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)
- 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.