State local government
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State & Local Government. Problems with state constitutions ….unnecessary details, burdensome restrictions, repetition, outdated…. length – most are between 15,000 & 40,000 words – Alabama – 340,000 words!! -- distrust of gov’t – details to prevent misuse of power

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State & Local Government

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State local government

State & Local Government


Problems with state constitutions unnecessary details burdensome restrictions repetition outdated

Problems with state constitutions….unnecessary details, burdensome restrictions, repetition, outdated…..

  • length – most are between 15,000 & 40,000 words – Alabama – 340,000 words!!

    -- distrust of gov’t – details to prevent misuse of power

    -- failure to separate fundamental law from statutory law

    NY – 56,326 words


What s the difference

…..what’s the difference?

  • Fundamental law – laws of basic and lasting importance

    ……stuff that shouldn’t change much

  • Statutory law – passed by legislature

    ….. day to day stuffffff


State local government

  • age - 33 states have const. more than 100 years old; 19 still have the const. they entered the union with

    NY – has had 5 constitutions:

    1777, 1821, 1846, 1894, & the current one adopted in 1938


State legislatures

State Legislatures

  • Aka: general assembly, legislative assembly, general court

  • Law-making body

  • All bicameral except Nebraska

    - upper house = Senate

    - lower house = House of Representatives, Assembly, General Assembly, House of Delegates

    ** NY – Senate - 62 members

    & Assembly - 150 members


How are state legislaltors elected

How are state legislaltors elected?

  • Legislator – person who serves on the legislature

  • Elected by the people from districts within the state

NY state senate districts

NY state assembly districts


How are districts drawn

How are districts drawn??

  • Districts are drawn by legislators

    - redrawn every 10 years – census

  • Are supposed to be drawn on basis of population equality

    “Legislators represent people, not trees or acres”


What is gerrymandering

What is “gerrymandering”?

  • The deliberate rearrangement of the boundaries of congressional districts to influence election outcomes

Elbridge Gerry – 1812 – Massachusetts governor


What is the purpose of gerrymandering

What is the purpose of gerrymandering?

  • to either concentrate opposition votes into a few districts to gain more seats for the majority in surrounding districts

    -- “ packing”

  • or to diffuse minority strength across many districts --”dilution”


Isn t that illegal

Isn’t that illegal???

Kinda sortof, but, not exactly…..

Groups are watching http://www.fairvote.org


What formal qualifications do most states set out for legislators

What formal qualifications do most states set out for legislators?

  • Age, citizenship, residency

    - in most states – reps at least 21, senate at least 25

    - NY – assembly & senate - 18

    - resident of NY for 5 years & of district 12 months prior to election


What is the usual term

What is the usual term?

  • 2 or 4 years

    - in most states senate serves longer than lower house

    - NY – both houses serve 2 year terms

Do they make a lot of money???


Hmmmmm let s see

Hmmmmm….let’s see…..

  • Legislative salaries per state


What are eight of the most important legislative powers of state legislatures

What are eight of the most important legislative powers of state legislatures?

  • tax, spend, borrow, police, establish courts, define crimes and provide for their punishment, regulate commercial activities, maintain public schools


What are three non legislative functions of state legislatures

What are three non-legislative functions of state legislatures?

  • executive – approve governors appointments

  • judicial – impeachment

  • constituent – constitution-making and amending


How does the committee system work

How does the committee system work?

  • laws are referred to committees for recommendations to full houses

    - similar to Congress

    From where do a large number of bills originate?

  • variety of public and private sources

    ex- officers & agencies of state & local govt

    - interest groups, private citizens


Direct democracy at the state level

Direct Democracy at the state level

  • Initiative, referendum, recall

  • Allow citizens to become directly involved in their government by drafting and voting on laws or by removing elected officials


Initiative

Initiative

  • Allows citizens to propose laws & amendments and place them on the ballot for a vote

  • Most commonly used

    form of direct

    democracy


State local government

Referendum

  • Provides for a popular vote on laws passed by the legislature

    Recall

  • Allows citizens to remove elected officials from office


What is the structure and functions of county government

What is the structure and functions of county government?

County – major unit of local gov’t in most states

Structure:

  • County board – governing body

  • Boards or commissions

  • Appointed officials

  • Elected officials


State local government

Functions:

  • Administration of state & county laws

  • Maintaining roads, jails, schools, collecting taxes to fund services

Hmmmm…let’s see…..

Towns, etc in Orange County


What does a town government do

What does a town government do??

  • Delivers services provide by county & city govts in other areas

  • Usually includes rural and urban areas

  • Governed by an elected board


What is a special district

What is a special district?

  • Performs govt functions at the local level

  • Run by an elected board

  • Ex: school district, fire district


How does a place become a city

How does a place become a “city”?

  • Can be established as a city by the state through the process of incorporation

  • Need certain # population

  • Needs a charter – city’s basic law or

    constitution


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