This year’s meeting of the Southern Legislative Conference(SLC) will bring around 2000 state lawmakers from 15 Southern states to Charleston for a 64th annual conference to be held Saturday through Wednesday. Charleston was chosen because South Carolina House Speaker Bobby Harrell was elected to chair the conference.
Harrell projects that the conference’s economic impact on the state to be more than $3.5 million. And he says it will be a nice tourism boost.
Attendants will hear some high-powered speakers, including Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who grew up in Dillon, South Carolina, as well as U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham and U.S. House Majority Whip James Clyburn, all speaking about issues that affect Southern states. Music will be provided by Darius Rucker, a country music recording artist from Hootie and the Blowfish fame.
Events will be held all around the historic city, including Charles Towne Landing and the South Carolina Aquarium.
Harrell says no state general funds were appropriated in the budget to host the SLC meeting. He says private sector donations are being used, even though host states have generally appropriated hundreds of thousands of dollars to support the event, because of its legislative role and large economic impact. Harrell said:
Because of recent budget cuts, we felt it important to dedicate taxpayer dollars to the core government services and independently raise the funds. I want to thank the many generous members of our business community for all they have done to ensure that South Carolina and all that our state has to offer is properly displayed during the conference.