LRL Home - Points of Interest

Current Articles & Research Resources, August 6

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

  • Consider COVID-19's impact on agriculture in the United States. (The Hill, August 4, 2020)
  • Learn how to look for signs of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM). (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, August 2020)
  • Read about how the Texas Department of State Health Services changed the way COVID-19 fatalities are counted. (Texas Department of State Health Services, July 27, 2020)
  • Review the deadline calendar for the upcoming November 3 general election. (Texas Secretary of State, accessed August 5, 2020)

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

  • 20.08.01 / "Failing grades: States' responses to COVID-19 in jails & prisons." By Emily Widra and Dylan Hayre. American Civil Liberties Union, June 25, 2020, pp. 1-20.
    Rates state responses to COVID-19 within correctional facilities based upon the availability of testing and personal protective equipment [PPE] for staff and inmates, the reduction in county jail and state prison populations, and the public availability of data on COVID-19 in the state prison system. Notes over 570 incarcerated individuals and over 50 correction staff have died of COVID-19 as of June 22, 2020.
  • 20.08.02 / "Economists weigh in on Austin's recovery prospects as pandemic lingers." By Mike Cronin. Austin Business Journal, July 31, 2020, pp. A4-A5.
    Presents the views of three prominent economists on the long-term resiliency of the Austin and Central Texas economies.
  • 20.08.03 / "As a statue falls, Texas Rangers are cast as heroes and villains." By Henry Gass. Christian Science Monitor, July 27, 2020, pp. 1-4.
    Explores the history of the Texas Rangers in the context of the current focus on racial tensions and law enforcement. Suggests the organization's 2023 bicentennial offers an opportunity to acknowledge its complicated history and move toward a more just and equitable future.
  • 20.08.04 / "Texas' international trade." By David Green and Shannon Halbrook. Fiscal Notes, June/July, 2020, pp. 1, 3-6.
    Explores the benefits of international trade for Texas, the role of energy, recent controversies over tariffs and trade agreements, and the long-term international outlook.
  • 20.08.05 / "Mental health and substance use state fact sheets." Henry J. Kaiser Foundation, July 10, 2020, pp. 1-18.
    Summarizes national data on mental health from a number of sources before and during the coronavirus pandemic. Provides links to state-level fact sheets with statistics on the prevalence of mental illness and substance use, related deaths, access to treatment, affordability, and costs of care. Includes a link to the fact sheet for Texas.
  • 20.08.06 / "Cost-of-living adjustments." National Association of State Retirement Administrators, June 2020, pp. 1-16.
    Discusses periodic cost-of-living adjustments [COLAs] in state and local government pensions, common COLA types and features, COLA costs, and recent changes. Features an appendix of COLA provisions by state, including the Texas County and District Retirement System, Employees Retirement System of Texas, Texas Municipal Retirement System, and Teacher Retirement System of Texas.
  • 20.08.07 / "COVID-19 pulls back the mask on America's prison system." By C.J. Ciaramella. Reason, August/September 2020, p. 10.
    Explains the failed attempts to control the spread of COVID-19 in prisons through policies aimed at reducing incarcerated populations. Summarizes inmate lawsuits related to this issue, including the Texas case, Valentine v. Collier, in which the United States Supreme Court ruled against inmates.
  • 20.08.08 / "What a new Supreme Court decision means for Native American sovereignty." By Nora McGreevy. Smithsonian Magazine, July 10, 2020, pp. 1-3.
    Discusses the impact of McGirt v. Oklahoma, a recent United States Supreme Court decision that found, regarding jurisdiction, "much of the eastern half of Oklahoma falls within Native American territory."
  • 20.08.09 / "Legislator profile: Texas Representative Tom Oliverson." By Suzanne Weiss. State Legislatures, July 23, 2020, pp. 1-2.
    Profiles Representative Tom Oliverson's service as a member of the Texas Legislature, commending his ability to work across party lines and learn about the nuts and bolts of policy.
  • 20.08.10 / "State court chief justices pledge reform to boost racial equality and justice in the courts." By Angela Morris. Texas Lawyer, July 30, 2020, pp. 1-2.
    Reports on a resolution by the Conference of Chief Justices and Conference of State Court Administrators which pledges action to eradicate systemic racism and make court systems fairer to people of color. Includes comments by Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht.
  • 20.08.11 / "Unforseen circumstances: Contractual obligations during a pandemic." By Rusty Adams. Tierra Grande, July 2020, pp. 26-27.
    Discusses Texas contract law and whether the “acts of God” or force majeure principles affect contractual obligations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • 20.08.12 / "Child care and feeding young children during the pandemic." By Catherine Kuhns and Gina Adams. Urban Institute Brief, July 2020, pp. 1-19.
    Points out significant gaps in the extent to which children in child care programs who were receiving meals through the Child and Adult Care Food Program [CACFP] were able to continue accessing food during the pandemic when child care programs closed. Offers recommendations to ensure that young children’s nutritional needs are met in the current crisis and to build a more resilient system moving forward.

