Subject: Studies in the News 05-17 (June 16, 2005)

Studies in the News

California -- One Hundred and Fifty Years Ago

1855 - "John B. Trask, in his report on mines and mining in California, made to the legislature of California in 1855, says: In my report of last year, it was stated that the placer ranges were at that time known to extend nearly to the summit ridge of the mountains; but this year it has been ascertained that they pass beyond the ridge and are now found on the eastern declivity, having nearly the same altitude as those occurring on the opposite side. Within the past season, many of these deposits have been examined, and thus far are found to be equally productive with those of similar ranges to the west, and, with a favorable season ensuing, they will be largely occupied."    

1855 - "In 1855, the Contra Costa Academy, established two years earlier by missionaries, was incorporated as the College of California. In 1853, Jose Domingo Peralta had sold the land where the University now stands for $82,000 His land holdngs, now known as Berkeley, Albany, and Emeryville, were deeded to Peralta in 1842. "    

Contents This Week

   Mexican citizens on death row in U.S.
   Information on criminal aliens
   Identification security technology
   Federal terrorism reinsurance update
   Funding for the arts
   Asians underrepresented on television
   Farmers must pay for ads
   Maintaining the Community Reinvestment Act
   Agricultural trade with Mexico
   Export of California's information technology products
   Corporate profits and worker's pay
   International payments by migrants
   Academic intervention services
   Schools sue state over English-only tests
   Undocumented students and community colleges
   Community college placement testing
   Computers in classrooms
   Transforming high school education
   Illiteracy and high school students
   College drop outs with student loans
   Public employees with high earnings
   Progress report on Workers' Compensation
   Court ruling on alternative fuel mandate
   Offshore power grid for wind generators
   Smog costs schools
   Asbestos assessment for El Dorado Hills
   Pension funds invest in green technology
   State of the air
   Federally issued identity documents
   Review of members of boards and commissions
   Court restricts California arbitration law
   House passes homeland security spending measure
   FFIS competitive grant update
   Technology services reorganization plan
   States' telecommunication project
   Hot state policy ideas
   State offshore contracting
   Physicians' involvement in quality improvements
   Rising cost of health care
   Declining job-based health coverage
   Increasing health costs for families
   Wage difference for overweight workers
   Court rules against medical marijuana
   Creating a state minority health policy report card
   Removing barriers to affordable housing
   Value of home ownership
   Livable communities for successful aging
   State-level coordination of human transportation services
   Extending foster care services
   Veteran's health care system
   Military and veterans' benefits
   Americans warned about junk journalism
   Little change in urban gridlock
   Charter schools and minority students
   Success of charter schools
Introduction to Studies in the News

Studies in the News is a very current compilation of items significant to the Legislature and Governor's Office. It is created weekly by the State Library's Research Bureau to supplement the public policy debate in California’s Capitol. To help share the latest information with state policymakers, these reading lists are now being made accessible through the State Library’s website. This week's list of current articles in various public policy areas is presented below.

Service to State Employees:

  • When available, the URL for the full text of each item is provided.

  • California State Employees may contact the State Information & Reference Center (916-654-0206; with the SITN issue number and the item number [S#].

  • All other interested individuals should contact their local library - the items may be available there, or may be borrowed by your local library on your behalf.

The following studies are currently on hand:



Medellin v. Dretke. United States Supreme Court. 04-5928. May 23. 39 p.

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["The U.S. Supreme Court turned aside an appeal by a Mexican citizen on death row in Texas who contended he and 51 other Mexicans should have their death sentences overturned because they were improperly denied legal help from their consulates in violation of international law. The case was dismissed as premature. The court cited a last-minute maneuver by President George W. Bush ordering state courts to revisit the issue, making Supreme Court intervention unnecessary at this time." FindLaw (May 24, 2005) 1.]

[Request #S51701]

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Information on Certain Criminal Aliens Arrested in the United States. By U.S. Government Accountability Office. (The Office, Washington, DC) May 2005. 31 p.

