LRL Home - Points of Interest - Current Articles

Current Articles & Research Resources, September 19

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

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

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

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

The Legislative Reference Library compiles this weekly annotated list of Current Articles of interest to the legislative community. Professional librarians review and select articles from more than 300 periodicals, including public policy journals, specialized industry periodicals, news magazines, and state agency publications. Members of the Texas legislative community may request articles using our online form.

Current Articles & Research Resources, September 12

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

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

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

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

The Legislative Reference Library compiles this weekly annotated list of Current Articles of interest to the legislative community. Professional librarians review and select articles from more than 300 periodicals, including public policy journals, specialized industry periodicals, news magazines, and state agency publications. Members of the Texas legislative community may request articles using our online form.

Current Articles & Research Resources, September 5

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

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

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

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

The Legislative Reference Library compiles this weekly annotated list of Current Articles of interest to the legislative community. Professional librarians review and select articles from more than 300 periodicals, including public policy journals, specialized industry periodicals, news magazines, and state agency publications. Members of the Texas legislative community may request articles using our online form.

Current Articles & Research Resources, August 29

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

  • Review the latest urban mobility report. (Texas A&M Transportation Institute, August 2019)
  • See what states are doing to address robocalls. (Attorney General of Texas, August 22, 2019)
  • Read about recent legislation on health care costs by state. (Health Affairs Blog, August 22, 2019)
  • Consider accountability ratings for school districts and charter schools. (Texas Education Agency, August 15, 2019)

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

  • "Scholars seek to revive gun studies after 20-year chill." By Steven Johnson. Chronicle of Higher Education, August 16, 2019, p. A25.
    Highlights the effects of the 1996 Dickey Amendment which prevented Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funds from being used to "advocate or promote gun control" and how it led to less research related to guns. States that a 2018 clarification of the amendment and increased awareness of mass shootings is leading to increased research.
  • "Late term abortions: Abortion war." Economist, August 24th-30th, 2019, pp. 20-22.
    Examines both sides of the abortion debate and how controversial third-trimester procedures are becoming fertile ground for political campaigns.
  • "Texas state jails: Time for a reboot?" By Patrick Graves. Fiscal Notes, August 2019, pp. 6-10.
    Discusses the history and evolution of the state jail system and questions its effectiveness in reducing recidivism. Quotes Representative James White.
  • "Accountability measures set to respond to public pressure." By Morgan Craven. IDRA Newsletter (Intercultural Development Research Association), June-July 2019, p. 4.
    Highlights three bills from the 86th Legislature and describes the changes they make to assessments and measurements of college readiness: HB3SB213, and HB3906.
  • "Jobs or college?" By Robert Cherry. National Review, August 12, 2019, pp. 32-34.
    Argues for an increased emphasis on certificate and apprenticeship programs for students leaving high school with limited academic skills. Explains students are too often directed to degree programs which are not completed and suggests the skill-based approach will be more successful.
  • "Migrating out of the job market." By Steven A. Camarota. National Review, August 12, 2019, pp. 22-23.
    Examines the decline in labor force participation and links it partly to technological change and globalization, and partly to the education level of some workers. Suggests immigration reforms designed to limit the flow of less skilled immigrants could reinvigorate labor force participation.
  • "Reevaluating the effects of federal financing in higher education." By Veronique de Rugy and Jack Salmon. Policy Brief (Mercatus Center, George Mason University), August 13, 2019, pp. 1-13.
    Examines whether more federal aid is the correct treatment for the problem of rising tuition prices. Finds that federal student aid does not do much to make college more affordable and may actually be increasing costs.
  • "Eliminating vaping." Texas Lone Star (Texas Association of School Boards), August 2019, pp. 22-23.
    Discusses the epidemic of youth vaping and recently proposed federal legislation that would prohibit e-cigarette use in schools. Related information at: https://www.tomudall.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/One-Pager_Final.pdf.
  • "No defense." By Neena Satija. Texas Monthly, September 2019, pp. 94-99, 129-132, 138-139, 170-175.
    Argues that Texas judges have too much power, and that this imbalance in the criminal justice system, along with overloaded attorneys and inadequate funding, deprives poor and indigent people of justice. Notes Senator Rodney Ellis' work in 2001 to pass the Texas Fair Defense Act, as well as other legislation that has helped provide data on indigent cases.
  • "Parts one and two: The crisis in access to medical care." By R. Brent Cooper, et al. Texas Tech Law Review, Spring 2019, pp. 393-398.
    Outlines briefly the history of tort reform from 1977 up to 2003, when the Medical Malpractice and Tort Reform Act was passed. Provides an introduction to a special issue on tort reform and health care liability, authored by individuals associated with the Texas Alliance for Patient Access [TAPA].
  • "Preface: The crisis that was created." By Glenn W. Cunningham. Texas Tech Law Review, Summer 2019, pp. 619-625.
    Argues that the premise behind the Medical Malpractice and Tort Reform Act was faulty and that the legislation has not improved access to health care, as was intended. Introduces a special issue authored by individuals associated with the Texas Trial Lawyers Association [TTLA].

