2011 SLC News and Updates


January 7, 2011

Former SLC Chairs assume state leadership roles
Two former chairs of the SLC have accepted positions leading state agencies. Former Alabama Speaker of the House Seth Hammett (SLC Chair 2002-2003) was selected by Governor Robert Bentley to serve as director of the Alabama Development Office. Former Speaker of the House and state Senator Shane Broadway, Arkansas (SLC Chair 2004-2005) was appointed deputy director of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education.

January 20, 2011

ITTS Freight in the Southeast Conference
The Institute for Trade and Transportation Studies (ITTS) Freight in the Southeast Conference will be held in Charlotte, North Carolina, on February 9-11. ITTS provides research data and expert opinions to public and private officials in the SLC region concerning the effects of commercial freight movements (domestic and international), infrastructure and transportation. For more information, visit the ITTS website.

February 4, 2011

Registration opens for SLC 65th Annual Meeting
Registrations for the 65th Annual Meeting of the Southern Legislative Conference, taking place in Memphis, Tennessee, July 16-20, 2011, are now being accepted. Recognizing the difficult fiscal environment, the SLC has increased the early registration discount for primary registrants. Register before May 16 to take advantage of the reduced registration fees. Click here for more information about the meeting and here for early online registration.

February 28, 2011

Deadline for CSG Innovations Submissions Approaches
The CSG Innovations Awards Program, now in its 25th year, recognizes and shares big ideas and game-changing state programs. Submissions for this year's award are being accepted until March 28, 2011, offering an opportunity to shine a national spotlight on your agency’s successes. For more information, click here.

March 22, 2011

SLC Issues Report on State Section 529 Plans
Tax-preferred savings plans for college have come under multiple stresses in recent years, forcing changes to some and altering the impact of others. The newest SLC Regional Resource, State Section 529 Plans, examines these plans and offers an overview of recent activities in response to the changing economy.

April 6, 2011

Deadline for CSG Innovations Submissions Extended
The CSG Innovations Awards Program, now in its 25th year, recognizes and shares big ideas and game-changing state programs. Submissions for this year's award are being accepted until April 15, 2011, offering an opportunity to shine a national spotlight on your agency’s successes. For more information, click here.

April 14, 2011

SLC RELEASES CDR ON ADULT CORRECTIONAL SYSTEMS
Earlier this week, the SLC released the latest Comparative Data Report (CDR) on Adult Correctional Systems, prepared by the Louisiana Legislative Fiscal Office. In the near future, the SLC will release the latest CDRs analyzing state tax structures and revenue forecasts (Arkansas Bureau of Legislative Research), K-12 educational systems (West Virginia Legislative Staff), state transportation programs (Kentucky Legislative Research Commission) and Medicaid spending (Louisiana Legislative Fiscal Office). Click here to view the 2010 Corrections CDR.

May 1, 2011

In Memoriam Clerk of the House of Delegates Bruce Jamerson, Virginia | 1957-2011
The Southern Legislative Conference marks the passing of Bruce Jamerson, Clerk of the Virginia House of Delegates and Keeper of the Rolls of the Commonwealth. Bruce’s immeasurable service to Virginia and its General Assembly is recognized by his friends and colleagues throughout the Commonwealth. He played a critical role in the extensive renovation of the State Capitol, served both Democratic and Republican majorities within the House, and was integral to the success of the SLC annual meetings held in Virginia in 1984, 1994 and 2007. Please click here to read more.

May 2, 2011

SLC Releases Fiscal Alert: Amazon and the States
As states struggle to deal with the sharp drop-off in revenues caused by the Great Recession, the panoply of issues related to collecting sales taxes on e-commerce transactions continues to roil state policymakers across the country. SLC’s most recent Fiscal Alert, Amazon.com and the States: Untapped Revenue Streams, examines how Southern lawmakers are addressing these challenges.

May 10, 2011

In Memoriam Senator Jack Gordon, Mississippi
The Southern Legislative Conference marks the passing of Mississippi State Senator Jack Gordon, Jr., a member of the SLC Fiscal Affairs & Government Operations Committee. With nearly four decades in the state Legislature and 12 years as chair of the Mississippi Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Gordon was known as a master of the state budget process. Flags in Mississippi flew at half staff on May 9, 2011, in remembrance and respect for the late senator. For more information, please click here.

May 17, 2011

SLC RELEASES CDR ON STATE REVENUES
Earlier this week, the SLC released the latest Comparative Data Report (CDR) on Southern States Tax Structures and Revenue Forecasts, prepared by the Arkansas Bureau of Legislative Research. In the near future, the SLC will release the latest CDRs analyzing K-12 educational systems (West Virginia Legislative Staff) and state transportation programs (Kentucky Legislative Research Commission). Click here to view the Comparative Revenues Report. Data on SLC state spending on Medicaid and Corrections also are available on the SLC publications page.

