 2015, including those in Texas. Refers to a report from Haynes and Boone.
  • 20.02.45  /  "The hidden toll of wildfire." By Kyle Dickman. Scientific American, March 2020, pp. 38-45.
    Discusses an aerial campaign led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and National Aeronautics and Space Administration to study the chemical composition of wildfire smoke. Explains that the effects of wildfire smoke on human health are not yet well understood, but the campaign is collecting data to help determine this.
  • 20.02.46  /  "Texas landfills: The need for administrative reform of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality's permitting process." By William Todd Keller. St. Mary's Law Journal, Vol. 51, No. 1, pp. 187-222 (Note Length).
    Provides a brief history of landfills and an overview of issues related to their construction, operation, and regulation. Points out potential regulatory and legislative suggestions to help reform the landfill permitting process.
  • 20.02.47  /  "DNA databases are boon to police but menace to privacy, critics say." By Lindsey Van Ness. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), February 20, 2020, pp. 1-8.
    Reports several lawmakers around the country are filing legislation to stop or restrict police searches of genetic code databases, while others want to make it easier for police to use forensic genetic genealogy to catch criminals.
  • 20.02.48  /  "The next great Texas energy resource." By Matt Kapinos and Hayden Harms. Texas Lawyer, March 2020, pp. 40, 42.
    Explains why traditional energy companies are investing in renewable energy projects.
  • 20.02.49  /  "Lina Hidalgo's year of living dangerously." By Christopher Hooks. Texas Monthly, March 2020, pp. 56-66.
    Profiles Lina Hidalgo's first year serving as Harris County Judge on the Harris County Commissioners' Court, including the court's decision to settle a lawsuit over the county's bail system. Discusses the repercussions of electing a Democratic majority to the court in 2018 and how this change may epitomize the future of Texas politics. Describes the role of former state Senator Rodney Ellis, who currently serves as Harris County Precinct One Commissioner.

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: February 2020

The Library is continually adding new books to its collection. Below are the titles from our February 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.

In honor of Black History Month, we are highlighting books by or about African Americans from our collection.

 

1. In This Land of Plenty: Mickey Leland and Africa in American Politics
By Benjamin Talton
Explores the life and career of Congressman and former Texas Representative George Thomas "Mickey" Leland. Notes the beginning of Leland's political career in the Texas Legislature and his advocacy for what he called the "People's Bills," before he went on to succeed Congresswoman Barbara Jordan in the U.S. House of Representatives. Focuses on Leland's leadership in bringing an African American perspective to U.S. politics, including his influence on developing foreign policy toward Africa, promoting humanitarianism, and eradicating world hunger.
University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019, 281 pages
328.73 T149L 2019


 

 

2. A Black Women's History of the United States
By Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross
Profiles Black women and their roles in shaping American culture, society, and politics since the 1600s, including histories of enslaved women, freedwomen, religious leaders, artists, politicians, educators, and activists. Highlights the stories of women within the context of broader historical events, such as exploration and contact in the New World, the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and Reconstruction, and the civil rights and Black Power movements.
Beacon Press, 2020, 298 pages
305.48 B459B 2020


 

 

3. Black Software: The Internet & Racial Justice, from the AfroNet to Black Lives Matter
By Charlton D. McIlwain
Chronicles African Americans' relationship with computing technology and the Internet. Examines not only how computing technology has been used to contain, profile, and detain Black Americans for decades, but how Black activists used and are using these computing tools and the Internet to build community and engage in a racial justice activism that has been proclaimed by many as the new civil rights movement.
Oxford University Press, 2020, 296 pages
302.23089 M188B 2020


 

 

4. African Americans in Central Texas History: From Slavery to Civil Rights
By Bruce A. Glasrud and Deborah M. Liles, editors
Presents a collection of essays documenting the experiences of African Americans in Central Texas from the time of slavery through the civil rights marches of the 1960s. Addresses Black Texans' struggle for freedom and racial equality along with the threats, violence, and systemic denials of justice they encountered. Details the life stories of selected enslaved people, soldiers, cattlemen, professionals, politicians, and activists.
Texas A&M University Press, 2019, 316 pages
323.1196 G463AM 2019


 

 

