Fall 2020 Virtual Programs
2:00 p.m. (EDT), Wednesday, September 30
SLC Agriculture & Rural Development Committee
COVID-19 and American Agriculture
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.
Allison Crittenden, Director, Congressional Relations, American Farm Bureau Federation, Washington, D.C.
Michael Nepveux, Economist, American Farm Bureau Federation, Washington, D.C.
2:00 p.m. (EDT), Wednesday, October 7
SLC Education Committee
Project-Based Learning: A Possible Solution to the Concerns of the COVID Classroom
Across the region, policymakers at both the state and local level have worked to develop reopening and operating plans for K-12 schools that address health and safety concerns. While there are a variety of plans in place, many have focused on remote or hybrid learning schedules which have led to concerns surrounding student engagement and achievement. One possible solution is project-based learning, an active or inquiry-based learning method that encourages students to examine complex challenges or problems via intradisciplinary methods. By encouraging students to actively engage in real-word projects, this learning method may increase student engagement and reduce absenteeism – a critical concern when students are missing synchronous face-to-face interactions with educators. This program examines project-based learning and how it may increase student engagement in the current non-traditional academic environment.
Leslie Eaves, Program Director, Project-Based Learning, Southern Regional Education Board, Georgia
2:00 p.m. (EDT), Wednesday, October 14
SLC Economic Development, Transportation & Cultural Affairs Committee
The Impact of COVID-19 on Transportation Revenues and Construction
The COVID-19 pandemic has created significant budget shortfalls for state and local governments across the nation. As the financial stress becomes more apparent, many policymakers have begun considering how revenue declines will impact transportation funding and construction projects in the years ahead. Although many projects were deemed essential at the outset of the pandemic and continued without interruption, more than a dozen states, including several in the South, have announced project delays and cancellations valued at more than $5 billion dollars nationally. Moreover, numerous initiatives and ballot measures related to transportation funding have been postponed due to the pandemic. This program outlines the near- and long-term impacts of the pandemic on transportation funding and construction by highlighting how states are responding to the anticipated decline in revenues on critical transportation projects.
Alison Premo Black, Ph.D., Chief Economist, American Road & Transportation Builders Association, Washington, D.C.
2:00 p.m. (EDT), Wednesday, October 21
SLC Energy & Environment Committee
Flood Planning and Mitigation: Lessons from South Carolina and Texas
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.
Thomas Mullikin, Chair, South Carolina Floodwater Commission
Kathleen Ligon, Program Manager and Special Assistant, Texas Water Development Board
2:00 p.m. (EDT), Wednesday, October 28
SLC Fiscal Affairs & Government Operations Committee
Going the Distance: COVID-19 and Remote Work Implications for State Governments
As a consequence of the ongoing pandemic and state public safety restrictions, many public sector employees who provide much needed services – often in direct response to the ongoing crisis – transitioned to remote work as a means to keep government and legislative services functioning. With economists projecting a more than $394 billion revenue shortfall for states through the end of Fiscal Year 2021, the cost savings of implementing a flexible remote workforce may lessen the impact of the economic downturn on state services, as well as allow for increased efficiency in operations. This program examines remote work arrangements and innovations in government operations during the current pandemic and how these telework arrangements may benefit government efficiency, and lower costs, in the short- and long-terms.