SLC Regional Resource

CSG South

This Regional Resource from The Council of State Government' Southern Office, the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC), focuses on the recycling industry in the Southern states. Advocates of landfills long have argued that a comprehensive recycling system is not an economically viable solution to the increases in municipal solid waste created by a growing population. In this regard, the states of the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC) of The Council of State Governments (CSG) have demonstrated that this presumption is incorrect and that, even in rural areas with low population densities, the jobs, supply chains and manufacturing facilities created by investment and participation in the recycling industry deliver significant, direct economic rewards. With strategically located primary collection points, community education and relatively few tax incentives, SLC states have promoted economic development and allowed local markets to deliver the goods necessary to supply the thriving recycling manufacturing industry of the South and negate the need to import these commodities from outside sources. This Regional Resource focuses on the economic analyses of recycling, especially in the SLC states, and the viable solutions that Southern states have realized with regard to the recycling of municipal solid waste (MSW) components. Further, by providing a 15-state compendium of the executive agency programs and legislative actions in the Southern region, this report offers a baseline for interstate comparison.

CSG South

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), including autism and Asperger syndrome and the less common Rett syndrome and childhood disintegrative disorder, are complex pervasive developmental disabilities that result in potentially significant impairment in social interaction and communication, restricted or repetitive movement or the exhibition of unusual behaviors or interests. The causes of autism still are undetermined, and assigning responsibility for the rapid rise in the incidence of ASD is not entirely possible. Autism seems to have a strong genetic component, although the mechanism for inheritance—predisposition, mutation, or multigene interaction, among others—remains unexplained. Determining the cause of the rise in the number of autism cases is of significance for policymakers because it has implications for future policy directions.

CSG South

Every year, the global $10 billion dollar human trafficking industry deprives individuals of their human rights and freedoms, increases global health risks and fuels the growth of organized crime. Centering around the most vulnerable, exploited and dehumanized people in the world, human trafficking affects women and children, as well as men and boys, and is carried out for a variety of purposes, most notably forced labor and sexual servitude. It is a problem that has endured for centuries, despite modern efforts by countries throughout the world to thwart the heinous practice. While the United States has, in many ways, been an international leader in this regard, the problem persists. Individual states are now taking up the responsibility of assessing how this practice affects people who live within their own borders and what they can do to further combat this problem.

CSG South

The Black Belt is a string of counties that stretches from east Texas, through the deep South, and up into eastern Virginia. While definitions vary, the region typically is considered to encompass upwards of 623 counties across 11 states, mostly rural, crossing several smaller regions, including parts of the Mississippi Delta, Coastal Plain, and the Piedmont. Booker T. Washington famously used the term “black belt” in his 1901 work Up from Slavery, noting the earliest meaning may have been a reference to the dark, rich soil of the region, but also acknowledging the later racial distinction of where black residents exceeded whites.

The Black Belt also is home to more poverty, substandard housing, unemployment and underemployment than any other region in the country. Educational attainment is lower in the Black Belt as well, particularly among the black population, and there is an exceptionally high number of female-headed households. Financial institution penetration in the region is low, even when compared to other rural communities. Health services are sparse and the ratio of residents to primary care providers is unusually high. Each of these factors contributes to the next and creates a circle of interdependence that is confounding in its complexity.

This Regional Resource examines some of the key obstacles to access to capital in the Black Belt, as well as emerging financing tools that may help this often-overlooked region. It also discusses ways in which state government can foster greater investment in this part of the country, and highlights a handful of successful programs that may serve as examples.

CSG South

The maintenance challenges for school facilities can vary significantly by a range of factors, including the age of the building, level of use, the time since last renovation or major systems overhaul, local climate, and the type of building. Nonetheless, there is a universal need for school administrators and facilities staff to monitor the condition of school buildings. The reality, however, is that maintenance is often inconsistent or occasional, and monitoring of building conditions is irregular.

Typically, state policies favor new construction over maintenance. This is not universally the case, and a handful of states have policies in place that promote and encourage building maintenance. Among these policies are state maintenance allotments and building inspection programs, particularly tied to school and district school facility plans. Requiring schools to set aside a percentage of their budget for maintenance and repair is a more active step in ensuring school facilities investments are cared for over the long haul.

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