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 9 of the 2002 Book of the States contains the following articles and tables:

Legislatures are the engines of representative democracy in the American states. They are the arenas in which the processes for choosing policies, setting priorities and reaching settlements among conflicting values and interests take place. This essay points out trends and directions in which state legislatures are moving, the significant issues confronting them and offers a framework for thinking about the current condition of state legislatures.

Chapter 3 of the 2002 Book of the States contains the following articles and tables:

Judicial leaders are defining a new vision of court reform that goes beyond court reorganization and administration. The new reform issues go directly to the heart of the fairness and integrity of the justice system, the relationship of the judiciary to lawyers and other branches of government, the relationship of courts to citizens and the role of judges in serving specific needs of their communities. However, since September 11, 2001, courts are also facing increasingly urgent challenges relating to funding and security.

Chapter 5 of the 2002 Book of the States contains the following articles and tables:

As states continue to implement the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) block grant, they will need to address issues such as rapidly approaching time limits on federal assistance and the importance of enhancing supports to promote job retention and advancement. In addition, as Congress considers the reauthorization of TANF and other income-security programs, states will want to give close attention to both programmatic aspects of any reauthorization proposal and to their impact on state and local flexibility.

The demand for e-government services – that is, the delivery of government services through the Internet – continues to increase as citizens and businesses spend more and more time online. There is the expectation that e-government will make government institutions more efficient, accountable and accessible to the public. The states have made significant progress toward these ends as many government services and associated transactions may now be fully executed over the Internet. States are moving further in the development of e-government as services and their related agencies are integrated with one another, a trend which will likely have a tremendous impact on the structure of state government in the near future.

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.

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.