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["[This report provides] information on the criminal history of aliens incarcerated in federal and state prisons or local jails who had entered the country illegally. It addresses the following questions: How many times have they been arrested? How many and what type of criminal offenses have they been arrested for? What states were they arrested in?"]

[Request #S51702]

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Identification Security Technology and Policy Issues. By Jo Ann Bourquard and others, National Conference of State Legislatures. (NCSL, Washington, DC) 2005. 10 p.

["NCSL created a special project to explore policy issues related to identity security.... This project report highlights issues raised during the year and incorporates the ID security principles developed by project members."]

[Request #S51703]

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Federal Terrorism Reinsurance: An Update. By Congressional Budget Office. (The Office, Washington, DC) 2005. 38 p.

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["The federal government enacted the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) creating a temporary federal reinsurance program to limit insurers risk of financial loss from acts of terrorism.... Policymakers feared that a shortage of terrorism insurance could expose property owners to uninsured risk and retard commercial construction projects that had been canceled or delayed in part because of lack or terrorism coverage. Many analysts expected that insurers would need some time to reassess the risk of terrorism, raise capital, and eventually reenter the market."]

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How the United States Funds the Arts. By Tyler Cowen, George Mason University, and others. (National Endowment for the Arts, Washington, DC) 2004. 23 p.

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["This helpful and intriguing paper ... offers some compelling insights into how various programs fund the arts throughout the country. The report deals with such subjects as the nature of direct public support for the arts." Scout Report (April 15, 2005) 1.]

[Request #S51705]

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Asian Pacific Americans in Prime Time: Lights, Camera and Little Action: Report. By Nancy Wang Yuen and others, Department of Sociology, University of California, Los Angeles. Prepared for the National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium. (The Consortium, Washington, DC) May 2, 2005. 13p.

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["A study of Asian Americans in prime-time television shows that Asians, who make up 5 percent of the U.S. population, play 2.7 percent of recurring characters. It also shows virtually no Asian actors are on situational comedies, and the characters they play in dramas tend to have less depth than most regulars, with minimal on-screen time and few romantic roles." Mercury News (May 5, 2005) 1.]

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Johanns, et al v. Livestock Marketing Association, et al. United States Supreme Court. 03-1164. May 23, 2005. Various pagings.

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["In a case that's cooked up lots of controversy among Central Valley farmers, the court upheld the beef industry's mandatory advertising fees. While critics complain the fees crimp First Amendment rights, the court's 6-3 majority concluded that the beef promotion program enjoys the greater communication leeway granted to government agencies.... It also marks a notable, though not necessarily final, victory for dozens of other promotion programs spanning everything from avocados to watermelons." Sacramento Bee (May 24, 2005) 1.]

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Credit Where It Counts: Maintaining a Strong Community Reinvestment Act. By Michael S. Barr, University of Michigan. (The Brookings Institution, Washington, DC) May 2005. 8 p.

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["The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) has helped to revitalize low- and moderate-income communities and provided expanded opportunities for low- and moderate-income households. Recent regulatory steps aimed at alleviating burdens on banks and thrifts are unwarranted, and may diminish small business lending as well as community development investments and services. This policy brief explains the rationale for CRA, demonstrates its effectiveness, and argues that the recent regulatory proposals should be withdrawn or significantly modified."]

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International Trade: U.S. Agencies Need Greater Focus to Support Mexico's Successful Transition to Liberalized Agricultural Trade Under NAFTA. By the U.S. Government Accountability Office. GAO-05-272. (The Office, Washington, DC) March 25, 2005.

["American farm exports to Mexico have nearly doubled in the past decade but still confront some recurring hurdles, government investigators say. While lower tariffs enabled U.S. agricultural exports to reach $7.9 billion in 2003, investigators say Mexico keeps erecting barriers that range from new taxes to unexpected health and safety standards. The result is a free-trade pact that has yet to meet its full potential... The GAO noted that after the United States cited sanitary reasons for restricting avocado imports... Mexico imposed tougher new inspection requirements for cherries.... The new report, with its combination of cautions and optimism, can be read as an object lesson as Congress considers a proposed Central American Free Trade Agreement." Sacramento Bee (April 27, 2005) 1.]

