State and Local Government
Overview, Key Understandings & Questions
Theme Key Understandings
- Local governments play a critical role in citizens' everyday lives, providing services such as police and fire protection, utilities, and education
- The size and organization of a local government impacts the way it functions
- State government structures resemble that of the federal government with responsibilities and powers split between three branches: legislative, executive, and judicial
- State governments both share some responsibilities with the federal government and have some separate areas of responsibility
- The resources of a community impact its government's policies and effectiveness
- States often serve as laboratories for government policy at the national level
- States' election policies directly impact political outcomes at all levels of government
Functions of Local Government
- Why is local government so critical to the everyday lives of citizens?
- Find two examples from American history where changing conditions lead to significant changes in the way local governments planned for growth and provided services.
- Why are there often such great disparities in the level of service provided by local government agencies?
Structure of Local Government
- Compare and contrast the three primary types of local government organization.
- Why are special purpose districts critical to the provision of local government services?
- What key provisions in the constitution lay out the relationship between the federal and state governments?
- How does the federal government use funding grants to states as a way to try and shape state government policy?
Three Branches of State Government
- What are the primary responsibilities of the executive branch of the state government? Compare and contrast it with the U.S. presidency.
- Explain the differences between progressive and Jacksonian traditions in the organization of state governments. How might these traditions lead to different outcomes in state policy?
The Governor's Office
- What two powers do state governors usually have that give them extensive policy making authority within their states?
- Explain how states change the governor's power, especially as it relates to the legislative process.
- How can the selection process for high-ranking bureaucrats interfere with a governor's ability to influence public policy in some states?
- Discuss three ways states raise money through taxation.
- Why would states use different models to raise revenue for their states? How can these differences in revenue lead to differences in policy?
State Election Systems
- How do differences in state election procedures impact policy decisions at both the federal and state levels?
- What are some of the major historical reforms that have been made to the voting process?
- Evaluate the likelihood of standardized voting procedures being implemented across the United States and explain your reasoning.
"State and Local Government." History Hub, ABC-CLIO, 2019, historyhub.abc-clio.com/Search/Display/2142500. Accessed 17 Feb. 2019.
Entry ID: 2142500