Policy Area

Lieutenant governors lead today and prepare for tomorrow. Most have significant state leadership roles and all are first in line of succession to become governor. The 2004 election factors and results indicate this office is continuing to grow in influence and that lieutenant governors will further impact state legislative trends and governments.

Systems are battling back utilizing new plan structures, alternative investments, and corporate activism to improve their fiscal positions. The recent recession and current demographic trends have had a serious impact on state-administered public employee retirement systems. This article will present information about the current condition of state-administered public employee retirement systems, the problems they face, and the solutions they are employing.

This article provides an overview of several systematic factors contributing to the variation in faculty salaries. Institutional type is the most significant factor in determining faculty salaries overall; faculty members are also differentiated according to academic rank. Two other  important factors are gender and region, and several individual factors are also identified. The article also discusses several policy issues related to the decline in state funding for higher education.

The amount of staff support assigned to the governor’s office varies considerably from state to state. Staffing levels tend to be higher in states where the scope and complexity of work facing state government is greater and in states where the Progressive Era reforms to foster direct democracy have not been adopted.

The growth of the 65-and-older population in the United States impacts many facets of our society, challenging policy-makers to meet the needs of aging Americans. There are many basic characteristics of the 65-and-older population that are important components for understanding how to best meet their needs. This article describes the growth of this segment of the U.S. population, as well as discusses its geographic distribution and selected characteristics.

The bar has been raised in the United States and our system of public education must adapt to the new parameters of global competition. Public education in the United States has not necessarily declined; the rest of the world has caught up and is now providing a higher level of competition in the market place at all levels. The No Child Left Behind Act is meeting the challenge and has ushered in a new era in public education, focused on the fundamentals of accountability and results for schools all across the country.

In 2004 state constitutions played an unusually important role in state and national affairs. A record number of amendments banned same-sex marriage and may have influenced the  presidential election. Other significant issues were also addressed. But the long-term trend against comprehensive revision continued.

The 2004 gubernatorial elections and resignations continued the recent trend of changes in  the governorships across the states. In addition to the 11 gubernatorial races, two governors resigned before their terms were up. In 2005, 37 of the incumbent governors will be serving in their first term. As in the past, there was a great range in gubernatorial election costs. During the four and a half decades, the overall institutional powers of governors continued to increase, especially in their veto power.

In recent years the movement of women into state-level offices has slowed following several decades of gains, and the 2004 elections continued this pattern of stagnation, producing little change in the numbers of women officials. Efforts to actively recruit women for elective and appointive positions will be critical in determining what the future holds for women in state government.

Traditionally, state-level law enforcement has represented about 10 percent of total police employment in the United States. In keeping with this employment level, state law enforcement has traditionally played an important, but relatively small role in the overall picture of policing America. The information collected for this project, however, indicates an expanding role for state law enforcement since 2001, partly due to new roles and responsibilities associated with homeland security, and partly because state police are filling gaps and vacuums created by shifts in federal law enforcement priorities. Thus, while it is true that all types of police agencies have been significantly affected post Sept. 11, it seems that state law enforcement agencies have been affected the most.