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State and Local Governments Provide most services Schools Transportation Land use Social services Make most decisions Regulate driving, occupations, families Criminal behavior to be tried. The Legislative Branch What do State Legislators Do? Lawmaking Oversight

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State and Local Governments

  • Provide most services

    • Schools

    • Transportation

    • Land use

    • Social services

  • Make most decisions

    • Regulate driving, occupations, families

    • Criminal behavior to be tried


  • The Legislative Branch

  • What do State Legislators Do?

  • Lawmaking

  • Oversight

  • Approve all appropriations

  • Who Are the State Legislators?

    • The nation has 7,382 state legislators who are mostly business persons or lawyers.

  • What do Legislative Committees Do?

  • What Influences State Legislators?

    • Political Parties

    • Lobbyist and Interest Groups

    • Other Influences on State Legislators

  • Ombudsmen

  • Committees


Government in Typical State Constitutions

  • State constitutions follow this general outline having many officers.

  • States have to deal with a much wider range of functions, educational provisions, and criminal codes than the U.S. Constitution.

  • For that reason, state constitutions would be so much longer than the national constitution.


State Constitutions & Number of Amendments


The Diversity of State Legislatures

Type 1: Full-time, High-Pay, Large-Staff “Professional Legislatures”

California Illinois Michigan Ohio

Florida Massachusetts New Jersey Pennsylvania

New York Wisconsin

Type 2: In-Between Hybrid

Alabama Hawaii Minnesota South Carolina

Alaska Iowa Missouri Tennessee

Arizona Kansas Nebraska Texas

Colorado Kentucky North Carolina Virginia

Connecticut Louisiana Oklahoma Washington

Delaware Maryland Oregon

Type 3: Part-Time, Low-Pay, Small-Staff “Citizen Legislatures”

Arkansas Maine New Hampshire South Dakota

Georgia Mississippi New Mexico Utah

Idaho Montana North Dakota Vermont

Indiana Nevada Rhode Island West Virginia

Wyoming




Women in State Legislatures

Women in Statewide Elected Offices

24%

24%

16%

13%

1988

2008

1988

2008

Source: Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University




  • The Legislative Branch

  • What Influences State Legislators?

    • Political Parties

  • Only Nebraska has a nonpartisan, unicameral legislature

  • Candidates for state legislatures are nominated by political parties and are elected as party members. The role of parties varies widely from state to state.

    • Lobbyist and Interest Groups

    • Interest groups are a significant and growing source of influence on state legislatures through the use of lobbying.

    • Other Influences on State Legislators


  • Modernization and Reform

  • Legislative Term Limits: Problem or Solution?

    • Higher professionalism’s gains wiped out by term limits

    • Promotes the ideal of “citizen” legislators

  • Legislative Leaders

    • Assembly Speaker

    • Majority Leader

    • Minority Leader



  • The Politics of Drawing Legislative District Lines

  • Redistricting

    • Gerrymandering

    • Malapportionment

  • One Person, One Vote

  • No Majority-minority Districts

  • New Rules for Redrawing the Districts

    • In California, Citizen Redistricting Committee

    • Proposition 11 by voters in November 2008

    • Proposition 20 in 2010


  • Direct Legislation: Policy Making by the People?

  • Initiative

  • Referendum

  • Recall

  • The Debate over Direct Democracy

    • 58% were approved in 2008

    • Stimulates voter turnout, civic engagement, political efficacy

    • Can target minorities

    • Allows interest groups much influence




  • The California Legislature State Officials

  • Eligibility – At least 18 years of age

  • Residency – California resident for three years, at least one year in the district.

  • Term Limits – Two, four-year terms for the senate (8 years) and three, two-year terms (6 years) for assembly.

  • Senate seat rotation – 20 seats each even-numbered years.

  • Assembly seat rotation – All 80 seats even- numbered years.

  • Code of Ethics – Binds both houses, may expel a member by two-thirds vote.

  • Compensation - $99,000 salary and $121 per day living expenses when in session; telephone and gasoline expense allowance for a state-licensed automobile; limited health and retirement benefits.


The Functions of the California Legislature State Officials

  • Make State Laws

  • Establish Taxes

  • Confirmations

  • Redistricting

  • Can Place Constitutional Amendments on the Ballot

  • Spend State’s Money (Appropriations)

  • Oversight


State Expenditure Comparison State Officials

California & Massachusetts


California Political Parties State Officials

American Independent www.aipca.org

Democratic www.cadem.org

Green www.cagreens.org

Peace and Freedom www.peaceandfreedom.org

Natural Law www.natural-law.org

Reform www.reformpartyca.org

Republican www.cagop.org

Libertarian www.ca.lp.org


California Interest Groups State Officials

  • Business

  • Agriculture

  • Labor Unions

  • Professional Associations

  • Education

  • Government

  • Ideological Organizations

  • Racial, Ethnic, or Religious Organizations

  • Public Utilities

  • Miscellaneous


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