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Current Articles & Research Resources, May 14

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

  • Track health trends at the state and county level related to COVID-19 cases. (The Heritage Foundation, updated May 11, 2020)
  • Consider the fate of America's meat packing industry. (Human Events, May 6, 2020)
  • Read about strategies to sustain and improve domestic manufacturing during the pandemic. (National Conference of State Legislatures, May 2020)
  • Explore the federal spending landscape. (U.S. Department of Treasury, accessed May 13, 2020)

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

  • 20.05.17 / "Charters' costly failure to launch." Advocate (Texas State Teachers Association), Spring 2020, pp. 6-7.
    Considers whether the charter school system in Texas is economically sustainable. Discusses Texas legislation on charter school funding and expansion. Highlights a recent report by the Network for Public Education.
  • 20.05.18 / "States are leveraging Medicaid to respond to COVID-19." By Jessica Schubel. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, May 7, 2020, pp. 1-14.
    Surveys recent state Medicaid initiatives to strengthen home- and community-based services [HCBS] programs and improve access to health care coverage. Discusses ways Medicaid agencies can respond to COVID-19.
  • 20.05.19 / "Misplaced benevolence." By Rafael A. Mangual. City Journal (Manhattan Institute), May 4, 2020, pp. 1-3.
    Argues "decarceration" bail reform initiatives have resulted in serious and avoidable new crimes, putting the public at risk.
  • 20.05.20 / "COVID-19 changes nursing and the nation's health-care needs." By Laura Williams-Tracy. Dallas Business Journal, May 8, 2020, pp. 12-13.
    Reports COVID-19 may resurrect public health nursing, which focuses on the health risks of a community and disease prevention. Points out the ongoing debate about the necessity of physicians to oversee the work of nurse practitioners. Includes sidebar, "States Grant Nurse Practitioners Full Practice Authority."
  • 20.05.21 / "Designing a state and local government relief package." By Jared Walczak. Fiscal Fact (Tax Foundation), May 2020, pp. 1-15.
    Discusses declining state and local tax revenue amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with fifteen to twenty percent state tax revenue losses projected by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Outlines five considerations in designing a future state and local government relief package, including spending flexibility.
  • 20.05.22 / "Young people and vote by mail: Lessons for 2020." Internet Resource, May 6, 2020, pp. 1-6.
    Considers how and why young people voted by mail in 2016. Offers insights to state and local governments looking to expand the practice in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • 20.05.23 / "The role of employer repayment programs in tackling student loan debt." By Joe Valenti. Issue Brief (AARP Public Policy Institute), May 2020, pp. 1-9.
    Discusses the basics of student loan repayment, types of employer repayment programs, and some implementation obstacles. Presents emerging approaches to workplace student loan benefits.
  • 20.05.24 / "Double jeopardy: Low wage workers at risk for health and financial implications of COVID-19." By Rachel Garfield, et al. Issue Brief (Kaiser Family Foundation), April 29, 2020, pp. 1-6.
    Analyzes the risks low-wage workers face as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the effects on their jobs, health, and financial security. Provides an appendix with the number of low-wage workers by state and by industry for each state.
  • 20.05.25 / "Privileges and immunity certification during the COVID-19 pandemic." By Mark A. Hall and David M. Studdert. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), May 6, 2020, pp. 1-5.
    Discusses the issues with COVID-19-related immunity certifications, documentation that gives individuals who have immunity to the disease certain work and social freedoms. Argues issues with testing and unproven assumptions of immunity cast doubt on the merits of certifications and additional negative consequences such as invidious discrimination and intentional infection could follow.
  • 20.05.26 / "Seasick." By Spencer Aronfeld. Texas Lawyer, May 2020, pp. 20-21.
    Examines cruise lines' liability in the age of the coronavirus pandemic. Offers recommendations for the adoption of clear and uniform protocols to prevent and contain disease outbreaks on cruise ships.
  • 20.05.27 / "A boost for behavioral health." By Sean Price. Texas Medicine, May 2020, pp. 43-45.
    Describes new mental health initiatives for children that were made possible by SB11, 86th Legislature, and the creation of the Texas Child Mental Health Care Consortium, including the Child Psychiatric Access Network [CPAN] and the Texas Child Health Access Through Telemedicine [TCHATT]. Quotes former Representative John Zerwas, M.D.
  • 20.05.28 / "Houston is not prepared for the oil bust." By Evan Mintz. Texas Monthly, May 2020, pp. 1-5.
    Discusses the negative effects the COVID-19 pandemic could have on the Houston economy. Points out Houston was already preparing for an economic downturn and continues to rely on the oil and gas industry.
  • 20.05.29 / "Texas health officials undercount COVID-19 cases by excluding some prisoners who tested positive." By Michael Barajas, Sophie Novack, and Lise Olsen. Texas Observer, May 7, 2020, pp. 1-9.
    Reports on Texas Department of State Health Services statistics related to COVID-19 cases in state prisons. Explores what the Texas Department of Criminal Justice is doing to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

