If you are researching legal issues related to the coronavirus
pandemic, you will definitely want to check out the comprehensive coronavirus
resource guide published by the Law Library of Congress, which provides
links to laws, regulations and executive actions in the United States at both
the federal and the state level, and in various countries. The guide is updated at least weekly and in
addition to direct links to laws and regulations, it includes Congressional
Research Service reports which provide information to Congress about the
coronavirus, law library blog posts, and articles from the Law Library of
Congress Global Legal Monitor which tracks global legal developments.
Some interesting Congressional Research Services reports listed in the Coronavirus Resource Guide include:
The guide also includes a link to a law library report on Legal Responses to Health Emergencies. Though written five years ago, the report provides useful summaries of regulations addressing health emergencies in 25 jurisdictions as well as a comparative summary and bibliography that may be useful in analyzing the level of preparedness of different countries for the current pandemic.
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) is a non-partisan agency within the Library of Congress that provides confidential and authoritative analysis on policy issues for Members of Congress and their staff. The CRS has a staff of about 600 employees including policy analysts, economists, scientists, lawyers, and librarians. Following the passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, CRS reports have been made publicly available. Currently, the official public website provides access to the in-depth “R-series” reports though the full inventory is not slated for full migration to the website until spring 2019, and there is no specified timeline for access to the agency’s shorter written products (Insight, In Focus, Legal Sidebar, etc.). Some publications in the R-series, as well as in the other CRS product series, can also be found on non-official sites including Every CRS Report, and the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) CRS Portal.
As the government shutdown continues to drag on, CRS reports can provide valuable analysis and insight. Some relevant reports include:
Past Government Shutdowns: Key Resources (updated January 2019). The report provides an “annotated list of historical documents and other resources related to several past government shutdowns. Sources for these documents and resources include the Congressional Research Service (CRS), Government Accountability Office (GAO), House and Senate Committees, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and Executive Office of the President.”
Shutdown of the Federal Government: Causes, Processes, and Effect (updated December 2018) This in-depth report covers “causes of shutdowns, including the legal framework under which they may occur; processes related to how agencies may plan for the contingency of a shutdown; effects of shutdowns, focusing especially on federal personnel and government operations; and issues related to shutdowns that may be of interest to Congress.” In case you were wondering, because of their responsibilities under the Constitution and a permanent appropriation covering congressional pay, “Members of Congress are not subject to furlough.”
Federal Funding Gaps: A Brief Overview (updated March 2018) Provides an overview and analysis of federal funding gaps, which is not synonymous with a government shutdown. “The interval during the fiscal year when appropriations for a particular project or activity are not enacted into law, either in the form of a regular appropriations act or a continuing resolution (CR), is referred to as a funding gap. Although funding gaps may occur at the start of the fiscal year, they may also occur any time a CR expires and another CR (or the regular appropriations bill) is not enacted immediately thereafter. Multiple funding gaps may occur within a fiscal year.”