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New & Noteworthy Books and Reports: November 2019

The Library is continually adding new books to its collection. Below are the titles from our November 2019 New & Noteworthy list


Check out and delivery of New & Noteworthy titles is available to legislative staff in Capitol and District offices. To arrange check out and delivery of any of these items, you can submit an online request through the New & Noteworthy page on our website, contact the library at 512-463-1252, or use our PDF request form.


1. Border Land, Border Water: A History of Construction on the US-Mexico Divide
By C.J. Alvarez
Utilizes the history of construction on the United States-Mexico border, from the 1850s to the present, as a framework to examine the border region. Highlights the ecological diversity of the border and the variety of construction projects, illustrated with archival photos and maps. Considers the environmental, cultural, and political impact of construction and encourages better stewardship of the border.
University of Texas Press, 2019, 301 pages
363.6 AL86B 2019



2. The Conservative Sensibility
By George F. Will
Examines the history of American conservatism, framed by the American founding principles of natural rights, limited government, religious freedom, and human virtue and dignity. Contrasts the American political philosophy of Founding Father James Madison with the progressivism of Woodrow Wilson.
Hachette Books, 2019, 600 pages
320.520973 W66C 2019



3. Protecting Historic Coastal Cities: Case Studies in Resilience
By Matthew Pelz, editor
Presents an overview of how historic communities in coastal environments are confronting unique challenges, now magnified by the frequency of severe weather events. Brings together experts with diverse backgrounds in historical preservation, public history, environmental science, engineering, and architecture. Explores issues related to coastal living and studies communities that are taking proactive approaches to challenging environments, such as resilient housing initiatives, public infrastructure changes, and pioneering advances in flood protection.
Texas A&M University Press, 2019, 132 pages
333.917 P369P 2019



4. Researching Texas Law
By Brandon D. Quarles and Matthew C. Cordon
Instructs readers on how to conduct legal research. Covers case law, statutes, regulations, tracking bills, and compiling legislative histories. Provides research instruction for more practitioner-oriented items also, including: civil jury verdicts and settlements; briefs, records, and oral arguments; attorneys general opinions; and Texas practice materials.
William S. Hein & Co., Inc., 2019, 278 pages
340.09764 Q27R 2019



5. Social Media Law in a Nutshell
By Ryan Garcia and Thaddeus A. Hoffmeister
Examines the transformative impact social media is having on various legal areas including marketing, employment, freedom of speech, privacy, criminal law, and beyond. Provides tools for evaluating high-level social media legal risks so they can be avoided, and a framework for developing plans to address them if they occur.
West Academic Publishing, 2017, 421 pages
343.7309 G165S 2017



6. Highlights of the 86th Legislature, Vol. I & II
By Senate Research Center
Provides summaries of legislation passed during the 86th Texas Legislature, arranged by subject. Contains a comprehensive index that includes enrolled and vetoed bills. Presents information in a two-volume set.
Senate Research Center, 2019, 717 pages
Online at:
L1803.1 SO44 86H



7. Scoot Over: The Growth of Micromobility and Electric Scooters in the South
By Roger Moore
Summarizes the growth of shared micromobility vehicles and their ability to augment public transportation. Discusses problems resulting from the introduction of dockless electric scooters, including regulatory ambiguity, challenges for public safety, and issues with infrastructure. Compares legislation from seven southern states related to the regulation of electric scooters and their operation.
Southern Legislative Conference, Council of State Governments, 2019, 11 pages
Online at:
388.4 M786S 2019

Current Articles & Research Resources, November 14

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

  • Consider how hospital closures and doctor shortages affect maternity care in rural areas. (National Conference of State Legislatures, November 1, 2019)
  • Read about how election officials can prepare for high voter turnout. (Brennan Center for Justice, November 12, 2019)
  • Try silencing electronic devices to avoid sleep interruptions. (Wired, November 11, 2019)
  • Explore dam safety concerns across the country. (AP News, November 11, 2019)