 

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, May 7

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

  • Explore tax help resources related to COVID-19 pandemic relief. (Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, April 27, 2020)
  • Track business formation statistics by state. (U.S. Census Bureau, April 15, 2020)
  • Consider the role telecommuting will play even as the COVID-19 pandemic fades. (Brookings, April 6, 2020)
  • Read about decisions from Apple and Google not to allow location tracking in contact tracing apps. (Reuters, May 4, 2020)

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

  • 20.05.01 / "Will cars still be king? 'More people in less vehicles'." By Daniel Salazar. Austin Business Journal, May 1, 2020, pp. 4, 6.
    Provides an in-depth look at what an Austin commute will look like in twenty years. Considers how COVID-19 could alter the timelines for the Austin Strategic Mobility Plan.
  • 20.05.02 / "Rightsizing fed ed: Principles for reform and practical steps to move in the right direction." By Mary Clare Amselem, et al. CATO Policy Report, May 4, 2020, pp. 1-12.
    Describes federal involvement and recommends reforms in seven specific areas of education: elementary and secondary education funding, curricular standards and testing mandates, state and local planning mandates, school choice, higher education, early childhood education and care, and civil rights.
  • 20.05.03 / "Streamlining Medicaid enrollment during COVID-19 public health emergency." By Jennifer Wagner. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, April 7, 2020, pp. 1-8.
    Discusses how states can streamline Medicaid enrollment processes during the COVID-19 pandemic, to expedite health coverage for eligible individuals, particularly children, pregnant women, parents, senior citizens, and people with disabilities, and reduce the administrative burden on eligibility staff.
  • 20.05.04 / "How coronavirus will change the US, from where we live to the way we connect." By Peter Grier. Christian Science Monitor, April 28, 2020, pp. 1-6.
    Considers the changes the COVID-19 pandemic may bring to the United States. Discusses the increased role of online activities, a potential dispersion from urban areas, and the concept of patriotism expanding to honor all who serve our communities, such as health care workers and teachers.
  • 20.05.05 / "The post-pandemic university." By Allison Schrager. City Journal (Manhattan Institute), May 3, 2020, pp. 1-4.
    Reports that the COVID-19 pandemic will accelerate progress toward a more customizable and affordable system of higher education, one that includes a hybrid system of online and in-person instruction, expands consumer choice, and preserves the core functions of the university.
  • 20.05.06 / "COVID-19: Tests of reason." Economist, April 25th-May 1st, 2020, pp. 70-72.
    Explains that countries will have to build and deploy testing systems at an unprecedented scale to end their pandemic-related lockdowns safely. Notes that this scale of testing infrastructure will cost far less than the estimated $400 billion per month cost of the pandemic to the United States.
  • 20.05.07 / "The crisis in carmaking: From 60 to zero." Economist, April 25th-May 1st, 2020, pp. 60-61.
    Recommends ways to save a precarious car industry: adaptation to new health protocols for redesigning and operating assembly lines, investments in green technologies, and consolidation to pool scarce resources.
  • 20.05.08 / "A blueprint for back to school." By John Bailey and Frederick Hess. Education Next, May 4, 2020, pp. 1-15.
    Details a number of considerations that education leaders and public officials should consider while developing plans for reopening schools when the coronavirus pandemic subsides.
  • 20.05.09 / "Schools struggle to meet rising demand for food." By Corey Mitchell. Education Week, April 29, 2020, pp. 1-5.
    Examines how school meal distribution programs implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic are faring in Texas and other states. Discusses school districts in Dallas and San Antonio.
  • 20.05.10 / "A basic demographic profile of workers in frontline industries." By Hye Jin Rho, Hayley Brown, and Shawn Fremstad. Issue Brief (Center for Economic and Policy Research), April 2020, pp. 1-10.
    Documents the number of workers in six groups of frontline industries and the characteristics of the workforce in each of these industry groups. Points out these essential workers remain unprotected and undercompensated under the COVID-19 legislation passed to date.
  • 20.05.11 / "The current plague considered as a deregulatory opportunity." By Casey B. Mulligan. National Review, May 4, 2020, pp. 21-22.
    Argues the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the weaknesses of centralized planning and regulations. Explains the Right to Try Act, which grants patients access to experimental drugs and may allow for quicker development of COVID-19 treatments.
  • 20.05.12 / "What is the value of public education?" By Frederick M. Hess. National Review, May 4, 2020, pp. 28-30.
    Suggests the COVID-19 pandemic has served as a reminder of the roles schools play in providing socialization and social services, purposes not captured by test scores. Argues many schools have not met the challenge of providing appropriate distance learning to fulfill public education's mission.
  • 20.05.13 / "How health costs might change with COVID-19." By Cynthia Cox, et al. Peterson-KFF Health System Tracker, April 15, 2020, pp. 1-7.
    Discusses the higher health care costs that private health insurers and government health programs could face as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Includes factors that could increase and decrease health costs as well as special considerations for Medicare and Medicaid programs and enrollees.
  • 20.05.14 / "Six things states can do to support learning during coronavirus." State Policy Network, April 27, 2020, pp. 1-4.
    Provides policy recommendations related to public education that address the new challenges school districts, teachers, and families are facing due to school closures. Includes links to proposals by state think tanks.
  • 20.05.15 / "Blocked in the digital age: Constitutional dimensions of elected officials silencing critics on social media." By John G. Browning and Reginald A. Hirsch. Texas Bar Journal, May 2020, pp. 324-326.
    Addresses the issue of elected officials blocking or censoring critics on social media platforms. Mentions the federal lawsuit brought against Speaker of the House Dennis Bonnen by Lone Star Gun Rights activists, relating to HB357, 86th Legislature.
  • 20.05.16 / "School district tax rate compression and tax ratification elections." Texas Taxpayers and Research Association, April 2020, pp. 1-2.
    Describes school finance provisions in HB3, 86th Legislature, relating to maintenance and operations [M&O] tax rates and new requirements for voter approval of higher rates through tax ratification elections.

