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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.

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 5

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

  • See how highway deck parks improve quality of life in cities. (Stateline, April 2, 2018)
  • Read about federal legislation that would improve transparency related to federal unfunded mandates. (Council of State Governments, March 28, 2018)
  • Examine racial disparities in incarceration rates. (Vera Institute of Justice, February 2018)
  • Consider the results of a blind taste test of recycled water. (EurekAlert!, March 13, 2018)

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

  • "Reckless requests." By Lorelei Laird. ABA Journal: The Lawyer's Magazine, March 2018, pp. 16-18.
    Considers Washington State's and Florida's efforts to modify their public records laws, including provisions relating to attorney fees and excessive requests.
  • "From opposition to preparation, Austin businesses gear up for sick-leave rules." By Daniel Salazar. Austin Business Journal, March 23, 2018, pp. 4-6.
    Reports on Austin's mandated sick leave ordinance and the impact on business owners' operations.
  • "Is student debt big enough to hold back the economy?" By Dan Bauman. Chronicle of Higher Education, March 16, 2018, p. A25.
    Examines student debt in terms of what research shows as to its effect on small-business start-ups, borrowers purchasing homes, and which segments of the student population holds the most debt.
  • "Autonomous vehicles: a driverless tragedy." Economist, March 24th-30th, 2018, pp. 73-74.
    Discusses the call for tighter rules and safety standards for the testing of autonomous vehicles, in the wake of the first known case of a pedestrian being killed by a self-driving car in Tempe, Arizona.
  • "The geopolitics of energy: the new power superpowers." Economist, March 17th, 2018, pp. 1, 3-12.
    Reports on the geopolitical implications of the transition from fossil fuels to cleaner energy and pinpoints the winners and losers.
  • "DACA continues for now, as does uncertainty for 'dreamers'." By Corey Mitchell. Education Week, March 7, p. 6.
    Discusses the United States Supreme Court's refusal to intervene in the legal battle over DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Addresses the effect President Trump's current immigration policy is having on DACA eligible students' behavior and attendance.
  • "States confront a range of hurdles to swift action on school security." By Daarel Burnette II. Education Week, March 7, 2018, pp. 8-9.
    Discusses school security strategies governors and state legislatures are considering in light of the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Quotes Governor Greg Abbott.
  • "The pain refugees: the forgotten victims of America's opioid crisis." By Brian Goldstone. Harper's Magazine, April 2018, pp. 53-61.
    Explores the complexities of the opioid addiction and overdose crisis, beyond the standard narrative of "doctors as dupes and patients as victims."
  • "From payday loans to pawnshops: fringe banking, the unbanked, and health." By Jerzy Eisenberg-Guyot, et al. Health Affairs, March 2018, pp. 429-437.
    Examines the correlation between health and the use of fringe banking (including payday lenders and check cashers) and/or being unbanked (not having one's own bank account). Suggests expanding social welfare programs and labor protections to reduce the need for such stressful financial programs, thus reducing the stresses fringe services place on physical and mental health.
  • "Parent mentoring program increases coverage rates for uninsured Latino children." By Glenn Flores, et al. Health Affairs, March 2018, pp. 403-412.
    Evaluates the effects of parent mentors on insuring Latino children eligible for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program [CHIP] from 2011-15 in Dallas County, Texas.
  • "Current developments in state and local tax: federal tax reform and other significant developments." By Mark L. Nachbar and Mary F. Bernard. Journal of State Taxation, Spring 2018, pp. 7-10, 38-39.
    Provides a brief overview of how the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will impact state and local taxes. Explores other significant tax developments for individual states, including Texas.
    Related information at:  http://caselaw.findlaw.com/tx-supreme-court/1884104.html
  • "Against a weed industry." By Jonathan Caulkins. National Review, April 2, 2018, pp. 27-29.
    Argues against a for-profit industry for cannabis products at this time. Advocates restricting legal supply to nonprofit organizations and offers suggestions as to how this idea could be accomplished.
  • "The graying of the welfare state." By William Voegeli. National Review, March 19, 2018, pp. 27-30.
    Examines how increased longevity and declining birthrates are increasing the fiscal, political, and social challenges related to "welfare state" programs such as Social Security and Medicare.
  • "U.S. electric transportation: getting in gear." By Michael Britt and Tom Flaherty. Public Utilities Fortnightly, March 2018, pp. 32-39, 71.
    Argues that, by collaborating with the global original equipment manufacturer community, utilities can play a more active role in spreading public awareness and encouraging commercial adoption of electric transportation. Provides examples of what other countries have done.
  • "Guns, code, and freedom." By Mark McDaniel. Reason, April 2018, pp. 48-55.
    Presents an interview with Cody Wilson, the Austin-based gun-rights activist, who "launched the age of the digital gun" with the publication of files showing how to make a 3D-printed pistol.
  • "For end-of-life care, fresh challenges begin." By Joey Berlin. Texas Medicine, March 2018, pp. 24-29.
    Discusses SB11, 85th Legislature, 1st C.S., which establishes new requirements for in-hospital do-not-resuscitate orders.
  • "Fostering change." By Sean Price. Texas Medicine, March 2018, pp. 32-35.
    Examines SB11, 85th Legislature, R.S., by focusing on the new requirement that foster children "be seen by a physician within three business days of coming into the care of Child Protective Services."
  • "The young and the relentless." Time, April 2, 2018, pp. 24-31.
    Profiles student leaders of the new grassroots movement against gun violence that sprang up in response to the mass shooting at their school in Parkland, Florida. Discusses what students have achieved so far and their goals for the movement.

