Content Type

Legislatures are the engines of representative democracy in the American states. They are the arenas in which the processes for choosing policies, setting priorities and reaching settlements among conflicting values and interests take place. This essay points out trends and directions in which state legislatures are moving, the significant issues confronting them and offers a framework for thinking about the current condition of state legislatures.

The most innovative and productive state agencies do not simply execute one good program. Rather, they integrate advanced management techniques into a comprehensive approach to productivity improvement. Productive state-government agencies stress multiple measures: internal capacities, outputs produced and outcomes achieved. They use performance measurement and evaluation to help establish goals and measure results, estimate and justify resource requirements, reallocate resources, develop organization-improvement strategies and motivate employees to improve performance.

Chapter 3 of the 2002 Book of the States contains the following articles and tables:

Chapter 8 of the 2002 Book of the States contains the following articles and tables:

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, as well as the powers these officials have and the  priorities of our current governors. Finally, the article points out the need for continuing efforts to reorganize state executive branches across the country, especially as states continue to maintain a myriad of other separately elected executive-branch officials.

Chapter 10 of the 2002 Book of the States contains the following articles and tables:

Chapter 4 of the 2002 Book of the States contains the following articles and tables:

States have adopted three basic structures for central higher-education boards to address the governance of individual public institutions and the statewide coordination of higher-education policy and planning. Current trends in higher-education policy include changes to governance structures, implementation of accountability measures, growing pressures on state budgets and an enrollment boom.

Judicial leaders are defining a new vision of court reform that goes beyond court reorganization and administration. The new reform issues go directly to the heart of the fairness and integrity of the justice system, the relationship of the judiciary to lawyers and other branches of government, the relationship of courts to citizens and the role of judges in serving specific needs of their communities. However, since September 11, 2001, courts are also facing increasingly urgent challenges relating to funding and security.

During the past 10 years, states have become the primary environmental-protection stewards of the nation. Five policy indicators show the growth of the states’ role: delegated programs, fiscal commitments, enforcement of environmental laws, development of innovative programs and contributions to environmental information. This article reviews research conducted over the past 15 years at The Council of State Governments, the Environmental Council of the States and elsewhere that documents this growth.

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