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 4, 2016, the Southern Legislative Conference will begin seeking applications for its annual State Transformation in Action Recognition (STAR).

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 Annual Meeting of the Southern Legislative Conference, and two exceptional programs are selected by a panel of state legislators and policy experts 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?

2015 Winners

Armstrong State University logo

Georgia | Cyber Forensics Division, Armstrong State University

Cyber forensics labs retrieve deleted or corrupted data from digital devices such as computers, cell phones, tablets, and vehicle GPS. Due to the increased prevalence of cybercrime and digital evidence, however, most cyber forensic labs have backlogs of seven to 19 months, by which time criminal cases may be dismissed. In order to reduce this backlog, the Cyber Forensics Division at Armstrong State University opened its doors to state and federal law enforcement. All campus police are certified in digital forensics and, using the University’s three Forensic Evidence Recovery Devices, Cellebrite machine, and digital forensics software, the police examine evidence during uncommitted time. Relating this work to the University mission, the campus police also train students in the criminal justice program through internships. Using the same laboratory equipment, students learn how to retrieve digital evidence in a real-world setting through labwork modeled after actual cases. The Division has reduced Georgia’s cyber forensics backlog from seven to 12 months to 30 days or less, and has achieved high placement rates for its interns post-graduation.

Application | Presentation

Vital Records Logo

Virginia DMV Logo

Virginia | Vital Records at DMV

In 2013, the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation requiring a streamlined system for the retrieval of vital records by March 1, 2014. In response, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and the Department of Health (VDH) integrated systems, controls, policies and procedures, and developed a web portal to connect the DMV customer service application with the VDH vital records application. Prior to the implementation of the Vital Records at DMV program, residents and Virginia natives had to go to the Division of Vital Records in Richmond to obtain copies of certificates of birth, death, marriage and divorce, or contact the Division to have the records mailed. To make these records more accessible, the DMV and VDH collaborated to offer print copies at any of the DMV’s 75 fixed locations and five mobile offices.

The availability of vital records at the DMV has been particularly useful to residents who need birth certificates required to obtain a driver’s license or state-issued identification, as they may now access all necessary documentation in one place, at one time. The DMV reports that 93 percent of its vital records transactions have been successful. The program’s creative use of the DMV’s service footprint improves state services while also reducing DMV wait times. In addition, the program has proven transferable across agencies—the DMV has partnered to offer similar services for Department of Transportation E-ZPass and Department of Game and Inland Fisheries hunting licenses.

Application | Presentation

Previous Years' Winners

Example 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