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Current Articles & Research Resources, June 14

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

  • Explore health system performance in Texas. (The Commonwealth Fund, ©2018)
  • Examine human trafficking laws and support systems for survivors. (National Conference of State Legislatures, May 31, 2018)
  • Read about electronic storage detection dogs. (CNET, June 11, 2018)
  • Track drought conditions in Texas. (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, June 2018)

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

  • "Defendant's choice." By Lorelei Laird. ABA Journal: The Lawyer's Magazine, June 2018, pp. 18-19.
    Highlights the results of Comal County's experiment to let indigent clients choose their own court-approved lawyer instead of using the traditional "wheel" system in which the next lawyer on the list is appointed.
  • "Assessing the House opioid package's Medicaid bills: While some advance access to treatment, one raises serious concerns." By Anna Bailey, et al. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, June 11, 2018, pp. 1-7.
    Summarizes several bills in the United States House of Representatives that would address the opioid epidemic. Discusses potential changes to Medicaid that could improve substance use disorder provider capacity and reduce insurance coverage gaps.
  • "Medicine: From A&E to AI." Economist, June 9th-15th, 2018, pp. 68-69.
    Reports on several projects that aim to use artificial intelligence to improve diagnoses and the speed and precision of medical treatments.
  • "Santa Fe shooting sparks debate on school design." By Evie Blad. Education Week, May 30, 2018, p. 13.
    Discusses the design of architecturally safer schools in light of the recent shooting at Santa Fe High School. Addresses both unobtrusive safety measures and aggressive physical security measures. Mentions Lt. Governor Dan Patrick.
  • "Interpreting the complexities of the cooperative 'fix.'" Ethanol Today, May/June 2018, pp. 16-17.
    Examines the change to Section 199A in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Related information at: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1/text.
  • "How to prepare your office for an active shooter." By Jackie Ford. Houston Business Journal, June 7, 2018, p. 18.
    Outlines several steps employers can take to reduce the likelihood of workplace violence.
  • "As overdoses climb, emergency departments begin treating opioid use disorder." By Rita Rubin. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), June 5, 2018, pp. 2158-2160.
    Reports on the increase in hospital emergency departments that are undergoing the federally required training to dispense buprenorphine, a drug used to treat opioid use disorder. Explains that without this training, emergency departments could not initiate medication-assisted addiction treatment.
  • "Incarcerated immigrants in 2016: Their numbers, demographics, and countries of origin." By Alex Nowrasteh and Michelangelo Landgrave. Policy Brief (CATO Institute), June 4, 2018, pp. 1-8.
    Finds that immigrants — legal and illegal — are less likely to be incarcerated than native-born Americans. Points out that illegal and legal immigrants who immigrate at a younger age — ages 0 to 17 — are more likely to be incarcerated as adults.
  • "When your community wants renewables: Making changes, meeting demand." By John Egan. Public Power, May-June 2018, pp. 37-41.
    Highlights ways that public power utilities are improving customers' access to renewable power. Includes examples, such as the Georgetown Utility Systems in Georgetown, Texas.
  • "Scientists aim to smoke out wildfire impacts." By Warren Cornwall. Science, June 1, 2018, pp. 948-949.
    Discusses how researchers plan to study wildfire smoke plumes during the summer in the western United States.
  • "Teacher pay is a problem." By Michelle Exstrom. State Legislatures, June 2018, pp. 22-23.
    Considers recent efforts by state legislatures to address teacher salaries and teacher turnover. Notes the percentage of teachers in each state who hold second jobs.
  • "Children with autism left behind by low Medicaid rates." By Michael Ollove. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), June 12, 2018, pp. 1-6.
    Highlights two class action federal lawsuits that may open a new and effective strategy to challenge low Medicaid reimbursement rates, which have a substantial impact on children's access to medically necessary and legally required treatment.
  • "Swat team." By Sean Price. Texas Medicine, June 2018, pp. 20-25.
    Explains the need for better education of and by physicians on vector-borne illnesses (diseases that are spread by bugs). Notes that vector-borne illnesses often are misdiagnosed and are underreported. Cites HB2055, 84th Legislature, and HB3576 and SB570, 85th Legislature, R.S., that addressed these problems (and notes setbacks with funding and vetoes).
  • "Pension fund health relies on employer contributions." By Max Patterson. TEXPERS Pension Observer, Vol. 2 2018, pp. 5, 7.
    Highlights a recent Texas Public Policy Foundation panel on public pension reform, which included Representative Dan Flynn and Senator Royce West.
  • "This man wants to be on birth control." By Alexandra Sifferlin. Time, June 18, 2018, pp. 38-43.
    Discusses recent research being conducted on new hormonal and non-hormonal contraceptive methods for men.

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, June 7

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

  • Examine the current and projected financial status of social security. (Social Security Administration, June 5, 2018)
  • Consider whether pets have a positive impact on people's health. (NIH MedlinePlus, Spring 2018)
  • Read about the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission decision. (National Conference of State Legislatures, June 4, 2018)
  • Track an increase in federal criminal prosecutions for illegal border crossings. (Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University, June 4, 2018)