 

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.

Primary Update: Members Not Returning, 87th Legislature

In January, we compiled a list of members not returning to the 87th Texas Legislature. An updated list that includes the results of the recent primary election is provided below. 17 members of the Texas House and 2 members of the Texas Senate will not return in 2021. To see a full list of members of the 86th Texas Legislature (2019), please go here. Note that regardless of election outcomes, all of these legislators will keep their respective seats until January 2021, unless they resign earlier.

 

Information about primary elections requiring runoffs is available on the Secretary of State's current elections page.

 

 

Lorraine Birabil Defeated in Democratic primary election, 7/14/2020
Rep. César Blanco Running for Texas Senate District 29
Rep. Dwayne Bohac Retiring
Rep. Dennis Bonnen Retiring
Anna Eastman Defeated in Democratic primary election, 7/14/2020
Rep. Jessica Farrar Resigned effective 9/30/2019
Rep. Dan Flynn Defeated in Republican primary election, 7/14/2020
Roland Gutierrez Running for Texas Senate District 19
Rep. Eric Johnson Elected Mayor of Dallas, sworn in 6/17/2019
Rep. Mike Lang Running for Hood County Commissioner
Rep. Rick Miller Retiring
Poncho Nevárez Retiring
J.D. Sheffield Defeated in Republican primary election, 7/14/2020
Rep. Jonathan Stickland Retiring
Rep. John Wray Retiring
Rep. Bill Zedler Retiring
Rep. John Zerwas Resigned 9/30/19 to take new position as Executive Vice Chancellor of Health Affairs, The University of Texas System
Sen. José Rodríguez Retiring
Kirk Watson Resigned 4/30/2020 to take new position as Founding Dean of the University of Houston's Hobby School of Public Affairs

 

Sunset Commission

During each two-year legislative cycle, the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission evaluates about 20 to 30 of the approximately 130 entities subject to Sunset review. The Texas Sunset Act provides specific criteria for reviews of occupational licensing agencies. 

 

Topics: Approval of rules; Approval of revised schedule, including postponement of certain reviews

 

 

"Sunset Review Process" graph courtesy of the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission

 

Committee Resources

The committees have requested written submissions on the following topics. Below are resources related to those topics.

 

Charge 1: Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee's jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 86th Legislature. Conduct active oversight of all associated rulemaking and other governmental actions taken to ensure intended legislative outcome of all legislation, including the following:

  • HB 1300 and HB 2321, which relate to the regulation of oyster harvesting and to cultivated oyster mariculture. Monitor the implementation of the cultivated oyster mariculture program, the implementation of increased penalties related to the regulation of oyster harvesting, and the effectiveness of these state laws as related to the protection, conservation, and sustainability of oysters in Texas coastal waters.

 

  • HB 1422, which is the Texas Historical Commission (THC) sunset legislation. Monitor the implementation and transfer of certain historical sites from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) to the THC, including any additional land acquired by the TPWD and the appropriate coordination with local entities.

 

  • SB 1511, which requires the TPWD to contract with a nonprofit organization for the operation and maintenance of the Battleship "Texas." Monitor the efforts to restore the Battleship "Texas" consistent with state law and historic preservation guidelines.

