Jun 24, 2024  
2023 - 2024 Catalog 
2023 - 2024 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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POL 212W - State and Local Governments

Credits: 3
Instructional Contact Hours: 3

Examines the development, structure, organization and problems of the state and local units of government, along with their relation to the federal government. (This course satisfies the American Government graduation requirement in all curricula.)

Prerequisite(s): High School GPA of 2.3 or higher within last ten years OR any ENG course with grade of "C" or higher, OR POL 103W  or POL 105W  with a grade of "C" or higher
Corequisite(s): None
Lecture Hours: 45 Lab Hours: 0
Meets MTA Requirement: Social Science
Pass/NoCredit: No

Outcomes and Objectives  

  1. To be able to demonstrate an understanding of the United States constitutional system as it relates to state and local governments.
    1. Define federalism in the American context.
    2. Define and explain the powers of the national government.
    3. Define and explain the powers of the state governments.
    4. Demonstrate an understanding of the limits of federalism.
    5. Explain the case McCulloch v Maryland and evaluate its importance in the federal system.
    6. Outline the power relationship between national and state governments as it relates to both federal law and monetary grants.
  2. Assess and evaluate the state constitutional system and its constitutional relationship to local units of government.
    1. Explain the problems related to state constitutions both in historical and current terms.
    2. List and explain the ways in which state constitutions can be amended.
    3. Evaluate the political problems involved in amending state constitutions.
    4. Describe the constitutional relationships between state and local governments.
    5. Describe the relationships between local governments.
    6. Outline problems between state and local and between local governments.
    7. Compare and contrast the United States' system of local government with that of the United Kingdom.
  3. To be able to define and evaluate the roles and functions of the governmental branches within the state political system.
    1. Define and analyze the usual powers of a state governor; including: appointive, budgetary, executive orders, veto.
    2. Demonstrate an understanding of the dynamics of managing state agencies and bureaucracies.
    3. Describe the functions and powers of the following state wide elected officials: Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Treasurer.
    4. Explain the powers of a state legislator.
    5. Describe the motivations for becoming a state legislator.
    6. List and explain the ways in which legislators are influenced.
    7. Outline the main arguments in favor of, and against, term limits.
    8. Define and explain the terms: Initiative, Referendum, Recall.
    9. Describe and explain state court structure.
    10. List, describe, and explain the methods by which judges are chosen and outline the advantages and disadvantages of each.
    11. Explain the justice system in terms of: prosecution/victim; defense/defendant; jury; sentencing; jails and prisons.
  4. To be able to define and evaluate the types, roles, and functions of local governments and their public officials.
    1. Describe and explain the functions of the following types of local governments: county, city, township, school districts, special districts,
    2. Compare and contrast the various forms of local governmental structure including: mayor-council (city), weak mayor/strong mayor (city), council-manager (city, township), commission (special district).
    3. Describe the types of political influences operating within local communities.
    4. Define and describe the term “metropolitan.”
    5. Outline the basic problems local governments within a metropolitan area confront.
    6. List and describe the issues and problems related to the following: education, social services, law enforcement, planning and zoning, transportation, economic development.
    7. Describe and explain the methods used to hire public employees.
    8. Explain the impact and role of public employee unions.
    9. List and define the types of tax systems and other revenue sources (including borrowing) utilized by state and local governments.
  5. To be able to outline and evaluate the state and local political process in terms of political parties and elections
    1. Compare and contrast the various state election systems.
    2. Compare and contrast the various local election systems.
    3. Analyze voter behavior on a state and local level.
    4. Outline and describe state political parties in terms of organization and offices.
    5. Describe the relationship between political parties and election campaigns and voters.
  6. Write effectively for a

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