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.