The maturation of the welfare state has altered partisan political and policy interests. Republicans are rediscovering the virtues of national power once celebrated by Alexander Hamilton, while Democrats are returning to their Jeffersonian roots.

States are in danger of losing federal HAVA funds unless action is taken in 2005. Despite a successful election in 2004, several issues face states to assure voter satisfaction and service.  If states fail to act, Congress may do so.

One of the most crucial linkages in contemporary international relations involves the multifaceted and complex one shared between the United States and Mexico, a relationship that spans centuries and extends into myriad different arenas.

This article, based on the author’s book, Heavy Lifting: The Job of the American Legislature (CQ Press, 2004), explores the factors that indicate whether a legislature is “good” or not.  Neither a legislature’s appearance, structure, nor it’s product ought to be considered indicative. A legislature’s performance of its principal functions is what counts. Legislatures do best at representing constituencies and constituents, next best at lawmaking, and least well at balancing the power of the executive. Critical to legislative performance of the latter two functions are leadership and standing committee systems.

The increase in the level of two-party competition, particularly in the Southern states, has produced many parties which are cohesive and disciplined to capture public office and govern once that office has been attained. More parties are using preprimary endorsements to control nominations. They have become multimillion dollar organizations and contribute to their state candidates and rival the national parties in fundraising capability. Governors and their legislative parties are governing more effectively.

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have been stalemated in their attempts to reauthorize the nation’s welfare bill. The stalemate between the House (following the administration’s lead) and the Senate over work requirements, childcare dollars and superwaivers has left the original welfare bill unchanged through several “continuing resolutions.” In the meantime, states’ welfare programs have weathered an economic downturn. While nationwide caseloads continued to decline, some states experienced significant increases in their caseloads. While all states funded a broad array of services as well as basic assistance through their welfare programs, there was considerable variation in funding emphasis. States’ flexibility could be curtailed in the future, however, if reauthorization proceeds along the lines proposed.

CSG South

2004 marked the 20th anniversary of the Southern Regional Project on Infant Mortality, a joint effort by the SLC and the Southern Governors' Association. This special series report reviews the successes and failures of the past 20 years and assesses the work of the Project. It also compares statistical data on the various preventative programs and measures available in each state, and highlights the current basic government provisions used to curtail the infant death rate.

This presentation was given by Sujit M. CanagaRetna of the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC), as testimony before a Joint Hearing of the Mississippi Senate & House Finance, Appropriations and Ways & Means Committees at the Mississippi State Capitol in Jackson, Mississippi, April 27, 2005.

A vital tool for policymakers across the region, Comparative Data Reports (CDRs) offer a snapshot of conditions on a number of issues. Published annually, the CDRs track a multitude of revenue sources, appropriations levels, and performance measures in Southern states, and provide a useful tool to state government officials and staff. CDRs are available for adult correctional systems, comparative revenues and revenue forecasts, education, Medicaid, and transportation.

A vital tool for policymakers across the region, Comparative Data Reports (CDRs) offer a snapshot of conditions on a number of issues. Published annually, the CDRs track a multitude of revenue sources, appropriations levels, and performance measures in Southern states, and provide a useful tool to state government officials and staff. CDRs are available for adult correctional systems, comparative revenues and revenue forecasts, education, Medicaid, and transportation.

Pages