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.

Current Articles & Research Resources, August 22

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

  • Read about how certain classroom assignment policies can improve student outcomes. (Rockefeller Institute of Government, August 7, 2019)
  • Explore differences in how Republicans and Democrats view higher education. (Pew Research Center, August 19, 2019)
  • Review statistics related to federal hate crimes. (Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University, August 12, 2019)
  • Consider questions related to how e-scooters could be regulated. (Texas A&M Transportation Institute, August 19, 2019)

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

  • "Coming soon: Austin's innovation district." By Erin Edgemon. Austin Business Journal, August 9, 2019, pp. 6-9.
    Reports on the growth and redevelopment on and around the defunct Brackenridge Hospital campus, the epicenter for Austin's medical and life sciences innovation district.
  • "A guide to statistics on historical trends in income inequality (2019)." By Chad Stone, et al. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, August 9, 2019, pp. 1-23.
    Details the history of income inequality in the United States and examines the widening of the gap since the 1970s. Describes commonly used statistical sources on income (including Census and IRS income data) and long-term trends in income inequality, wealth, and poverty.
  • "Are campus free-speech laws needed, or is crisis talk overblown?" By Katherine Mangan. Chronicle of Higher Education, August 2, 2019, p. A17.
    Considers the campus free-speech bills a variety of states recently passed. Mentions recent related legislation in Texas, SB18, 86th Legislature.
  • "The fertility business: Seed capital; Fertility benefits." Economist, August 10th-16th, 2019, pp. 50-51.
    Reports investors are pouring money into businesses that provide fertility treatment and related services. Points out the global fertility industry could bring in $41 billion in sales by 2026, compared to $25 billion today.
  • "Mass shootings: The definition of insanity." Economist, August 10th-16th, 2019, pp. 19-20.
    Raises questions about how police and politicians can curb the rise of domestic terrorism. Notes right-wing extremists were responsible for 70 percent of killings motivated by extremist ideology in America between 2009 and 2018.
  • "Texas Legislature concentrates on school funding." By Morgan Craven. IDRA Newsletter (Intercultural Development Research Association), June-July 2019, pp. 1-2, 6.
    Highlights HB3, 86th Legislature, aimed at funding public education and granting some property tax relief.
  • "Long-term sustainability of U.S. government debt growth." By Jorge Barro. Issue Brief (Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy), August 19, 2019, pp. 1-8.
    Discusses the risks and limitations associated with accelerating government debt growth.
  • "Trends: The surprising economics of Latino immigration." By Gonzalo Huertas and Jacob Funk Kirkegaard. Milken Institute Review, Third Quarter 2019, pp. 5-13.
    Examines the significant contributions of the Hispanic community to economic growth in the United States, as demonstrated in high school completion, entrepreneurship, and a "demographic dividend" of Hispanic labor force participation. Includes charts of high school completion rates by race/ethnicity, and share of degrees conferred by educational institutions by race/ethnicity/non-resident status.
  • "Enduring challenges: Examining the experiences of states that closed pension plans." By Tyler Bond and Dan Doonan. National Institute on Retirement Security, August 2019, pp. 1-16.
    Presents case studies of four states — Alaska, Kentucky, Michigan, and West Virginia — that closed their pension plans in favor of alternative plan designs. Discusses the effect of switching from a defined benefit pension plan to defined contribution or cash balance plans.
  • "A significant session." By Dax Gonzalez. Texas Lone Star (Texas Association of School Boards), August 2019, pp. 8-13.
    Highlights education-related legislation from the 86th Legislature. Includes discussion of school finance, property taxes, school safety, and more.
  • "Swinging for fairness." By Joey Berlin. Texas Medicine, August 2019, pp. 30-31.
    Describes how the Texas Medical Association worked to improve SB1264, 86th Legislature. Explains how the surprise-billing legislation initially favored insurers and asserts that the final bill is fairer for physicians, insurers, and patients.
  • "The terror within." By Alana Abramson, Tessa Berenson, and John Walcott. Time, August 19, 2019, pp. 22-27.
    Explores the nature of domestic terrorism in the United States and the efforts to counter it. Includes discussion of the recent mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, and how federal prosecutors are treating this incident as terrorism.

