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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.

Chapter 5 of the 2002 Book of the States contains the following articles and tables:

As states continue to implement the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) block grant, they will need to address issues such as rapidly approaching time limits on federal assistance and the importance of enhancing supports to promote job retention and advancement. In addition, as Congress considers the reauthorization of TANF and other income-security programs, states will want to give close attention to both programmatic aspects of any reauthorization proposal and to their impact on state and local flexibility.

If Americans do not have faith in the election process, then it will be impossible for them to believe in the government that results from that process. This fundamental truth is why it is critical for state legislators and policymakers to examine current circumstances and make necessary changes to ensure the health and well being of the electoral process. This article examines the roles of state and local governments in election reform and recommends 12 minimum state-level reforms. The author examines challenges states will face in the future.

Medicaid is a broad and multifaceted program that is jointly financed by the federal and state governments in order to address the needs of low-income families, the elderly and those with chronic, disabling health conditions. It is an essential part of the health coverage and financing system in every state and is the largest source of federal financial assistance to the states. Balancing the growing responsibilities for coverage of vulnerable populations with fiscal realities will undoubtedly be a major challenge in the years ahead.

When comparing the use of initiatives and referenda, one can argue that the initiative process has the greater impact on the day-to-day operations of state governments. Little debate surrounds the use of the referendum process because most of the issues that are placed on the ballot by state legislatures are there because the law requires a public vote. For this reason and because of the fact that great controversy surrounds the initiative process itself, this article will focus on the use of the statewide initiative process.

The mission of emergency management has expanded in recent years beyond traditional disaster preparedness and response. A strengthened national program incorporating today’s all-hazards approach to emergency preparedness is needed if states are to meet the evolving challenges of overall public safety and domestic security. The challenge of terrorism preparedness, in particular, is to avoid creating a separate response mechanism for terrorist events, and to focus on enhancing the nation’s existing emergency-management system, which has been tested and proven effective in the nation’s largest disasters.

This article assesses the progress of the states in redrawing state legislative-district lines for the elections of 2002, now that the 2000 Census of Population data is in the hands of state legislatures. It describes emerging trends this decade and highlights the experience of several states in dealing with both old and new issues in redistricting. Whereas the redistricting round of the 1990s can be described as the round of racial and ethnic predominance, the 2000 round will be characterized as the rejuvenation of partisanship.

 

Editor’s Note: The following is the executive summary of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, prepared by the U.S. Department of Education on January 7, 2002. More detailed information and the text of the act are available through the department’s Web site at http://www.ed.gov/offices/OESE/esea/index.html.
 
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