Been thinkin about...The Council of State Governments

Published December 7, 2023

By Joe Mavretic

Way back in 1990, I went to Asheville, NC, where North Carolina hosted a meeting of the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC). The SLC is one of four divisions of the Council of State Governments (CSG). This Council  has been around since 1933 and its imprint on our laws over the decades has been significant. It is bipartisan legislative diversity at its finest. In Raleigh this month, from 6 December through 9 December, over five hundred legislators from all four divisions, representing all fifty states, several territories and Canadian provinces, will congregate in our capitol city.

These legislators are part of the Council of State Governments’ forum that encourages the exchange of ideas that address, and perhaps resolve, state problems. Sprinkled among the attendees are the current and future legislative "Stars" of America. These are the people who do the hard work on study commissions, in the back rooms and sub-committees…the folks who are every legislature’s go-to experts on controversial and complex bills.

North Carolina has long been a supporter of CSG. Representative Julia Howard from Davie County has been a North Carolina delegate to CSG since 1990 and is the current national chair. She is the reason the Council is meeting in Raleigh.

Post pandemic educational outcomes, biomarker driven medical treatment, social media rules of the road, population trends, and sustainable broadband are some of over thirty major topics for this year’s conference. In addition to committee work on other concerns, panel discussions, and net-working about their state’s problems and policies, these legislators have a chance to learn about North Carolina and how we are addressing our difficult public issues.

The conference is not all work. Delegates from all over America get a chance to see our capital city, the museums and the downtown historic preservation efforts. Governor Cooper will host the Council’s executive committee dinner in the executive mansion.

The North Carolina Department of Agriculture is showcasing our farm products at a "Glove Dinner" on the State Fair Grounds. If you don’t know what that is, welcome aboard…at a glove dinner there are no knives, forks or spoons…just put on your glove and pick up whatever you want to eat…goodness grows in NC!

You may not see or read a lot about this conference, who attended, or what they did while they were in Raleigh but their efforts could show up in the language of proposed legislation over the next several years…and may even become part of the policies and laws of our state. What goes on at this CSG annual conference matters.

Esse Quam Videri