Report. 102 p.

Highlights. 1 p.

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Recent Trends in Exports of California's Information Technology Products. By Jon D. Haveman and Howard J. Shatz, Public Policy Institute of California. California Economic Policy. vol. 1, no. 2. (The Institute, San Francisco, California) April 2005. 20 p.

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["California's information technology industry is both the state's leading manufacturing sector and its leading export sector.... This issue of California Economic Policy documents the changing pattern of California's manufactured information technology exports during the recent boom and bust period."]

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Three Years into Recovery, Workers' Share of Economic Gains at Post-World War II Low, Coporate Share at Record High. By the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. (The Center, Washington, DC) April 21, 2005. 10 p.

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["The analysis looks at the percent of national income that went to wages and salaries in 2004, as well as the percent that went to corporate profits."]

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Remittances: International Payments by Migrants. By Congressional Budget Office. (The Office, Washington, DC) May 2005. 30 p.

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[“This paper focuses on remittances – payments sent by immigrant workers back to their home countries. It discusses how those payments are classified and estimated, how remittances from the United States compare with other international financial flows and with remittance from other countries, what channels are used to send remittances, and what effects remittances have on the United States and recipient countries.”]

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Academic Intervention Services in Ohio. By Legislative Office of Education Oversight. (The Office, Columbus, Ohio) May 2005. 51 p.

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["A report by the Ohio Legislative Office of Education Oversight provides an in-depth look at the costs, oversight and implementation of state-required intervention programs for academically struggling students. The report includes policy recommendations that may be of interest to other states."]

[Request #S51713]

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Coachella Valley Unified School District, et al. v. State of California, et al. San Francisco County Superior Court. Petition for Writ of Mandate and Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief. June 2, 2005. Various pagings

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["California is breaking a federal law by testing students only in English -- then labeling schools and districts failures when English learners can't understand the exams -- according to a lawsuit by 10 school districts.... The lawsuit rests on a provision in the No Child Left Behind law. It says the students should be given 'reasonable accommodations' that include 'to the extent practicable, assessments in the language and form most likely to yield accurate data on what such students know and can do.'" San Francisco Chronicle (June 2, 2005) 1.]

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Access to Community College for Undocumented Immigrants: A Guide for State Policymakers. By R. R. Biswas, Jobs For the Future. (Jobs For the Future, Boston, Massachusetts) 2005. 16 p.

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["This policy brief explores and highlights some of the actions being taken by states and institutions to improve the access of undocumented students to postsecondary opportunities, particularly in public community colleges. The brief focuses on the five states (including California) currently participating in the national Achieving the Dream: Community College Count Initiative, all of which have large or rapidly growing immigrant populations. It also reports on developments in several other states and at the federal level." Moving Ideas (April 26, 2005) 1.]

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Standardization vs. Flexibility: State Policy Options on Placement Testing for Developmental Education in Community Colleges. By Heath Prince, Jobs for the Future. (Jobs for the Future, Boston, Massachusetts) April 2005. 14 p.

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["This policy brief describes some of the options and tradeoffs states encounter as they make state-level developmental education placement policy." Moving Ideas (April 26, 2005) 1.]

[Request #S51716]

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"Electronic Transfer: Moving Technology Dollars in New Directions." IN: Education Week, vol. 24, no. 35. (May 5, 2005) pp. 8-9

["California may be the home of Silicon Valley, but when it comes to technology in its public schools, a national survey released shows the state ranking near the bottom on some key indicators. In 2004, California's public schools had fewer computers per student -- and a less technologically proficient teaching force -- than most other states, according to the eighth annual school technology survey conducted by the newspaper Education Week." San Jose Mercury (May 5, 2005) 1.]

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The Movement To Transform High School: EdSource Forum Focuses on the New Three R's: Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships. By Susan Frey. (EdSource, Palo Alto, California) May 2005. 8 p.

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["At EdSource's 28th annual Forum, speakers focused on the need to improve public high schools. A number of them offered examples of alternatives to the traditional high school as well as views on the best ways to implement change."]