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.

Current Articles & Research Resources, August 15

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

  • Examine safety concerns related to automated vehicles. (Governors Highway Safety Association, August 6, 2019)
  • Explore resources and statistics related to capital punishment. (National Conference of State Legislatures, July 30, 2019)
  • Consider precautions to prevent wildfires before operating equipment outdoors. (Texas A&M Forest Service, August 12, 2019)
  • Review pedestrian safety tips. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, July 15, 2019)

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

  • "Face off? The promises and perils of losing anonymity." By Eoin O'Carroll. Christian Science Monitor, July 29, 2019, pp. 18-19.
    Discusses the growing use of facial recognition technology and the resulting concerns about its application. Identifies early attempts at legislating its use.
  • "Oncor's powerful response to severe situations." By Catherine Leffert. Dallas Business Journal, August 2, 2019, pp. 12-14.
    Discusses how Oncor Electric Delivery handles mass power outages. Points out the emergency management preparedness strategies that enabled the rapid restoration of power to thousands of Dallas-Fort Worth customers affected by severe storms that struck on June 9.
  • "The economics of Texas BBQ: It's not your grandpa's barbecue anymore." By Patrick Graves. Fiscal Notes, July 2019, pp. 1-6.
    Explores the economic growth and recent diversification of the barbecue industry in Texas. Notes there are now 2,500 Texas barbecue outlets, an increase of 12 percent from four years ago. 
  • "The workforce-training grant: A new bridge from high school to career." By Oren Cass. Issue Brief (Manhattan Institute), July 16, 2019, pp. 1-14.
    Proposes a grant-based program to motivate private-sector employers to provide on-the-job experience with employer-sponsored training to people who do not pursue a college degree as their path to employment.
  • "Can taxes and subsidies improve health?" By Ramanan Laxminarayan and Amit Summan. Milken Institute Review, Third Quarter 2019, pp. 18-27.
    Examines the effectiveness of "sin taxes" on tobacco and alcohol, and other taxes on sodas and junk food, in public health policy. Looks at the option of redirecting agricultural or energy subsidies to healthy foods.
  • "Will America ever have high-speed trains?" By Lawrence M. Fisher. Milken Institute Review, Third Quarter 2019, pp. 70-80.
    Explores the potential for high-speed rail in the United States, amid "buy American" stipulations for governments receiving federal funds. Discusses cost overruns, engineering controversy, and delays in the California High-Speed Rail project. Considers the development and eminent domain concerns of the Texas Central Railway project from Dallas-Fort Worth to Houston.
  • "Myths of student-loan debt." By Robert Verbruggen. National Review, July 29, 2019, pp. 28-30.
    Recommends solving the student-loan debt problem with increased use of the "income-share agreement" [ISA], in which a student agrees to pay a certain percentage of income for a certain number of years in exchange for the lender funding his education.
  • "2018 carbon dioxide emission trends: Explaining the 2018 increase." By Daniel Klein. Public Utilities Fortnightly, July 2019, pp. 122-127.
    Analyzes the United States Energy Information Administration's [EIA] first full year's estimates of energy use and carbon dioxide emissions during 2018. Related information at: https://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/data/monthly/.
  • "Toolbox: Redrawing maps the right way." By Jeffrey M. Wice and Frank M. Strigari. State Legislatures, July/August 2019, pp. 38-40.
    Offers suggestions on how to improve the redistricting process and avoid costly litigation. 
  • "The 141st day." By Celeste Embrey. Texas Banking, August 2019, pp. 8-11.
    Presents a session wrap-up of banking issues, including subcontractors, Sunset legislation, the Equifax data breach, and cybersecurity.
  • "Charting medicine's statehouse progress." By Joey Berlin and Sean Price. Texas Medicine, August 2019, pp. 16-24.
    Recaps the 86th Texas Legislature, highlighting enrolled legislation significant to physicians and health care. 
  • "Making telemedicine work." By Sean Price. Texas Medicine, August 2019, pp. 26-29.
    Outlines the steps physicians should take when preparing to provide telemedicine services. Highlights HB3345, 86th Legislature, which will help physicians choose the best telemedicine platform for them. 

