State and local government

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Chapter Goals and Learning Objectives

In general, after you finish reading and studying this chapter, you should understand the


the evolution of state and local governments

the major institutions of state governments, including state election trends

different types of local governments, the foundation of their authority, and

special characteristics of the institutions

the nature of grassroots power and politics

national and state government relations with Indian nations

the budgeting process for state and local finances

Chapter Outline and Key Points

In this section, you are provided with a basic outline of the chapter and key words/points

you should know. Use this outline to develop a complete outline of the material. Write

the definitions or further explanations for the terms. Use the space provided in this

workbook or rewrite that material in your notebook. This will help you study and

remember the material in preparation for your tests, assignments, and papers.

The Evolution of State and Local Governments

in our history, state governments came first—

local government created by—

governmental institutions in the U.S. are not built from the bottom—

district boundaries for state legislators did not change in response to

population shifts in the post-Civil War era—

Baker v. Carr (1962)—

one-person, one-vote—

federal government added to state and local government responsibilities in

the 1960s and 1970s—

recent trends in federalism affecting state and local governments from the

1970s up through 2002—


State Governments

primary responsibilities of state government—

State Constitutions

state constitution—

early state constitutions in the U.S.—

The Northwest Ordinance of 1787—

effect of Civil War on constitutions of southern states—

political machine—

Progressive Movement—

trend since the 1960s of state constitutional amendments—

relative ease of amending state constitutions—

implications of simple amendment process for state constitutions—



most important role governors play—

governors and the budget process—

package or general veto—

line-item veto—

executive responsibilities of governors—

methods of limiting gubernatorial power—






gubernatorial participation in the judicial process—

general trend in power and authority of governors since the 1960s—

State Legislatures

role of the legislature—

citizen legislators—

one-person, one-vote rule—

Baker v. Carr (1962)—

annual legislative sessions in the country in 1960 and in 2006—

Nebraska state house—

legislative houses in the states—

legislative terms in the states—

term limits—

States with Term Limits for State Legislators (Table 4.1)—

State Courts

primary function of courts—

two separate court systems: state and federal—

the only time state and federal courts converge—

when there is a conflict between state and federal law—


state courts encouraged to consider federal government as setting

minimum standards for individual rights—

state court structure—


State Court Structure (Figure 4.2)—

jurisdiction of various trial courts—

characteristics of appellate courts—

how state judges selected for the bench—

Missouri Plan—

Judicial Selection Patterns (Table 4.2)—

Elections and Political Parties


partisan and non-partisan elections—

recent trends in state legislative seats won by Republicans & Democrats—

one reason for Republican success in the south—

party identification downplayed—

patterns of party competition in state legislatures—

ethnic, racial and gender factors in elections—

Direct Democracy

direct initiative—

indirect initiative—

direct (popular) referendum—

advisory referendum—

recall election—

Local Governments

personal nature of local governance—

responsibilities of local government—



Dillon's Rule—

counties and school districts: examples of state government creation—

how are cities, towns and villages established—


special charters—

general charters—

classified charters—

optional charters—

home rule charters—

Types of Local Government




special districts—

formal and informal arrangements among local governments—

Executives and Legislatures

town meetings—

decision-making offices of local governments—

local government and separation of powers—

executive and legislative patterns in local government—

political machines—



city council—

professional managers—

district-based elections—

at-large elections—

commission form of government—

Galveston, the 1900 hurricane and the city commission—

Major Forms of Municipal Government (Table 4.3) and trends—

public corporation (authority)—

The “Big Seven” Intergovernmental Associations (Table 4.4)—

Grassroots Power and Politics

nonpartisan elections—

role of local news media—

importance of ties and influence—

frequent patters of decision-making—

ad hoc, issue-specific organizations—

Relations with Indian Nations

domestic dependent nation—

trust relationship—

Federal Policies Toward Indian Nations (Table 4.5)—


reservation land—

trust land—

Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975—


State and Local Finances

difference between federal government and state and local governments

regarding budgets—

differences between private business and state and local governments—

importance of the level of funding that governments give to one another—

federal funding for state governments declining—

requirements by the federal government on what state and local

government must spend on national programs and concerns—

state governments rely primarily on what taxes?—

local government rely primarily on what taxes?—

user fees—

State and Local Government Revenues (Figure 4.3)—

segregated funds—

progressive taxes—

nature of sales taxes—

regressive taxes—

regressive nature of property taxes—

Research Ideas and Possible Paper Topics

Practice Tests


1) The requirement that state legislative districts have approximately the same

number of people so that legislative representation would be equitable was

established in Baker v. Carr (1962). This decision led to decreased control in state

legislatures by

a. rural areas.

b. big city political machines.

c. the federal government.

d. the Democratic Party.


