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New & Noteworthy Books and Reports: January 2024

The Library is continually adding new books to its collection. Below are the titles from our January 2024 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 or contact the library at 512-463-1252.


1. The Common Flaw: Needless Complexity in the Courts and 50 Ways to Reduce It
By Thomas G. Moukawsher
Posits that the U.S. legal system contains needless layers of complexity that slows down cases and causes Americans to lose faith in their courts. Proposes 50 changes to make trials more efficient, fair, and transparent; including remote courtrooms and jury trials, involving judges in jury selection, deciding cases more on the facts than the law, and prioritizing the parties involved over the lawyers. Argues for replacing the formalism of the legal system to a more humane and accessible one. Includes a legal cartoon in each chapter.
Brandeis University Press, 2023, 265 pages
347.731 M925C 2023



2. Getting Elected is the Easy Part: Working and Winning in the State Legislature
By Karen Keiser
Offers practical and political advice from Washington State Senator Karen Keiser to help first-time state lawmakers achieve policy goals. Combines documented research with Keiser’s personal experiences and observations from over 28 years in the state legislature on the “sausage making of lawmaking.”
Basalt Books, 2023, 155 pages
328.37 K27 2023



3. The School Voucher Illusion: Exposing the Pretense of Equity
By Kevin Welner, Gary Orfield, and Luis A. Huerta, editors
Compiles a collection of essays on the history and evolution of school voucher programs and policies in the U.S. Examines state legislation, key federal court decisions, and profiles implementations in Indiana, Ohio, and Washington, D.C. Discusses how political and legal forces have influenced the programs from the proposed intent, including shifting subsidies from disadvantaged to wealthy students and other negative consequences. Offers recommendations to recapture the original vision of providing equitable access to quality education and civil rights protections.
Teachers College Press, 2023, 316 pages
379.1 W457 2023



4. Tell-tale Texas: Investigations in Infamous History
By E.R. Bills
Recounts tragedies from across the state, presenting stories and evidence overlooked, concealed, or forgotten by the annals of Texas history. Exposes tales of violence against minority peoples, including the Slocum massacre, post-Civil War lynchings, and the mass murder of a Black family from Mart, Texas. Highlights the lives and actions of activists like Jovita Idar, Frank J. Robinson, and Ida B. Wells.
The History Press, 2023, 173 pages
976.4 B599 2023



5. Write and Communicate Like a Professional
By Kathryn Rosser Raign and Jake VanderVaate
Provides strategies for improving professional writing and communication skills. Examines how to develop instructional, informational, and persuasive professional documents; work in teams; and plan and execute projects. Focuses on a variety of written communication types, including: emails, memos, letters, texts, handbooks, reports, agendas, press releases, and newsletters.
University of North Texas Press, 2023, 191 pages
808.06 R149 2023



6. Public Debt and the Common Good: Philosophical and Institutional Implications of Fiscal Imbalance
By James Odom
Presents a scholarly discussion of factors contributing to the significant growth of public debt in the last 25 years by examining state debt and fiscal policy. Explores the moral dimension to public debt, including the claim that it has become unjust. Offers quantitative analysis that supports the theory that centralization and the lack of justice, or the common good, can help explain state indebtedness.
Routledge, 2019, 172 pages
336.3 OD25 2019



7. The Texas Chronicles: The History of Texas From Earliest Times to the Present Day
By Mark Skipworth
Highlights over 100 important moments throughout Texas’ history in chronological order. Briefly discusses the start of the state constitution, the legislature, and the creation of the State Capitol building. Mentions Former Representative José T. Canales and his pursuit to reform the Texas Rangers and their practices. Includes a six-foot long fold-out timeline with references to other legislators.
What on Earth Books, 2019, 23 pages
976.4 SK628 2019