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Current Articles & Research Resources, July 30

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

  • Examine the fiscal impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the states' budgets. (The Council of State Governments, July 2020)
  • Consider how protective face masks affect the accuracy of face recognition technology. (National Institute of Standards and Technology, July 2020)
  • Find out which state laws specifically addressing children left in cars unattended. (National Conference of State Legislatures, July 20, 2020)
  • Review recent guidance on reopening schools. (Texas Education Agency, updated July 28, 2020)

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

  • 20.07.54 / "The coronavirus will make child care deserts worse and exacerbate inequality." By Rasheed Malik, et al. Center for American Progress, June 22, 2020, pp. 1-11.
    Discusses how the COVID-19 pandemic will exacerbate child care shortages for low- and middle-income communities, Black and Hispanic families, rural families, and working mothers. Includes a link to an interactive map illustrating the state of child care supply prior to the pandemic.
  • 20.07.55 / "With need rising, Medicaid is at risk for cuts." By Aviva Aron-Dine, Kyle Hayes, and Matt Broaddus. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, July 22, 2020, pp. 1-14.
    Discusses the fiscal and health care implications of rising Medicaid enrollment coinciding with state budget shortfalls of $555 billion through fiscal year 2022. Reports Texas Medicaid enrollment increased 3.5 percent between February and April, or 133,404 people.
  • 20.07.56 / "Health care access for infants and toddlers in rural areas." By Jessie Laurore, Gayane Baziyants, and Sarah Daily. Child Trends, July 2020, pp. 1-39 (Note Length).
    Analyzes data from the State of Babies Yearbook: 2020 to illustrate state-level differences in health care for infants and toddlers in rural areas, including indicators of prenatal care, infant mortality, preventive care, and preterm birth. Includes Texas data.
  • 20.07.57 / "CHAMPS report finds states struggling with foster parent recruitment." Chronicle of Social Change, July 14, 2020, p. 1.
    Highlights a new report by CHAMPS [Children Need Amazing Parents] that analyzes foster parent recruitment and retention in 42 states according to 6 drivers of effectiveness: child-centered, data-driven, leadership, collaboration and transparency, youth and parent voice, and sustainability.
  • 20.07.58 / "Care homes: No place like home." Economist, July 25th-31st, 2020, pp. 1-7.
    Discusses different models countries are exploring to improve nursing home care or help the elderly age at home.
  • 20.07.59 / "A new era of economics: Starting over again." Economist, July 25th-31st, 2020, pp. 1-8.
    Reviews the three eras of macroeconomics. Explains how the COVID-19 pandemic is changing the economic paradigm.
  • 20.07.60 / "Sales tax holidays: Politically expedient but poor tax policy (2020)." By Janelle Cammenga. Fiscal Fact (Tax Foundation), July 2020, pp. 1-18.
    Discusses the principles of sales taxation and the history of sales tax holidays. Provides details of 2020 sales tax holidays in sixteen states and a survey of state sales tax holidays from 1997 to present. Argues sales tax holidays do not promote economic growth, do not significantly increase consumer purchases, and cause tax complexity and instability.
  • 20.07.61 / "Why we should double the Pell Grant." By Shelbe Klebs. Memo (Third Way), July 20, 2020, pp. 1-11.
    Provides a brief overview of the Pell Grant and the long-term benefits that expanding the program could have for students and taxpayers. Points out several options on how Congress could double the Pell Grant.
  • 20.07.62 / "How COVID-19 will change the way we fight wildfires." By Jeanne Dorin McDowell. Smithsonian Magazine, July 7, 2020, pp. 1-5.
    Discusses the management of the first major wildfire since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Considers the challenges of fighting fires during a pandemic. Refers to the National Multi-Agency Coordinating Group's Wildland Fire Response Plans [WFRPs].
  • 20.07.63 / "States use COVID-19 relief dollars to hold down business taxes." By Sophie Quinton. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), July 27, 2020, pp. 1-3.
    Questions whether states should spend COVID-19 federal aid on their unemployment insurance trust funds to avoid business tax increases or on direct assistance to workers and local governments.


