The states have expanded their role in environmental protection over the past three decades and now implement most of the federal environmental statutes. With this heightened responsibility has come an increase in state financial commitments to pay for these programs and the states have met this responsibility for years. During the past few years, however, the fiscal crisis in the states, coupled with many new federal environmental rules and a lack of new federal money, has left the states with at least a $1 billion annual gap in the amounts they need to implement current federal law. These shortfalls have been documented in several studies. This situation, if not corrected, may lead to greater risks to the public from exposure to environmental hazards. The federal government should consider providing funding or other relief to the states for further implementation of federal rules.

CSG South

This Southern Legislative Conference Regional Resource examines several key components of the Clean Air Act in relation to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards. In particular, it focuses on state control strategies and compliance in the areas of ozone and particulate matter, as these have had the greatest impact on states’ ability to meet clean air requirements. Additional focus is on the transition between the 1-hour and 8-hour ozone and particulate matter standards. Recent federal actions significantly affecting ozone and particulate matter emissions also are highlighted.

Government accountability, advancing technological progress, and market reforms combine to influence the future direction of our state chief financial officers. Well-managed state financial organizations are not just about managing cost; they are also synonymous with the rigor of control, the delivery of accountability, the execution of technology, and the expectation of well-managed change.

Legislatures are vital, strong, effective institutions. They are where the people and their representatives come together to debate conflicting values and interests, set priorities and shape public policies. They are the political institutions closest to the people and drive representative democracy. This essay describes the organization and work of state legislatures, identifies the trends shaping state legislatures and the challenges confronting them and briefly describes the critical policy issues legislatures faced in the 2003 legislative sessions.

How can we take a bird’s eye view of the economic development landscape and the features on it that are causing state legislators to rethink their workforce development strategies? As industries look farther afield for skilled workers, particularly in high-tech sectors, the states are doubling their efforts to educate and train people in order to attract and grow industry domestically. A state-by-state overview of new job creation initiatives follows the overview.

The office of lieutenant governor is gaining recognition for its power and possibility. Lieutenant governors are unique officeholders with many having power in both the executive and legislative branches. In states in which the lieutenant governor is elected as a team with the governor and does not preside over the Senate, a trend is emerging. Lieutenant governors are being named to lead state departments and major authorities.

These are challenging times for the state judicial branches. Funding has been cut, relations with the other branches of government are frayed, and election campaigns for judicial office can be injudicious. Significant innovation is occurring nonetheless. Effective practices in one  jurisdiction are being spread nationally. Reentry courts for felons released after long incarceration is one example of the reliance federal and state officials are placing on such court innovations.

CSG South

Every year, states anxiously await the announcement of their students’ performance on the Scholastic Aptitude Test I (SAT), largely because these scores provide a yardstick for measuring progress toward school improvement and for assessing student performance. Alongside state assessments, the SAT often is cited as a benchmark toward the end goal of raising student achievement. But the information provided by SAT scores is more complex than the customary ranking of state composite scores by news organizations and the resulting crowing or hand wringing over high or low results. The SAT, like the other major college entrance exam the ACT, is a self-selecting assessment. Participation is not universal among all students and, indeed, it is generally taken by students who intend to continue to a four-year college. For these reasons, the SAT provides an excellent source of information about how well states compare in preparing students for college-level work in a broad range of contexts. This Regional Resource analyzes results from the 2003 SAT I, with particular attention to how students in various subsets perform compared to their peers in other states and to other subgroups within their state.

CSG South

The airline industry serves not just as an economic engine for states, cities and regions, but as a cog in the essential network of transportation within the United States. Yet the industry finds itself in a very difficult period. With the new focus on homeland security in the United States, exacerbated by war, the terrorist attacks of 2001, a downturn in the economy, and anomalies such as the SARS virus, the airline industry has found itself in a state of turmoil, loss and great trepidation. With the industry especially important to its birthplace, the Southern region, this report highlights the contributions of carriers to local and regional economies and the challenges that face them in Southern states.

CSG South

Ports across the United States play a critical role in the nation's economic life, impacting directly and indirectly at all levels-national, regional, state and local. By facilitating the nation's water transportation needs and serving as the initial point of contact for waterborne cargo, both domestic and foreign, ports are an integral component of the country's economic calculations. This presentation, given to the Warrior-TomBigbee Waterway Association, discusses the record of and challenges faced by ports in the Southern region.

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