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

  • "Latino power." By Francine Kiefer. Christian Science Monitor, November 4, 2019, pp. 22-28.
    Discusses the rise of Latino activists in the wake of California's 1994 Proposition 187, which sought to deny state services to unauthorized immigrants. Highlights the influence of Latinos as voters and as members of the California state legislature. Considers whether this impact could be replicated in Texas and other states.
  • "Texas' digital divide: The state of broadband in Texas' rural communities." By Lauren Mulverhill. Fiscal Notes, October 2019, pp. 1, 3-6.
    Examines the state of the digital divide in Texas, the lack of broadband and high-speed Internet in rural Texas, and the economic implications for telemedicine, agriculture, education, business, and tourism. Notes Laredo and Brownsville hold the top two spots on the 2017 list of the worst-connected cities in the United States.
  • "Up in smoke?" By Sy Mukherjee. Fortune, November 2019, pp. 120-125.
    Discusses health controversies surrounding vaping and the effect these controversies are having on the vaping industry and Big Tobacco. Explores the recent debut of heat-not-burn devices as an alternative nicotine product that could fill the void if vaping becomes untenable.
  • "Spotlight Brief: Houston Harris County Youth LEAD." By Khanya Collier. Internet Resource, October 2019, pp. 1-15.
    Describes the development of the Houston Harris County Youth Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion [LEAD] Program to mitigate the number of youth entering the school-to-prison pipeline.
  • "Charter school constitutional funding challenges: North Carolina and Texas may serve as a harbingers for the future." By R. Craig Wood. Journal of Education Finance, Spring 2019, pp. 341-360.
    Analyzes state court cases that challenged the constitutionality of how charter schools are funded. Focuses on recent cases from North Carolina and Texas.
  • "Opportunity Zone investments: More adventures in the Land of OZ." By Steven Berman and Louis Weller. Journal of MultiState Taxation and Incentives, November/December 2019, pp. 14-24.
    Provides a federal regulatory update on the Opportunity Zones program, established in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Job Act to promote new economic development. Addresses selected aspects of Qualified Opportunity Zone investments and business operations.
  • "Why don't environmentalists just buy the land they want to protect? Because it's against the rules." By Shawn Regan. Reason, December 2019, pp. 46-51.
    Reviews the history of laws and regulations governing the use of federal-and state-managed lands. Explains rules usually bar conservation-minded bidders because there is frequently a requirement for leaseholders to develop resources. Highlights examples of recent attempts by environmentalists to bid on resources as an alternative to litigation.
  • "Latino education in Texas: A history of systematic recycling discrimination." By Albert H. Kauffman. St. Mary's Law Journal, Vol. 50, No. 3, pp. 861-916 (Note Length).
    Focuses on discrimination in public education, with greater emphasis on the last fifty years. Discusses major litigation, developments in the Texas Legislature, and developments in Texas and federal administrative agencies that have affected Latino education.
  • "Some wonder if electric microgrids could light the way in California." By Sophie Quinton. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), November 6, 2019, pp. 1-6.
    Reports the threat of future blackouts could put California at the forefront of a national push toward localizing the energy grid. Considers whether distributed energy systems can eliminate the need for risky, long-distance transmission lines.
  • "Texas takes big steps to address card skimming." By Celeste Embrey. Texas Banking, November 2019, pp. 27, 30.
    Discusses HB2945, 86th Legislature, by Representative Mary Ann Perez, which addressed credit card skimming at gas pumps and created a Payment Card Fusion Center in Tyler as a single contact point for all credit card payment fraud, including ATMs.
  • "The unrelenting cycle of ATM skimming." By Randy Phillips. Texas Banking, November 2019, pp. 12-15.
    Offers insight from a financial security consultant concerning automated teller machine [ATM] skimmers. Discusses physical attacks on ATMs, including "eavesdropping" or "wiretapping," and security measures for banks to mitigate attacks.
  • "Weather whiplash." By Megan Kimble. Texas Observer, Nov/Dec 2019, pp. 10-11.
    Interviews Katherine Hayhoe, a Texas Tech University professor and atmospheric scientist, on how climate change is affecting 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.

Resource Highlight: 78th Legislature Committee Minutes

Committee minutes from the 78th Legislature have been scanned and are available in the LRL's committee minutes database


House and Senate committee minutes are a valuable resource for understanding the work that goes into crafting legislation. Scanned minutes may also include other committee documentation, including agendas, exhibits, hearing notices, press releases, rules, testimony, transcripts, and vote sheets.