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

  • "Uncompensated care costs fell in nearly every state as ACA's major coverage provisions took effect." By Jessica Schubel and Matt Broaddus. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, May 23, 2018, pp. 1-9.
    Explains Medicaid expansion has helped lower uncompensated health care costs, benefiting patients, hospitals, and state budgets, and warns of the effect of proposed Medicaid work requirements. Charts uncompensated care costs and medically uninsured rates in the 50 states from 2013 to 2015.
  • "A state multi-sector framework for supporting children and youth with special health care needs." Child Trends, May 2018, pp. 1-26 (Note Length).
    Describes a four-part state framework for supporting children and youth with special health care needs from birth through age 17, including health, family support, education and employment, and law enforcement and juvenile justice.
  • "The future of tech startups: Into the danger zone." Economist, June 2nd-8th, 2018, pp. 55-57.
    Reports how the dominance of technology giants such as Amazon, Facebook, and Google has had a meaningful effect on entrepreneurial innovation, as the bigger firms can quickly launch competing services that put startups out of business.
  • "Justice: Data detectives." Economist Technology Quarterly, June 2nd, 2018, pp. 3-12.
    Examines the promise and dangers of new technologies that are transforming the way criminal justice systems operate, including street-level surveillance, electronic monitoring, and predictive policing and sentencing.
  • "Rural districts take a 24 percent hit in Algebra II enrollment." By Hector Bojorquez. IDRA Newsletter (Intercultural Development Research Association), May 2018, pp. 3-4.
    Discusses the findings of the IDRA Ready Texas Study, which examined the early effects of the new graduation requirements imposed by HB5, 83rd Legislature, Regular Session.
  • "State & local tax contributions of young undocumented immigrants." By Misha Hill and Meg Wiehe. Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, Updated April 2018, pp. 1-18.
    Examines state and local tax contributions of undocumented immigrants currently enrolled or eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
  • "The neurobiology of opioid addiction and the potential for prevention strategies." By Gary Peltz and Thomas C. Südhof. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), May 22/29, 2018, pp. 2071-2072.
    Calls for a public health prevention strategy to address the opioid crisis, rather than the current focus on the later stages of drug addiction.
  • "Focusing the lens on film credits." By Brett Johnson and Bruce Kessler. Journal of MultiState Taxation and Incentives, June 2018, pp. 33-35.
    Summarizes recent developments in film incentives programs in Louisiana, New York, California, and Georgia, including eligibility requirements and benefits, credit monetization, and state oversight.
  • "AARP in the states: Texas." National Institute on Retirement Security, April 2018, pp. 1-8.
    Presents infographic fact sheets on the Employees Retirement System of Texas and Teacher Retirement System of Texas, and highlights the economic impact of Texas public pensions.
  • "The teaching moment." By Rivka Galchen. New Yorker, June 4 & 11, 2018, pp. 38-43.
    Highlights the recent teacher walkout in Oklahoma and the failed attempt at winning legislative approval for additional education funding. Explains this failure has provoked people to get involved in local politics and to run for office.
  • "Abolish ICE." By Shikha Dalmia. Reason, July 2018, pp. 10-11.
    Reviews the history of deportation efforts back to the Clinton administration and the creation of Immigration and Customs Enforcement [ICE] after 9/11. Argues that ICE and the deportation program should be abolished and the true hardcore criminals from other countries should be handled through regular law enforcement procedures.
  • "Speaking out: Four Price, State Representative, District 87." Texas Builder, May/June 2018, pp. 22-25.
    Interviews State Representative Four Price about the skilled labor shortage in Texas, workforce and job training programs, water and road infrastructure, and the state budget process.

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, May 31

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

  • Consider ways to combat elder financial exploitation. (National Conference of State Legislatures, May 2018)
  • Explore similarities and differences among rural, suburban, and urban areas. (Pew Research Center, May 22, 2018)
  • See how many Texas cities are among the fastest-growing cities in the U.S. (U.S. Census Bureau, May 24, 2018)
  • Read about a federal ruling that could affect elected officials on social media. (Electronic Frontier Foundation, May 23, 2018)

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

  • "This little house could be a big deal for Austin." By Marissa Luck. Austin Business Journal, May 25, 2018, pp. 5-8.
    Considers the viability of a proposed 3-D home printing model and the impact on cities lacking affordable housing.
  • "Growing revenue: The economics of marijuana legalization." By Lisa McKinney. Capitol Ideas, March/April 2018, pp. 28-31.
    Suggests the tax revenue generated by marijuana legalization may not be the "golden goose" to solve state budget problems, despite marijuana being an estimated $10 billion industry in 2017. Discusses challenges faced by Colorado, Oregon, and Maine in the legalization and regulation process.
  • "States' complex Medicaid waivers will create costly bureaucracy and harm eligible beneficiaries." By Jennifer Wagner and Judith Solomon. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, May 23, 2018, pp. 1-16.
    Criticizes Medicaid eligibility restrictions such as increased work requirements, new premium requirements, and coverage "lockouts" in Medicaid demonstration projects, or section 1115 waivers, as proposed by several states listed in the appendix.
  • "Taking the hill." By Ann Scott Tyson. Christian Science Monitor, May 28, 2018, pp. 24-30.
    Acknowledges the nearly 400 veterans running for Congress as a promising political initiative that might help bridge the partisan divide and bolster confidence in Congress. Includes quotes from Texas state Senator Van Taylor, who is running to represent Texas' Third Congressional District.
  • "After a Texas college revoked scholarships for 61 Nepali students: 'Admissions hunger games'." By Eric Hoover. Chronicle of Higher Education, May 25, 2018, pp. A25-A27.
    Highlights the experiences of some of the 61 Nepali students who had scholarships rescinded by the University of Texas at Tyler. Focuses on their efforts to find acceptance at other institutions.
  • "Hack-proof." By Henry Kenyon. CQ Weekly, May 21, 2018, pp. 30-33.
    Investigates adopting blockchain technology as a means of protecting government records from hacking. Reports there are federal and state agencies already experimenting with using blockchain applications to combat their cybersecurity problems.
  • "Area's increasing income gap threatens region." By Bill Hethcock. Dallas Business Journal, May 18, 2018, pp. 20-25.
    Examines the widening gaps in wealth, educational attainment, access to housing, and other challenges connected to increasing population growth in the Dallas-Fort Worth region.
  • "Increasing naloxone awareness and use: The role of health care practitioners." By Jerome M. Adams. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), May 22/29, 2018, pp. 2073-2074.
    Notes the significance of the Surgeon General's Advisory on Naloxone and Opioid Overdose, which explains the need to educate the public and develop policies on this medication that can reduce opioid overdose mortality.
  • "Texas showdown: Insurgent populists are facing off against establishment picks in May's high-stakes runoff." By D.D. Guttenplan. Nation, June 4/11, 2018, pp. 12-18.
    Profiles several Democratic candidates for Texas congressional districts.
  • "Conservation: Drought and supply limits drive sustainability initiatives." Opflow, March 2018, pp. 10-14.
    Discusses California American Water's recent experiences to provide some valuable lessons on how one water utility is dealing with extreme climate conditions.
  • "Bordernomics: Enhancing prosperity by increasing integration in the US-Mexico border region." By M. Ray Perryman. Perryman Report and Texas Letter, Vol. 35, No. 3, pp. 1-3, 6-7.
    Presents part two of a special report describing the results of a study on the trade and economic activity between the United States and Mexico.
  • "Engage diverse stakeholders to strengthen policy." By Elizabeth Leisy Stosich and Soung Bae. Phi Delta Kappan, May 2018, pp. 8-12.
    Highlights the experiences of California, Iowa, New Hampshire, and Vermont in bringing diverse stakeholders into the process when developing school reform.
  • "First look at 2017 CO2 emission trends in U.S.: Electricity sector focus." By Daniel Klein. Public Utilities Fortnightly, May 2018, pp. 40-47.
    Analyzes two key energy-related carbon dioxide emission trends in the United States, as reported in the U.S. Energy Information Agency's March 2018 Monthly Energy Review. Report at: https://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/data/monthly/archive/00351803.pdf
  • "'Assault weapons,' explained." By Jacob Sullum. Reason, June 2018, pp. 52-57.
    Explains that "assault weapons" account for a small percentage of firearms used in mass shootings and other gun violence. Discusses the difficulty in meaningfully defining an "assault weapon" and whether a ban would have a measurable impact on safety.
  • "Critical condition: Fall funding." By W. Scott Bailey. San Antonio Business Journal, May 18, 2018, pp. 14-16.
    Focuses on San Antonio as a recipient of grants from the National Institutes of Health [NIH]. Explains how NIH grants can be used to lure top talent and spur economic growth in Texas.
  • "Rebirth on campus." By Maya Rhodan. Time, June 4, 2018, pp. 58-61.
    Examines recent student activism on historically black college and university campuses. Attributes this activism to a number of factors, including the current White House administration.

