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.

Delegation to Cuba
November 7-10, 2017

Agricultural Trade with Cuba

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.


Criminal Mental Health Project Fly-In
Criminal Mental Health Project Fly-In
October 25-27, 2017 | Miami, Florida

Criminal Mental Health Project

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.

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SLC Delegation to Cuba | October 3-6, 2017
October 3-6, 2017

Agricultural Trade with Cuba

Agriculture & Rural Development Committee

A 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.

Delegates toured the Organopónico Vivero Farming Cooperative (UBPC), a 4-hectare farm located on the outskirts of Havana. In response to the food crisis in the 1990s, urban organic garden projects, such as the UBPC, were initiated throughout the country. 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.

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.

Delegation participants included Speaker Pro Tempore Jan Jones, Georgia; Senate Majority Leader Thomas Norment, Virginia; and Speaker Pro Tempore Walt Leger III, Louisiana.


Past Programs


August 17-18, 2017

U.S.-Canada Border Operations

November 14-15, 2016 | San Antonio, Texas

The Center for Health Care Services

May 18-20, 2016 | Washington, D.C.

CSG Transportation Policy Academy

November 17-18, 2015 | San Antonio, Texas

The Center for Health Care Services

September 23-25, 2015

Panama Canal Expansion Project

May 11-13, 2015 | Washington, D.C.

CSG Transportation Policy Academy

November 17-18, 2014 | San Antonio, Texas

The Center for Health Care Services

September 24-26, 2014

Panama Canal Expansion Project

June 10-12, 2014 | Alberta, Canada

Alberta Oil Sands

September 11-13, 2013

Panama Canal Expansion Project

June 23-24, 2013 | Atlanta, Georgia

Medicaid Program Integrity

June 11-13, 2013 | Alberta, Canada

Alberta Oil Sands

February 28 - March 1, 2013

Trade Relations with Canada

September 12-14, 2012

Panama Canal Expansion Project

June 26-28, 2012 | Washington, D.C.

CSG Transportation Policy Academy

May 29-31, 2012 | Alberta, Canada

Alberta Oil Sands

November 14-15, 2011 | Washington, D.C.

State Healthcare Exchanges

October 4-6, 2011 | Washington, D.C.

CSG Transportation Policy Academy

October 3, 2011 | Atlanta, Georgia

Creative Economy Workshop

September 17-24, 2011

U.S.-China Relations

November 11-12, 2010 | Dallas, Texas

Americas 2020 Summit

October 29, 2010 | Bay St. Louis, Mississippi

Mississippi Coast Technical Tour

September 18-25, 2010

U.S.-China Relations

September 13, 2010 | Waynesboro, Georgia

Vogtle Electric Generating Plant

December 2, 2009 | Powder Springs, Georgia

American Maglev Technology

November 5, 2009 | San Antonio, Texas

Americas 2020 Summit

September 27 - October 4, 2009

U.S.-China Relations

June 23-24, 2009 | Washington, D.C.

Federal Transportation Legislation

June 9, 2009 | Powder Springs, Georgia

American Maglev Technology

October 11, 2009 | Charlotte, North Carolina

Lynx Light Rail System