May 31, 2011

In Memoriam Representative C. David Umphlett, Jr., SC
The Southern Legislative Conference marks the passing of South Carolina State Representative C. David Umphlett, Jr., a member of the SLC Agriculture & Rural Development Committee. Serving the people of South Carolina since 2003, he was dedicated to lowering taxes, improving roads and highways, and preserving the environment of the The Palmetto State. Per Representative Mike Pitts, "David Umphlett represented not only his district but the state extremely well and the constituents in his district and their best interests were the most important issues at heart to him. He was the epitome of a fine Southern gentleman." For more information, please click here.

June 10, 2011

In Memoriam Delegate Larry Border, West Virginia
The Southern Legislative Conference marks the passing of West Virginia Delegate Larry Willis Border. With 20 years of legislative service to the people of West Virginia, the late Delegate Border will be remembered as a gentleman and a statesman, someone who many in the Legislature looked to for advice on a wide range of subjects, state Senator David Nohe said. For more information, please click here.

June 13, 2011

SLC Accepting Applications to CALS
The Center for the Advancement of Leadership Skills (CALS), the premier state government leadership program of the Southern Legislative Conference, is accepting applications for the 2011 CALS Program. The program provides non-partisan forums for state officials who might rarely cross paths to share ideas and enhances participants’ leadership knowledge through sessions geared to improve competencies in communication, conflict resolution, consensus building and critical decision-making. For more information regarding the CALS program, click here.

June 14, 2011

Upcoming SLC Publication: Report on Renewable Energy and the SLC States
In the upcoming weeks, the SLC will issue a report titled "Economic Expansion, Energy Independence, and Environmental Efficiency: Renewables in the South." The report explores efforts initiated by Southern states in recent years to develop the renewable energy sector in the region and an assessment of the economic development, energy and environmental benefits expected to flow from these efforts. For more information, click here.

July 5, 2011

SLC Releases Issue Alert on NCLB Waiver Option
The Southern Legislative Conference recently researched and published an SLC issue alert regarding U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan's June 13 proposal to grant waivers from the requirements of the "No Child Left Behind" Act to those states that adopt a set of reforms. For more information on the topic, click here.

July 6, 2011

SLC RELEASES CDR ON STATE EDUCATION STATISTICS
Earlier this week, the SLC released the latest Comparative Data Report (CDR) on Southern States Education Statistics, prepared by the West Virginia Legislative Staff. Click here to view the Comparative Revenues Report. Data on SLC state revenues and spending on Medicaid and Corrections also are available on the SLC publications page. In the near future, the SLC will release the final 2010 CDR analyzing state transportation programs, prepared by the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission.

July 7, 2011

SLC Releases Regional Resource on Food Safety
The U.S. food safety system has developed over a lengthy period, often in response to health concerns or threats. Because of this, the system does not have a coherent, strategic focus, but is a patchwork of legal and regulatory activities that distributes the responsibility for, and information about, food safety across numerous federal, state and local entities. This SLC Regional Resource examines current practices in regards to food safety, as well as best practices to ensure that foodborne illnesses are reduced to a minimal level. Click here to read the report.

July 14, 2011

SLC Releases CDR on Transportation Statistics
Earlier this week, SLC released the fifth and final 2010 Comparative Data Report (CDR) on Southern State Transportation Programs, prepared by the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission. Click here to view this report. 2010 CDRs also include comparative data on Education, Revenues, Medicaid and Corrections.

July 26, 2011

CSG Releases Update on Meth in the United States
The Council of State Governments has released the 2011 Book of the States, a compendium of statistics spanning all branches of state government throughout the United States. Included within this year's Book of the States is an update on the resurgence of crystal meth by SLC Policy Analyst Jeremy Williams.

August 5, 2011

CSG Justice Center Releases New Report on School Discipline and Academic & Juvenile Justice Outcomes
In an unprecedented study of nearly 1 million Texas public secondary school students followed for more than six years, nearly 60 percent were suspended or expelled, according to a report released today by the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center in partnership with the Public Policy Research Institute of Texas A&M University.
Breaking Schools’ Rules: A Statewide Study on How School Discipline Relates to Students’ Success and Juvenile Justice Involvement is available through the CSG Justice Center Website.

August 9, 2011

SLC Releases Report on Renewable Energy in the South
A recently released SLC Special Series Report explores efforts initiated by Southern states in recent years to develop the renewable energy sector in the region and an assessment of the economic development, energy and environmental benefits expected to flow from these efforts. The report also highlights various energy projects the SLC member states. A short overview of the report also is available.

