Policy Matters Blog

2019 State Trends in Enacted Legislation

In 2019, 18 states enacted 34 bills that included the term "school psychologist" on a wide variety of topics. We have categorized and summarized these bills below.

Access to Mental Health in Schools/Social–Emotional Learning

Most of the enacted bills in 2019 legislative sessions that included school psychologists specifically were related to taking steps to increase access to mental health in schools. This took shape in a few different ways:

School Safety

Unsurprisingly, school safety was a hot topic in 2019 among lawmakers. The following bills were passed that specifically included the term "school psychologist" within it:

  • California approved a bill addressing lockdown drills and altering the membership of its statewide school safety committee
  • Illinois now requires districts to create threat assessment teams
  • Florida approved many of the recommendations from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Safety Commission in a sweeping school safety bill. Some aspects of the bill were controversial - including expanding the ability for districts to allow teachers to carry guns in classrooms, creating a school hardening/harm mitigation work group, and establishing a work group for a threat assessment database. Other sections of the bill evaluate mental health services in the state and require plans to reduce staff-to-student ratios; outline procedures for threat assessment and promote the use of a reporting tool; and required annual training under the active assailant response plans.
  • Kentucky established school safety coordinators and gave school psychologists a seat on the Board of Directors for the state's School Safety Center
  • Nevada established a statewide school safety commission and now requires a school safety specialist in each district
  • Maryland amended the membership of its subcabinet school safety advisory board

Student Discipline

A few states passed bills relating to student discipline and restorative and juvenile justice:

School Psychology Profession

A few bills were also approved relating to the salary, licensure, and training of school psychologists:

Miscellaneous Bills

We encourage you to reach out to your state association leaders, who are often involved with drafting and advocating for/against legislation that impacts school psychologists locally, via the NASP Member Exchange's Advocacy and Public Policy Interest Group or through NASP leadership tools.

Here's to more successes for school psychologists in the 2020 legislative sessions!