SLC Fiscal Affairs & Government Operations Committee

Since its creation, members of the Fiscal Affairs & Government Operations (FAGO) Committee have focused on the myriad fiscal issues impacting state budgets and finances. In the current era of depleted budgets and dwindling revenues, members of the FAGO Committee have explored the experiences of their Southern state counterparts in devising strategies in their own states. The Committee’s membership includes many of the finance and appropriations chairs from across the South along with other prominent fiscal players, both legislators and legislative staff, in the different state legislatures. The Committee routinely examines the impact of the federal budget on state finances; revenue forecasting in the 15 member states; healthcare reform; state fiscal trends; performance-based budgeting; e-commerce and taxation; and public pension plans. In an effort to bolster ties between the South and the Federal Reserve Bank, the Committee has featured presentation on national and regional economic trends from the presidents of the Federal Reserve Banks of Atlanta, Dallas and St. Louis.

2017-18
Chair

Representative
Eric Johnson

Texas

2017-18
Vice Chair

Representative
Penny Houston

Georgia

Immediate
Past Chair

Senator
Roman Prezioso

West Virginia

Committee
Liaison

Recent Research


Policy Analysis | September 21, 2017

SLC Member State Revenue Increases

Nick Bowman

Despite its official end in 2010, the lingering effects of the Great Recession still are felt in states across the nation. Several SLC member states have been forced to make difficult decisions throughout a sluggish recovery. Alabama, Oklahoma and West Virginia, for example, have faced considerable budget shortfalls and had to cut services and/or raise taxes and fees to balance their budgets. This analysis focuses on statewide revenue enhancements passed by SLC member states in 2016 and 2017; county-level and municipality-level increases have been excluded. Statewide revenue increases adopted in 2015, but implemented in 2016 and 2017, also are included.

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Policy Analysis | April 27, 2017

Bill Introduction Limits and Pre-Filing Requirements in SLC Member States

Nick Bowman

Introduction

In recent years, several states and legislative chambers have created a limit on the number of bills that may be introduced each legislative session. Proponents have argued that this will force legislators to only introduce legislation that is likely to pass and may decrease the need for longer sessions or special sessions. In some chambers, the limit only applies after the chamber’s pre-filing deadline. Table 1 displays the limits placed on legislation introduced each session in the 15 Southern Legislative Conference (SLC) member states. Six SLC member states apply a limit in at least one of their legislative chambers.

Table 1. Limits on Bills Introduced Per Session in SLC Member States
State/Chamber Limit on Legislation Introduced Per Session
Alabama No limit
Arkansas No limit
Florida House Six bills per member
Florida Senate No limit
Georgia No limit
Kentucky No limit
Louisiana Five bills that were not pre-filed
Mississippi No limit
Missouri No limit
North Carolina House 15 bills per member
North Carolina Senate No limit
Oklahoma House Eight bills or joint resolutions per member *
Oklahoma Senate No limit
South Carolina No limit
Tennessee House 15 bills per member
Tennessee Senate No limit
Texas No limit
Virginia House 15 per member in odd-numbered years; five non-pre-filed bills after the pre-filing deadline
Virginia Senate Eight non-pre-filed bills after the pre-filing deadline

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Policy Analysis | November 14, 2016

Outside Legal Counsel in SLC Member States

Nick Bowman

Introduction

The attorney general is the chief legal officer in each state and serves as counselors to their legislatures and state agencies and also as the "People's Lawyer" for all citizens. Circumstances arise, however, in which the attorney general cannot or will not represent the state. When this occurs, state governments must hire outside legal counsel to represent the state.

In 14 of the 15 states in the SLC region,1 the attorney general is elected. This may lead to situations in which the attorney general is from a different political party than the governor and/or legislature. Sometimes in states with this arrangement, the attorney general may refuse to provide a defense for a law which he or she believes is unconstitutional. This currently is happening in North Carolina, where Attorney General Roy Cooper is refusing to defend multiple laws passed by the General Assembly and, in Mississippi, where Attorney General Jim Hood has refused to defend HB 1523, also known as the Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act,” or “has refused to defend HB 1523, the state’s religious freedom law.”

In other cases, the attorney general may decide that outside legal counsel has more expertise in the subject matter of a case and that the state would be better served by outside legal counsel. In some instances, the legal matter may not be central to the capital city and a law firm located in the relevant city may be better equipped to address the matter.

All 15 of the SLC member states allow for the use of outside legal counsel. In the majority of the SLC member states, there are laws or policies enumerating in which situations the use of outside legal counsel is permitted. The following sections details these laws and policies in all 15 SLC member states.

Alabama

The use of outside legal counsel by the attorney general, in consultation with the governor, is permitted. Contingency fee contracts2 are permitted, if a government attorney(s) maintains supervision and control of the legal matter. A government attorney(s) must decide all settlement matters.

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More SLC Research into Government Operations


Policy Analysis | June 19, 2015

State Purchasing Regulations and Reform

Comparative Data Report | June 12, 2015

Revenue

Policy Analysis | February 27, 2015

How Do States Regulate Combat Sports?

Policy Analysis | January 26, 2015

State Occupational Boards and Commissions Fees

Comparative Data Report | October 1, 2014

Revenue

Comparative Data Report | November 1, 2013

Revenue

Comparative Data Report | October 16, 2012

Revenue

Comparative Data Report | October 1, 2011

Revenue

Policy Analysis | December 22, 2010

Census Results and State Implications

Policy Analysis | November 9, 2010

Economic Impact of the Great Recession

Policy Analysis | October 25, 2010

Permanent Property Rights Task Forces

Comparative Data Report | July 1, 2010

Revenue

Presentation | February 3, 2010

State Unemployment Insurance: Recent Trends

Comparative Data Report | November 1, 2009

Revenue

Comparative Data Report | November 1, 2008

Revenue

Comparative Data Report | November 1, 2007

Revenue

Comparative Data Report | November 1, 2006

Revenue

Comparative Data Report | November 1, 2005

Revenue

Comparative Data Report | November 1, 2004

Revenue

SLC Regional Resource | February 1, 2004

Judicial Selection Methods in the Southern States

Comparative Data Report | November 1, 2003

Revenue

Comparative Data Report | November 1, 2002

Revenue

SLC Regional Resource | June 1, 2002

A Review of Southern States' No-Call Registries

SLC Special Series Report | February 1, 2002

Election Policies and Reform in Southern States 2001

Comparative Data Report | November 1, 2001

Revenue

SLC Special Series Report | August 1, 2000

Drawing the Map: Redistricting in the South