 

Charge 2: Study the impact of the Capitol Complex Master Plan and ongoing construction as it relates to the operation and management of the Texas State History Museum, specifically its visitor admissions, educational programming, exhibit space, and facility rental. Examine the connectivity of the Capitol Complex Master Plan Mall area to ensure a consistent, dynamic, and sustainable relationship with the State Preservation Board, Texas State History Museum, and Texas State Capitol in its programming and use. Evaluate the infrastructure needs of the Texas State Capitol and the Capitol Visitors Center to ensure the ongoing preservation and operational needs of the historical structures and grounds. (Joint charge with the House Committee on House Administration)  

 

Charge 3: Evaluate the status of the historical marker application process and the production of cast metal historical markers in the state as overseen by the THC. Examine options for future state historical markers, including technology such as laser etching and durable materials other than metal.

 

Charge 4: Study the effectiveness of hunter education courses with regard to hunters and firearm safety in the state. Explore additional firearm safety resources and their potential use by the TPWD to reduce accidental shootings.

 

Charge 5: Review the effectiveness of the State Historic Preservation Tax Credit on preserving historic structures and revitalizing Texas communities since the tax credit became effective. 

 

Charge 6: Monitor the State Auditor's review of agencies and programs under the Committee's jurisdiction. The Chair shall seek input and periodic briefings on completed audits for the 2019 and 2020 fiscal years and bring forth pertinent issues for full committee consideration.  

 

Charge 1: Monitor the agencies and programs under Article II and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation and riders passed by the 86th Legislature. In conducting this oversight, the Subcommittee will also specifically monitor:  

  • impact of funding and implementation of legislation related to post-permanency services for children exiting the Texas foster care system;
  • progress on construction of state hospitals and the capacity of the state hospital system to provide mental health support in all regions across Texas;

  • impact of funding to increase the base wage for attendant services and additional investments in the wage enhancement programs;

  • Medicaid cost containment efforts

 

 

Charge 3: Review the ability of hospital finance methods, including trauma funding, graduate medical education payments, and supplemental payment programs, to support all hospitals in Texas (including rural and children's hospitals), and the potential impact from state and federal budgetary changes. 

 

Charge 4: Monitor the implementation and expansion of Community-Based Care by the Department of Family and Protective Services.

 

Charge 5: Examine state investments in the health and brain development of babies and toddlers, including Early Childhood Intervention and other early childhood programs for children in the first three years. Evaluate opportunities to boost child outcomes and achieve longer-term savings.

 

Charge 6: Examine the financial impact of the multi-state opioid settlements to the state of Texas. Review the amount of money the state may receive to the state treasury under the settlements and any restrictions placed on the use of funds. Determine which programs and services provide the best opportunities for reducing opioid dependence and abuse in the state.

 

Charge 7: Monitor the use of funding for the Alternatives to Abortion program to ensure it is achieving the intended goals and providing access to all eligible recipients in a cost effective manner. Evaluate the use of additional funding provided under HHSC Rider 80, and ensure that awards to the program are made competitively, consistent with all applicable state contracting regulations, and in a manner that provides the greatest access to services. Evaluate HHSC benchmarks used to monitor performance and contract oversight of program providers.

 

Current Articles & Research Resources, July 30

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

  • Examine the fiscal impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the states' budgets. (The Council of State Governments, July 2020)
  • Consider how protective face masks affect the accuracy of face recognition technology. (National Institute of Standards and Technology, July 2020)
  • Find out which state laws specifically addressing children left in cars unattended. (National Conference of State Legislatures, July 20, 2020)
  • Review recent guidance on reopening schools. (Texas Education Agency, updated July 28, 2020)

