In this weekly post, we feature helpful research tools and recent articles of interest to the legislative community.
- Review a summary of the CARES Act. (Congressional Research Service, updated March 31, 2020)
- Consider some security issues related to video-teleconferencing. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, March 30, 2020)
- Read about immigration laws enacted by the states in 2019. (National Conference of State Legislatures, March 30, 2020)
- Explore whether teachers can read books aloud online under copyright law. (EdSurge, March 30, 2020)
- 20.04.01 / "The fiscal impact of refugee resettlement: No free lunch for taxpayers." By Jason Richwine, Steven A. Camarota, and Karen Zeigler. Center for Immigration Studies, March 2020, pp. 1-7.
Discusses the final impact of refugee resettlement in the United States. Notes that the average refugee will cost the government around $60,000 to $133,000 over his or her lifetime due mainly to the low levels of education possessed upon arrival.
- 20.04.02 / "How will states and localities divide the fiscal relief in the coronavirus relief fund?" Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, March 27, 2020, pp. 1-3.
Charts the distribution of the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund by state, from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security [CARES] Act. Estimates Texas will receive $11.243 billion in total distribution, including $8.038 billion to the state and $3.205 billion to local governments with over 500,000 people.
- 20.04.03 / "Resources for supporting children's emotional well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic." By Jessica Dym Bartlett, Jessica Griffin, and Dana Thomson. Child Trends, March 19, 2020, p. 1.
Provides guidance and resources from child trauma experts at Child Trends and the Child Trauma Training Center at the University of Massachusetts on protecting children's emotional well-being during the COVID-19 public health crisis. Includes links to related resources for states and communities.
- 20.04.04 / "What happens to the rule of law if the law keeps changing?" By Henry Gass. Christian Science Monitor, March 4, 2020, p. 1.
Considers a Louisiana case, June Medical Services v. Russo, currently before the United States Supreme Court, that involves a state law almost identical to the Texas state law found unconstitutional four years ago in Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt. Explores what this means for the concept of precedent and rule of law in United States Supreme Court jurisprudence.
- 20.04.05 / "Assessing underlying state conditions and ramp-up challenges for the COVID-19 response." By Jesse C. Baumgartner, et al. Commonwealth Fund, March 25, 2020, pp. 1-4.
Compiles data related to each state's ability to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, including clinical risk factors, health system capacity, insurance coverage, and cost-related barriers to care. Argues states with less health system capacity, lower insurance coverage, and cost-related access issues may face a heightened challenge.
- 20.04.06 / "Building up the pillars of state: Rich countries try radical economic policies to counter COVID-19." Economist, March 28th-April 3rd, 2020, pp. 18-20.
Examines the qualitative changes underway in how policymakers manage the economy. Illustrates how a temporary expansion of state power during a crisis tends to become permanent.
- 20.04.07 / "School closures: Mid-term break." Economist, March 21st-27th, 2020, pp. 53-54.
Examines how the COVID-19 pandemic is interrupting children's education. Notes almost a billion children around the world have seen their schools close.
- 20.04.08 / "Student loan debt in Texas: Financial education, manageable debt keys to future economy." By Jackie Benton. Fiscal Notes, March 2020, pp. 1, 3-5.
Discusses the student loan debt crisis and possible solutions offered by Texas higher education experts, including Texas Commissioner of Higher Education Harrison Keller and Prairie View A&M University President Ruth Simmons. Provides statistics on the average debt of graduates of Texas public higher education institutions, 2012-2018.
- 20.04.09 / "Senator Booker is right about factory farming." By Spencer Case. National Review, March 19, 2020, pp. 22-24.
Highlights the Farm System Reform Act of 2019, introduced by Senator Cory Booker. Explains the bill would curtail concentrated animal-feeding operations [CAFOs], so-called factory farms. Argues these CAFOs elevate the risks of pandemics by providing breeding grounds for diseases while building antibiotic resistance through the low-level of antibiotics fed to animals. Suggests that animal cruelty should also be curtailed in these operations.
- 20.04.10 / "The underfunding of Latinx-serving school districts." By Bruce D. Baker and Robert Cotto, Jr. Phi Delta Kappan, March 2020, pp. 40-46.
Reports that non-rural school districts, where child poverty is more than 20 percent higher than surrounding districts and per-pupil spending is less than 90 percent of the area's average, are frequently in smaller cities with predominantly Latinx students. Argues for state-level redistribution of available revenue to districts with the greatest need.
- 20.04.11 / "Paying beneficiaries, not providers" By David A. Hyman and Charles Silver. Regulation (Cato Institute), Spring 2020, pp. 1-6.
Examines the case for transforming Medicare and Medicaid into a program like Social Security, a defined-contribution/cash-transfer program that gives beneficiaries, rather than health care providers, a fixed amount of money and lets them decide how to spend it.
- 20.04.12 / "Hospital readiness for COVID-19: Analysis of bed capacity and how it varies across the country." By Frederic Blavin and Diane Arnos. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, March 2020, pp. 1-7.
Summarizes data from the 2018 American Hospital Association Annual Survey related to the number of hospital beds in the United States and their occupancy. Finds significant variation in occupany across urban and rural areas and states and counties. Includes a link to an interactive county-level map of the total hospital beds and unoccupied hospital beds. Related information at: https://www.urban.org/policy-centers/health-policy-center/projects/understanding-hospital-bed-capacities-nationwide-amid-covid-19
- 20.04.13 / "10 things you need to know before drawing next year's maps." By Wendy Underhill. State Legislatures, March/April 2020, pp. 24-27.
Offers suggestions on how to prepare legislators, legislative staff, and technological resources to redraw legislative and congressional districts in 2021.
- 20.04.14 / "Congress approves economic relief plan for individuals and businesses." By Garrett Watson, et al. Tax Foundation, March 27, 2020, p. 1.
Summarizes economic stimulus provisions in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security [CARES] Act, including expanded unemployment insurance [UI], paycheck protection, recovery rebates for individual taxpayers, student loans, business provisions and payroll tax updates, and emergency loans to businesses, states, and cities.
- 20.04.15 / "Most of the counties with the largest population gains since 2010 are in Texas." United States Census Bureau, March 26, 2020, p. 1.
Provides tables and graphics related to population growth in the United States since 2010. Explains that some Texas counties have seen the most growth, outpacing other areas of the country.
- 20.04.16 / "Supporting food service and preparation workers during the COVID-19 pandemic." By Elain Waxman and Anuj Gangopadhyaya. Urban Institute Brief, March 2020, pp. 1-13.
Assesses the demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of food preparation and food service occupations and provides state-level estimates of their numbers and uninsured rates before the COVID-19 pandemic.