BOS 2011

THE BOOK OF THE STATES 2011

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

The office of lieutenant governor constantly evolves to offer the greatest service and value to a state. For more than 200 years, states have found no more clear and viable line of gubernatorial succession than the office of lieutenant governor. A lieutenant governor may garner duties and authorities from the constitution, from statute, through gubernatorial appointment, through personal initiative or through a combination of these. This allows the office to evolve to lead on issues of the day or to address unique needs of the state. Electoral provisions, gubernatorial and legislative relationships, assigned duties, office structure and succession law itself impacts the efficiency and effectiveness of the office of lieutenant governor.

The recent economic recession has affected gubernatorial priorities. In the past five years, education has remained the primary focus of governors, but other traditional state functions have slipped off their radar. December 2007 was the official start of the Great Recession. In that year, the four issues most often discussed by governors in their state of state addresses after education, in descending order, were health care, natural resources, jobs and corrections. This year, the four top issues on the minds of governors after education, also in descending order, are jobs, government performance, taxes and health care. In fact, since 2007, corrections and public safety have not been in the top five issues for governors. Natural resources and energy concerns do not appear in the top five for either this year or last year. This research examines the 2011 state of state addresses of U.S. governors to explain their ideas for continuing to manage through the economic recession.1 Findings indicate a more focused consideration of education reform and job development, sustained attention on cost-cutting and efficiency measures, and continued gubernatorial intransigence regarding “no new taxes.”

This article reviews interstate relations developments since 2007 pertaining to uniform state laws, interstate compacts and administrative agreements, same-sex marriage, civil unions and other pertinent legal matters.

State legislatures face mounting pressures to further reform public retirement plans to achieve sustainable, sufficient and competitive levels. A major legal challenge facing many states is their ability to change benefits for current employees. This article reviews both legal and pragmatic issues, and offers specific options, policies and strategies to guide legislative reforms.

State governments are facing a fiscal crisis, the worst since the Great Depression. Unprecedented challenges seem overwhelming when change requires working with state bureaucracies so large and entrenched that state administrators are unable to affect meaningful improvements. State administrators are, in fact, an integral part of state reform.

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