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, May 24

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

  • Review election night returns for the primary runoff races. (Texas Secretary of State, May 23, 2018)
  • Consider the difficulties faced by those who are working but struggling to afford a middle-class lifestyle. (CNN Money, May 18, 2018)
  • Examine incidents of gun violence in schools going back to 1999. (The Washington Post, May 20, 2018)
  • Explore publications and resources related to school bus safety. (National Conference of State Legislatures, May 18, 2018)

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

  • "The birth of the new American aristocracy." By Matthew Stewart. Atlantic Monthly, June 2018, pp. 48-63.
    Explores the "meritocratic class" in America, or the 9.9 percent of the population poised between the top 0.1 percent and the bottom 90 percent. Explains the factors that define this group and have led to its existence in a time of rising inequality and falling social mobility.
  • "Why NFIB is fighting Austin's sick-leave mandate." By Will Newtown. Austin Business Journal, May 18, 2018, pp. 27.
    Explains the National Federation of Independent Business' [NFIB] position on regulatory mandates imposed by local governments.
    Related document at: http://www.austintexas.gov/edims/document.cfm?id=293797
  • "Building resilience." By Lisa McKinney. Capitol Ideas, March/April 2018, pp. 42-45.
    Highlights the necessity of infrastructure planning for states as an investment in emergency preparedness, after the record-high cost of United States weather and climate disasters in 2017. Estimates Hurricane Harvey is the most costly hurricane in United States history, at $125 billion.
  • "Facing rising corrections costs, states are course correcting." By Katie Albis. Captiol Ideas, March/April 2018, p. 34-35.
    Notes states spent $57 billion on corrections in 2016, including prison operations, probation and parole systems, alternatives to incarceration, and juvenile justice programs. Quotes Bryan Collier, executive director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
  • "Pre-K punishment under spotlight in federal data." By Christina A. Samuels and Alex Harwin. Education Week, May 16, 2018, pp. 1, 20.
    Reports the federal government now requires compilation of data on the physical punishment of preschoolers in public schools.
  • "Schools play catch up to rise in student vaping." Education Week, May 9, 2018, pp. 1, 14.
    Attributes an increase of vaping in schools to a lack of regulation and the Juul device, which allows students to easily conceal their vaping habit.
  • "Black workers in right-to-work [RTW] states tend to have lower wages than in Missouri and other non-RTW states." By Valerie Wilson and Julia Wolfe, EPI Fact Sheet, May 15, 2018, pp. 1-4.
    Points out the negative association between wages and right-to-work laws, which affect both union and non-union workers.
    Related document at: http://www.ncsl.org/research/labor-and-employment/right-to-work-laws-and-bills.aspx
  • "State employees: Turnover rises in hot economy." By Jackie Benton and Bruce Wright. Fiscal Notes, May 2018, pp. 6-10.
    Notes Texas state government currently has the highest state employee turnover rate of the last five years, 18.6 percent in fiscal year 2017. Highlights the turnover crisis in correctional officers at the Texas Juvenile Justice Department and Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
  • "Transportation infrastructure: Keeping Texas moving." By Kevin McPherson, Jessica Donald and Bruce Wright. Fiscal Notes, May 2018, pp. 1, 3-5.
    Identifies Texas transportation funding needs for roads and highways, freight rail, transit, aviation, and ports through 2040, according to TxDOT's Texas Transportation Plan 2040. Report at: https://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/division/transportation-planning/statewide-plan/plan.html
  • "How tariffs hurt Texas companies and why they must be used cautiously." By Kevin Brady. Houston Business Journal, May 10, 2018, pp. 34.
    Discusses how increased tariffs on China are affecting Texas companies.
  • "Degenerate federalism." By Chris Pope. National Review, May 28, 2018, pp. 29-30, 32.
    Argues the major responsibilities of state governments, such as education and Medicaid, have become opportunities to claim federal funds and therefore shift costs to federal taxpayers. Proposes transforming matching fund programs to block grants to eliminate the incentive for states to inflate their expenditures.
  • "The wages of death." By Wesley Smith. National Review, May 28, 2018, pp. 16-18.
    Criticizes the expansion of assisted suicide and euthanasia laws. Claims that restrictions and strict guidelines do not guard against abuse.
  • "Power of the prosecutor." By Maya Wiley. New Republic, June 2018, pp. 9-10.
    Examines how prosecutors are reforming the criminal justice system from within instead of through the traditional legislative route. Discusses the sweeping drug policy reforms recently implemented in Philadelphia and former Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins' establishment of the country's first Conviction Integrity Unit.
  • "The rise of the victims' rights movement." By Jill Lepore.New Yorker , May 21, 2018, pp. 48-50, 52-55.
    Examines the victims'-rights movement and its impact on the criminal justice system. Reviews the laws and court cases that have increased victims' input in criminal trials.
  • "How the politicization of history education led to Michigan's fall." By Gordon P. Andrews and Wilson J. Warren. Phi Delta Kappan, May 2018, pp. 19-24.
    Argues the decline in Michigan's public education system occurred in part due to power shifting from educators to a few state officials with limited or no experience in schools.
  • "When cancer was conquerable." By Sarah Constantin. Reason, June 2018, pp. 34-38.
    Proposes bringing back the sense of urgency found in early cancer chemotherapy research by streamlining regulatory processes, getting new drugs to doctors faster, and basing FDA approval on a drug's safety rather than its efficacy.
  • "How earthquakes are induced." By Thibault Candela, et al. Science, May 11, 2018, pp. 598-600.
    Considers conditions in the Earth's crust that determine whether and how human activities can induce earthquakes.
  • "Oversold?" By Sean Price. Texas Medicine, May 2018, pp. 32-34.
    Explores progress and setbacks in the first few months of legally dispensing cannabis oil to Texans with epilepsy.

