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This 8 page Study Guide was uploaded by Kailey Mathews on Friday September 30, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to POSC 2306 at West Texas A&M University taught by Melissa Henderson in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 6 views. For similar materials see Texas State & Local Government in POSC at West Texas A&M University.
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Date Created: 09/30/16
POSC 2306 Study Guide Exam 2 Early Texas Constitution o First constitution after independence from Mexico: The Texas Republic Limited terms of presidents to 3 years Prohibited consecutive terms on state officials Separation of church and state Clergymen could not hold office Provisions form the Spanish-Mexican law Unitary form of government Homestead Protections- An owner occupied property protected from forced sale under most circumstances Community Property- property acquired during marriage is owned equally by both spouses Common Law- the process under which law is developed based on judicial rulings and customs over time o Change of constitution over time: 1845 Restricted power of legislature (meet once every 2 years) Limited state debt ($100,000) Established the Permanent School Fund Established use of the Long ballot- Results from the independent election of a large number of executive and judicial officers (everyone is elected so there are a ton of people on the ballot) 1861 Same as 1845 o Difference: prohibited emancipation of slaves o Acknowledged Texas had become a Confederate state 1866 Nullified secession Abolished slavery Renounced Confederate war debts Reconstruction Act of 1867: U.S. Congress voided this constitution 1869 Centralized state power in the hands of the governor Lengthened the chief executive’s term to 4 years Allowed the governor to appoint all major state officers Legislature can meet every year Centralized the public school systems Corrupt and Abusive state government o Governor E.J. Davis: Loyal to the Union after the Civil War In office: Large gifts of public funds to railroads Increased tax rates State government Accumulated massive debt Law and order collapsed What he did: took control of voter registration Intimidated unsupportive newspapers Arrested several political opponents 1875 Texas determined to strip power away from the state government o cut salaries of governing officials o placed limits on property taxes o restricted state borrowing o limited legislative sessions o strengthened local government o Texas Constitution Today Second largest among states Amended over 500 times 9 times longer than U.S. constitution Reactionary Document- targeted at solving the problems of Reconstruction rather than meeting the challenges of generations to come Bill of rights Guarantees rights that are not in U.S. constitution: o Prohibition gender discrimination o Victim’s rights o Access to public beaches o Separation of powers- power is distributed among the 3 different branches of government o Checks and balances- each branch is assigned power to limit abuses by the other branches (each has opportunity to influence the other) Executive Article 4 establishes the governor as the chief executive of the state Establishes plural executive –power is divided among several independently elected officials Weakens the power of the chief executive Governor lacks most of the powers of typical executives to hire, fire, direct, and budget Texas places no term limits on the governor Rick Perry was the governor for 14 years Prior to him, no governor had served more than 2 terms While the Texas governor has very weak powers, the veto power provides the governor with a profound influence over the legislative process. Texas gives the governor line-item veto power – the power to strike out sections of a bill without vetoing the entire bill Legislative Bicameral: 2 house 31-member Senate (4 year terms) 150-member House of Representatives (2 year terms) Annual salary of $7200 for Texas o California - $90,526 o New York - $79,500. o Legislators in Texas most often hold jobs outside of their elected office There are no term limits Special sessions: o Governor can call one- gives him legislative advantage o Filibuster- extended discussion by a legislator on the floor with the goal of delaying or blocking a vote on a bill In session once every two years – biennial regular sessions Deadwood- inoperable constitutional provisions that have been either voided by the U.S. Constitution or made irrelevant by changing circumstances. (a bunch of non-since fluff in the constitution) Judicial Article 5 of the Texas Constitution fragments the judicial branch Texas has two courts of final appeal – Texas Supreme Court and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judges are chosen by partisan elections Governor has the power to appoint a new judge when a judge leaves office before their term is over This gives the governor some power of the makeup of the courts o Article 6: suffrage requirements in Texas Suffrage- the legal right to vote 18 or older cannot be a convicted felon cannot be found mentally incompetent by a court of law o Missing in Texas Initiatives- an election method that empowers citizens to place a proposal on the ballot for voter approval Referendums- elections that