October 31, 2016
Commuter trains, a fixture in many American cities since the late 19th century, started losing prominence in public transportation calculations in the 1940s with the ascent of the personal car, while vast improvements in public bus services also accelerated their decline. However, in the last 30 years or so, particularly in the early years of the 21st century, there has been renewed interest in this form of transportation across the country, including in the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC) member states. This renewed interest has been propelled for a variety of reasons: commuters choosing rail over cars for convenience; easing traffic congestion; reducing air pollution; promoting economic development; and boosting property values. Consequently, multiple metropolitan regions in SLC member states continue to operate commuter rail systems and expand their operations, even initiating new networks. Given that these initiatives have emerged in transit-starved areas, this increased momentum to introduce or expand commuter rail systems is a direct response to the demands and expectations of businesses and the workforce. Information on recent efforts in the SLC states to enhance the light rail capacities in their transportation plans, an important cog in any multimodal strategy, is detailed in this SLC Regional Resource.
October 26, 2016
The Legislative Service Agency Directors Group held its fall meeting October 28-30 in Atlanta, Georgia. Legislative service agency directors participated in a series of presentations and group discussions including:
"Making Sense of the 2016 Election,"
"Workforce of Tomorrow,"
"State Workforce: Challenges & Solutions,"
"Publishing State Statutes,"
"The Kentucky LRC Classification Plan Process," and
"Missouri Senate Intern Program."
Attendees also participated in a series of roundtable discussions on topics including succession planning, professional development, and the role of legislative service agencies.
October 26, 2016
In its continued effort to provide legislative fly-ins tailored to specific policy needs of its legislative members, the SLC recently arranged for three members of the Missouri General Assembly - Representative Becky Ruth, Chair, House Interim Committee on Development and Improvement of Missouri Ports; Senator Doug Libla, Chair, Senate Committee on Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Safety; and Senator Dave Schatz, Vice Chair, Senate Committee on Transportation, Infrastructure, and Public Safety – to visit the Port of Charleston, one of the nation’s preeminent ports. Working with the South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA), the SLC organized briefings that addressed the Port’s accomplishments in recent years, SCPA’s governance structure, benefits of a single entity (SCPA) overseeing all the ports in the state and a host of other topics related to the important role ports play in the region’s economic development strategies. The agenda also included a water tour of the Port and visits to the Harbor Pilot Tower and terminals at North Charleston, Wando Welch and Columbus Street. The Missouri lawmakers were briefed by the SCPA’s Mr. Jim Newsome III, President and Chief Executive Officer; Mr. Clint Eisenhauer, Senior Vice President for External Affairs; and Mr. Tate Zeigler, Manager for Government Relations.
October 21, 2016
The SLC SouthTrain Program convened on October 20, 2016, in Jefferson City, Missouri. Approximately 130 Missouri legislative staff participated in the all-day training, including discussions on:
Scott Raecker, former member of the Iowa House of Representatives and current director of The Robert D. and Billie Ray Center at Drake University, was the featured presenter for the training.
October 18, 2016
On October 16-17, 2016, the Southern Legislative Conference, with support from the Griffith Foundation, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, non-advocacy, educational organization that provides risk management and insurance education for public policymakers, organized a workshop featuring presentation and discussion on a number of critical and emerging insurance issues affecting state governments. Legislative staff from six SLC states (Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Virginia) participated in the workshop, held in Atlanta, Georgia.
October 14, 2016
The Southern Legislative Conference (SLC) of The Council of State Governments (CSG) recently held the 10th annual Center for the Advancement of Leadership Skills (CALS) on September 24-28, 2016, in Little Rock, Arkansas. The program was hosted by our esteemed partners, the University of Arkansas System and the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute.
The 2016 CALS program included leaders from Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. The training sessions focused on essential topics such as leadership development, social media practices, interpersonal exchanges, and communication skills.
Participants convened at the Old Statehouse for the closing dinner. The closing keynote address on pursuing success and the importance of critical decision making was delivered by Commander John Herrington, retired United States Naval Aviator and former NASA astronaut.