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, May 17

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

  • Examine data sets and maps related to wind turbines in the U.S.  (The United States Wind Turbine Database, accessed May 16, 2018)
  • Explore the comprehensive online source for information about voting in Texas. (Texas Secretary of State, accessed May 16, 2018)
  • Find out about air quality in your area. (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, accessed May 16, 2018)
  • Read about President Trump's federal court nominations during the first year of his term. (Congressional Research Service, May 2, 2018)

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

  • "Oil and gas rebound powers GDP growth." By Daniel Salazar. Austin Business Journal, May 11, 2018, p. 12.
    Reports strong mining and construction sectors fueled Texas' gross domestic product [GDP] growth in the fourth quarter of 2017, leading all other states. Estimates GDP will grow about 4.2 percent in 2018, but warns policy missteps in international trade could hurt export-dependent states. Related information at: https://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/regional/gdp_state/qgdpstate_newsrelease.htm.
  • "Helping manufacturing-intensive communities: What works?" By Timothy J. Bartik. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, May 9, 2018, pp. 1-17.
    Discusses economic development in communities with above-average shares of manufacturing. Outlines three cost-effective ways to promote manufacturing job growth, including expansion of services to small and medium-sized manufacturers, infrastructure and land investment, and public spending on job training programs.
  • "In Kentucky, a test of Medicaid rules." By Henry Gass. Christian Science Monitor, May 7, 2018, pp. 18-20.
    Examines the procedures and rules Kentucky is using to re-design its Medicaid program and become the first state to enforce work and community engagement requirements on a portion of Medicaid recipients. Related information at: https://kentuckyhealth.ky.gov/Pages/index.aspx.
  • "A university in Texas promised scholarships to 50 Nepali students. Then it revoked the offer." Chronicle of Higher Education, May 11, 2018, pp. A20-A21.
    Highlights the recent "oversight" that caused the University of Texas at Tyler to rescind offers to 50 Nepali students of full-ride scholarships the university could not afford.
  • "Efforts to stop human trafficking." By Beth A. Williams. Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Spring 2018, pp. 623-629.
    Explains the federal government's approach to stopping human trafficking. Describes efforts across the country to apprehend and prosecute human traffickers and provide assistance to human trafficking victims.
  • "Renewable power cos. see potential home in Houston." Houston Business Journal, May 3, 2018, pp. 18-19.
    Examines Houston's future as the home of leading companies in the renewable energy industry.
  • "EIA's estimates for Texas crude oil production account for incomplete state data." By Emily Geary and Jess Biercevicz. Internet Resource, March 26, 2018, pp. 1-2.
    Reports that there are differences in the data published by the United States Energy Information Administration and by the Texas Railroad Commission for crude oil and lease condensate production, which indicates differences in the treatment of incomplete and lagged data. Includes an example of recently reported data and explains why this may occur. Related information at: https://www.eia.gov/petroleum/supply/monthly/.
  • "Hurricane Harvey: The experiences of immigrants living in the Texas Gulf Coast." By Bryan Wu, et al. Internet Resource, March 2018, pp. 1-12.
    Surveys immigrants living in the Texas Gulf Coast region to better understand their experiences with Hurricane Harvey and improve ongoing and future disaster recovery efforts among this particularly vulnerable population.
  • "Rating teacher-preparation programs: Can value-added make useful distinctions?" By Paul T. von Hippel and Laura Bellows. Internet Resource, Summer 2018, pp. 1-8.
    Examines the effectiveness of ranking teacher-preparation programs based on teachers' "value-added" to student testing scores. Re-analyzes prior evaluations of teacher-preparation programs from six locations, including Texas.
  • "Weather alert: Move forward on clean energy." By Jim Murphy. Natural Resources & Environment, Spring 2018, pp. 52-53.
    Observes that weather-related disasters around the world are becoming more common and more severe. Suggests that relying more on renewable energy sources such as wind and solar provides for a more stable and secure energy supply.
  • "Emergency preparedness: Resiliency is key to effective disaster planning." By Sarah A. Deslauriers. Opflow, March 2018, pp. 26-28.
    Argues that water utilities need to develop contingency plans to prepare for and respond to extreme weather events that could negatively impact operations and reliable service. Refers to a resource from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Related information at: https://www.tceq.texas.gov/drinkingwater/homeland_security/disasterprep/disasterprep.html.
  • "Powering into the future." By Glen Andersen. State Legislatures, May 2018, pp. 24-25, 27.
    Considers the costs and challenges involved in modernizing existing electricity distribution infrastructure to accommodate technological advancements and a rapidly changing energy market.
  • "This jobs program just might get people back to work." By Sophie Quinton. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), May 9, 2018, pp. 1-6.
    Discusses new federal law, part of the Bipartisan Budget Act, which will require states participating in the reemployment grant program to create evidence-based programs that improve employment outcomes of people who receive unemployment compensation and reduce their time receiving benefits. Highlights Nevada's successful model. Related information at: http://evidencebasedprograms.org/document/nevada-rea-program-evidence-summary/ and https://www.congress.gov/115/bills/hr1892/BILLS-115hr1892enr.pdf#page=64.
  • "Finding ways to save new moms." By Sean Price. Texas Medicine, May 2018, pp. 36-38.
    Explores work by the Texas Medical Association's Maternal Health Congress, the Texas Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force, and the Texas Department of State Health Services, to understand better Texas' maternal mortality rate and identify proposed actions.
  • "The interview: The map master Michael Li." By Michael Barajas. Texas Observer, April/May 2018, pp. 10-11.
    Interviews Michael Li, Senior Counsel for the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program and author of the Texas Redistricting and Election Law blog, on the upcoming Texas redistricting case to be heard by the United States Supreme Court. Provides background information on redistricting litigation in Texas.

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

Current Articles & Research Resources, May 10

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

  • Catch up on Amendments to the Texas Constitution Since 1876. (Texas Legislative Council, May 2018)
  • Track fiscal trends in all 50 states. (Pew Charitable Trusts, May 2, 2018)
  • Read about grants released by the federal government to the states to combat the opioid crisis. (Council of State Governments, May 2, 2018)
  • Review active shooter incidents of 2016 and 2017. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, April 2018)

