Capitol Comments

Pennsylvania quantifies state export efforts. 

Pennsylvania’s Performance Metrics Regimen for State Export Promotion Programs: Given today’s global economy, the need to quantify state export assistance to businesses is vital, and particularly to a state that generates more than $300 million in export sales each year. The Pennsylvania Center for Trade Development developed this system to set performance standards for its field offices and to clearly illustrate the return on the state’s investment in its export assistance program.

A special court helps crime victims collect restitution. 

During the Council of State Governments' National Conference in Providence, Rhode Island, the CSG Transportation Policy Task Force hosted a roundtable discussion on December 5th looking at the impact of the 2010 election and what’s ahead for transportation in 2011. Here is a summary of what transpired.

The advice Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuño gave to policymakers about how to deal with the lingering budget crisis states are facing is similar to what one might say to a toddler trying to remove a bandage from a skinned knee.

“… Do it quickly, swiftly and go as far as you need to go in year one,” he said during Sunday’s lunch session, “Preview 2011: What’s Ahead for State Government.” “Don’t stretch this pain. Just do it as quickly as you can.”

Fortuño is no stranger to fiscal pain. When he took office in 2008, he...

The economy is starting to pick up again, but state policymakers shouldn’t get too excited.

“We can all kind of feel the economy is starting to pick back up again,” said Peter Marino, fiscal adviser to the Rhode Island Senate. “I would describe it as a vulnerable recovery.”

It isn’t encouraging when a professor from the Columbia University Law School, who specializes in redistricting, tells you that your state will almost certainly be sued when redistricting takes place across the country next year.

“You are going to get sued,” said Nathaniel Persily, the professor in question, at the Intergovernmental Affairs Committee meeting Sunday afternoon. ”That’s true. There’s going to be a lot of that.”

One of the big issues that may be generating some of the lawsuits concerns how prisoners...

It isn’t encouraging when a professor from the Columbia University Law School, who specializes in redistricting, tells you that your state will almost certainly be sued when redistricting takes place across the country next year.

“You are going to get sued,” said Nathaniel Persily, the professor in question, at the Intergovernmental Affairs Committee meeting Sunday afternoon. ”That’s true. There’s going to be a lot of that.”

One of the big issues that may be generating some of the lawsuits concerns how prisoners...

Like many women, North Dakota Treasurer Kelly Schmidt was asked to run for office. And like many women her knee-jerk response was, “What do you mean, me?”

“As a woman, sometimes we have doubts, we don’t talk very nice to ourselves,” Schmidt said. Not only that, with four sons (the youngest was nine at the time), the decision to run was as much about her family as her own career.

“I had to decide and my family was going to decide,” she said.

But Nevada Supreme Court Justice Nancy Saitta doesn’t...

No one really knows what’s going on in Washington, but one thing is clear.

“Washington is up to its ears in politics,” Gwen Ifill, moderator and managing editor for PBS’ “Washington Week,” said during Sunday’s afternoon keynote address. “They’re having a hard time in policy and a harder time keeping a grip on the reality American people have asked them to keep a grip on.”

Great nations can come crashing down in just one generation—not thousands of years as conventional wisdom dictates. That’s according to David Gergen, senior political analyst for CNN and professor at the John F. Kennedy School of Government where he is also director of its Center for Public Leadership.

“We’re into that caution light that is blinking at us saying, ‘watch out guys, we’re in serious trouble,’” Gergen said of America’s financial standing at Sunday’s opening session at The Council of State Governments 2010...

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