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Sharing ideas with other states helps move our state forward

Ideas inspire change. And what better way to move our state forward than sharing ideas and working together with other states.

There have been many times where legislators from other states craft laws very similar to bills we have already passed. And conversely, we have patterned many of our laws after we see successful results in other states.

Starting July 26, Arkansans will see this sharing of ideas right here in our home state as we have been selected as the host state for the Southern Legislative Conference of 2014.

More than 1,000 legislators and legislative staff members from 15 states will be in attendance.

Founded in 1947, the Southern Legislative Conference is a member-driven organization and the largest of four regional legislative groups operating under the Council of State Governments and comprises the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

The mission of SLC is to foster and encourage intergovernmental cooperation. In large measure, this is achieved through the ongoing work of the conference’s six standing committees, which are Agriculture and Rural Development, Economic Development and Transportation, Education, Energy and the Environment, Fiscal Affairs and Government Operations, and Human Services and Public Safety.

These committees will be meeting from July 26- 30 at the Marriot in Little Rock. Not only is this a time for legislators and to discuss policy, but it allows a host state to show off its most popular attractions and restaurants.

Staff has been planning for this event for well over a year now. Guests are invited to attend dinner at the Old State House, the oldest standing capitol building west of the Mississippi. A family day is planned on the grounds of Heifer International.

Several tours area also available including a trip to the P. Allen Smith home, a climb on Pinnacle Mountain, lunch at the Clinton library, and even day of skeet shooting in Lonoke.

This conference will not only have an impact on policy for Southern states, but it will have an immediate economic impact for Arkansas.

We look forward to seeing our colleagues and showing them the best Arkansas has to offer.

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