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

  • 20.07.54 / "The coronavirus will make child care deserts worse and exacerbate inequality." By Rasheed Malik, et al. Center for American Progress, June 22, 2020, pp. 1-11.
    Discusses how the COVID-19 pandemic will exacerbate child care shortages for low- and middle-income communities, Black and Hispanic families, rural families, and working mothers. Includes a link to an interactive map illustrating the state of child care supply prior to the pandemic.
  • 20.07.55 / "With need rising, Medicaid is at risk for cuts." By Aviva Aron-Dine, Kyle Hayes, and Matt Broaddus. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, July 22, 2020, pp. 1-14.
    Discusses the fiscal and health care implications of rising Medicaid enrollment coinciding with state budget shortfalls of $555 billion through fiscal year 2022. Reports Texas Medicaid enrollment increased 3.5 percent between February and April, or 133,404 people.
  • 20.07.56 / "Health care access for infants and toddlers in rural areas." By Jessie Laurore, Gayane Baziyants, and Sarah Daily. Child Trends, July 2020, pp. 1-39 (Note Length).
    Analyzes data from the State of Babies Yearbook: 2020 to illustrate state-level differences in health care for infants and toddlers in rural areas, including indicators of prenatal care, infant mortality, preventive care, and preterm birth. Includes Texas data.
  • 20.07.57 / "CHAMPS report finds states struggling with foster parent recruitment." Chronicle of Social Change, July 14, 2020, p. 1.
    Highlights a new report by CHAMPS [Children Need Amazing Parents] that analyzes foster parent recruitment and retention in 42 states according to 6 drivers of effectiveness: child-centered, data-driven, leadership, collaboration and transparency, youth and parent voice, and sustainability.
  • 20.07.58 / "Care homes: No place like home." Economist, July 25th-31st, 2020, pp. 1-7.
    Discusses different models countries are exploring to improve nursing home care or help the elderly age at home.
  • 20.07.59 / "A new era of economics: Starting over again." Economist, July 25th-31st, 2020, pp. 1-8.
    Reviews the three eras of macroeconomics. Explains how the COVID-19 pandemic is changing the economic paradigm.
  • 20.07.60 / "Sales tax holidays: Politically expedient but poor tax policy (2020)." By Janelle Cammenga. Fiscal Fact (Tax Foundation), July 2020, pp. 1-18.
    Discusses the principles of sales taxation and the history of sales tax holidays. Provides details of 2020 sales tax holidays in sixteen states and a survey of state sales tax holidays from 1997 to present. Argues sales tax holidays do not promote economic growth, do not significantly increase consumer purchases, and cause tax complexity and instability.
  • 20.07.61 / "Why we should double the Pell Grant." By Shelbe Klebs. Memo (Third Way), July 20, 2020, pp. 1-11.
    Provides a brief overview of the Pell Grant and the long-term benefits that expanding the program could have for students and taxpayers. Points out several options on how Congress could double the Pell Grant.
  • 20.07.62 / "How COVID-19 will change the way we fight wildfires." By Jeanne Dorin McDowell. Smithsonian Magazine, July 7, 2020, pp. 1-5.
    Discusses the management of the first major wildfire since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Considers the challenges of fighting fires during a pandemic. Refers to the National Multi-Agency Coordinating Group's Wildland Fire Response Plans [WFRPs].
  • 20.07.63 / "States use COVID-19 relief dollars to hold down business taxes." By Sophie Quinton. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), July 27, 2020, pp. 1-3.
    Questions whether states should spend COVID-19 federal aid on their unemployment insurance trust funds to avoid business tax increases or on direct assistance to workers and local governments.

 

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.

Buffalo Soldier Heritage Month

Senate Bill 1457 of the 76th Regular Session (1999) designated July as Buffalo Soldiers Heritage Month in Texas. The bill, authored by Senator Royce West, coauthored by Senator Rodney Ellis, and sponsored by Representative Bob Hunter, amended Texas Government Code Section 662 by codifying Buffalo Soldiers Heritage Month. Prior to this legislation, Senator Dan Kubiak honored the Buffalo Soldiers with a Buffalo Soldier Heritage pilot program for at-risk youth with House Bill 2031, 74th Regular Session (1995). 

 

On July 28th, 1866, the U.S. Army Reorganization Act authorized the formation of 30 new units, including two cavalry and four infantry regiments "which shall be composed of colored men." These men became known as "Buffalo Soldiers." There is no consensus on the origin of the Buffalo Soldier name, but a common theory is that it was bestowed upon these units of African Americans soldiers by the Cheyenne Native American tribes of the area. The actual Cheyenne translation that was given was "wild buffalo."