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.

Buffalo Soldier Heritage Month

Senate Bill 1457 of the 76th Regular Session (1999) designated July as Buffalo Soldiers Heritage Month in Texas. The bill, authored by Senator Royce West, coauthored by Senator Rodney Ellis, and sponsored by Representative Bob Hunter, amended Texas Government Code Section 662 by codifying Buffalo Soldiers Heritage Month. Prior to this legislation, Senator Dan Kubiak honored the Buffalo Soldiers with a Buffalo Soldier Heritage pilot program for at-risk youth with House Bill 2031, 74th Regular Session (1995). 


On July 28th, 1866, the U.S. Army Reorganization Act authorized the formation of 30 new units, including two cavalry and four infantry regiments "which shall be composed of colored men." These men became known as "Buffalo Soldiers." There is no consensus on the origin of the Buffalo Soldier name, but a common theory is that it was bestowed upon these units of African Americans soldiers by the Cheyenne Native American tribes of the area. The actual Cheyenne translation that was given was "wild buffalo."


The Ninth and 10th Cavalry and the 24th and 25th Infantry regiments were stationed at Texas forts stretching from the Panhandle to the Valley. In addition to keeping the peace on the Western frontier, Buffalo Soldiers built roads, telegraph lines, and forts, and mapped vast portions of the Texas frontier. One group worked as some of the first park rangers in national parks. Additionally, the first black graduate of West Point, Lt. Henry Flipper, served with the 10th Cavalry in West Texas. 


Images left to right: Lt. Henry O. Flipper, circa 1877, Records of the U.S. House of Representative National Archives and Records Administration; Buffalo Soldiers in the 24th Infantry at Yosemite National Park, circa 1899, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Alfred Bendiner Memorial Collection



Cover image: Formation of Black Soldiers, after Spanish-American War; Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division

Committee Resources

House Committee on Land & Resource Management

The committee has requested written submissions on the following topics. Below are resources related to those topics.


Charge 1: Conduct active oversight of all associated rulemaking and other governmental actions taken to ensure intended legislative outcome of all legislation, including HB 347, which eliminates the distinction between Tier 1 and Tier 2 counties and municipalities so that all cities are prohibited from using forced annexation. Determine if there is a need for further annexation legislation in Texas. Study how implementation of voter-approved annexation impacts the need for extraterritorial jurisdiction:

Charge 2:  Review, in coordination with the Office of Attorney General, the efficacy of the Landowner's Bill of Rights (LBoR) in explaining to landowners the eminent domain condemnation process and their rights and responsibilities under Chapter 21 of the Property Code. Identify any omitted information which can enhance the landowner's understanding of the condemnation process and determine whether any other changes should be made to the document to make it more user friendly. Determine whether it would be beneficial for the legislature to be more prescriptive in statute with the mandatory contents of the LBoR.

  • HB 1495, 80th Regular Session, Relating to a bill of rights for property owners whose property may be acquired by governmental or private entities through the use of eminent domain authority.

Charge 3:  Study property owner's rights in eminent domain to examine and make recommendations on what should and should not constitute an actual progress to ensure the right of property owners to repurchase property seized through eminent domain by a condemning entity.

Charge 4: Monitor the State Auditor's review of agencies and programs under the Committee's jurisdiction. The Chair shall seek input and periodic briefings on completed audits for the 2019 and 2020 fiscal years and bring forth pertinent issues for full Committee consideration.