 

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, April 30

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

  • Find resources with infection prevention and control guidance for keeping America open. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, updated April 28, 2020)
  • Consider how population loss in rural areas could affect the COVID-19 response. (Pew Charitable Trusts, April 16, 2020)
  • Read about the latest U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding copyright issues related to statutory annotations. (National Conference of State Legislatures, April 28, 2020)
  • Review projection models of COVID-19 deaths by state or metropolitan statistical area. (The University of Texas COVID-19 Modeling Consortium, accessed April 29, 2020)

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

  • 20.04.66 / "Class actions and pending rules could change colleges' sex assault procedures." By Wendy Davis. ABA Journal: The Lawyer's Magazine, April/May 2020, pp. 18-19.
    Discusses the rescission of the Obama-era guidelines for handling sexual assault allegations. Expects legal challenges and protracted litigation against the proposed regulations offered by United States Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos from multiple groups representing victims and accused students.
  • 20.04.67 / "Waiver of governmental immunity: Agency contested case proceedings and its application to settlements." By Ron Beal. Baylor Law Review, Fall 2019, pp. 604-619.
    Discusses the waiver of governmental immunity by the State of Texas and how it affects disputed settlement agreements, including settlements that occur prior to suit. Describes related issues with legal challenges in administrative contested case proceedings, including within licensing and permitting processes. Argues that Texas A&M University-Kingsville v. Lawson should be applied to the agency contested case process.
  • 20.04.68 / "COVID-19 lays bare vulnerabilities in U.S. food security." By Olivia Chan and Jamila Taylor. Century Foundation, April 20, 2020, pp. 1-8.
    Describes populations vulnerable to food insecurity, the increased demand on food banks and food pantries as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and recent federal relief efforts to address hunger. Notes some states have already expanded access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program [SNAP] and provides additional recommendations for increasing benefits. Related information at: https://www.cbpp.org/research/food-assistance/most-states-are-easing-snap-participation-rules-and-providing-added
  • 20.04.69 / "How the $500 million Family First Transition Fund will work." By John Kelly. Chronicle of Social Change, April 13, 2020, pp. 1-3.
    Provides an update on the Family First Prevention Services Act, a major child welfare overhaul signed into law in 2018, and recent guidance from the Children's Bureau, an office of the Administration for Children and Families. Notes Texas will receive $50.3 million in transition funding to state child welfare agencies.
  • 20.04.70 / "Juvenile detention population plummeted as the pandemic spread, survey suggests." By Michael Fitzgerald. Chronicle of Social Change, April 23, 2020, pp. 1-4.
    Describes a survey of juvenile justice agencies in 30 states by the Annie E. Casey Foundation showing that the number of juveniles in pretrial detention decreased by 24 percent in March 2020. Notes juvenile offender releases increased 11 percent in the same period, as attorneys in Texas and other states pursued large-scale releases relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • 20.04.71 / "Helping foster youths in higher education: Texas programs assist vulnerable kids." By Spencer Grubbs. Fiscal Notes, April 2020, pp. 1, 3-6.
    Explores recent data on foster care youths exiting conservatorship in Texas, including permanency, family reunification, custody to relatives, adoption, or aging out. Notes students in foster care are more likely to be suspended and drop out of high school. Discusses tuition and fee waivers, transition living services, and other programs to assist former foster care youth in postsecondary education.
