National-state relations have undergone a major transformation since 1965, when Congress sharply increased the pace of enactment of regulatory preemption statutes including those in regulatory areas that had been the exclusive preserves of the states. Protection of the reserved regulatory powers of the states against further congressional encroachment will necessitate enactment of new interstate regulatory compacts and/or uniform state laws.

Most state budgets were in very good shape at the end of fiscal year 2006, and election-year budgets for 2007 will lead to tax cuts. But beyond 2007 states will face challenges, including the need to fund or constrain rapid Medicaid growth, pressures to strengthen pension funding and begin financing newly disclosed liabilities for retiree health care, and the need to respond to large cuts in federal grants.

Forty-five states now have an officeholder using the title “lieutenant governor.” The experience and profile of the candidates for the office have grown for two years, and that trend continues in the 2006 elections. The duties of the office are also increasing: USA Today newspaper reported in August 2005 that the office of lieutenant governor is a significant, visible and often controversial office. As the office gains attention, future trends indicate state officials will examine the most effective uses of the office.

Similar to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Hurricane Katrina shone a bright light on the nation’s level of preparedness and revealed serious gaps in the country’s ability to respond to another terrorist attack. Debate continues on whether the federal government’s focus on preparing for a terrorism incident has overlooked the more common threat of natural disasters. Adequate funding for allhazards is a major concern for all state and local emergency managers, particularly since federal mandates in preparedness and response increase regularly, without matching federal funding.

Secretaries of state make decisions every day that affect the lives of their constituents. While the decisions may sometimes seem small, they often affect how business is conducted or how government officials are selected. This piece highlights the varying roles of the secretaries of state and looks at issues that secretaries may soon be addressing, and how their decisions will affect their constituents.

The No Child Left Behind Act is the most ambitious piece of educational legislation ever enacted by Congress. Designed to promote accountability and prod states to address educational inequities, NCLB included significant new provisions regarding assessment, sanctions for low-performing schools and districts, teacher quality, and standards for educational research.

As the chief legal officers of the states, commonwealths and territories of the United States, attorneys general serve as counselors to state government agencies and legislatures, and as  representatives of the public interest. In many areas traditionally considered the exclusive responsibility of the federal government, attorneys general now share enforcement authority and enjoy cooperative working relationships with their federal counterparts, particularly in the areas of antitrust, bankruptcy, consumer protection, criminal law and cybercrime and the environment.

The article provides an overview of several systematic factors contributing to the variation in faculty salaries. Institutional type is the most significant factor in determining faculty salaries overall; faculty members are also compared according to academic rank. Two other important factors are gender and region, and several individual factors are also identified. The article also discusses several policy issues related to the decline in state funding for higher education.

The roles and responsibilities of state treasurers are countless and critically important to the fiscal well-being of their states. Sound and profitable investments made by state treasurers  make it possible for budgets to be balanced, for taxpayer-supported programs to be maintained and grown, and for a positive and equitable level of investment growth for public funds to be achieved.

A modernized Medicaid system will give states greater flexibility with reduced administrative burden. The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 gives states additional flexibility to provide health insurance coverage among low-income but healthy children and families that reflect the 21st century dynamics in health insurance and increased options for community alternatives rather than being stuck in the assumptions that are now 40 years behind the times.

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