State Legislative Rural Development Councils


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State Rural Development Councils

Several state legislatures have addressed rural economic concerns through the creation of initiatives, committees, councils, task forces and agencies.

Some of these efforts have existed for some time, such as the Center for Rural Pennsylvania and New York’s Legislative Commission on Rural Resources. Other efforts, including the Georgia House Rural Development Council and the Rural Wisconsin Initiative, are more recent.

NCSL has identified ten state legislatures with efforts on rural economic policy: California, Georgia, Kansas, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, West Virginia and Wisconsin

Kansas House Rural Revitalization Committee seeks to sponsor policy responses regarding concerns of rural areas and communities in their state. New Hampshire Commission on Rural Affairs seeks to make recommendations relating to public policy that specifically affects rural areas and rural people. Members of the state House and Senate participate on the commission.

  • California Rural Caucus - The bipartisan, bicameral Rural Caucus was formed to address policy issues and concerns of rural areas and communities in the State of California.
  • Georgia House Rural Development Council—This House Council is studying the conditions, needs, issues and problems and any action or legislation which may be necessary to promote economic development in the rural areas of the state.
  • New Hampshire Commission on Rural Affairs—The legislature established a commission to study and make recommendations relating to public policy that specifically affects rural areas and rural people.
  • New Mexico Economic & Rural Development Committee—Interim Committee of the New Mexico Legislature.
  • New York Legislative Commission on Rural Resources – this commission is a bipartisan office of the State Legislature that provides information and insight on rural initiatives sponsored by the state or federal agencies.
  • Center for Rural Pennsylvania—Bipartisan, a bicameral legislative agency that serves as a resource for rural policy within the Pennsylvania General Assembly.
  • Vermont Rural Development Initiative (SB 34 2017)—This initiative would help rural small businesses locate available funding, as well as provide technical assistance, such as grant writing; the law will help identify what types of businesses are suitable for small towns, industrial parks, or rural areas.
  • West Virginia Senate Agriculture and Rural Development Committee reviews state policies regarding rural developments in the state.
  • Wisconsin Legislature Rural Initiative—Rural Wisconsin Initiative provides focus and leadership to the discussion of how we can build our future in rural Wisconsin. It bridges the gap in education, healthcare, technology, and the workforce by including ideas from rural Wisconsin.
    • AB 912 (2017)—Relates to rural economic development programs administered by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, grants to other authorities and state agencies for purposes of rural economic development.
    • AB 794 (2015)—Relates to student loan reimbursements for certain individuals domiciled in rural counties.
    • AB 797 (2015)—Relates to funding for the rural physician residency assistance program.
    • AB 799 (2015)—Relating to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics grants for rural school districts, providing an exemption from emergency rule procedures, requiring the exercise of rule-making authority. 
    • AB 793 (Act No. 359 2015)—This bill modifies the teacher loan program to provide for loan forgiveness to certain teachers employed in school districts in rural counties.
    • AB 820 (Act No. 278 2015)—Relates to the duties of the Public Service Commission under the broadband expansion 5grant program and certification of political subdivisions under that program. 

Additional Resources