Research / Economic Development


SLC Regional Resource | April 2020

Missed Connections: State Funding Mechanisms for Broadband Expansion

Anne Roberts Brody

High-speed internet access, commonly referred to as “broadband,” is provided by a series of technologies — cable, telephone wire, fiber, satellite, mobile and fixed wireless — that allow users to send and receive data at speeds necessary to support a wide range of applications for voice communications, entertainment, telemedicine, distance education, telework, e-commerce, civic engagement, public safety and energy conservation, to name a few. Access to reliable, high-speed internet is vital to almost every aspect of the nation’s economy, and communities with broadband access enjoy a wide array of benefits. Often compared to the electrification of rural America, the increasing efforts to expand broadband access in rural areas have gained momentum across the South.

While the rate of broadband adoption continues to grow, largely in urban and suburban areas, numerous studies and surveys indicate that broadband deployment in rural areas continues to lag. Rural areas also tend to have fewer broadband providers, leading to limited options and competition for customers, as well as slower connection speeds. Meanwhile, nearly one quarter of rural adults say that access to high-speed internet is a major problem in their local community.

State laws and policies can facilitate and encourage broadband expansion in underserved rural areas. Building upon the 2016 SLC Regional Resource, The Role of State and Local Government in Broadband Deployment, this SLC Regional Resource explores funding mechanisms implemented by Southern states to encourage broadband expansion in rural, unserved and underserved areas.


Policy Analysis | November 2019

Federal Analysis: Rural Health Agenda

Nick Bowman

Rural hospitals have struggled to remain solvent in recent years. Since January 2010, 81 rural hospitals have closed in the SLC region. State and federal policy makers are working to mitigate this trend and promote the work of rural hospitals.* At the federal level, the recently introduced Rural Health Agenda offers potential assistance for rural hospitals and residents.

On July 31, 2019, U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (TN) introduced the Rural Health Agenda in the Senate to support the provision of rural healthcare. The agenda includes the Rural America Health Corps Act, Telehealth Across State Lines Act of 2019 and Rural Health Innovation Act of 2019. The three bills were each read twice and referred to the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

On October 29, 2019, U.S. Representative Phil Roe (TN) introduced companion bills for the Rural America Health Corps Act and Telehealth Across State Lines Act of 2019 in the House of Representatives. Both bills were referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee; the latter was also referred to the Ways and Means Committee. That same day, U.S. Representative David Kustoff (TN) introduced a companion bill for the Rural Health Innovation Act of 2019, which was referred to the Energy and Commerce Committee.

The information provided is a summary of the three bills comprising the Rural Health Agenda. As the bills are in committee, they are subject to change. All information is current as of November 19, 2019.

Rural America Health Corps Act

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Response for Rural Hospitals: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow:

"I suspect many legislators, including myself, avoid healthcare issues because of their complexity. This research makes it feel more manageable. Wow, just wow! That was an amazing undertaking on the part of the SLC. Thanks for your hard work."

SLC Regional Resource | November 2019

Rural Hospitals: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

Nick Bowman

With decreasing rural populations and changing federal regulations, many rural hospitals have struggled to maintain financial viability in recent years. In 2017, 6,210 total hospitals operated in the United States; 2,250, of these are rural hospitals. Nationally, 113 rural hospitals have closed since January 2010. Furthermore, the rate of rural hospital closures from 2013 to 2017 was twice as high as the rate of the previous five years. In January 2010, SLC member states had approximately 831 rural hospitals. Since then, 81 rural hospitals (9.7 percent) in the South have closed.

This SLC Regional Resource examines the unique circumstances facing rural hospitals and communities today, including healthcare regulations and recent federal actions aimed at directing greater financial support toward rural healthcare providers, followed by a review of legislation adopted in the 15 SLC member states addressing rural health, rural hospitals and their challenges.

2019-2020
Chair

Representative
Manly Barton

Mississippi

2019-2020
Vice Chair

Representative
Nathaniel Ledbetter

Alabama

Immediate
Past Chair

Representative
Jeanie Lauer

Missouri

Committee
Liaison
Roger Moore

Roger Moore
Policy Analyst


The SLC Economic Development, Transportation & Cultural Affairs Committee examines issues related to infrastructure, economic progress and cultural strengths in the Southern region. Discussions and reports of the committee have focused on Southern state actions to bring manufacturing operations of national and foreign companies to the region, as well as the importance of ports, roads and railways for the movement of manufactured goods. The committee has a long history of studying the impact of the Panama Canal expansion and international trade with Mexico, Canada and China on Southern state economies.

More SLC Research into Economic Development


Policy Analysis | August 2018

Apprenticeships in the South

SLC Issue Brief | January 2018

The State of Retail in Southern States

SLC Special Series Report | January 2018

Blown Away: Wind Energy in the Southern States (Part II)

SLC Special Series Report | May 2017

Blown Away: Wind Energy in Southern States (Part 1)

Policy Analysis | January 2016

Vehicle Sales Soar to Record Levels in 2015

SLC Regional Resource | February 2014

Aeronautics in the SLC States: Cleared for Takeoff

SLC Regional Resource | November 2013

Tire Manufacturing: Southern States Roll to the Top

SLC Regional Resource | July 2013

Workforce Development in the SLC States

Presentation | October 2012

Economic Development Trends from the States

Policy Analysis | August 2010

DOE Recovery Act Funding in Southern States

SLC Regional Resource | June 2010

Creating Value: Recycling in the Southern States

Presentation | February 2009

Economic Status of the States

SLC Special Series Report | November 2003

The Drive to Move South