Of particular interest as the Legislature prepares for the next round of redistricting is the 78th's Redistricting committee records (with Texas Legislative Council plans, maps, and court documents). More court documents that are not in the minutes can be found here:


Below are some other interesting items that can now be found in our database:



Corrections (H)  (with testimony 2/18/2003)

Licensing and Administrative Procedures (H)  (with a statement of intent for HB 2689 by Keffer, 4/3/2003)



Criminal Justice (S)  (transcript 1/4/2005, testimony 3/10/2004)



Long-Term Care, Legislative Oversight (J)  (testimony/exhibits both dates)
Nutrition and Health in Public Schools (J)  (testimony/exhibits both dates)
Public School Finance, Select (J)  (testimony/exhibits 9/10/2003, 3/4/2004)


The LRL database also allows users access to committee documents from House, Senate, and Joint committees, 63rd–77th Legislatures (1973–2001), as well as to search for minutes from the 78th–85th Legislatures that are available through Texas Legislature Online.

Current Articles & Research Resources, November 7

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

  • Review the results of the recent election in Texas. (Texas Secretary of State, accessed November 6, 2019)
  • Track e-cigarette regulation by state. (Public Health Law Center, ©2019)
  • Read the most recent State of Texas Annual Cash Report. (November 4, 2019)
  • Consider how rural hospitals are in danger of closing. (Southern Office of the Council of State Governments, November 2019)

