State Legislatures

This magazine covers policy and politics through articles on trends, legislative in the United States, best practices, the legislative process and institution and leadership and federal initiatives that affect the states.

Articles from Vol. 34, No. 7, July-August

Adding It Up: Bob Lang's Nonpartisan Number Crunching Helps Wisconsin Legislators Navigate Tough Financial Times
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] For 31 years, Wisconsin state government has run on Robert "Bob" W. Lang's numbers. As director of the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, and the nation's longest-serving senior budget adviser to legislators, Lang has seen it all:...
A Lesson in Fiscal Federalism: The Father of Sound Money Management Reflects on How Tax Policies Shifted the State-Federal Balance
Sometimes even success has its pitfalls. Just ask John Shannon, who spent 24 years in a variety of roles at the U.S. Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations. He recalls with wry humor how one state that had asked for advice on crafting a...
As They See It
I don't think anybody anticipated the consequences of a three-term career. You spend your first term locking down your district, the second term trying to do some policy initiatives and your third term looking over your shoulder to see where you're...
Building the Perfect Perks: Legislatures Need to Emphasize Fair, Competitive Pay Plans and Strong Benefits to Attract and Retain Good Employees
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Most people drawn to legislative work are motivated by a desire for public service. The opportunity to participate in the policymaking process and the chance for a meaningful career go beyond earning a paycheck. That's why...
He's 21. She's 92. New Hampshire's Legislature Boasts the Oldest and Youngest Lawmakers in the Country, but There's Not Generation Gap in Concord
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Representatives Angeline Kopka and Jeff Fontas have a lot in common. Both serve in the New Hampshire General Court, are Democrats and represent legislative districts in Hillsborough County. They also are from the same home...
Karen Bass: Coalition Builder: The First African-American Female Speaker in the Nation Has Taken the Reins in California
When Karen Bass came to California's Capitol in 1993 to be honored as one of 120 "women of the year," she was not impressed with what she saw. Then a community organizer in Los Angeles, Bass sat in on a committee and watched in horror as the chain-smoking...
Leading Lawmakers: This Year's Leadership Award Winners Exemplify Integrity and Bipartisanship
Leaders come in a lot of different packages. This year s recipients of the Excellence in State Legislative Leadership Award--the nation's top legislative honor--are certainly a demonstration of that. Richard Codey, president of the New Jersey...
Learning to Legislate: New Member Orientation Is Critical in Term-Limited States like Louisiana
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Call it boot camp for lawmakers. When members of the Louisiana House of Representatives realized term limits approved in 1995 were finally going to force out nearly half of the body, they launched a plan to prepare the...
Newborn Screening during an Emergency
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Keeping newborn screening up and running during an emergency is a daunting but critical task for states. For babies with metabolic conditions, a break from their medications and dietary treatment can be life-threatening. ...
SCHIP Reauthorization
Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia plan to or do cover uninsured children in families with income above 250 percent of the federal poverty line (FPL) through the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). This has been restricted,...
Somber Tribute: Life-Size Paintings of the Fallen of Lima Company Take Center Stage at the Ohio State House Rotunda
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] An artist's vision initially financed with a home-equity loan is expected to draw thousands of people to the Ohio State House this summer to view a tribute to one of the most hard-hit military units in the Iraq War. The...
Test Drive for Annual Sessions: Oregon Lawmakers, Who Meet Every Other Year, Decided to See How a More Frequent Approach Would Work
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] To meet or not to meet? That's the question these days in Oregon as lawmakers wrestle with the issue of whether to go from biennial to yearly sessions. The Oregon Legislative Assembly has met every other year since statehood...
Walking the Talk: A Senator Hit the Road to Write a Book about What's on the Minds of Pennsylvanians
Rob Wonderling is the first to admit that it sounds kind of corny. But he has a passion for the citizens of Pennsylvania and for public service. "I love the simple notion that by serving in elected office, the people have given me the opportunity...
Worry over Wetlands: The Environment and the Economy Face a Crisis in Louisiana's Wetlands
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] For more than 200 years, the wetlands along the coast of Louisiana have been melting into the Gulf of Mexico. Today the area is shrinking at the rate of one football field every 30 minutes. What people in Louisiana have...