2) Which of the following enhanced the importance of state and local governments?

a. A 2002 law that allows the federal government to turn over failing public

schools to private businesses to manage.

b. Increased federal government authority in domestic security.

c. Reduced federal mandates during the Reagan administration.

d. The prohibition on the ability of states to establish direct ties with other

countries to spur economic growth.

3) The federal government has expanded its role in domestic security despite the fact

that it has traditionally been the responsibility of

a. the United States Army.

b. state and local police and health agencies.

c. the United Nations.

d. the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

4) State governments have primary responsibility for

a. education.

b. economic development.

c. public health.

d. All of the above.

5) The first state constitutions provided for

a. limits on the authority of state governors, legislatures, and courts.

b. checks and balances.

c. strong executives.

d. All of the above.

6) Direct voter participation was advocated in the states by the

a. Populists.

b. Progressives.

c. Republican Party.

d. Whigs.

7) In 43 states, governors have the power to

a. propose budgets.

b. veto an entire bill.

c. line-item veto.

d. package veto.

8) The authors highlight the extensive and creative use of the line-item veto

by Governor

a. George W. Bush (TX).

b. Gray Davis (CA).

c. Tommy Thompson (WI).

d. John Engler (MI).


9) In 1962, the Supreme Court decided the case Baker v. Carr, the result of which

was (were) that

a. legislatures more accurately represented their states.

b. agendas became more relevant and policies more appropriate.

c. state legislatures became more professional.

d. All of the above.

10) State and federal courts are

a. separate.

b. all part of a single system.

c. share rules, procedures, and routes for appeal.

d. overlap in virtually every circumstance.

11) The principle that municipalities owe their origins and derive their powers from

the states is called

a. federalism.

b. Dillon's Rule.

c. charter power.

d. the township rule.

12) One of the most important features of home rule is that a local government is

authorized to

a. legislate on any issue.

b. legislate on any issue that does not conflict with existing state law.

c. legislate on any issue that does not conflict with existing federal law.

d. legislate on any issue that does not conflict with existing state or

federal law.

13) Half of all cities in the United States have what type of municipal government?

a. mayor and council

b. council and professional manager

c. commission

d. town meeting

14) Under U.S. law and the Constitution, Indian tribes are

a. given the same rights and responsibilities as states.

b. ignored completely.

c. treated as totally foreign nations.

d. considered domestic dependent nations.

15) Local and state government budgets rely on as sources of revenue.

a. sales taxes

b. property taxes

c. income taxes and fees

d. All of the above.



1) States recognize and authorize the creation of local governments.

2) The state government is the unit of government that licenses and regulates

professions such as doctors, lawyers, barbers and dentists.

3) The intent of the authors of the original state constitutions was to empower state


4) State constitutions are relatively easy to amend and amendments occur

frequently to many state constitutions.

5) All governors have line-item and package veto powers.

6) Originally, most states had part-time, citizen legislatures.

7) All judges in state courts are selected by nonpartisan elections.

8) Every state is divided into subunits that are called “counties.”

9) The commission form of city government is the most widely used form in the

United States today.

10) Local governments rely primarily on sales taxes for their revenues.


nonpartisan and partisan elections

the goals of the writers of the state constitutions vs. those of the national


compacts, reservation land, and trust land

the powers of state governors and those of state legislatures

state and federal courts and laws

methods of judicial selection: elections (partisan and nonpartisan), choice by

legislature or governor, merit plans

initiative, referendum, and recall

county, municipality, and special district governments


municipal governments: mayor-council, mayor-manager, commission, town


types of gubernatorial vetoes


1) a

2) c

3) b

4) d

5) a

6) b


7) c

8) c

9) d

10) a

11) b

12) d

13) a

14) d

15) d


1) T

2) T

3) F

4) T

5) F

6) T

7) F

8) F

9) F

10) F

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