With their widely varying historical experiences the fifty states of this nation have developed different systems of state and local government. Virginia in the wake of its Reconstruction experience took deliberate steps to weaken the power of its governor. To this day, Virginia is the only state where the governor cannot be elected to consecutive terms. Oregon an early stronghold of the Progressive movement adopted the initiative and process during the nineteenth century. These reforms were used to introduce such reforms as direct primary elections and women’s suffrage. Oregon’s progressive traditions continued into the twentieth century with state-wide land-use planning and universal health care. CQ’s new encyclopedia of the state political systems examines such local distinctions and regional commonalities. This topically arranged encyclopedia begins with a selection of introductory essays on the evolution of state constitutions, direct democracy, interstate cooperation and policy innovation. State profiles are regionally divided and describe its historical background, shape of government, political environment and local voting behavior. Special attention is given to unusual governmental structures and processes. The interactions of state and county-level governments also are noted. Selected sidebars focus on legalized gambling, education funding, health care and other divisive issues. Overview articles introduce political trends in each region and additional essays cover the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and overseas territories. A section of more than 180 topical essays address the common features of state governments. From apportionment and judicial review to veto and voting regulations, the functions and procedures of government are explored. The purposes of attorney generals, comptrollers, party whips and other officials are explained. Likewise, the roles of boards, courts, commissions and other governmental bodies are defined. Political trends are analyzed in articles on disenfranchisement, immigration, impeachment, privatization and redistricting. Most discussions are current of events through 2007. A selection of statistics compares the fifty states according to 16 factors, including economic output, state and local taxes, federal expenditures, voter turnout and political distribution. Political scientist Haider-Markel leads a team of academic experts in producing this comprehensive guide to state politics. This set will be a valuable addition to high school, public and academic library collections.