2010 National Conference

The economy is starting to pick up again, but state policymakers shouldn’t get too excited.

“We can all kind of feel the economy is starting to pick back up again,” said Peter Marino, fiscal adviser to the Rhode Island Senate. “I would describe it as a vulnerable recovery.”

It isn’t encouraging when a professor from the Columbia University Law School, who specializes in redistricting, tells you that your state will almost certainly be sued when redistricting takes place across the country next year.

“You are going to get sued,” said Nathaniel Persily, the professor in question, at the Intergovernmental Affairs Committee meeting Sunday afternoon. ”That’s true. There’s going to be a lot of that.”

One of the big issues that may be generating some of the lawsuits concerns how prisoners...

No one really knows what’s going on in Washington, but one thing is clear.

“Washington is up to its ears in politics,” Gwen Ifill, moderator and managing editor for PBS’ “Washington Week,” said during Sunday’s afternoon keynote address. “They’re having a hard time in policy and a harder time keeping a grip on the reality American people have asked them to keep a grip on.”

Great nations can come crashing down in just one generation—not thousands of years as conventional wisdom dictates. That’s according to David Gergen, senior political analyst for CNN and professor at the John F. Kennedy School of Government where he is also director of its Center for Public Leadership.

“We’re into that caution light that is blinking at us saying, ‘watch out guys, we’re in serious trouble,’” Gergen said of America’s financial standing at Sunday’s opening session at The Council of State Governments 2010...

Negative and misleading ads seem to be the norm in political campaigns these days, but they sometimes backfire, leaving voters feeling like they have to choose between the lesser of two evils instead of voting for a candidate they feel proud of supporting. How do you strike a balance in your political messaging and make sure your message is effective?

Chad Gallagher, a 2006 Toll alum and campaign adviser to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, lead a panel discussion on crafting political messages in a Sunday afternoon...