September 1, 2011

SLC Accepting Applications for Employment Position - Director of Operations and Programs
The Southern Legislative Conference is accepting applications from qualified individuals for the position, Director of Operations and Programs, until September 30, 2011. For more information, please click here.

September 28, 2011

SLC Delegation Visits China | September 17-24, 2011
For the third year in a row, the Southern Legislative Conference, in partnership with the China-U.S. Exchange Foundation, coordinated a delegation of state leaders on a visit to China. Speaker Pro Tempore Victor Gaston, Alabama, Speaker Robert S. Moore, Jr., Arkansas, and Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger toured China for a week to gain first-hand insights into that nations’s economic and social development. Click here to view the press release and here for photos from the visit.

October 3, 2011

SLC Hosts Workshop on Creative Economy for Legislators from Six States
The SLC, in collaboration with the Georgia Southern University, hosted a workshop on the creative economy for a select group of legislators from six Southern states earlier this week in Atlanta. The workshop was designed to bring together legislators from around the SLC states for a workshop to encourage them to think constructively and proactively about the creative economy.

October 5, 2011

Southern State Legislators Participate in Washington, D.C. Fly-In Related to Federal Transportation
Legislators from three SLC states participated in a Washington, D.C. transportation fly-in organized by The Council of State Governments earlier this week. The fly-in also included a series of visits to Capitol Hill where the SLC legislators met with their Congressional delegations to impress upon them the urgent need for federal transportation re-authorization legislation.

November 3, 2011

CSG National Conference in Bellevue, Washington
The Council of State Governments concluded the 2011 National Confernce and North American Summit on October 23. Highlights from the Summit, including speaker biographies and select speaker presentations are available here.

November 7, 2011

CSG Launches The National Governance Working Group
Under the leadership of 2011 CSG Chair Rep. Bob Godfrey of Connecticut, a national governance working group has been created to examine key ways CSG can advance its mission through enhancements to its governance structure. The National Governance Working Group is composed of members from across the broader CSG organization, including state officials from each of CSG’s regions as well as representatives from CSG’s Affiliate and Associate communities. The working group has considered and endorsed several enhancements to CSG’s governance model. More information on the National Governance Working Group is available here.

November 14, 2011

Southern State Legislators Fly In to Washington, D.C., to discuss federal healthcare reform
Legislators from four SLC states participated in a Washington, D.C., healthcare reform fly-in November 14-15, 2011, organized by The Council of State Governments and the Southern Legislative Conference. The legislators met for a series of discussions on the implications for instituting state-run healthcare exchanges, as well as other aspects of the federal Affordable Care Act, which included presentations by representatives from several national think tanks and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. For more information, click here.

November 15, 2011

SLC Senior Fiscal Analyst Presents at 2011 American Chemistry Council Meeting
Sujit CanagaRetna, SLC Senior Fiscal Analyst, traveled to Orlando, Florida, to present on the state of state budgets at the American Chemist 2011 State Affairs and Political Mobilization Annual Planning Meeting. Click here to view the presentation and here for a copy of the remarks.

November 16, 2011

Southern Legislators Gather for Academy on Common Core Standards
More than 20 state legislators from across the South convened in Atlanta November 15 and 16 for a Policy Academy for Newly Elected Legislators (PANEL) hosted by the SLC and The Council of State Governments to discuss Common Core Standards for K-12 Education. The Academy featured presentations on the standards from national education experts, including former Colorado Governor and Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Roy Romer, discussions among members as well as a visit to a groundbreaking local school to see high standards put into practice. For more on the Standards, click here.

November 19, 2011

XXIV Border Legislators Conference held in Saltillo, Coahuila, November 17-19, 2011
The XXIV Border Legislative Conference (BLC) convened in Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico, on November 17-19. The BLC is a program administered by CSG-West and its regional partner in the South, the SLC, that serves as a mechanism for on-going dialogue and collaboration among state legislators of the United States and Mexico. Attending from the Southern region were Texas Senator Jose Rodriquez, SLC Policy Analyst Jeremy Williams and SLC Research Associate Mikko Lindberg. Governor Jorge Juan Torres Lopez of Coahuila presented opening remarks at the Conference. Photo Gallery | BLC Website

December 8, 2011

SLC Policy Analyst joins technical tour of Alberta oil sands
Last week, Jeremy Williams, the SLC’s energy analyst, joined a group of policy research staff from across the United States for a visit to the northern Albertan oil sands, a technical tour and briefing hosted by the Consulate General of Canada in coordination with the provincial government of Alberta. The technical tour and briefing involved presentations and discussions on Canada-U.S. energy relations (since 1999, Canada has been the largest supplier of crude and refined oil imports to the United States), responsible energy development, environmental advances in oil sands production processes, and economic development opportunities related to energy production. The trip also included tours of both mining and in situ oil sands refineries near Fort McMurray, Alberta.