SLC Delegations and Technical Tours
In order to better facilitate information sharing between and among its member states, the U.S. federal government and foreign nations, the SLC arranges delegations comprising legislative leaders and committee chairs to domestic and international points of innovation to observe a particular program or service first-hand, communicate member states’ positions on federal legislation and regulations, and enhance economic relations with countries of importance to the Southern region.
The SLC also develops opportunities for legislators to gain more in-depth knowledge on critical issues and challenges facing them as policymakers. Occasionally in partnership with other countries, technical tours and fly-ins of small groups of legislators enable delegates to participate in issue-specific dialogues with other members from across the region, hear from policy experts and engage in open discussions.
June 5-6, 2018 | Washington, D.C.
Energy & Environment Committee
A delegation comprising members of the Energy & Environment Committee of the Southern Legislative Conference, led by Representative Lynn Smith (Georgia), chair of the committee, recently traveled to Washington, D.C. to engage in meetings with senior officials from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and U. S. Department of the Interior (DOI).
As the nation’s energy infrastructure becomes increasingly interconnected, cybersecurity concerns persist. Deputy Assistant Secretary Doug Little and Jennifer Silk, senior advisor to the secretary, provided an update on the DOE’s cybersecurity initiatives and the outcomes of GRIDEX IV, a biennial exercise designed to simulate a cyber/physical attack on electric and other critical infrastructures across the country. Preston Cory, director of the EPA’s Office of Intergovernmental Relations, briefed delegates on the agency’s regulatory reform agenda, including the repeal of the Clean Power Plan and forthcoming revisions to the Clean Water Rule. Delegates also received a briefing from Todd Wynn, director of the DOI’s Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs, on the agency’s proposed expansion of the Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program, as well as the newly created Hunting and Shooting Sports Conservation Council. Through meetings and dialogue with these officials, delegates gained a deeper understanding of each agency’s policy priorities and shared their state’s perspective on pressing energy and environmental issues.
Other delegation participants were Senator Ed Emery, Missouri, vice chair of SLC’s Energy & Environment Committee; Representative William E. “Bill” Sandifer III, South Carolina, immediate past chair of SLC’s Energy & Environment Committee; Senator Robin Webb, Kentucky; and Senator Dave Sypolt, West Virginia.
November 7-10, 2017
Agriculture & Rural Development Committee
A second delegation of presiding officers from the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC) recently travelled to Havana, Cuba, to gain insight into the nation’s growing private sector, agricultural trade opportunities, and to participate in high-level briefings with ministry officials.
Despite a history of economic sanctions, the United States has emerged as a major exporter of agricultural goods to Cuba, which imports up to 80 percent of its food. Given Cuba’s geographic and economic position, states in the Southern region of the United States have competitive export advantages in terms of production, quality, logistics and proximity. Of all states exporting to Cuba, Southern states comprise nine of the top 10.
To gain a deeper understanding of the nuances of U.S. – Cuban relations, delegates met with Larry Gumbiner, the newly-appointed Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Havana. Mr. Gumbiner briefed delegates on recent diplomatic developments, opportunities for trade partnerships, and the Trump Administration’s approach to future engagement.
Ms. Josefina Vidal Ferreiro, Director General of the United States General Division of Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, briefed delegates on the status of U.S. – Cuban relations, as well as opportunities for partnership and collaboration. Delegates also participated in briefings with senior officials from the Ministries of Agriculture, Foreign Trade and Investment, Education, and Transportation to learn about Cuba’s growing economy and industrial development.
Delegates toured organic and cooperative farming operations in the Cuban countryside. Participants learned about the history of the farm, growing techniques, the distribution and sales of their products and how the cooperative has impacted the lives of the workers.
Delegation participants included Speaker Philip Gunn, Mississippi; Speaker Tim Moore, North Carolina; and Speaker Jeremy Gillam, Arkansas.
October 25-27, 2017 | Miami, Florida
Human Services & Public Safety Committee
A delegation of legislators from the Southern Legislative Conference attended a study tour of the Criminal Mental Health Project (CMHP) in Miami, Florida, October 25 – October 27, 2017. A nationally renowned program run by the Eleventh Judicial Circuit, CMHP diverts nonviolent defendants with serious mental illnesses and substance abuse disorders from the criminal justice system into community-based treatment programs. CMHP has served as a model throughout Florida and beyond.
During the two-day visit, delegates attended a private discussion with Associate Administrative Judge Steve Leifman, who founded CMHP in 2000, where they learned about the successes and challenges of CMHP’s many programs, including pre-booking crisis intervention training (CIT), misdemeanor and felony jail diversion, forensic hospital diversion, and access to an array of state and federal benefits. Delegates also had the opportunity to talk first-hand with a CMHP recovery peer specialist, an individual who is diagnosed with a mental illness and now works as a member of CMHP’s jail diversion program to assist participants with community re-entry and engagement in continuing treatment and services.
The SLC delegation observed the felony jail diversion court docket and received a tour of the mental health diversion facility, an ongoing project that will expand the capacity to divert individuals from the criminal justice system into comprehensive treatment programs that will leverage local, state and federal resources when completed in 2019. Delegates also participated in a ride-along with CIT law enforcement officers who have received specialized training by CMHP experts to interact with individuals in Miami-Dade County suspected of having mental illnesses and/or substance abuse issues.
October 3-6, 2017
August 17-18, 2017
November 14-15, 2016
November 14-15, 2016 | San Antonio, Texas
October 24-25, 2016
May 18-20, 2016 | Washington, D.C.
November 17-18, 2015 | San Antonio, Texas
November 4-5, 2015 | Washington, D.C.
October 28-29, 2015
September 23-25, 2015
August 11-13, 2015
May 11-13, 2015 | Washington, D.C.
December 8-10, 2014
November 17-18, 2014 | San Antonio, Texas
September 24-26, 2014
June 10-12, 2014 | Alberta, Canada
September 11-13, 2013
June 23-24, 2013 | Atlanta, Georgia
June 11-13, 2013 | Alberta, Canada
February 28 - March 1, 2013
November 11-17, 2012
September 12-14, 2012
June 26-28, 2012 | Washington, D.C.
May 29-31, 2012 | Alberta, Canada
November 14-15, 2011 | Washington, D.C.
October 4-6, 2011 | Washington, D.C.
October 3, 2011 | Atlanta, Georgia
September 17-24, 2011
November 11-12, 2010 | Dallas, Texas
October 29, 2010 | Bay St. Louis, Mississippi
September 18-25, 2010
September 13, 2010 | Waynesboro, Georgia
December 2, 2009 | Powder Springs, Georgia
November 5, 2009 | San Antonio, Texas
September 27 - October 4, 2009
June 23-24, 2009 | Washington, D.C.
June 9, 2009 | Powder Springs, Georgia
October 11, 2009 | Charlotte, North Carolina