Executive Branch

Financial reporting and auditing professionals ensure that the public has a clear view of the health and viability of state governments. They are keepers of the public trust. Today, however, these professionals face more demands than ever and have fewer resources than ever to support their important efforts. Cumbersome, and often burdensome, processes and financial limitations are now colliding with a multi-faceted push for financial reporting that is faster, cheaper and better. Can states sustain current efforts, and even go beyond, pushing the limits of their capacity to provide speed, economy and quality?

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. A large group of new state attorneys general were sworn in at the beginning of 2011, following the November 2010 elections. This year will bring a continued effort to fight financial fraud but attorneys general now have expanded enforcement authority under a new federal law. The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) is also making a priority of providing the highest quality legal training for those in state government service.

Governors remain in the forefront of activity in the 21st century. While the governorship was not the stepping stone to the presidency for President Barack Obama as it was for our two previous presidents, Democratic Gov. Bill Clinton from Arkansas (1993–2001) and Republican Gov. George W. Bush from Texas (2001–2009), governors continue to be in the middle of addressing the problems facing our country’s weak economy. The demands on governors to propose state budgets and then keep them in balance have increased greatly during the current recession. Proposed and adopted budgets have fallen victim to severe revenue shortfalls in the states, which has placed severe limits on the states to address the many growing needs of people trying to live through these very tough times. Politically, this has led to political fallout from unhappy voters as they vent their anger and frustration toward elected leaders on election days.

State fish and wildlife agencies across the U.S. are faced with an uncertain future. As the economy impacts both revenues and costs of operations, these user-funded agencies must adapt to the new realities. One innovative employee-based initiative is well underway in the state of Alabama. Substantive cost-savings and increased cost-effectiveness are already being realized.

West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin’s election to the U.S. Senate in 2010 set off a series of events the state hadn’t seen in 140 years and raised questions about the line of succession to the governor’s office. The situation mirrored one in New Jersey in the early 2000s, when several governors left the office and senate presidents took on the role of “acting governor.” As in  New Jersey, the change sparked debate about the need for the office of lieutenant governor.

State treasurers provide professional financial management and accountability for a variety of public funds. These include general operating funds and special funds such as unclaimed property programs. They also borrow money through the municipal debt market to finance state projects.

Chapter 4 of the 2011 Book of the States contains the following articles and tables:

Under Massachusetts law, foundation leaders previously thought they were exempt from policies that prohibited stipend pay to board members. But a new law proposed by attorney general Martha Coakley aims to prohibit board pay for foundations as well.

The new bill stemmed from public debate over the four nonprofit health insurers in Massachusetts who pay five-figure stipends to board members. Two have now suspended their board pay.

Foundations argue that because their board members come from diverse backgrounds,...

Rhode Island Governor Chaffee signed L3C Legislation into law on June 13, 2011 with the legislation to be effective July 1, 2012. HB 5279 was sponsored by Rep. Christopher Blazejewski.

In April, Blazejewski stated that “With many students graduating from our colleges and universities with a focus on entrepreneurship and community service, Rhode Island is well-positioned to become the Silicon Valley of the social venture movement,” said Representative Blazejewski (D-Dist. 2, Providence, East Providence). “As a tool for...

While women continue to make gains in terms of their participation in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of state government, more progress is needed before they will reach parity with their male counterparts.