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

  • "Applying the research and evaluation provisions of the Family First Prevention Services Act." By Amy McKlindon. Child Trends, October 24, 2019, pp. 1-11.
    Highlights the child welfare provisions in the Family First Prevention Services Act of 2018 (H.R. 1892, 115th Congress, Title VII). Discusses next steps for state agencies and legislators in implementation, including funding for evidence-based prevention services to prevent foster care entry, support for kinship caregivers, and criteria for appropriate use of residential treatment.
  • "How states' rights became a liberal environmentalist cause." By Amanda Paulson and Martin Kuz. Christian Science Monitor, October 28, 2019, pp. 18-19.
    Highlights the federal revocation of California's waiver to set state emissions standards. Explains it in terms of the ongoing tension among federalism, states' rights, and specific conservative or liberal policy viewpoints.
  • "An overlooked crisis." By Charles F. McElwee. City Journal (Manhattan Institute), October 23, 2019, pp. 1-3.
    Discusses the effects of declining volunteerism, particularly the shortages in volunteer fire departments and rural EMS agencies. Points out Pennsylvania's legislative initiatives to boost volunteer numbers could serve as a model for other states.
  • "Sandra Bland Act: Prisoner safety measures address at-risk inmates." County Progress, November 2019, p. 18.
    Examines Texas Commission on Jail Standards [TCJS] and county compliance with the Sandra Bland Act. Outlines the new rules and procedures the TCJS adopted that counties must implement by September 1, 2020.
  • "Field of dreams." CQ Weekly, October 15, 2019, pp. 12-19.
    Focuses on the excitement being generated by the fledgling hemp industry, along with growing pains and regulatory uncertainties. Profiles hemp farmers and hemp production in Kentucky, a leading state in the industry.
  • "Impeachment: Trying times." Economist, October 26th-November 1st, 2019, pp. 21-22.
    Discusses impeachment procedures and what a United States Senate trial of President Donald Trump might look like.
  • "Evolving public views on the likelihood of violence from people with mental illness: Stigma and consequences." By Bernice A. Pescosolido, Bianca Manago, and John Monahan. Health Affairs, October 2019, pp. 1735-1743.
    Inspects trends in public perceptions regarding mental illness, potential violence, and coerced treatment. Reports that despite scientific evidence to the contrary, public and political rhetoric persist in convincing people of significant links between mental illness and crime.
  • "The kids are online — and alright." By Camille Crittenden. Issues in Science and Technology, Fall 2019, pp. 43-47.
    Outlines unexpected benefits of access to broadband internet for teens, including a correlation with reduced rates of teen pregnancy and STDs; improved mental health; aiding those at economic risk with job skills and employment opportunities; and civic engagement. Discusses efforts to expand access to broadband, continued disparities in service, and partnerships that should be explored to make access and service equitable.
  • "Credits & incentives update: Texas renews and refines various incentive programs." By Tam Vo and David Bell. Journal of State Taxation, Fall 2019, pp. 19-21.
    Highlights appropriations in the 86th Legislature for economic development incentives, including the Texas Enterprise Fund, Moving Image Industry Incentive Program, Governor's University Research Initiative, tourism promotion, and the Defense Economic Assistance Grant Program. Discusses new transparency requirements of HB3143, 86th Legislature, relating to the Property Redevelopment and Tax Abatement Act.
  • "A shale-gas revolution, if we can keep it." By Mario Loyola. National Review, October 28, 2019, pp. 34-35.
    Argues that fracking has reduced carbon emissions more than climate policies have by producing more plentiful natural gas, which has displaced coal in electric generation. Discusses the political and regulatory obstacles encountered in building pipelines and liquefied natural gas export facilities needed to transport natural gas to markets.
  • "More frac jobs, less crime." By Steven Poruban. Oil and Gas Journal, October 7, 2019, p. 14.
    Summarizes The Impact of Economic Opportunity on Criminal Behavior: Evidence from the Fracking Boom, a recent study from the Center for Growth and Opportunity at Utah State University.
  • "Promoting maternal health in rural and underserved areas." By Darcy Nikol Bryan. Policy Brief (Mercatus Center, George Mason University), October 23, 2019, pp. 1-8.
    Recommends reconsideration of state-level public policies that have exacerbated or initiated barriers to quality and access in rural healthcare, such as scope of practice restrictions, state medical licensing requirements, and limits to telemedicine implementation.
  • "Balancing act: Natural gas and electrification." By Alice Clamp. Public Power, September/October 2019, pp. 26-31.
    Highlights how two utilities, including Texas-based CPS Energy, are addressing ways to adapt to changes, such as increasing electrification. Refers to a report, New Sources of Utility Growth: Electrification Opportunities and Challenges.
  • "The Texas Forensic Science Commission: Oversight and the road map to admissibility of forensic evidence in Texas." By Lynn Garcia and Leigh Savage. Texas Bar Journal, November 2019, pp. 794-796.
    Describes how the Texas Forensic Science Commission's activities affect the admissibility of certain forensic evidence and the efforts underway to continue the integrity and reliability of forensic science in Texas courts.
  • "The Texas Junk Science Writ: A look six years in." By Kirk Cooper. Texas Bar Journal, November 2019, pp. 798-799.
    Discusses the history and applicability of Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 11.073, known as the Junk Science Writ, which allows prisoners to challenge potential wrongful convictions on the basis of new or changed scientific evidence.
  • "Inside the 86th legislative session." By Susan Wright. Texas Builder, September/October 2019, pp. 28-35.
    Summarizes the 86th Legislature from the perspective of the Texas residential construction and development industry, including the Texas Association of Builders' "major legislative accomplishments" on building permits, land development, and the agriculture roll-back tax, as well as broader issues of school finance, property taxes, flood planning, and disaster management.
  • "Critical condition." By Christopher Collins and Sophie Novack. Texas Observer, Nov/Dec 2019, pp. 12-30.
    Presents a series of articles about the lack of health care in rural communities in Texas and the negative impact on Texans. Addresses hospital closures in East Texas and doctor shortages in the Panhandle.

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.

Interim Hearings – Week of November 11

Today's Committee Meetings on the LRL website is a calendar of interim committee hearings with links to agendas. Below are resources related to upcoming Interim Hearings.


November 12

House Committee on Human Services

Topic: Processes and policies established by the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) for receiving, investigating and adjudicating reports of child abuse, neglect and exploitation and oversight of those processes to ensure the highest quality outcome to the child

Topic: Efforts by the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to implement Community-Based Care (CBC) for children in the state's conservatorship and the coordination of CBC with implementation of federal funding under the Family First Preservation Services Act

Topic: Update regarding the latest changes to funding within programs under the Texas Healthcare Transformation and Quality Improvement Program-Section 1115 Demonstration Waiver

Legislative Families: Parents and Children

Leading by example is not just for parents teaching their children to have good manners and be good sports—some children are inspired by their parents' leadership and follow their footsteps into legislative careers. Between 1846 and 2019, more than 100 parent-children sets have served in the Texas Legislature.*

As with the legislative siblings, some parents/children's service overlapped:

