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tamu pols

tamu pols

Description

School: Texas A&M University
Department: Political Science
Course: State and Local Government
Professor: Dwight roblyer
Term: Spring 2017
Tags: political science, Government, branches, court cases, Districts, Taxes, voting, turnout, Graphs, Data Analysis, state, local government, and Texas State and Local Government
Cost: 50
Name: POLS 207 Final: Need to Know and More
Description: Everything and more that you need to know to pass POLS 207's final!
Uploaded: 05/08/2017
12 Pages 176 Views 0 Unlocks
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□ What are we leaving out of the result?




○ "Why did the poll results come out as they did?




○ Ask who is speaking and why?



Final Exam: Need to Knows and More Sunday, May 7, 2017 3:02 PM • Political Beliefs vs. Political Facts ○ We know what we believe: political beliefs form cliques of those who believe similarly ○ We must be able to distinguish the difference beliefs and facts ▪ Media warps our perception through contemporary political actors, thus some beliefs We also discuss several other topics like convergernt
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Don't forget about the age old question of illusion cannot be created using the medium of fresco.
We also discuss several other topics like final exam schedule ttu
We also discuss several other topics like the solution to the candle problem involves realizing that the
We also discuss several other topics like federlism
 are not based on fact ○ Through learning what people believe, we are able to interact, cooperate, and compete • A Tale of Two Groups ○ Group I: Political actors & commentators ▪ Two goals: to seek power/change policy, and to entice us to agree with them using any  info available, even factually incorrect info or used in the wrong context. ○ Group 2: Political scientists ▪ Two goals: to seek the best empirical information to describe and explain events or  behavior, and to fund research and publish findings, increase stading in field of study. ▪ Unlike politicians, it is the political scientists' job to produce trustworthy findings □ Has drawbacks of subjection to greed and contradictions in between studies • Distinguishing Between Beliefs and Facts ○ Ask who is speaking and why? ▪ Assess exterior motives and bias ○ Open our minds, we like beliefs more even in the face of contradictory factual evidence ▪ We are all affected by systemic bias that gets in the way of thinking clearly/rationally • Characteristics of Good Political Analysis ○ Winners vs. Losers: no matter the decision, there are always some of each ▪ Soon we will be a majority-minority state with Hispanics in front ▪ Case Study: Adding a new garage □ Long term project: 4 years to aprove and build □ Increase student fees to pay for it □ Two student groups affected: ◆ Those who advocate/pay ◆ Those who benefit ◊ They cannot act, haven't even applied to tamu □ Those who act and pay will not benefit because of graduation □ Should current students support or not? ○ Individuals vs. Groups: who is disfavored and who is power • Definitions of Politics ○ Politics is concerned with authoritative allocation of values ○ Political endeavors seek to bring advantage to one group and disadvantage to another • Another Important Question ○ "Why did the poll results come out as they did?" ▪ Were terms clearly defined?  ▪ Were facts or beliefs measured in the poll? ▪ Does the poll have results that persist over time? • Scientific Study of Political Events and Behavior ○ Scientific Method ▪ Empirical throughout ▪ Transparent process □ Fight the bias ▪ Rule-Based investigation ▪ Preset criteria for acceptable results □ Data percentage error. Statistics  POLS 207 Pae 1 □ Data percentage error. Statistics ▪ Independently confirmable (or repeated by another) ▪ Falsifiable ○ New discoveries are rare, but iterations are common ▪ Iterations are the start of next round of investigation ○ Reliability: consistency of results from repeatable measures ○ Validity: acceptiblity of measure as pertinent to the question being asked ▪ Social scienes usually only permit lower R and V • Social Sciences: the True "Hard" Sciences? ○ 'hard" because we study complex processes and behaviors? ○ Human interations mulitply the complexity and are difficult to capture. ○ Demographic data is expensive to collect, as well as limited number of data