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.

Current Articles & Research Resources, August 8

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

  • Explore reasons the teen birth rate is dropping. (Pew Research Center, August 2, 2019)
  • Track President Trump's judicial appointments. (Heritage Foundation, updated August 2, 2019)
  • Consider whether college should come with a money-back guarantee. (Manhattan Institute, July 9, 2019)
  • Learn what to expect about invitations to respond to the 2020 Census. (U.S. Census Bureau, May 9, 2019)

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

  • "Behind the 'cannabusiness' boom." By Paul Thompson. Austin Business Journal, August 2, 2019, pp. 12-15.
    Discusses how HB3703 and HB1325, 86th Legislature, are paving the way for hemp and cannabis product entrepreneurs to flourish.
  • "The real cannabis rush." By Craig Giammona, Bruce Einhorn, and Ashley Robinson. Bloomberg Businessweek, July 22, 2019, pp. 16-18.
    Examines the economic effects of the legalization of hemp and hemp products. Questions whether hemp will saturate the global market and affect prices.
  • "Special report: DFW's opportunity knocks." By Craig M. Douglas and Claire Ballor. Dallas Business Journal, July 26, 2019, pp. 14-19.
    Presents a primer on the Opportunity Zone program established under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and raises potential red flags. Identifies designated opportunity zones in core Dallas-Fort Worth counties.
  • "Overcrowded primaries: A Democratic dilemma." Economist, July 27th-August 2nd, 2019, pp. 19-20.
    Traces the roots of the current system of nominating presidential candidates. Considers whether political parties should let anyone run for president.
  • "The changing landscape of homeschooling in the United States." By Aaron Hirsh. Internet Resource, July 2019, pp. 1-8.
    Examines the state of homeschooling in the United States in 2019. Includes discussion of the changing demographics of homeschoolers, the new models of homeschooling, and state policies that govern homeschooling.
  • "Student debt: An overlooked barrier to increasing teacher diversity." By Bayliss Fiddiman, Colleen Campbell, and Lisette Partelow. Internet Resource, July 9, 2019, pp. 1-18.
    Examines the student loan debt of Black and Latinx teachers. Argues the debt burden of teachers of color is a deterrent to diversifying the teaching workforce. Offers policy recommendations for reducing the student debt of minority teachers and increasing the chances they will enter or remain in the teaching profession.
  • "California energy storage initiatives: Surfing the storage wave." By Nathan C. Howe, Stuart Murray, and Sarah Elias. Natural Resources & Environment, Summer 2019, pp. 18-22.
    Discusses California's policy initiatives in energy storage development that have resulted from their increased use of intermittent renewable energy resources such as wind and solar power. Highlights the efforts of other jurisdictions active in storage development, including: minimum storage capacity targets, wholesale market frameworks, and new rate structures to incentivize customer storage.
  • "Permian pipeline projects race to remove export bottlenecks." By Christopher E. Smith. Oil and Gas Journal, July 1, 2019, pp. 59-61.
    Highlights planned pipeline projects that will help transport crude oil from the Permian Basin to the Gulf Coast.
  • "Wanted: Lawyers for rural America." By April Simpson. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), June 26, 2019, pp. 1-7.
    Reports the decline of rural lawyers has created "legal deserts" in several states, limiting vulnerable populations' access to legal representation. Discusses several states' efforts to curb the decline and to use non-lawyers to narrow the justice gap.
  • "Lingering effects of subprime lending." By Luis B. Torres, Carter Neill, and Clare Losey. Tierra Grande, July 2019, pp. 19-25.
    Examines how mortgage lending has changed in Texas since the fallout from subprime lending and the Great Recession. Details changes by city and race for Austin, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio.

