Governmental Operations

Crises demand leadership. The time to address an orderly succession of executive branch  power is before a crisis occurs. This decade offers states examples of questions and legal challenges which may arise if state constitutional language or statute on executive branch succession is incomplete, unclear or in conflict with other state statutes. The governor’s office may be vacated before the official completion of a term due to death, resignation, incapacitation, impeachment or recall. State law should define a clear and sufficiently deep line of gubernatorial succession. State leaders should consider establishing a specific process to declare a governor incapacitated, either temporarily or permanently. States may also review to ensure statute surrounding impeachment and recall provisions are not in conflict with Constitutional and other statutory language on succession.

In response to mounting budget pressures, state governments have cut aid to local governments. At the same time, policymakers are calling for more efficiency at the local level in order to make the most of limited financial resources.

The story of the population and economic decline of some of the Midwest’s largest, historically most important cities did not begin in 2000 and will likely not end in 2010.  Nonetheless, data from U.S. Census 2010 are striking in showing the extent of the out-migration from many of this region’s central towns.

Seeking greater efficiencies in state government operations, Ohio lawmakers are turning to the power, expertise and resources of the state auditor for help. 

Kansas lawmakers are hoping the creation of Rural Opportunity Zones will help address a long-time concern in many parts of the state: the loss of population.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released its first annual report to Congress in response to a new statutory requirement that the department identify federal programs, agencies, offices, and initiatives, either within departments or government-wide, which have duplicative goals or activities.

As states face growing budget gaps and policymakers are forced to make tough choices to balance budgets, several states have also established commissions to evaluate the operational and outcome efficiencies of state government and to develop recommendations for improvement. Here is a preliminary list of those commissions and their findings:

For almost two weeks, the Wisconsin Capitol has been filled with thousands of demonstrators protesting Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to largely eliminate collective bargaining for public employees.  

State governments are facing a fiscal crisis, the worst since the Great Depression. Unprecedented challenges seem overwhelming when change requires working with state bureaucracies so large and entrenched that state administrators are unable to affect meaningful improvements. State administrators are, in fact, an integral part of state reform.

The Virginia General Assembly and Virginia nonprofits are both scrambling to make heads or tails of a recent statement. Virginia's Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli issued a legal opinion on January 28th regarding the states's ability to spend funds on services carried out by nonprofit organizations.

The opinion was sought by Delegate John O'Bannon, when he called inclusion of grants to nonprofits to the latest budget into question. This year,...

As legislators go about the work of redrawing political maps, one fundamental rule guiding their decisions will be to keep the populations of political districts as equal as possible.