In this weekly post, we feature helpful research tools and recent articles of interest to the legislative community.
- Examine the relationships among opioid use, unemployment, and poverty levels. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, June 29, 2018)
- Explore the efforts over time to preserve the Declaration of Independence. (Popular Mechanics, July 3, 2018)
- Discover the differences between serving sizes and portion control. (Cooking Light, July 3, 2018)
- Consider the effects of alcohol on pedestrians. (Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), July 5, 2018)
- "Under questioning." By Kevin Davis. ABA Journal: The Lawyer's Magazine, July 2018, pp. 36-43.
Discusses the Chicago police legacy of extracting false confessions. Notes the city has paid more than $500 million in the past decade to settle misconduct and wrongful conviction lawsuits.
- "Austin finds new weapon to combat lack of affordable housing." By Marissa Luck. Austin Business Journal, June 29, 2018, p. A8.
Explains how Habitat for Humanity was able to use a "super density bonus" ordinance to increase the number of affordable housing units the organization is building in a transit-oriented development [TOD] district. Suggests the same concept could be applied in other TOD districts throughout the city.
- "Detention centers are big business." By Alex Wayne, Jonathan Levin, and Jennifer Epstein. Bloomberg Businessweek, June 25, 2018, pp. 38-39.
Explores how the zero-tolerance immigration policy led to an increase in children being placed in the custody of federal authorities, driving the need for more detention centers.
- "New farm bill could shift funds for states." By Leslie Haymon. Capitol Ideas, May/June 2018, pp. 18-21.
Previews significant changes to federal agricultural programs in the renewal of the farm bill in Congress, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, support for agricultural producers, rural broadband, and the Conservation Stewardship Program. Includes a title-by-title guide to the farm bill. Related information at: https://agriculture.house.gov/farmbill/ and https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/2.
- "Should cryptocurrencies be regulated like securities?" By Diego Zuluaga. CATO Briefing Papers, June 25, 2018, pp. 1-6.
Discusses the negative consequences of subjecting cryptocurrencies to onerous securities registration requirements.
- "Home ownership: A fading hope for many in DFW." By Bill Hethcock. Dallas Business Journal, June 22, 2018, pp. 16-18.
Discusses factors that have shifted a large percentage of home buyers into the rental market. Notes the median sales price for an existing home in the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington market has increased by 33 percent in just three years, and the wait time for a newly constructed home has doubled. Related information at: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/07/19/more-u-s-households-are-renting-than-at-any-point-in-50-years/.
- "Cities: In praise of gentrification." Economist, June 23rd-29th, 2018, pp. 23-24.
Extols the benefits of gentrification, highlighting studies that rebut the association between gentrification and displacement. Considers the reasons for the antipathy towards gentrification.
- "State contracting: Spending — and watching — taxpayer dollars." Fiscal Notes, June/July 2018, pp. 7-10.
Discusses the state's purchasing system, procurement policy and training, increased Comptroller oversight as a result of SB20, 84th Legislature and SB533, 85th Legislature, R.S., and the Legislative Budget Board's contract database.
- "Women in the Texas workforce: State economy depends on women's success." By Brian Wellborn. Fiscal Notes, June/July 2018, pp. 1, 3-6.
Highlights the economic impact of Texas women by industrial sector.
- "How Texas hospitals help patients craft an end-of-life plan." By Mary Ann Roser. Internet Resource, May/June 2018, pp. 1-2.
Considers increasing interdisciplinary efforts by Texas hospitals to improve end-of-life care for patients and their families. Points out the work of the Palliative Care Interdisciplinary Advisory Council, authorized by HB1874, 84th Legislature.
- "Abortion-related adverse events by facility type." By Carolyn L. Westhoff and Anne R. Davis. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), June 26, 2018, pp. 2481-2482.
Examines a study that found little difference in the occurrence of abortion-related morbidities and adverse events at ambulatory surgery centers vs. office-based settings. Highlights HB2, 83rd Legislature, 2nd C.S., as a case study of overly restrictive law that provides no discernible safety benefits.
- "Evaluation of occupational exposure limits for heat stress in outdoor workers — United States, 2011–2016." By Aaron W. Tustin, et al. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), July 6, 2018, pp. 1-5.
Reports that heat-related deaths can occur in temperatures in the mid-80s Fahrenheit for outdoor workers, not just at higher temperatures. Recommends that employers implement acclimatization programs, training to recognize heat stress symptoms and to deliver first aid, and provision of rest breaks, shade, and water.
- "EIA: Gulf Coast port limitations may drive crude export costs higher." By Nick Snow. Oil and Gas Journal, June 4, 2018, p. 34.
Reports that the Energy Information Administration has found that crude oil export costs could rise due to limited tanker loading capacities at Gulf Coast onshore ports that are unable to accommodate the largest of crude carriers. Related information at: https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=36232.
- "State-of-the-art wildfire protection: When a utility is challenged by broader resilience responsibility." Public Utilities Fortnightly, June 1, 2018, pp. 20-25.
Provides a Q&A with the president of a gas and electric utility in California regarding ways the utility has adapted to various challenges from wildfires.
- "The U.S. needs more immigrants." By Jack Goldstone. Reason, August/September 2018, pp. 54-58.
Argues young workers are a key economic resource, and the United States needs immigrants to provide this resource in sufficient numbers for a vibrant economy.
- "See-through solar cells could power offices." By Robert F. Service. Science, June 29, 2018, p. 1386.
Discusses the technology and energy efficiency behind solar windows that could be used in commercial and residential construction.
- "Market design change approved." Texas Public Power, June 2018, pp. 4-5, 7.
Reports that ERCOT's board of directors has approved an adjustment in response to the Public Utility Commission's directive to revise the Operating Reserve Demand Curve. Summarizes the 2017 State of the Market Report for the ERCOT Electricity Markets. Related information at: http://interchange.puc.texas.gov/Search/Filings?UtilityType=A&ControlNumber=47199&
ItemMatch=Equal&DocumentType=ALL&SortOrder=Ascending. Report at: https://www.potomaceconomics.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/2017-State-of-the-Market-Report.pdf.