permit voters to determine whether a statute (written law) will go into effect Popular recalls- a special election to remove an official before the end of his or her term, initiated by citizen petition o Public Education Article 7, section of the Texas Constitution provides funding of public school Edgewood Independent School District vs Kirby (1989) – landmark case regarding public school finance Property tax method unconstitutional Led to school finance reforms that made funding more equitable across districts o Amending the constitution Frequently has to be amended to reflect changing realities Ratification- approval by a majority of those persons voting on the amendment in either a general or a special election Between 1995 and 2014, the legislature voted to present a total of 145 proposed constitutional amendments to Texas voters All 8 were voted down Voter turnout is always VERY LOW o Revision attempts of constitution One of the longest and most detailed constitution Poorly organized and confusing = low voter turnout several rewrite attempts 1972: voters amended the constitution to provide revision 1975: 8 new amendments proposed- all rejected Texas thought that constitutional amendments would result in more power for the legislature Chapter 11 Local government affects us most directly General law city- incorporated community with a population of 5,000 people or less o Limited to doing what the state says they can do Home Rule City- City with more than 5,000 people o Can have city charter- organizing document for a municipality (local government) o Can structure local government as they see fit but cannot violate the state and national constitution o Home Rule- right of citizens to manage own affairs with minimum state interference o Annexation power Only in home Rule Cities: Initiative – allows local voters through the use of a petition to propose new legislation for their city that a city council refuses to enact Referendum allows voters to repeal an existing ordinance that may be unpopular Recall allows voters to remove members of the City Council o Municipal government: page 290 for visual Council-Manager System An elected City Council makes laws and hires a professional administrator/manager 1. Enforce city ordinances, rules and regulations 2. Supervising employees and programs 3. Preparing and carrying out budget and expenditure plan 4. Managing and preparing periodical financial information for public 5. Providing information to city council to help make decisions about good of the community 2. Mayor-council System Mayor and city council Mayor is chief executive (elected) and leader of city council Strong mayor: full time Weak mayor: mayor and council share all duties City council meets (once every two weeks) Follow and agenda Carry out legislative responsibilities of the city Local culture = expectations of town standards, services and taxation rates Revenue varies: 1. Size of city population 2. Amount of type of taxes a city can levy 3. Total value of taxable property in city limits 4. Needs of residents Sales Tax – depend heavily on sales tax - Sensitive to economic fluctuations - Must build into a reserve fund to compensate for inconsistent sales tax revenues Property Taxes – tax rate is % of value of real estate in city limits - a “poor” city must set high rate to = services needed - home rule municipalities can set rate $2.50 per $100 of assessed value User Feed – fees paid by people who receive government service - Feed for city = water, sewage, garbage collection, gold courses Public Debt – money owed by a government (bonds) - Issue bonds to finance major projects (voter o County Government Run by a county commissioner court and judge (4 year terms) county wide election elected by single member precincts responsible for county roads and bridges 9given a budget to use as they see fit) not a judicial body (are legislative) approve budget set county tax rates do not have direct control over elected department heads (ie, sheriff, district and county attorney) Other county officials: 1. Tax assessor-collector 2. County Treasurer 3. County Auditor 4. County Clerk 5. District Clerk 6. County Attorney 1. Propose government with less flexibility 2. 254 counties in Texas 3. extension of state government at local level 4. administer county, state and national elections (not municipal or district) 5. law enforcement - Sheriff: large budget & staff, operate county jail and execute court orders - Constables: elected just of peace courts, same powers, but deliver summons and execute court orders 6. births, deaths and marriages 7. houses state district courts 8. register motor vehicles 9. Emergency management 10. County hospital 11. Land titles and property deeds 12. Collect some state taxes o Special District Government Local governments that provide single or closely related services that are not provided by general-purpose city or county government Multimember boards usually govern special districts o Council of Governments 1. Advisory bodies consisting of representatives of various local governments brought together for the purposes of regional planning and cooperation 2. Not a government 3. Voluntary regional groupings of local governments o Panhandle regional planning commissioner** Two articles
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