The Supreme Court will decide in North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. FTC whether state boards with members who are market participants elected by their peers must be “actively supervised” to be exempt from federal antitrust law.  This case will impact the thousands of state boards and commissions nationwide (at least those with market participants elected by their peers that take actions that implicate federal antitrust law). 

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Even though federal offices were back in business and open to the public yesterday following the 16-day government shutdown, some agencies that collect, analyze and distribute data will be playing catch up for months. The Department of Labor announced yesterday that it would release its postponed September employment report on Tuesday, October 22. The report, which was originally scheduled to be released on Friday, October 4, is a highly publicized and critical set of monthly economic indicators from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS also posted a new schedule for other reports on its website, which suggests it may be a while before the agency gets back on track.

While some effects of the federal government are easy to see—national park closures, for example—other effects are less obvious. The federal government collects, analyzes and publishes a lot of data—particularly economic data—that is used by both the private and public sector to make significant decisions. But the flow of new critical data from agencies like the Department of Labor or the Department of Commerce has been abruptly halted by the shutdown.

Stateline Midwest ~ July/August 2013

A decision by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn in July to block the salaries of state legislators has resulted in a constitutional showdown between the legislative and executive branches of government. According to the Peoria Journal Star, Quinn made the move due to legislative inaction over the state’s pension crisis.
The Council of State Governments has been collecting data on governors’ salaries for The Book of the States since 1937. In recent years, the average governor’s salary has grown more slowly than in the past, with a number of states cutting their chief executive’s pay during and after the Great Recession.
 
The nation’s state treasurers provide financial management and accountability for a wide variety of public funds. In many states, they also work to safeguard the financial interests of citizens through professional management of college savings plans, unclaimed property programs and professional debt management efforts.
 
Citizens and governing bodies are demanding more transparency regarding a government's overall financial condition and individual transactions than ever before. The movement toward more transparency began just before the economic downturn that emerged in 2008, but really gathered steam with the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009, which required quarterly reporting on a national website of Recovery Act-related expenditures. States and many local governments followed by creating their own transparency websites. In 2012, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board, known as GASB, issued two new accounting principles that are designed to provide increased transparency into one of government’s largest unfunded liabilities—pension systems. GASB, through the issuance of Statement No. 67 for pension plans and Statement No. 68 for employers, has dramatically changed the way pensions are calculated and reported in a government’s financial statement. This article will highlight the changes relating to Statement No. 68, focusing on how the new standard will assist state and local policymakers and the public to better understand their pension liabilities.
 

Chapter 4 of the 2013 Book of the States contains the following articles and tables:

The State of State Addresses: Settling in for the Long Haul1
 
Governors were more likely this year than last to address a broader range of issues in their state of the state addresses. At least two-thirds of them considered five issues in 2013, compared to just three issues in 2012. Education, jobs and taxes remain hot topics, but health care and public safety also moved up the list. Health care was the second most mentioned issue by governors this year, not a surprise since the start date for implementation of the Affordable Care Act is less than a year away. Also, governors’ consideration of gun control and safety issues was not unlikely given the tragic mass shootings in Colorado and Connecticut in 2012. Governors seemed hesitant to pursue expansive budget and policy agendas, recognizing that fiscal recovery from the Great Recession will remain sluggish.
 
Governors continue to be in the forefront of governmental activity in the 21st century. They are in the middle of addressing the problems facing the country’s weak economy. The demands on governors to propose state budgets and keep them in balance have continued to increase greatly during the ongoing recession as severe revenue shortfalls have hit the states. This places severe limits on the states’ abilities to address the many growing needs of people and businesses trying to live through such tough times. The varying political viewpoints on what and how state government should work on this continuing set of problems only makes it harder for elected leaders to achieve agreements over policy needs and governmental responsibilities.
 

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