Research by Cody Allen
Policy Analysis | March 2020
All information presented is current as of April 2, 2020.
Session adjourned indefinitely.
U.S. Senate Republican Runoff Election moved from March 31 to July 14.
General Assembly still scheduled to convene on April 8. Interim committee hearings and meetings have been cancelled through March 20 and will be reevaluated weekly. General Primary Runoff Elections are scheduled for March 31, no announced postponement.
The General Assembly convened for a special session on Thursday, March 26. The session is limited to a single bill that would transfer $173 million in surplus funds to a special COVID-19 fund. In order to follow recommended public health guidelines for “social distancing,” the session will feature a unique format. The House met at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s basketball arena to allow members and staff to adequately space out. Meanwhile, the majority of the Senate gathered in the chamber at the Capitol, with 20 members evenly spread out on either side of the chamber, and the remaining 10 senators sitting upstairs in the gallery space. Members may designate a colleague as a proxy to vote on their behalf, if they are unable or unwilling to attend in person.
Session adjourned sine die on March 19.
Presidential Preference Primary election was held March 17, as scheduled.
The General Assembly has suspended session indefinitely.
The Presidential Preference Primary election has been delayed from March 24 until May 19. Early voting was terminated and will resume on April 27.
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.