The Southern Office of


Innovations in Water Treatment and Conservation

2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. EST, Thursday, July 17, 2014


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.

Presenter

Representative Don Armes, Oklahoma
Dr. Ken Kunkel, Senior Scientist, CICS-NC / National Climatic Data Center, North Carolina
Chris Hamilton, Clayton County Water Authority, Georgia

Post-Webinar Materials Coming Soon

Pathways to Prosperity: Southern States' Efforts to Prepare a 21st Century Workforce

2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. EST, Thursday, July 10, 2014


Policymakers across the country continue to focus on expanding the collaboration between education--at the high school and postsecondary levels--and economic development in an effort to develop a highly skilled and competitive workforce. Cooperation between the education and economic development sectors in state government, combined with active input from the corporate sector, is a critical factor in recruiting and retaining industry, particularly in manufacturing. Several states belonging to CSG South, the Southern Legislative Conference, have been in the forefront of efforts to foster greater collaboration between the technical college system, and economic development and corporate sectors. This collaboration has led to impressive results as states customize training programs at technical colleges to ensure corporations can rely on a well-trained workforce able to meet the challenges of the 21st century manufacturing environment. State education and economic development officials, as well as corporate representatives, will discuss ways to create a competent workforce to help ensure competitiveness of American manufacturers in the global economy.

Presenters

Representative Mac Buttram, Alabama
Jason Bates, Toyota/Bodine Aluminum, Inc.
Jay Coffer, Spartanburg Community College
Jennifer Little, Spartanburg Community College

Resources

Powerpoint Presentations
Archived Webinar

In the Weeds: Exploring the Science around Medical Marijuana and the Operation of a State Program

2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. EST, Tuesday, July 8, 2014



While marijuana use for medicinal purposes has been on the legislative agenda in many states outside the Southern region for a number of years, Southern state legislatures only recently have begun to grapple with the complexities of the issue. Many Southern lawmakers cite stories of families with children suffering from severe seizure or muscular disorders as the impetus for the push toward some form of legalization. But for every family that puts a face on the issue, lawmakers are confronted with a plethora of questions about the science behind medical marijuana and about ways to implement a program in their state. This webinar will offer a scientific perspective on marijuana for medical use and discussion on state medical marijuana programs.

Presenters

Ryan Hurley, Rose Law Group, Arizona
Sue Rusche, President and CEO, National Families in Action
Suzanne Sisley, MD, Assistant Professor, Internal Medicine/Psychiatry, Arizona Telemedicine Program, University of Arizona College of Medicine

Resources

Powerpoint Presentations
Archived Webinar

Pay Attention to Get Distracted Drivers Off the Road

2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. EST, Thursday, December 5, 2013



Distracted driving is a national epidemic, claiming thousands of lives on American roads every year. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 3,331 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver in 2011. Ten percent of all injury crashes in 2011 were reported as distraction-affected crashes, while 11 percent of all drivers under 20 who were involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. Efforts are underway at every level of government to reduce the number of distracted driving accidents; those efforts include legislative, educational and marketing initiatives.  

This complimentary CSG South webinar will feature three panelists addressing the latest research on the potential impact of using devices while driving, state legislative initiatives to hone distracted driving laws and updates on efforts at the federal level to reduce distracted driving accidents.

Presenters

National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chairman Deborah Hersman
Senator George L. Barker, Virginia
Professor David Strayer, Director, Center for the Prevention of Distracted Driving, University of Utah

Resources

Powerpoint Presentations
Archived Webinar

Human Trafficking: State Responses to Modern-Day Slavery

2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. EST, Thursday, November 21, 2013



Human trafficking, a form of modern-day slavery whereby children or adults are exploited through force or coercion for sex acts or labor purposes, is purported to be a  multi-billion worldwide industry, and one of the fastest growing criminal enterprises today.  The U.S. Department of State estimates that there are approximately 40,000 men, women and children who become victims of human trafficking in the United States every year.  While the flow of victims trafficked into the country is being reduced every year, this is far from an immigration issue.  As many as 300,000 American children—mostly runaways—are at risk of becoming victims of sex trafficking every year, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.  States have taken action, setting up task forces to assess the extent of this insidious practice, and experimenting with policies that encourage victims to come forward, educate law enforcement personnel, and penalize individuals involved in these crimes.  Such legislation has resulted in several Southern states, including Arkansas, Georgia and Kentucky, receiving high marks from the Polaris Project, an organization that tracks and assesses the effectiveness of federal and state human trafficking laws.  This webinar will offer an overview of the topic, and give examples of how states are working to combat this heinous crime. 

