BOS 2013

THE BOOK OF THE STATES 2013

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 federal surface transportation bill known as MAP-21, which President Obama signed into law July 6, 2012, authorized programs and funding for two years. In addition to providing at least a modicum of greater certainty for state transportation agencies, the legislation incorporates important policy changes: consolidating and streamlining existing programs to give states added flexibility, including provisions designed to accelerate the delivery of projects, moving ahead with a performance-based approach to transportation investment and providing a boost to a popular credit assistance program that could help some states tackle expensive projects. State transportation officials from four states in different regions of the country say while many of these policy changes are welcome, much remains to be done to ensure MAP-21’s success and to ensure the next federal bill addresses the long-term future of the federal transportation program.
 
Family caregivers are the backbone of our nation’s system of long-term services and supports for older adults and people with disabilities. The economic value of their contributions is estimated at $450 billion per year. It is critical that states support the efforts of these caregivers, to help them avoid burn out and protect their own health.
 
“We are what we learn,” U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has noted. If that message is true, what does it say that many of today’s children are learning essentially the same content in substantially the same way as their parents and grandparents? They are 21st century students who are still receiving a 20th century education.
 
Career technical education is a vital part of education improvement efforts and will play a vital role in enhancing the nation’s economy by providing skills preparation aligned to current and future labor market demands. Career technical education provides a robust opportunity for meeting the labor and education demands of the global economy.
 
When Hurricane Sandy hit the mid-Atlantic and East Coast in late October 2012, it not only killed more than 200 people and caused tens of billions of dollars in damage. It altered the way this country manages disasters. Congress passed the Sandy Recovery Improvement Act of 2013 in late January. In addition to providing almost $51 billion for recovery and other projects, it amended the Stafford Act and key aspects of federal disaster assistance programs. Beyond the legislation, the hurricane also provoked debate on the underfunded National Flood Insurance Program, climate change and its impact on rising sea levels, the growing economic losses from disasters, community resiliency and rebuilding stronger versus not re-building at all. The country hasn’t witnessed this kind of national discourse related to a natural disaster since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Yet even as these discussions took place, the harsh undercurrent of fiscal battles, partisan politics and citizens who require help persisted. Together, they have created an intense struggle that won’t be resolved any time soon.
 

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