Current Articles & Research Resources, July 23

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

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

  • 20.07.41 / "College in the time of coronavirus: Challenges facing American higher education." By Andrew P. Kelly and Rooney Columbus. American Enterprise Institute, July 2020, pp. 1-32 (Note Length).
    Discusses challenges institutions of higher education may face as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, including student retention during remote learning, enrollments for incoming students, revenues from auxiliary enterprises, the costs and logistics of public health responses, and adjusting operations to plan for a resurgence. Examines the potential for lasting changes to revenue streams, the number and size of traditional colleges, student preferences, the ubiquity of remote learning, and university operations.
  • 20.07.42 / "States that have expanded Medicaid are better positioned to address COVID-19 and recession." By Jesse Cross-Call and Matt Broaddus. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, July 15, 2020, pp. 1-18.
    Examines how Medicaid expansion has benefited 35 states and the District of Columbia in their responses to the COVID-19 public health emergency and related economic downturn by improving health coverage, access to health care, financial security, and health outcomes. Includes Texas state data projections for uninsured people who would gain Medicaid eligibility under expansion, including the disabled, parents, and those working in an essential or front-line industry.
  • 20.07.43 / "North Texas PPP loans by zip code." By Rebecca Ayers. Dallas Business Journal, July 17, 2020, pp. 8-10.
    Points out the areas of Dallas-Fort Worth — and the industries — that benefited the most from the United States Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Program [PPP] loans.
  • 20.07.44 / "COVID-19 and schools: Let them learn." Economist, July 18th-24th, 2020, pp. 1-3.
    Argues that keeping schools closed will do more harm than good — that the benefits of reopening schools usually outweigh the costs. Points out how schools that have restarted in-person classes have minimized the health risks.
  • 20.07.45 / "Assessing the state of police reform." By Kenny Lo. Fact Sheet (Center for American Progress), July 16, 2020, pp. 1-5.
    Highlights how state and local governments have taken action in response to recent calls for police reform, including efforts to increase police transparency and accountability, overhaul harmful police policies and practices, and prioritize community-based solutions to public safety.
  • 20.07.46 / "State forecasts indicate $121 billion 2-year tax revenue losses compared to FY 2019." By Jared Walczak. Fiscal Fact (Tax Foundation), July 2020, pp. 1-8.
    Finds an estimated $121 billion decline in state tax collections in fiscal years 2020 and 2021, and discusses the general scope of revenue losses across the states.
  • 20.07.47 / "How to define a plague." By Sonia Shah. Nation, July 27/August 3, 2020, pp. 12-15.
    Examines the principles of germ theory and how infectious diseases and pathogens are characterized, from cholera and Spanish flu to Ebola and HIV. Discusses the implications for disease preparedness and response.
  • 20.07.48 / "How states are ramping up their COVID-19 contact tracing capacity." By Megan Lent, Elinor Higgins, and Jill Rosenthal. National Academy for State Health Policy, June 8, 2020, pp. 1-4.
    Highlights state approaches to contact tracing during the COVID-19 pandemic, including keeping contact tracing in-house by increasing health department staff, partnering with third-parties, and contracting completely with third-parties. Includes discussion of how states are funding contact tracing and a link to an interactive map highlighting each state's model, approach, workforce and training, technology, and funding.
  • 20.07.49 / "Which taxes pay for which state and local employees?" By Stan Veuger and Daniel Shoag. Policy Brief (Mercatus Center, George Mason University), July 1, 2020, pp. 1-13.
    Illustrates how funding for four large categories of state and local government employees varies from state to state. Explains that the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on state and local government functions will vary widely based on the organization of the states’ revenue structures.
  • 20.07.50 / "Promising approaches to workforce development in Texas." By David Bass and Erin Davis Valdez. Policy Brief (Texas Public Policy Foundation), July 2020, pp. 1-20.
    Explores the current landscape of workforce development and welfare-to-work programs aimed at helping the disadvantaged find employment. Profiles examples of private welfare-to-work programs that demonstrate promising approaches to helping welfare-dependent Texans and those in poverty.
  • 20.07.51 / "When should force be used to protect public health?" By Jacob Sullum. Reason, July 2020, pp. 18-22.
    Explores the government's role in protecting citizens from communicable diseases, including previous judicial interpretations. Compares the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention policies on vaping with the efforts to control COVID-19. Argues that limited testing and other uncertainties about COVID-19 did not provide the government with sufficient information to make valid decisions on lockdowns and other policies.
  • 20.07.52 / "Driven by debt: Houston." Texas Appleseed, July 2020, pp. 1-16.
    Discusses the debt implications of the nearly 550,000 holds placed on driver's licenses in Houston courts due to traffic tickets and misdemeanor fines. Advocates removing this barrier to employment, particularly during the unemployment and economic crisis caused by COVID-19.
  • 20.07.53 / "Telehealth could be great, if Texans had access to it." By Isabela Dias. Texas Observer, July 16, 2020, pp. 1-7.
    Examines why so many Texans do not have access to telehealth services. Address the lack of broadband infrastructure in Texas and the legal barriers preventing local governments from offering broadband services to residents.


