Research by Cody Allen
Other | December 2019
As the 2020 legislative cycle approaches, legislators across the South are preparing and pre-filing legislation to address emerging and relevant policy issues in their states. With its regional focus, the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC) is uniquely positioned to identify and research current and emerging policy issues and trends. This report was prepared by Anne Roberts Brody, policy and program manager, and Roger Moore and Cody Allen, policy analysts, and provides a sampling of issues and trends that are anticipated to emerge during the 2020 legislative term. State actions referenced in this report may represent appropriate policy options for Southern lawmakers to consider and, as such, may include bills or policies originating outside the SLC region.
Policy Analysis | April 2019
Along with the more routine duties of academic and career development, school counselors also have a responsibility to assist students with personal and social development. The student-to-school counselor ratio across the South and the time allotment school counselors must spend providing direct services to students recently has drawn greater attention, as well as the need to clarify these direct services.
The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) narrows in on two best practices for states to implement regarding their school counselor programs. The first is a recommended student-to-school counselor ratio of 250-to-1. While the second is a recommendation that school counselors allocate 80 percent of their work-time to providing direct services to students and only 20 percent to non-related or administrative tasks.1
Student-to-School Counselor Ratios
In 2013 and 2017, respectively, North Carolina and Tennessee were the first states to require an 80-20 allotment for their school counselors, although neither state has yet to achieve the recommended 250‑to-1 ratio recommended by the ASCA.2
According to the ASCA and the U.S. Department of Education, based on the most recent available data, the average student-to-school counselor ratio among SLC states for the 2015-2016 school year was 411‑to-1 (slightly better than the national average of 464-to-1), with no SLC states meeting the recommended ratio. As the table illustrates, Tennessee came closest to meeting the recommended ASCA ratio.
SLC Regional Resource | March 2019
On May 14, 2018, the United States Supreme Court — via a 6-3 decision in Murphy, Governor of New Jersey v. National Collegiate Athletic Association (Murphy v. NCAA) — overturned the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), a longstanding federal prohibition on professional and amateur single-game sports wagering. The Murphy v. NCAA case was closely followed by state governments across the country, as ending the prohibition could open up an additional source of revenue. On September 5, 2017, West Virginia — joined by 20 other states — filed an amici curiae brief in support of New Jersey. Several signatories from SLC member states joined the brief, including the attorneys general of Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas, as well as the governor of Kentucky.
This SLC Regional Resource, current as of January 31, 2019, examines the status of active sports gambling laws in Mississippi and West Virginia, the two SLC states that currently authorize it. As additional data is gathered on the revenue gained from taxing sports wagering, it is anticipated many states will act during the 2019 and 2020 legislative sessions to bring this form of gaming to their states — especially those with a lottery or casino gaming infrastructure already in place.