  • 20.04.72 / "A 'green' silver lining to an oil-patch cloud." By Jeffrey Ball. Fortune, May 2020, pp. 40-42.
    Discusses the effects the current oil crisis and the pandemic-driven economic slowdown are having on oil and gas companies, the Permian Basin, and renewable energy. Details why clean energy has become more attractive to the oil industry and its investors.
  • 20.04.73 / "Buying health for North Carolinians: Addressing nonmedical drivers of health at scale." By Zachary Wortman, Elizabeth Cuervo Tilson, and Mandy Krauthhamer Cohen. Health Affairs, April 2020, pp. 649-654.
    Discusses initiatives by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services to incorporate whole-person care into their programs in order to address nonmedical drivers of health, including food, housing, transportation, employment, and interpersonal safety. Highlights aligning financial incentives for health care providers and Medicaid health plans, the use of a screening tool to identify patients with nonmedical health needs, the implementation of a shared statewide technology platform to link a network of health care and human services organizations, and a pilot program to use Medicaid funds to reimburse human services organizations for nonmedical health services.
  • 20.04.74 / "Higher education at a virtual crossroads." By Mary Ann Cooper. Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education, April 2020, pp. 1-5.
    Discusses how COVID-19 is affecting higher education brick and mortar schools that were hesitant to embrace digital learning.
  • 20.04.75 / "Changed science writs and state habeas relief." By Valena E. Beety. Houston Law Review, Winter 2020, pp. 483-531 (Note Length).
    Examines reform related to state-level changed science writs of habeas corpus, post-conviction relief petitions based on faulty scientific evidence, in light of the 2009 National Academy of Sciences report related to improving forensic science. Includes discussion of Texas' creation of a state-level forensics oversight agency, the Texas Forensic Science Commission, and the TFSC's licensing program for forensic analysts.
  • 20.04.76 / "Waters of the United States: Timeline of definitions." By Brigit Rollins. Issue Brief (National Agricultural Law Center), April 21, 2020, pp. 1-13.
    Tracks the various changes to the definition of "waters of the United States" [WOTUS] since it was initially defined in the Clean Water Act. Notes that identifying when and where each definition of WOTUS is applicable can help bring clarity to a shifting regulatory landscape.
  • 20.04.77 / "Many health providers on brink of insolvency." By Christine Vestal and Michael Ollove. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), April 22, 2020, pp. 1-7.
    Reports many non-hospital medical businesses are at risk of failing, due to COVID-19-related restrictions imposed on elective surgeries and routine medical care. Provides a tool to compare actions states are taking to combat COVID-19.
  • 20.04.78 / "Tax policy after coronavirus: Clearing a path to economic recovery." By Scott A. Hodge, et al. Tax Foundation, April 22, 2020, pp. 1-14.
    Presents long-term and comprehensive state and federal tax policy options to encourage investment, job creation, and economic revitalization as COVID-19-related mitigation measures ease. Includes state proposals such as tax modernization toward remote workers and teleworking, modifying nexus rules for New Economy business models, repealing burdensome business taxes, fixing unemployment insurance systems, and broadening the sales tax base.
  • 20.04.79 / "State employees criticize Texas' uneven approach to worker safety amin COVID-19." By Gus Bova. Texas Observer, April 22, 2020, pp. 1-8.
    Argues the safety of state employees is being jeopardized by Texas' response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Focuses on policies within the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, and at university libraries.
  • 20.04.80 / "Truth-in-taxation: New tax rate limits." Texas Taxpayers and Research Association, April 2020, pp. 1-2.
    Discusses the new limits on property tax revenue for cities, counties, and special districts in SB2, 86th Legislature. Outlines rules for the voter-approval tax rate and de minimis rate.