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.

Current Articles & Research Resources, August 1

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

  • Explore interactive data related to the National Do Not Call Registry. (Federal Trade Commission, July 30, 2019)
  • See when the sales tax holiday for school supplies takes place. (Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, July 2019)
  • Examine the political geography of major metropolitan areas. (FiveThirtyEight, May 20, 2019)
  • Track U.S. government data breaches since 2014. (Comparitech, July 24, 2019)

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

  • "Getting in range." By Jacob Fischler. CQ Weekly, July 8, 2019, pp. 31-33.
    Discusses impact of the Volkswagen emission test settlement on the electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the United States. Notes Texas plans to spend $31.4 million of the settlement, more than any other state, to expand the state's infrastructure and alleviate range anxiety.
  • "Garland is building its own workforce of the future." Dallas Business Journal, July 19, 2019, p. 6.
    Profiles Garland Independent School District's Gilbreath-Reed Career and Technical Center, a state-of-the-art facility that is developing a skilled workforce pipeline for businesses in Garland and surrounding areas. Includes interview with Paul Mayer, CEO of the Garland Chamber of Commerce.
  • "Innovation in insurance: Run for cover." Economist, July 20th-26th, 2019, pp. 59-60.
    Reports on the lack of innovation in the insurance industry, noting insurers' products and processes are losing touch with 21st-century life. Points out insurers' weaknesses and growing competition from reinsurers, digital entrepreneurs, and Big Tech (Amazon, Apple, and Google).
  • "Surveillance technology: Vision quest." Economist, July 13th-19th, 2019, p. 28.
    Highlights a recent hearing of the United States House Committee on Homeland Security that examined the federal government's use of facial recognition and biometric technologies, as well as the civil liberties implications of these technologies.
  • "Kicking back kicks in for rural counties: Texas state parks provide economic boost to local economies." By Ramona Reeves. Fiscal Notes, July 2019, pp. 1-4.
    Highlights the economic benefits of state parks for rural and less populated areas of Texas. Notes state parks accounted for $891 million in sales activities in 2018 and $240 million in economic impact on area resident incomes, according to a January 2019 report by Texas A&M University.
  • "Depth over breadth." By Daniel Kreisman and Kevin Stange. Internet Resource, Fall 2019, pp. 1-8.
    Analyzes results of a study conducted on the value of vocational education in high schools. Examines the relationship between vocational or career and technical coursework and high school graduates’ success in college or in the workforce. Discusses policy implications for high schools.
  • "Local Rep urges protest of TWIA rate hike." By Suzanne Freeman. Internet Resource, July 25, 2019, pp. 1-3.
    Reports that the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association [TWIA] may increase insurance rates at their August board meeting. Includes reactions from Representatives Todd Hunter and Mayes Middleton. Mentions SB615, 86th Legislature.
  • "Pharmacy benefit manager reform: Lessons from Ohio." By Trevor J. Royce, Sheetal Kircher, and Rena M. Conti. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), July 23/30, 2019, pp. 299-300.
