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42 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
are “made” by selecting representatives who will follow the will of the electorate
Public laws (policies)
try to be responsive to both individual citizens and interest groups
State legislatures
state policies passed by legislatures
Statutes or statutory law
Other policies carry weight of law but are not statutes
(amendments, judicial rulings, etc.)
Most statutes stay the same, but there are always new ones being added, collected in
State laws must conform to both
state and national constitutions
people in small communities decide on policies directly (no council or legislature)
Town hall meetings
New England
public vote on a policy issue (26 states)
legislative proposal from the public, to be decided later
citizens petition to place issue on the ballot
petition forces state legislature to take up the issue
states allow citizen initiative to propose constitutional change (direct or indirect) – ended mon
the most essential feature of democracy
“Free and fair elections”:
would eliminate the ability, right of citizens to run for office, serve in government
Totally direct democracy
job is to discern policy problems, sort through the mountains of information, and make decisions
Most representatives prefer this model
Trustee orientation theory
Used most often
Politico orientation – representatives use good judgment to know when and when not to consult the constituency on a given issue
Winner-take-all or “first past the post
Single-member districts
Unlike national legislature, representation is strictly population-based
Bicameral legislatures (except Nebraska)
(20 states)
Term limits
are redrawn every ten years to document changes in the population
District lines
drawing district lines in a way that minorities could never win (1950s-60s)
Racial gerrymandering
helping individual constituents with problems
Candidate qualifications
States have basic requirements: age, citizenship, residency, voting registration
Southern states often have higher age requirements than Northern or West Coast states
National turnover average for incumbents
have a 90% reelection rate
At the federal level, incumbents in the House of Representatives
have advantage of name recognition, campaign funds, knowledge of issues, experience, and benefits of office (franking privileges, etc.)
filled with government buildings, monuments, parks, historical symbolism
State capitals
shift from one-party dominance in most states to two-party system
Partisan re-alignment
strong influence on what gets to the public; most legislators and party leaders are trained to handle the media
Media as political player
Chamber leadership
Primary chamber official (senate): lieutenant governor
Otherwise, legislature elects a president of the senate (president pro tempore – fills in for POS)
Responsibilities: order, decorum, recognition, controlling debate, scheduling/reference
presiding officer in state house of representatives; seniority
Makes committee appointments and chairs; refers bills to committee
Speaker of the House
Two types of legislative leaders
chamber and party leaders
keeps members advised of important committee, floor votes; prods votes
Party whips
spokesman for the governor and governor’s legislation
Floor leaders
members who introduce bills in the state legislature; put their name on the bill
Passing State Laws
File by the chamber deadline; after that requires a 3/5 or 2/3 vote to introduce
Three possibilities for bill in committee
Voted out with recommendation for passing
Amended or altered; even committee substitute
Die in committee
Major concern in debate
Fiscal notes
Sunset legislation
final vote on legislation
Roll call votes
Public education
“Robin Hood” laws
State control of school taxes
Accountability: standardized testing
Competition: open enrollment, vouchers
Child development (preschool) programs
State-licensed childcare
Although agencies fall under the executive branch, legislatures have