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

  • Review election returns from the March 3 primaries. (Texas Secretary of State, accessed March 4, 2020)
  • Consider book censorship in U.S. prisons. (NPR, February 22, 2020)
  • Explore ways Southern states can look to the Netherlands for ideas to bolster resilience against recurrent floods. (Southern Legislative Conference, January 2020)
  • Read about rule changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. (AP News, March 4, 2020)


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

  • 20.03.01 / "Will the ERA cross the finish line?" By Stacy Teicher Khadaroo. Christian Science Monitor, February 24, 2020, p. 15.
    Discusses the legal situation regarding ratification by the 38th state of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) including the effect of final ratifications happening after a Congressional deadline. Considers whether the amendment is still needed and explains potential opposition to it.
  • 20.03.02 / "Students say Republicans have made it harder for them to vote in some states." By Danielle McLean. Chronicle of Higher Education, February 28, 2020, pp. 18-19.
    Examines how students at various college campuses believe they have been the victim of voter suppression attempts. Includes a discussion of Abilene Christian University students and the effect of a law passed by the Texas Legislature (HB1888, 86th Legislature) banning early voting locations that do not remain open through the entirety of early voting.
  • 20.03.03 / "Business and the next recession: Downturn, disrupted." Economist, February 22nd-28th, 2020, pp. 61-63.
    Reports the impact of the next recession will be affected by economic changes since the 2007 recession: the dominance of the digital world, the social context shift, and too much corporate debt.
  • 20.03.04 / "Church-run charter schools? Court arguments stir discussion." By Evie Blad. Education Week, February 12, 2020, pp. 6-7.
    Addresses the possibility of church-run charter schools presented during oral arguments for the United States Supreme Court case Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue on January 29, 2020, a case that challenges the barring of public tax credits for religious schools.
  • 20.03.05 / "New funding for early education: New law increases funding for Texas' youngest students." By Peggy Fikac. Fiscal Notes, February 2020, pp. 1, 3-5.
    Highlights the state's new investment in early childhood education in HB3, 86th Legislature, through the $835 million Early Education Allotment. Looks at how the new funding will assist economically disadvantaged students and pre-Kindergarten in Texas.
  • 20.03.06 / "Health policy brief: Precarious work schedules and population health." By Kristen Harknett and Daniel Schneider. Internet Resource, February 2020, pp. 1-6.
    Asserts that unstable and unpredictable work schedules are correlated with poor health outcomes for adults, challenges with child care arrangements, and behavioral problems in young children. Notes that several cities and one state have passed laws to regulate scheduling practices.
  • 20.03.07 / "When state policy makes national politics: The case of 'Obamacare' marketplace implementation." By Samuel Trachtman. Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law, February 2020, pp. 111-141. (Note length)
    Examines how state-level implementation of the Affordable Care Act can affect the national-level political implications of the law. Concludes that state legislators often implement federal law in ways that benefit their political parties more than their constituents.
  • 20.03.08 / "Rural America doesn't have to starve to death." By Nick Shaxson. Nation, March 2/9, 2020, pp. 12-17.
    Contrasts increased farming wealth in United States agribusiness with a financial "hollowing" and increased poverty of small rural farming communities. Includes the economic impact of concentrated animal feeding operations [CAFOs], also known as factory farms.
  • 20.03.09 / "Beneficial electrification test to assess benefits and costs: To achieve widespread decarbonization." By M. Sami Khawaja, et al. Public Utilities Fortnightly, February 10, 2020, pp. 24-29, 51.
    Considers using a benefit cost analysis [BCA] framework to evaluate electrification investments.
  • 20.03.10 / "Massage parlor panic." By Elizabeth Nolan Brown. Reason, March 2020, pp. 17-24.
    Discusses the growing focus on human trafficking in terms of raids and stings directed at massage parlors. Argues little evidence of human trafficking has been found in these cases. Concludes these efforts become immigration stings that target Asian women, thereby doing more harm than help to these "victims."
  • 20.03.11 / "What's killing the monarchs?" By Gabriel Popkin. Scientific American, March 2020, pp. 17-24.
    Covers different theories about why the monarch butterfly population is declining and how scientists are trying to determine the cause or causes.
  • 20.03.12 / "Stop milking it, dairy farmers tell plant-based competitors." By Marsha Mercer. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), March 2, 2020, pp. 1-5.
    Discusses the debate over labeling regulations for plant-based milk and food products. Points out states that have introduced milk labeling bills.
  • 20.03.13 / "Not seeing eye to eye." By Joey Berlin. Texas Medicine, February 2020, pp. 25-27.
    Debates the legislative intent of the Texas Optometry Act (SB781, 61st Legislature, R.S.) regarding a Texas Optometry Board rule preventing physicians from employing optometrists while leasing their office space from an optician.
  • 20.03.14 / "Preserving 'do no harm'." By Joey Berlin. Texas Medicine, February 2020, pp. 22-23.
    Summarizes the judicial history of Kelly v. Houston Methodist Hospital, which is attempting to overturn a provision of the Texas Advance Directives Act (SB1260, 76th Legislature).
  • 20.03.15 / "The changing landscape of the Texas Citizens Participation Act." By Laura Lee Prather and Robert T. Sherwin. Texas Tech Law Review, Winter 2020, pp. 163-198. (Note length)
    Discusses how HB2730, 86th Legislature, amended the Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA), which allows defendants the ability to file a motion to dismiss a legal action, including a SLAPP [Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation] suit, if it is based on the right of free speech, right to petition, or right of association. Examines how these changes will affect pending issues within Texas courts of appeals, including awarding sanctions and the TCPA's applicability to trade secret cases, attorney discipline cases, and employment disputes. Identifies remaining open questions related to pre-suit requests for discovery and the new definitions of "matter of public concern" and "right of association."
  • 20.03.16 / "Battle for the ballot." By Vera Bergengruen. Time, March 2/9, 2020, p. 76.
    Reports that this year, 29 states have introduced legislation that will expand voting rights while 15 states have filed bills making it harder to vote. Includes discussion of voter registration in Texas.



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