Research / Government Operations

Policy Analysis | August 2019

Operation of State Rest Areas and Welcome Centers

Nick Bowman, Research and Publications Associate

Rest areas, or safety rest areas as they were known at the time, emerged with the creation of the interstate highway system in the 1950s. With picnic areas and restrooms available at no cost to travelers, rest areas arose as a way to take a break from interstate travel. In the decades since the first rest areas were constructed, fast food restaurants and convenience stores have appeared close to interstates and highways, providing motorists with additional options. In recent years, several states, including Florida, Michigan, Ohio and South Dakota, have closed rest areas to minimize maintenance costs. Other states, such as Missouri, have privatized the operation of rest areas and welcome centers.

The table lists the agency or department responsible for operating and maintaining rest areas and welcome centers in the 15 Southern states and provides a hyperlink to that agency’s website. In eight states, two agencies are responsible for operating rest areas and welcome centers. In the remaining seven states, one agency is responsible for operating rest areas and welcome centers.

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Policy Analysis | March 2019

Disposal of Coal Combustion Residuals

Anne Roberts Brody, Policy Analyst

The Disposal of Coal Combustion Residuals (CCRs) from Electric Utilities final rule was signed on December 19, 2014, and published in the Federal Register on April 17, 2015. The rule finalized federal regulations to provide a comprehensive set of requirements for the safe disposal of CCRs, commonly known as coal ash, from coal-fired power plants.

On July 26, 2016, the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) signed a direct final rule and a companion proposal to extend the compliance deadlines for certain inactive CCR surface impoundments. These revisions were in response to a partial vacatur ordered by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on June 14, 2016. The direct final rule was published in the Federal Register on August 5, 2016, and became effective October 4, 2016.

Since 2016, there have been 52 legislative measures addressing CCRs in seven Southern states. The majority came from Virginia, with 17 pieces of legislation introduced. Meanwhile, Georgia introduced 11 pieces of legislation, North Carolina 10 and Missouri eight. Alabama, South Carolina and Texas also considered legislation related to CCRs.

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SLC Regional Resource | March 2019

Sports Betting in the South

Cody Allen, Policy Analyst

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.


Penny Houston


Vice Chair
Representative John Read, Mississippi

John Read


Past Chair

(former) Representative
Eric Johnson


Cody Allen

Cody Allen
Policy Analyst

Since its creation, members of the SLC Fiscal Affairs & Government Operations Committee have focused on the myriad fiscal issues impacting state budgets and finances. Committee appointees include many of the finance and appropriations chairs from across the South along with other prominent fiscal players. The committee routinely examines the impact of the federal budget on state finances; state revenues and expenditures; national and regional economic outlooks; historical and developing fiscal trends; performance-based budgeting; e-commerce and taxation; and public pension plans. For more than 40 years, select fiscal research departments in the SLC member state legislatures have continued to provide annual Comparative Data Reports (CDRs), tracking revenue sources, appropriations levels, performance measures, and a multitude of other metrics in Southern states. A useful tool for legislators and legislative staff alike, CDRs are available for adult correctional systems, education, Medicaid and transportation.

More SLC Research into Government Operations

Policy Analysis | April 2018

Chamber Vote Adjustment in the South

Policy Analysis | September 2017

SLC Member State Revenue Increases

Policy Analysis | November 2016

Outside Legal Counsel in SLC Member States

Policy Analysis | June 2015

State Purchasing Regulations and Reform

Policy Analysis | February 2015

How Do States Regulate Combat Sports?

Policy Analysis | January 2015

State Occupational Boards and Commissions Fees

Policy Analysis | November 2010

Economic Impact of the Great Recession

Policy Analysis | October 2010

Permanent Property Rights Task Forces

Presentation | February 2010

State Unemployment Insurance: Recent Trends

SLC Regional Resource | February 2004

Judicial Selection Methods in the Southern States

Comparative Data Reports | November 2003


Comparative Data Reports | November 2002


SLC Regional Resource | June 2002

A Review of Southern States' No-Call Registries

SLC Special Series Report | February 2002

Election Policies and Reform in Southern States 2001

SLC Special Series Report | August 2000

Drawing the Map: Redistricting in the South