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

  • "Student-body president impeached at Texas State following protests." By Katherine Mangan. Chronicle of Higher Education, April 27, 2018, p. A31.
    Examines the recent impeachment of the Texas State University student body president. Highlights background events on campus including offensive fliers from white-supremacist groups, a student newspaper editorial on white privilege, and steps the administration is taking to improve the situation.
  • "The hand that blocks the cradle." By Liz Hayes. Church & State, May 2018, pp. 10-12.
    Discusses legislative efforts in several states to create religious exemptions for taxpayer-funded adoption and foster care agencies. Explains these bills are primarily crafted to discriminate against same-sex parents, but could also allow agencies to turn away couples who are interfaith, interracial, previously divorced, or who have different religious beliefs from any given agency.
  • "More carbon, less nutrition." By Elvina Nawaguna. CQ Weekly, April 23, 2018, pp. 19-21.
    Discusses the effects of rising carbon emissions on the quality of food crops. Argues increased carbon in the atmosphere is depleting the nutritional value of crops and putting low-income populations at risk for nutritional issues.
  • "Striking teachers: Pedagogic protest." Economist, May 5th-11th, 2018, p. 25.
    Reports more teacher strikes are likely as states continue to cut taxes and education spending, noting North Carolina could be the next state to face a strike. Explains the strikes are galvanizing public-sector workers in states where Democrats hope to make gains in mid-term elections and posing trouble for Republicans in states with teacher unrest.
  • "Trade and American businesses: Chain reaction." Economist, May 5th-11th, 2018, pp. 62-63.
    Examines how the Trump administration's efforts to impose tariffs on China could disrupt American firms' global supply chains. Includes chart showing the impact of proposed tariffs on certain products.
  • "Bitcoin and beyond: Alternative currencies, or history's biggest bubble?" By TJ Costello and Bruce Wright. Fiscal Notes, April 2018, pp. 6-10.
    Discusses the basics of bitcoin and cryptocurrency. Looks at the demand, security issues, and tax implications of bitcoin.
  • "The Second Amendment and a well-regulated firearms environment." By Lawrence O. Gostin and Sarah Duranske. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), May 1, 2018, pp. 1763-1764.
    Argues that, given the high burden of firearm deaths, the President should declare a public health emergency and convene an expert, nonpartisan blue-ribbon panel to propose an evidence-based and constitutionally permissible legislative agenda. Lists six elements that should be included in a comprehensive public health strategy to address gun violence.
  • "Fixing flood insurance." By Leonard Shabman. Milken Institute Review, Second Quarter 2018, pp. 68-78.
    Describes how the oversight of flood insurance was entrusted to the federal government, resulting in the National Flood Insurance Program. Discusses possible program reforms being considered in Congress after the severe flooding from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria in 2017 revealed its shortcomings.
  • "Welfare reform 2.0." By Robert Verbruggen. National Review, May 14, 2018, pp. 29-30.
    Presents the pros and cons of welfare reform proposals currently before Congress in which food stamp recipients would have more specific work requirements. Discusses whether these could be applied to other safety-net programs.
  • "Digital vigilantes." By Nicholas Schmidle. New Yorker, May 7, 2018, pp. 30-34, 36-37.
    Discusses the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act that made it illegal for companies to steal back or "actively defend" hacked information. Highlights the proposed Active Cyber Defense Certainty Act, which would legalize some activities that were prohibited by the earlier act.
  • "Drones on the border: Efficacy and privacy implications." By David Bier and Matthew Feeney. Policy Brief (CATO Institute), May 1, 2018, pp. 1-10.
    Reports the United States Customs and Border Protection's drone program has failed to live up to expectations — accounting for only 0.5 percent of apprehensions at a cost of $32,000 per arrest. Expresses concerns that the drones allow for government surveillance with minimal oversight and without warrants.
  • "A different grid perspective: Like a river." By Charles Bayless. Public Utilities Fortnightly, April 2018, pp. 68-72.
    Argues for an energy grid that is an interconnected system which will allow energy "to be coordinated and used across wide areas, increasing their value through increased optionality." Discusses reserves, balancing the difference between generation and loads, capacity factor, and cost.
  • "This new federal law will change foster care as we know it." By Teresa Wiltz. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), May 2, 2018, pp. 1-5.
    Discusses a new law, part of the Bipartisan Budget Act, that changes the rules on how states can spend federal child welfare funds on foster care and child abuse prevention. Explains the law prioritizes keeping families together, limiting placements in institutional settings such as group homes. Related information at: https://www.congress.gov/114/bills/hr5456/BILLS-114hr5456pcs.pdf

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, May 3

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

  • Consider maps and data visualizations related to urban issues. (Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, accessed May 2, 2018)
  • Explore the U.S. Reports collection of U.S. Supreme Court decisions. (Library of Congress, accessed May 2, 2018)
  • Review the Traffic Safety Culture Index for recent insights into driver, cyclist, and pedestrian behaviors. (AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, March 2018)
  • Read about vectorborne diseases and their prevalence and consequences in the United States. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, May 1, 2018)

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

  • "What if the problem isn't the president, it's the presidency?" By John Dickerson. Atlantic Monthly, May 2018, pp. 46-52, 55-63.
    Argues that the role and duties of the United States President have gotten out of control and beyond the capabilities of one person. Discusses the historical evolution of the president's role and offers specific suggestions for reforming the office.
  • "A flood of threats to water systems." By Jacqueline Toth. CQ Weekly, April 23, 2018, pp. 22-24.
    Addresses how extreme weather events affect water utilities and their planning efforts. Discusses Houston's vulnerability and the city's current drought conditions in the wake of catastrophic flooding from Hurricane Harvey.
  • "Safe, legal and scarce." By Sandhya Raman. CQ Weekly, April 9, 2018, pp. 26-29.
    Examines state efforts to regulate abortion clinics. Profiles states with stringent regulations that result in the closing of some clinics.
  • "Assisted dying: Alohas and goodbyes." Economist, April 28th-May 4th, 2018, p. 28.
    Reports Hawaii is the seventh American jurisdiction to approve an assisted-dying law, modeled on Oregon legislation passed in 1997. Related information at: https://www.deathwithdignity.org/take-action/
  • "Innovative population health model associated with reduced emergency department use and inpatient hospitalization." By Donald Wesson, et al. Health Affairs, April 2018, pp. 543-550.
    Describes a case study of Baylor Scott & White's partnership with the Dallas Parks and Recreation Department to create a primary care clinic in a city recreation center. Details how improved access to health care, alongside exercise facilities, cooking demonstrations, and other wellness resources, was associated with lower emergency department and inpatient services usage by the center's patients.
  • "Reauthorizing the National Flood Insurance Program." By Howard Kunreuther. Issues in Science and Technology, Spring 2018, pp. 37-51.
    Suggests ways to improve the National Flood Insurance Program. Considers how areas subject to floods and hurricanes are prepared for flooding events.
  • "State-level community benefit regulation and nonprofit hospitals' provision of community benefits." By Simone R. Singh, et al. Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law, April 2018, pp. 229-269 (Note Length).
    Examines how to design regulations that will encourage nonprofit hospitals to provide enough community benefits to justify their tax exemptions and meet policy makers' goals.
  • "Let me tell you how it will be: Tougher property tax exemptions." By Mark R. Adams. Journal of MultiState Taxation and Incentives, May 2018, pp. 28-35.
    Describes the financial impact of property tax exemptions held by nonprofits, including hospitals, on municipalities. Discusses state legislative initiatives in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Michigan to amend legal structures around nonprofit charitable organizations and property tax exemptions.
  • "Texas surplus lines insurance: Reflections on attitudes, from the capitol to the courthouse." By Andrew Kunau. Journal of Texas Insurance Law, Spring 2018, pp. 4-11.
    Highlights legislative changes to the insurance surplus lines market through passage of HB2492 and HB1559, 85th Legislature, R.S. Considers how the 2016 Texas Supreme Court case, Seger v. Yorkshire Ins. Co. Ltd., influenced the recent legislative activity.
  • "Public pension plan investment return assumptions (2018)." National Association of State Retirement Administrators, Updated February 2018, pp. 1-8.
    Describes how investment return assumptions are established and evaluated in public pension funds, compared with public funds' actual investment experience. Includes Texas County & District, Texas ERS, Texas LECOS, and Texas Municipal in the appendix.
  • "Water and air quality: An opportunity for states." By Thomas Salzer. Natural Resources & Environment, Spring 2018, pp. 57-59.
    Considers the challenges local and state governments face when environmental issues and disasters strike close to home. Discusses the federal government's role in such disasters and uses the drinking water crisis in Flint, Michigan as an example.
  • "Lone stars." By Ashley Powers. New Yorker, April 30, 2018, pp. 30-35.
    Examines the constitutional sheriffs movement and its belief that the sheriff has the final say on a law's constitutionality in his county. Traces the movement from its 1970s beginning with William Potter Gale and the Posse Comitatus movement and highlights activities of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA). See: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/04/30/the-renegade-sheriffs
  • "Distribution: Identify lead plumbing sources to protect public health." By Darren Lytle, et al. Opflow, March 2018, pp. 16-20.
    Recommends that water utilities should consider using diagnostic sampling to help identify lead sources in drinking water. Discusses different types of sampling methods. Related information at: https://www.awwa.org/resources-tools/water-knowledge/lead.aspx and https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water/basic-information-about-lead-drinking-water#getinto
  • "Gerrymandering is out of control." By Eric Boehm. Reason, May 2018, pp. 26-34.
    Focuses on the current state of gerrymandered election districts and explains the various models that have been developed to draw more compact districts with minimum partisan intent. Suggests a new computer algorithm model may offer the best solution.
  • "American epidemic." By Melinda Wenner Moyer. Scientific American, May 2018, pp. 44-47, 50-54, 57.
    Explores the resurgence of infectious diseases in America's urban areas. Suggests that economic disparities and substance abuse drive infection rates higher.
  • "E-Verify immigrant job screening is a game of chicken, politics and state laws." By Tim Henderson. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), April 27, 2018, pp. 1-6.
    Finds that E-Verify, a critical tool for preventing the illegal hiring of undocumented workers, has not been used uniformly even in the states that require its use.
  • "Austin Energy celebrates community solar project." Texas Public Power, April 2018, p. 8.
    Highlights Austin Energy's La Loma Community Solar Farm, "the largest community solar farm in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas [ERCOT] region."
  • "The intersection of mental illness and the criminal justice system." By Sarah Roland. Voice for the Defense, April 2018, pp. 27-34.
    Discusses the challenges of representing a mentally ill person. Explains the shortcomings in the current criminal justice system that arise as a defense attorney for a mentally ill defendant navigates the system.

