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Among the many concerns currently facing America's healthcare system, few are more significant, both medically and fiscally, than long-term care (LTC). Broadly defined as a range of services that support individuals who are limited in their ability to care for themselves, long-term care stands to become one of America's foremost healthcare challenges in the years ahead. With the continuing rise of U.S citizens 65 and over — statistically, the demographic most in need of LTC — states need to begin preparing for the growing pressures that will be placed on their budgets by the nation's aging population. This SLC Special Series Report explores the challenges long-term care poses for states in the SLC region. Subsequent reports will examine possibilities for managing long-term care and highlight actions that states in the SLC region have taken to tackle this important issue.
The impasse in U.S.-Cuba relations has spanned 10 U.S. presidents, a failed invasion attempt, a nuclear missile crisis and witnessed countless asylum seekers. The tumultuous relationship, which has its roots in the Cold War, is characterized by a dual-pronged U.S. policy emphasizing economic and diplomatic isolation of the island nation.
Despite ongoing economic sanctions, the United States has emerged as a major exporter of agricultural goods to Cuba, which imports up to 80 percent of its food. Given Cuba's geographic and economic position, states in the Southern region of the United States have competitive export advantages in terms of production, quality, logistics and proximity. This SLC Regional Resource examines existing and future agricultural export opportunities for member states in the Southern Legislative Conference.
CSG South and CSG West will host a webinar on Tuesday, January 24, 2017, at 2:00 p.m. EST, discussing interstate groundwater disputes. More than 30 interstate compacts govern the use of water from shared lakes and rivers in the United States. However, there is not a single legal agreement in place between states to guide the apportionment of groundwater that crosses state lines. In 2013, Nevada and Utah appeared poised to be the first two states to reach such an agreement, but ultimately failed. Now, with a longstanding groundwater dispute between Mississippi and Tennessee headed for the U.S. Supreme Court, a legal precedent governing the apportionment of interstate groundwater is imminent. The outcome of Mississippi v. Tennessee could have implications for all contiguous U.S. states. This webinar will address the possible outcomes of Mississippi v. Tennessee, implications for interstate groundwater policy, and the role of interstate compacts in resolving water disputes between states.
Noah D. Hall, Associate Professor of Law, Wayne State University Law School, Michigan
Michael Campana, Ph.D., Professor of Hydrogeology and Water Resources Managment, Oregon State University; Technical Director, American Water Resources Association
Continuing with its focus on the tremendous economic impact of Southern ports, the Southern Legislative Conference arranged a delegation of state legislators from several member states to tour the Port of New Orleans and Port of South Louisiana. State senators from Georgia, Missouri and Virginia who are actively engaged on port policy in their respective legislative chambers were briefed about the expansion of cargo facilities, enhancement of intermodal capacities, preparations related to the expansion of the Panama Canal, working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and funding of port operations. At the Port of South Louisiana, the SLC delegation discussed port policy with four Louisiana state legislators. The visits to both ports included water tours hosted by senior port officials.
A delegation of legislators from five SLC member states convened at The Center for Health Care Services (CHCS) in San Antonio, Texas, November 14-15, 2016, to learn about the innovative strategies San Antonio’s Bexar County has used to support those struggling with homelessness, mental illness, and substance abuse. Delegates were briefed on CHCS’s Restoration Center pre-trial diversion and treatment programs and the 22-acre Haven for Hope campus for homeless and underserved populations. Since its inception in 2003, CHCS’s Jail Diversion Program has successfully redirected more than 100,000 people from jail or emergency rooms and reduced overcrowding in the Bexar County jail system from overcapacity to 800 empty beds. This program has been adopted throughout Texas, saving taxpayers more than $50 million by enabling law enforcement personnel to divert people from the criminal justice system into crisis intervention and mental illness treatment centers.
On November 2-3, 2016, legislative staff from the Georgia House Office of Budget & Research met in Austin, at the Texas House of Representatives, for briefings, presentations and discussion on paperless appropriations committee work. In an effort to learn how the Texas Legislature adopted paperless technology in their budget and bill drafting process, staff from a number of Texas legislative agencies presented information at the meetings, including the Legislative Budget Board, Legislative Council, Speaker's Office, House Appropriations Committee and Committee Coordinator's Office. The sessions were organized with the assistance of staff in the House Parliamentarian's Office.
Commuter trains, a fixture in many American cities since the late 19th century, started losing prominence in public transportation calculations in the 1940s with the ascent of the personal car, while vast improvements in public bus services also accelerated their decline. However, in the last 30 years or so, particularly in the early years of the 21st century, there has been renewed interest in this form of transportation across the country, including in the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC) member states. This renewed interest has been propelled for a variety of reasons: commuters choosing rail over cars for convenience; easing traffic congestion; reducing air pollution; promoting economic development; and boosting property values. Consequently, multiple metropolitan regions in SLC member states continue to operate commuter rail systems and expand their operations, even initiating new networks. Given that these initiatives have emerged in transit-starved areas, this increased momentum to introduce or expand commuter rail systems is a direct response to the demands and expectations of businesses and the workforce. Information on recent efforts in the SLC states to enhance the light rail capacities in their transportation plans, an important cog in any multimodal strategy, is detailed in this SLC Regional Resource.
The Legislative Service Agency Directors Group held its fall meeting October 28-30 in Atlanta, Georgia. Legislative service agency directors participated in a series of presentations and group discussions including:
"Making Sense of the 2016 Election," "Workforce of Tomorrow," "State Workforce: Challenges & Solutions," "Publishing State Statutes," "The Kentucky LRC Classification Plan Process," and "Missouri Senate Intern Program." Attendees also participated in a series of roundtable discussions on topics including succession planning, professional development, and the role of legislative service agencies.