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Our Government in Action

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Presentation on theme: "Our Government in Action"— Presentation transcript:

1 Our Government in Action
Essential Question How do government and civic responsibility affect the way we live?

2 Levels of Government After the United States became a new country, we had to organize a new government. Men from each of the 13 states met to discuss what kind of government we should have. These men wanted a government that would be strong enough to hold the country together. The new government was divided into three levels: national, state, and local government.

3 The U.S. Constitution The U.S. Constitution is the plan of government the Founding Father’s developed. The Constitution specifically states that the power to rule the nation comes from the people. Our government is described as a democratic republic because the power to govern comes from the people through elected representatives. American lives have changed tremendously since the U.S. Constitution was written and signed, but it still remains a source of pride and the basis of a government for a free people.

4 The Bill of Rights The Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution because people worried their rights wouldn’t be protected. The Bill of Rights includes 10 amendments. Each amendment covers a specific right we have as citizens of the United States.

5 Separation of Powers Our government separates power among three branches of government: executive, legislative, and judicial. Each branch has its own responsibilities. This system is called checks and balances. It makes sure no single branch becomes too powerful. The legislative branch has two houses: the Senate, and the House of Representatives. Each state has two representatives in the Senate, but the number of people elected to the House of Representatives depends on the population of the state. The executive branch is headed by the president. The judicial branch is responsible for the administration of justice. The U.S. Supreme Court is the highest court in the land. Many people belong to a particular political party. These parties work to get members of their party elected to office.

6 Washington’s Government
The 10th Amendment gives certain powers to the states and the people. All states have their own constitution. Our state government has the same three branches as the federal government, except our state government branches make decisions on a state level instead of a national level. Our state legislature is set up just like the U.S. Congress. There is a state senate and a state house of representatives. The legislature works in committees. These committees review proposed laws before they are sent to the house or senate for a vote.

7 How a Law Is Made There are multiple steps involved in the process of making a bill a law. The bill is proposed and drafted. It then goes to a committee. If it is approved, the bill moves to a hearing where the committee can make amendments to the bill or let it die. If the bill is sent on, legislators discuss the bill and vote on it. If the bill is passed, it is reviewed again and the senate and the house each have a final vote. If both houses accept the bill, it is sent to the governor to review it. At this stage, the governor can either pass or veto the bill. If the bill is vetoed, the legislature can cancel the veto by having two-thirds of both houses agree to pass the bill.

8 The Executive Branch The state executive branch is headed by the governor. The governor has many powers and duties. Our governor has the unique power to veto an entire bill or veto single sections of a bill. This is a power the president of the United States does not have. There are many people besides the governor that work within the state’s executive branch. These elected officials help keep the executive branch running smoothly and properly.

9 The Judicial Branch The highest court in Washington is the state supreme court. It contains nine judges. The judicial branch determines the meaning of our laws. Washington’s court system also contains courts below the state supreme court.

10 Local Governments As citizens of Washington, we are also governed by local governments. Local governments oversee counties, cities, and towns. There are 39 counties in Washington. Three county commissioners run each county. There are 270 municipal governments meaning they each manage a city or town. A municipality is governed by either a mayor and city council, city manager and city council, or commissioners. City governments provide services to people living in their city.

11 Indian Sovereignty Indian tribes in Washington have freedom from outside control, also known as Indian sovereignty. Tribal governments are separate from state and local governments. They meet in tribal councils to make their own laws. Their tribal councils are made up of representatives. They make laws and policies for the whole reservation.

12 Government Services The government provides many services we enjoy as citizens of the United States. Public schools are a government service paid for by tax dollars. Private schools are paid for by the parents of each student. Since taxes pay for public education, the state legislature is able to require certain things from the public school districts.

13 Tax Policy People pay taxes so the government has money to pay for services it provides. Although Washington residents do not pay a state income tax like everyone else in the United States, they do pay a federal income tax. Instead of an income tax, people in Washington pay taxes on homes and land, retail sales, public utilities, tobacco, and alcohol.

14 Our Civic Duties Civic duties are the responsibilities we have as citizens. Voting, volunteering, obeying the laws, and respecting people’s rights are examples of exercising our civic duties. Voting is both a responsibility and a privilege we have as citizens. At the age of 18 you can register to vote and are given a place to vote on election day. On election day, you vote using a private ballot in a private booth. There are many ways to get involved in the government before you are 18. Volunteering is a great way to get involved and serve your state or local community.

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