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, April 26

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

  • Explore partnerships between public school districts and charter schools. (National Conference of State Legislatures Blog, April 23, 2018)
  • Read about the alternative response option in child welfare cases. (Texas Public Policy Foundation, April 19, 2018)
  • Consider public concerns over misinformation online. (Pew Research Center, April 19, 2018)
  • Find a drop-off location to dispose of prescription medications safely. (Attorney General of Texas, accessed April 25, 2018)

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

  • "REAL ID: What Americans should expect." By Asia London Palomba. Christian Science Monitor, April 16, 2018, p. 17.
    Presents a Q&A discussion of the implementation of the REAL ID Act passed in 2005. Provides a map showing which states are in compliance with the law—Texas is compliant. Related information at: https://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/real-id-act-text.pdf
  • "When a grand idea grows old." By Karin Fischer. Chronicle of Higher Education, April 13, 2018, pp. A14-A18.
    Examines the 60-year-old California master plan of education which set up a three-tier system to educate a large population while still providing for advanced research institutions.
  • "Data privacy: Copy that; The GDPR: The joys of data hygiene." Economist, April 7th-13th, 2018, pp. 10-11, 53-54.
    Promotes the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation [GDPR] as a model for America, noting businesses that serve European customers will have to comply with the GDPR. Points out the benefits of complying with the new data protection law. Related information at: https://www.eugdpr.org/
  • "Death: Funerals of the future." Economist, April 14th-20th, 2018, pp. 51-53.
    Explains how the Internet, changing norms, customer demand, and competition from new businesses are disrupting the funeral industry. Reports the industry's revenue is expected to stagnate between 2016 and 2021, noting the long-term trend towards cremation: less than four percent in 1960 but expected to rise to 79 percent by 2035.
  • "Information and college decisions: Evidence from the Texas GO Center project." By Jesse M. Cunha, Trey Miller, and Emily Weisburst. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, March 2018, pp. 151-170.
    Examines the effectiveness of Texas GO Centers, peer-run information centers that assist historically under-served students prepare and plan for college. Concludes the centers have led to a significant increase in college application rates and a limited increase in college enrollment rates, but no increase in college completion rates. Related information at: http://www.thecb.state.tx.us/reports/PDF/6575.PDF
  • "Ethanol's regulatory battle." By Kristy Moore. Ethanol Today, March/April 2018, pp. 26-27.
    Considers ethanol's role in the motor fuel industry's current regulatory environment.
  • "Solar power in Texas: The next big renewable?" By Patrick Graves and Bruce Wright. Fiscal Notes, April 2018, pp. 1, 3-5.
    Assesses the energy capacity and economic impact of Texas' solar industry. Highlights the role of local government in supplementing energy needs with solar power.
  • "We need new rules for self-driving cars." By Jack Stilgoe. Issues in Science and Technology, Spring 2018, pp. 52-57.
    Explores the development and proliferation of self-driving cars. Discusses potential legal and regulatory approaches to the use of self-driving cars and their integration into transportation infrastructure.
  • "Robert Kerns, PhD: Researching nondrug approaches to pain management." By Jennifer Abbasi. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), April 17, 2018, pp. 1535-1537.
    Interviews Kerns about his research and work with the VA [United States Department of Veterans Affairs] on pain management for veterans. Focuses on new efforts to study the effectiveness of nondrug approaches to pain management in light of the opioid epidemic, with treatments ranging from chiropractic care to cognitive behavioral therapy to tai chi.
  • "State of the states 2017: Texas." By Ken Helvey. Journal of Education Finance, Winter 2018, pp. 311-313.
    Presents a summary of Texas legislative activity affecting P-12 education in 2017. Highlights funding priorities, changes to funding formulas, school finance litigation, charter schools, and per pupil spending.
  • "Court to review physical presence nexus standard." By Debra S. Herman and K. Craig Reilly. Journal of MultiState Taxation and Incentives, May 2018, pp. 43-46.
    Previews United States Supreme Court consideration of South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., et al., which could possibly overturn the physical presence nexus standard for Internet sales and use tax collections from the Quill Corp v. North Dakota decision in 1992. Briefly discusses other petitions pending before the Court, including a Virginia county's challenge to the import-export clause. Related information at: https://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/91-0194.ZO.html and https://www.supremecourt.gov/search.aspx?filename=/docket/docketfiles/html/public/17-494.html
  • "Small towns think big on reliability." By Susan Partain. Public Power, March/April 2018, pp. 16-22.
    Explores six different factors related to reliability at several smaller public power utilities.
  • "There are too many kids on the sex offender registry." By Lenore Skenazy. Reason, May 2018, p. 9.
    Argues sex offender registries are based on flawed theories and are in reality adding many children to the list who are not likely to reoffend.
  • "Gone to Texas: Migration vital to growth in the Lone Star State." By Pia M. Orrenius, Alexander T. Abraham, and Stephanie Gullo. Southwest Economy (Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas), First Quarter 2018, pp. 3-11.
    Analyzes domestic and international migration to Texas and the labor market outcomes, lower immigrant earnings, and other economic effects of migration.
  • "'The future' of pain treatment?" By Joey Berlin. Texas Medicine, April 2018, pp. 38-42.
    Examines a Fort Worth anesthesiology group's "zero narcotics" approach to surgery pain control using nerve-blocking and nonopioid medications. Presents physicians' arguments for and against the need for opioids in pain management.
  • "Indoctrinated." By Sophie Novak. Texas Observer, April/May 2018, pp. 20-24.
    Shares the difficult hospital experience of Representative Donna Howard's daughter after she suffered a miscarriage, to highlight the potential negative effects of the new Texas fetal remains law. Reports the law, which mandates the burial or cremation of fetal remains after miscarriages or abortions, has been blocked pending a trial set for the summer.

