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State and Local Government + Texas

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1 State and Local Government + Texas
Chapter 4 State and Local Government + Texas American Government 2006 Edition To accompany Comprehensive, Alternate, Texas, and Essentials Editions O’Connor and Sabato Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006

2 The Evolution of State and Local Governments
Original unit: the state States determined the existence of local government States and local governments primarily part-time in the past. Grew to be full-time. Not always representative of all constituencies. Baker v. Carr (1962) One person, one vote 1960s and 1970s More responsibilities given to states; more assistance, more mandates Since 1970s, national government has moved to give states more autonomy and fewer federal dollars. Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006

3 State Governments Have primary responsibility for
Education Public health Transportation Economic development Criminal justice Licenses and regulates various professions Recently more involved in environmental and welfare policies Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006

4 State Constitutions Describes the basic policies, procedures, and institutions of the governments of a specific state Original state constitutions Did not fully embrace checks and balances Governors were particularly weak Legislatures powerful Originally, S.C., N.Y., and Massachusetts gave governor’s veto power. Impact of Civil War Role of Western States Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006

5 State Constitutions Compared to the U.S. Constitution, state constitutions are easy to amend. Every state allows for the convening of a constitutional convention, AND each has a process for the legislature to pass an amendment. Usually by supermajority; submit to voters for approval through a referendum [Tx 2/3 st leg, simple maj voters approve] Implication: frequent changes & longer documents 6,000 specific amendments adopted [Tx > 400 am.] Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006

6 Governors Chief elected executive in state government
Most visible Most important role: identifying pressing problems of their state and proposing solutions Budgets are critical Veto authority General or package Line-item veto Implementation influence Judicial appointments, pardoning power [NOT Tx: judges elected, Board pardons] Extradition Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006

7 Insert figure 4.1 Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006

8 State Legislatures Originally strong yet non-professional in nature
Half original state legislatures began without a gubernatorial veto check. Many formulated budgets and made administrative appointments. Citizen legislators Today: 43 state legislatures meet every year. Floor sessions longer [Tx meets biennially, 140 days] More committee work All but Nebraska have two chambers Term limits [Tx = Not] Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006

9 Insert Table 4.1 Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006

10 State Courts Primary function: settle disputes
Most disputes matter of state law Criminal behavior Family law Contracts, liability, land use States are separate systems Own rules, procedures The ONLY time state and federal courts converge is when a case involves a claim that a state law or practice violates a federal law or, a state court judge has interpreted the Constitution. Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006

11 State Courts Inclusion Specialized courts Appellate courts
The principle that state courts will apply federal laws when those laws directly conflict with the laws of the state. Specialized courts Issues such as family disputes, traffic Do not use juries Appellate courts Have panels of judges Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006

12 Insert Figure 4.2 here Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006

13 Elections and Political Parties
Determine who will fill offices and direct the state government Almost all elections are partisan. Party histories vary among states. Competition between Republican and Democratic Party since the Civil War Since 1994, Republicans have made gains in state elections. Today, Republicans hold majority of governorships. Georgia: last southern state that elected only Democratic governors since the Reconstruction era. While important, partisanship does not always predict outcomes. Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006

14 Judicial Selection Patterns
Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006

15 Direct Democracy Progressive Reform Direct initiatives
Voters can place a proposal on a ballot and enact it into law without involving the legislature or governor. Indirect initiatives Legislature places a proposal on a ballot and allows voters to enact it into law, without involving the governor or further action by the legislature. Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006

16 Initiative and Popular Referendum
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17 Direct Democracy Direct referendum Advisory referendum [TEXAS!!]
Voters can veto a bill recently passed in the legislature by placing the issue on a ballot and expressing disapproval. Advisory referendum [TEXAS!!] Voters cast non-binding ballots on an issue or proposal. Recall Voters can petition for a vote to remove office holders between elections. Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006

18 Local Governments More individualized than state governments
Most office-holders are part-time. Immediacy of issues: health and safety, education, jobs and economic vitality, zoning. Stuff of every day living Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006

19 Charters Dillon’s Rule* (1868) Charter
Court ruling that local governments do not have any inherent sovereignty but instead must be authorized by state government. Charter Document that, like a constitution, specifies the basic policies, procedures, and institutions of a municipality. Special General Classified Optional Home Rule* Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006

20 Types of Local Governments
Counties Geographic district created within a state with a government that has general responsibilities for land, welfare, environment and sometimes rural service policies. Towns Five states in Midwest refer to towns as form of government in which everyone in a community is invited to an annual meeting to elect officers, adopt ordinances, and pass budgets. Municipality Government with general responsibilities, such as city, town or village government, that is created in response to the emergence of relatively densely populated areas. Special district* Local government with particular function, e.g. water, parks. Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006

21 Municipal Government Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006

22 Executives and Legislatures
Local governments may have An elected executive An elected council or commission An appointed manager Not always bound by separation of powers or checks and balances Role of the Progressives Destruction of party machines led to minimization of politics; more management Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006

