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

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.

An aging workforce presents challenges for the future of pension plans, but measures to address any problems are already being devised and implemented. The question may not be so much whether future retirees will be adequately compensated, but rather, how policy-makers will shape the pension plans of tomorrow in order to maintain the relatively consistent quality of previous plans.

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 essay describes some recent patterns of state financial activity – how the state governments obtain their revenues, the types of activities on which they expend their resources, their reliance on economic resources such as borrowing and the state of their financial assets. The analysis relies primarily on data from U.S. Census Bureau surveys of state and local government finances, the most complete set of comparative information available. It is primarily a retrospective look, using the information for fiscal year 2000 and comparing that with trends from prior years. The final section looks at a few present-day issues and prospects for state finances.

When comparing the use of initiatives and referenda, one can argue that the initiative process has the greater impact on the day-to-day operations of state governments. Little debate surrounds the use of the referendum process because most of the issues that are placed on the ballot by state legislatures are there because the law requires a public vote. For this reason and because of the fact that great controversy surrounds the initiative process itself, this article will focus on the use of the statewide initiative process.

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

Chapter 7 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.

Census 2000 data reveal a new set of patterns, featuring a new cast of demographic actors. States and regions have begun to steal the show from cities, suburbs and countryside. In this article, states are grouped into three broad categories according to their distinct demographic trajectories: the Melting Pot states, the New Sunbelt states and the Heartland states.

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