BOS 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

Energy infrastructure is vital to the nation’s economy and the citizens’ way of life. It supplies the nation with the energy required to conduct its daily operations, from supplying needs for industrial manufacturing to heating homes, running computers and fueling cars. The country requires an efficient energy generation and delivery system to keep the economy functioning smoothly, yet the infrastructure is aging, stressed and underfunded. At the same time, demand for energy continues to grow. States play a vital role in regulating and stimulating the creation of infrastructure, as well as siting new energy infrastructure. State officials are therefore in a position to institute policies that mitigate the infrastructure deficit and ensure energy reliability.

Early college high schools provide low-income, minority and other at-risk youth the opportunity to earn a high school diploma and as much as two years’ postsecondary credit within five years of high school entry. While many programs are still relatively new, emerging research suggests that students in early college programs perform better than their peers, as measured by attendance rates, enrollment in college-track mathematics courses, state assessment scores and other indicators. A small but growing number of states have enacted state-level policies to provide the unique funding mechanisms and supports that maximize student success in early college high schools.

Economic uncertainty in January 2008 evolved into a full-blown recession by the year’s end, impacting everything in its wake, from state budgets to mortgages and from college endowments to car loans. American consumers dealt with rising food costs, plummeting home values and jobs cuts while riding a rollercoaster of fluctuating gas prices. The downturn has meant the loss of sales, income and property taxes, which could have serious ramifications for important state government functions such as emergency management and homeland security. Complicating the fiscal challenges is the first transition of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to a new administration. This has led to a debate over the continued placement of the Federal Emergency Management Agency within Homeland Security. Yet even as that discussion ensues, the most destructive hurricane to hit U.S. soil since 2005—Ike—and the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, serve as reminders that an all-hazards approach to emergency preparedness and experienced leadership are the real answers to threats, whether they are natural or man-made.

The U.S. is undergoing a major demographic revolution that will have major public policy implications across regions and states and within regions and states. Our population is aging, we are becoming more diverse, dramatic migration patterns are occurring and social indicators reveal major challenges ahead.

Most states collect and analyze data on their government work force. With the baby boomer population reaching retirement age and 27 percent of the state work force across the country eligible to retire within the next five years, assessing the shrinking work force will continue as a critical exercise.