Research by Nick Bowman


Policy Analysis | January 2021

Coronavirus Impacts on State Legislatures: 2021

Mikko Lindberg, Roger Moore, Nick Bowman, Cody Allen, and Amanda Budd

Last updated: January 19, 2021

As of January 19, 2021, approximately 400,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus pandemic. On December 11, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved an emergency use authorization for Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine. The first round of vaccine candidates will be healthcare workers and nursing home residents. Against this backdrop, Southern legislatures are preparing for their 2021 legislative sessions.

This SLC Policy Analysis, updated on a weekly basis, tracks the special measures that Southern legislatures are adopting in order to meet safely in 2021.

Alabama

The Legislature will convene on February 2, 2021. The House and Senate plan to convene in their respective chambers. All who enter the State House will be required to wear face masks and have their temperature checked. The House of Representatives will repeat some of the safety measures adopted in 2020 to promote safety among its members. Approximately 58 members will be seated on the House floor, with 34 seated in the viewing gallery and 13 in two overflow rooms, with a television to monitor the proceedings. Locations will be selected based on a member’s health risk and age. Staff members will work to ensure an equitable party distribution for seating assignments. Members not seated on the House floor will cast votes on tablets.

House committee meetings will occur in five meeting rooms, equipped with cameras to allow public participation and access. If necessary, the House may use the archive room in the Alabama State Capitol. If these arrangements are not sufficient, the Legislature may convene in a nearby hotel or conference center.

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Webinar | October 2020

Flood Planning and Mitigation: Lessons from South Carolina and Texas

Nick Bowman

In recent years, Southern states have been inundated by major flood events. The impacts of these events can create significant and long-term strain on states' economies, both in terms of tangible losses and damages, as well as lost productivity. A study by the National Institute of Building Sciences found that every dollar spent on disaster mitigation saves $6 in future disaster costs. Southern states are beginning to take a more proactive approach to flood planning, pivoting from a recovery-oriented approach to one focused on resiliency and mitigation. This program highlights flood mitigation planning and policies undertaken in South Carolina and Texas.

Presentations:

Thomas Mullikin, Chair, South Carolina Floodwater Commission
Kathleen Ligon, Program Manager and Special Assistant, Texas Water Development Board


Webinar | September 2020

COVID-19 and American Agriculture

Nick Bowman

The agriculture sector has been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying quarantine policies. Many of the largest purchasers of agricultural products—including restaurants, schools and hotels—have closed or operated at limited capacity for months due to the pandemic. With a supply chain built around these buyers and a shortage of workers, many farmers have been forced to destroy crops, dairy and dairy-related products, and livestock. Dairy farmers have been dumping millions of gallons of milk; chicken processors are destroying hundreds of thousands of eggs; and vegetable farmers are plowing acres of fields. This program outlines how the agriculture sector is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and the outlook for American farmers.

Presentations:

Allison Crittenden, Director, Congressional Relations, American Farm Bureau Federation, Washington, D.C.
Michael Nepveux, Economist, American Farm Bureau Federation, Washington, D.C.