Since its implementation in 2005, Washington’s Government Management Accountability and Performance (GMAP) program has become an invaluable tool to Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire in measuring and improving the performance of state agencies.

Most states collect and analyze data on their government work force. With the baby boomer population reaching retirement age and 27 percent of the state work force across the country eligible to retire within the next five years, assessing the shrinking work force will continue as a critical exercise.

The U.S. is undergoing a major demographic revolution that will have major public policy implications across regions and states and within regions and states. Our population is aging, we are becoming more diverse, dramatic migration patterns are occurring and social indicators reveal major challenges ahead.

This article investigates the nature and extent to which state courts are racially and ethnically diverse. Judicial diversity is examined for African-Americans, Hispanics, Asian-Pacific Islanders and Native Americans. The findings indicate that only modest increases in judicial diversity have occurred in the states’ major appellate and trial courts since 2008. Minority judges are more likely to obtain seats on state courts through gubernatorial appointment, especially in states that formally use elections to select judges. This research underscores the complexity of state judicial selection and the role governors play in increasing racial and ethnic judicial diversity.

Performance management is more important than ever during tough times as officials strive to deliver better results with reduced resources. To help governments implement effective  performance management systems, the National Performance Management Advisory Commission is developing a national framework for performance management.

Suggested State Legislation: This Act:
• requires certain state agencies adopt rules regulating access to the confidential personal information the agencies keep, whether paper or electronic;
• provides that a person harmed by a violation of a rule of a state agency adopted under the Act may bring an action in a court of claims against any person who directly and proximately caused the harm,

Suggested State Legislation: This Act creates the position of state Geographic Information Systems (GIS) officer. The Act:
• requires the state GIS officer to adopt or veto the GIS data standards and a statewide data integration plan;
• provides that the state data center of the state library shall be the state’s depository for GIS data;

Suggested State Legislation: Virginia Chapter 891 of 2006:
• allows a mechanic’s lien for towing, storage, and recovery of vehicles;
• increases to seven days the time garage keepers have to notify owners of towed vehicles that their vehicle has been towed and is being held at their garage; and
• increases the fee for storing a towed vehicle.

Relatively few state constitutional amendments were proposed and adopted in 2007, although the number of amendments was generally in line with patterns seen in recent off-year elections. The amendments that did appear on the ballot proved relatively uncontroversial; only three amendments were defeated at the polls and those dealt with taxation and revenue changes. Legislators and political activists devoted a good deal of attention to qualifying amendments for the 2008 ballot, particularly regarding issues such as same-sex marriage, affirmative action, eminent domain and abortion, all of which have been the subject of significant amendment activity in recent years.

The 2008 elections will not alter the coercive course of American federalism. Given that little will be accomplished in Washington, D.C., before 2009, the new president and new congressional majority will likely address such long-simmering issues as education, entitlements, health insurance, immigration and infrastructure. However, centralizing trends—such as conditions of aid, mandates and preemptions—will endure because they have enjoyed bipartisan support since the late 1960s. Intergovernmental administrative relations will be mostly cooperative, and state policy activism will remain vigorous, but the Supreme Court will not resuscitate federalism.