Chapter 4: Louisiana’s Government: Rights and Responsibilities Section 1: Democratic Government Democratic GovernmentDemocratic Government Section 2: Structure of State Government Structure of State GovernmentStructure of State Government Section 3: Local Governments Local GovernmentsLocal Governments Section 4: Citizens and Government Citizens and GovernmentCitizens and Government
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: –How does Louisiana’s constitution set out a plan for organizing the government? Section 1: Democratic Government
What words do I need to know? 1. government 2. parish 3. constitution 4. federalism
The History of Louisiana Government Influenced by its colonial founders Spanish: parishes (geographical divisions of the Catholic church) French & Spanish government influences: civil laws based on civil codes
The History of Louisiana Government Also based on British common law system common law (follows precedents) civil law (uses a written code) criminal law (protects society from criminals)
Foundations of Government People given authority to write a state constitution prior to statehood April 30, 1812: Louisiana 18 th state to enter the Union Constitutional government State powers derived via US Constitution, describing specific state and local responsibilitiesUS Constitution
The United States Constitution Reflects government by the citizens: “We the People” (1 st phrase in Preamble) Identifies purpose, organization, & purpose of government Establishes division of power ( federalism) Article 4: U.S. Constitution –Discusses shared relationship between state & federal governments –Indicates powers belonging to the state Bill of Rights (Tenth Amendment)
The State Constitution Provides a framework for the state government Acts in the interest of the people Protects the rights of citizens State bill of rights stronger than the US Bill of Rights –non-discrimination laws stronger & more detailed and specific Louisiana history includes 11 constitutions Click here to return to Main Menu.
Section 2: Structure of State Government ESSENTIAL QUESTION: –How does Louisiana’s government operate?
Section 2: Structure of State Government Executive Branch Governor Lieutenant Governor Attorney General Secretary of State Treasurer Other Elected Officials Legislative Branch State Legislators Legislative Sessions Law Making Judicial Branch Civil and Criminal Law Louisiana’s Court System Juries Funding State Government The State Budget Taxes Other Sources of Revenue
Section 2: Structure of State Government What words do I need to know? 1. checks & balances 2. veto 3. executive branch 4. governor 5. budget 6. lieutenant governor 7. attorney general 8. secretary of state 9. treasurer 10. legislative branch 11. bicameral 12. census (Continued)
Section 2: Structure of State Government 13. reapportionment 14. speaker of the house 15. president of the senate 16. constituent 17. bill 18. judicial branch 19. civil law 20. criminal law 21. jury 22. taxes
Section 2: Structure of State Government Louisiana’s constitution: –Patterned after US Constitution –Three branches of government –Power divided Checks and balances veto: refuse to approve
Executive Branch Implements the laws Operates state government Oversees state services Governor – chief executive officerGovernor Other elected officials include – lieutenant governor, secretary of state, treasurer, attorney general, commissioner of agriculture and forestry, & commissioner of insurance
Governor Must be at least 25 years old A citizen of the US & Louisiana at least five years Elected for a four- year term Can serve two back-to-back terms Duties: prepares & submits a budget to the legislature Appoints citizens to boards & commissions Calls special sessions of the legislature
Lieutenant Governor Serves as a public relations office for the state Heads the State Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism Somewhat like being vice president of the United States Acts as or replaces governor if needed
Attorney General Heads the state’s legal office, the Department of Justice Provides opinions on questions of law to all state agencies & other government groups Can bring legal action on behalf of the state 1990s – Louisiana joins other states’ actions to sue tobacco companies Defends Louisiana laws if challenged
Secretary of State Chief election officer for Louisiana Sole supervision duties of state held elections Keeps official records Publishes the acts and journals of the legislature Keeper of the Great Seal of the state
Treasurer Elected head of the Department of the Treasury In charge of the state’s money Keeps records of the state’s income and expenses Invests state monies not needed Provides the governor and the legislature a yearly financial report
Other Elected Officials Commissioner of Agriculture –Promotes agriculture & forestry –Oversees soil & water conservation Commissioner of Insurance –Enforces insurance laws passed by the legislature The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) –Supervises education –Appoints the state superintendent of education –Three members of the board governor appointees
Legislative Branch Consists of two bodies: (1) house of representatives (2) senatehouse of representativessenate Based on model called bicameral (two chambers): camera - Latin word for “chamber” Contains 144 members (39 Senators / 105 Representatives) elected from geographic districts New districts redrawn every 10 years based on US census and new population numbers (reapportionment)
State Legislators Old enough to vote (18 years old) old enough to be elected Candidate must be a registered voter A resident of the state at least 2 years One year resident of the district Elected for two-year term Maximum of three terms (total of 12 years)
Legislative Sessions Meets every year Even-numbered years: meets 30 days during a 45-day period Tax bills: can only be passed in even- numbered years Odd-numbered years: meets 60 days during an 85-day period Speaker of the House: resides over the House of Representatives President of the Senate: resides over the Senate constituents: people legislators represent
Law Making Writes and approves laws Proposed laws (bills) in either chamber A bill becomes law: –Approved by both the house & senate –Signed by the governor