    Describes Ohio's efforts to increase pharmacy benefit manager [PBM] accountability, promote more transparent pass-through pricing, and reduce the use of pharmacy gag clauses.
  • "States should reject corporate demands for "deferred tax" deductions." By Michael Mazerov. Journal of MultiState Taxation and Incentives, July 2019, pp. 22-29.
    Analyzes the arguments for providing corporations deferred tax deductions at the time of a state rate increase. Finds adverse effects on stockholders and stock prices implausible and recommends no additional states grant such deductions.
  • "Nexus news: Does due process provide any protection at all?" By June Summers Haas and Daniel L. Stanley. Journal of State Taxation, Summer 2019, pp. 9-12.
    Discusses the implications of two recently decided court cases related to protections provided by the Due Process Clause in the aftermath of South Dakota v. Wayfair. Summarizes Greenscapes Home and Garden Products v. Testa, in which a Georgia company has been required to pay Ohio's commercial-activity tax, and North Carolina Dep't of Revenue v. Kimberly Rice Kaestner 1992 Family Trust, concerning the efforts of North Carolina to tax the trust income of a resident.
  • "Are fiscal rules an effective restraint on government debt?" By Veronique de Rugy and Jack Salmon. Policy Brief (Mercatus Center, George Mason University), July 16, 2019, pp. 1-15.
    Assesses the underlying problems with the United States' budgetary process and explores the effectiveness of fiscal rules in restraining government spending growth. Presents examples of countries that have proven effective at controlling spending.
  • "Fortnightly Smartest Communities 2019: Austin, Columbus, San Antonio, Spokane, suburban Birmingham." Public Utilities Fortnightly, July 2019, pp. 22-57 (Note Length).
    Highlights achievements of the winners of Fortnightly Smartest Communities 2019, including Austin and San Antonio.
  • "Driven to distraction." By Ann Kitch. State Legislatures, July/August 2019, pp. 32-33.
    Reports 2019 has been an active year for state legislation relating to distracted driving. Points out the challenges of enforcing and assessing the effectiveness of handheld phone bans.
  • "Real estate wins at the Texas Capitol." By Jaime Lee. Texas Realtor, July 2019, pp. 18-22.
    Highlights legislation of interest to the Texas real estate industry that was enacted by the 86th Legislature. Presents the 86th Texas Legislature Hall of Fame, recognizing legislators who championed pro-consumer and private property rights legislation.
  • "Keeping house." By Ali Anari. Tierra Grande, July 2019, pp. 6-9.
    Discusses the effect of location on homeownership affordability in the United States and Texas. Ranks homeownership affordability by state and by Texas cities. Notes that the affordability gap between Texas and the nation has narrowed since the Great Recession.

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.

Current Articles & Research Resources, July 25

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

  • Review the ballot language in the upcoming constitutional amendment election in November. (Texas Secretary of State, accessed July 24, 2019)
  • Explore how demand response works to meet energy needs of consumers. (National Conference of State Legislatures, July 2019)
  • Consider how third-party debt collections affect consumers' credit. (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, July 2019)
  • Examine the circumstances under which a debtor may discharge a student loan under federal bankruptcy laws. (Congressional Research Service, July 18, 2019)