categories ○ Analysis uses comparative method ▪ State-level data has the commonality to provide context for comparison, but different  enough to make comparisons interesting • Why Compare? ○ To learn which is "best" and "worst"? ▪ Would require a normative(arising from normal social standards) measure, based on a  subjective rationale □ Empirical measures are not normative ○ To capture outcomes of differing policies and characteristics ▪ Empirical measures are used, due to the quantitative data ▪ Higher confidence in results, but associated conclusions are limited: uncertainty always  present □ What are we leaving out of the result? ○ What is the limit of empirical data?  ▪ We must be able to recognize patterns and variation within the data we are studying • Heat Maps ○ Depict variations in a single measurement ▪ Differing colors correspond to measurement values ("bin") ○ Strengths ▪ Single variable for easier interpretation ▪ Spatial patterns easy to notice ○ Weaknesses ▪ "binning" loses data in the chart • Public Goods and Private Market Failure ○ Private markets cannot offer public goods and remain solvent ○ Public goods bring prerequisites that are not compatable with private businesses ▪ "Free rider problem": users can get benefits for free ▪ Good of the group =/= good of each member ▪ One's consumption does not reduce the benefit to others ○ Gov't ensure payment and provision of public goods • Purposes of the Government ○ Maintain order? ○ Provide public goods? ▪ Benefits a market that is unable/unwilling to provide ○ Promote equality? ▪ Includes economic equality (controversial) ○ Everyone has different ideas on what these are, and if they belong • "Conservative" vs. "Liberal" ○ Let's analyze some different views and get rid of these labels… ○ Governmental Power ▪ Totalitarianism (all power) vs. Anarchy (no power/no gov't) ○ Government in Economy  POLS 207 Pae 2 ○ ▪ Socialism (equality) vs. Capitalism (efficiency) ▪ Socialism: Gov't owns basic goods and services provided to society, equality of goods ▪ Capitalism: Individuals who own the basic goods and services provided to society, and  do as they please with them.  □ Delivery efficiency to those who can afford it ▪ National economies lean towards socialism as resources become abundant ▪ Socialism and Capitalism have never really existed in a pure form. Always a blend ○ Government in Society ▪ Freedom (individual above group) vs. Order (group above indidivual) ▪ Social fredom places a high value on liberties, even at the expense of having an orderly  society ▪ Social order prioritizes public stability and decency above individual freedom • Periods of Government in America  ○ 1776 to 1850: "No Government" ▪ Most Americans were in rural, agrarian settings □ Dispersed population, self dependence.  □ Rare encounters with government directly ▪ County officials were the faces of "government" □ Protected property ownership, performed traditional roles ▪ Common attitude of conservatism: "Best government is least government" ○ 1850 to 1895: "Municipal Government" ▪ The nation was fundamentally changed by this period □ Industrial Revolution required huge amounts of labor □ Immigration from Europe and American population shifted to cities;  urbanization led to new, big problems arising from congestion ▪ Newly large population demanded large scale public services: water, waste, health,  building codes, mass education, etc… □ Things fell through the cracks: resulted in unclean, unsafe streets, epidemics,  garbage… □ Municipal governments grew in power and scope to provide, but so did  corruption! ▪ Political corruption was rampant in almost every major city □ Municipal leaders created "political machines"to build and retain power ◆ Boss-led "machines" fed on patronage, bribes and graft(taking money for  free stuff) ◊ "Ward heelers" secured votes in neighborhoods, and drew the most  power from those in greatest need: immigrants! ▪ Not all bad! Good things were emerging! □ Elections were the most strongly attended to that point in time □ New ideas arose about the relationship of government and citizens ◆ Governments should work for the public interest and uphold public trust ○ 1895 to 1932: "State Intercity" ▪ Opens with political corruption still rooted in cities □ "Machine bosses" seemed undefeatable, changes within cities failed ▪ State governments created "Dillon's Rule" to impose changes □ Says that local governments are creations of state, so must comply with state  statutes □ Non-partisan city elections, municipal hire under civil service, and school districts  seperated from municipal governments ◆ Hence "independent school district" ▪ Party machines decline in power. most die, but at different rates.  ○ 1932 to the Present: "Federal Government" ▪ Opened with the Great Depression, World War II, and the Cold War soon followed. □ What do they have in common? Being an existential threat Lots of action by the people was induced by fear  POLS 207 Pae 3 ◆ Lots of action by the people was induced by fear □ Federal government took on roles of guardian and protector in ways never before  seen ◆ Elderly and disabled have income ◆ American labor back to work, and ensured quality civil services ◆ Defended against worldwide threats (Axis Powers, Communism, etc.) ▪ Feds, now supreme, imposed national standards over state laws in new ways □ Criminal, social, and regulation of the marketplace ▪ Federal taxation and spending gave the Feds the tools they needed to move into areas  where States had sole jurisdiction □ Large grants secured cooperation with the states with big bills □ Ability of Feds to go into deficit gave them advantage over states • Forms of Government: Where's the Power Concentrated? ○ Unitary ▪ All central government ○ Confederacy ▪ Real power reserved by the states ○ Federal ▪ Has layers: Central, State, Local ▪ "Federalism" points to allocation of powers between the upper and lower level  governrments ▪ American federalism assigns governmental powers to one or both of the  state/national levels □ U.S Constitution set the ground rules for this early on □ Differences in constitutional interpretation leaves room for debate on correct  power allocation ▪ States regularly contest federal supremacy claims, especially in places traditionally  state-run ▪ New Federalism was an attempt in the 1980s to reset allocation to better favor states  based on the "2 1/2" tenets below □ Individuals and businesses make better choices than governments ◆ But if a government must make them, keep decisions close to home (state  and local better than federal) □ Less government is better than more ▪ New Federalists expected large transfers of power back to states: not as many as  expected □ States realized that with responsibilities came new bills (and the need for new  taxes) • Governmental Expenditures ○ States take some money from the feds to spend ▪ Argument between Federalistic view of this action and those who think states should  spend their own money ○ Money is important! Nothing happens without funding! ○ Political difference between states can be done by comparing budget policy ▪ How is revenue generated and money spent? On who? By who? ○ "Follow the Money" to learn the actual priorities of any government • Purposes of Constitutions ○ Legitimacy (origin of power) ○ Organizing government ○ Allocating power in government ○ Limiting government power • U.S State Constitutions: Similarties and Differences ○ We should expect key similarities with the U.S Constitution  ○ Seperation of powers at the state level same as the federal approach Many checks and balances between powers also similar to federal, but key differences in   POLS 207 Pae 4 ○ Many checks and balances between powers also similar to federal, but key differences in  quantities ▪ Much-laudedfederal system wasn't original. Came from 1780 state constitution in  Massachussetts ○ During the Post Colonial Period, states' approaches often shifted to making governors  weaker. ○ Post Civil War, states' residents wanted to reserve even more power, so to keep progressive  governments in check ○ Desire of any state to carefully control its government/population is reflected in the length of  its constitution ▪ Texas has the second longest, behind Alabama at 365k words! ▪ Longer constitutions contain detailed restrictions and make them hard to alter or  revoke □ Change requires constitutional amendment □ All but one state requires electorate to ratify the change ◆ Proposal usually comes from legislature, sometimes public can initiate ▪ Allows winning group to safeguard their interests ○ There is a similar hierarchy of laws of local government to state, but no federalism existent.  ▪ Dillon's Rule says states tell local governments what they can and can't do ○ Every state has a Bill of Rights, existence of these in state constitutions was original  justification for absence of bill of rights in main body of U.S Constitution ○ No state may deny a right given in the U.S Constitution, due to the supremacy clause ▪ However, they may specify additional rights • The Texas Constitution ○ Because of many historical changes to the South, Texas (and other southern states) is on its  8th constitution, ratified in 1876 ○ Very long and poorly organized document ▪ Contains many details of policy and govenrmental organization ▪ Amendments are inserted into the body, resulting in conflicting ideas and abolishing  sections…yeah. It's unorganized. ○ Much more restrictive vs. the flexibility of the U.S Constitution ○ Who benefits from state constitutions? Who is protected by them? • Taxation, Conceptually ○ Taxes are based on an "ability to pay" model ▪ Benefits distributed to all who are eligible to recieve, regardless of ability to pay. ▪ Costs distributed based on wealth and income. If you can pay, you are expected to. ▪ "Redistributes" some wealth to organizations aimed at helping poor, magnitude  depends on state/locality ○ Sales Tax produces the most revenue by a long shot over any tax in Texas ○ "Tax Shifting" is a way for a government to gain revenue by taxing people/entities outside of  that state/locality ○ "User pay" model used for fees, not taxes. Sometimes tax is used to cover up user fee ▪ Distributes benefit to only those who pay, therefore more capitalist ▪ Hybrids, such as tolls (user fee), and highway taxes paid by all, are increasingly common ○ Taxes are required because the market is unable/unwilling to provide public goods ○ Normative language, or "what should be", prevails with debating taxes. ▪ Makes sense bcause taxes are all about priorities ○ Polls of citizens: Taxes too high, services too low or just right ○ We win when… ▪ We pay less, but get more! ▪ Redistribution is to us, not from us…so someone must be losing? ○ NO services exist without someone paying the bill: always a zero-sum game ○ Limited redistribution of wealth is built into the system ▪ Equality and other social objectives are expensive and are rarely funded at promised  levels  POLS 207 Pae 5 levels ○ Self-interest is always in play: high levels of politiian and citizen disinterest as long as they are  winning • More on Taxes ○ Tax Rate is the number one point of conversatiion for taxes ○ Tax Bill: Taxes paid in a year by a person or business ○ Tax Burden: A measure that takes the tax bill of a person or business and folds in  consideration of their ability to pay ○ Tax Burden = Tax Bill/Total Income ○ Tax Incidence: Characterizing tax burdens across a range of incomes ○ Usually, for Income Tax… ▪ The base can be much lower than total income, lowered by exemptions and deductions  ▪ Progressive rate, Incidence is widely accepted as progressive ○ A lot of times, corporations use loopholes to lower their tax burden from the large corporate  tax rate given by the U.S federal gov't (35%) ▪ Double Irish maneuver used by companies such as Google, or Apple ○ Usually, for Sales Tax… ▪ The base is sales subject to taxation ▪ Fixed rate, but regressive incidence. □ Why is the incidence regressive?  □ Studies have shown that as a family's or person's income rises, differences in  purchases don't increase proportionally. □ Results in wealthier citizens paying a smaller percentage of their income via tax  than lower income citizens. ○ Property taxes are usually regressive for the same reason: the wealthy don't own things  expensive enough so that property taxes equal the same percentage of income as middle and  lower income families • Expenditures ○ States spend more on education than you'd expect! One of the highest chunks of spending. ▪ Texas spends about the U.S average on education, but only 3/4 of the average total on  all expenditures • Limits on TX State Taxing, Spending, and Debt ○ Pay as you go (except where borrowing is authorized ▪ Total appropriations can't exceed biennial revenue estimate made by state comptroller ○ You can't just spend revenue on anything because we have "extra" ○ Welfare shall not exceed 1% of the state budget ○ New debt can't exceed 5% of the annual amount in the capital fund for the previous 3 years ○ Income tax prohibited, and if it is ever approved must be dedicated to education. In Texas  State Constitution  • Equity and Capital Goods ○ Equity: Do residents get what they paid for, and pay for what they get? ○ Often an issue because capital