BOS 2010

Book of the States 2010: 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

 

Last year’s lead article in the State Judicial Branch chapter of The Book of the States began with the headline “Decimated Budgets,” and continued with a chilling description of the front-and-center subject for state courts across the nation: the budget crisis. This year’s crisis is double that. Indeed, it is hard to find adjectives that sufficiently capture the impact of the economic downturn on state courts, the repository of more than 97 percent of our nation’s litigation, dockets that swell when misery abounds. Across the country we hear of state court layoffs, shortened court hours, even actual court closing days—disastrous for litigants and for our cherished American justice system.

Community colleges are in crisis mode in the wake of the Great Recession. They are at the center of work force retraining for those left unemployed by the economic collapse and at the same time are experiencing large increases in enrollment of 18-year-olds looking to start their higher education careers. Underfunded for years, community colleges also are being hit with more budget cuts as states struggle to close massive budget deficits—leading to tuition increases and enrollment caps just as the services community colleges offer are needed most.

Former Utah Gov. Jon M. Huntsman Jr. launched the Working 4 Utah initiative with Executive Order 2008-0006 in August 2008, which shifted a majority of state employees to a four-day, 10-hour workweek. The goal was to make a positive impact in the areas of customer service hours, energy consumption, employee recruitment and retention, and a reduction in the environmental impact of state government operations. The initiative was also intended to extend state government services that are not already available during extended hours and weekends, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Thursday.

Measuring how well states are performing is increasingly important as states face shrinking revenues and rising demand for services.  Citizens want and expect results from their governments, even in the face of fewer resources.  Measuring performance and using performance data to strategically place resources is key to implementing the accountable, transparent and results-focused governance policies that citizens demand.  Comprehensive, state-wide performance management initiativesare one of the newest strategies states are taking to ensure services are delivered efficiently and outcomes are being achieved. 

While much attention has been given to the overall decline of migration in the United States, its impact was strongest on particular regions, states, metropolitan areas, cities and suburbs.  Shedding further light on the nature of the recent migration slowdown, this report details how different types of households and parts of the country have been affected and provides some insights on what may happen if and when migration again heats up.

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