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Current Debates in the Lone Star State

Author Brandon J. Rottinghaus

Publication Date - 12 September 2018

ISBN: 9780190855086

336 pages
7-1/2 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

Accessible, contemporary readings on key controversies and debates in Texas politics


Current Debates in the Lone Star State is an exciting new reader for introductory Texas Government courses. The selections are drawn from a variety of sources including academic journals, scholarly books, think tank white papers, and major national, state, and local news outlets. These readings shed light on the intense debates at the center of Texas politics, presenting students with multiple perspectives on the issues and helping them relate politics to their lives.

Ideal on its own or as a companion volume, Current Debates in the Lone Star State is organized in line with Inside Texas Politics, the groundbreaking and engaging Texas Government textbook also authored by Brandon J. Rottinghaus. Bundle the two and save 20%! Contact your local Oxford University Press sales representative or call 800.280.0280 for more information.


  • High-quality, accessible readings designed to introduce students to key debates in Texas politics
  • Discussion questions at the end of every selection
  • Works both as a stand-alone text or a companion volume

About the Author(s)

Brandon Rottingaus is Professor of Political Science and the holder of the Pauline Yelderman Endowed Chair at the University of Houston.


"I like the text's focus on issues. Quite honestly, I might use this as a primary text rather than a supplement." --Tom Miles, University of North Texas

"Dr. Rottinghaus seems to have compiled a very handy reader to help instructors teach Texas government in a more comprehensive way. This is a helpful companion to the textbook being used in our Texas government courses." --Patrizio Amezcua, San Jacinto College - North

"The primary strengths of Current Debates in the Lone Star State include the author's ability to grab students' attention. Rottinghaus provides valuable insight and is able to give a realistic perspective." --William Parent, San Jacinto College

Table of Contents

    Section I: What Makes Texas? Political Culture, Demographics, and Economics

    Cultural and Political Trends
    1.1 Erica Greider (2013). "Chapter 7: The Ungoverned," from Big, Hot, Cheap, and Right: What America Can Learn from the Strange Genius of Texas." New York: Public Affairs.

    1.2 T. R. Fehrenbach (1996). "Chapter 5: The Society, in The Seven Keys to Texas." New York: AN e-reads Book.

    1.3 Lana Shadwick, War on Christmas Comes to Texas School.: Breitbart (online). December 9, 2016

    2.1 Brandon Formby, Chris Essig, and Annie Daniel. 2017. "Despite Texas Miracle, Affordable Housing Difficult for Many Urban Dwellers." Texas Tribune, July 16.

    2.2 Philip Longman (2014). "Oops: The Texas Miracle That Isn't." Washington Monthly, March/April/May 2014.

    2.3 Brian Wellborn. 2017. Fiscal Notes: 2017 Legislative Wrap-Up. Office of the State Comptroller.

    3.1 Richard Parker (2014). "Chapter 2: Great Migrations, in Lone Star Nation: How Texas Will Transform America." Pegasus Books.

    3.2 Steve White, et. al. Texas Demographic Center, "Texas Migration."

    3.3 Rogelia Saenz (2016). "White Births, Migration Explain Why Texas Remains a Red State." San Antonio News Express, December 31, 2016.

    Section II: The Constitution and Power Sharing Across Governments

    The Texas Constitution
    4.1 Kiah Collier. 2016. "Texas Supreme Court Rules School Funding System is Constitutional." Texas Tribune, May 13.

    4.2 John Colyandro and Russell Withers (2017). "Education Savings Accounts are Constitutional." TribTalk, Texas Tribune, January 24.

    4.3 Dean Galaro (2015). "Protests, Photography, and the First Amendment." TribTalk, November 12.

    5.1 Edgar Walters. 2016. "Texas Argues it Can Fix Foster Care Without Judge's Oversight." Texas Tribune, November 22.

    5.2 Jim Malewitz (2015). "George P. Bush Wades into Red River Fight with Feds." The Texas Tribune, December 1, 2016.

    5.3 Aaron Rippenkroeger. 2016. "Texans Will Not Abandon Refuges in Their Hour of Need." TribTalk, October 5.

    Local Government
    6.1 Mark Pulliam (2016). "Red State, Blue Cities." City Journal Magazine,

    6.2 Matt Rinaldi (2015). "Liberty Trumps Local Control." TribTalk, March 12.

    6.3 Joel Nehlean (2016). "Who's Going to Pay for All of This" County Magazine, July 13.

    Section III: The Big Three: The Legislature, the Governor, and the Judges

    The Texas Legislature
    7.1 Jon Cassidy. 2016. "Broken By Design." City Journal Magazine.

    7.2 Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux (2016). "How Much Should State Legislators Get Paid?" FiveThirtyEight, April 7, 2016.

    7.3 Ross Ramsey (2015). "Legislative Dance Partners Stepping on Each Others's Toes." Texas Tribune, April 22.

    Governors of Texas
    8.1 Brian McCall (2009). The Power of the Texas Governor: Connally to Bush. "Chapter 10 - Conclusion." Austin: University of Texas Press.

