Southern Legislative Conference | Serving the South

The Southern
Office of

The Council of State Governments

State Transformation in Action Recognition (STAR)

Creativity | Impact

Transferability | Effectiveness

2015 Brochure

The SLC recognizes that state employees work hard, not only to provide outstanding services to their citizens, but also by striving to develop and adapt new and improved programs to make their states a better place to live.  Such efforts should be recognized and rewarded, and innovative ideas should be shared among colleagues.

The SLC STAR program represents an opportunity to highlight successful programs implemented within your state, especially those that can be replicated across state lines to improve the region as a whole.

Program Liaison

Stephanie Noble, Research & Publications Associate

Showcase Your State's Success

Starting January 5, 2015, the Southern Legislative Conference will begin seeking applications for its State Transformation in Action Recognition (STAR). The SLC STAR program is an adaptation of the former CSG Innovations Awards Program, started in 1975 and recently transitioned to a regional level.

The SLC STAR program identifies and promotes innovative ideas and programs from the Southern region’s best problem solvers: the states themselves. The SLC welcomes applications from a wide array of state agencies, departments, and institutions operating within the executive, legislative, and judicial governmental branches. Following a review process, finalists are invited to present at the SLC annual meeting, and two exceptional programs are selected by a board of experienced policy professionals as models of efficiency and effectiveness in state governments in the Southern region.

State programs are evaluated and graded by the following criteria:

Creativity – Does the program represent a new and creative approach to solving common problems or issues?
Impact – How far-reaching are the benefits and solutions of the program?
Transferability – From a logistical and fiscal standpoint, could the program or practice easily be transferred to other states?
Effectiveness – To what extent is the program successful at addressing an issue, and how efficiently does it operate?

2014 Winners

Virginia | DMV Connect

In May 2012, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and Department of Corrections (DOC) launched the DMV Connect program, an innovative, low-cost approach to reducing criminal recidivism rates in the commonwealth. The program was designed to smooth prisoners’ transition back into society by ensuring they have valid state identification upon release — a necessity for finding employment, opening a bank account, obtaining housing, and applying for benefits and services. The program has since expanded and the DMV now offers similar services to other populations of limited mobility, including the elderly and disabled.

This low-cost service provides immediate benefit to populations in need and long-term benefit to society. Recidivism rates in Virginia have dropped to their lowest levels on record. Although ongoing evaluation by the DMV and DOC will determine the exact effect the DMV Connect has on recidivism, the program has proven successful.

Summary | Application | Presentation

West Virginia | Feed to Achieve

Through the Feed to Achieve Act signed into law in April 2013, West Virginia’s Feed to Achieve program addresses the three-fold problem of food insecurity as it relates to child poverty, health and education. Implemented by the Office of Child Nutrition and building on existing state and federal nutrition programs, the Feed to Achieve program seeks to provide a minimum of two nutritious meals a day to schoolchildren in West Virginia by way of innovative meal delivery systems. The program also incorporates innovative funding mechanisms, including directed donations and targeted federal grants, that enable the program to operate with negligible administrative cost, providing children with free meals.

By building on existing state and federal nutrition programs and looking to the community for support, the Feed to Achieve program provides a creative and flexible solution to a multifaceted problem. While each community is able to shape their program to suit local resources and needs, continuous data collection and evaluation by the Office of Child Nutrition shows that the program has successfully increased availability of healthy meals to children statewide.

Summary | Application | Presentation

Previous Years' Winners

The Southern Legislative Conference, Southern Office of the Council of State Governments (CSG), has a long history of highlighting exceptional state government programs. The CSG Innovations Awards Program recognized and promoted creative and successful state government programs and initiatives for nearly 40 years. Begun in 1975 as the Innovations Transfer Program, refined and renamed the CSG Innovations Awards in 1986, the program transitioned to the regional level in 2013. The SLC STAR Program is the Southern regional continuation of the former, national CSG Innovations Awards program.

Eligible Program Categories

Agriculture & Natural Resources

Ag Education
Conservation & Land Use
Land Preservation
Parks & Recreation
Natural Resources

Economic Development, Fiscal Affairs & Transportation

Business & Commerce
International Trade
Public-Private Partnerships
Transportation Infrastructure


Training & Development
Workforce Development



Health & Human Services

Children & Families
Health Services
Human Services

Government Operations & Technology

Information Systems
Public Information

Public Safety & Corrections

Criminal Justice
Substance Abuse
Emergency Management
Public Safety