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, March 22

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

  • Read about what states and the federal government are doing to expand broadband access. (National Conference of State Legislatures, March 2018)
  • Review gender gains and gaps over the last half century in the United States. (Pew Research, March 15, 2018)
  • Consider the number of young adults who have ridden in a vehicle with an impaired driver. (National Institues of Health, March 19, 2018)
  • Learn how to change some of your Facebook privacy settings. (Electronic Frontier Foundation, March 19, 2018)

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

  • "Truth in advertising." By Mark Walsh. ABA Journal: The Lawyer's Magazine, March 2018, pp. 20-21.
    Discusses a case pending before the United States Supreme Court that will examine whether a California law aimed at crisis pregnancy centers is a form of compelled speech that violates the First Amendment.
    Related information at: http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/national-institute-family-life-advocates-v-becerra/
  • "New directions: rethinking career and technical education." By Leslie Trahan. ATPE News (Association of Texas Professional Educators), Spring 2018, pp. 30-34, 42.
    Features the Killeen Independent School District Career Center as a case study of the increasingly popular career and technical education [CTE] courses supported by HB5, 83rd Legislature, R.S.
  • "Bullets across the border." By Lourdes Medrano. Christian Science Monitor, March 19, 2018, pp. 24-30.
    Highlights the case of Lonnie Swartz, the first border patrol agent to stand trial for killing someone on Mexican soil. Explains this Arizona case and a similar Texas case could decide the constitutional question of whether non-citizens who are not in the United States are protected by the United States Constitution.
  • "Will NRA follow big tobacco's path?" By Peter Grier. Christian Science Monitor, March 19, 2018, pp. 18-20.
    Compares and contrasts the public health, legislative, and legal debates that occurred over tobacco with the current discussion related to the gun industry and gun violence.
  • "Could North Texas' lack of college-educated millenials derail bid for Amazon HQ2?" By Bill Hethcock. Dallas Business Journal, March 2, 2018, p. 10.
    Highlights a new study that examines the demographic makeup of millenials, where they live, and how they differ on education and poverty across metropolitan areas and states. Notes Dallas-Fort Worth is among the Amazon contenders with the lowest millenial college-completion percentages.
    Report at: https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/2018-jan_brookings-metro_millennials-a-demographic-bridge-to-americas-diverse-future.pdf
  • "Corporate debt in America: on borrowed time." Economist, March 10th-16th, 2018, pp. 66, 68.
    Reports total debt of American non-financial corporations reached 73.3 percent (when calculated as a percentage of the GDP) in the second quarter of 2017. Notes several industries are particularly vulnerable under their debt loads — retail, energy, and utilities — and could be worse off under new tax reforms and a trade war.
  • "The looming trade war; Mr. Trump's misconceptions." Economist, March 10th-16th, 2018, pp. 23-26.
    Explains why President Trump's legal rationale for proposing tariffs on steel and alumminum imports is undermining the rules-based system of world trade that prevents trade disputes from turning into serious conflicts.