 

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, April 23

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

  • Examine incarceration rates of the illegal immigrant population. (Cato Institute, April 21, 2020)
  • Read about legal actions relating to state power to restrict people's activities during the COVID-19 pandemic. (American Bar Association, April 22, 2020)
  • Explore Americans' attitudes about whether location tracking via cellphones would help limit the spread of COVID-19. (Pew Research Center, April 16, 2020)
  • Consider ways to improve your mental health. (Medline Plus, April 16, 2020)

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

  • 20.04.50 / "PPP postmortem: What worked, what needs to change according to Austin bankers." By Paul Thompson. Austin Business Journal, April 17, 2020, pp. 1-3.
    Discusses problems associated with the rollout of the United States Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Program [PPP], designed to help small businesses hurt by COVID-19. Points out changes Austin community bankers want to see from the PPP in the future.
  • 20.04.51 / "Foster parent standing and intervention in CPS [Child Protective Services] litigation: The history and the impact of Texas's 2017 amendment." By Stephen Carl. Baylor Law Review, Fall 2019, pp. 673-701 (Note length).
    Provides a history of the ability of foster parents to be involved in court proceedings related to their foster children, including the creation and subsequent revisions of the Texas Family Code related to suits affecting the parent-child relationship [SAPCR]. Argues HB1410, 85th Legislature was originally intended to give foster parents more influence to intervene in CPS litigation, but amendments to the bill actually put greater restrictions on foster parent involvement and hinder the court in determining the best interests of the child.
  • 20.04.52 / "States need significantly more fiscal relief to slow the emerging deep recession." By Elizabeth McNichol, Michael Leachman, and Joshuah Marshall. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, April 14, 2020, pp. 1-22.
    Estimates state governments may face more than $500 billion in budget shortfalls due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Argues Congress should provide additional Medicaid funding and flexible fiscal relief to states, which face increasing pressure from public health costs, unemployment insurance claims, and plummeting tax revenues.
  • 20.04.53 / "COVID-19 models vary widely. What that means for leaders under pressure." By Christa Case Bryant. Christian Science Monitor, April 9, 2020, pp. 1-8.
    Explains divergent models of the COVID-19 pandemic are due to uncertainty around key questions about this virus's behavior and the wide-ranging variations seen in mitigation measures. Suggests the scientific community and government officials can work together on developing useful models.
  • 20.04.54 / "Fairness in the age of Betsy DeVos." By Eric Kelderman. Chronicle of Higher Education, April 3, 2020, pp. 1-4.
    Highlights a lawsuit filed by Rob Armour against the United States Department of Education for refusing his application for student loan forgiveness.
  • 20.04.55 / "Families in limbo: Coronavirus hobbles reunifications from foster care." By Jeremy Loudenback and John Kelly. Chronicle of Social Change, April 16, 2020, pp. 1-11.
    Explores the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on family reunification and child welfare agencies. Discusses the emergency orders of the Supreme Court of Texas suspending foster care reunification and quotes dependency court judge Darlene Byrne.
  • 20.04.56 / "Saving small businesses?" By Allison Schrager. City Journal (Manhattan Institute), April 17, 2020, pp. 1-3.
    Suggests unprecedented government subsidies could keep many small businesses afloat, but since many small businesses were struggling before the COVID-19 pandemic, the outlook for their recovery is uncertain.
  • 20.04.57 / "The uncertain path ahead." By Evan Hoopfer. Dallas Business Journal, April 17, 2020, pp. 13-27.
    Discusses Texas Central's proposed high-speed rail route between Dallas and Houston, opposition from rural landowners, and how the coronavirus affects project financing. Points out key players and the economic impact for Ellis County.
  • 20.04.58 / "Ructions in the oil market: Upside down." Economist, April 11th-17th, 2020, pp. 53-54.
