In the past several years, many states have introduced laws aimed at curbing human trafficking of both minors and adults. States have especially focused on increasing penalties for those convicted of trafficking, with more severe punishments when the victim involved is a minor. Punishments include decades of imprisonment and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma and West Virginia all have passed such measures in the past three to four years.
All states in the Southern region have passed anti-trafficking legislation to some degree. Provisions found in prior pieces of legislation include:
Pardons in SLC Member States
In the parlance of the criminal justice system, a pardon is an order that forgives an individual for a particular crime. Though a conviction remains a matter of public record after a pardon is granted, the individual is not subject to any more penalties for the crime committed. State law pardons typically are granted by the governor of the state in question though, in some cases, a governing body, appointed by the governor or Legislature, may hear pardon requests instead of or in conjunction with the governor.
SLC State-by-State Pardoning Policies
Unlike the majority of U.S. states, the governor is not exclusively authorized to grant pardons. The Board of Pardons and Paroles, which consists of three members appointed by the governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate, grants full or restricted pardons. The Board can consider pardon applications for federal or out-of-state convictions if the applicant is a resident of Alabama at the time the Board considers the application.
While the governor has the final say on all pardon applications, except those involving treason or impeachment, Arkansas law dictates that all applications must first be submitted to the Arkansas Parole Board for investigation prior to being submitted to the governor. The Board consists of seven members, appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate, who serve seven-year terms. In cases involving treason, the governor has the authority to grant a pardon, but only with the advice and consent of the Senate. The governor must report to the General Assembly during every regular session to describe the circumstances of each pardoned case as well as the reasons for issuing the pardon.
Full or conditional pardons are granted exclusively by the Clemency Board, which includes the governor, chief financial officer, attorney general, and commissioner of agriculture and consumer services, all of whom are statewide elected officials. In order to receive a pardon, the governor and at least two of the other three members of the Board must agree to the pardon.
How do states handle inspection of amusement park rides, both traveling and permanent?
Federal background. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has regulatory oversight of traveling or portable amusement rides, such as those at carnivals, as well as inflatables and go-karts, but not permanent amusement rides, such as those at amusement parks, as they are not considered a consumer product. The CPSC serves as an information clearinghouse for state officials and assists state legislative efforts, particularly for traveling rides. It also tracks injury statistics and publishes a directory of state officials with oversight of amusement ride inspections.
States. Most states regulate amusement ride inspections, with the exception of Alabama, Mississippi, Nevada, South Dakota, Wyoming and Utah.
|Alabama||§ 40-12-47 (permanent) |
§ 40-12-163 (traveling)
|Department of Revenue||Locally determined|
Programs and Strategies for Reducing Youth Violence
Although the details may vary, the issue of youth violence is one that almost all communities will encounter. Approaches to addressing this issue are as diverse as the juvenile offenders themselves. The following information provides details on a number of programs and resources available that aim to reduce the prevalence of youth violence.
St. Louis Nightwatch
St. Louis Nightwatch Program - Created in 2000, the Nightwatch Program is a partnership between the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and the Juvenile Division of the St. Louis City Family Court. The goal of the program is to increase the accountability of juveniles under court supervision by conducting random checks on their compliance with court-ordered curfews. From its inception in 2000 through December 2013, 123,546 visits were made to juveniles. The St. Louis Family Court reported that from October 2012-September 2013, 6,260 visits yielded a compliance rate of 83.2 percent.
A 2005 evaluation of the Nightwatch Program found the rate of recidivism to be much lower among juveniles assigned to the program than among their juvenile counterparts not enrolled in the Nightwatch Program.