goods have useful lifespans of many years ○ Is it equitable if citizens relocate, born/die while capital good is in service? ▪ Some will pay but not use, or use but not pay ○ All governments borrow money to achieve equity ▪ Average state debt load is 8% of budget ▪ Used to purchase capital goods ▪ Businesses do the same! • State and Local Borrowing ○ Debt always explicity linked to capital projects…unlike federal government ○ Capital budget is seperate from operating budget ▪ Financed through borrowing, not other revenue, and excluded from "balanced budget" ○ Evidence of borrowing does appear in operating budget, usually labeled as "debt service" ○ High levels of local debt tell us… ▪ State Leaders usually say:  POLS 207 Pae 6 ▪ State Leaders usually say: □ Local leaders are poor fiscal managers, taking on unneccessary and excessive risk  for residence ▪ Local Government usually says: □ Absolutely necessary to provide for real needs □ Low risk (almost "free money") due to extremely low interest rates at present  time ○ Sometimes, local governments have no other option but to take on more debt. State laws,  state officials and local taxpayers make it difficult to increase since this is how the  government is primarily funded. • Political Participation and Voting ○ Political scientists focus on voting when studying political participation ▪ Key role in democracy, and greatest form of participation. ▪ Data makes it easy to study ○ Participation is not common and not continuous ▪ Stimulated by regular elections and volatile local issues ▪ Voting is the most regular form of participation ○ Participants are not representative of the population! ○ While voting may have the most participation, it has the least influence! ○ Presidential voting during voting season is the most popular form of voting ○ VEP: Voting Eligible Population ○ VAP: Voitng Age Population ○ When states allow felons to vote, they will often vote for someone (or party) in charge ○ Scatter plots show a see-saw trend between voting season and off years • Does Election Turnout Really Matter? ○ Turnout statistics vary by definition (and measure!) ▪ Popular media and politicians can and do inflate voter turnout by using "registered  voters" as the denominater, rather than VEP or VAP ▪ Voter registration rols are sometimes bloated with previous voters who have died or  moved out of a precinct/state ○ Biased outcomes should be expected with low turnout ○ No clear, consistent evidence of casual linkage between turnout and representation quality ▪ Turnout is too low for voting to act like it should! □ Will only remain this way until voter turnout increases ○ Historically, there have been ways to limit voter turnout to a certain race ▪ Southern states (pre 15th amendment) would have literacy tests, poll tax(no advance  notice for minorities), good character reference from the community ▪ "White Primaries" where whites would lock in their desired outcome before voting  even began • Voting Rights ○ Smith v. Allwright(1944) declared white primaries unconstitutional ○ Civil Rights Act(1964) prohibited unequal standards for those who can vote, but only in  federal elections ▪ Supreme court in 1965 extended to all elections • More on Voting Rights  ○ Vietnam War was a disaster for voting rights: 18 year old men sent to die, couldn't vote till 21.  Voting Rights Act changed voting age to 18 ○ Shelby County v. Holder (2013) ▪ Supreme court declared Section 4 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act unconstitutional Court says discrimination still exists, but Voting Rights Act used "extraordinary  □ measures to address an extraordinary problem" □ Section 4 had outlived usefulness and could not be justified by current needs ▪ Decision cleared the previous list of "covered states" and dismantled Congressionally  approved means to rebuild it ▪ Section 5 left "toothless"  POLS 207 Pae 7 ▪ Section 5 left "toothless" ▪ Court found Section 4 infringed states' rights by 10th amendment and doctrine of  equal treatment by states □ Section 4 required any and all changes to voting laws by "covered states" to be  submitted for federal review, "nonn covered" states could make same changes  without federal review ◆ In this, congress "ignored progress made" by covered states ▪ Court states Congress may draft a new "covered state" formula based on current  conditions ▪ Texas reacted by… □ □ • Voter ID Laws Immediately moved to enact 2 