    Reports that an unprecedented plunge in demand could upend the oil industry and bring about a structural change in the consumption of crude oil.
  • 20.04.59 / "COVID-19 models: Can they tell us what we want to know?" By Josh Michaud, Jennifer Kates, and Larry Levitt. Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, April 16, 2020, pp. 1-4.
    Discusses the usefulness and the limitations of models for describing and forecasting COVID-19 and for understanding the effects of policy responses. Describes and provides links to forecast and projection models currently in use in the United States.
  • 20.04.60 / "State options to shore up revenues and improve tax codes amid pandemic." By Dylan Grundman and Meg Wiehe. Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, April 2020, pp. 1-11.
    Describes possible state tax policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of corporate income taxes, sales and consumption taxes, and local revenue options. Discusses the pandemic's disproportionate impact on people of color and low-income workers, exposing longstanding structural problems in state and local tax systems.
  • 20.04.61 / "COVID and education finance: Acting during the impending fiscal downturn." By Nathan Barret. National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, April 2020, pp. 1-6.
    Examines how charter schools may be fiscally affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Offers steps that states and charter schools can take to prepare for an economic downturn that could impact school budgets for years.
  • 20.04.62 / "State and local government contributions to statewide pension plans: FY 18." National Association of State Retirement Administrators, April 2020, pp. 1-13.
    Describes how employer contributions for state and local government pension benefits are determined and charts trends in employer contributions for fiscal years 2001 through 2018. Includes data for the Teacher Retirement System of Texas, Employees Retirement System of Texas, Texas County and District Retirement System, and Texas Municipal Retirement System.
  • 20.04.63 / "Blockbuster Railroad Commission oil hearing offers more questions than answers." By Jessica Corso. San Antonio Business Journal, April 15, 2020, pp. 1-2.
    Discusses a recent Railroad Commission of Texas meeting, wherein commissioners debated whether to cut Texas oil production in order to boost prices.
  • 20.04.64 / "Antibody tests for the coronavirus may not change everything." By Smriti Mallapaty. Scientific American, April 20, 2020, pp. 1-7.
    Explores whether antibody testing during the COVID-19 pandemic could be a key component of lifting stay-at-home orders and allowing businesses to reopen. Cautions that the presence of antibodies does not necessarily indicate immunity to the coronavirus.
  • 20.04.65 / "Is climate change denial thawing in Texas?" By Christopher Hooks. Texas Monthly, April 2020, pp. 1-7.
    Discusses recent statements by oil industry leaders and Texas Congressman Dan Crenshaw related to climate change and renewable energy. Reports how environmental issues have become a concern for many young Republicans.

 

 

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.

 

National Library Week 2020

This week, April 19-25, 2020, is National Library Week. Although many libraries, including the Legislative Reference Library, are closed to visitors to assist with controlling the transmission of COVID-19, they continue to work to bring communities up-to-date information and structure in uncertain times.

 

This year's theme is "Find Your Place at the Library."  The LRL encourages you to find your place at our library as we continue to provide virtual services, access to digital resources, and reference and research assistance via e-mail and telephone.

 

To find out more about what we do, as well as the variety of resources we provide, we invite you to explore our website or take a virtual tour of the LRL. Don't forget to follow us on Twitter and Pinterest, read our blog, or subscribe to one of the library's RSS feeds. We use these platforms to share useful information and resources not only related to Texas and the Texas Legislature but also COVID-19.

 

This year during National Library Week, let's celebrate by showing our appreciation for the many innovative ways libraries, librarians, and all library staff members are continuing to serve their communities during a time of crisis.