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, April 19

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

  • See how the Texas Tax Amnesty Program works. (Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, February 2018)
  • Read about the effects of cyberbullying on sexual minority youth. (National Institutes of Health, April 16, 2018)
  • Track the wealthiest zip codes in America based on Internal Revenue Service data. (Bloomberg, April 10, 2018)
  • Review data points related to regulatory restrictions in the Texas Administrative Code. (Mercatus Center, March 2018)

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

  • "Imbalance of power." By Terry Carter. ABA Journal: The Lawyer's Magazine, April 2018, pp. 38-44.
    Considers whether President Trump is upsetting the balance of power through assertions of executive power and by pushing the boundaries of the separation of powers.
  • "Note to scientists: breathe easy." By Will Anderson and Jeff Jeffrey. Austin Business Journal, April 6, 2018, pp. 4-5.
    Reports good news for scientists and researchers who rely on grants from the National Institutes of Health [NIH], noting the NIH avoided drastic budget cuts threatened last year. Explains how NIH funding finds its way to Austin's top research centers.
  • "Civics education makes a return." By Story Hinckley. Christian Science Monitor, April 9, 2018, pp. 17-19.
    Identifies Florida as having the "most comprehensive civics education program in the country," suggesting the program prepared students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School for activism in response to their school shooting. Reviews civics education in other states.
  • "U. of Texas System's new online tool breaks down earnings potential for students in different majors." By Katherine Mangan. Chronicle of Higher Education, April 6, 2018, p. A34.
    Discusses the seekUT database tool developed by the University of Texas System and the Census Bureau that allows students to get an idea of what they might earn with different majors and what they are likely to owe from loans.
  • "Shredding separation in the sunshine state." By Liz Hayes. Church & State, April 2018, pp. 7-9.
    Highlights proposed Florida constitutional amendments that would divert taxpayer monies for public education to religious or private schools. Related information at: http://www.flcrc.gov/Proposals/Commissioner
  • "Bankruptcies skyrocket as debt multiples hit highs." By Mark Curriden. Dallas Business Journal, March 30, 2018, pp. 16-17.
    Predicts another wave of bankruptcies filed by Texas businesses with historic levels of debt. Notes newly filed corporate restructurings increased more than 42.6 percent in 2017.
  • "Alternatives to Obamacare: abandon ship!" Economist, March 31st-April 6th, 2018, pp. 26-27.
    Discusses alternatives to Obamacare's high-premium health insurance exchanges: short-term health plans, religious cost-sharing ministries, and deregulated health insurance.
  • "Meal delivery programs reduce the use of costly health care in dually eligible Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries." By Seth A. Berkowitz, et al. Health Affairs, April 2018, pp. 353-542.
    Compares inpatient admissions and medical spending among patients enrolled in meal delivery programs versus those not enrolled. Reports lower medical spending and, for those in a medically tailored meal program, fewer inpatient admissions.
  • "Texans should be wary of bullet train proposal." By Alain Leray. Houston Business Journal, April 5, 2018, p. 38.
    Discusses the Texas Central Rail's proposal for high-speed passenger rail services in Texas. Argues the proposal has some drawbacks.
  • "Houston surveys post-Harvey policy landscape: the 'Bayou City' considers land use rules changes." By Kathleen McCormick. Land Lines, April 2018, pp. 20-29.
    Considers the potential for new land regulations in Houston after Hurricane Harvey. Describes the city's flood history and risk, recent resilience efforts including flood mitigation, new floodplain mapping, and home buyouts. See also: https://www.lincolninst.edu/sites/default/files/pubfiles/houston-post-harvey-lla180404.pdf
  • "The 7,383 seat strategy." By Joan Walsh. Nation, April 16, 2018, pp. 12-21.
    Examines the Democratic Party's strategy in state legislative races and the effect of increasing Republican control in state legislatures on right-to-work laws, redistricting, and the ability to call a constitutional convention. Notes that in Texas, Democrats are running more legislative candidates than they have since the 1990s.
  • "Offshore wind transmission options, opportunities: challenging tradeoffs." By Seth Parker and Alex Mattfolk. Public Utilities Fortnightly, April 2018, pp. 74-79.
    Explores the commercial and regulatory aspects of competing transmission options to deliver offshore wind energy into the regional transmission grids.
  • "The case for IT consolidation." By Elizabeth Crisp. State Legislatures, April 2018, pp. 24-26.
    Discusses how states can save millions and better guard against security threats by centralizing government information technology services and administration.
  • "Tax overhaul spells changes for next year's returns." By Jessica Domel. Texas Agriculture, April 6, 2018, p. 6.
    Discusses recent tax reform and how deductions, exemptions, and credits have changed for the 2018 tax year.
  • "The risk of speaking up." By Joey Berlin. Texas Medicine, April 2018, pp. 44-47.
    Describes several Texas physicians' experiences as whistleblowers against hospital practices and calls for better protections for these doctors. Includes sidebar on legislative efforts to protect whistleblowing physicians, such as SB833, 85th Legislature, R.S.
  • "Surprise! Balance billing still a focus at the Capitol." By Joey Berlin. Texas Medicine, April 2018, p. 16.
    Describes continued legislative efforts to address surprise medical bills. Mentions SB507 and HB477, 85th Legislature, R.S.
  • "Delay, derail, deny." By Chris Collins. Texas Observer, April/May 2018, pp. 12-19.
    Discusses how lawmakers, the Texas Supreme Court, and the attorney general have contributed to the erosion of the Texas Public Information Act. Quotes Senator Kirk Watson.

