June 25, 2014
The Southern Legislative Conference latest Issue Alert on the U.S. agriculture exports. Even though the relative importance of agriculture and agriculture-related industries in the overall U.S. economy has diminished in recent years, the sector continues to be a critical component of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP). In 2012, the latest year available, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported that the sector contributed $775.8 billion toward GDP, a 4.8 percent share; the output of the nation’s farms alone totaled $166.9 billion in 2012.
June 23, 2014
The Southern Legislative Conference (SLC) marks the passing of former State Representative and Speaker of the House John E. Miller of Arkansas. Speaker Miller served as chair of the Southern Legislative Conference from 1981-82; chair of The Council of State Governments in 1986; and chair of the SLC Transportation Committee in 1996. He served as Speaker of the House from 1979 to 1980. He was, for many years, an active member of the SLC Executive Committee, the Conference’s governing body. A 1949 graduate of Arkansas State University, Mr. Miller was elected to the Arkansas House of Representatives in 1958 and served in that capacity for 40 years, until his retirement. Mr. Miller, passed away June 18, 2014, at age 85. Click here for more information.
June 20, 2014
A delegation of five SLC Energy and Environment Committee members participated in a study tour on oil sands development, June 10-12, 2014, in Edmonton and Fort McMurray, Alberta, coordinated by the SLC, the Albertan government, and the Offices of the Consulate General of Canada in Atlanta, Dallas and Miami. At approximately 176 billion barrels of proven reserves, the oil sands are one of the largest and most important energy resources in the world. The program highlighted the regulatory framework and cutting-edge technologies that are both in place and under development. The visit included tours of mining projects operated by Suncor Energy, oil sands reclamation sites, and a viewing of an in situ project.
The program also included discussions with Canadian government and industry officials, including presentations by the Pembina Institute and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. Discussions revolved around Canadian-U.S. energy relations; economic development and job creation; environmental protection; and advances in energy technology. The objective of the study tour was to enable participants to broaden their awareness of the oil sands resource, its increasing contribution to North American energy security, and to see first-hand the steps being taken to meet the environmental challenges of this energy source.
Participants in the delegation included Representative Karla Drenner, Georgia; Representative Seneca Scott, Oklahoma; Senator Daniel Verdin III, South Carolina; Representative Alan Williams, Florida; and Representative Jack Williams, Alabama.
Photos from the delegation will be available soon.
June 19, 2014
The Southern Legislative Conference will host a complimentary webinar at 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. EDT, Thursday, July 10, 2014, addressing Southern States' Efforts to Prepare a 21st Century Workforce. Policymakers across the country continue to focus on expanding the collaboration between education--at the high school and postsecondary levels--and economic development in an effort to develop a highly skilled and competitive workforce. Cooperation between the education and economic development sectors in state government, combined with active input from the corporate sector, is a critical factor in recruiting and retaining industry, particularly in manufacturing. Several states belonging to CSG South, the Southern Legislative Conference, have been in the forefront of efforts to foster greater collaboration between the technical college system, and economic development and corporate sectors. This collaboration has led to impressive results as states customize training programs at technical colleges to ensure corporations can rely on a well-trained workforce able to meet the challenges of the 21st century manufacturing environment. State education and economic development officials, as well as corporate representatives, will discuss ways to create a competent workforce to help ensure competitiveness of American manufacturers in the global economy. Click here for more information.
June 11, 2014
The Southern Legislative Conference will host a complimentary webinar at 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. EDT, Tuesday, July 8, 2014, titled "In the Weeds: Exploring the Science around Medical Marijuana and the Operation of a State Program." While marijuana use for medicinal purposes has been on the legislative agenda in many states outside the Southern region for a number of years, Southern state legislatures only recently have begun to grapple with the complexities of the issue. Many Southern lawmakers cite stories of families with children suffering from severe seizure or muscular disorders as the impetus for the push toward some form of legalization. But for every family that puts a face on the issue, lawmakers are confronted with a plethora of questions about the science behind medical marijuana and about ways to implement a program in their state. This webinar will offer a scientific perspective on marijuana for medical use and discussion on state medical marijuana programs. Click here for more information.