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

  • Read about fraud relating to medical testing and vaccines targeting Medicare and Medicaid recipients. (AP News, March 23, 2020)
  • Review the City of Austin's stay-at-home order. (City of Austin, March 24, 2020)
  • Explore the emergency powers President Trump can exercise during a crisis. (Congressional Research Service, March 23, 2020)
  • Consider whether books are "essential" in a similar way as groceries right now. (Quartz, March 21, 2020)

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

  • 20.03.43 / "Immediate and robust policy response needed in face of grave risks to the economy." By Sharon Parrott, et al. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, March 19, 2020, pp. 1-19.
    Outlines policy proposals to mitigate the decline in economic activity during the spread of the coronavirus disease, COVID-19. Summarizes provisions in the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act of interest to states, including increased federal share of Medicaid funding, new paid sick leave, new flexibility in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and state unemployment insurance. Argues additional policy responses to address the broader economic consequences are necessary.
  • 20.03.44 / "Coronavirus: What child welfare systems need to think about." By John Kelly and Kim Hansel. Chronicle of Social Change, March 11, 2020, pp. 1-8.
    Discusses the effect of the coronavirus disease, COVID-19, on foster care and child welfare agencies, including the effects on child maltreatment investigations, nutrition, visitation and reunification, and other child welfare services.
  • 20.03.45 / "Climate change: Green Texas." Economist, March 14th-20th, 2020, pp. 20-21.
    Examines factors advancing the renewable energy boom in several oil-producing states. Questions whether the shift to greener energy will change attitudes towards climate change.
  • 20.03.46 / "Oil prices: Scorched earth." Economist, March 14th-20th, 2020, pp. 58-59.
    Considers the economic impact of an oil-price war, compounded by a viral pandemic, on shale oil and gas states, such as Texas, and on the American shale oil and gas industry.
  • 20.03.47 / "House coronavirus bill would direct billions to schools, fund remote learning." By Andrew Ujifusa. Education Week, March 23, 2020, pp. 1-2.
    Breaks down $50 billion in emergency funding proposed by the United States House of Representatives to stabilize states' education budgets in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Includes a fact sheet about the education provisions of the Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act, along with the text of the bill.
  • 20.03.48 / "Governors' top education priorities in 2020 state of the state addresses." By Brian Kelley and Erin Whinnery. Internet Resource, March 16, 2020, pp. 1-10.
    Highlights trends in public education policy accomplishments and proposals featured in 43 governors' State of the State addresses delivered in 2020.
  • 20.03.49 / "How to protect the 2020 vote from the coronavirus." By Wendy R. Weiser and Max Feldman. Internet Resource, March 16, 2020, pp. 1-10.
    Recommends strategies for conducting free, fair, accessible, and secure elections considering the new challenges to election administration as a result of the coronavirus disease, COVID-19. Offers suggestions related to polling place modification, expanded early voting, voting by mail, voter registration modification, including expanding online registration, and voter education.
  • 20.03.50 / "Paid sick leave is much less common for lower-wage workers in private industry." By Gary Claxton and Larry Levitt. Internet Resource, March 2020, pp. 1-4.
    Observes that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought attention to employers' sick leave policies. Points out that lower-wage workers are much more likely to lack access to paid sick leave, and are also more likely to be in positions requiring considerable interaction with the general public.
  • 20.03.51 / "Schooling during the COVID-19 pandemic: How emergency education savings accounts can meet the needs of every American child." By Lindsey M. Burke. Internet Resource, March 20, 2020, pp. 1-7.
    Suggests Education Savings Accounts [ESAs] could ease the transition of children learning from home as a result of the coronavirus disase, COVID-19, by providing parents resources to pay for education-related services and products. Recommends an ESA be established for each student with a prorated percentage of what each state would have spend on education.
  • 20.03.52 / "The effects of hospital consolidation in Colorado." By Jared Gaby-Biegel. Issue Brief (Center for Economic and Policy Research), March 2020, pp. 1-17.
    Examines the impact of hospital consolidation on residents across all regions of Colorado. Points out important lessons policymakers can learn from Colorado's experience when crafting future health care reforms.
  • 20.03.53 / "Discussing the ABCs of health security — antibiotic resistance, biothreats, and coronavirus" By Angel N. Desai. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), March 10, 2020, pp. 912-914.
    Interviews health security expert Dr. Tom Inglesby of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, on topics including infections disease outbreaks (highlighting COVID-19), biothreats, and government and public health infrastructure preparedness.
  • 20.03.54 / "Innovation and 'new energy'." By Mark P. Mills. National Review, March 23, 2020, pp. 39-40.
    Argues comparisons of the digital technology revolution to the potential of a clean energy "revolution" are faulty because the same scale of growth cannot be reached with the energy technology and mining capabilities available today. Explains "clean technologies" such as batteries, windmills, and solar panels would require a hugh increase in the tonnage of minerals currently extracted.
  • 20.03.55 / "How COVID-19 could impact Texas' economy and real estate markets." By James P. Gaines, et al. Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, March 16, 2020, pp. 1-2.
    Briefly discusses the possible effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on oil prices, housing markets, and commercial real estate.
  • 20.03.56 / "State legislative responses to COVID-19." By Katherine Loughead, et al. Tax Foundation, Updated March 23, 2020, p. 1.
    Tracks state responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of budet and tax policy. Includes legislative meeting and adjournment dates, possible schedule adjustments being contemplated or made in response to the pandemic, the status of the state's budget, and the state's rainy day fund [RDF] balance as a percentage of the prior year's general fund budget. Updated periodically.
  • 20.03.57 / "Oil and gas matters." By Bernard F. Clark and Ellen Conley. Texas Bar Journal, March 2020, pp. 156-158.
    Discusses the protection of oil and gas interests, first purchaser statutes, and the In re SemCrude, L.P. decisions related to the security interest of producers in bankruptcy estates. Compares the Texas First Purchaser Statute which predates SemCrude, and Oklahoma's Oil and Gas Owners' Lien Acts of 1988 and 2010. Argues Oklahoma's amended statute better protects producers' claims.
  • 20.03.58 / "The PMP requirement begins." By Joey Berlin. Texas Medicine, March 2020, pp. 29-30.
    Points out that legislation is now in effect requiring physicians to check PMP Aware, the state's prescription monitoring program, before prescribing opioids. Notes that Representative J.D. Sheffield passed HB3284, 86th Legislature, to delay the effective date of the mandate and ensure smoother integration of systems.
  • 20.03.59 / "As the first coronavirus vaccine human trials begin, manufacturer is already preparing to scale production to millions." By Alice Park. Time, March 23, 2020 pp. 1-3.
    Reports on a study of an experimental COVID-19 vaccine being conducted by Moderna Therapeutics. Notes the vaccine testing will take at least a year to complete but valuable information regarding how the immune system can combat the virus can be obtained sooner.



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.