BOS 2014

THE BOOK OF THE STATES 2014

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

 

Several amendments on the 2013 ballot attracted significant attention, most notably a proposed Colorado amendment that would have raised income tax rates and increased school funding but was rejected by voters. Notable amendments approved by voters include a Texas amendment authorizing use of $2 billion from the state rainy day fund to pay for water projects, a New York amendment allowing operation of up to seven casinos and a New Jersey amendment increasing the minimum wage. The level of state constitutional amendment activity was on par with recent odd-year elections, with only five states considering amendments in 2013, and a good deal of attention focused on qualifying measures for the 2014 ballot.

Disasters demand attention. They don’t care about government shutdowns, continuing resolutions or sequestration. Political ideology and party partisanship are immaterial to them. Disasters also don’t discriminate. They occur in red states, in blue states and every shade in between. Borders drawn on a map make no difference. So, whether it’s a tornado in Moore, Okla., a chemical spill in West Virginia or wildfires in Colorado, there are undeniable realities when it comes to disasters. 1) They will occur. 2) Some people will need help. 3) Communities will want to recover. Because disasters can be arbitrary and capricious, the only way to truly manage them is to learn from the last one, while mitigating and preparing to the best of one’s ability for the next event. At the end of the day, that determines success or failure, life or death. For disasters, all the rest are just details.

The FBI has been using fingerprints to link perpetrators and crimes since at least 1924 and switched over to using computers to track fingerprints in October 1980. Since July 1999, the FBI has been using the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System, the largest fingerprint database in the world.2 Increasingly, state laws require fingerprint-based criminal background checks for licensure of various health professions.

State Medicaid programs are large and complex and their directors are faced with implementing changes required by the Affordable Care Act at the same time they continue to work with limited resources, both fiscal and human. Medicaid programs are also leading by example in major transformations of the health care system, including payment reforms, quality oversight, system accountability, and targeted care coordination.

President Barack Obama’s June 2013 executive order directing the Environmental Protection Agency to develop greenhouse gas emission standards for the nation’s fossil fuel power plants signaled a new era in protection of air quality under the Clean Air Act. For the first time, new and existing power plants will have to meet standards for carbon dioxide emissions under Section 111 of the act. This article explores the environmental and socioeconomic implications of this initiative and how effective it will be in achieving emission reductions.

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