  • Oscar Dudley Baker and Oscar Lindsey Baker ^

    • O.D. served in the House, 1921–1925 (37th–38th)
    • Oscar served in the House, 1923–1927 (38th–39th)
  • Spearman Holland and James K. Holland
    • Spearman served in the House, 1846–1847 (1st), 1857–1859 (7th), and 1861–1863 (9th), and in the Senate, 1863–1866 (10th)
    • James served in the House, 1849–1851 (3rd), and 1863 (9th), and in the Senate, 1853–1855 (5th)
  • Eddie Lucio, Jr. and Eddie Lucio III
    • Eddie, Jr. served in the House, 1987–1991 (70th–71st), and serves in the Senate, 1991–present (72nd–86th)
    • Eddie III serves in the House, 2007–present (80th–86th)
  • William Rowland Newton and George Mayo Newton In HCR 20, 46R, W.R.'s memorial resolution, he and George were recognized as "the only combination of a son and father team in each branch of the Legislature at the same time, from the same district, in the history of the Legislature."
    • W.R. served in the Senate, 1937–1938 (45th)
    • George served in the House, 1935–1939 (44th–45th)
  • George Butler Terrell and J. Turney Terrell
    • George served in the House, 1899–1903 (26th–27th), 1907–1913 (30th–32nd), 1917–1920 (35th–36th), and 1931–1933 (42nd)
    • J. Turney served in the House, 1930–1933 (41st–42nd)

Most parents and children served in different years:

*This blog post is the third in a series, with previous posts on legislative spouses and legislative siblings, and a post to come on other family connections. We've attempted to identify all of the legislative parents/children, but let us know if you think we missed some! This information is provided as a public service by the Legislative Reference Library. The Legislative Reference Library makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy and makes no warranty in regard to its use. Users assume all risk of reliance on the information included on this site.


^Many of the fathers and sons were "Senior" and "Junior," or at least shared the same first name. If we did not find indication of nicknames, we used "FirstName, Sr./Jr." on the second reference. In cases where we believe legislators had a preference for a nickname or abbreviated name, we used that name on the second reference.


Current Articles & Research Resources, October 31

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

  • Explore statistics related to private correctional facilities. (The Sentencing Project, October 24, 2019)
  • Consider that the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture is finalizing a rule that will allow for hemp production. (AP News, October 29, 2019)
  • See how many people struggle with feeling well rested. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, October 25, 2019)
  • Read about the immigration detention framework established by the Immigration and Nationality Act. (Congressional Research Service, October 24, 2019)