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, April 12

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

  • Track felony offenses in Texas by code and category. (Texas Legislative Council, April 2018)
  • Map border checkpoints within the U.S. along the U.S.–Mexico border. (Cato Institute, accessed April 12, 2018)
  • Examine discipline disparities in K-12 education. (U.S. Government Accountability Office, March 2018)
  • See which produce is more likely to contain pesticide residue. (Environmental Working Group, 2018)
  • Explore political opinions of America's voting-age youth. (Harvard Institute of Politics, April 11, 2018)

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

  • "Boundary lines." By Mark Walsh. ABA Journal: The Lawyer's Magazine, April 2018, pp. 54-59.
    Examines whether new methods of analysis, specifically the use of mathematical principles, can help courts identify partisan gerrymandering that goes too far.
  • "How states use funds under the TANF block grant (2018)." By Liz Schott, Ife Floyd, and Ashley Burnside. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Updated April 2, 2018, pp. 1-19.
    Examines the use of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families [TANF] funds by state governments in 2016. Finds states spend slightly more than half of their combined federal and state TANF dollars on the core welfare reform areas of basic assistance, child care for low-income families, and work supports. Includes several state tables on TANF spending and identifies Texas as a state in the "Race to the Bottom," spending only six percent of TANF funds on basic assistance in 2016.
  • "New help for homeless college students." By Story Hinckley. Christian Science Monitor, April 2, 2018, pp. 17, 19-20.
    Highlights California programs that provide housing and food assistance to help homeless students stay in community colleges and other higher education institutions.
  • "Students want faster degrees. Colleges are responding." By Julian Wyllie. Chronicle of Higher Education, April 6, 2018, pp. A8-A10, A12.
    Highlights new college degree programs such as Purdue University's "Degree in 3" that allow students to graduate in three years. Explains these programs appeal to students who are cost-conscious or eager to start their careers.
  • "Facebook and democracy: the antisocial network." Economist, March 24th-30th, 2018, pp. 21-22.
    Considers whether the scandal over the use of Facebook's data by political consultant Cambridge Analytica will lead to stricter regulations concerning data protection and digital privacy.
  • "Gun laws: what works." Economist, March 24th-30th, 2018, pp. 26-27.
    Reports the absence of a federal response to mass shootings has spurred several states and cities to pass gun control laws that seem to be saving lives. Divides the laws into three categories: laws that increase scrutiny of gun buyers, "extreme-risk protection order" laws, and laws that tighten rules on gun storage.
  • "Florida extends private-school vouchers to bullied students." By Arianna Prothero. Education Week, March 21, 2018, pp. 18-19.
    Examines Florida's recently enacted law, which offers bullied students Hope Scholarships to attend private schools.
  • "Appropriately framing child health care spending: a prerequisite for value improvement." By Kao-Ping Chua, et al. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), March 20, 2018, pp. 1087-1090.
    Argues that stakeholders, including policy makers, should reject language that frames child health care spending as small when compared with adult health care spending. Lists reasons why this is problematic.
  • "Sharing connections." By Leonie Heyworth. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), April 3, 2018, pp. 1323-1324.
    Narrates a physician's experience providing telehealth services to a Vietnam veteran who evacuated his home during Hurricane Harvey. Advocates for a partnership between government entities and the private sector so telehealth can continue to be a tool for disaster relief and more.
  • "The 'nice girl' who saved the Second Amendment." By John J. Miller. National Review, April 16, 2018, pp. 25-27.
    Profiles historian Joyce Lee Malcolm and her research cited in the Supreme Court's Heller decision recognizing an individual right to possess a firearm. Related information at: https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/07pdf/07-290.pdf
  • "A new health-care debate." By Yuval Levin and Ramesh Ponnuru. National Review, April 16, 2018, pp. 28-30.
    Advocates for more market-friendly health care policy reforms through block grants for Medicaid and Obamacare funds, and more state control.
  • "Dirty politics." By Margaret Talbot. New Yorker, April 2, 2018, pp. 38-51.
    Profiles Scott Pruitt and his efforts at the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] to focus on "EPA originalism" by grounding EPA action specifically on federal statutes and not pursuing additional, new environmental threats.
  • "Bordernomics: the US–Mexico border region." By M. Ray Perryman. Perryman Report and Texas Letter, Vol. 35, No. 2, pp. 1-3, 6.
    Describes the economy of the US–Mexico border region to determine regional dynamics and identify actions which could increase the level of trade and economic activity between the two nations.
  • "Infrastructure by the people, for the people." By John Godfrey. Public Power, March/April 2018, pp. 39.
    Emphasizes the importance of infrastructure with regard to public utilities. Explains why the American Public Power Association will oppose any effort by the federal government to move toward privatization of electric utilities.
  • "License overload?" By Albert Downs and Iris Hentze. State Legislatures, April 2018, pp. 18-19, 21-22.
    Reports that over 25 percent of today's workforce hold jobs that require an occupational license. Notes several states are reviewing licensing requirements and considering policy changes.
  • "TMA makes medicine's case post-Harvey." By Joey Berlin. Texas Medicine, March 2018, pp. 44-45.
    Reviews the Texas Medical Association's work with legislators to address challenges from Hurricane Harvey.
  • "ERCOT predicts record-breaking peak power demand this summer." Texas Public Power, March 2018, p. 1.
    Summarizes the Electric Reliability Council of Texas' [ERCOT] Preliminary Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy [SARA] for Summer 2018. Updates expectations for Spring 2018 based on the final SARA report. Reports at: http://www.ercot.com/content/wcm/lists/143976/SARA-FinalSpring2018.pdf and http://www.ercot.com/content/wcm/lists/143976/SARA-PreliminarySummer2018.pdf
  • "Public power: a rich history, a bright future." By Delia Patterson. Texas Public Power, March 2018, pp. 3, 6-7.
    Provides a brief history of the public power business model. Argues that, as an integral part of the nation's electric utility infrastructure, public power utilities continue to play an important role.
  • "What can we do to stop it?" By Sean Gregory, et al. Time, April 2, 2018, pp. 32-35.
    Presents six steps for reducing gun violence in the United States. Argues it is more effective to tackle the problem as a public health issue rather than a political one.

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