 

Current Articles & Research Resources, April 16

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

  • Read about ways to determine whether a person has recovered from COVID-19. (LLRX, April 12, 2020)
  • Review COVID-19 coverage from the Harvard Business Review. (Harvard Business Review, accessed April 15, 2020)
  • Find response rates to the 2020 Census by state, city, or Congressional district. (U.S. Census Bureau, accessed April 15, 2020)
  • Consider potential legal problems that could arise as a result of expanding voting by mail. (Politico, April 7, 2020)

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

  • 20.04.33 / "Labor market conditions should determine duration, size of COVID-19 relief measures." By Chad Stone and Sharon Parrott. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, April 13, 2020, pp. 1-5.
    Argues that fiscal relief to state and local governments and expanded unemployment benefits implemented in response to COVID-19 should not end on a certain calendar date, but rather when economic and employment conditions improve. Discusses federal stimulus provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security [CARES] Act.
  • 20.04.34 / "Comparing the National Outcome Measure of Healthy and Ready to Learn with other well-being and school readiness measures." By Katherine Paschall, et al. Child Trends, April 2020, pp. 1-19.
    Discusses the importance of early childhood education in kindergarten readiness. Explores the current status of a pilot school readiness measure, the Healthy and Ready to Learn [HRTL] National Outcome Measure [NOM], developed by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau under the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
  • 20.04.35 / "Prayer services during a pandemic: Why some churches stay open." By Harry Bruinius. Christian Science Monitor, April 6, 2020, pp. 1-7.
    Considers that Texas and a few other states have designated places of worship as essential services exempt from COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings. Highlights the tension between First Amendment protections of the free exercise of religion and public health measures instituted because of COVID-19.
  • 20.04.36 / "'I was horrified': For millions of borrowers, the coronavirus stimulus law offers no relief." By Danielle McLean. Chronicle of Higher Education, April 2, 2020, pp. 1-5.
    Explains that the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security [CARES] Act suspends payments only on federally held student loans and not loans that are commercially held but federally guaranteed. Discusses the plight of students with Federal Family Education Loans [FFEL] and federal Perkins loans, neither of which are covered by the CARES Act or by the two-month suspension of student loan interest and payments issued by the Trump administration.
  • 20.04.37 / "Pressing pause on mortgage payments." By Arpit Gupta. City Journal (Manhattan Institute), April 9, 2020, pp. 1-4.
    Suggests that allowing homeowners to pause principal payments on their mortgages would be a rare win-win deal in public policy, a way to help homeowners, lenders, and investors during the forthcoming period of severe economic turmoil due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • 20.04.38 / "Democracy on the ropes." By Mike Magner, Bridget Bowman, and Gopal Ratman. CQ Weekly, March 30, 2020, pp. 14-17.
    Discusses how the COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting upcoming congressional and presidential elections in Texas and the United States. Addresses concerns with expanding access to voting by mail. Quotes Senator Royce West.
  • 20.04.39 / "Unraveling a 'health crisis that led to an economic crisis'." By Rob Schneider. Dallas Business Journal, April 10, 2020, pp. 10-11.
    Presents a Q&A with economist Ray Perryman on Texas' ability to weather the economic aftermath of COVID-19 and a recession.
  • 20.04.40 / "Ghost constituents: The United States census has an inmate problem." Economist, April 11th-17th, 2020, pp. 1-2.
    Discusses the unconstitutional effects of prison-based gerrymandering, the United States Census Bureau practice of registering inmates as residents of the counties where their prisons are located, rather than the last address before their arrest. Notes several states' efforts to end this practice. Related information at: https://www.prisonersofthecensus.org/legislation.html
  • 20.04.41 / "State rainy day funds and the COVID-19 crisis." By Jared Walczak and Janelle Cammenga. Fiscal Fact (Tax Foundation), April 2020, pp. 1-11.
    Analyzes the current levels of state fiscal reserves, also known as "rainy day funds," as well as the funds as a percentage of state general fund expenditures, and states' abilities to use the funds as revenues decline during the COVID-19 crisis. Projects Texas' rainy day fund at $7.830 billion at the start of fiscal year 2020, at 12.8 percent of state general fund expenditures.
  • 20.04.42 / "Communities of color at higher risk for health and economic challenges due to COVID-19." By Samantha Artiga, Rachel Garfield, and Kendal Orgera. Issue Brief (Kaiser Family Foundation), April 7, 2020, pp. 1-7.
