Content Type

Judicial elections in 2000 and 2002 were far “nastier, noisier and costlier” than ever. Of the five states with hotly contested judicial elections in 2000 (Alabama, Illinois, Michigan, Mississippi and Ohio), only Ohio and Mississippi were lively again in 2002. But contrary to long-standing tradition and law, judicial elections are becoming more like other elections.

Teaching quality seems likely to remain a state concern for the long-term, even though policymakers will come to see, if they haven't already, that it isn't a magic bullet. The impetus for that continued focus comes not only from the states’ pressing needs for well-qualified teachers, but also from the federal government.

Chapter 5 of the 2003 Book of the States contains the following articles and tables:

With continued threats of terrorism facing the country, states are struggling to maintain basic public safety programs while taking on the additional responsibility — and costs — of homeland security. The year 2002 produced a National Strategy for Homeland Security and legislation creating a new federal Department of Homeland Security, but little funding has been provided to support enhanced preparedness efforts by states. It will be important for states to think and plan regionally, utilize mutual aid and leverage limited resources to meet the challenge of making communities safe from terrorism and natural disasters.

This article traces the governorship in recent decades. It examines who the governors are, how they became governors and some of their recent political history. The author discusses the timing and costs of gubernatorial elections and changes in gubernatorial powers.

Medicaid stands out as the program hit hardest by the economic downturn and rising health care costs. Governors, legislative leaders and Medicaid officials around the country see the program’s current cost trajectory as unsustainable in both the short-term and the long-term. Yet, states have faced similar situations before. As in previous eras of runaway cost growth, state leaders are marvelously adept at developing coping mechanisms. Emerging trends in state responses to the Medicaid crisis may indicate the future direction of Medicaid policy.

Chapter 4 of the 2003 Book of the States contains the following articles and tables:

This article traces past and current trends in parole and probation. Lessons from history are framed in the context of implications for future trends in the 50 states. It discusses parole and probation’s public value in terms of public safety and justice, along with the cost-benefit  implications of past, current and future trends.

This article synthesizes research findings on organizations registered to lobby state legislatures in the last 20 years. According to data collected and analyzed by the authors, the rapid growth in numbers of registered interests in the 1980s slowed by the end of the 1990s, and institutions became more dominant as a form of organizational representation.

Congress has failed to act in a timely manner on the reauthorization of the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families block grant. Nonetheless, the next generation of welfare reform is already underway. A slowly growing economy, the end of rapid caseload reductions, massive state and local budget problems, and the constraints of a closed-ended block grant will pose serious constraints on state flexibility and on states’ ability to continue new programs developed under the block grant. At the same time, a larger portion of child-only cases, increased sanction rates, a residual population of longer-term cases and the needs of the working poor will require new programs and more effective services. Although it will be difficult, states have little option but to begin to address these problems without waiting for federal action.