Category Archives: State Government

Seeking Patterns in Chaos: Transactional Federalism in the Trump Administration’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Source: Cynthia J. Bowling, Jonathan M. Fisk, John C. Morris, The American Review of Public Administration, Special issue: Double Issue Dedicated to COVID-19, Volume 50 Issue 6-7, August-October 2020
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
The federal government’s response the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been marked by a series of apparently disjointed, chaotic, and confusing statements and actions on the part of both the White House and federal agencies charged with coordinating the federal response. These actions have left many state governors (and citizens) in a position to address the effects of the pandemic in a haphazard and atomistic manner. In this essay, we contend that the actions of the Trump administration, and its relationships with states and local governments, can best be understood through a lens of what we refer to as “transactional federalism,” in which federalism relationships are governed by a set of exchanges between the president and states, and between states. We conclude by discussing the ramifications of this form of federalism.

State Actor Orchestration for Achieving Workforce Development at Scale: Evidence from Four US States

Source: Jenna E. Myers, Katherine C. Kellogg, IRL Review, OnlineFirst, Published July 28, 2020
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From the abstract:
Using a 20-month qualitative study of four US states that implemented career pathways spanning from high schools to colleges to employers, the authors illustrate the potential for state government actors to facilitate coordination of workforce development systems across geographies and industries. As a complement to explanations situated in workforce intermediary practices or formal state policies, the authors show that state actors can address barriers to coordination by using state actor orchestration—structuring provisional goal setting and revision, encouraging experimentation, and framing coordination to inspire collective action. This approach involves three types of practices: structural (building statewide governance structures and modifying governance processes), political (providing initial direction and piloting and broadening the set of stakeholders), and cultural (identifying key problems and collective action solutions and building social accountability for new roles). These practices vary according to states’ institutional environments: Where governance is more centralized, state actors gain latitude to guide regional workforce development.

State of the Workforce Report 2019

Source: National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA), September 2019

From the press release:
The National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) released the first-ever, annual State of the Workforce Report, which includes national workforce data and a state profile of each of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia.

“There is now a place for you to easily find key labor market information for each state and how their workforce agency is structured,” said Jon Pierpont, NASWA Board President and Executive Director, Utah Department of Workforce Services. “Though every state is different, we all work towards supporting citizens with every opportunity to become self-sustaining. This report shows our uniqueness and amplifies the impact workforce agencies are having throughout the country.”

The 50 state profiles include labor market and unemployment insurance information, an overview of the state’s workforce structure, and individuals served. The report also highlights the uniqueness of every state by promoting the innovations taking place across the country in serving America’s workforce.

Buying Smarter: Insights and best practices from the 2019 Governing Procurement Survey

Source: Governing, Special Report, 2019

States are becoming more data-driven and value-focused in their purchasing. Those are several take-aways from Governing’s 2019 Procurement Survey, which examined purchasing policies and practices in 29 states. This report analyzes the survey’s extensive findings to identify key purchasing trends, such as growing use of data analytics to drive efficiency, broad movement toward more responsive contracting solutions and the forging of closer relationships with vendors. It also presents real-world examples of how states are putting these ideas into practice.

Related:
Buying Better
Source: Liz Farmer, Governing, June 2019

Right Cause, Wrong Method? Examining the Politics of State Takeover in Georgia

Source: Richard O. Welsh, Sheneka Williams, Shafiqua Little, Jerome Graham, Urban Affairs Review, Volume: 55 issue: 3, May 2019
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
A growing number of states are using state-run school districts to take over and improve persistently underperforming schools. This article uses Georgia to examine the politics of state takeover. We analyze the supporting and opposing coalitions as well as the alignment between state takeover and charter schools in the campaign for the constitutional amendment to create a statewide turnaround district. Our findings show that corporate interests, the governor, and nonprofit organizations supported state takeover, whereas educators, parents, and community organizations opposed state takeover. There was bipartisan support across coalitions and a crisscrossing of interests regarding local control and the path to school improvement. There are divergent views on charter schools, with supporters of state takeover favoring charter schools.

Openings for State Jobs Are Up, So Why Are Applications Down?

Source: Katherine Barrett & Richard Greene, Governing, March 25, 2019

A new study shows the depth — and the root causes — of the public sector’s workforce problem.

– A National Association of State Chief Administrators survey shows that state government job postings rose 11 percent from 2013 to 2017.
– Meanwhile, the number of people applying to state jobs dropped by 24 percent.
– CAOs cited noncompetitive salaries, negative perceptions about public service and insufficient recruitment as reasons.

Related:
Job One: Reimagine Today’s State Government Workforce
Source: Kayla Leslie, National Association of State Chief Administrators, March 2019

From the press release:
U.S. state governments face growing challenges attracting, building and retaining critically important talent and workforce skills, according to new research from the National Association of State Chief Administrators (NASCA) in collaboration with Accenture (NYSE: ACN) and NEOGOV.

Based on surveys of chief administrators and human resource (HR) directors in 33 states, a survey of nearly 3,000 state-government job seekers, and analyses of over 14,000,000 public sector job postings, the research — published today in a report titled Job One: Reimagine Today’s State Government Workforce — shows a widening gap between the number of open jobs and the number of applicants but also highlights strategies to help reverse the trend…..

Amid Strikes and Shortages, Governors Prioritize State Workers’ Plight

Source: Katherine Barrett and Richard Greene, Governing, February 25, 2019

Protesting teachers likely won’t be the only public employees who see pay raises and workplace improvements this year. ….

– In their State of the State addresses and executive orders this year, many governors are making public workforce issues a priority.
– They are particularly targeting teachers and corrections staff for pay raises.
– Several governors are focused on fighting sexual harassment and LGBT discrimination in state government…..

Shrinking local autonomy: corporate coalitions and the subnational state

Source: Yunji Kim, Mildred E Warner, Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, Volume 11, Issue 3, October 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Using focus groups and government finance data, we explore three areas of US state rescaling at the subnational level: revenue tools, expenditure responsibilities and policy authority. Expenditure responsibilities, especially social welfare, have been devolved to the subnational level, while local revenue tools and policy authority are preempted. This decoupling of responsibility and power is cracking the foundations of fiscal federalism. At the behest of corporate-legislative coalitions, subnational state governments are shrinking local capacity and authority to govern. This is not state shrinkage; it is a fundamental reshaping of the subnational state to the detriment of democracy and the social contract.

What Are Governors Saying About Education in Their State of the State Addresses in 2019?

Source: Julie Rowland Woods, Education Commission of the States, EdNote blog, January 17, 2019

The elections resulted in big changes in state leadership, including a sizable cohort of 20 new governors. Because many governors appoint top education policy leaders in their states, they play a key role in setting their state’s education policy agenda. So, what are they planning for education in 2019 and beyond?

To figure that out, we track governors’ State of the State addresses. These speeches sketch out governors’ policy priorities, highlight past accomplishments and reflect on the condition of their state and our country. Each year, we summarize and identify trends in education policy proposals featured in these addresses. And we add these summaries to our interactive map within 48 hours of the address — click on a state to see a summary of the education policy issues highlighted by that state’s governor every year since 2005! (You can also view governors’ education proposals by year and issue — an easy way to spot trends across states.) …