Policy Area

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.

The most innovative and productive state agencies do not simply execute one good program. Rather, they integrate advanced management techniques into a comprehensive approach to productivity improvement. Productive state-government agencies stress multiple measures: internal capacities, outputs produced and outcomes achieved. They use performance measurement and evaluation to help establish goals and measure results, estimate and justify resource requirements, reallocate resources, develop organization-improvement strategies and motivate employees to improve performance.

Chapter 8 of the 2002 Book of the States contains the following articles and tables:

States have adopted three basic structures for central higher-education boards to address the governance of individual public institutions and the statewide coordination of higher-education policy and planning. Current trends in higher-education policy include changes to governance structures, implementation of accountability measures, growing pressures on state budgets and an enrollment boom.

American federalism demonstrated remarkable continuity and responsiveness throughout the horrific events associated with the 2000 presidential election and the terrorist attacks of 2001. Yet, the contemporary era has also been one of coercive or regulatory federalism, marked by historically unprecedented levels of federal preemptions, mandates, conditions of aid and other extensions of federal power into state affairs. The U.S. Supreme Court has pursued a countervailing state-friendly federalism jurisprudence since 1991, but in the political realm, there is substantial bipartisan and even intergovernmental support for coercive or regulatory federalism.

 

Editor’s Note: The following is the executive summary of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, prepared by the U.S. Department of Education on January 7, 2002. More detailed information and the text of the act are available through the department’s Web site at http://www.ed.gov/offices/OESE/esea/index.html.
 
...

If Americans do not have faith in the election process, then it will be impossible for them to believe in the government that results from that process. This fundamental truth is why it is critical for state legislators and policymakers to examine current circumstances and make necessary changes to ensure the health and well being of the electoral process. This article examines the roles of state and local governments in election reform and recommends 12 minimum state-level reforms. The author examines challenges states will face in the future.

This article describes the division of political powers between state and local governments, the emergence of innovative state programs assisting substate governments, state initiatives to improve the coordination and effectiveness of state and local government service-delivery and regulatory programs, and the desirability of broadening the powers of general-purpose local governments to allow them to achieve their goals in the most economical, efficient and effective manner.

The fact that most governmental services in the United States are provided directly to citizens by local governments is testimony to their importance. Nevertheless, these substate units, although they may be termed “home-rule” municipalities, are not autonomous. In all states, local governments are subject to various controls by their respective state governments, including costly state mandates, which are the principal irritant in state-local relations in a significant number of states.

Medicaid is a broad and multifaceted program that is jointly financed by the federal and state governments in order to address the needs of low-income families, the elderly and those with chronic, disabling health conditions. It is an essential part of the health coverage and financing system in every state and is the largest source of federal financial assistance to the states. Balancing the growing responsibilities for coverage of vulnerable populations with fiscal realities will undoubtedly be a major challenge in the years ahead.

This article assesses the progress of the states in redrawing state legislative-district lines for the elections of 2002, now that the 2000 Census of Population data is in the hands of state legislatures. It describes emerging trends this decade and highlights the experience of several states in dealing with both old and new issues in redistricting. Whereas the redistricting round of the 1990s can be described as the round of racial and ethnic predominance, the 2000 round will be characterized as the rejuvenation of partisanship.

Pages