  • "Republicans split by Empower Texans influence." By Marice Richter. Fort Worth Business Press, Feb. 26-March 4, 2018, pp. 24-25.
    Considers the conflict between Empower Texans and some Republicans in the Texas Legislature.
  • "2017 in review: remote seller nexus and California, Florida, New York and Texas sales-and-use tax on software, digital goods and related products and services." By Todd Faciana, et al. Journal of State Taxation, Spring 2018, pp. 15-21.
    Highlights sales-and-use tax developments in four states, including Texas. Predicts what sales-and-use taxes will look like for stakeholders in 2018.
    Related information at: http://www.search.txcourts.gov/Case.aspx?cn=03-16-00291-CV&coa=coa03
  • "Credits & incentives update: the silver lining on the hurricane clouds of Harvey, Irma, and Maria." By Tam Vo and Ben Castro. Journal of State Taxation, Spring 2018, pp. 13-14, 39-40.
    Discusses the Employee Retention Tax Credit [ERTC], which was created as part of the Disaster Tax Relief and Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2017
    Related information at: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/3823
  • "Gun-violence restraining orders can save lives." By David French. National Review, March 19, 2018, pp. 12-13.
    Argues that gun-violence restraining orders [GVRO] are a public policy proposal aimed at stopping mass shootings. Lists the five elements a well-crafted GVRO law should include.
  • "In defense of local schools." By Frederick M. Hess and Andy Smarick. National Review, March 19, 2018, pp. 20-21.
    Discusses the tension between choice and local control in public education, pointing out that in smaller suburban and rural school districts, schools are the hub of communities. Suggests policy solutions should respect and accommodate both community and choice.
  • "Education as an American right?" By Julie Underwood. Phi Delta Kappan, February 2018, pp. 76-77.
    Reviews various court cases such as Plyer v. Doe, a case originating in Texas, to show court interpretations of the state's role in providing education. Considers theoretical arguments for a federal constitutional right to education.
  • "2017 Tax Reform and Jobs Act: unique challenges." Public Utilities Fortnightly, March 2018, pp. 48-49.
    Discusses how the 2017 Tax Reform and Jobs Act will affect the utility industry. Focuses on the electric industry as an example.
    Related information at: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1
  • "Going to college is selfish." By Bryan Caplan. Reason, April 2018, pp. 40-46.
    Claims the social benefits don't match the staggering costs that all levels of government are spending on education. Includes a side bar, "a heretical plan for cutting spending on education".
  • "Property taxes." By Ryan Salchert. San Antonio Business Journal, March 16, 2018, pp. 12-15.
    Discusses how real estate owners in Texas are feeling the effects of rising commercial property taxes. Suggests that as property values rise, legacy property ownership and local investment become less viable.
  • "Austin Energy program option allows low-income families to participate in solar energy." Texas Public Power , January 2018, pp. 8-9.
    Discusses a new program, recently approved by the city of Austin, to assist low-income customers pay for locally produced solar power at a discounted rate.
  • "Bye Dad, I love you." By Haley Sweetland Edwards. Time, March 19, 2018, pp. 34-40.
    Illustrates the impact of stringent immigration enforcement on families, particularly children.