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28 Percent of America's 8th Graders at Risk of Not Graduating from High School. Press Release. Alliance for Excellent Education. (The Alliance, Washington, D.C.) June 2, 2005. 1p.

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["More than a third of California's eighth graders are at risk of failing to earn a high-school diploma because of poor reading skills. Of the state's 474,000 eighth-grade students, 28 percent might not graduate from high school because they can't read well enough to understand textbook work or complete their assignments." San Bernardino County Sun (May 31, 2005)1p.]

[Request #S51719]

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Borrowers Who Drop Out: A Neglected Aspect of the College Student Loan Trend. By Lawrence Gladieux, consultant and Laura Perna, University of Maryland. Prepared for the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education. (The Center, San Jose, California) May 2005. 58 p.

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["Without benefiting from the higher salaries associated with college degrees, the report states, borrowers who drop out often face long-term financial pain.... After six years, the researchers determined, more than 350,000 ex-students had money to repay, and no degree. During that time, nearly a quarter of those former students had defaulted on at least one loan." Sacramento Bee (May 4, 2005) 1.]

[Request #S51720]

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International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, Local 21, AFL-CIO, et. al. v. Superior Court of Alameda County; Contra Costa Newspapers, Inc., et al., Real Parties in Interest. Court of Appeal of California, First Appellate District, Division Three. A108488. April 18, 2005. 15 p.

["A state appeals court rejected arguments that high earning public employees' salaries should be kept secret to protect their privacy. The public's right to know how government spends money trumps a public employee's right to privacy, ruled the state Court of Appeal for the First Appellate District." Contra Costa Times (April 22, 2005) 1.]

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Workers' Compensation Reforms Under Senate Bill 899: First Annual Report of Progress. By the California Division of Workers' Compensation. (The Division, Sacramento, California) April 2005. 13 p.

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["Administrative Director of the Division of Workers' Compensation ... Andrea Hoch released a progress report on SB 899 and predicted that by late 2005, employers will see insurance rates fall by more than 26 percent from their 2003 peak if carriers pass along all the recommended rate cuts." Sacramento Bee (April 19, 2005) 1.]

[Request #S51722]

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Center for Biological Diversity, et al v. U.S. Department of Energy, et al. U.S. District Court, Northern District of California. Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief. April 2005

["Two environmental groups charged that the Bush administration is violating a law that requires federal agencies to buy vehicles that run on something cleaner than gasoline and to impose the same stricter alternative fuel requirements on private vehicle fleets... The suit also accused the administration of flouting a requirement to extend the alternative fuel mandate to vehicle fleets owned by private companies, like package delivery couriers, as well as state and local governments, if necessary." San Francisco Chronicle (April 15, 2005) 1.]

Complaint. 32 p.

Press Release. 2 p.

[Request #S51723]

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Offshore Wind - Implementing a New Power House for Europe. By WindGuard GmbH. (Greenpeace, Amsterdam, Netherlands) April 2005. 172 p.

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["A new report outlines how offshore wind will supply around 10% of Europe's power needs by 2020. But, the report continues, integrating some 70 GW of offshore wind capacity into the existing grid is a critical obstacle to be overcome and will require an offshore power grid. The report points out that wind power is the world's fastest growing energy technology and argues that the industry has developed far enough to unlock the vast offshore wind resources that exist around the globe." Modern Power Systems News (April 12, 2005) 1.]

[Request #S51724]

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Smoggy Schools: Poor Air Quality Costs Californians more than $521 Million a Year. By the Environmental Working Group. (The Group, Oakland, California) April 2005. Various pagings.

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["Smog costs Californians more than a half-billion dollars a year by sending them home or to emergency rooms when they should be at school or work, according to a study.... The plague of asthma and other respiratory problems is no secret to officials at San Joaquin County schools." Stockton Record (April 21, 2005) 1.]

[Request #S51725]

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U.S. EPA Asbestos Assessment for El Dorado Hills. By U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9. (The Agency, San Francisco, California) May 2005. 6 p.

