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The Council of State Governments’ 2014 Transportation Academy involved transportation leaders from state legislatures across the country that gathered in Washington, D.C., on September 15-17, 2014, for a series of high-level policy discussions, meetings with members of Congress and U.S. Department of Transportation officials, and a tour of Northern Virginia, one of the busiest – from a transportation perspective - metropolitan areas in the country.
Topics of discussion included the Condition of the Nation’s Infrastructure & Resources for Policymakers; States and the Future of Transportation Funding; The Business Community & Infrastructure Investment; Perspectives on the Federal Role in Transportation; Future of the Federal-State-Local Partnerships on Transportation; and Public-Private Partnerships: The Virginia & Maryland Experiences. In addition, legislators attending the Transportation Academy toured several Northern Virginia transportation megaprojects - hosted by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) – that included a discussion on Virginia’s approach to public-private partnerships.
Among those attending the Transportation Academy were three legislators from the SLC: Representative Jay Roberts, chair, House Transportation Committee, Georgia; Senator Ernie Harris, chair, Senate Transportation Committee, Kentucky; and Representative William “Bill” Brawley, chair, House Transportation Committee, North Carolina.
SLC Fiscal Policy Manager Sujit CanagaRetna testified on September 10, 2014, before Louisiana's Transportation Funding Task Force. Mr. CanagaRetna's presentation and remarks examined state funding mechanisms for transportation, especially those employed by SLC member states, and provided details on the nation’s transportation and infrastructure network, reasons for current funding and maintenance challenges, common revenue sources and financing tools deployed by states to fund transportation, and recent actions in the states, both proposed and enacted, related to funding transportation. The Task Force, comprising House and Senate members, DOTD Secretary Sherri H. LeBas, and construction and engineering industry representatives, convened in the Louisiana House of Representatives for a public and recorded session, documented here. The presentation also was covered by The Times-Picayune of New Orleans and The Republic of Columbus, Indiana. Please visit the SLC Presentations page for further links and materials.
On Thursday, September 18, from 1:00-2:00 p.m. (EDT), the State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) – a partner of SLC – will host a complimentary webinar that will examine EPA’s recently proposed rule to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants under section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act. The webinar, which is open to all SLC members, will provide a focused look at legal issues raised within the proposed rule and its implementation for states and local governments on which they may want to address in their written comments.
EPA has invited comment on a number of issues that may have legal implications for states. Given the compliance obligations this rule will create for states, the National Governors Association has worked with the SLLC to develop a presentation that will provide states with an opportunity to explore topics that will most directly affect them. Some of these topics will be addressed in the webinar and include:
The 68th Annual Meeting of the Southern Legislative Conference featured policy experts across a vast array of disciplines. Presentations made before SLC's six standing committee are now available for further review. Please contact the appropriate committee liaison to inquire about a specific presentation or request additional information about a particular topic.
For 2014, legislative staff from four SLC member states prepared and presented data examining state spending on education, medicaid, revenue, transportation, and adult correctional systems. Comparative Data Reports (CDRs) are prepared annually by select SLC states’ fiscal research departments. Because CDRs track a multitude of revenue sources and appropriations levels in Southern states, they provide a useful tool to legislators and legislative staff alike as they determine their own state spending level priorities. Comparative Data Reports are prepared under the auspices of the Conference’s Fiscal Affairs & Government Operations Committee.
Southern state lawmakers convene on July 26, 2014, in Little Rock, Arkansas, for the 68th Annual Meeting of the Southern Legislative Conference. The agenda, guided by Senator Keith M. Ingram of Arkansas, chair, Speaker David Ralston of Georgia, chair elect, and Senate President Robert Stivers of Kentucky, vice chair, will focus on numerous issues of critical importance to both the South and the nation. The Southern Legislative Conference Annual Meeting offers Southern legislators an opportunity to meet head-on the challenges facing the region by sharing information, experiences and understanding across state lines. It also provides an excellent occasion to learn about new developments and activities and see what lies ahead for state governments. Nearly 1,000 delegates, legislative staff, and guests are expected to attend.
The SLC has released two more Comparative Data Reports (CDRs) on Southern States: Education, prepared by the West Virginia Legislative Staff, and Transportation, prepared by the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission. Prepared under the auspices of the SLC Fiscal Affairs & Government Operations Committee, annual Comparative Data Reports track a multitude of revenue sources and appropriations levels in Southern states and serve as a useful tool to legislators and legislative staff alike as they determine their own state spending. A full list of SLC CDRs, dating back to 2000, is available here.
The Southern Legislative Conference will host a complimentary webinar at 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. EDT, Thursday, July 17, 2014, addressing recent innovations in water treatment and conservation. Only 3 percent of the world’s water is fresh, with 2 percent locked up in glaciers and polar ice caps. The remaining 1 percent that is available for human and animal uses has seemed, in the past, to be an inexhaustible, yet vital, resource. Abundant water for drinking, sanitation, industry, irrigation, transportation and recreation has been a hallmark of much of the South. Development pressures, changes in precipitation patterns and transitioning priorities and consumption levels, however, have caused a shift in this situation. To offset or prevent water scarcity, many states in The Council of State Governments’ Southern Legislative Conference have adopted creative solutions to water treatment and reuse, but states must ensure water quality standards and public health concerns are met. This webinar will provide a broad overview of the status and causes of water scarcity in SLC states and address ways in which state legislators can promote innovation in water treatment while conserving valuable natural resources. Click here to register.