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, March 15

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

  • Explore how women contribute to the Texas economy. (Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, March 8, 2018)
  • Consider the implications of relying on inexpensive or disposable consumer goods. (The Week, March 7, 2018)
  • See what apps might come in handy for your next outdoor adventure. (Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, accessed March 14, 2018)
  • Read about the costs of elevating a home to meet floodplain regulations. (Texas Tribune, March 14, 2018)

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

  • "Number crunchers call the shots." By Mike Cronin. Austin Business Journal, February 16, 2018, pp. 4-5.
    Discusses the nationwide shortage of qualified accountants, compliance officers, and other professionals. Comments on how Austin salaries compare to national salaries.
  • "A higher gas tax won't fix U.S. roads." By Mark Niquette. Bloomberg Businessweek, March 5, 2018, pp. 48-49.
    Examines the proposed White House infrastructure plan and its costs. Questions whether a gas tax increase would provide enough funding as the number of electric and hybrid cars on the roads increases.
  • "Living on the edges." By Henry Gass. Christian Science Monitor, February 26, 2018, pp. 26-32.
    Reviews the history of colonias in Texas and explains this type of housing is providing home ownership opportunities to the poor who might normally be locked out of the housing market. Examines regulations and laws related to colonias.
    Related information at: https://texasattorneygeneral.gov/cpd/historical-laws-colonias
  • "Era of deregulation." By Eric Kelderman. Chronicle of Higher Education, March 9, 2018, pp. B20, B22.
    Discusses United States Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos's undoing of regulations and guidelines issued under President Obama. Discusses the potential reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, currently before Congress, as a major vehicle for changing higher education policy.
  • "American business and the NRA: outgunned?" Economist, March 3rd-9th, 2018, pp. 57-58.
    Considers whether companies can influence gun control policies, as the latest school shooting in Florida has activists and angry customers pressuring companies to take a stand against the National Rifle Association [NRA].
  • "Autonomous vehicles: reinventing wheels." Economist, March 3, 2018, pp. 1, 3-12.
    Presents a special report on autonomous vehicles [AVS]. Considers the implications of AVS for personal mobility, for the car industry, for society, and for policymakers.
  • "Science fiction or science fact?" By Paul K. Harral. Fort Worth Business Press, Feb. 26-March 4, 2018, pp. 14, 16.
    Explores business and scientific aspects of the "Texas T-bone" hyperloop proposition to improve transportation and environmental concerns involved with travel and shipping in Texas.
  • "Legal challenges to state drug pricing laws." By Theodore T. Lee, Aaron S. Kesselheim, and Amy Kapczynski. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), March 6, 2018, pp. 865-866.
    Examines Maryland's and Nevada's laws intended to help manage and make more transparent pharmaceutical prices, and the ensuing legal challenges by the pharmaceutical industry. Notes that federal courts have rejected the industry's challenges and encourages other states to take similar action to restrain drug pricing and encourage transparency.
  • "Earning it: why work requirements don't work." By Ed Dolan. Milken Institute Review, First Quarter 2018, pp. 38-45.
    Analyzes the use of work requirements in safety net programs like Temporary Assistance to Needy Families [TANF], the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program [SNAP], and potentially Medicaid. Discusses research evidence showing a "feeble effect" on employment and household income, from a set of controlled experiments done in conjunction with the welfare reforms of the 1990s.
  • "The empire of everything." By Stacy Mitchell. Nation, March 12, 2018, pp. 22-27, 33.
    Describes Amazon's expansion from online retailer to developer of an entirely new commercial infrastructure, and the resulting "corporate concentration" of wealth and power, the economic shift in "left-behind" local areas, and antitrust considerations.
  • "The travel ban's road to the SCOTUS." By Marcia Coyle and Cogan Schneier. National Law Journal, March 2018, pp. 11-14.
    Reviews the Trump administration's efforts to suspend the entry of foreign nationals from seven predominantly Muslim nations. Provides a quick look at the travel ban's path to the Supreme Court of the United States [SCOTUS]. Notes the Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on the third version of the ban in April.
  • "Shutting down scams 2017: consumers protected." By Sheri Givens. Public Utilities Fortnightly, February 2018, pp. 71-72.
    Discusses the United Utilities Against Scams' [UUAS] efforts during the past year aimed at informing and protecting consumers from scams.
  • "America's war on pain pills is killing addicts and leaving patients in agony." By Jacob Sullum. Reason, April 2018, pp. 18-29.
    Argues the crackdown on prescription opioids adversely affects legitimate patients and forces non-medical users into the black market.
  • "Ready or not." By Nina Williams-Mbengue. State Legislatures, March 2018, pp. 10-13.
    Discusses how some state legislators are preparing youth to be on their own as they transition out of foster care.
  • "Report to the citizens of Texas, fiscal 2017, Sept. 1, 2016 - Aug. 31, 2017." Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, March 6, 2018, pp. 1-4.
    Highlights State of Texas financial information for fiscal year 2017 in a concise format, including business and job growth, state performance measures, employment and economic outlook, challenges posed by Hurricane Harvey, and a profile of the Austin, San Marcos, and San Antonio metro areas.
  • "Why is the GOP touting new gun restrictions after Parkland? Follow the money." By Philip Elliott and W.J. Hennigan. Time, March 12, 2018, pp. 15-17.
    Suggests there is monetary incentive for Republicans' willingness to discuss modest new gun restrictions. Notes that firearms sales have fallen during the Trump administration, and argues the gun industry may benefit from a discussion of gun control measures.

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, March 8

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

  • Review election night returns. (Texas Secretary of State, accessed March 8, 2018)
  • Explore statistics related to disability in the United States. (Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Disability Statistics and Demographics, January 2018)
  • Consider the effects of tariffs on U.S. jobs. (Trade Partnership Worldwide, LLC, March 5, 2018)
  • See how states are addressing public transit challenges. (The Council of State Governments, February 28, 2018)
  • Read about how the opioid crisis is affecting organ donations. (The Detroit News, March 5, 2018)