Presenters

Senator Missy Irvin, Arkansas
Dalia Racine, Assistant District Attorney, DeKalb County, Georgia
Britanny Vanderhoof, Policy Counsel, Polaris Project

Resources

Powerpoint Presentations
Archived Webinar

Wind Pool Insurance: Strategies from SLC States

October 18, 2013



In recent years, states in the CSG-South area—as well as the nation as a whole—have been exposed to significant risks due to hurricanes and tornadoes. These immense storms have caused immeasurable damage in terms of the loss of human life and billions of dollars in economic costs. As a result, homeowners face the unenviable challenges of not only securing insurance for their homes and property in affected areas, but also dealing with steep premium increases. In response to this unfortunate development, a number of Southern states are continuing to devise measures to provide homeowners with wind pool insurance coverage at affordable rates.This webinar will cover what some of these measures are, the broad trends associated with wind pool insurance, best practices and how international developments impact premiums here in the United States.

Moderator

Representative Robert Damron, Kentucky House of Representatives

Presenters

Professor David Marlett, Chair, Department of Finance, Banking and Insurance, Appalachian State University, North Carolina
Representative Stephen A. McMillan, Alabama
Representative Todd Hunter, Texas

Resources

Powerpoint Presentations
Archived Webinar

The Impact of Renewable Energy In Southern Economies

October 17, 2013



According to the U.S. Energy Administration, renewable energy accounted for almost half of all the new power generation capacity installed in the United States in 2012: a generating capacity totaling about 13,000 megawatts while creating about 110,000 new jobs in 2012 alone.  This indicates the growing influence of green energy on the power industry and the national, regional and state economies

 A number of Southern economies are leaders in this effort, including Georgia, Tennessee and Texas.  Renewable energy development allows for the branching out from customary energy projects, creating new jobs and impacting state and local economies in nontraditional ways.  For instance, renewable energy projects are not only a source of economic development, they are a reliable source of clean fuel, hedge against volatility in fossil fuel prices, minimize the need for energy from unstable parts of the world and promote energy independence in the United States.  Since renewable energy projects rely on upfront capital investment and/or tax incentives, private-public partnerships remain an integral part of their development.  As the technology for renewable energy projects continues to improve, companies are expressing greater interest in the long-term economic benefits for moving in this direction.  Correspondingly, state and local governments have a vested interest in new ways to help create jobs and sustain economies. 

This webinar will explore some of the advances made by Southern states in recent years, the trajectory some of these Southern states are following in the area of renewable energy development, ways in which public and private entities have worked together to promote renewable energy projects, examples of successful renewable energy projects in the region, along with insights on some of the economic dynamics on the Southern landscape. 

Presenters

  • Charlie Coggeshall, Renewable Energy Manager, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Virginia
  • Luke Wilkinson, Project Development Manager, Silicon Ranch Corporation, Nashville, TN
  • Tricia Dameron, GIS Coordinator/Research Analyst, Division of Research, Oklahoma House of Representatives

Resources

Powerpoint Presentations
Archived Webinar

States Act to Bolster Transportation Funding

June 14, 2013



While the federal government was unquestionably the dominant player in building the nation’s transportation infrastructure network for most of the last century, states now have taken a lead role in infrastructure projects. The federal fuel tax was last increased in 1993 and the Congressional Budget Office forecasts the Highway Trust Fund will be depleted sometime in 2015. Federal policymakers will have to either bail out the trust fund again or raise revenue by hiking taxes.

As the federal role in transportation infrastructure wanes, state policymakers have devised and pursued a range of options to restore and rebuild the nation’s infrastructure. 2013 was a particularly productive year for these state transportation funding initiatives as dozens of states introduced, and sometimes enacted, a plethora of proposals. 

This complimentary SLC webinar will feature the latest developments from several Southern states and provide an opportunity for webinar participants to learn more about some of these strategies. Participants will be able to direct questions to the legislators that spearheaded these vital transportation reforms in their states.