voting related laws still pending preclearance with  the federal government: Voter ID Law, and Redistricting Plan No additional state action required to implement TX voter registration changes, no  challenge by federal government ○ Not all of them created equal… ○ Photo ID laws cost a lot. ○ Greg Abbott, Texas Governor, claims that currently Texas is undergoing the "largest voter  fraud investigation in Texas history". ○ Texas NAACP v. Steen ▪ 2014: Federal district judge declared Texas Voter ID Law unconstitutional ▪ 2015: 5th Circuit Court (3 judge panel) agreed it was "discriminatory in effect"  ▪ 2016: Order to modify voter ID requirements ○ Do Voter Registration Drives pose a risk? ▪ Makes system more secure, but also harder to vote ▪ One of the harshest in TX • Executives ○ Governors usually come with considerable prior experience in public affairs ▪ Lawyer or business background common ○ Promotion from other statewide elective office is common, but not a rule ○ Television has added new prereqs for successfully running for office ▪ Youthful, photogenic good looks ▪ Able to always speak in "sound bites" and not frequently susceptible to "foot-in-mouth"  disease ○ U.S Gubernational Elections ▪ Always partisan, contested, almost always competitive (60-40 or tighter) ▪ Incumbent advantage is the real phenomenon for modern governors ○ Governorships are growing in power in a nationwide trend ▪ Governors frequently advocate for more roles to be handled by states….as long as the  feds pay the bill! ▪ Executive branch leadership is pertinent since it is composed of full time, experience  staff ▪ Media loves a face to focus on- governors fill that need! ▪ Governors are more politically ambitious than other state and local officials □ History repeats itself- lok at the governor to see if they will run for president □ Many will stay in public service after their terms, seeking that promotion ▪ Governors' careers can end by recall in 13 states, impeachment in 49 • What Do Governors Do? ○ Division of labor by role as self reported via survey of governors (differs by state) ▪ Administrator: MOST of the time ▪ Legislator: A LOT of the time ▪ Ceremonial Duties: A LOT of the time ▪ Chief Negotiator: A LOT of the time ▪ Public Opinion Leader: SOME of the time ▪ Party Leader: SOME of the time Governmental powers  POLS 207 Pae 8 ○ Governmental powers ▪ Appointment: Allowed to choose officials statewise, key factor to "strength" ▪ Tenure potential: ability to remain in office, can stay in for unlimited years, but few  governors make it more than 8. ▪ Managerial: oversight of administration, coordination, and executive orders □ Reorganization of executive branch is a powerful tool that can be used to improve  political control: replace some board members ◆ Can't replace em all, they have overlapping terms • More Governor Powers ○ Fiscal: In 48 states, Governor supervises preparation of budget ▪ In Texas, it is not so. Weakest fiscal influence here □ Legislative Budget Board (LBB) in charge □ Governor has NO appointment power to LBB ▪ Shares power to transfer money between programs for emergency needs □ Can use veto and "bully pulpit" ◆ Bully pulpit: Win the battle of public opinion, forcing LBB into something  they don't want to do ○ Legislative: All governors sign bills, or veto them. Also calls special sessions for legislators  that sets and limits their agenda ▪ Texas governorship is above average: has line item veto □ Line item veto: Governor not forced to make "all or nothing" decision, often  doesn't have an option to override if already out of session □ Too-frequent vetoes have been used in the past to paint Tedxas governors as  poorly skilled ▪ No guarantees that the legislature will pass any legislation in that special session, much  less legislation the governor wants ▪ Declare his/her top priority issues to be "emergency items" for the legislature □ The legislature doesn't force the legislature to do anything, but allows them to  work and vote on bills first, putting governor's prestige behind the bill  ○ There isn't much of a pattern between governor's institutional and personal powers ▪ The south tends to have governors with more personal power, while institutional power  there (and in the Rockies) is weak • Plural Executive: Mavericks Loose on the Range ○ Powers typically in the hands of one office are spread across multiple elected offces,  commisions, and boards ○ The dispersal