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.

First Lady Frances Cox Henderson Bicentennial Day

During the 86th Regular Session (2019), Senator Judith Zaffirini authored Senate Resolution 163 designating July 21, 2020, as First Lady Frances Cox Henderson Bicentennial Day in Texas.


Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on July 21, 1820, Frances learned to speak at least eighteen languages, excelled in math, became an accomplished musician, and wrote and translated short stories. She met James Pinckney Henderson in Paris while he was serving as envoy to Great Britain and France from the Republic of Texas. They married in London, England, in 1839. Upon returning to Texas, Frances studied to become well versed in law in order to carry on her husband's law practice when he was away on state business.


She became the first First Lady of Texas when her husband was elected the first Governor of the State of Texas, serving from 1846 to 1847. One of her contributions to Texas was to establish Episcopal churches in San Augustine, Rusk, Palestine, Marshall, and Nacogdoches. It was during her work with the church that she became the first woman to address the clergy of the diocese in 1855. In 1857, J. Pinckney Henderson was appointed to fill the seat of United States Senator Thomas J. Rusk, taking the Henderson family to Washington D.C.


Following her husband's death in 1858, Frances moved to New Jersey, where she spent her remaining years as a community leader. She died in her daughter’s home on January 25, 1897, and is buried in East Orange, New Jersey. Frances' contributions to Texas are recognized with a memorial marker on the back of her husband's headstone in the Texas State Cemetery.


Senate Resolution 163 encourages all Texans to honor the memory of the Lone Star State’s first First Lady, Frances Cox Henderson.


Photograph of Frances Cox Henderson courtesy of

Current Articles & Research Resources, July 16

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

  • Review statistics related to contact sports-related traumatic brain injuries in children. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, July 10, 2020)
  • Explore how addiction maintenance could stem the negative consequences of America's opioid epidemic. (Cato Institute, June 29, 2020)
  • Read about slowing the spread of COVID-19 infections. (Human Events, July 14, 2020)
  • Consider public views about social distancing and mask wearing. (Gallup, July 6, 2020)