Moderator

Senator Bill Sample, Chair, Arkansas Senate Transportation, Technology and Legislative Affairs and Chair, SLC’s Economic Development, Transportation and Cultural Affairs Committee

Speakers

Senator Jeff Mullis, Georgia
Senator Steve Gooch, Georgia
Senator Raymond E. Cleary, III, South Carolina
Jason Powell, Legislative Analyst, Senate Finance Committee, Virginia

ARCHIVED WEBINAR MATERIALS

The webinar recording can be viewed here and presentation slides are available here.

Aging Inmates: The Continual 'Graying' of America's Prisons

May 30, 2013



Each year, around 675,000 elderly people are arrested, the U.S. Department of Justice says. Because these inmates likely will require regular medical attention, special facilities such as wheelchair ramps, and are generally in poorer health than their younger counterparts, they can cost as much as four times as much as other inmates to incarcerate. In fact, some statistics note that the cost of housing an elderly inmate is comparable to incarcerating prisoners in maximum-security prisons. Experts say the explosion of elderly inmates in the American penal system is not attributed to an elderly crime wave, but rather several factors that will continue to put more elderly people behind bars and continue to keep them behind bars longer. The Council of State Governments’ Southern Legislative Conference issued reports on this topic in 1998 and 2006. This webinar will explore the graying of America’s prisons, with a look at how states can save money by consolidating elderly inmate populations, implementing early release for terminally ill or otherwise innocuous elderly prisoners, and implementing general policies that can limit victimization inside prison and address recidivism of elderly offenders upon release.

Speakers:

Archived Webinar

View it here.

Food Safety Modernization Act: Impacts for Farmers, Producers and States

May 2, 2013



The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), signed into law on January 4, 2011, represents the most significant revision of food safety laws in the United States in more than 70 years.  The legislation carried with it new mandates for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, including comprehensive, prevention-based approaches across all aspects of the food supply system.  Such a prevention-based approach will require food facilities to evaluate hazards in their operations and establish procedures to prevent contamination.  The law also requires the FDA to establish safety standards for production and harvesting of fruits and vegetables based on science. In addition to enhanced prevention and surveillance tools, the FDA will also have mandatory recall authority for all food products. 

The law recognizes that food safety is at its heart a partnership among federal, state and local (as well as foreign) governments whose success is dependent on the capacity of these partners to fulfill their roles.  Because of this, the FSMA calls upon the FDA to support, expand and strengthen the ability of all partners to conduct their responsibilities at the highest level possible.

This free webinar from the Council of State Governments Regional Offices and the State Ag and Rural Leaders, investigated recent developments as the FDA moves to implement the FSMA, including recently released regulations on produce and manufactured food, the implications this new food safety regimen has for farmers, ranchers and food producers, and how the changing food safety landscape will affect the states.

Presenters

  • Robert Guenther, Senior Vice President, Public Policy, United Fresh Produce Association, Washington, D.C.
  • Fran Boyd, Senior Vice President, Meyers and Associates, Washington, D.C.
  • Roger Noonan, President, New England Farmers Union; owner of Middle Branch Farm, New Boston, New Hampshire

Presentations

Archived Webinar

View it here.

The comments period  for the “Produce Safety” Rule, the“Preventive Control” Rule and a Qualitative Risk Assessment document regarding facilities co-located on a farm has been extended until September 16, 2013. You can view information on the proposed rules here.

State Efforts to Enhance Medicaid Program Integrity

March 15, 2013



The scope of Medicaid  has broadened dramatically in recent years, a trend attributed to the expansion of eligibility guidelines, growth of the eligible population, increased utilization and a marked increase in the services covered. This expansion brings with it an increase in costs along with challenges related to service delivery and, correspondingly, the potential for fraud and abuse. Not only does the misuse of Medicaid funds result in the depletion of scarce resources, but it also prevents the direction of these resources to deliver high priority health care services to eligible Medicaid recipients. As states grapple with meeting these increasingly complex challenges, policymakers are devoting a great deal of time and resources to ensure that the misuse of scarce Medicaid resources is kept to a minimum. States are implementing a range of actions to ensure the most effective and efficient policies and tools are in place with regard to their Medicaid programs.

This webinar will provide information on some of the specific strategies states are adopting or pursuing to improve the integrity of their Medicaid program at every level. Presenters will include officials with the State Health Care Spending Project of the Pew Center on the States, which recently created an online database containing hundreds of promising practices by state and federal Medicaid agencies. This online database, drawing on reports from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, contains an effective tool to help policymakers learn more about anti-fraud and abuse strategies used in specific states or at different stages the interactions of providers and patients with Medicaid. Policymakers from several states will address the issue of specific measures enacted to enhance Medicaid program integrity in their states.