    Analyzes data on underlying health conditions, health coverage, health care access, and social and economic factors by race and ethnicity. Finds economic and social issues will cause communities of color to face increased financial and health risks associated with COVID-19.
  • 20.04.43 / "How much is a life worth?" By Robert VerBruggen. National Review, April 20, 2020, pp. 22-23.
    Presents concepts used in analyses of economic damages versus public health benefits in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Suggests the virus is too new for reliable data to exist, making it difficult to produce valid cost-benefit analyses.
  • 20.04.44 / "What drugs can do." By Avik Roy. National Review, April 20, 2020, pp. 21-22.
    Considers the two broad categories of drug development related to the COVID-19 pandemic: vaccines to provide immunity to the virus and drug treatments for those who already have the disease. Explains there are 104 different COVID-19 treatments currently in preclinical or clinical studies. Suggests if multiple successful drug therapies emerge, vigorous price competition may lead to more reasonably priced drugs.
  • 20.04.45 / "The cost of COVID-19: A rough estimate of the 2020 US GDP impact." By Christos A. Makridis and Jonathan S. Hartley. Policy Brief (Mercatus Center, George Mason University), April 6, 2020, pp. 1-7.
    Estimates the economic cost of the first two months spent fighting the COVID-19 pandemic will be $2.14 trillion, with the gross domestic product [GDP] growth rate declining about five percent per month for each month of partial economic shutdown.
  • 20.04.46 / "Critical care surge response strategies for the 2020 COVID-19 outbreak in the United States." By Mahshid Abir, et al. Research Report (RAND Health Care), April 2020, pp. 1-49 (Note Length).
    Identifies the components of critical care capacity and strategies for enhancing it in hospitals, including contingency capacity strategies and crisis capacity strategies. Includes policy recommendations for state, regional, and federal entities and a link to download a Microsoft Excel-based tool to estimate critical care capacity and rapidly explore strategies for increasing it.
  • 20.04.47 / "States' unemployment compensation trust funds could run out in mere weeks." By Jared Walczak. Tax Foundation, April 9, 2020, pp. 1-4.
    Describes how many weeks of unemployment benefits each state's unemployment compensation trust fund can currently cover during the COVID-19 pandemic. Finds that six states, which account for more than one-third of the United States population, can cover less than ten weeks of unemployment, including Texas, at six weeks.
  • 20.04.48 / "Subsurface tension: The conflicting laws of Texas and New Mexico over shared groundwater and New Mexico's desire for regulation." By Kameron B. Smith. Texas A&M Law Review, February 2020, pp. 453-474.
    Discusses conflicts between Texas and New Mexico related to differences in their regulation of groundwater, including the recent increase in groundwater importation to New Mexico for use in hydraulic fracturing. Considers regulations New Mexico could impose on groundwater usage and importation, but finds an interstate compact may be more effective at resolving the conflict.
  • 20.04.49 / "Gene Wu on coronavirus and the rise in hate-fueled attacks against Asian Americans." By Michael Barajas. Texas Observer, April 7, 2020, pp. 1-8.
    Interviews Representative Gene Wu on the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on Asian American communities 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.

 

Current Articles & Research Resources, April 9

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.

 

 

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.

 

**UPDATED** COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Texas Informational Resources

This post is an update of a blog post dated March 17, 2020

 

Seeking information on COVID-19 (coronavirus) and how it may affect different aspects of life in Texas? We've compiled this list of resources from various Texas leaders, agencies, and other organizations. Please use contact information on the respective organizations' websites for any questions specific to their purposes.

 

From Texas leadership:

Texas state agency resources:

From other Texas organizations:

National organizations:

And federal resources:

 

Information on this page is provided as a public service by the Legislative Reference Library. The Legislative Reference Library makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy and makes no warranty in regard to its use. Users assume all risk of reliance on the information included on this site

Current Articles & Research Resources, April 2

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)

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

 

 

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.

 

Library Update: COVID-19

In an effort to assist with controlling the transmission of COVID-19, the LRL is closed to the public. However, we are able to continue to provide many of our usual services. Librarians will continue to offer reference and research assistance via phone (512-463-1252) or email.  We will continue to produce Current Articles and the Legislative Clipping Service.

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