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

  • 20.07.30 / "Failed reopenings highlight urgent need to build on federal fiscal support for households and states." By Chye-Ching Huang and Chuck Marr. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, July 9, 2020, pp. 1-20.
    Discusses the recent COVID-19 resurgence in states that have reopened economic activity. Argues for additional federal aid to states, localities, households, and the economy, particularly after unemployment benefits in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security [CARES] Act expire. Mentions Texas.
  • 20.07.31 / "Juvenile detention: Fewer coming in or out as pandemic continues." By John Kelly. Chronicle of Social Change, July 9, 2020, pp. 1-4.
    Examines recent trends in juvenile detention facilities, summarizing research by the Annie E. Casey Foundation from a survey of jurisdictions in 33 states. Finds a decline in juvenile offender populations in March and April 2020.
  • 20.07.32 / "Senate bill would send billions to states for child welfare services." Chronicle of Social Change, July 6, 2020, pp. 1-2.
    Highlights the proposed Child Welfare Emergency Assistance Act to support state child welfare agencies ahead of coronavirus-related state budget cuts. Notes the bill would provide over $2 billion for kinship care and foster care support services and temporarily suspend the ban on federal funds for youth over age 21 in extended foster care.
  • 20.07.33 / "For foster kids, a step in the right direction." by Naomi Schaefer Riley. City Journal (Manhattan Institute), July 9, 2020, pp. 1-3.
    Discusses a new executive order by President Donald Trump that requires more vigorous data collection for identifying families most likely to take in children in foster care.
  • 20.07.34 / "State tax changes effective July 1, 2020." By Katherine Loughead. Fiscal Fact (Tax Foundation), July 2020, pp. 1-7.
    Summarizes state tax policy changes effective July 1 in the areas of sales and use taxes; cigarette, vapor, and marijuana taxes; transportation taxes and user fees; and miscellaneous excise taxes.
  • 20.07.35 / "Growing COVID-19 hotspots in the U.S. South and West will likely widen disparities for peoople of color." By Samantha Artiga, et al. Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, July 10, 2020, pp. 1-3.
    Highlights the recent increase in COVID-19 outbreaks in 23 states in the South and West and how this increase will exacerbate the effects of the disease for people of color. Points out nearly two-thirds of people of color and seven in ten Hispanic individuals in the United States live within these states.
  • 20.07.36 / "COVID-19 outbreak among college students after a spring break trip to Mexico — Austin, Texas, March 26-April 5, 2020." By Megan Lewis, et al. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), July 3, 2020, pp. 830-835.
    Examines the investigation and public health response related to an outbreak of COVID-19 among University of Texas at Austin students. Argues contact tracing and the coordinated effort between the University and Austin Public Health contributed to controlling the outbreak.
  • 20.07.37 / "Budgets in a sorry state." By Bryce Covert. Nation, July 27/August 3, 2020, p. 5.
    Highlights the budget pressures on states as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the effect on the public sector, including fire departments, emergency services, and public schools. Notes estimates by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities show billions of dollars in shortfalls in state budgets in the next two fiscal years.
  • 20.07.38 / "How working from home works out." By Nicholas Bloom. Policy Brief (Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research), June 2020, pp. 1-8.
    Highlights several policy questions for public officials and business leaders to consider for crafting effective and equitable home-based workforce policies.
  • 20.07.39 / "Buddymandering." By Walter Olson. Reason, July 2020, pp. 30-35.
    Examines efforts to reform redistricting laws in the United States that have resulted in partisan gerrymandering. Discusses components of good redistricting practices in terms of compactness, congruence, practical contiguity, and intelligibility. Proposes Congress could require a legal compactness standard that would control the most egregiously gerrymandered districts.
  • 20.07.40 / "Disaster relief for small businesses is a disaster all its own." By Veronique de Rugy. Reason, July 2020, pp. 43-47.
    Criticizes the Small Business Administration [SBA] for failing to meet its mandate to promote economic recovery for small businesses during crises, such as recent hurricanes or the COVID-19 pandemic. Provides concrete examples of inefficient procedures and poor outcomes that prevent businesses from receiving timely aid. Argues the SBA should be abolished.


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.


July 14, 2020 Primary Runoff Election Results


In March Governor Greg Abbott issued a proclamation postponing the primary runoff election and the Senate District 14 special election until July 14, 2020. The results are in and can be found on the Secretary of State's election results website.