Presenters

  • Matt McKillop, Senior Associate, State Health Care Spending Project, Pew Center on the States
  • Robert M. Finlayson III, Inspector General, Georgia Department of Community Health

Presentations

State Efforts to Enhance Medicaid Program Integrity

Archived Webinar

View it here.

The Meningitis Outbreak and the Regulation of Compounding Companies: Federal and State Roles

January 3, 2013



This webinar, presented by CSG’s Southern Legislative Conference, will focus on the recent meningitis outbreak and the ensuing federal and state responses.  In early October 2012, reports of fungal meningitis began popping up in clusters throughout the nation.  Today, the disease has affected more than 540 people across 19 states and caused 36 deaths.  The outbreak is attributed to the use of contaminated steroids--and possibly two other drugs--made by a compounding pharmacy in Massachusetts, which according to federal investigative reports, was operating outside the boundaries of it its compounding license.  The pharmacy was shut down.  More than two months following the initial recall of the steroid, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is still receiving reports of infection.

The federal government and state health departments have begun assessing what measures can be taken to avoid future outbreaks, such as strengthening efforts to regulate compounding pharmacies and by coordinating initiatives to share information and strategies.  At the forefront of these efforts are health officials in Michigan and Tennessee, states that have seen the highest reported number of cases of meningitis in the country, who believe measures can be taken to avoid future incidents.

Presenters

  • Mr. Jim Collins, Director, Communicable Disease Division, Michigan Department of Community Health
  • Christopher R. Braden, MD, Director, Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Carmen Catizone, Executive Director/Secretary, National Association of Boards of Pharmacy

Presentations

The Meningitis Outbreak and the Regulation of Compounding Companies: Federal and State Roles

Archived Webinar

View it here.

Pension Reforms in the South:
Lessons from Louisiana, Oklahoma and West Virginia

December 11, 2012



This webinar focused on public pensions, one of the most challenging fiscal issues confronting every state and local government across the country.

Even before the Great Recession, most state and local government pension plans were struggling to meet their pension and retiree health care obligations. The gaps between assets and liabilities in these public pension plans had widened as a result of plan sponsors failing to make adequate plan contributions, granting unfunded benefit increases and suffering serious investment losses during the economic downturn. The resulting gap between asset values and projected liabilities has led to steady increases in the actuarially required contributions necessary to help sustain pension plans at the same time that state and local governments face significant other fiscal expenditure categories.

In response, in the last three years, more than 40 states made significant changes to their retirement plans in an effort to improve their funding levels.A number of Southern states have been at the forefront of reform and have enacted changes to stabilize the fiscal position of their pension plans.

Presenters

  • Oklahoma Rep. Randy McDaniel, chair of the House Pension Oversight Committee and chair of the SLC’s Fiscal Affairs and Government Operations Committee – Webinar moderator
  • Louisiana Sen. Elbert L. Guillory, chair of the Senate Retirement Committee
  • West Virginia Sen. Dan Foster, chair of the Senate Pensions and Retirement Committee

Presentations

Archived Webinar

View it here.

Higher Education Finance Reform

October 23, 2012



Many states have introduced performance measures into their higher education funding formulas to create institutional incentives to improve productivity. No state has moved further than Tennessee in rewriting its college funding system to facilitate the types of advances the state most wants to see. The Complete College Act in Tennessee rewards institutions for graduation performance and recognizes the different purposes of the institutions in the state to create a system that delivers results for the state’s investment in higher education.
Now viewed as a model for other states, the Complete College Tennessee Act establishes an outcomes-based model for higher education funding that strongly aligns resources with state interests.This webinar from the CSG Southern Office features a discussion of the details of Tennessee’s novel higher education funding plan with its key architects.

Presenters

  • Russ Deaton, Ph.D., associate executive director for Fiscal Policy and Administration, Tennessee Higher Education Commission
  • David Wright, chief policy officer, Tennessee Higher Education Commission

Presentations

Higher Education Finance Reform

Links

(from TN Higher Education Commission)

Authorizing Legislation

Complete College Tennessee Act of 2010

Archived Webinar

View it here.