Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Random state government readings

Today’s readings were a mixture of things. We had a literature review on state welfare policies, a reading on the future of state government, and a more in depth paper on legislative morality and the impacts of it. These were all interesting readings by themselves. However, I could reach no theme between them all. I was stuck on trying to find a theme between all the readings, and then I realized that there was no theme.

The literature review, written by Harrell Rodgers was entitled, State Welfare Options: Why Are Some States Tough? I found this writing to be very cursory. There was almost no depth to the way in which the studies were presented. Additionally, the studies presented did not all correspond to the question. Some of them did not answer the question. However, the generalizations drawn at the conclusion were in accordance with the study. This would make a nice starting point for someone trying to find some references to work with on the question of state welfare options.

The second reading was the introduction to the Council of State Governments Book of the States. It was written by Keon S. Chi. It was also not very in- depth. However, it covered a lot of issues and presented some concerns about where state government was headed, and what the major trends would be in the coming year. However, this was a 2005 article and some of the trends still seem important today. This might be one reason that historical study is encouraged – because we seem not to be able to move beyond some problems and so they are constantly reoccurring. The last article was Legislative Morality in the American States: The Case of Pre-Roe Abortion Regulation Reform, by Mooney and Lee. Mooney and Lee used pre-Roe abortion regulation reform to study how morality legislation or regulation differs from the various other types of regulation. I found it interesting that they studied pre-Roe regulation. They noted – and I agree – that there is a truncation of the study because of Roe. It would’ve been interesting to see them study something else where that truncation wouldn’t exist. Also, by looking solely at Catholics and Protestants, they ignored any number of religious groups who were (and still are) against abortion. The factors they looked at would not explain the conservative nature of Idaho or Utah for example – however by including Mormons in the group you would’ve been able to explain more of the behavior of the states.

Over all, I thought it was a good study on abortion regulation. Like the authors pointed out, the study was narrow and so their conclusions may not be generally applicable to all morality legislation. It would be interesting to take various other morality legislation and try the analysis on it to see if the study stands up to further scrutiny.

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