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

  • "New states' rights battle: marijuana." By Patrik Jonsson and Story Hinckley. Christian Science Monitor, February 12, 2018, pp. 18-20.
    Considers the 29 states that provide for the legal sale of medical marijuana and the action of Attorney General Jeff Sessions to have United States Attorneys become more aggressive in prosecuting federal marijuana law in states that have decriminalized production and sale.
  • "Texas lawmakers weigh the limits of free speech on campus." By Katherine Mangan. Chronicle of Higher Education, February 9, 2018, p. A22.
    Highlights testimony heard at a January 31, 2018 meeting of the Senate Committee on State Affairs regarding free speech on college campuses.
    Related information at: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/85R/minutes/html/C5702018013110001.HTM
  • "Giving families an 'equal shot' at choice." By Michele Molnar. Education Week, February 21, 2018, pp. 16-19.
    Profiles Mohammed Choudhury, San Antonio Independent School District's chief innovation officer, and his efforts there (and previously in Dallas Independent School District) to help the district desegregate and provide equal educational opportunity. Describes his use of district charter schools and data analysis to encourage schools that are intentionally mixed by socioeconomic status.
  • "Steps gained toward policy goals, more to climb." By Susanne Retka Schill. Ethanol Today, January/February 2018, pp. 8-13.
    Points out two policy-related issues in the ethanol industry that recently received favorable outcomes at the national level. Identifies what the ethanol industry is currently doing to address Reid vapor pressure [RVP] relief and exports. Concludes by covering the industry's long-term goals.
    Related information at: https://www.epa.gov/renewable-fuel-standard-program/final-renewable-fuel-standards-2018-and-biomass-based-diesel-volume
  • "Uncle Sam's secret bitcoin windfall." By Jeff John Roberts. Fortune, March 1, 2018, pp. 112-117.
    Considers cryptocurrency in the context of asset forfeiture and how such forfeitures should be documented.
  • "Are high-poverty school districts disproportionately impacted by state funding cuts? School finance equity following the Great Recession." By David S. Knight. Journal of Education Finance, Fall 2017, pp. 169-194 (Note Length).
    Examines the effects of recessionary spending cuts on high-poverty school districts in Texas and elsewhere as compared to wealthier districts. Finds there was a disproportionate influence on high-poverty districts and suggests strategies for restoring state education budgets.
  • "The arms dealer." By Mike Spies. New Yorker, March 5, 2018, pp. 24-31.
    Profiles the work of the influential National Rifle Association [NRA] lobbyist, Marion Hammer, and her efforts to pass pro-gun laws in Florida, such as the "Stand Your Ground" law.
  • "'Of urgent concern': what prompted House Bill 162, the Groundwater Conservation Act of 1949." By Charles Porter. Panhandle-Plains Historical Review, Volume LXXXVIII, 2017, pp. 1-18.
    Presents a legislative history of the Groundwater Conservation Act of 1949 (HB 162, 51st Legislature, 1949) amid the World War II era movement to declare state ownership of groundwater. Describes the involvement of Representatives Dolph Briscoe and I.B. Holt in the legislation.
  • "Comal County, Texas: preparing for life after high school." By Frank Walter. Phi Delta Kappan, February 2018, pp. 34-35.
    Highlights Communities in Schools [CIS] of South Central Texas, which works in seventeen Comal Independent School District schools. Reports that 99 percent of students in the program in grades seven through twelve have stayed in school.
  • "It takes a community." By Reuben Jacobson, et al. Phi Delta Kappan, February 2018, pp. 8-14.
    Examines community school programs that provide K-12 curriculum integrated with health and social services and family and community engagement.
  • "The pernicious myth of 'chain migration'." By Shikha Dalmia. Reason, March 2018, p. 14.
    Argues that ending "mass immigration" will break up nuclear families. Reports immigrants sponsored by family members have the same final earnings as those sponsored by an employer.
  • "Glass half full: decentralization in health policy." By Carol S. Weissert and Matthew J. Uttermark. State and Local Government Review, September 2017, pp. 199-214 (Note Length).
    Examines cycles of centralization and decentralization in health care policy over the past 40 years. Describes states' "positive leverage" in designing the Children's Health Insurance Program [CHIP] and Medicaid policy, federal and state leverage in Medicaid waivers, and the health care debate under the Trump administration.
  • "Variable speed limits: improving safety or confusing motorists?" By Jenni Bergal. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), February 23, 2018, pp. 1-4.
    Discusses the pros and cons of using high-tech systems to change speed limits based on traffic and weather conditions.
  • "PUC to review energy storage issues." Texas Public Power, February 2018, pp. 1, 8.
    Reports that the Public Utilities Commission [PUC] of Texas dismissed a request by American Electric Power [AEP] Texas to install two battery storage systems.
    Related information at:  http://interchange.puc.state.tx.us/WebApp/Interchange/application/dbapps/filings/ pgControl.asp?TXT_CNTRL_NO=46368 and  http://www.adminmonitor.com/tx/puct/open_meeting/20180125/
  • "Attacking 'false evidence' and 'junk science' in wrongful convictions." By Mike Ware. Voice for the Defense, January/February 2018, pp. 24-31.
    Discusses the distinction between "innocence" and "actual innocence" in the context of wrongful convictions and seeking post-conviction relief.

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 and Research Resources, March 1

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

  • Explore salary data from thousands of colleges. (The Chronicle of Higher Education, accessed February 28, 2018)
  • Consider whether nutrition labeling on restaurant menus and vending machine items has affected the nation's obesity crisis. (Congressional Research Service, February 5, 2018)
  • Find laws state by state and federal law on recording conversations. (Matthiesen, Wickert, & Lehrer, S.C., January 3, 2018)
  • Read about mobile device addiction in children and parents. (USA Today, February 22, 2018)