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

  • "Measles as metaphor." By Peter Beinart. Atlantic Monthly, August 2019, pp. 13-16.
    Suggests declining vaccination rates reflect a population that lacks awareness of lessons of the past, has overconfidence in its own "amateur knowledge," and shows little trust in government and other institutions. Offers solutions to reverse the trend.
  • "Suburb weighs how to slow apartment construction." By Daniel Salazar. Austin Business Journal, July 19, 2019, p. 8.
    Reports that Leander City Council's proposal to restrict the use of certain building materials on new multifamily projects could violate HB2439, 86th Legislature, relating to overly restrictive building regulations.
  • "How Texas flushed out plumbers." By David Wethe. Bloomberg Businessweek, July 15, 2019, pp. 37-39.
    Discusses Governor Greg Abbott's emergency executive order relating to continuing the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners. Explains how the agency's Sunset legislation, SB621, failed to pass the 86th Legislature.
  • "Trying to change Congress, starting with the lowest rung: Interns." By Jessica Mendoza. Christian Science Monitor, July 22, 2019, pp. 6-7.
    Highlights the College to Congress program, a nonprofit that helps low-income students obtain internships in Congress. Explains the program seeks bipartisan participation.
  • "Way ahead of you, Congress." By Jacob Fischler. CQ Weekly, July 15, 2019, pp. 31-33.
    Looks at what state legislatures are doing to address climate change. Focuses on states led by Democrats who campaigned on climate policy in the 2018 elections.
  • "The world economy: A strangely elastic expansion." Economist, July 13th-19th, 2019, pp. 21-23.
    Comments on America's economic expansion, which at the end of July will have matched the record for the longest unbroken period of rising GDP set in the 1990s. Considers factors that could trigger a recession.
  • "The U.S. Supreme Court and schools: 2018-19." By Mark Walsh. Education Week, July 17, 2019, pp. 19-20.
    Summarizes recent United States Supreme Court rulings relevant to K-12 education, including the census citizenship question, age discrimination, religion in a public square, and federal administrative power. Identifies several high profile education-related cases that will be heard during the Court's 2020 term.
  • "State efforts to lower health care prices paid by private insurers." By Aditi P. Sen, Amber Willink, and Gerard F. Anderson. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), July 16, 2019, pp. 201-202.
    Outlines three approaches states are taking to lower health care prices paid by private insurers: targeted price regulation, promoting competition, and investing in alternative payment models.
  • "Energy efficiency in cannabis cultivation: A growing concern." By John Hargrove. Public Utilities Fortnightly, July 2019, pp. 147, 149.
    Features a brief discussion about the energy-related challenges of harvesting cannabis.
  • "Voting by phone is easy. But is it secure?" By Matt Vasilogambros. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), July 18, 2019, pp. 1-6.
    Discusses the conflict between accessibility and security in phone-based voting systems.
  • "Forgotten in the fields." By Dana Ullman. Texas Observer, July/August 2019, pp. 20-25.
    Describes forced agricultural labor of farmworkers in Texas, who increasingly come to the state on H-2A guest worker visas, and the difficulty in prosecuting labor trafficking cases. Cites a 2016 study by The University of Texas at Austin, which estimated there are 234,000 labor trafficking victims in Texas with $600 million in annual wages stolen.

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.

Current Articles & Research Resources, July 18

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

  • Review remote sales tax collection by state. (National Conference of State Legislatures, July 1, 2019)
  • See how probation and parole affect prison populations. (Council of State Governments, ©2019)
  • Consider how a change in the federal minimum wage would affect employment. (Congressional Budget Office, July 8, 2019)
  • Read about possible reforms to federal asylum laws. (Texas Public Policy Foundation, July 10, 2019)

