Policy Area

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.

This article examines recent developments involving a sample of interstate compacts and formal interstate administrative agreements, the purpose of which is to promote harmonious relations between sister states by resolving disputes and encouraging interstate cooperation.

 

The mission of emergency management has expanded in recent years beyond traditional disaster preparedness and response. A strengthened national program incorporating today’s all-hazards approach to emergency preparedness is needed if states are to meet the evolving challenges of overall public safety and domestic security. The challenge of terrorism preparedness, in particular, is to avoid creating a separate response mechanism for terrorist events, and to focus on enhancing the nation’s existing emergency-management system, which has been tested and proven effective in the nation’s largest disasters.

Chapter 6 of the 2002 Book of the States contains the following articles and tables:

Chapter 1 of the 2002 Book of the States contains the following articles and tables:

Chapter 2 of the 2002 Book of the States contains the following articles and tables:

This article traces the governorship in recent decades. It examines who the governors are, how they became governors and some of their recent political history. The author discusses the timing and costs of gubernatorial elections, as well as the powers these officials have and the  priorities of our current governors. Finally, the article points out the need for continuing efforts to reorganize state executive branches across the country, especially as states continue to maintain a myriad of other separately elected executive-branch officials.

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