POLS 2306 Week 2 Notes
POLS 2306 Week 2 Notes POLS 2306
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Cindy Cattey on Thursday September 15, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to POLS 2306 at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi taught by Dr. Paula Arledge in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 6 views. For similar materials see State and Local Government in Political Science at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.
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Date Created: 09/15/16
Lecture Notes Week 2 Key ideas Definitions Court Cases FEDERALISM (9/5) • Interstate Relations: Constitutional requirements of states to prevent conflict o Full Faith and Credit Clause: a state must honor the legal actions/records of other states (ex: marriages and divorces) § When only some states had legalized same-sex marriage, the Supreme Court ruled that states that had not still had to recognize it o Privileges and Immunities: a state may not discriminate against a citizen of another state (i.e. no benefits to state citizens not available to non-residents) § exception: in-state tuition for universities § Justified because local taxes fund public universities, but they don’t fund as much now § 15 years ago, over 50% of UT’s expenses were paid by taxes, now it is less than 25% § Only 8% of the University of Colorado’s costs are paid through state funding o Extradition Clause: escaped prisoners must be returned to the state they are from § Puerto Rico v. Branstad: ruled that it is mandatory, not optional o Interstate Compacts: arrangements between multiple states to help solve problems they share § ex: nuclear waste plants can be shared between states § ex: NYC and NJ cooperate on trains, tunnels, highways, etc. (transportation) § can’t overstep federal supremacy: as long as the NG is acting correctly (legally within its authority), its actions are always supreme § ex: only NG can make treaties with foreign countries STATE CONSTITUTIONS (9/7-9/9) • Fundamental state law o Stands above any other law passed by state legislation or governor action o Limited by federal supremacy, cannot violate US Const. or federal law o US Term Limits v. Thornton (1980s): Arkansas tried to put term limits on its Congress members, but it violated the Constitution (no term limits for Congress) § You can limit state legislature, but not recreate a national institution • Functions o Guarantees Individual rights § States’ Bill of Rights can give more freedom than NG, but can’t be more restrictive § This is the first thing listed in the TX Constitution § Many state BOR include provisions saying you can’t discriminate based on sex/gender, NG doesn’t give that protection § Duplication of some federal rights allows citizens to go to nat’l or state courts § If one court strikes you down, you can try the other § ex: NG allows checkpoints, but many states rule against them o Structures Gov’t § Separation of powers between executive, legislative, and judicial branch § Favors legislation (assigned more powers than exec. and judicial) Lecture Notes Week 2 i. History: there was a distaste for executive power when most states were formed. The most hated person in the colonies was the Royal Governor who enforced the laws and interests of England ii. Constitutions are written by the legislation iii. Interest groups favor strong legislature. They have a better chance to get what they want than if they were to go to the executive (more points of access) o Allocate power o Limit power • Criticisms o Unnecessarily restrictive § Difficult for states to act in times of crisis (especially financially) § Limits how states can raise revenue (how/under what conditions it can tax) § Prop. 13 (5-6yrs ago): Limited property tax in CA, so they were unable to raise money when they were in danger of going bankrupt, amended the state Const. o Unrealistic citizen involvement § Citizens must approve changed to state Const., but the technical language is difficult to understand o Confuse fundamental with statutory § Fundamental: basic principles § Statutory provision: should be dealt with by legislature § State constitutions are much longer with many more amendments than the federal constitution because a lot of unnecessary provisions are included (interest groups are a large part of the problem) § AL ® 357,000 words, over 400 amendments § TX ® 90,000 words, many amendments § U.S. ® 8,700 words, only 27 constitutions § ex: MD Const. includes parking laws for Baltimore, LA Const. contains pipe manufacturing regulations (these should be statutory) o Archaic agencies/structures § Archaic = outdated § ex: every county in TX has a “hide inspector” (used to be necessary when we were rural to check for stolen hides at market, now unnecessary) o Haven for interest groups § Constitutions show which interest groups are powerful § In TX, oil and gas are king, so they are protected • Remaking Constitutions o MA ® 1 constitutions § Only state to still exist under its original const. from the 1700s (amended many times) o LA ® 11 constitutions (most of any state) o TX ® 6 constitutions • How changes to the Constitution can be proposed: o Legislative assembly (most common) Lecture Notes Week 2 § State legislature proposes changes to the state constitution § TX requires 2/3 vote in both houses to propose change § Every state except NE has a bicameral legislature o Constitutional Convention (rare today): expensive and time consuming § Over 200 in our history, most in 1800s and 1900s § Election on call: voters must approve conventions, must have a specific reason to meet § i.e., legislature sends the question to the voters: “Do we want to call a Const. Convention for the purpose of changing how we fund universities?” § Election on members: voting on who will be a delegate (by district), “super delegates” like governor are automatically involved § Delegates write changes they want to see o Initiative petition: voters skip legislature and propose changes themselves § Must have signatures equal at least 10% of the voters in the last governor’s race § Common when there is no legislative support, or the legislature doesn’t want to propose it (Prop. 13) o Constitutional commissions: unbiased advisory groups provide opinions to state legislature on what should be changed § Advisory groups are comprised of people from many different interest groups
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