5. Fault Lines: Portraits of East Austin
By John Langmore, photographer, with Wilhelmina Delco, Michael King, and Johnny Limón
Presents a collection of photographs from 2006 to 2011 documenting East Austin through personal and family portraits, community activities, and cultural landmarks. Illustrates the dramatic changes in demographics, housing, and neighborhoods in East Austin, and fragmentation of African American and Latino families due to gentrification and rising housing costs. Includes an essay by former Representative Wilhelmina Delco, reflecting on the history and importance of the African American community in East Austin.
Maverick Books, 2019, 171 pages
976.431 L267F 2019


 

 

6. Illusions of Emancipation: The Pursuit of Freedom and Equality in the Twilight of Slavery
By Joseph P. Reidy
Asserts that emancipation was not a single event but rather a complex journey that fundamentally altered ideas about time, space, and home, for all of the peoples of the United States. Describes how the Civil War and Reconstruction generations viewed the drastic changes involved in dismantling slavery, emphasizing the testimonies of formerly enslaved people.
University of North Carolina Press, 2019, 506 pages
305.896 R27IL 2019


 

 

7. Black Texans: A History of African Americans in Texas, 1528-1995
By Alwyn Barr
Provides an overview of the African American experience in Texas, spanning from the 1528 appearance of the Spanish shipwreck slave, Estevan, through slavery, Reconstruction, and significant gains made in the twentieth century. Discusses each period in terms of political, economic, social, and legal status as well as explaining the violence that occurred at various times. Recommends extensive sources for deeper study.
University of Oklahoma Press, 1996, 294 pages
325.26 B27 1996


 

Past New & Noteworthy lists spotlighting books by and about African Americans can be seen here and here.

Current Articles & Research Resources, February 20

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

  • Find federal legislative and executive documents related to the commemoration of National African American History Month. (The Library of Congress, January 30, 2020)
  • Review the most recent update of Amendments to the Texas Constitution Since 1876. (Texas Legislative Council, February 2020)
  • Explore state law enactments related to criminal records and reentry programs. (National Conference of State Legislatures, January 29, 2020)
  • Track Article III and federal appeals court appointments by presidential administration back to the Reagan era. (The Heritage Foundation, February 12, 2020)