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["The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has found that everyday recreation at El Dorado Hills' busiest park and nearby schools can significantly elevate exposure to a particularly toxic kind of asbestos, according to air test results. But the new data suggest the danger extends to areas where there are no telltale signs, to neighborhood schools, parks, and even homes. The EPA playgrounds study is the first in seven years of foothills asbestos investigations to show that the threat is not limited to the obvious." Sacramento Bee (May 2, 2005) 1.]

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2005 Investor Summit Press Release. By The Investor Network on Climate Risk. (The Network, Boston, Massachusetts) May 10, 2005. 2 p.

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["A coalition of 26 public pension funds from Sacramento to London pledged to invest $1 billion into fledgling clean technology companies in the next 12 months. Pension fund leaders also vowed to pressure corporate executives to be upfront about financial risks posed by global climate change." Sacramento Bee (May 11, 2005) 1.]

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State of the Air Report 2004. By the American Lung Association. (The Association, New York, New York) 2005. Various pagings.

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["The national report ... based on the Environmental Protection Agency data from the 2001-03 period, found that the number of U.S. counties with unhealthy air recorded by monitors dropped to 390 from 441 in the previous report -- the first significant decline in six years."]

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The ABCs of IDs For U.S. Immigrants: A Primer for State Legislators. By Katherine Gigliotti and Ann Morse. National Conference of State Legislators. (NCSL, Washington, DC) 2005. 17 p.

[This report reviews existing federally issued and managed identity documents; database systems; state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards; and examples of identity documents issued by foreign governments that are accepted in the United States.”]

[Request #S51729]

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"Part-Time Work, Full-Time Pay." By John Gittelsohn. IN: Orange County Register, (May 22, 2005) online.

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["The Orange County Register analyzed backgrounds and attendance records of 80 recent members of state boards and commissions. Among the findings: Twenty-eight of those 80 appointees had no expertise in the areas they were hired to regulate. Thirty-six of the 80 reported earning incomes from outside employment, such as political consulting or government work, evidence that their board jobs did not demand their full energy. Thirty-three of the 80 got their jobs through political connections. Their ranks include seven former lawmakers, four politicians' spouses and 11 high-ranking aides to ex-governors." Orange County Register (May 22, 2005) 1.]

[Request #S51730]

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Jack Jevne, et al. v. Los Angles County Superior Court. California Supreme Court. S121532. May 23, 2005. 36 p.

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["California's attempt to impose strict disclosure standards on private arbitrators suffered a blow when the state Supreme Court ruled that national securities exchanges could use their own, more lenient arbitration rules for suits against brokers. The unanimous decision affects hundreds of cases in which the National Association of Securities Dealers and the New York Stock Exchange have refused to arbitrate California cases unless the complaining party, generally an investor, waives the protections of state law." San Francisco Chronicle (May 24, 2005) 1.]

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House Passes Homeland Security Spending Measure. By Federal Funds Information for States. Budget Brief 05-06. (FFIS, Washington, DC) May 25, 2005. 5 p.

["The House has begun work on its fiscal year (FY) 2006 appropriation bills. H.R. 2360, a spending bill for the Department of Homeland Security, was one of the first appropriation bills to pass the House."]

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FFIS Competitive Grant Update. By the Federal Funds Information for States. Update 05-14 - 05-18. (FFIS, Washington, DC) May 25, 2005. Various pagings.

[Includes: "Wetlands Reserve Enhancement Program;" "Breast and Prostate Cancer Data Quality and Patterns of Care Study;" "Incidence, Natural History, and Quality of Life of Diabetes in Youth;" "Corporation for National and Community Service," "Commodity Partnerships for Risk Management Education;" "Technology and Media Services for Individuals with Disabilities -- Television Access;" "Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program Financial Assistance;" "Asian-Pacific Education and Communications Experiments by Satellite;" "Community Food and Nutrition Program;" and others.]

[Request #S51733]

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Department of Technology Services: Governor's Reorganization Plan. Presented to the Little Hoover Commission. (The Commission, Sacramento, California) 2005.