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

  • "Top 5 issues 2018." By John Mountjoy, et al. Capitol Ideas, January/February 2018, pp. 7-25.
    Previews the top five issues facing states in 2018 in the policy areas of education, energy and environment, fiscal and economic development, federal affairs, health, international affairs, transportation, workforce development, and agriculture. Includes Medicaid waivers, infrastructure, the opioid epidemic, and the 2018 farm bill reauthorization.
  • "What does it mean to be evangelical?" Christian Science Monitor, January 29, 2018, pp. 18-20.
    Examines the historical, political, and cultural roots of Christian evangelicals and considers whether the current political identification is doing harm to the religious identification.
  • "Developers have built it, but will hyperscale hop on the DFW bandwagon?; Top 10 projects in DFW." By Candace Carlisle. Dallas Business Journal, February 16, 2018, pp. 16-17, 20-21.
    Profiles the North Texas data center market and how it compares across the nation.
  • "Harassment a pressing issue for schools." By Stephen Sawchuck. Education Week, February 7, 2018, pp. 1, 17.
    Reports the #MeToo movement has raised awareness of sexual harassment in the K-12 environment and few schools address the topic with their students. Suggests there is need for sex education that includes discussion of healthy relationships and sexual consent, noting California is currently the only state that requires schools to address consent.
  • "States are teaching flawed lessons on slavery, says study." By Stephen Sawchuck. Education Week, February 7, 2018, p. 10.
    Discusses study conducted by the Southern Poverty Law Center on how slavery is taught in schools in the United States. Concludes schools are failing to teach fundamental aspects of history based on ten key concepts on slavery used in the study to evaluate content standards, textbooks, and teacher/student experiences.
  • "Open for business: Trump's tenants." By Dan Alexander and Matt Drange. Forbes, February 28, 2018, pp. 88, 90-95.
    Assembles a first-of-its-kind look at who is paying rent to President Trump, tracking how many millions are involved and possible conflicts of interest.
  • "Medicaid versus Marketplace coverage for near-poor adults: effects on out-of-pocket spending and coverage." By Fredric Blavin, et al. Health Affairs, February 2018, pp. 299-307.
    Reports that more restrictive eligibility and enrollment policies, combined with higher premiums for Marketplace coverage relative to Medicaid, led to lower insurance enrollment rates and higher out-of-pocket spending for near-poor adults.
  • "The problem with work requirements for Medicaid." By Aaron E. Carroll. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), February 20, 2018, pp. 646-647.
    Argues that the number of Medicaid recipients who could work but choose not to is small, and therefore, imposing work requirements for Medicaid would result in increased administrative costs that likely would not be balanced by increased savings.
  • "2017 legislative changes in incentive programs." By Betty W. McIntosh, Jane Orlin, and Brooklin Salemi. Journal of MultiState Taxation and Incentives, February 2018, pp. 28-33.
    Highlights recent legislation in four states creating new tax credits and economic development incentives, including Arkansas' new sales and use tax exemptions, job tax credits in Arizona and Georgia, and New Jersey's incentives aimed at expanding the retail and service industries.
  • "Easing the burden: why paid family leave policies are gaining steam." By Maya Rossin-Slater. Policy Brief (Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research), February 2018, pp. 1-6.
    Describes current research on the impacts of paid family leave on workers, children, and employers.
  • "Net neutrality debate rages on: can we agree on ground rules for debate?" By Stephen Goodman. Public Utilities Fortnightly, February 2018, pp. 69, 73.
    Provides perspectives on the latest developments in the net neutrality debate.
    Related information at: https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-releases-restoring-internet-freedom-order and https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-takes-action-restore-internet-freedom
  • "Making the Fairness Doctrine great again." By Thomas Hazlett. Reason, March 2018, pp. 34-39.
    Discusses the history of regulatory policies dedicated to furthering "the public interest" in media and how this will affect new information markets. Argues ideological diversity is improved with fewer public interest rules.
  • "Too big to fine, too small to fight back." By Naveena Sadasivam. Texas Observer, Feb./March 2018, pp.12-21.
    Investigates enforcement activity of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality [TCEQ] from 2009 to 2017. Reports there is a significant disparity in penalties levied by TCEQ: small gas station owners often face steep fines for minor recordkeeping violations while large industrial facilities pay low or no fines for pollution violations.

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 and Research Resources, February 22

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

  • Examine criminal history information systems by state. (Bureau of Justice Statistics, January 2018)
  • Review the country's economic progress during the first year of the Trump administration. (Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, February 2018)
  • See how the United States ranks against other top ten best countries. (U.S. News & World Report, ©2018)
  • Track approval ratings by state for President Trump. (Morning Consult, February 1, 2018)