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

  • 20.02.24  /  "Innocence detectives." By Henry Gass. Christian Science Monitor, February 17, 2020, pp. 22-28.
    Profiles the House of Renewed Hope, a Dallas nonprofit organization run by Christopher Scott and Steven Phillips, two men exonerated for crimes they did not commit after spending a combined 37 years in prison. Highlights their work to exonerate other prisoners.
  • 20.02.25  /  "At Texas State, the culture war comes to campus." By Michael Vasquez. Chronicle of Higher Education, February 14, 2020, pp. A8-A12, A14.
    Discusses recent disruptive events at Texas State University as a sign of the increasingly sharp racial and political divisions in the country. Highlights controversies between a conservative student and Kelly Stone, a lecturer in a sexuality class, who ultimately lost her teaching position. Mentions Stone is now running for a spot on the Texas Railroad Commission.
  • 20.02.26  /  "This university's board has the power to fire anyone — 'even down to the janitor'." By Lindsay Ellis. Chronicle of Higher Education, February 14, 2020, pp. A18-A19.
    Highlights the Texas Southern University Board of Regents' recent bylaws change, which gives them power to fire any university employee, and the board's action to place President Austin A. Lane on administrative leave while they review potential improprieties in admissions. Comments the bylaws change could run afoul of accreditation standards and is not considered a "best practice" for boards.
  • 20.02.27  /  "The border of business." By Jessica Corso. Dallas Business Journal, February 14, 2020, pp. 24-25.
    Discusses how the North American Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA]'s renegotiation as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement [USMCA] could impact Texas businesses.
  • 20.02.28  /  "The economics of migration: Delayed reaction." Economist, February 15th-21st, 2020, pp. 19-20.
    Examines whether a decline in America's immigrant population is connected to the nearly ten percent increase in wages of people without a high school diploma.
  • 20.02.29  /  "Hospital use declines after implementation of Virginia Medicaid's addiction and recovery treatment services." By Andrew J. Barnes, et al. Health Affairs, February 2020, pp. 238-246.
    Considers the effects of Virginia's application of a Section 1115 waiver to reforming its Medicaid substance use disorder [SUD] treatment services. Found that treatment for opioid use disorder [OUD] increased, while emergency department and inpatient hospital use decreased among Medicaid beneficiaries with OUD.
  • 20.02.30  /  "Explaining Texas v. U.S.: A guide to the case challenging the ACA." By MaryBeth Musumeci. Internet Resource, January 2020, pp. 1-10.
    Addresses common questions about Texas v. U.S. and the status of the Affordable Care Act. Includes infographic timelines, a map indicating states' positions on the litigation, and flowchart of potential outcomes.
  • 20.02.31  /  "Revisiting the proposal for a wealth tax." By Jack Salmon and Veronique de Rugy. Policy Brief (Mercatus Center, George Mason University), February 7, 2020, pp. 1-13.
    Discusses the political debate about implementing a progressive wealth tax. Evaluates the potential outcomes of such a policy if implemented in the United States.
  • 20.02.32  /  "Affordable utility service: Advice to regulators." By Kenneth Costello. Public Utilities Fortnightly, February 1, 2020, pp. 78-81.
    Discusses different kinds of energy assistance used to address affordability problems and how effective the assistance is.
  • 20.02.33  /  "Navigable Waters Protection Rule to replace WOTUS." By Jessica Domel. Texas Agriculture, February 7, 2020, p. 12.
    Compares the new Navigable Waters Protection Rule [NWPR] with the 2015 Waters of the United States [WOTUS] rule. Proposes the NWPR will reduce regulatory uncertainty and limit federal control under the Clean Water Act.
  • 20.02.34  /  "Clearing the haze." By Sean Price. Texas Medicine, February 2020, pp. 16-21.
    Considers the problem of e-cigarettes and EVALI [e-cigarette or vaping product use associated lung injury], particularly as they relate to teenagers' rising use of vaping products. Notes that vaping is subject to SB21, 86th Legislature, which forbids the sale of tobacco or vaping products to anyone under 21.
  • 20.02.35  /  "News from America's best medical society." By Joey Berlin, Steve Levine, and David Doolittle. Texas Medicine, February 2020, pp. 10, 12, 14.
    Highlights current policy issues of interest to Texas physicians, including the Texas Department of Insurance's emergency rule regarding surprise billing and SB1264, 86th Legislature; federal legislation on surprise billing; and extending postpartum Medicaid coverage.

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 24

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 24

Senate Committee on Veteran Affairs & Border Security (Harlingen) 

Charge: Veteran Treatment Courts: Review the effectiveness of diverting veterans from the traditional criminal justice system to veteran treatment courts. Make recommendations to strengthen veteran treatment court outcomes and expand access to locations not currently served by the courts.

Charge: Veteran Health Care: Examine the adequacy of long-term health care services and support options for veterans in Texas. Identify under-served areas and barriers to accessing quality care for both institutional as well as home and community based settings. Discuss the potential impact of federal reforms, such as the implementation of the Veterans Affairs MISSION Act on care delivery. Make recommendations to best leverage federal assistance and create greater efficiencies in veteran health care delivery.

Charge: Veteran Mental Health: Review suicide prevention strategies and programs identified by the federal Defense Suicide Prevention Office and make recommendations to connect at-risk individuals with available resources as they transition into veteran status.

 

February 25 

Senate Committee on Finance

Charge: Natural Disaster Funding: Review federal, state, and local eligibility and receipt of disaster funds from Community Development Block Grants - Disaster Relief and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Identify any barriers to the effective utilization of those funds and recommend any changes to statute, rule, or practice to promote the efficient deployment of those funds and expedite recovery by affected citizens, businesses, and communities.

Charge: Investment of State Funds: Review the investment strategies and performance of funds invested through the Teacher Retirement System, the Permanent School Fund, and university funds. Make recommendations to better coordinate and leverage Texas' purchasing power to maximize investment income to the state.

Charge: Monitoring: Monitor the implementation of legislation addressed by the Senate Committee on Finance 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:

  • HB 3384, relating to the authority of the comptroller to conduct a limited-scope review of an appraisal district located in an area declared by the governor to be a disaster area; and
  • HB 4388, relating to the management of the permanent school fund by the School Land Board and the State Board of Education and a study regarding distributions from the permanent school fund to the available school fund;
  • HB 4611, relating to certain distributions to the available school fund; and Contingent upon voter approval, study the implementation of HB 492 and HJR 34, relating to a temporary exemption from ad valorem taxation of a portion of the appraised value of certain property damaged by a disaster.

