BOS 2009

THE BOOK OF THE STATES 2009

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 » State Constitutions

Chapter 2 » Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations

Chapter 3 » State Legislative Branch

Chapter 4 » State Executive Branch

Chapter 5 » State Judicial Branch

Chapter 6 » Elections

Chapter 7 » State Finance

Chapter 8 » State Management, Administration, and Demographics

Chapter 9 » Selected State Policies and Programs

Chapter 10 » State Pages

Performance management is more important than ever during tough times as officials strive to deliver better results with reduced resources. To help governments implement effective  performance management systems, the National Performance Management Advisory Commission is developing a national framework for performance management.

This article investigates the nature and extent to which state courts are racially and ethnically diverse. Judicial diversity is examined for African-Americans, Hispanics, Asian-Pacific Islanders and Native Americans. The findings indicate that only modest increases in judicial diversity have occurred in the states’ major appellate and trial courts since 2008. Minority judges are more likely to obtain seats on state courts through gubernatorial appointment, especially in states that formally use elections to select judges. This research underscores the complexity of state judicial selection and the role governors play in increasing racial and ethnic judicial diversity.

Fiscal conditions in the states began to decline in fiscal 2008. State spending and revenues grew at a lower rate than the prior year and balances were well-below their near record levels of fiscal 2007. While fiscal 2008 saw somewhat moderate declines, the fiscal situation in the states has deteriorated much more sharply in fiscal 2009. State spending is projected to be negative for the first time since 1983, balance levels are being reduced as states use reserves to address shortfalls, and recent data shows state revenues declining by 4 percent. As a result, states are likely to face a difficult budgetary environment in fiscal 2010 and beyond.

Effective management of water resources is critical to the economic sustainability and security of the U.S. Increased population, intensified use and climate change will continue to affect scarce water supplies. Governments, at all levels, will need to adopt collaborative strategies as our actions, or inactions, will have major repercussions on our ability to maintain our global competitiveness.

As states prepared for their 2009 legislative sessions, policymakers faced a series of grave economic crises on multiple fronts not experienced in many decades. States face enormous budget shortfalls with the combined budget shortfall for the remaining six months of this year (fiscal year 2009) and the two upcoming fiscal years estimated to total between $350 billion and $370 billion, a chasm of truly staggering proportions. Nevertheless, in the midst of all this gloom and doom, there are a number of bright sparks on the state economic landscape that require emphasis. For instance, the depreciating U.S. dollar has enabled U.S. exports to flourish, the automobile industry in the South remains a solid engine of growth and a number of enterprising projects across the country offer the promise of high-tech, high-wage jobs.

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