done in the TX constitution was to create an institutionally weak chief  executive: Texans didn't want a king! ○ Lieutenant Governor: El Hombre Grande de Tejas ▪ Widely accepted as most powerful position in Texas  ▪ Power "voids" in Governor office inversely reflect strengths of Lt. Gov ▪ Elected seperately, could be different party than governor ▪ Not as senator, but is the most powerful legislator □ 4 year-term, builds power by repeated re-elections □ President of Texas Senate- since he leads and oversees all proceedings, has great  deal of influence □ Appoints senate committees, and assigns bills to them ▪ "co-chair" of 10 person LBB ▪ Chair of Legislative Council (investigates agencies, reccomends legislation, conducts  studies) ▪ Member of 5-person Legislative Redistricting Board ○ Comptroller ▪ 4-year term and broad financial responsibilities make this a powerful office □ Taxcollection, accounting, etc. □ Treasurer of state funds and investments □ Estimates revenue for state, also balanced bduget requirement □ Key office "at crossroads" of key policy areas  POLS 207 Pae 9 □ Key office "at crossroads" of key policy areas ◆ Thus, is gateway to higher state offices ○ Land Commissioner ▪ 4-year term, power derives from managing large amount of public land and resources  (energy!)  □ Issue permits for exploration and exploitation □ Royalties on oil and gas extracted on lands □ History and archives, state lands, coastal protection, emergency response,  Veterans' Land Board ▪ The state set aside millions of acres of state lands in the late 1800s □ Purpose of these lands was to generate revenue to indirectly fund all forms of  education in the state ◆ Lease payments and royalties are earned and invested ◆ Only interest is ever spent from these accounts • Who Else Runs the Government? ○ Railroad Commission (RRC) ▪ 3 commissioners with 6 year staggered terms □ Currently (2017) we have an attorny, a CPA, and an engineer, all from the oil and  gas industry ▪ Very powerful body in TX gov't: better name would be "Energy Commision" ▪ (GLO) General Land Office watches over the "who", "when", and "where" of energy  extration, while the RRC watches over the "how" and the "what" □ Technologies must be approved and properly implemented, and laws/regulations  of the state are followed ▪ RRC doesn't make the laws, but does write and adjudicate the regulations that  implement them □ Routinely at the center of conflict between industry and residents' concern about  negative impacts of fracking ○ Agricultural Commisioner ▪ Incumbent (2017): Sid Miller ▪ 4 year term and heads TX Dpt. Agriculture ▪ Enforces all agricultureal state laws for nation's 2nd leading ag. Producer □ Food inspection, promotion of exports, animal quarantine and disease/pest  control □ Inspection of gas pumps for accuracy (legacy regulating weights and measures) ▪ Continual conflict in duties: protect economy, and/or protect consumers and  environment? ○ Attorney General ▪ Incumbent (2017): Ken Paxton ▪ 4 year term as chief lawyer for state ▪ Role is mainly civil, not criminal □ Files suits for state, defends when needed ▪ Most law and criminal issues handled at city/county levels, not by AG.  □ AG candidates still tout their crime-busting skills to voters, though ▪ Source of power: formal opinions (interpretations) of legality/constitutionality of  proposed or enacted laws can make major impacts on public policy □ Have effect of law unless altered or overturned by legislature or a court • Bureaucracy: The Unelected Workhorses of the Executive Branch ○ Appointed and elected officials are the "bosses" bureaucrats are the staff of the agencies that  do actual government work ○ 13% of all U.S employees work for state na dlocal governments ▪ Likely your relatives, neighbors, friends, etc. Most not clerical workers, a common  stereotype of "bureaucrats" ▪ Over 50% of these are in primary and secondary public education ▪ Healthcare, police/fire, and corrections follow up as the next biggest categories Agencies  POLS 207 Pae 10 ○ Agencies ▪ Staff know what they are doing: they have command of a large amount of information □ Staff usually takes the "long view" of both history and future □ Not much is new: outcomes predicatable, they aren't going anywhere ◆ Can outwait elected officials and their office terms ▪ Agencies usually write procedureds giving them advantage, and clientele usually  support it □ • Agencies This gives the