Book of the States 2011

None of the 116 constitutional amendments enacted in 2010 attracted as much attention as California’s 2008 same-sex marriage ban or other high-profile amendments in recent years. Nevertheless, some notable amendments were adopted. Voters approved rights amendments regarding health care, union organizing, affirmative action, guns and voting. Institutional design amendments were enacted regarding legislative redistricting, party primaries, legislative sessions and the gubernatorial recall. Policy amendments dealt with budgeting, rainy day funds, taxation, debt, education and veterans’ benefits, among other issues.

The 2010 state legislative elections brought major change to the state partisan landscape with Republicans emerging in the best position they have had in more than 50 years. Voters shifted majority control to the GOP in 20 legislative chambers. By the time the proverbial smoke had cleared in early March of 2011, three more chambers had moved to Republican control due to special elections and party switches by sitting legislators. Republicans emerged with control of 26 state legislatures compared to only 15 held by Democrats, with eight divided between the two parties.

Chapter 7 of the 2011 Book of the States contains the following articles and tables:

States need to be aware that the budget crisis for state and local governments is likely to put the 2012 presidential election—and beyond—more at risk than at any time since the 2000 election. Despite the successes of each election cycle in 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010, severe budget constraints have the potential to cause voting concerns in 2012. Actions, if taken soon, can lessen the strain on state and local governments. Changes in state election laws and practices can result in temporary and/or permanent savings for both state and local election offices. Some federal mandates will trigger greater expenses for both near-term and long-term future decisions.

Chapter 2 of the 2011 Book of the States contains the following articles and tables: