Category Archives: State Government

Documenting Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in State Employment

Source: Brad Sears, Nan Hunter, Christy Mallory, Williams Institute for Sexual Orientation Law & Public Policy, 2009

This report addresses whether there has been a widespread and persistent pattern of unconstitutional discrimination by state governments on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

This report is the result of research conducted during 2008 and 2009 by the Williams Institute. In addition, ten different law firms assisted with the project, with offices and attorneys from across the country. Also making contributions were scholars and experts from a number of academic disciplines, including history, political science, economics, sociology, and demography. The research resulted in a set of reports on employment law and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity for each of the fifty states, which are included as Appendices to this report. Based on these fifty state reports, plus additional studies conducted by the William Institute, literature reviews, and research projects conducted by the firms, we drafted and reviewed the following papers, presented here as a series of chapters summarizing the research findings. Based on this analysis, we conclude that:

– There is a widespread and persistent pattern of unconstitutional discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity against state government employees;

– There is no meaningful difference in the pattern and scope of employment discrimination against LGBT people by state governments compared to the private sector and other public sector employers; and

– The list of documented examples that we have compiled far under-represents the actual prevalence of employment discrimination against LGBT people by state and local governments.

2010 Industry Outlook – U.S. State Government

Source: Deloitte Development LLC, December 16, 2009

From the summary:
State governments will face a number of significant and continuing challenges in 2010. From budget deficits to runaway Medicaid costs to infrastructure challenges, the new year is shaping up to be perhaps one of the most difficult in recent history. But there is some light at the end of the tunnel. 2010 is a significant election year, with 36 states and two territories holding elections – the greatest number in decades. This gubernatorial turnover will invariably bring new agendas representing change, and change creates opportunities. Deloitte’s 2010 Industry Outlook for State Government looks ahead at the coming year and the most significant changes and opportunities state governments are likely to face.

Hot Topic – Health Care

Source: Capitol Ideas, Vol. 53 no. 1, January/February 2010
(scroll down)

States will undoubtedly face some major hurdles with reform of the nation’s health care system.

Articles include:
– Hot Topic
The impact of health care reform on states will be more than just money.
– 10 Questions
Kathleen Sebelius talks about health care reform, Medicaid and children’s insurance programs, and H1N1 preparedness.
– Timeline of Reform
States have taken action to supplement federal efforts at health care reform.
– Case Study
Four states have found ways to deal with coverage and care issues.
– Health Care Cost Drivers
Chronic disease and technology contribute to the rising cost of health care.
– Focus on Prevention
Various state programs focus on keeping people healthy.
– The Language of Reform
Dr. Frank Luntz shares insights into the debate about reform.
– Health Information Technology
Recovery Act dollars will help states incentivize progress in health IT.
– Straight Talk
Stakeholders share their opinions on important issues in reform.

Government Employees Have Low Morale, Survey Says

Source: American City and County, November 19, 2009

Increased workloads, longer hours and strained resources caused by the recession have lowered federal, state and local government workers’ morale, according to a survey by CareerBuilder.com. In the survey of more than 200 government employers, 25 percent rated their organization’s current employee morale as low.

Education Employees Comprise Majority of State and Local Government Workforce

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Press Release, CB09-161, October 26, 2009

At 8.9 million, education workers accounted for more than half of the 16.7 million state and local government full-time equivalent employees nationwide in 2008, according to new data released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

State and local governments had a 1.4 percent increase in employment from 2007. Local governments — which include counties, cities, townships, special districts and school districts — accounted for 12.3 million full-time equivalent employees in 2008, compared with 4.4 million full-time equivalents that were employed by state governments.
See also:
Data Tables

Choices for Care: Consumer Choice and State Policymaking Courage Amid Medicaid’s Shifting Entitlement to Long‐Term Care

Source: Tracy Bach, Vermont Law School Research Paper No. 10-11, August 3, 2009

From the abstract:
In Choices for Care: Consumer Choice and State Policymaking Courage Amid Medicaid’s Shifting Entitlement to Long-Term Care, Professor Bach analyzes a leading state program intended to encourage the delivery of care in the home and community, thereby avoiding admission to nursing homes. Choices for Care, Vermont’s Medicaid Demonstraion Waiver program, has clearly enabled more Vermonters to receive health care in their homes. After its first two years, it is seen as a model by other states and the federal government. But Bach questions the results. She argues that CFC is reshaping the landscape of long-term care providers, with resulting industry effects both intended, on nursing homes, and unintended, on home health agencies. Moreover, she observes that the initial success in shifting care away from institutions does not provide a clear answer to the cost trade-off between nursing home and home and community-based care. To date, Vermont has not shown that CFC has solved the overall long-term care spending problem. Likewise, the question of whether expanding home and community-based services for those on the eligibility edge successfully staves off their eventual admission to a nursing home is still an open one. Finally, the demographic question about the home care provider pool underlines the fact that the experience of CFC, as a very small state experiment, might be hard to replicate in other states. In this article, Bach puts the CFC results into the perspective of long-term health care system design.

State and Local Pandemic Influenza Preparedness: Medical Surge

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, OEI-02-08-00210, September 2009

This report determines the extent to which selected States and localities have prepared for a medical surge in response to an influenza pandemic and have conducted and documented exercises that test their medical surge preparedness. We found that although the selected States and localities that we reviewed are making progress in preparing for a medical surge, more needs to be done to improve States’ and localities’ ability to respond to an influenza pandemic.

Study Shows Persistent Pattern of Discrimination Against Gay and Lesbian Employees by State and Local Governments

Source: Williams Institute for Sexual Orientation Law & Public Policy, Press Release, September 23, 2009

Unconstitutional discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation occurs with the same high frequency in state and local governments as in the private sector, Brad Sears, Executive Director of the Williams Institute, told a congressional panel today.

Sears presented the findings during a hearing of the House Education and Labor Committee on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2009, which would prohibit job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity by employers with 15 or more employees. Workplace discrimination on those bases is now legal in a majority of states.

The finds come from a year-long study of workplace issues faced by gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered individuals across the country. The study – the most comprehensive review of discrimination against LGBT people in the public sector – examined employment surveys, administrative and legal complaints, wage records, and other publications to evaluate the extent and persistence of LGBT discrimination.
See also:
Appendices- 50 State Reports

United States: State Legislation on Comprehensive Health Care Coverage

Source: Law Library of Congress, 2009

As the national debate on health care continues, state laws provide small scale models of legislation that might be implemented on a larger scale. State Legislation on Comprehensive Health Care Coverage provides an overview of certain legislation in Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont as well as links to state codes.

Accessing Government: How difficult is it?

Source: Terry Pastika, Natalie Brouwer, Midwest Democracy Network, 2008

From the press release:
While every state in the nation has laws that require public access to government records and meetings, in five Midwestern states that were recently analyzed, documents are often kept secret and doors can remain tightly closed.

According to a study released by the Citizen Advocacy Center, open government laws in Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota have systemic barriers that chill public participation and access to government, which weakens our democratic system designed to be by, for and of the people.