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Odd-numbered years typically generate relatively few state constitutional amendments, and 2009 was particularly quiet, even compared with previous odd-year elections. Voters in only five states considered 21 amendments. The most high-profile amendments were a package of California measures that were intended to address the state’s budget shortfall but were largely rejected in a May special election. Meanwhile, Ohio voters approved an amendment authorizing casino gambling and Texas voters approved an amendment restricting use of the eminent domain power. Much of the attention focused on the future—on preparing amendments for the 2010 ballot.  

There are varying perspectives on the more than 2,500-page health care reform law, signed by President Obama in late March 2010, but most state policymakers can agree on one thing: A lot is going to change in the next four years.

Book of the States, 2010: Chapter 9

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Expedited partner therapy allows clinicians to treat the sex partners of patients diagnosed with chlamydia or gonorrhea prior to evaluating the partners, under certain conditions. Innovative and cost–effective, expedited partner therapy is legal in 22 states and is an increasingly important state prevention policy to reduce infections and their consequences, including infertility.

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Chapter 4 of the 2010 Book of the States contains the following articles and tables:

As state governments are faced with major infrastructure needs and declining tax revenues, many are searching for new revenue options to fund transportation improvements. But the lack of consensus about the viability of those options and uncertainty about federal programs has left states trying to plug holes temporarily.

Book of the States, 2010: Chapter 9

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Chapter 1 of the 2010 Book of the States contains the following articles and tables:

As the national political parties work to overhaul the presidential nominating process for 2012, states are a vital part of this complex undertaking. Even with a tentative agreement to produce a later starting date and curb front-loading on the calendar, there are no guarantees that all of the states will be able—or willing—to comply with new rules.

A majority of students in America’s public schools fail to meet national reading standards. The lack of strong literacy skills is a factor in the nation’s high dropout rate. It’s also a barrier to preparing students for a rigorous college curriculum or a career. Education experts say policymakers should take actions to ensure middle and high school students are taught reading skills in every subject and every grade.

While the modern office of the attorney general continues to perform its traditional role of providing legal advice and legal representation in matters affecting the state’s interests, those state interests now include an infinitely broader range of social and economic policies and protection of the public interest. Three of the top issues for attorneys general this year are cybercrime, consumer protection and tobacco. As the chief legal officer of each state or jurisdiction, attorneys general are committed to arresting online predators and providing services to victims of child pornography, protecting consumers during the economic downturn from lending abuses and scams, and continuing to interpret, implement and enforce the Master Settlement Agreement reached with the tobacco industry in 1998.

In the world of state emergency management and homeland security, 2009 was a year of new faces, new threats and new opportunities. It began with the Obama administration tapping several state officials for the top jobs at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. This was followed by the first flu pandemic in 40 years, with tens of millions of Americans contracting the H1N1 virus. Technology continued to extend its long tentacles with some 40 states using social media Web sites such as Facebook and Twitter to connect with citizens about disaster preparedness and safety. All of this occurred as the country experienced its worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. The challenge in 2010 will be to protect investments to date and still move forward with creative problem solving while state and federal budgets make their way back from the brink.

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