CSG Justice Center - Texas Juvenile Justice Reform
What special provisions do SLC member states have for elderly drivers?
|State||Length of regular renewal cycle||Older drivers - accelerated renewal||Older drivers - other provisions|
|Florida||8 years||6 years for people 80 and older||renewal applicants 80 and older must pass a vision test administered at any driver's license office or if applying by mail or electronically must pass a vision test administered by a licensed physician or optometrist. Florida allows only two successive renewals may be made electronically or by mail, regardless of age|
|Georgia||5 or 8 years||5 years for people 60 and older||vision test for people 64 and older|
|Louisiana||4 years||none||mail renewal not available to people 70 and older and to people whose prior renewal was by mail|
|Mississippi||4 or 8 years, at the option of the driver||none||none|
|Missouri||6 years||3 years for drivers 70 and older and 21 and younger||none|
|North Carolina||8 years||5 years for drivers 66 and older||people 60 and older are not required to parallel park in the road test|
|Oklahoma||4 years||none||license fee is reduced for drivers 62-64 and is waived for drivers 65 and older. Mail renewal is available only if the preceding issuance or renewal was done in person by the applicant, regardless of age|
|South Carolina||10 years, and vision test every 5 years||5 years for drivers 65 and older||vision test required for people 65 and older|
|Tennessee||5 years||none||fees are reduced for drivers 60 and older and licenses issued to people 65 and older do not expire|
Bullet Points Related to Wind Pool Insurance and the SLC States
In recent years, states in the CSG-South region as well as the nation as a whole have been exposed to significant risks due to hurricanes and tornadoes. These immense storms have caused immeasurable damage in terms of the loss of human life and billions of dollars in economic costs. As a result, homeowners face the challenges of not only securing insurance for their homes and property in affected areas, but also dealing with steep premium increases. In response to this development, a number of Southern states are continuing to devise measures to provide homeowners with wind pool insurance coverage at affordable rates. Given the growing importance of this issue in the region, the SLC coordinated a webinar to feature presentations on what some of these measures are, the broad trends associated with wind pool insurance, best practices and how international developments impact premiums here in the United States.
In recent years, the insurance industry has documented that catastrophe losses, or losses related to major disasters such as Hurricanes Katrina, Ike, Ivan and Super Storm Sandy and the tornados that swept over Moore, Oklahoma, Tuscaloosa, Alabama and Joplin, Missouri, have been extremely high. This has proven to be an enormous fiscal challenge to both property owners (home and commercial) and insurance companies. Consequently, state lawmakers and policymakers have been entrusted with devising solutions that are smart, sensible and reasonable from the perspectives of both property owners and insurance companies.
The Insurance Information Institute notes that in the first six months of 2013, there were 460 natural catastrophes worldwide; in contrast, for all 12 months in 1980, there were less than 350 natural catastrophes worldwide. This statistic is a clear indication that the incidence of catastrophes across the globe, including in the United States, has increased significantly in the last 30+ years.
A 2013 study of the Atlantic and Gulf coastlines by CoreLogic noted that 4.2 million homes, with $1.2 trillion in total property exposure, are at risk of damage caused by hurricane storm surge flooding.
What are the distracted driving laws in SLC member states?
|State||Ban on Handheld Devices||Ban on Cell Phone Use while Driving||Ban on Texting while Driving||Collection of Crash Data|
|School Bus Drivers||Novice Drivers||All Drivers||School Bus Drivers||Novice Drivers|
|Alabama||For Drivers 16,or 17 years old holding an Intermediate License less than six months||Yes||Covered under all driver ban|
|Arkansas 1||Drivers 18-20 years old||Yes||Under 18 *||Yes||Covered under all driver ban||Yes|
|Georgia||Yes||Under 18||Yes||Covered under all driver ban||Yes|
|Kentucky||Yes||Under 18||Yes||Covered under all driver ban|
|Louisiana||Learner or Intermediate License (regardless of age)||Yes||During First Year of License (primary offense for drivers Under 18)||Yes||Covered under all driver ban||Yes|
What are the SLC member state laws regarding mandatory reporting of child abuse?
Reports are required from all of the following:
The following individuals are mandated reporters:
The following persons are mandated reporters:
Which SLC States Employ GPS Monitoring for Domestic Violence Offenders?