23 Executives and Legislatures
Most municipalities have Council-Managers Mayor-Council Fewer have commissions Form of local government in which several officials are elected to top positions that have both legislative and executive responsibilities. Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006

24 Grassroots Power and Politics
Participation more personal and more issue-oriented than at the national level. Non-partisan elections A contest in which candidates run without formal identification or association with a political party. Local news media Elite families Ad hoc-issue specific organizations* Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006

25 Relations with Indian Tribes
Treaties between American Indian Nations and federal government Affect 34 states; state cannot interfere in *Legal status: domestic dependent nation Sovereignty that makes an Indian tribe in the U.S. outside the authority of state government but reliant on the federal government for the definition of tribal authority. Trust relationship: federal government obligated to protect Indian interests. Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006

26 Federal Policies Toward Indian Nations
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27 State and Local Finances
State and local governments must balance their budgets. Budgeting process Making projections of expenses and revenues State of the economy Level of funding that governments give to one another States get about 1/4 of their funds from D.C. Local governments get less (water & sewerage) Most of their money from the state. Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006

28 Insert Figure 4.3 here Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006

29 State and Local Finances
Federal funding for state and local government generally declining. [Devolution!] Increase in requirement of state spending to support national programs and concerns. Security costs Taxes and fees vary across states Rely equally on income and sales taxes Some have no sales taxes; some have double digit sales taxes Some have no income tax Tax increases generally bode ill for elected officials at the state level. Local governments rely on property taxes. Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006

30 State and Local Finances
Progressive Tax Tax level increases with the wealth or ability of an individual or business to pay Regressive Tax Tax level increases as the wealth or ability of an individual or business to pay decreases Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006

31 The Roots of Local Government in Texas
As a result of a nationwide municipal home rule movement, Texas adopted a constitutional amendment that allowed cities to decide their own structure, and with some limits, their powers. Extended to counties in 1933 Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006

32 Structure of the County Government
County Commissioners Court The legislative body of a county in Texas County commissioners serve on this court. County judge Elected official who is the chief administrative officer of county government, serves as the commissioners court, and may also have some judicial functions Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006

33 Authority of County Governments
Local Government Code The Texas statutory code containing state laws about local governments Texas governments do not have general ordinance-making authority This is the legal right to adopt ordinances covering a wide array of subject areas, authority that cities have but counties do not Elgin Bank v. Travis County (1999) Elections Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006

34 Finances of County Governments
Historically counties rely on property taxes. Recently, counties increased their reliance on fee revenues. Motor vehicle registration fees are pass-through fees – they go back to the state. Other fees are left to the counties such as jury fees, breath-testing fees – many exist in the area of criminal justice. Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006

35 Forms of City Governments
Four general types of home-rule cities to choose from: Weak mayor-council Strong mayor-council [Houston] Council-manager [Galveston] City commissioner [none in Tx] Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006

36 Organizational Chart: City of Waller (General Law)
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37 Organizational Chart: City of White Oak (Weak Mayor)
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38 Organizational Chart: Houston (Strong Mayor)
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39 Organizational Chart: City of Austin (Council-Manager)
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40 Authority and Functions of City Government
Cities have authority to provide services directly to citizens Sometimes through franchises to private companies Have broad regulatory authority in areas of zoning, buildings, signs, nuisances, and subdivision development Texas Municipal League* Professional organization and lobbying arm for city government Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006

41 Municipal Annexation**
Enlargement of a city’s corporate limits by incorporating surrounding territory into the city Extraterritorial jurisdiction (ET) The area outside a city’s boundaries over which the city may exercise limited control Under the Municipal Annexation Act, a city may expand its municipal boundaries by an area up to 10 percent of its geographic area in any one year. Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006

42 Municipal Annexation**
In order to annex, a city must take the following steps: (1999 amendments) Develop a three-year plan for annexation, and not annex the targeted area during that three-year period. Make an inventory of the current services in the area. Provide to the annexed area all services currently provided in its full-purpose boundaries no later than two and one-half years after annexation. Require negotiations and arbitration regarding services. Conduct at least two public hearings. Not reduce level of services in the area from what they were before annexation. Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006

43 Politics and Representation in City Governments
City council elections tend to be “at-large” or “at-large-by-place” An election system in which all positions on the council or governing body are filled by city-wide, elections, with each position designated as a seat, and candidates must choose which place to run for Single-member districts weakened business monopoly over municipal politics in Texas Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006

44 Special Districts Water Districts School Districts
Charter school: Public school sanctioned by a specific agreement that allows the program to operate outside the usual rules and regulations. School finance is a controversial issue in Texas. 1993 school-finance reform recaptures and redistributes school tax revenues by limiting school district revenues, capping tax rates in districts, and adjusting the state aid formula to guarantee a specified yield per tax effort for districts. Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006

45 Special Districts in Texas
Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006

46 Texas special terms Sunshine Laws – requires all governmental bodies hold their meeting in public, full notice given to public so that the public may attend Sunset laws – requires all agencies and programs in Texas to complete a self-evaluation before it can be renewed; “don’t let the sun set on your program” Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006

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