State Constitutions GOVT 2306
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Amina Notetaker on Monday February 8, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to GOVT 2306 at University of Texas at Dallas taught by Iliyan Rumenov Iliev in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 50 views. For similar materials see State and local government in History at University of Texas at Dallas.
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Date Created: 02/08/16
State Constitutions. Preferences as a society into a document Texas o Differs from other state constitutions Social contracts o Giving some powers to our governor/legislator to solve problems that we have o Rules and framework o Federal level Not many details in that contract o Texas A lot of details Constitution o Needs to solve problems and answer questions on actions, benefits, individual actions, exercise of power, etc. Democracy o Elections o Selection of policy o Norms, rights, and liberties Articles of confederations o Decentralized government with state control o Each state had one vote in Congress o Major legislation required unanimity votes Nothing would get done o Why did it fail? Coordination of Revolutionary war effort failed-national government had asked states for troops and supplies Disjointed fiscal policy-national government had debt but states were to pay it off No national currency New constitution o Virginia plan (large) Two chamber legislation based on population All power would mainly be in lower chamber o New Jersey plan (small) Single chamber legislation based on equal state representation Regulation of commerce Veto state legislation o Great compromise Two chamber legislature House of representatives--based on population Senate--equal for state o Compromise of needs for both large and small states o People to govern themselves o Common market Checks and balances o Veto power (checks) o No one branch can act alone (balances) Institutions are important o Defines everything First State Constitutions** Weakness of constitution o Length o Can end up with contradictions-the more we add to the length o Problem of substance-too many things added in there o Reform (1921) At state level Constitutional reform o Bicameralism vs. unicameralism (legislative branch) o Executive branch be centralized to office of governor o Local government-municipalities o Civil service needs to be merit based Goal of state constitution is to limit political power Questions o What should be in a constitution vs. what should just be a law? Influences of our current constitutions o 1837 Governor Edmund J. Davis was defeated Would not leave the Capitol Texas constitution micromanages-easy to amend and streamline o Provisions Pay, mileage reimbursement and per diem of legislators Have to bond authorizations for public works Max property tax rates Hospital districts are in the constitutions o Main principles Popular sovereignty We are voting for everyone in our government Limited government Separation of powers o Limitations on power Governors serve short terms State agencies are headed by elected officials who are voting for everyone in that agency Legislature will meet very rarely-140 days in odd years o Benefits Don’t have to interpret-everything is explicitly stated Not much debate on law Power of government is limited-intention-so we have the benefit o Drawbacks Does not adapt well under new circumstances-so we are not very good at adopting those principles Can be confusion-people take things a different way Texas constitution today o Really long o Many amendments and several local offices-executives-judges o Multiple courts that can hear a case o Have a bicameral legislation o Judiciary is fully elected o Very complicated system (the electorate) Weaknesses of Texas Constitution o Low pay and little support for legislature But interest groups are strong, providing a lot of information o Judicial independence Judges don't have to have a law degree, etc. o Education is not governed that much-is decentralized o Length=powers overlapping Not very efficient government Amendments o Most are proposed by state legislature and 60% of those are approved
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