SLC Human Services & Public Safety Committee

Among states’ most pressing concerns are ensuring the public’s general welfare and protection, with both areas constituting increasing shares of state budgets. States have been taking the lead in health policy, welfare reform and child care, and have maintained their predominant role in the areas of public safety, corrections and sentencing. The Human Services & Public Safety Committee has a broad agenda which most typically addresses the challenges states face in the areas of human services and corrections, and policies and programs utilized to meet them. The Committee has undertaken assessments of Medicaid and reform; nursing shortages; long-term healthcare; and such corrections issues as criminal justice DNA statutes; the aging inmate population; female offenders; mental health parity in prisons, and prison staffing patterns in Southern states.

Acting Chair

Katrina Shealy

South Carolina

Vice Chair


Past Chair

(Former) Senator
Doug Overbey



Roger Moore

Roger Moore
Policy Analyst

Recent Research

SLC Regional Resource | May 8, 2018

Opioids and Organ Donations: A Tale of Two Crises

Nick Bowman, Research and Publications Associate

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At least 42,249 Americans died from opioid overdoses in 2016, a 28 percent increase from 2015, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Opioids now kill more Americans each year than guns, breast cancer or automobile accidents and have contributed to the shortening of the average U.S. life expectancy for two consecutive years. The last recorded decrease in U.S. life expectancy was in 1993, due to the AIDS epidemic. The last time life expectancy decreased in two consecutive years was in 1962 and 1963 due to an influenza outbreak.

As of early April 2018, approximately 115,000 Americans were listed on the national organ transplant registry waiting on a lifesaving organ transplant, with a new person added to the list every 10 minutes. Despite advancements in technology and surgical techniques, a large gap remains between the number of organs needed and the supply of donated organs. While 95 percent of U.S. adults support organ donation, only 54 percent have enrolled to be organ donors. Every day, an average of 95 organ transplants are performed in the United States, and an average of 20 Americans die daily waiting for a transplant. Contributing to this tragic scenario is the fact that only three in 1,000 deaths in the United States occur in a manner conducive to organ donation.

This SLC Regional Resource raises policy considerations and highlights the connections between the ongoing opioid crisis and the national shortage of organs for transplantation. Additionally, an examination of the history and process of organ donation and transplants is provided, as well as actions taken by the federal government and state governments to facilitate and promote organ donation. A discussion of how the national opioid crisis, critical to this discussion, is affecting organ transplant rates is included.

Policy Analysis | April 11, 2018

Efficacy and Adverse Effects of Medical Marijuana: An Overview

Anne Roberts Brody, Policy Analyst

State legislatures continue to grapple with the myriad issues surrounding the legalization of marijuana – both medical and recreational.  This brief summarizes the findings of several peer-reviewed studies focusing on the efficacy and outcomes of medical marijuana and CBD in the treatment of disease, the association between marijuana use and motor vehicle crashes, and the 2017 National Institute on Drug Abuse update on marijuana.  Hyperlinks have been provided to all studies referenced herein.

Cannabis and cannabidiol (CBD) are now widely used to treat or alleviate a variety of diseases and symptoms.  While often conflated, the ratio in botanical and pharmaceutical preparations determines therapeutic or psychoactive effects.  Tetrahydrocannabinoil (THC) is the cannabinoid in marijuana that produces psychoactive effects, whereas CBD is nonpsychoactive. 

Marijuana has been approved for recreational and medicinal use in a growing number of states. According to Governing, 30 states and the District of Columbia have laws broadly legalizing marijuana in some form as of January 2018.  Of those, eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana.  Twenty-two states allow for limited use of medical marijuana under certain circumstances.  Some medical marijuana laws are broader than others, with types of medical conditions that qualify for treatment varying from state to state. 

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SLC Special Series Report | December 1, 2017

Long-Term Care in the South (Part II)

Roger Moore, Policy Analyst

Download the full report (PDF)

As the nation’s population continues to trend older, it increasingly is apparent that long-term care (LTC) — defined as a range of medical and social services required by individuals in need of extended support due to illness and frailty — is becoming a growing concern for state and federal policymakers. Across the country, the number of people aged 65 and over is growing rapidly, a shift that will continue for several decades. As noted in Part I of this SLC Special Series Report, there will be approximately 88 million people over age 65 by 2050, almost double the 47.8 million recorded in 2015, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. More importantly, the number of people aged 85 and older, the demographic most likely to require longterm care, also will grow dramatically, from 6.3 million in 2015, to an estimated 19.0 million in 2050.

Part I of this SLC Special Series Report detailed many of the broader concerns that long-term care poses for Southern states, including challenging demographic shifts, deteriorating health status among key segments of the population and prohibitively high costs of various LTC services. Part II outlines the role that insurance plays in financing long-term care and reviews potential insurance-related solutions that could create more affordable care in the future for states and LTC recipients.

More SLC Research into Health & Human Services

Comparative Data Report | July 19, 2017


Policy Analysis | April 28, 2017

Cross-State Health Insurance Policies

SLC Special Series Report | January 17, 2017

Long-Term Care in the South (Part 1)

Comparative Data Report | June 27, 2016


Policy Analysis | June 14, 2016

Scope of Practice – Physician Assistants (PAs)

SLC Regional Resource | May 9, 2016

Spread of Zika: Impact on Southern States

Policy Analysis | April 20, 2016

Marijuana Use: Uncertainty on All Sides Continues

SLC Regional Resource | March 21, 2016

Heroin Epidemic in SLC Member States: Finding Solutions

Webinar | December 3, 2015

SLC State Pensions: Latest Developments

Policy Analysis | May 13, 2015

The Status of Medicaid Expansion in SLC States

SLC Regional Resource | April 24, 2015

Vapor Rising: E-Cigarettes in the SLC States

Webinar | October 3, 2014

Food Safety Modernization Act

Comparative Data Report | August 6, 2014


SLC Regional Resource | March 25, 2014

A Special Condition: Medical Marijuana in SLC States

Comparative Data Report | July 26, 2013


Comparative Data Report | July 25, 2012


Policy Analysis | September 19, 2011

Prospective Changes in Long-Term Care Policies

Policy Analysis | May 9, 2011

A Prescription Drug Epidemic

Comparative Data Report | March 15, 2011


SLC Regional Resource | July 1, 2010

Meth: Resurgence in the South

Policy Analysis | January 1, 2010

Which SLC states have drug recycling programs?

SLC Regional Resource | January 1, 2010

Autism and Schools

Issue Alert | January 1, 2009

An HIV Epidemic?

Comparative Data Report | December 1, 2008


Comparative Data Report | November 1, 2007


Comparative Data Report | November 1, 2006


Comparative Data Report | November 1, 2005


Comparative Data Report | November 1, 2004


Comparative Data Report | November 1, 2003


Comparative Data Report | November 1, 2002


Comparative Data Report | November 1, 2001


SLC Regional Resource | April 1, 2001

Methamphetamine Production and Abuse in Southern States

Comparative Data Report | November 1, 2000