 

The Ninth and 10th Cavalry and the 24th and 25th Infantry regiments were stationed at Texas forts stretching from the Panhandle to the Valley. In addition to keeping the peace on the Western frontier, Buffalo Soldiers built roads, telegraph lines, and forts, and mapped vast portions of the Texas frontier. One group worked as some of the first park rangers in national parks. Additionally, the first black graduate of West Point, Lt. Henry Flipper, served with the 10th Cavalry in West Texas. 

 
                                                           

Images left to right: Lt. Henry O. Flipper, circa 1877, Records of the U.S. House of Representative National Archives and Records Administration; Buffalo Soldiers in the 24th Infantry at Yosemite National Park, circa 1899, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Alfred Bendiner Memorial Collection

 

 

Cover image: Formation of Black Soldiers, after Spanish-American War; Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division

Committee Resources

House Committee on Land & Resource Management

The committee has requested written submissions on the following topics. Below are resources related to those topics.

 

Charge 1: Conduct active oversight of all associated rulemaking and other governmental actions taken to ensure intended legislative outcome of all legislation, including HB 347, which eliminates the distinction between Tier 1 and Tier 2 counties and municipalities so that all cities are prohibited from using forced annexation. Determine if there is a need for further annexation legislation in Texas. Study how implementation of voter-approved annexation impacts the need for extraterritorial jurisdiction:

Charge 2:  Review, in coordination with the Office of Attorney General, the efficacy of the Landowner's Bill of Rights (LBoR) in explaining to landowners the eminent domain condemnation process and their rights and responsibilities under Chapter 21 of the Property Code. Identify any omitted information which can enhance the landowner's understanding of the condemnation process and determine whether any other changes should be made to the document to make it more user friendly. Determine whether it would be beneficial for the legislature to be more prescriptive in statute with the mandatory contents of the LBoR.

  • HB 1495, 80th Regular Session, Relating to a bill of rights for property owners whose property may be acquired by governmental or private entities through the use of eminent domain authority.

Charge 3:  Study property owner's rights in eminent domain to examine and make recommendations on what should and should not constitute an actual progress to ensure the right of property owners to repurchase property seized through eminent domain by a condemning entity.

Charge 4: Monitor the State Auditor's review of agencies and programs under the Committee's jurisdiction. The Chair shall seek input and periodic briefings on completed audits for the 2019 and 2020 fiscal years and bring forth pertinent issues for full Committee consideration.

 

Current Articles & Research Resources, July 23

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.

First Lady Frances Cox Henderson Bicentennial Day

During the 86th Regular Session (2019), Senator Judith Zaffirini authored Senate Resolution 163 designating July 21, 2020, as First Lady Frances Cox Henderson Bicentennial Day in Texas.

 

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on July 21, 1820, Frances learned to speak at least eighteen languages, excelled in math, became an accomplished musician, and wrote and translated short stories. She met James Pinckney Henderson in Paris while he was serving as envoy to Great Britain and France from the Republic of Texas. They married in London, England, in 1839. Upon returning to Texas, Frances studied to become well versed in law in order to carry on her husband's law practice when he was away on state business.

 

She became the first First Lady of Texas when her husband was elected the first Governor of the State of Texas, serving from 1846 to 1847. One of her contributions to Texas was to establish Episcopal churches in San Augustine, Rusk, Palestine, Marshall, and Nacogdoches. It was during her work with the church that she became the first woman to address the clergy of the diocese in 1855. In 1857, J. Pinckney Henderson was appointed to fill the seat of United States Senator Thomas J. Rusk, taking the Henderson family to Washington D.C.

 

Following her husband's death in 1858, Frances moved to New Jersey, where she spent her remaining years as a community leader. She died in her daughter’s home on January 25, 1897, and is buried in East Orange, New Jersey. Frances' contributions to Texas are recognized with a memorial marker on the back of her husband's headstone in the Texas State Cemetery.

 

Senate Resolution 163 encourages all Texans to honor the memory of the Lone Star State’s first First Lady, Frances Cox Henderson.

 

Photograph of Frances Cox Henderson courtesy of findagrave.com.

Current Articles & Research Resources, July 16

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)

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

  • 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.

 

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.

 

More Entries