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["Creating the Department of Technology Services is an essential element as the state transforms itself in all other areas of operations. The consolidation of the state’s two general purpose data centers is a necessary step as the State continues to improve its ability to leverage economies of scale and in bringing together the systems and expertise necessary to realize the productivity focused organization envisioned in the Governor’s Reorganization Proposal (GRP). The effective use of technology will enable the State to optimize the productivity of its workforce and integrate government’s many enterprises to facilitate real-time, dynamic interaction between government and the people it serves. Leveraging this capacity is one of the primary goals of this new organization."]

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Competitive and Converged: Toward A Greater Opportunity for Networking California Government. By Center for Digital Government. (The Center, Folsom, California) 2005. 12 p.

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[“The Center for Digital Government has undertaken an objective study of ... CALNET II.... The purpose of the study was to place the CALNET II activity in the context of public-sector telecommunications practices across the country and within the current and evolving state of networking technology and innovation."]

[Request #S51735]

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State of the States: A Report. By (, Washington, DC) 2005. 53 p.

["Much of the innovative public policy in this country is found at the state level... [This series of articles identifies] the most significant development in issues such as education, health care, social matters, fiscal management and homeland security...[and lets] you know what to expect in 2005 and years ahead."]

[Request #S51736]

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The State's Offshore Contracting: Uncertainty Exists About Its Prevalence and Effects. By the California State Auditor, Bureau of State Audits. (The Bureau, Sacramento, California) 2005.

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["The State has not developed policies and procedures requiring its agencies to track where contracted services are performed or the extent to which these services are performed offshore. [The auditor's] survey of selected state agencies and campuses (entities) indicates that some state-funded services are being performed offshore, but the prevalence and effects of this practice are difficult to determine. However, from the limited data, the State apparently has been spending little on services performed in foreign countries.]

Report. 40 p.

Results in Brief. 1 p.

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"Measure, Learn, and Improve: Physicians' Involvement in Quality Improvement." By Anne-Marie J. Audet and others, Commonwealth Fund. IN: Health Affairs, vol. 24, no. 3 (May/June 2005) pp. 843-853.

["Health care purchasers, accrediting organizations, and consumer advocates are among the stakeholders currently using quality improvement (QI) methods to improve patient care. But there is still one key group for whom the pursuit of QI has not become routine: physicians.[This survey] found that only one-third of doctors have been involved in any redesign efforts aimed at improving performance. Just a third, moreover, have access to any data about the quality of their own clinical performance, while seven of 10 physicians do not feel the public should have access to quality-of-care data. The survey also revealed surprisingly low use of electronic medical records (EMRs): only about a quarter (27%) of doctors reported using an EMR routinely or occasionally." Commonwealth Fund (May 10, 2005).]

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"More Life vs. More Goods: Explaining Rising Health Expenditures." By Charles I. Jones. IN: Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Economic Letter, no. 2005-10. (May 27, 2005) pp. 1-4.

["Are health expenditures rising for reasons other than waste or fraud? If so, do these reasons portend a continuation of this rapid pace of increase? Is there an end in sight? This Economic Letter draws on recent economic research to explore some possible answers to these questions. One of the perhaps surprising conclusions from this research is that the rising health share may reflect the natural course of economic growth: as we get richer and richer, one of the most valuable and productive opportunities for our spending is to purchase better health and longer lives."]

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Falling Apart: Declining Job-based Health Coverage for Working Families in California and the United States. By Arindrajit Dube, UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education, and others. (The Center, Berkeley, California) June 2005. 12 p.

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["One in four adults statewide will be uninsured by 2010 if health premiums keep increasing by more than 10 percent a year, according to a new study. Hardest hit by rising health costs will be workers at the low and middle rungs of the wage ladder. That segment is most vulnerable because it includes people too old to qualify for public health programs covering children up to age 18 and those too young to enroll in Medicare, the government insurance program for seniors 65 and older." Sacramento Bee (June 3, 2005) 1.]

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Increasing Premiums and Cost Sharing in Medicaid and SCHIP: Recent State Experiences. By Samantha Artiga and Molly O’Malley, Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured. Issue Paper. (The Commission, Washington, DC) May 2005. 27 p.