 

February 26

Senate Committee on State Affairs

Charge: Human Trafficking: Examine opportunities and make recommendations to reduce the profitability of and demand for human trafficking in Texas. Determine ways to increase public awareness on the proliferation of human trafficking, as well as resources for victims and survivors. Review the interaction between local, state, and federal agencies in responding to and prosecuting human trafficking and sex trafficking offenses in Texas' five most populous counties. Make recommendations to ensure law enforcement agencies and prosecutors have the tools necessary to promptly and thoroughly respond to these crimes.

Charge: Second Amendment: Examine Second Amendment legislation passed since the 84th Legislative Session including open carry, campus carry, and lowering the license to carry fee. Determine the impact these laws have made on furthering and protecting Second Amendment rights. Make recommendations that may further protect and enhance Texans' Second Amendment right to bear arms.

Charge: Personal Property Protections: Examine prosecution rates for thefts involving property valued under $1,000. Make recommendations to ensure law enforcement agencies and prosecutors have the tools necessary to thoroughly protect Texans' personal property from theft.

 

Senate Committee on Transportation

Charge: Safety: Study the primary causes for traffic-related accidents and fatalities, including fatality rates as a result of intoxicated driving. Make recommendations for effective strategies to improve roadway safety.

Charge: Texas Department of Transportation Flight Services: Evaluate the current funding, maintenance procedures, and staffing levels at Texas Department of Transportation's Flight Services. Make recommendations to ensure the safest fleet and most efficient service.

Charge: Monitoring: Monitor the implementation of legislation addressed by the Senate Committee on Transportation 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:

Freshmen in the Texas Legislature, 61st-86th Legislatures

Every few years, we update our comparison across Legislatures of the percent of freshmen at the beginning of each regular session. Here's our first post from 2012 on the topic (which explains some of the reasons for unusually high numbers), and the 2014 and 2017 updates.

 

Below you can see how the numbers compared over the past 50 years, from 1969-2019 (61st-86th Legislatures). Please note that we defined freshmen as new legislators sworn in during the first day or week of the regular session. Members who first served during a called session of a legislature are counted as freshmen members of that legislature. Excluded are members who were elected to a legislature but never sworn in due to death, resignation, or other factors.

 

You can see these and other figures on our member statistics page. Exact percentage of freshmen each session can be found here.

 

Percentage of freshmen in the Texas Legislature

 

Data compiled from the library's Texas Legislators: Past and Present database

Current Articles & Research Resources, February 13

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

  • Explore trends in workforce development. (National Conference of State Legislatures, February 4, 2020)
  • Read about identity and community in Black Americans. (Pew Research Center, February 5, 2020)
  • Review President Trump's proposed budget for fiscal year 2021. (The White House, February 10, 2020)
  • Consider ways to prevent children from accessing adults' prescription medication. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, February 12, 2020)

