Policy Area

Chapter 3 of the 2002 Book of the States contains the following articles and tables:

As states continue to implement the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) block grant, they will need to address issues such as rapidly approaching time limits on federal assistance and the importance of enhancing supports to promote job retention and advancement. In addition, as Congress considers the reauthorization of TANF and other income-security programs, states will want to give close attention to both programmatic aspects of any reauthorization proposal and to their impact on state and local flexibility.

The number of states engaged in amending and revising their constitutions in 2000-2001 was the lowest in 30 years. Legislative and constitutional initiatives were the only methods used to amend state constitutions during the biennium, and three states accounted for almost half of the proposed amendments. While some constitutional trends continued from the 1990s, there were also notable differences.

During the past 10 years, states have become the primary environmental-protection stewards of the nation. Five policy indicators show the growth of the states’ role: delegated programs, fiscal commitments, enforcement of environmental laws, development of innovative programs and contributions to environmental information. This article reviews research conducted over the past 15 years at The Council of State Governments, the Environmental Council of the States and elsewhere that documents this growth.

Judicial leaders are defining a new vision of court reform that goes beyond court reorganization and administration. The new reform issues go directly to the heart of the fairness and integrity of the justice system, the relationship of the judiciary to lawyers and other branches of government, the relationship of courts to citizens and the role of judges in serving specific needs of their communities. However, since September 11, 2001, courts are also facing increasingly urgent challenges relating to funding and security.

When comparing the use of initiatives and referenda, one can argue that the initiative process has the greater impact on the day-to-day operations of state governments. Little debate surrounds the use of the referendum process because most of the issues that are placed on the ballot by state legislatures are there because the law requires a public vote. For this reason and because of the fact that great controversy surrounds the initiative process itself, this article will focus on the use of the statewide initiative process.

Census 2000 data reveal a new set of patterns, featuring a new cast of demographic actors. States and regions have begun to steal the show from cities, suburbs and countryside. In this article, states are grouped into three broad categories according to their distinct demographic trajectories: the Melting Pot states, the New Sunbelt states and the Heartland states.

Chapter 5 of the 2002 Book of the States contains the following articles and tables:

The demand for e-government services – that is, the delivery of government services through the Internet – continues to increase as citizens and businesses spend more and more time online. There is the expectation that e-government will make government institutions more efficient, accountable and accessible to the public. The states have made significant progress toward these ends as many government services and associated transactions may now be fully executed over the Internet. States are moving further in the development of e-government as services and their related agencies are integrated with one another, a trend which will likely have a tremendous impact on the structure of state government in the near future.

For too long, too little attention has been paid to the administrative arena of state government. This article examines recent trends and emerging issues in the scope, size and structure of state administration and the status and skills of administrators. The authors analyze data collected as part of the American State Administrators Project to identify trends in the personal and educational attributes and career paths of top-level state administrators.

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