SLC Regional Resource

CSG South

The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act celebrated its sixth anniversary on January 8, 2008, four months beyond the date on which it was due for reauthorization. NCLB is the most recent reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which has guided federal education policy since its first passage in 1965. The sweeping legislation, passed with bipartisan support, has become a galvanizing political issue. It is appropriate and necessary that state legislators are a part of the debate on reauthorizing the Act. Education is the single largest budget item for almost all states, and there are few other pieces of federal legislation that have had such an impact on state educational expenditures and policy as NCLB. Over the past several years, the Education Committee of the Southern Legislative Conference has held a number of discussions on the Act and its implications for state policy. From these reflections on the Act and its impacts on states it is possible to draw some conclusions for guiding the reauthorization and continued implementation of NCLB.

CSG South

Daily, there are millions of tons of municipal solid waste deposited into thousands of landfills and other dumping sites, worldwide. The decomposition of organic material in these places—typically food and paper products—results in the production of methane and other greenhouse gases. Landfill gas (LFG) typically is made up of 50 percent methane (CH4) and 50 percent carbon dioxide (CO2), with small amounts of non-methane organic compounds often present. The methane in LFG is what can be burned off or used as an alternative fuel. Due to methane’s ability to trap heat, it warms the earth 23 times more than carbon dioxide and has an atmospheric lifespan of about 12 years, one much shorter than that of other greenhouse gases. Short lifespan, along with its high heat-trapping potential, make methane elimination from the atmosphere a particularly effective method of combating global warming. Many experts contend that LFG recovery projects that use methane for fuel have become effective tools for combating the effects of global climate change.

CSG South

The major objective of this Regional Resource is to provide a broad sketch of how the 16 SLC states are working proactively toward luring the motion picture and television industries to work within their borders. In addition, this Regional Resource sets the stage for why the film industry landscape in the United States recently has become very competitive with states vying aggressively for the business of filmmakers by offering both new and revised financial and other incentives.

CSG South

In recent years, the largest and fastest growing number of incarcerated inmates over the age of 50 in United States’ prisons has continued to shape the demographic of prison systems throughout the country. The perpetual explosion of elderly persons in the general American population, and the repercussions of the “tough-on-crime” laws during the 1980s and 1990s, have led to a current increase of approximately 675,000 arrests of elderly persons every year in the United States. Experts assert that this is not attributable to an elderly crime wave, but rather to several factors that will continue to put more elderly people behind bars and continue to keep these persons behind bars longer.

The SLC began closely examining this issue during the 1990s. From information gathered from state corrections department through 1997, the SLC published a report, The Aging Inmate Population, on the topic in 1998, noting that many states “have found that the increase in the geriatric inmate population has been far greater than anticipated.” As an update to the 1998 report, this SLC Regional Resource explores the increase of the elderly prison population in Southern states and the nuances of this development, focusing particularly on changes since 1997. It examines policies and procedures employed by each state, as well as facilities and programs that are geared toward accommodating this growing population. Also, this report addresses the concerns of corrections officials regarding the future of the elderly inmate population within their states. Information was gathered through polling corrections departments in the 16 SLC member states. In addition, information was amassed from existing research projects and studies.

CSG South

Most provisions of the 2002 Farm Bill will expire in 2007. The USDA and Congress have been seeking input on a new Farm Bill through a series of public hearings throughout the end of 2005 and early 2006. The 2007 Farm Bill will be crafted at a time unlike that of any other in the legislation’s long history. A host of factors will affect discussions and deliberations on the future of the Farm Bill and U.S. farm policy. Among them are the growing federal deficit, ongoing negotiations of the Doha round of the World Trade Organization, political and leadership situations in Congress, and current farm sector conditions, among many others. These four major influences provide some context for understanding the debate that is ahead on the Farm Bill.

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