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

  • "America is not a democracy." By Yascha Mounk. Atlantic Monthly, March 2018, pp. 80-87.
    Explains that the preferences of a majority of Americans are not reflected in public policy on many issues. Recommends various reforms such as better pay for Congressional staff to attract more expertise, stronger conflict of interest rules, and changes to campaign finance laws.
  • "UT-Austin professors join campaign against productivity company." By Paul Basken. Chronicle of Higher Education, February 2, 2018, p. A21.
    Highlights concerns University of Texas at Austin professors have regarding the data company, Academic Analytics, and use of the company's analysis to determine promotions, tenure, and other faculty issues.
  • "Amazon's search for HQ2." Dallas Business Journal, February 9, 2018, pp. 13-15.
    Projects the top contenders among the twenty finalists for Amazon's second headquarters.
  • "Charities and tax in America: mass deduction" Economist, February 17th-23rd, 2018, pp. 64-65.
    Reports recent tax reforms in America will hurt some charities more than others.
  • "Regulation: how to rig an economy." Economist, February 17th-23rd, 2018, pp. 25-26.
    Advocates against unnecessary licensing, noting occupational regulations' potential to chill competition and boost inequality.
  • "Tax abatement agreements and taxpayer bankruptcies." By Dennis Rimkunas and L. Matthew Waterhouse. Journal of MultiState Taxation and Incentives, February 2018, pp. 6-13.
    Reviews the adoption and enforceability of ipso facto clauses in tax abatement agreements and the procedures when it comes to a taxpayer's bankruptcy. Highlights the requirements of Texas' tax abatement agreements to reduce property taxes in Texas Tax Code Chapter 312.
    Related information at: http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/TX/htm/TX.312.htm
  • "Reasons for electronic cigarette use among middle and high school students — National Youth Tobacco Survey, United States, 2016." By James Tsai, et al. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), February 16, 2018, pp. 196-200.
    Surveys adolescents to understand better why electronic cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product among the age group. Reports that the most common answers were use by friends or family, the availability of sweet flavors, and the belief that e-cigarettes are less harmful than other forms of tobacco.
  • "Real choices, real savings: keeping the lights on for low-income customers." By Jessica Porter. Public Power, January/February 2018, pp. 8-13.
    Highlights public power programs created to assist low-income customers.
  • "Renewables are cheaper than the existing grid (which is cheaper than renewables): central vs. local supply." By Charles Bayless. Public Utilities Fortnightly, February 2018, pp. 38-31, 67.
    Compares the costs of renewable energy to energy derived from the existing electric grids. Discusses costs associated with connecting renewable energy sources to the existing electric grids.
  • "Talking Texas markets, part 1." Public Utilities Fortnightly, February 2018, pp. 28-33, 75.
    Features part one of a conversation between the editor-in-chief of Public Utilities Fortnightly and four leaders from the energy industry in Texas.
  • "America's secret death penalty drugs." By C.J. Ciaramella. Reason, March 2018, p. 10.
    Highlights the tactics and laws various states employ to keep secret the drug sources and methods used for death penalty lethal injection.
  • "An unequal right to bear arms: state weapons laws and white supremacy in Texas, 1836-1900." By Brennan Gardner Rivas. Southwestern Historical Quarterly, January 2018, pp. 284-303.
    Describes the prominent role of firearms in Texas culture and the history of early gun legislation dating to the Republic of Texas.
  • "Supreme Court weighs in on WOTUS challenges." By Jessica Domel. Texas Agriculture, February 2, 2018, p. 8.
    Reviews the United States Supreme Court's ruling that federal district courts — rather than federal appeals courts — have jurisdiction to review the Environmental Protection Agency's WOTUS [Waters of the United States] rule. Points out that district courts provide landowners with a better venue to have their cases heard.
    Related information at: https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/17pdf/16-299_8nk0.pdf
  • "PUC concerned about direct current [DC] ties to Mexico." Texas Public Power, January 2018, pp. 5, 7.
    Mentions recent measures taken by the Public Utilities Commission [PUC] to address their concern about the Electric Reliability Council Of Texas' [ERCOT] jurisdictional relationship to electric power-related entities outside of the state.
    Related information at: http://www.ercot.com/mktrules/issues/NPRR861#keydocs
  • "Tax bill keeps tax exemption for municipal bonds." Texas Public Power, January 2018, p. 3.
    Provides an update regarding the recently passed tax bill and its effect on municipal bonds.
    Related information at: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1

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 and Research Resources, February 15

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

  • Explore the status of remote sales tax collection in the states and in U.S. Supreme Court rulings. (National Conference of State Legislatures, January 25, 2018)
  • Read about the net worth of every American president. (24/7 Wall St., February 12, 2018)
  • Find statistics and history related to women in Congress. (Congressional Research Service, February 6, 2018)
  • Trace a history of the last 100 years of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. (Macrotrends, accessed February 14, 2018)
  • Consider the pros and cons of motorcycle lane-splitting. (Stateline, February 9, 2018)