    8.2 Greg Abbott. 2015. "Inaugural Address."

    8.3 "Value in Diversity in Appointments." (2016). San Antonio Express News Editorial, April 25, 2016.

    The Plural Executive in Texas
    9.1 R. G. Ratcliffe (2016). "The Televangelism of Ken Paxton," Texas Monthly, December 2016.

    9.2 Christopher Hooks (2014). "The Next George Bush: Can the Heir to America's Oldest Political Dynasty Save the GOP?" Politico Magazine, January 26.

    9.3 R. G. Ratcliffe (2016). "The Power Behind the Throne (Selections)," Texas Monthly, February 2017.

    The Texas Judiciary
    10.1 The State of the Texas Judiciary (2017), Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht.

    10.2 Mark P. Jones (2017). "The Selection of Judges in Texas." Baker Institute of for Public Policy.

    10.3 Ross Ramsey (2015). "Should We Take Judges Out of the Fundraising Business?" Texas Tribune, May 15.

    Section IV: Elections, Campaigns, and Political Participation

    11.1 Mark P. Jones, Renee Cross and Jim Granato, 2016. "The Texas Voter ID law and the 2016 Election: A Study of Harris County and Congressional District 23."

    11.2 Alexa Ura, 2017. "Voting Rights Battle in Pasadena Could Have Texas-Wide Legal Ramifications." Texas Tribune, July 11.

    11.3 Bryan Jones (2017). "Why Can't Texans Register to Vote Online?" TribTalk, March 6.

    11.4 Brandon Sams, "Convicted Felons Deserve the Right to Vote." The University Star

    Political Parties: Texas in Blue and Red
    12.1 Sean P. Cunningham (2010). "Introduction" in Cowboy Conservatism: Texas and the Rise of the Modern Right." Lexington: University Press of Kentucky. 1-11

    12.2 John B. Judis (2014). "Yes, Texas Could Turn Blue." New Republic, October 2014.

    12.3 Max Krochmal (2016). "Texas Democrats Must Get Back to Their Progressive Roots." TribTalk, November 21.

    12.4 Brandon Formby, Christopher Connelly, and Alexa Ura (2017). "Can Texas Republicans Hold America's Reddest Large Urban County?" Texas Tribune, January 17.

    Section V: Public Policy, Taxes, and the Budget

    Taxes and Budget
    13.1 Eva DeLuna Castro (2017). "If Needed, Rainy Day Fund is There for Texas." TribTalk, Texas Tribune, January 5.

    13.2 Alex Samuels, 2017. "Why Can't We Create a Statewide Property Tax to Fund Public Education?" Texas Tribune, August 4.

    13.3 Texas Public Policy Foundation (2017). " A Review of the 85th Texas Legislature."

    13.4 Ann Beeson (2017). "A Legislative Session Marked by Bruised Egos and Missed Opportunities." TribTalk, June 1, 2017.

    Interest Groups and Political Power in Texas
    14.1 Ross Ramsey (2016). "The Long and Winding Road to the Texas Ethics Commission." Texas Tribune, July 22, 2016.

    14.2 James Drew (2015). "State Law Allows for Lobbying Deep in the Shadows of Texas." Dallas Morning News, February 2015.

    14.3 "RIGGED: How the Texas Oil and Gas Industry Bankrolls its Own Regulators." Texans for Public Justice.

    Criminal Justice in Texas
    15.1 Christopher Connelly (2017). "What Do Exonerations Tell Us About the Death Penalty?" Texas Public Radio (KERA), January 26.

    15.2 Right on Crime. "Ten Years of Criminal Justice Reform."

    15.3 Madlin Mekelburg. 2016. "New Prison Rule Means Jailbirds Can't Tweet." April 14.

    Contemporary Public Policy Issues
    16.1 Jay Root (2016). "In Texas, Lawmakers Don't Mess With Employers of Undocumented Workers." Texas Tribune, December 14.

    16.2 Paul Workman (2016). "Outlawing Sanctuary Cities Protects Texans." TribTalk, Texas Tribune, December 8.

    16.3 Jimmy Don Aycock (2016). "Why It's So Hard to Fund Public Education in Texas." TribTalk, Texas Tribune, October 11.

    Section VI: The Future
    17.1 Richard Parker (2014). "Chapter 14: Texas and America, 2050, in Lone Star Nation: How Texas Will Transform America." New York. Pegasus Books.

    17.2 Bryan Mealer (2017). "What is the Future of the Texas Cowboy?" The Guardian, June 19, 2017.

    17.3 Aliyya Swaby. 2017. "Texas School Districts Struggle to Recruit Bilingual Certified Teachers." Texas Tribune, February 21.

    17.4 Tim Alberta (2017). "Will Hurd is the Future of the GOP." Politico Magazine, May 5, 2017.