Current Articles & Research Resources, July 9

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

  • Review which activities pose more or less risk of contracting COVID-19. (Texas Medical Association, updated July 8, 2020)
  • Explore resources related to mental health and accessing mental health services. (Texas Health and Human Services, accessed July 8, 2020)
  • Read about how genes influence the human body's responses to physical activity. (National Institutes of Health, July 2020)
  • Examine the recently adjusted economic outlook for 2020-2030. (Congressional Budget Office, July 2, 2020)

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

  • 20.07.12 / "The value of Medicaid managed care: States transition to managed care." America's Health Insurance Plans, June 2020, pp. 1-8.
    Discusses the growth of managed care, or capitated arrangements, within state Medicaid programs between federal fiscal years 2010 and 2018. Compares the percent spent on capitation payments, fee-for-services expenditures, and special payments during 2010 and 2018 by state. Considers briefly COVID-19's impact on Medicaid managed care.
  • 20.07.13 / "What's actually in the Trump executive order on child welfare." By John Kelly. Chronicle of Social Change, June 24, 2020, pp. 1-5.
    Presents an overview of the issues addressed in President Donald Trump's executive order of June 24, 2020, on the child welfare system, including kinship care, aging out of foster care, quality legal representation, data on foster families, reasonable efforts reviews, and risk assessment.
  • 20.07.14 / "It's messing with Texas." Economist, July 4th-10th, 2020, pp. 1-2.
    Discusses Governor Greg Abbott's balancing act in managing the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • 20.07.15 / "Property in America: The house wins." Economist, July 4th-10th, 2020, pp. 1-2.
    Explains why the American housing market is not experiencing the usual declines seen during recessions. Notes the rate of foreclosures looks unlikely to reach the heights hit during the 2007-2009 recession.
  • 20.07.16 / "50-state comparison: 529 education savings plans." By Adrienne Fischer, et al. Education Commission of the States, June 15, 2020, pp. 1-5.
    Compares states' policies and activities related to 529 education savings plans with a focus on contributions, withdrawals, and eligible expenses. Includes individual Texas state profile.
  • 20.07.17 / "Toward reopening: What will school look like this fall?" By Christopher Cleveland. Education Next, June 29, 2020, pp. 1-4.
    Highlights guidance plans for reopening schools safely during the COVID-19 pandemic in Arizona, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington. Focuses on a variety of areas including class size and school scheduling, finance, health screenings and masks, priority populations for in-person instruction, technology, and transportation.
  • 20.07.18 / "Finding policy responses to rising intimate partner violence during the coronavirus outbreak." By Amrutha Ramaswamy, Usha Ranji, and Alina Salganicoff. Issue Brief (Kaiser Family Foundation), June 11, 2020, pp. 1-3.
    Highlights policies and programs that consider the needs of intimate partner violence [IPV] survivors and support organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security [CARES] Act, the Heroes Act, telehealth care, and employer-based paid safe leave.
  • 20.07.19 / "America's children: Responding to the crisis now with the future in mind." By Quianta Moore and Christopher Greeley. Issue Brief (Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy), June 30, 2020, pp. 1-8.
    Offers recommendations for policies and practices that would bolster family well-being during stable economic and societal times. Suggests the incorporation of a disaster-readiness plan to mitigate potential harm to families, including the negative impact on child brain development and parental stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • 20.07.20 / "After COVID-19: Thinking differently about running the health care system." By Stuart M. Butler. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), June 23/30, 2020, pp. 2450-2451.
