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)
- 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.