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Recent research by SLC Fiscal Policy Manager Sujit CanagaRetna examines the recovery of state unemployment funds from the depths of the Great Recession. As a result of the doggedly high unemployment rates in so many states during the Great Recession and the actions taken by states (such as expanding unemployment benefits and cutting unemployment insurance taxes), the unemployment insurance funds in a majority of the states were thrust into perilous shape. The funds were attacked at both ends: more people were tapping benefits while a shrinking number of companies were paying fewer taxes to replenish the funds. With the deleterious effects of the Great Recession tapering off and the employment situation in the SLC states improving, fewer and fewer individuals were eligible for unemployment insurance payments by 2013. As a result of this development and essential reforms to state plans, the balances of these trust funds improved significantly by 2013.
As leaders of The Council of State Governments, West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris have selected State Pathways to Prosperity as their initiative for 2014.
The latest SLC Regional Resource, A Special Condition: Medical Marijuana in the SLC States, reviews the medical marijuana legalization movement in the South. Despite the prevalence of marijuana-related legislation being filed in SLC member states, only a few bills are expected to make their way through the legislative process to achieve enactment. However, as the topic moves further from theoretical and closer to reality, common trends are emerging in legislation across the SLC region.
The Southern Legislative Conference recently released a new SLC Regional Resource, Aeronautics in the SLC States: Cleared for Takeoff, examining the increasing number of aeronautics companies that are locating, relocating or expanding their manufacturing operations in the South, a trend particularly discernible in the aftermath of the Great Recession.
The Southern Legislative Conference is accepting submissions for its State Transformation in Action Recognition (STAR), a regional adaptation of the former CSG Innovations Awards. The 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. Click here for more information.
The Southern Legislative Conference recently published an analysis of the latest state export data from the U.S. Department of Commerce. Notably, U.S. exports of goods and services soared to an unprecedented $2.3 trillion, an expansion of 2.8 percent compared to levels reached in 2012. Click here to review the the complete research post.
The State Local Legal Center (SLLC), International Municipal Lawyers Association, and Georgetown University Law Center's Supreme Court Institute will collaborate to arrange a Supreme Court Practice seminar in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. The seminar will be held in conjunction with SLLC's 30-year anniversary reception. Details on the program and registration for the event are now available.
The Southern Legislative Conference hosted two complimentary webinars on human trafficking and distracted driving on November 25 and December 5, respectively, featuring national experts on the regional issues. Archived resources are now available for these recent online programs, and other critical topics, on the SLC webinars page.