SLC Economic Development, Transportation & Cultural Affairs Committee

The topics explored by the Economic Development, Transportation & Cultural Affairs Committee include a number of critical issues relevant to the progress and advancement of the Southern region. As the Southern states continue to diversify their economies, the Committee has studied a number of issues to further its understanding of this diversification process. In addition, the Committee has focused on exploring the role of the arts as a catalyst for economic growth and the fact that a thriving cultural scenario is an important consideration in the relocation and expansion plans of corporations. Such issues as federal transportation plans and their implications for Southern states; competition among states to attract economic investment; attracting and retaining high-tech investment; promoting Southern state exports; high speed rail in the South; promoting biotechnology are recurring topics.

2017-18
Chair

Representative
Jeanie Lauer

Missouri

2017-18
Vice Chair

Representative
Manly Barton

Mississippi

Immediate
Past Chair

Senator
Jeff Mullis

Georgia

Committee
Liaison

Roger Moore

Roger Moore
Policy Analyst

Recent Research


The State of Retail in Southern States
Issue Brief | January 29, 2018

The State of Retail in Southern States

Roger Moore, Policy Analyst

Download the full report (PDF)

The retail industry, historically one of the largest and most important drivers of economic growth in the United States, is being challenged by technological advances and shifting consumer habits that are undermining sustained growth across much of the industry. The popularity of online retail — most prominently exemplified by the rise and dominance of Amazon and similar online shopping platforms — coupled with growing preferences for discounted shopping and experiences instead of material purchases, have profound implications for an industry that employs millions of people across the nation. According to many financial experts, the industry is confronting a so-called “retail apocalypse,” characterized by depressed profits, store closures and, in several instances, bankruptcy among some of the nation’s largest, most recognizable retailers.

Given such perceived disruptions to a pillar of the national economy, it is instructive to understand the role of retail in each state’s economic landscape and the extent to which the industry’s difficulties have impacted states’ workforces in recent years. This SLC Issue Brief reviews Occupational Employment Statistics from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, for three prominent retail occupations — cashiers, retail salespersons and retail supervisors — to determine how employment in these areas has evolved since 2012. Several states in the South have maintained solid growth in these occupations, in some cases surpassing the national average by wide margins, despite the many challenges confronting the industry. However, such growth likely cannot be sustained due to the ongoing and accelerating shift to online commerce.


SLC Regional Resource | June 21, 2017

STEM Teacher Preparation and Retention in the South

Roger Moore, Policy Analyst

As technological advancements continue driving innovation and automation across much of the global economy, STEM subjects — including coursework in science, technology, engineering and mathematics — have increasingly become an essential component of educational standards at all levels, from as early as pre-kindergarten up to secondary education and beyond. Local, state and federal policymakers all have emphasized the importance of STEM coursework to America's students, appropriating hundreds of millions of dollars in recent years to ensure the next generation of workers is equipped with the skills and knowledge to compete in the global workforce.

For the United States to remain competitive in the global economy, it will be important for states to address these shortages in the years ahead. Not to do so compounds the risks that students will fall behind in many critical skills that are essential to maintaining sustainable economic growth in today's globalized, automation-driven workforce. This SLC Regional Resource examines various initiatives in Southern states to increase the number of qualified primary and secondary teachers equipped with the skills and knowledge to successfully educate students in STEM subjects.


Policy Analysis | October 1, 2016

What are the state laws governing employee voting leave in SLC member states?

Nine of the 15 SLC member states provide regulatory guidelines under which employers may grant employees time off to vote in an election.

State and Code Section Voting Leave Law
Alabama
Code § 17-1-5
Each employee in the state shall, upon reasonable notice to his or her employer, be permitted by his or her employer to take necessary time off from his or her employment to vote in any municipal, county, state, or federal political party primary or election for which the employee is qualified and registered to vote on the day on which the primary or election is held. The necessary time off shall not exceed one hour and if the hours of work of the employee commence at least two hours after the opening of the polls or end at least one hour prior to the closing of the polls, then the time off for voting as provided in this section shall not be available. The employer may specify the hours during which the employee may absent himself or herself as provided in this section.
Arkansas
Code § 7-1-102
Each employer in the state shall schedule the work hours of employees on election days so that each employee will have an opportunity to exercise the right of franchise.
Florida Employee leave for voting not regulated.
Georgia
Code § 21-2-404
Each employee in this state shall, upon reasonable notice to his or her employer, be permitted by his or her employer to take any necessary time off from his or her employment to vote in any municipal, county, state, or federal political party primary or election for which such employee is qualified and registered to vote on the day on which such primary or election is held; provided, however, that such necessary time off shall not exceed two hours; and provided, further, that, if the hours of work of such employee commence at least two hours after the opening of the polls or end at least two hours prior to the closing of the polls, then the time off for voting as provided for in this Code section shall not be available. The employer may specify the hours during which the employee may absent himself or herself as provided in this Code section.


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