    Highlights several strategies that should continue to be employed in running the health care system after the COVID-19 pandemic, including using waivers to boost federalism, reconsidering the role of hospitals and other institutions as hubs for care, expanding the use of telehealth, and bringing together funds from multiple programs to improve the delivery of health care and health-related services.
  • 20.07.21 / "The path to better policing." By Robert VerBruggen. National Review, July 6, 2020, pp. 15-17.
    Explores specific reforms at the federal, state, and local levels that could improve policing. Highlights more effective crime-fighting strategies that could lead to improved safety in communities. Suggests supporting, but also holding accountable, all police officers.
  • 20.07.22 / "The politicization of disaster relief." By Steven Horwitz and E. Frank Stephenson. Regulation (CATO Institute), Summer 2020, pp. 4-5.
    Provides a brief overview of research that finds political considerations influence the allocation of aid during crises.
  • 20.07.23 / "The highs and lows of Texas taxes." Research Report (Texas Taxpayers and Research Association), June 2020, pp. 1-4.
    Discusses the difference in individual and business tax burdens in Texas.
  • 20.07.24 / "Weathering the storm: Code, compliance, cost." By Kristin Allman. Texas Builder, July/August 2020, pp. 12-16.
    Examines the effectiveness of building codes in protecting homes from hurricane-strength winds and extreme flooding in Hurricanes Rita, Ike, and Harvey. Chronicles the history and enforcement of the International Residential Code and International Building Code in Texas.
  • 20.07.25 / "The tele-future is now." By Joey Berlin. Texas Medicine, July 2020, pp. 15-19.
    Examines the use of telemedicine by Texas doctors during the COVID-19 pandemic, including transitioning to remote visits, positive patient outcomes, and issues with technology. Discusses the coverage parity for telemedicine achieved by SB1107, 85th Legislature, R.S., and the need to make payment parity permanent in the future.
  • 20.07.26 / "Why Texas still celebrates Confederate Heroes Day." By Emily McCullar. Texas Monthly, July 3, 2020, pp. 1-4.
    Discusses the history of Confederate Heroes Day in Texas, its origins within the 63rd Regular Session (1973), and Representative Senfronia Thompson's efforts at the time to make Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday an honorary holiday (HB118, 63rd Legislature, R.S.). Highlights Representative Jarvis Johnson's recent attempt to remove the holiday from the state calendar (HB1183, 86th Legislature). Mentions Representative James White and Representative Donna Howard.
  • 20.07.27 / "How Texas lawmakers and industry and weakened citizens' rights to fight pollution." By Christopher Collins. Texas Observer, July 2, 2020, pp. 1-8.
    Details legislation that has changed the environmental permitting process in Texas in favor of industry by limiting public participation and opposition. Addresses legislation authored by Representative Geanie Morrison, Representative Kyle Kacal, and former Senator Craig Estes.
  • 20.07.28 / "Punished for being poor: The relationship between poverty and neglect in Texas." By Nikki Pressley. Texas Public Policy Foundation, June 2020, pp. 1-8.
    Examines poverty and neglect in Texas families that interact with the child welfare system. Finds 75 percent of children entering the system are victims of neglect only. Argues the statutory definition of neglect should be narrowed and families experiencing poverty should be connected with community-based services rather than be punished for economic hardship.
  • 20.07.29 / "New report confirms babies of color face severe inequities even before birth." ZERO TO THREE, June 11, 2020, pp. 1-5.
    Highlights State of Babies Yearbook: 2020, a new ZERO TO THREE report with state-by-state data and rankings on the health and well-being of America's babies, and the related brief, Maternal and Child Health Inequities Emerge Before Birth. The State of Babies Yearbook: 2020 includes a Texas state profile measuring progress on indicators of good health, strong families, and positive early learning experiences for children ages zero to three.