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

  • "State higher education funding cuts have pushed costs to students, worsened inequality." By Michael Mitchell, Michael Leachman, and Matt Saenz. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, October 24, 2019, pp. 1-22.
    Finds that state spending on public colleges and universities is still more than $6 billion below what it was just before the Great Recession in 2008, resulting in tuition increases, faculty reductions, and limited course offerings. Includes state data on higher education funding and tuition increases from 2008-2018, and a Texas fact sheet.
  • "Trends in public opinion on US gun laws: Majorities of gun owners and non-gun owners support a range of measures." By Colleen L. Barry, et al. Health Affairs, October 2019, pp. 1727-1734.
    Examines data from the National Survey of Gun Policy from 2013-2019, and finds that large majorities of both gun owners and non-gun owners strongly support a range of measures to strengthen gun laws in the United States.
  • "Biggert-Waters and rising tides: Searching for enduring reform to the National Flood Insurance Program in today's politics." By Austin Johnson. Houston Law Review, Fall 2019, pp. 227-259 (Note Length).
    Examines the need to reform the current flood insurance system due to repetitive loss properties, continued development in flood plains, and debt. Analyzes how the political process and the political climate affected the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012. Considers policy issues related to stabilizing and reforming the National Flood Insurance Program through buy outs with subsidies and eminent domain.
  • "The electric grid in the digital age." By Mark P. Mills. National Review, October 28, 2019, pp. 40-42.
    Identifies the major reason for increased electricity usage since 2000 as the growing need for real-time availability for digital applications and processes. Argues the "variable" power of wind and solar sources and costs of battery storage facilities cannot handle the uninterrupted energy needs of the exploding digital economy.
  • "The trouble with 'renewables.'" By Benjamin Zycher. National Review, October 28, 2019, pp. 36-37.
    Considers the Green New Deal's support of wind and solar power. Suggests there are problems with these two power sources in terms of economy, capacity, and environmental hazards.
  • "The liquid left behind: Uncertainty about the cleanup costs and liability for water used in fracking." By James T. O'Reilly. Natural Resources & Environment, Fall 2019, pp. 42-44.
    Provides a brief description of hydraulic fracturing and its by-products. Considers issues related to liability in the disposal of wastewater and solid waste from fracking, including orphaned and abandoned wells, property ownership and leases, and seismic activity. Mentions the upcoming United States Supreme Court decision in County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund, regarding water pollution conveyed from a point source to navigable waters by a nonpoint source, such as groundwater.
  • "You're fired." By Jill Lepore. New Yorker, October 28, 2019, pp. 26-31.
    Explores the origins of impeachment in British history, the inclusion in the United States Constitution, and its application in the eighteen impeachment trials held by the United States Senate. Suggests impeachment is a "political experiment" and each "reinvents what impeachment is for, and what it means."
  • "Driving electric: Utilities break into the transportation industry." By Susan Partain. Public Power, September/October 2019, pp. 14-23.
    Considers how public utilities are adapting to the transportation industry's potential increase in the use of electricity for fuel.
  • "Enhancing regulatory commissions' ability to fight climate change: Potential legislative enablements." By David Boonin. Public Utilities Fortnightly, October 2019, pp. 66-68.
    Discusses possible legislative measures that could make regulators and utilities more effective in combatting climate change.
  • "Texas cancer agency seeks new vote of approval." By Jocelyn Kaiser. Science, October 18, 2019, p. 294.
    Discusses the maximum bond amount authorized for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas [CPRIT] if voters approve Proposition 6 in the upcoming constitutional amendments election.
  • "Potential E-Verify deal would give legal status to farmworkers." By Tim Henderson. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), October 24, 2019, pp. 1-6.
    Considers whether congressional Democrats can broker a deal with Republicans to grant legal status to farmworkers currently in the country illegally in exchange for mandatory checks for legal status of all future hires. Points out the variation in job screening for illegal immigration with E-Verify — 94 percent in Georgia compared to 32 percent in Texas during the period ending June 2017.
  • "Texas agriculture needs China trade war resolved." By Russell Boening. Texas Agriculture, October 4, 2019,
    p. 2.
    Addresses the harmful effects the trade war with China is having on Texas farmers and agriculture. States that without a robust trade environment, net farm income in Texas will continue to decline.
  • "Street fight." By Christopher Hooks. Texas Monthly, November 2019, pp. 54-62.
    Discusses the recent Austin City Council decision to decriminalize homelessness, including changes to ordinances related to sleeping, camping, and panhandling in public spaces. Provides background on the origin of the 1996 anti-camping ordinance, reactions to its recent reversal, and complications to decreasing homelessness including rising housing costs and local government revenue caps instituted by SB2, 86th Legislature.
  • "Prop. 5 would provide needed park funding." Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine, November 2019, pp. 10-11.
    Summarizes Proposition 5 in the upcoming constitutional amendments election. Explains its passage would dedicate sales tax revenue from the sale of sporting goods to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission.

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.

Interim Hearings – Week of November 4

Today's Committee Meetings on the LRL website is a calendar of interim committee hearings with links to agendas. Below are resources related to upcoming Interim Hearings.


November 4

House Committee on Redistricting (Corpus Christi) 

Topic: 2021 legislative redistricting process and 2020 Census data


November 7

House Select Committee on Mass Violence Prevention & Community Safety (Odessa)

Invited testimony from individuals and families directly impacted by the mass violence that occurred in Midland/Odessa on August 31, 2019, and on the implementation of Executive Orders issued by Governor Abbott on September 5, 2019.


