Texas State Local Govenment Final Review
Texas State Local Govenment Final Review POLS 2312-006
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This 5 page Study Guide was uploaded by Chandon Lim on Monday May 9, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to POLS 2312-006 at University of Texas at Arlington taught by Daniel D Sledge in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 66 views.
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Date Created: 05/09/16
Political Science Final Review Foundations o The U.S and Centralized Authority o Revolt against the British o Articles of Confederation o The 1787 Constitution: Presidency, Taxation, Power to Coin Money, Regulation of Interstate Commerce, Authority in Foreign Policy Separation of Powers and Federalism o Indicative of a strong aversion to centralized authority o President, Congress, Judicial Branch o Strengthened national government, but state governments remained intact o Federalism: A division of power and authority between the central government and several sub-national governments th o Under the 10 amendment any power not given to the national government is given to the states or the people, called the reserved powers o Police Power: the power to regulate the health, safety, and morals of citizens o Benefits of Federalism States are the “laboratories of democracy” States and localities may be more responsive to local needs Allows for greater flexibility Potential for greater citizen involvement o Downsides of Federalism potential for localized oppression divergent outcomes coordination problems o Transformation of Federalism Civil War Amendments New Deal Civil Rights The Great Society Voting Rights Act (1965) o Eliminated various barriers to minority voting o Originally aimed at African-American voters o Extended to language minority groups in 1975 o Renewed on a number of occasions, most recently in 2006 The Civil War and Reconstruction o Military and Republican Rule (1867-1874) o In 1869 state constitution: strong central government, taxes raised to pay for new services Created a strong central state government Governor given broad appointive and policy supervision powers local government closely controlled by state authorities Taxes used to support an extensive system of public elementary and secondary education; school attendance made compulsory Republicans subsidized railroads with bond issues and grants of land Democratic Dominance Texas in Transition o 45.4% urban in 1940, 62.7% in 1950 o Urbanization- destabilized traditional political culture o Economics o Growth of hispanic population 1876 Constitution o Limited and dispersed government power o Salaries reduced, executive authority limited o Constitution goes into explicit detail The Plural Executive o Attorney General o Comptroller of Public Accounts o Commissioner of the General Land Office o Agriculture Commissioner o Railroad Commissioners o Board of Education o Lt. Governor Limited Budgetary Powers o Governor’s budget is typically vague o Budget proposals from the Governor are generally ignored o The Legislative Budget Board writes the state’s budgets The Governor o Judicial Powers Nearly all judges in Texas are elected Governor can appoint people to vacancies, with support from 2/3 of Senate A large number of judges initially gain their position through appointment Governor can only grant clemency following a recommendation from the Texas Board of Pardons (appointed by Gov.) Can only grant one thirty day reprieve in death penalty cases Rick Perry and The Governorship o Veto threats; veto bargaining o Gov. may veto bills after the legislature has adjourned o Gov. may issue line-item vetoes on spending items State Legislature o A House of Representatives (150 members) and a smaller Senate (31 members) o House Members: smaller districts, 2-year terms o Senators represent broader districts & are elected to four year terms, which are staggered (half of the Senate is up for election every two years) Commented [CL1]: Meets every two years, for a set o Leadership/ Committees period of 140 days o A Part-Time Legislature -Governor can call special sessions, which last for 30 days -Citizen Legislature Meets every two years, for a set period of 140 days Governor can call special sessions, which last for 30 days Citizen Legislature? Courts o Elections Appointment- either by the governor or by the governor with the advice of a merit committee (12) In 17 states, appointments to state supreme courts are followed by retention elections, in which judges run uncontested and voters are asked to vote “yes” or “no” In New Mexico, Judges are appointed, then run in contested elections, and then run in retention elections o Opponents of Elections Threat to judicial independence Introduction of politics into the process Fear that campaign donations may improperly influence judges The Courts Independence vs Accountability o The U.S. Constitution favors judicial independence o In Texas, all judges (except Municipal Court Judges) are elected in partisan elections; Trial judges are elected to 4 year terms and appellate judges to 6 year terms Balancing Democracy and Fundamental Rights o Elections Democracies derive legitimacy from regular and fairly run popular elections -Politicians derive authority from claims to represent “the people” (electoral “mandates”) Duverger’s Law: Within the context of Single Member Plurality Voting, forming broadly-based political parties is the most effective means of winning elections o Electoral Strategy In An Economic Theory of Democracy, Anthony Downs set forth a theory of party competition: Parties move to the center to attract the “median voter” Thus, parties attempt to blur the ideological distinctions between themselves and the opposition (see Bill Clinton in 1996). o The procedures we use in elections are not neutral o Redistricting Gerrymandering: drawing an electoral district in order to give electoral advantage to one political party Packing Cracking Preclearance: Until 2013, states and communities with a history of racial discrimination in voting were required to seek prior approval for changes to their election codes and district boundaries o Government as a Solution to Collective Problems The “Social Contract”: A decision to form a community and create a sovereign authority. Political communities create government as a means of addressing problems that individuals cannot consistently and effectively address on their own Health o Public Health interventions abroad following the Spanish-American War (Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Panama Canal Zone) o The Rockefeller Sanitary Commission for the Eradication of Hookworm (1910-1915) o New York: Ban on Sugary Beverages Mayor Michael Bloomberg pushed for a ban on the sale of “sugary beverages” larger than 16 ounces Would be implemented through health department Would have applied to food service establishments But was unconstitutional Federal-State Cooperation o The CDC o Police powers? o Medicaid and CHIP Obamacare o Medicaid Expansion as a means of expanding coverage o “State based exchanges” o The Supreme Court o Incentives for states to participate Education o Reconstruction, Redemption, Compulsory Schooling o Near bottom in spending per pupil o More than $3,000 below national average (around $66,000 less per elementary school classroom) o In 2011, the state legislature cut funding for schools by $5.3 billion o Waves of Reform (Gilmer-Aiken following World War II, Perot Committee during the 1980s) Perot Committee (1983) Higher teacher salaries/tougher credentialing standards Attempted to abolish social promotion Exit test for high school graduation “No pass-no play” o Edgewood ISD v. Kirby (1989) Local property tax revenues: the other portion of the school funding picture Texas Supreme Court: found that the state’s system of financing schools did not provide “for a ‘general diffusion of knowledge’ statewide.’” In 2011, the state cut $5.4 billion from education funding o A number of school districts sued o Cuts came on top of large numbers of new students and the introduction of a new set of standardized tests (STAAR) o Funding partially restored, though still not at pre-recession levels Policy Formulation o A broad array of alternatives exists o technical feasibility o fit with dominant values o budgetary impact (key at state level) o political support/interest group alignment
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