click here to see the complete list of news and updates
The State Local Legal Center, in collaboration with the National Association of Counties, will host a webinar from 1:00 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. EDT, Wednesday, October 14, providing a preview of upcoming U.S. Supreme Court cases. Redistricting, affirmative action, and preemption are just a few of the topics on the Supreme Court’s 2015-2016 docket. Preview the most significant cases of interest to state and local government with John Elwood, Vinson & Elkins, Kelsi Brown Corkran, Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, and Kimberly Atkins, Boston Herald. Click here to register.
A delegation of state legislative leaders from five states, including Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (North Carolina); Speaker Tim Moore (North Carolina); Senator Frank Ginn (Georgia); Representative Neal Collins (South Carolina); Senate President Pro Tempore Pam Roach (Washington); and Senator Nancy Todd (Colorado), recently traveled to Panama for high level briefings on the Panama Canal expansion project. The delegation agenda was designed to reinforce the need for Southern ports to continue essential infrastructure enhancements to accommodate the significantly larger vessels and expanded cargo volumes expected to arrive after the completion of the Panama Canal expansion. The 2015 delegation to Panama, organized by the SLC, was the fourth consecutive visit to that country for briefings on the Panama Canal expansion, and included legislators from The Council of State Governments’ (CSG) Western region, CSG-WEST.
For more than a decade, the SLC has focused on the critical role played by Southern ports in the economic calculations of the Southern region and the nation as a whole. Upon completion in 2016, the Panama Canal will facilitate an even greater flow of trade between Asia and the Americas and substantially impact the volume of trade reaching Gulf and Atlantic Coast ports in the United States. Nearly all the states will be impacted directly by the increase in cargo and vessel traffic in the aftermath of the Panama Canal expansion. In 2014, total U.S. exports to Panama amounted to $10.5 billion.
The delegation’s scheduled meetings began with a series of briefings by the Panama Canal Authority and a tour of the Canal and expansion project. At the Miraflores Center, the delegation received a detailed briefing from Mr. Luis Ferreira, Chief Engineer of the Panama Canal Authority, on the expansion effort and its critical importance in the effective and efficient transfer of cargo between Asia and the Americas. Also included on the technical tour was a visit to and further briefings on the operation of the control tower of the current locks. The legislators also traveled to the site of the new Pacific locks for additional briefings on security procedures and equipment.
The delegation then visited the U.S. Embassy in Panama for a briefing on U.S. – Panama political, economic and social linkages, which included reference to the impact of the expansion of the Panama Canal and the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the United States and Panama that was signed into law in October 2011. The briefing included an extended discussion with officials including Ms. Leslie O’Connor, Deputy Assistant United States Trade Representative for Central America and the Dominican Republic; Mr. John Coronado, Senior Commercial Officer; Ms. Mimi Lu, Economics Officer; and Mr. Chris Andino, Head of the Political Section. The delegation also received briefings from the American Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Panama (AmCham Panama) on the potential for expanding the economic and financial relationships between Panama and corporate and business interests in all states. Providing details on these topics were Mr. C.E. Maurice Belanger, Executive Director, AmCham Panama and Dr. Max Jimenez, Director of the Georgia Tech Panama Logistics Innovation & Research Center in Panama.
Click here for more information.
Legislative leadership in North Carolina recently announced their replacement for Mr. George Hall, who retired from the post of legislative services officer in November of last year. Former Raleigh mayor and Wake County Commissioner Paul Coble will take over the post. In a joint statement, Speaker Tim Moore and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger said, "Mr. Coble is a proven leader and will bring a high level of professionalism to the General Assembly."
Mr. George Hall worked in the legislative services office in the North Carolina General Assembly for more than 50 years. In his time as legislative services officer, Mr. Hall was an active participant in many major activities of the Southern Legislative Conference. Given his expertise in legislative procedure and law, the Southern Office frequently sought his guidance on activities of the Conference and the Legislative Service Agency Directors Group.
The 69th Annual Meeting of the Southern Legislative Conference, held July 18-22, 2015, in Savannah, Georgia, has concluded. The SLC is sincerely grateful for all the legislators, legislative staff, governmental officials, presenters, coordinators, and the many invaluable volunteers that made the meeting such a success. Post-meeting materials, including speaker presentations, photos, attendance lists, and more, will be available soon. Thank you all for your continued support and participation.
In 2008 and 2009, the American auto industry was in dire shape and the Big Three U.S. automakers—General Motors, Chrysler and Ford—were forced to make wrenching cuts in terms of employees and production. General Motors and Chrysler had no recourse but to secure emergency bailout assistance from the federal government, and consumers and companies faced serious difficulties in securing loans as a result of a credit freeze that was sweeping across the U.S. economy, along with a multiplicity of other challenges. The negative consequences of the Great Recession caused havoc on myriad sectors, and the fabled American auto industry, along with many other components of the U.S. economy, faced a series of grim choices. While there has been a radical but positive transformation in the nation's economic fortunes in the more than six years since the onset of the Great Recession, there still are significant sectors within the U.S. economy that remain weak.
In this context, the fact that the industry has made significant progress since those glum days speaks volumes about the resiliency of the industry and its willingness to make radical changes on a range of issues. Not only are the three U.S. automakers thriving compared to their doleful position in 2008 and 2009, the dozen or so foreign automakers with manufacturing facilities in a number of mostly Southern states continue to perform admirably. Notably, even during the darkest days of the Great Recession, not one of these foreign automakers, operating largely in the South, was forced to dismiss a single employee; even more impressively, a number of these foreign automakers actually expanded their operations during the Great Recession, a development that has indisputably assisted in the nascent resurgence of the American manufacturing sector in recent years.
This SLC Regional Resource is divided into three sections. Section I provides details on broad, national trends on the influence wielded by the nation's automotive sector on gross domestic product, specifically the breakdown of gross output by industry; the contribution of new and used motor vehicles and auto parts to the U.S. economy; and the auto industry's contributions to the nation's employment rolls. Section II provides an array of details on how the industry continues to advance in the SLC states, including details on the many foreign automakers' impressive performance in recent years, even during the most desolate days of the Great Recession. Section III demonstrates the auto sector's sphere of influence around the SLC region reinforcing the mounting importance of the automobile sector and related manufacturing operations.
Throughout June 2015, the Southern Legislative Conference hosted three webinars addressing state energy, education, rural development, and budgeting policies. Specifically, spent fuel storage, education as a rural development mechanism, and performance-based budgeting were examined, on June 16, 18, and 25, respectively. Presentations materials and video recordings of the online programs are now available on the SLC website.
Online, fax, and mail pre-registration for the 69th SLC Annual Meeting is closed as of 6:00 p.m. EDT, June 30. All further registrations must be done on-site, opening at 7:30 a.m., Saturday, July 18, in the Lobby of the Hyatt Regency Savannah. For those already registered, please note that SLC Annual Meeting registration does not automatically register your spouse/guest or youth for the host state programs, or for host state transportation. Registration for these programs and services must be completed on the host state website, at www.slc2015.org.
The Southern Legislative Conference will host a series of three complimentary webinars in June 2015, addressing state energy, education, rural development, and budgeting policies. Specifically, spent fuel storage, education as a rural development mechanism, and performance-based budgeting will be examined, on June 16, 18, and 25, respectively. SLC members and all other interested government officials are welcome and encouraged to join. Further details and registrations also are available through the CSG Ecademies website.