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

  • Search recent law enforcement legislation across all 50 states. (National Conference of State Legislatures, June 23, 2020)
  • Read about how the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act could affect poverty levels. (Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University, June 21, 2020)
  • Review statistics on heat-related deaths in the United States. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, June 19, 2020)
  • Explore law enforcement identification issues and federal legislation. (Congressional Research Service, June 23, 2020)

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

  • 20.06.48 / "Extended: A review of the current and proposed duration of 'pandemic' unemployment benefits." By Matt Weidinger. American Enterprise Institute, June 2020, pp. 1-23.
    Compares prior federal emergency unemployment benefit programs — programs that extend unemployment insurance [UI] benefits to individuals who have exhausted state benefits. Discusses the extraordinary extended benefits paid during the Great Recession, current law in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and major proposals to extend and expand these benefits.
  • 20.06.49 / "The case for boosting SNAP benefits in next major economic response package." By Dorothy Rosenbaum, Stacy Dean, and Zoë Neuberger. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Updated May 22, 2020, pp. 1-19.
    Discusses the benefits of using increases to the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program [SNAP] as an economic stimulus during the COVID-19 pandemic. Includes 50-state tables of the estimated increase by state in total SNAP benefits in fiscal years 2020 and 2021 from a 15 percent increase in maximum SNAP benefits, as well as the average monthly SNAP payment.
  • 20.06.50 / "As lockdown lingers, a rural reckoning with domestic violence." By Moira Donovan and Sara Miller Llana. Christian Science Monitor, June 15, 2020, pp. 1-7.
    Explores the increased risks of domestic violence that rural communities face because of isolation and a lack of resources. Looks at Texas and Canada as examples and notes the risks are magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic. Explains new resources such as improved telehealth may offer long-term solutions.
  • 20.06.51 / "Shaky COVID response lays bare a decadeslong crisis in government." By Linda Feldmann. Christian Science Monitor, June 15, 2020, pp. 1-10.
    Examines how the COVID-19 emergency has exposed the shortcomings in America's current, highly-politicized, complex, and decentralized system of government that encourages short-term thinking and "dysfunction in budget-setting." Suggests this is an opportunity to consider reforming government to better meet public needs.
  • 20.06.52 / "Texas failing to keep youth in foster care safe." By Roxanna Asgarian. Chronicle of Social Change, June 16, 2020, pp. 1-4.
    Discusses the June 16 report of the special monitors evaluating Texas' foster care system. Notes the report's finding that eleven children died in the care of the state between July 31, 2019 and April 30, 2020.
  • 20.06.53 / "The California business exodus: COVID-19 could accelerate relocations to DFW." By Mark Calvey. Dallas Business Journal, June 19, 2020, pp. 10-11.
    Points out California companies that are considering corporate relocation due in part to the pandemic's economic impact and to expensive state government mandates. Includes a sidebar on California legislation related to a rent moratorium for small businesses.
  • 20.06.54 / "This entrepreneur wants to change the way we handle traffic stops." By Brian Womack. Dallas Business Journal, June 16, 2020, pp. 1-2.
    Discusses the development of a smartphone application that modernizes the traffic stop process and is designed to prevent confrontational interactions between drivers and police.
  • 20.06.55 / "The pandemic and state finances: The state budget train-crash." Economist, June 20th-26th, 2020, pp. 1-4.
    Reports the collapse of state tax revenues and state rules mandating balanced budgets will result in big spending cuts to public services in the midst of a pandemic and a recession.
  • 20.06.56 / "Death by lethal instruction." By Drew M. Padley. Houston Law Review, Spring 2020, pp. 1101-1133 (Note Length).
    Examines jury instructions in capital sentencing trials, including the history of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Art. 37.071, issues with the 12-10 rule and the gag rule, and the effect on verdicts in Texas death penalty cases. Discusses recent attempts at legislative reform and the unlikeliness of a judicial solution. Mentions Representative Abel Herrero, Representative Joe Moody, Representative Armando Walle, and Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr.
  • 20.06.57 / "Austerity, subsistence, or investment: Will Congress and the president choose to bail out our children's future?" By Frank Adamson, Allison Brown, and Kevin G. Welner. National Education Policy Center, June 4, 2020, pp. 1-16.
    Argues policymakers should resist austerity and subsistence measures during the current economic crisis driven by the COVID-19 pandemic and instead provide stimulus investment in public schools.
  • 20.06.58 / "What the masks mean." By Michael Brendan Dougherty. National Review, June 22, 2020, pp. 18-19.
    Considers the various views on mask-wearing brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Discusses the daigou shoppers [surrogate shopping] phenomenon, which exhausted the mask supply early in the pandemic. Scrutinizes the role mask-shaming plays in our current American society.
  • 20.06.59 / "The once and future grid: Investing in the smart grid." By Zolaikha Strong. Public Utilities Fortnightly, June 1, 2020, pp. 1-3.
    Argues for the continuing need to invest in the electric grid. Provides several reasons explaining why this is important, including protecting employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • 20.06.60 / "Do charter schools harm traditional public schools? Years of test-score data suggest they don't." By Marcus A. Winters. Report (Manhattan Institute), June 2020, pp. 1-10.
    Examines whether competition from charter schools leads to lower student outcomes within traditional public schools.
  • 20.06.61 / "Nearly half of coronavirus spread may be traced to people without any symptoms." By Alice Park. Time, June 5, 2020, pp. 1-6.
    Details results from a study conducted by Scripps Translational Science Institute on the asymptomatic spread of COVID-19. Includes discussion of widespread testing, face masks, and findings that some asymptomatic people are presenting lung damage typical of the coronavirus infection.


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.