(1) Examine options for strengthening enforcement measures for current laws that prevent the transfer of firearms to felons and other persons prohibited by current law from possessing firearms 

(2) Examine impediments and challenges to the timely reporting of relevant criminal history information and other threat indicators to state and federal databases


(3) Examine the role of digital media and technology in threat detection, assessment, reporting, and prevention, including the collaboration between digital media and law enforcement

(4) Evaluate the ongoing and long-term workforce needs of the state related to cybersecurity, mental health, law enforcement, and related professionals 


(5) Evaluate current protocols and extreme risk indicators used to identify potential threats and consider options for improving the dissemination of information between federal, state, and local entities and timely and appropriate intervention of mental health professionals 

Capitol Spirits, 2019

Leading up to Halloween each year, we gather stories of supernatural and strange happenings in the Lone Star State. Below you'll find tales of hauntings by a madam, a governor, star-crossed lovers, outlaws, pirates, and soldiers. You can find these and more stories on our Capitol Spirits Pinterest board

From the Legislative Reference Library, we hope you have a fun and safe Halloween!!

Blanche DuMont

Austin's warehouse district serves up a front-row seat to lively entertainment, much as the area did in the late 1800s as the epicenter of Austin's red light district (Guy Town). Blanche DuMont, a well-known madam, owned a building at 211 W. 4th. Perhaps Blanche had so much fun, she didn't want to leave. She frequents the dance floor at Oilcan Harry's, the bar currently occupying her old address, and she's thought to be the presence down the street at her namesake bar, DuMont's Down Low.


Governor Pendleton Murrah

Governor Pendleton Murrah had a difficult life. Inaugurated in November 1863 in the midst of the Civil War, he faced this arduous situation while battling tuberculosis and handling the suicide of a young visitor to the Governor's Mansion. When the war ended, he fled to Mexico with Confederate troops, dying shortly after arrival. With so many trials and tribulations, perhaps his ghost, who is seen inside and outside the Governor's Mansion, is in search of a resolution to his misfortunes.



Waco's Cameron Park

Looking for a target-rich environment to do a little ghost hunting? You could not do better than Waco's Cameron Park. Look for the outlaws of Lindsey Hollow and the star-crossed lovers at the top of Lover's Leap. Partake of the haunting atmosphere of the Witch's Castle, Jacob's Ladder, and the Motorcycle Pits. Your roadmap is at "The Haunting of Cameron Park," by Terri Jo Ryan. 


John Wilkes Booth's Trip to Granbury

John St. Helen was well-known in Granbury in the 1870s as a bartender in town who occasionally acted in productions at the Granbury Opera House. Is his ghost the man seen in the lobby wearing a  white shirt, black pants, and tall boots, or the presence who folds down a seat in the balcony? And was John St. Helen really President Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth? Recent research indicates this might not be such a far-fetched idea. [Photo by Kairos14; CC BY-SA 3.0; Wikipedia Commons]    


Jean Lafitte's Treasure

Jean Laffite, the infamous pirate, plundered ships in the Gulf of Mexico and many think he left some of his treasure along the Texas coast. Did he bury $2 million in silver bars in the Sabine River? Native American legend speaks of his ghostly pirate band retrieving chests from a sunken vessel. Perhaps they did not get it all, but seek at your peril. Later treasure hunters report demons guard the stash.


The Confederate Soldier of Thompson's Island Bridge

What was it like for young Confederate soldiers to go off to war? Two young brothers growing up near San Marcos faced the unknown by promising each other they would return to their home when the fighting was finished—no matter what. One brother lived to return home, but the other died in the war. Perhaps the slain brother kept his promise to his sibling. Late at night you might see him on San Marcos' Thompson Island Bridge—waiting for his brother or reminding you of the evils and costs of war.


Cover image by Daniel Mingus


Current Articles & Research Resources, October 24

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

  • Read about Amazon's role in state and local elections. (Reuters, October 15, 2019)
  • Review data related to vaping-associated lung injury cases in Utah. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, October 22, 2019)
  • Consider what some states are doing to address noise pollution's effect on wildlife. (Stateline, October 22, 2019)
  • Find out where to dispose of unused prescription medications properly. (Drug Enforcement Administration, accessed October 23, 2019)

