Policy Area

CSG South

This list of Notable Rural Development Programs was compiled by Jonathan Watts Hull, Senior Policy Analyst at the Southern Legislative Conference of The Council of State Governments, in August 2005.

CSG South

This presentation was given by Sujit M. CanagaRetna, Senior Fiscal Analyst at The Council of State Governments' Southern Office, the Southern Legislative Conference, as testimony before the Alaska House of Representatives Ways & Means Committee (via Conference Call), July 14, 2005.

CSG South

The severe economic distress of the 1980s produced an interest in state action to help rural citizens and communities. One result of that interest has been the creation of statewide offices and agencies whose primary mission is to study rural concerns and develop policy options to address rural needs.

We are again in an era when interest in such offices is at a peak level. Four state “rural centers” were created in 2004. Another has been created this year in Indiana, and a serious effort in Alabama fell just short of success. The current level of interest led SLC to form a Rural Development Task Force, and the Task Force encourages states to consider establishing such centers. As an aid to such efforts, the Task Force offers these profiles of four rural centers in the South: North Carolina, Louisiana, Maryland and Texas.

CSG South

The current farm bill reauthorization takes place in an environment more heated than any in recent times. Trade and budget concerns combined with growing domestic fiscal policy demands will make the 2007 Farm Bill a very difficult piece of legislation to craft. Public and political engagement in agriculture has declined as the number of Americans living on farms has steadily dropped over the past several decades. This translates into a considerably weaker political position for agriculture as farm policy competes at the table with numerous other sectors of the economy. To make sense of some of the complexities associated with the crafting of the 2007 Farm Bill, this document will explore a few of the major forces shaping the Farm Bill debate.

The amount of staff support assigned to the governor’s office varies considerably from state to state. Staffing levels tend to be higher in states where the scope and complexity of work facing state government is greater and in states where the Progressive Era reforms to foster direct democracy have not been adopted.

The growth of the 65-and-older population in the United States impacts many facets of our society, challenging policy-makers to meet the needs of aging Americans. There are many basic characteristics of the 65-and-older population that are important components for understanding how to best meet their needs. This article describes the growth of this segment of the U.S. population, as well as discusses its geographic distribution and selected characteristics.

The bar has been raised in the United States and our system of public education must adapt to the new parameters of global competition. Public education in the United States has not necessarily declined; the rest of the world has caught up and is now providing a higher level of competition in the market place at all levels. The No Child Left Behind Act is meeting the challenge and has ushered in a new era in public education, focused on the fundamentals of accountability and results for schools all across the country.

In 2004 state constitutions played an unusually important role in state and national affairs. A record number of amendments banned same-sex marriage and may have influenced the  presidential election. Other significant issues were also addressed. But the long-term trend against comprehensive revision continued.

The 2004 gubernatorial elections and resignations continued the recent trend of changes in  the governorships across the states. In addition to the 11 gubernatorial races, two governors resigned before their terms were up. In 2005, 37 of the incumbent governors will be serving in their first term. As in the past, there was a great range in gubernatorial election costs. During the four and a half decades, the overall institutional powers of governors continued to increase, especially in their veto power.

In recent years the movement of women into state-level offices has slowed following several decades of gains, and the 2004 elections continued this pattern of stagnation, producing little change in the numbers of women officials. Efforts to actively recruit women for elective and appointive positions will be critical in determining what the future holds for women in state government.