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, every year approximately 3.4 million people in the United States become victims of stalking.1 Oftentimes, these instances result in physical harm or even death of the victim. In fact, in approximately 43 percent of all cases, stalkers made one or more threats against the victim, and 21 percent of all stalking cases resulted in physical attacks against the victim.2 According to the American Institute on Domestic Violence, health related costs of domestic violence victims exceed $5.8 billion every year in the United States.3 In addition, other reports indicate that domestic violence has been dramatically increasing in many states in recent years. As a result, 20 states throughout the U.S. have turned to the use of Global Positioning Systems (GPS) as a condition of probation for convicted domestic violence offenders. In the Southern Legislative Conference, both Kentucky (2010) and Texas (2009) have passed legislation to establish such programs, and many other states, such as Florida and Tennessee, have counties and municipalities that employ these practices. In addition, states like Mississippi have bills in the current legislative session to require GPS monitoring in domestic violence cases. Opponents of such measures cite cost as an obstacle to implementation, but states like Massachusetts require offenders to pay the approximate $8 per day for monitoring, offsetting the additional costs to the department of corrections. In addition to saving lives, proponents of GPS monitoring for domestic violence offenders argue that it assists in establishing boundaries for offenders; allows for immediate notification to victims and law enforcement personnel when violations occur; and can serve as evidence in criminal investigations. Additionally, since victims are often attacked in their own homes, homes of family, job sites, or other places that would normally be deemed safe, GPS monitoring provides an additional measure of safety for victims that would otherwise not exist.
What are the firearms laws in the SLC states?
On June 28, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court held that handgun bans in Chicago and Oak Park violated the Second Amendment of the U.S. Consitution. While federal legislation receives much more media attention, state legislatures make many more decisions regarding their constituents rights to own and carry firearms. The following chart compiled by the National Rifle Association lists the main provisions of state firearms laws.
|State||Gun Ban||Exemptions to the National Instant Check System (NICS)||State Waiting Period for Handguns||License, Permit or Other Prerequisite for Handgun Purchase|
|Arkansas||--||Right-to-carry permit holders exempt from NICS; permits issued on and after 4/1/99 qualify||--||--|
|Florida||--||--||3 days; does not apply to a person holding a valid permit or license to carry a firearm||--|
|Georgia||--||Right-to-carry permit holders exempt from NICS||--||--|
|Mississippi||--||Right-to-carry permit holders exempt from NICS; permits issued to security guards do not qualify||--||--|
|Missouri||--||--||--||A purchase permit is required for a handgun, must be issued to qualified applicants within 7 days, and is valid for 30 days|
How have the SLC states responded to the Federal REAL ID Act?
The REAL ID Act, a part of the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief, was signed into law on May 11, 2005. The Act requires that state driver's licenses meet specific security requirements for them to be used for official federal purposes, such as identification at federal buildings and for boarding commercial aircraft. Originally intended to prevent terrorism and reduce identity theft, the REAL ID Act has done nothing more than create a financial burden on the states in the form of an unfunded mandate. Seventeen states so far have passed laws or regulations rejecting the REAL ID Act, several in the SLC region. All states have received (some without even asking for it) extensions from the federal Homeland Security Department, giving them until December 31, 2009, to comply with the Act. This action by the HSD essentially leaves the problems with REAL ID unresolved and yet another issue that must be resolved by the upcoming administration.
States may obtain a second extension of time until May 10, 2011, to comply if they demonstrated "material compliance", essentially what states are already doing in the issuance of licenses.
States may choose not to have their driver's license meet the REAL ID Act's requirements, for reasons of public safety, cost, privacy, or other public policy reasons. Their residents may present alternative documents, such as a passport or military ID, for federal official purposes. However, if a state issues a driver's license that does not satisfy the REAL ID Act's requirements, the license must say on its face that it cannot be accepted.
In the South, what percentage of the adult population drives while intoxicated or under the influence of illicit drugs?
A recent survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) found that in some Midwestern states up to a quarter of the adult population drives while intoxicated.
Based on the combined 2004 to 2006 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health data from current drivers aged 18 or older, an average of 15.1% had driven under the influence of alcohol during the past year and 4.7% had driven under the influence of illicit drugs.
The 16 Southern states fared rather well in the national survey, with none among the top 10 most dangerous states, and only a few in the top 20. On average, 13.2 percent and 4.5 percent of Southern adults had driven under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs in the past year, respectively.
Percentages of Current Drivers1 Aged 18 or Older Reporting Driving Under the
Influence of Alcohol in the Past Year, by State: 2004, 2005, and 2006
|State||Percent||SE (%) 2||State||Percent||SE (%) 2|
Southern Legislative Conference and SLC are trademarks registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.