agency solid roots, most of what they do cannot be changed without  changing law due to their constitutional foundation ○ Some employees under the "merit system" in Texas to ensure fairness in each phase of  employment ○ Hiring insulated from politics, rather based on quaifications and testing ▪ Promotion and pay increased based on performance, professional development encouraged ○ Self Interest model of behavior applicable, because it grows the organization, which benefits  employees and offers worthwile goods and services to the client ○ Mission subjugated to survival and growth when faced with problems • Executive Branch Summary: the Texas Way ○ Governor has no broad powers over much of state government's business ○ Lt. Governor who is primarily a super-legislator, and more "sheriff" than "deputy" ▪ Chief executive when governor is out of state ○ "Plural Executive" that altogether has got all the pwoers the Governor ain't got ▪ Directly elected and not responsible to governor • Two Types of Law ○ Criminal and civil law can be applied to the same wrongdoing ▪ Ex: Criminal charge: murder, civil suit: wrongful death ○ Criminal law deals with actions harmful to the state as a whole ▪ The state is accuser and prosecutor, representative is county district  attorney/municipal attorney, less frequently. ▪ Prosecution is lengthy and multi step: □ Arrest made, charge(s) filed, evidence presented to grand jury, trial process(after  hearings) can all take a year or more! ▪ Only 10% of cases go to trial, most end in plea bargain ▪ Trials held in county courtrooms with county prosecutors and judges, but cases are "the  State of Texas vs. ____" □ County pays for costs of prosecution and country incarceration ▪ Standard of guilt: "Beyond a reasonable doubt" ▪ Two "levels" of crimes □ Misdemeanor: less serious punishment, initiated by district attorney "complaint" ◆ No grand jury involvment □ Felony: more serious punishment, district attorney "charge" ◆ Grand jury decides if evidence justifies prosecution ◆ "State jail felonies" will send a convicted person to county jail most likely ▪ Civil Law is basis for legal disputes between "individuals" over unment obligations or  perceived harms that cannot or will not be prosecuted under criminal law □ Plaintiff files complaint or legal suit against defendant □ Loser must compensate winner ◆ Standard of judgement: "Preponderance of evidence" ◆ Civil cases may apportion responsibility for loss (miltiple parties can be held  responsible) □ Corporations are treated as individuals in civil law, most disputes with businesses  are civil cases ▪ Federal courts handle issues under federal law □ Very few cases compared to the state  POLS 207 Pae 11 □ Very few cases compared to the state ▪ State courts handle issues under state law □ Basically all cases in the U.S ▪ Texas only has 2600 courts to handle its share of the load. This the real reason most  cases end in plea bargains • Court Systems ○ Pecking order: Supreme Court, then intermediate appelate courts, then trial courts  ○ Courts of appeal hear objections to lower court decisions ▪ Appeals can only be based on the trial judge's decisions about question of law: no juries! ▪ Either upholds or reverses lower court judgement □ Cannot set defendants free, but can "remand" cases to trial courts • Judiciary Voting Turnout ○ It's pretty low. Why? ○ Lots of independent runners, no need to campaign ▪ Public knowledge weak: don't know who's on the ballot ○ People get to choose who rule, will reflect weak demography ○ Donations starting to increase in the judiciary area, allows donor to have more power over  who wins • Death Penalty Facts ○ Texas accounts for more than a third of U.S executions ○ Average time on death row is 9 years ○ Capital punishment is losing public support ▪ Life-without-parole sentencing now available everywhere ▪ Deterence effect is doubled ○ Death penalty is 3-4 times more expensive than life-without-parole ○ Are we ever wrong? Exonerations set the innocent free… ▪ Perjury of false accusation lead number of exonerations, followed by official misconduct  and mistaken identification ▪ Across the U.S, 150 exonerations from Death Row since 1973, 12 in texas ▪ In Texas, 54 inmates were exonerated in 2015. Over 1/3 national total ▪ Average length before exoneration: 13.5 years □ Exonerated inmates suffer "Death Row Syndrome"  POLS 207 Pae 12

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