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, July 2

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

  • Track reopening strategies by state. (National Governors Association, accessed July 1, 2020)
  • Review an annual survey of hospitals in the United States. (American Hospital Association, updated March 2020)
  • Explore recent data and statistics related to diabetes. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020)
  • Consider national and global efforts to prevent human trafficking. (U.S. Department of State, June 2020)

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

  • 20.07.01 / "Medicaid financing: Dangers of block grants and per capita caps." By Suzanne Wikle. Center for Law and Social Policy, June 2020, pp. 1-11.
    Discusses guidance issued by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services [CMS] in January 2020 encouraging states to apply for waiver authority to implement per capita caps and block grants in Medicaid. Outlines five concerns with these potential changes to the Medicaid financing structure. Mentions Texas.
  • 20.07.02 / "State borrowing no substitute for additional direct aid to help states weather COVID downturn." By Michael Mazerov and Elizabeth McNicol. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, June 29, 2020, pp. 1-12.
    Describes why significant borrowing on the part of states, beyond short-term loans to help with cash flow, is not a viable or legally permissible strategy to close states' deep budget gaps stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. Discusses the potential implications of state borrowing on Medicaid, K-12 education, higher education, infrastructure, and unemployment insurance.
  • 20.07.03 / "Drug testing the whole family: Abilene's wide net yields record-high foster care removals." By Roxanna Asgarian. Chronicle of Social Change, June 21, 2020, p. 1.
    Examines the increased role of drug testing in foster care cases in Taylor County, Texas. Quotes Representative James Frank.
  • 20.07.04 / "7 issues facing K-12 budgets as COVID-shocked legislatures reconvene." By Daarel Burnette II. Education Week, June 10, 2020, p. 9.
    Discusses the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on school finance. Explains that state legislatures will have to address these issues in upcoming legislative sessions.
  • 20.07.05 / "The world economy needs a stimulus." By Alexander Main, Didier Jacobs, and Mark Weisbrot. Issue Brief (Center for Ecomomic and Policy Research), June 2020, pp. 1-16.
    Explains how international reserve assets known as Special Drawing Rights [SDRs] work and their potential role in containing the COVID-19 pandemic and stabilizing the world economy. Looks at the benefits of SDRs for the United States and addresses counter-arguments.
  • 20.07.06 / "A majority of workers are fearful of coronavirus infections at work, especially Black, Hispanic, and low- and middle-income workers." By Peter Dorman and Lawrence Mishel. Policy Report (Economic Policy Institute), June 16, 2020, pp. 1-7.
    Reports that vulnerable workers are not receiving extra compensation or safety protections proportionate to the risks they are being exposed to at their workplaces.
  • 20.07.07 / "The power of a clean slate." By J.J. Prescott and Sonja B. Starr. Regulation (CATO Institute), Summer 2020, pp. 28-34.
    Examines how expungement works for those who are eligible and the relationship between expungement and important outcomes such as recidivism risk and employment success. Summarizes a recent article by the authors studying expungement in Michigan.
  • 20.07.08 / "COVID-19 adds a new snag to the 2020 Census count of Native Americans." By Colleen Connolly. Smithsonian Magazine, June 23, 2020, pp. 1-7.
    Provides a brief history of how Native Americans have been undercounted since the first United States census of 1790. Points out that COVID-19 may contribute to or exacerbate an undercount of Native Americans for the 2020 Census.
  • 20.07.09 / "Community health centers excluded from federal coronavirus aid." By Michael Ollove. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), June 22, 2020, pp. 1-4.
    Reports federal funding rules exclude community health centers from receiving coronavirus-related aid even though one in five Medicaid beneficiaries and uninsured individuals receive care at community health centers.
  • 20.07.10 / "COVID-19 lawsuit immunity: When nobody is accountable, nobody is safe." By Quentin Brogdon. Texas Lawyer, June 25, 2020, pp. 1-4.
    Explains why Texas should not join the states that have granted COVID-19 liability protections to businesses, corporations, health care providers, and nursing homes.
  • 20.07.11 / "What police spending data can (and cannot) explain amid calls to defund the police." By Richard C. Auxier. Urban Wire, June 9, 2020, pp. 1-8.
    Estimates state and local government spending on police in 2017, the latest year for which comprehensive data were available.


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: LAS Additional Search Feature Added

The Legislative Archive System (LAS) advanced search has recently been updated to include sections affected as a search parameter. This new feature allows users to search for bills by an affected article or section of the Texas statutes. Currently, index to sections affected data is only available going back to the 74th Legislature (1995). Users can combine multiple search terms, such as authors, sponsors, subjects, caption keywords, etc., along with this newly added search feature.
To begin your search, select the "Sections affected" link under the "Additional searches" heading. This will cause a pop-up box to appear. From here you can select the code and the section or article you would like to use in your bill search.
Leave a message for a librarian at (512) 463-1252 if you require further assistance with this new feature.