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Until recently, literature about the effects of term limits was by necessity speculative in nature. However, a recent multistate study undertaken by three legislative organizations and a team of political scientists has begun to outline the changes taking place in term-limited state legislatures.
 

Most states have initiated various cutback-management strategies in the past two years to deal with budget shortfalls and projected deficits. However, restructuring state agencies has emerged as the most popular approach to the current financial crisis. State agencies are likely to continue to privatize some of their programs and services as a cost-saving tool, although the rate of savings has been moderate. A growing number of states are using performance measures in their budgeting, although they are not widely used as an efficiency tool in state agencies.

An assessment of political parties in the legislature shows an imbalance in their performance of the overlapping functions of representation on the one hand and governance on the other. In every respect but mobilizing and educating voters, legislative parties are doing an excellent job representing their constituencies. But the performance of the governance function, and especially the tasks of consensus building and institutional maintenance, is more problematic.

Results-based decision-making in state government has gained considerable interest as part of government accountability. Use of outcome information by elected officials and managers in budgeting and improving services to citizens still falls far short of its potential. This article provides suggestions for more effective collection and use of performance information.

This article examines the success of the states in redrawing state legislative-district lines after the 2000 Census of Population. It describes the trends of this decade and highlights state experiences in dealing with both old and new issues in redistricting. Whereas the redistricting round of the 1990s was quite litigious, the 2000 round was less litigious with the states having high levels of success in adopting plans without judicial interference.

Chapter 8 of the 2003 Book of the States contains the following articles and tables:

Chapter 3 of the 2003 Book of the States contains the following articles and tables:

Tomorrow’s energy policy should look beyond the Middle East to include all of North America. To achieve certainty in an era of volatility and to reach the wealth of untapped energy in the Americas will require new partnerships with regional, national and even continental planning. We need a North-South energy policy — an Energy Policy for the Americas.

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.

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