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["A new brief reviews the impact of increasing premiums and cost sharing on Medicaid and SCHIP beneficiaries, including the impact on enrollment in public coverage programs, access to care, and providers." Connect for Kids (June 31, 2005) 1.]

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The Incidence of the Healthcare Costs of Obesity. By Jay Bhattacharya and M. Kate Bundorf, Stanford University. (National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, Massachusetts) April 2005. 49 p.

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["Employers may be compensating for the expected higher health costs of obese workers by giving them slimmer paychecks, according to a study. Previous studies have shown that severely overweight workers get paid less than other employees. But in the latest look at the issue, researchers have found that the pay gap exists only in workplaces with employer-paid health insurance." San Francisco Chronicle (May 12, 2005) 1.]

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Gonzales, et al. v. Raich, et al. U.S. Supreme Court. 03-1454. June 6, 2005. Various pagings

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["The court held that laws in California and nine other states permitting people with a doctor's recommendation to cultivate, possess and use marijuana didn't trump the federal government's authority to prosecute pot users -- even the ill -- on federal drug charges.... The ruling appeared unlikely to have major practical consequence, at least not immediately.... While it doesn't overturn California's 1996 Compassionate Use Act, the Supreme Court decision rejects the argument that state-authorized personal medical use of home-grown pot is beyond the reach of federal regulation." Sacramento Bee (June 7, 2005) A1.]

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"Report Card on States' Minority Health Care Policy: Creating a State Minority Health Policy Report Card." By Amal N. Trivedi and others, Harvard Medical School. IN: Health Affairs, vol. 24, no. 2 (March/April 2005) pp. 388-396.

["In the first 'report card' to evaluate all 50 states on their progress in addressing disparities in minority health care, researchers found that region of the country to be a significant predictor of performance, with high- and low-performing states tending to cluster geographically." Commonwealth Fund (April 2005).]

[Request #S51744]

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"Why Not in Our Community?" Removing Barriers to Affordable Housing. By the Office of Policy Development and Research, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. (The Office, Washington, DC) 2005. 25 p.

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["The report finds that 'outdated, exclusionary and unnecessary regulations continue to block the construction or rehabilitation of affordable housing in some parts of America'. Some of these specific trends in today's housing markets include complex environmental regulations, 'smart growth' principles, and various impact fees that may be assessed on such developments." The Scout Report (April 15, 2005) 1.]

[Request #S51745]

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"What is Your Home Really Worth?" By Michael Bazdarich. IN: UCLA Anderson Forecast, vol. 2, no. 4 (May 2005) pp. 1- 4.

["You've heard the hype and seen the spectacle.... Home prices have gone 'crazy' in California... or have they gone 'sane?' Which is it? In times like these, a little hard analysis can go a long way. In this report, we'll attempt to provide that by linking home prices to the value of shelter a home provides. With this tool, you can make your own assessment of the housing market."]

[Request #S51746]

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Beyond 50.05 A Report to the Nation on Livable Communities: Creating Environments for Successful Aging. By Andrew Kochera and others. The American Association of Retired Persons. (The Association, Washington, DC) 112 p.

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[“This report, the fifth in AARP's Beyond 50, presents a new agenda for examining, building and retrofitting our communities to support successful aging. Specifically, it ... illustrates how persons age 50 and older contribute to, and benefit from, well-designed communities that promote community engagement.”]

[Request #S51747]

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Coordinated Human Service Transportation State Legislative Approaches. By Matt Sundeen and others, National Conference of State Legislatures. (NCSL, Washington, DC) 2005. 132 p.

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[This report focuses on state-level coordination of human transportation services, with particular emphasis on state legislation. It is intended to assist state legislators who wish to examine the potential for greater human services transportation coordination in their states.... The report contains profiles of coordination activities in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and considers the effectiveness of various state approaches."]

[Request #S51748]

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Midwest Evaluation of the Adult Functioning of Former Foster Youth: Outcomes at Age 19. By Mark E. Courtney and others, Chapin Hall Center for Children. (The Center, Chicago, Illinois) May 2005. 77 p.