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

  • "Education isn't enough." By Nick Hanauer. Atlantic Monthly, July 2019, pp. 19-22.
    Argues educational inequality is a symptom of the real problem, which is economic inequality. Suggests the most important predictor of a child's educational success is household income and a secure middle-class life.
  • "More states take a gamble on sports betting. Will it pay off?" By Jacob Turcotte. Christian Science Monitor, June 24, 2019, p. 15.
    Identifies the status of sports gambling in the various states and defines the pros and cons of sports gambling expansion.
  • "Americans United endorses bill to end discrimination in foster care programs." Church & State, July/August 2019, pp. 16-17.
    Highlights the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, proposed federal legislation that seeks to end discrimination in foster care, adoption, and child welfare.
  • "Police officers and social media: Slur and protect." Economist, July 6th-12th, 2019, pp. 22, 24.
    Considers how law enforcement agencies should discipline police and border patrol officers who make racist and misogynistic posts on their social media accounts. Questions whether the posts are protected speech.
  • "State legislators tackle broad basket of issues on parents' checklist." By Marva Hinton. Education Week, June 19, 2019, pp. 15, 17.
    Looks at recent state legislation on school safety, charter schools, and student data privacy. Mentions HB1387, 86th Legislature, that removes caps on the number of school marshals per school campus.
  • "Equity crowdfunding in Texas: A funding tool for small business." By Jackie Benton. Fiscal Notes, June/July 2019, pp. 7-10.
    Examines state equity crowdfunding rules and requirements in Texas and the benefits for small businesses. Notes the Texas crowdfunding program has raised $2.5 million in capital for small businesses since 2015.
  • "Abbott signs bill to combat patient confusion." By Elizabeth Byrne. Fort Worth Business Press, June 24-30, 2019, pp. 18-19.
    Discusses HB2041, 86th Legislature, that requires freestanding emergency rooms to disclose the in-network health insurance plans they accept and fees that may be charged. Quotes bill author Representative Tom Oliverson.
  • "Lancaster library to be named for educator Reby Cary." By Rick Mauch. Fort Worth Business Press, July 1-7, 2019, p. 10.
    Reports that Fort Worth's first children- and teen-focused public library will be named the Reby Cary Youth Library, honoring the late educator and former state representative.
  • "The 86th Texas Legislature gavels out: Texas hospitals achieve notable policy wins to protect access to care." By Aisha Ainsworth. Internet Resource, May/June 2019, pp. 1-2.
    Recaps the 86th Texas Legislature, emphasizing bills that affect Texas hospitals.
  • "Protecting the accuracy of the 2020 census." By Constance F. Citro. Issues in Science and Technology, Summer 2019, pp. 37-43.
    Provides a brief history of early population census taking in the United States and lists key issues with the modern census from 1970 through 2010. Discusses the challenges to conducting an accurate census in 2020, including an undercount due to government mistrust, computing systems vulnerabilities, funding shortfalls, and data protection.
  • "Texas law and the restatement of the law of liability insurance: An initial comparison of blackletter principles." By Cyrus W. Haralson and Christina A. Culver. Journal of Texas Insurance Law, Spring 2019, pp. 3-29 (Note Length).
    Compares and contrasts Texas law on liability insurance with the recent final draft of the American Law Institute's Restatement of the Law of Liability Insurance.
  • "Criminal justice reform is having a (long overdue) moment." By C.J. Ciaramella. Reason, August/September 2019, pp. 26-29.
    Reviews a variety of federal, state, and local bipartisan efforts to reform the criminal justice system.
  • "Recalibrating local politics to increase the supply of housing; Comment." By Chris Elmendorf and William A. Fischel. Regulation (CATO Institute), Summer 2019, pp. 38-45.
    Argues state planning mandates and development-rights auctions can bolster pro-housing factions in local governments.
  • "Businesses scramble to prep for city's sick leave law." By Tony Quesada. San Antonio Business Journal, July 5, 2019, p. 3.
    Comments on the San Antonio city ordinance that will require employers to allow employees to accrue sick leave beginning August 1, 2019.
  • "Texas facing historically tight labor markets, constraining growth." By Christopher Slijk. Southwest Economy (Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas), Second Quarter 2018, pp. 3-6.
    Analyzes recent trends in labor force migration and unemployment that have led to a tight labor market, constraining economic growth and limiting business expansion.
  • "New attack on race-based admissions at UT Austin seeks to succeed where 'Fisher' failed." By Angela Morris. Texas Lawyer, July/August 2019, p. 4.
    Discusses the new legal strategy at play in a new lawsuit challenging the University of Texas at Austin's race-based admission policies.

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.

More Entries