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Texas State Local Govenment Final Review

by: Chandon Lim

Texas State Local Govenment Final Review POLS 2312-006

Marketplace > University of Texas at Arlington > POLS 2312-006 > Texas State Local Govenment Final Review
Chandon Lim
GPA 3.136

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About this Document

Bullet point style review over the general concepts in the class from foundations to health and education.
State local Gov
Daniel D Sledge
Study Guide
Texas State and Local Government, final study guide
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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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