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

  • 20.02.13  /  "How a fringe idea went mainstream." By Vimal Patel. Chronicle of Higher Education, January 31, 2020, pp. A8-A12.
    Examines the $1.5 trillion student loan debt problem that is increasingly affecting the middle class. Argues the debt is a clear case of exploitation with the investor class making money from students as the debt is repackaged and sold. Predicts a solution will be found since President Trump and many Democrats are seeking a remedy.
  • 20.02.14  /  "Praying for a political payoff?" By Rob Boston. Church & State, February 2020, pp. 4-5.
    Analyzes the Trump administration's guidelines on prayer and other religious activities in public schools, released on January 16, 2020.
  • 20.02.15  /  "America's quiet policing crisis." By Charles Fain Lehman. City Journal (Manhattan Institute), February 5, 2020, pp. 1-3.
    Reports police departments across the United States are confronting a recruitment crisis. Includes the Police Executive Research Forum's recommendations on how to improve recruitment efforts.
  • 20.02.16  /  "Car trouble." By Jessica Wehrman. CQ Weekly, January 21, 2020, pp. 14-21.
    Explores the transitioning auto industry and its struggles to navigate the federal regulatory complexity recently created by policies of the Trump administration.
  • 20.02.17  /  "Testing and college admissions: What's SAT?" Economist, February 8th-14th, 2020, pp. 23-24.
    Examines the debate over the use of college entrance exams, such as the SAT and ACT, as a requirement for college admissions. Discusses the lawsuit seeking to end the University of California System's use of these tests.
  • 20.02.18  /  "Guns in political advertising over four US election cycles, 2012-18." By Colleen L. Barry, et al. Health Affairs, February 2020, pp. 327-333.
    Observes that gun references have increased substantially in candidate-related ads in recent elections, particularly in communities more attuned to elections or that were near mass shootings.
  • 20.02.19  /  "Implications of the rapid growth of the nurse practitioner workforce in the US." By David I. Auerbach, Peter I. Buerhaus, and Douglas O. Staiger. Health Affairs, February 2020, pp. 273-279.
    Observes that the registered nurse [RN] workforce has been reduced following policy advocating for greater use of nurse practitioners to fill the health care gap left by physician shortages.
  • 20.02.20  /  "State policy recommendations for addressing teacher shortages." By Ana Ramón. IDRA Newsletter (Intercultural Development Research Association), January 2020, pp. 1-2.
    Identifies various alternative teacher certification programs that have been used in Texas, including the IDRA accelerated teacher certification model designed to prepare teachers for diverse classrooms. Presents seven policy recommendations for the Texas Legislature to consider in the areas of recruiting, preparing, and retaining highly qualified educators.
  • 20.02.21  /  "Caring for tomorrow." By Alisa Chester. Internet Resource, January/February 2020, pp. 1-3.
    Describes Texas hospitals' work to enhance access to pediatric mental health care, curb the outbreak of teen vaping, address the rising uninsured children rate, and use telemedicine to provide access to pediatric specialists in rural areas.
  • 20.02.22  /  "Out-of-network bills for privately insured patients undergoing elective surgery with in-network primary surgeons and facilities." By Karan R. Chhabra, et al. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), February 11, 2020, pp. 538-547.
    Evaluates out-of-network billing across common elective operations — like knee replacements, breast lumpectomies, and others — performed with in-network primary surgeons and facilities. Finds that almost 21 percent of episodes had an out-of-network bill.
  • 20.02.23  /  "How Black Lives Matter is changing Black History Month." By Olivia B. Waxman. Time, February 17, 2020, pp. 18-19.
    Examines how the Black Lives Matter movement is transforming how black history is being taught in public schools.

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 17

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 20

House Committee on Culture, Recreation & Tourism (Victoria)

Charge 1 (selection): HB 1300 and HB 2321, which relate to the regulation of oyster harvesting and to cultivated oyster mariculture. Monitor the implementation of the cultivated oyster mariculture program, the implementation of increased penalties related to the regulation of oyster harvesting, and the effectiveness of these state laws as related to the protection, conservation, and sustainability of oysters in Texas coastal waters.

 

February 21

House Committee on Culture, Recreation & Tourism (Seadrift)

Topic: Short briefing by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department on illegal oyster harvesting and to observe Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's law enforcement activities for oyster harvesting on Matagorda Bay and the surrounding area.

 

House Committees on International Relations & Economic Development and Transportation (Laredo, Joint Hearing)  

Charge (selection): Examine the infrastructure at international border ports of entry in Texas and identify transportation-related impediments to international trade that negatively impact the state. Make recommendations to reduce border wait times, facilitate economic growth, and expedite trade.

Library Update – Back in the Capitol!

Following our temporary relocation, the Legislative Reference Library is back in our Capitol space! With thanks to the Texas State Preservation Board for their leadership in the renovation process, we are enjoying new carpet, paint, public computer stations, and updated staff work areas.

 

Peruse the photos below to see some of the work in-progress and the final results. Come visit! And as always, 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.

 

When a carpet is 20+ years old, it needs replacing! The new carpet is the same pattern, following our historical room treatment, but now the colors are more vivid.

 

Updated offices and reference desk will help us better serve our patrons.

 

The final results!

Photos courtesy of the Texas State Preservation Board and LRL staff.