Judicial Branch Interprets & applies the constitution and laws of the state Protects the rights of the citizens –life, liberty, or property –exception: by due process of law Rules established by courts
Civil and Criminal Law Laws divided into two categories Civil laws: relationships between & among individuals Elected & appointed officials Laws enforced by sheriffs, police, & city marshals District attorneys: prosecutes criminal cases in district courts Clerks of court: keeps official records for a parish
Louisiana’s Court System Three levels District courts, courts of appeal, & the Louisiana supreme court District courts (main trial courts) Hears both civil & criminal cases Court of appeals (2 nd step in the judicial process) to appeal – take a case to a higher court for rehearing Louisiana state supreme court (hears appeals from lower-level courts) Always reviews case in which defendant has been sentenced to death
Juries Three reason for going to court as a witness as a participant in a civil lawsuit as a person charged with a crime jury duty – when a citizen serves on a jury Grand jury 12 citizens serve for six months 1st step against accused criminal Decision to indict a person Regular trial hears evidence and rules on the defendant’s innocence or guilt
Funding State Government State needs money to function Budget requires detailed planning from state government to meet needs of its people
The State Budget Budget requires plan of receiving & spending money Revenue estimate each year How much? How to spend? Budget from governor Includes revenue & expenditure Balanced budget state constitutional requirement
Taxes Taxes: federal, state, and local monies collected from citizens that help provide government services Sales tax: charges on items purchased (largest single source of tax revenue) Excise tax: charges on gasoline, alcohol, soft drinks, and cigarettes Severance tax: charge for removing natural resources Income tax: based on salary/income Property tax: on homes and land Homestead exemption tax: based on value of a home according to the exemption scale Taxes on vehicles
Other Sources of Revenue Additional tax revenue Fees from drivers’ licenses Fees from business licenses Interest from state investments Money earned from oil & gas royalties Royalties from state- owned lands Hundreds of millions of $ paid to state in settlements Monies received from the 8g fund The Millennium Trust Fund of budget received from the federal government Borrowing money by selling bonds to investors Gaming (legal term for gambling) Click here to return to Main Menu.
Section 3: Local Governments ESSENTIAL QUESTION: –What are the types of local governments?
Section 3: Local Governments - What words do I need to know? 1.police jury 2.home rule 3.municipality
Parish Government Primary local government division System of 64 parishes since 1912 Parish government & courthouse located in town or city known as the parish seatParish government 1 st set up as church divisions during Spanish colonial Louisiana
Police Jury Citizens chosen to supervise (or police the parish) Group referred to as a jury 46 (out of 64) parishes still the same 5 – 15 elected members Passes local laws for the parish Responsible for building and maintaining parish roads & buildings
Police Jury Authority to raise money for expenses Appoints parish registrar of voters & the treasurer, tax collector, sheriff, district attorney, clerk of the court Create special districts Report only to the voters
Other Parish Government Plans Local governments have more power through Louisiana’s current constitution home rule: power of political subdivisions to govern themselves home rule charter: community can organize local government in a form other than police jury combined government: city and parish government in one body
School Boards Same political boundaries as the parishes Exceptions: City districts of Baker, Bogalusa, Monroe, and Zachary Board members elected based on population Four-year terms for members Not a part of parish government Closely regulated by the state School operating monies come from the state and from local taxes and bonds Board appointed superintendent in each local system
Municipalities Political boundaries Cities and towns villages: smallest municipalities (population from 150 to 999) town: larger municipalities (when the population reaches 1,000) city: population A mayor & a council (or a group of commissioners): elected by each local group Click here to return to Main Menu.
Section 4: Citizens and Government ESSENTIAL QUESTION: –What are the rights and responsibilities of citizens?
Section 4: Citizens and Government What words do I need to know? 1.open primary 2.lobbying 3.civic
Voting and Elections 26 th amendment (1971): US constitution changes right to vote from 21 to 18 Must live in parish to register in that parish register at registrar of voters’ office, by mail, or at the Office of Motor Vehicles Voter not limited to one party runoff election: when two candidates receive the most votes – either from the same party or different political parties
Political Parties Organizations of people having similar ideas about how government should be operated 1 st parties: formed around Thomas Jefferson & Alexander Hamilton Major political parties: Republican Party & Democratic Party In Louisiana, more registered Democrats Vote more by factions factions: groups of voters with a common interest – includes Catholics, Protestants, Acadians, & African Americans, etc.
Campaigns Candidates: campaign to win votes Methods of campaigning –Traditionally: Spoke directly to the people –More recently: television, radio & newspaper ads Hiring of political consultants Fund-raising now essential Campaign financing limited by law Disclosure required of amount of money contributed and contributor
Lobbying Efforts made to influence a legislator Lobbyist not limited to a special group, person, or persons Lobbying: done through letters and visits to the Capital Some lobbyists volunteer, others paid MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving): example of a lobbying group Methods of lobbyist limited – example: using money to buy influence prohibited Lobbying at State & National levels often affects the law makers final decisions Click here to return to Main Menu.