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["States should extend foster care services to youths until age 21 because young adults who leave the child-welfare system at 18 face steep challenges in becoming independent adults says a Chapin Hall Center for Children study. Young people who 'age out' of the child-welfare system at 18 are three times more likely to be unemployed and not enrolled in school than young people overall. They're also much more likely to struggle financially, suffer from mental illnesses or drug or alcohol disorders, bear children they can't take care of, or end up in prison."]

[Request #S51749]

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VA Health Care: Important Steps Taken to Enhance Veterans' Care by Aligning Inpatient Services with Projected Needs. By Government Accountability Office. GAO-05-160. (The Office, Washington, DC) April 7, 2005. 78 p.

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[“The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) operates one of the nation’s largest health care systems…. GAO was … asked to provide additional information about the impatient services assessments and decisions made by VA. To provide a national, comprehensive summary GAO summarized the locations where VA 1) identified a need to evaluate alternative ways to align impatient health care service to improve quality, efficiency, or access and 2) made decisions to realign impatient services or leave impatient services as aligned, or deferred decisions pending further study.”]

[Request #S51750]

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Military and Veterans' Benefits: Enhanced Services Could Improve Transition Assistance for Reserves and National Guard. By Government Accountability Office. GAO-05-544. (The Office, Washington, DC) May 2005. 56 p.

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["The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2005 mandated the GAO review of whether the transition assistance program (TAP) is meeting the needs of service members leaving the military.... GAO recommends DOD in conjunction with DOL and VA, determine what demobilizing Reserve and National Guard members need to make a smooth transition and explore options to enhance their participation, such as employment workshops before or after their demobilization and timely information about the need to apply for certain benefits while still on active duty."]

[Request #S51751]

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The State of the News Media 2005: An Annual Report on American Journalism. Project for Excellence in Journalism, Columbia University. (The Project, Washington, DC) 2005. Various pagings.

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["American consumers confront an ever-broader river of news from myriad sources. Presenting the information tends to be 'faster, looser and cheaper' than in the past. Internet blogs and cable TV programs have led the trend toward a 'journalism of assertion' that relies less on reporting than personal opinion. The study recommended that news consumers, like dieters, become more discerning."]

[Request #S51752]

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The 2005 Urban Mobility Report. By David Schrank and Tim Lomax, Texas Transportation Institute, Texas A&M University. (The Institute, College Station, Texas) May 2005.

["Southern California motorists again wasted more time in stalled traffic than anywhere else in the nation and the region is expected to continue its dismal ranking for years, experts said. The report showed some easing in traffic, thanks mainly to operational improvements such as ramp metering. But without big-ticket items -- such as public transit or toll roads -- Los Angeles area travelers will continue to waste what's grown to nearly four days a year stuck in traffic." Los Angels Daily News (May 11, 2005) 1]

Report. 85 p.

Congestion Data by City. Various pagings.

[Request #S51753]

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[The following studies, reports, and documents have been ordered or requested, but have not yet arrived. Requests may be placed, and copies will be provided when the material arrives.]



The Charter School Dust Up: Examining the Evidence on Enrollment and Achievement. By Martin Carnoy and others. (Economic Policy Institute, Washington, DC) 2005. 192 pages.

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["When federal statistics showed test scores lower in charter than in regular schools, some charter school supporters insisted this must result from charter schools enrolling harder-to-teach minority students. Data show, however, that typical charter school students are not more disadvantaged, yet their average achievement is not higher. This book reviews the existing research on charter schools and suggests how such debates could be improved: by carefully accounting for the difficulty of educating particular groups of students before interpreting test scores, and by focusing on student gains, not their level of achievement at any particular time."]

[Request #S51754]

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How Are California's Charter Schools Performing? By EdSource. (EdSource, Palo Alto, California) May 2005. 24 p.

["California’s classroom-based charter schools were 33 percent more likely to meet student performance goals in 2004 than were regular public schools, according to a research report…. Charter schools are working successfully throughout California, and generally, charters using a classroom-based model are working best of all.” Edsource (May 2005) 1.]

[Request #S51755]

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