Current Articles & Research Resources, February 6

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

  • Explore state roles in protecting the electric grids. (National Conference of State Legislatures, January 24, 2020)
  • Review a list of local fire departments that offer smoke alarm programs. (State Fire Marshal, updated January 27, 2020)
  • Consider the mortality consequences of the opioid epidemic. (Cato Institute, January 15, 2020)
  • Find a lot of fact sheets about utilities in Texas. (Public Utility Commission of Texas, accessed February 5, 2020)

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

  • 20.02.01  /  "Online governance: A court of public opinions." Economist, February 1st-7th, 2020, p. 57.
    Discusses Facebook's draft of the bylaws that will govern the company's oversight board, with details on the board's structure and decision-making authority.
  • 20.02.02  /  "The politics of gender: Changing states." Economist, February 1st-7th, 2020, pp. 21-22.
    Explains why blanket bans on medical interventions for transgender children are likely to be counterproductive and suggests a better approach. Mentions Senator Ted Cruz and the James Younger custody case in Dallas County.
  • 20.02.03  /  "2019 county election website review." By League of Women Voters of Texas. Internet Resource, November 2019, pp. 1-26 (Note Length).
    Evaluates Texas county websites for accessibility and security of voting and election information in light of new Texas election laws, HB933 and HB1241, 86th Legislature. Provides best practices for providing accurate election information online.
  • 20.02.04  /  "Malpractice liability and quality of care." By William M. Sage and Kristen Underhill. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), January 28, 2020, pp. 315-317.
    Suggests that greater tort liability was not associated with improved quality of patient care, based on a systematic review of studies published between 1990 and 2019.
  • 20.02.05  /  "Who's paying now? The explicit and implicit costs of the current early care and education system." By Elise Gould and Hunter Blair. Policy Report (Economic Policy Institute), January 15, 2020, pp. 1-12.
    Examines the chronic underfunding and hidden costs of the current early care and education [ECE] system, including forgone parental income and the underpayment of ECE teachers.
  • 20.02.06  /  "Electrify everything? Heat and light in deep decarbonization policies." By Hal Nelson. Public Utilities Fortnightly, January 2020, pp. 62-66.
    Considers two essential questions about decarbonization policies that share the common element of electrification of transport and buildings. Provides various examples.
  • 20.02.07  /  "Grid modernization: State policies." By Kristy Hartman, et al. Public Utilities Fortnightly, January 2020, pp. 68-71.
    Discusses the National Conference of State Legislatures' [NCSL] work and resources relating to utilities. Refers to NCSL's recent report, Modernizing the Electric Grid: State Role and Policy Options.
  • 20.02.08  /  "Sex offender laws are broken. These women are working to fix them." By Hallie Lieberman. Reason, February 2020, pp. 42-48.
    Reviews the history of laws relating to sex offenders and sex offender registries. Highlights the work of various reform groups seeking changes to these laws.
  • 20.02.09  /  "Changes & opportunities in agriculture." By David M. Kohl. Texas Banking, February 2020, pp. 8-11.
    Looks at economic cycles in the agricultural industry, including "green shoots," or positive industry developments, such as value-added agricultural services and the emergence of younger farmers and ranchers.
  • 20.02.10  /  "Employee monitoring: An overview of technologies, treatment, and best practices." By Andrew Milam Jones. Texas Bar Journal, February 2020, pp. 98-100.
    Considers technological and legal developments regarding employee monitoring. Points out circumstances that support the monitoring of employees.
  • 20.02.11  /  "The engineer will see you now." By Jason Heid. Texas Monthly, February 2020, pp. 66-72.
    Profiles the development and inaugural class of EnMed, a collaboration between Houston Methodist and Texas A&M University in which future graduates will earn an M.D. and a master's degree in engineering. Discusses the potential benefits of a multi-discipline medical education.
  • 20.02.12  /  "Feeding a changing world." By Alana Semuels. Time, February 3, 2020, pp. 66-71.
    Explores the future of food tech and the startup companies that are creating new methods of food production to counter the negative impact the current agricultural system is having on the environment. Addresses the benefits of planet-friendly foods and farming, as well as the obstacles to these alternatives.

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 10

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 11

House Committee on Higher Education

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 38: The Committee will hear testimony on SB 38, which relates to the offense of hazing. The Committee will monitor implementation and compliance and will discuss all relevant issues.

More Entries