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

  • "Let us pray." By David L. Hudson. ABA Journal: The Lawyer's Magazine, February 2018, pp. 18-19.
    Reports the federal circuit split on the constitutionality of legislator-led prayer before public meetings may lead to United States Supreme Court review.
  • "Crunch still on to find skilled workers in Texas." By Ryan Salchert. Austin Business Journal, February 9, 2018, p. 15.
    Reports that despite construction employment growth in 2017, skilled labor shortages will continue to be an issue for the industry because of the emphasis on college education over trade education. Includes comment by Representative Barbara Gervin-Hawkins.
    Related information at: https://www.agc.org/news/2018/01/23/construction-jobs-increase-42-states-between-december-2016-and-december-2017-32
  • "Transparency concerns raised in bid here, other cities." By Daniel Salazar. Austin Business Journal, February 9, 2018, p. 12.
    Discusses transparency issues relating to Austin's bid for Amazon.com Inc.'s second headquarters. Notes a growing trend in cities blocking release of information that would give an advantage to a competitor.
  • "High school renaissance." By Amadou Diallo. Christian Science Monitor, January 29, 2018, pp. 24-30.
    Focuses on three previously low-performing schools in rural Ohio, Chicago, and Tulsa demonstrating a variety of innovative programs that are successful in improving graduation rates and creating paths to higher education.
  • "The need to shore up US infrastructure." By Laurent Belsie and Mark Trumbull. Christian Science Monitor, January 29, 2018, p. 17.
    Presents the need for infrastructure investment in the United States and defines the associated costs. States an investment of $4.26 per day per household would reap a benefit of $9.31 per household.
  • "Could this cell save your life?" By Jeneen Interlandi. Consumer Reports, March 2018, pp. 37-41.
    Warns of risks associated with experimental stem cell treatments. Notes the United States Federal Drug Administration is working on a new framework for stem cell regulations to provide more oversight over cellular therapies.
    Related information at: https://www.fda.gov/downloads/BiologicsBloodVaccines/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/Guidances/CellularandGeneTherapy/UCM585403.pdf
  • "Digital health: surgical intervention." Economist, February 3rd-9th, 2018, pp. 53-55.
    Describes how the world's biggest technology firms — including Apple, Alphabet (Google), and Amazon — are poised to move beyond wearable devices that track fitness to platforms that deliver real medical services to patients at lower costs.
  • "The safety net: working for it." Economist, January 20th-26th, 2018, pp. 23-24.
    Highlights Kentucky's Medicaid eligibility reforms, which will require that recipients work, volunteer, or study in exchange for medical care.
    Related information at: https://www.medicaid.gov/Medicaid-CHIP-Program-Information/By-Topics/Waivers/1115/downloads/ky/ky-health-pa2.pdf
  • "Ethanol: your engine's answer to wintertime woes." By Kristy Moore. Ethanol Today, January/February 2018, pp. 20-21.
    Explains the benefits of ethanol as a source of fuel during cold weather.
  • "A storm to remember: Hurricane Harvey and the Texas economy." Fiscal Notes, February 2018, pp. 1-16.
    Presents the comptroller's original research and analysis on the economic impact of Hurricane Harvey, including hurricane history, direct and indirect damages, disaster relief funding sources, and future mitigation and flood control options. Estimates the net impact of the storm will be a loss of $3.8 billion in gross state product [GSP] during the first year, followed by a cumulative gain of $800 million over three years.
  • "Texas charter school system suffers low graduation rates." By María Robledo Montecel. IDRA Newsletter (Intercultural Development Research Association), January 2018, p. 6.
    Highlights studies that show charter schools have lower graduation rates than traditional public schools.
  • "Physicians join frontline efforts to curb gun injuries, deaths." By Bridget M. Kuehn. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), February 6, 2018, pp. 428-430.
    Describes increasing efforts by physicians to address gun violence by collaborating with state and national legislators and partnering with gun owners to promote gun safety.
  • "Our infrastructure inefficiency." By Jonathan Coppage. National Review, February 19, 2018, pp. 14-15, 19.
    Explains infrastructure projects cost more in the United States than in other industrialized countries due to high labor costs and "buy American" procurement rules. Considers innovative projects using private money such as Texas Central, the proposed high-speed-rail system connecting Houston and Dallas.
  • "Blockchain 101: 5 questions every banker should ask." By Lee Wetherington. Texas Banking, February 2018, pp. 8-11.
    Discusses digital currency from a banking perspective, including comparisons of bitcoin versus blockchain, and blockchain versus distributed ledger technology [DLT].
  • "Law school power struggle amplifies woes." By Angela Morris. Texas Lawyer, February 2018, pp. 18-20.
    Reports on the problems within the leadership of the Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law and its parent institution, as well as the censure issued against the school for multiple standards violations.
  • "Well endowed." By Neena Satija. Washington Monthly, January/February/March 2018, pp. 27-31.
    Examines how the University of Texas System chooses to use money from the Permanent University Fund.

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.

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