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

  • "Pocket prairies: Natural solutions to unnatural flooding." By Henry Gass. Christian Science Monitor, October 21, 2019, pp. 18-19.
    Highlights the numerous "pocket prairies" established in Houston, and nearby native prairies, the Deer Park Prairie and the Katy Prairie Conservancy. Explains their role in handling storm water and providing wildlife habitat and park space.
  • "Total state and local business taxes: State-by-state estimates for FY18." Council on State Taxation, October 17, 2019, pp. 1-25.
    Compares state and local business taxes paid in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, including business property taxes, sales and excise taxes, gross receipts taxes, corporate income and franchise taxes, unemployment insurance taxes, and pass-through business taxes. Finds Texas' business share of total state and local taxes was 62.3 percent in fiscal year 2018. Notes a majority of the increase in severance taxes occurred in Texas due to higher oil prices, and Texas had the largest dollar increase ($2.4 billion) in business property tax revenue.
  • "Eyes on the border wall." By Camila DeChalus. CQ Weekly, October 7, 2019, pp. 22-25.
    Details the technologies being used to supplement security at the Texas border with Mexico and the federal government's efforts to fund and deploy newer high-tech equipment. Addresses how eminent domain issues and Texas landowners' privacy rights are affected by the technological approaches to border security.
  • "Suffering in many languages." By Tanvi Misra and Camila DeChalus. CQ Weekly, September 30, 2019, pp. 20-25.
    Addresses the significant increase in people from India and other South Asian countries seeking asylum in the United States. Discusses the unique challenges encountered by non-Spanish-speaking migrants and the desperate measures they take for assistance.
  • "Self-driving cars: Autonomous ways." Economist, October 12th-18th, 2019, pp. 65-66.
    Points out China's approach to self-driving cars — heavy on infrastructure and government oversight — may surpass that of western car makers, placing the country at the forefront of an estimated $2 trillion market by 2040.
  • "Sports events pose risks for violence." By Arianna Prothero and Denisa R. Superville. Education Week, September 25, 2019, pp. 1, 14-15.
    Discusses challenges of protecting students and the public from acts of violence at school-sponsored athletic events. Focuses on school districts in Texas.
  • "The K-12 takeover: Big philanthropy's bid to privatize education." By Andrea Gabor. Harper's Magazine, November 2019, pp. 55-63,
    Looks at the influence of philanthropists on charter schools, including the Knowledge Is Power Program [KIPP], away from a "vision of teacher- and community-led schools" to centers of educational and social reform.
  • "Background checks for firearm purchases: Problem areas and recommendations to improve effectiveness." Health Affairs, October 2019, pp. 1702-1710.
    Explains why the benefits of background checks in reducing the risk of firearm violence have been seen only among those directly affected, and not at the population level. Recommends actions to remedy the design and implementation of background checks so they can better prevent violence.
  • "Linking public safety and public health data for firearm suicide prevention in Utah." By Catherine Barber, et al. Health Affairs, October 2019, pp. 1695-1701.
    Presents a case study of how firearm stakeholders, state agency representatives, legislators, and suicide researchers came together in Utah to study firearm suicide prevention and deliver actionable findings for all parties.
  • "High unintended pregnancy rate spurs efforts to ease contraceptive access." By Rita Rubin. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), October 15, 2019, pp. 1434-1436.
    Outlines approaches to improve contraceptive access that could be undertaken at the federal, state, and private industry levels, including producing an over-the-counter oral contraceptive product, permitting pharmacists to prescribe contraceptives, online resources, and addressing insurance issues.
  • "The long-term outlook for the Texas economy." By M. Ray Perryman. Perryman Report and Texas Letter, Vol. 36, No. 7, pp. 1-3, 6.
    Summarizes the latest long-term projections for the Texas economy. Considers the impact of the oil and gas sector on the state.
  • "Buying solar energy by the minute: Aligning benefits with costs." By Robert L. Borlick. Public Utilities Fortnightly, October 2019, pp. 38-40, 65.
    Focuses on the solar energy incentive programs known as Net Energy Metering. Reviews various incentives provided for residential rooftop solar photovoltaic systems in some states, including Texas.
  • "Tech giants fight digital right-to-repair bills." By Elaine S. Povich. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), October 16, 2019, pp. 1-5.
    Examines states' lack of success in passing legislation that will allow independent repair shops and consumers to gain access to manufacturers' parts, manuals, and schematics for cellphones.
  • "Legislative summary: 86th Texas legislative session." Texas Board of Nursing Bulletin, October 2019, pp. 6-8.
    Provides summaries of bills affecting the nursing profession.
  • "Vote for CPRIT." By Sean Price. Texas Medicine, October 2019, pp. 18-23.
    Highlights the achievements and contributions of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas [CPRIT]. Urges support of the constitutional amendment to extend CPRIT's funding.

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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