- State and Local Government
- American Federalism
- State & Local Politics
- State Constitutions
- Parties & Elections
- State Legislatures
- State Governors
- State Judges & Justices
- State & Local Policy
- Staffing & Finance
- Digital Stories
This course is about the institutions and political forces that shape policy making and policy outcomes in state and local communities. To those of us who are students of American politics, states and their local government subdivisions are fascinating political laboratories that allow comparisons among different political systems. States vary in the powers given governors, how their legislatures are structured, how judges are selected and reviewed, and how they operate in a host of policy areas, including how they impose taxes. The party system is much weaker in some regions of the country than in others. State legislatures in some of the smaller or rural states meet for just a few months a year, whereas in other states they meet all year. The importance of interest groups and the media varies from state to state and from city to city. Generalizations are sometimes difficult, yet we try in this class to summarize what political scientists know about state and local politics and government.
State and local government and politics remain important not only to the residents of a particular state but to all Americans. A tax-cutting ballot initiative or legislative term limitation can spawn scores of similar votes in other states. And as we learned from the welfare reform legislation of recent years, states can be catalysts for change on the national level and then central to its implementation.
Those who want better government in their communities and states will not achieve it by sitting around and waiting for it. If government by the people, of the people, and for the people is to be more than just rhetoric, citizens must understand state and local politics and be willing to form political alliances, respect and protect the rights of those with whom they differ, and be willing to serve as citizen leaders, citizen politicians. We hope this class will motivate you to appreciate that every person can make a difference, and that all of us should work toward that end.
Dr. Michael Thompson
National, State and Local Politics
Brian Miller x
The national government and the state governments of the United States share the responsibility of powers. State governments were the first type of government for America. The thirteen colonies each governed themselves before the Constitution had been signed in 1787. After a while the colonies decided that they all needed a national government because having each state govern themselves was a weak type of government. When they drafted the Constitution, the colonies decided that they needed a federalism type of government, so the national and state governments can share some of the powers between the two.
National government handles things such as “social security, Medicare, student loans and grants, and various forms of food and nutritional assistant programs.”(Magleby, Light, & Nemacheck, 2014). This government is also responsible for protecting the American’s civil rights, for fighting inflation and unemployment, and funding scientific research. Printing Money, Regulating Interstate and international trade, making treaties, declaring war, providing an army and navy, establishing post offices, and making laws that are necessary and proper to carry out powers are also some of the more important responsibilities of the national government. They are the ones who assume the major responsibilities of the nation, but they do leave the “smaller” issues for the states. National Government officials include The President of the United States, The Vice President of the United States, the Supreme Court, along with other U. S Courts, Senators, Congress, and many others.
One of the most important things that the National Government does is set the currency system for the United States. This is the money and coins that are made and used. The National Government is also responsible for supplying that currency and distributing it where it is needed. Imagine the United States having 50 different types of currency running around. That means you would have to have a different form of money for every state you wanted to visit. It would be like going to a different country and not having the right kind of currency to buy anything.
Local governments are responsible for plowing snow from the streets, highways, and interstates, protecting the communities with local law enforcement agencies, keeping the water clean with water treatment plants and sewer treatment plants, and usually any local problem a community or city has. Local governments can included school boards, county commissioners, mayors ect. They are the ones who look upon your community and make the decisions for keeping it safe and running properly.
State governments are responsible for issuing licenses, conducting elections, electing local government officials, taking measures to ensure that public health and safety is met, ECT. They are the ones who look after the state as a whole and provides it with the safety and knowledge that it needs to functions properly. State officials include Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Insurance Commissioner, and State Treasurer among others that are elected.
Some powers are shared by the National Government and State Governments. These powers include but are not limited to: Collecting taxes, building roads, borrowing money, establishing courts, making and enforcing laws (local law enforcement and federal law enforcement), chartering banks and corporations, decisions on how to spend money for the general welfare of a community, state or region, and decisions to take over private property for public purposes. These type of powers that are shared between the national and state governments are called concurrent powers.
National, State, and Local government do have a lot in common. The goal of all the governments is to run a safe, politically correct, and fair America. Sharing some of the powers can be a godsend when looking at certain issue that come up, but also having specifically designed laws and tasks set out for different levels of government can come in handy as well. Could you imagine having a county commissioner making decisions about going to war? I don’t think so.
Ben's Guide (6-8): National Government versus Governments — Exclusive Powers. (2009, February 3). Retrieved March 28, 2015, from http://bensguide.gpo.gov/6-8/government/federalism2.html
Local Governments and Elected Officials. (2015, February 2). Retrieved March 28, 2015, from http://www.usa.gov/Agencies/Local.shtml
Kansas.gov - The Official website of the State of Kansas - Home. (2014, January 1). Retrieved March 28, 2015, from http://www.kansas.gov/
Government Agencies and Elected Officials. (n.d.). Retrieved March 28, 2015, from http://www.usa.gov/Agencies.shtml#Federal_Government
Magleby, D., Light, P., & Nemacheck, C. (2014). State and Local Government By the People (16th ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson.
Supreme Law of The Land
Jordan Harms x
The Constitution of the United State outlines the structure of the federal government it also dictates the range and boundaries of its control. The United States Constitution is known as “the supreme Law of the Land” and all other laws are assessed according to it. Each state in the union has a state constitution that is written specifically for the people and needs of that particular state. Just as the United States Constitution is considered the supreme law of our country a state’s constitution is considered the supreme law of that particular state.
A state constitution covers more details of the day-to-day relationships between a state, its residents and businesses. Typically a state constitution is longer and more detailed. The emphasis of a state constitution is more on restricting power rather than bestowing power; as its general authority has previously been established.
There are four states in the United States that use the term commonwealth in place of state. In domestic law it is just a matter of a difference in terminology. The states that are referred to as a commonwealth are Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Virginia,
A state constitution is generally modeled after the United States Constitution. Each state sets up a Bill of Rights for that particular state. It provides for the Guarantee Clause of Article 4 of the United States Constitution; which tells us that each state will be run as a democracy. It will be the people of that state who vote for the issues and the governing officials of that state.
A state constitution normally sets up the structure of the state government. The executive branch is headed by a governor. The executive branch normally includes a lieutenant governor and state attorney general. The next branch is the state legislature which consists of a bicameral, or two house system.
Every state in the United States has a two house legislative system except for Nebraska. The State of Nebraska has a unicameral or one house legislature. The legislative house in Nebraska is referred to as the legislature; its members are called senators. It is also the only state legislature in the United States that is nonpartisan; this means that the legislature is free any particular party affiliation.
After the legislative branch comes the judicial branch. The judicial branch includes a state supreme court which is the highest court in that state. Only a few states have a system with two high courts; one for civil cases and another for criminal cases.
U.S Constitution vs State Constitutions
McKenna Ortner x
A state constitution is basic laws that a state has laid out in which that specific state will be organized and the power and authorities of government between different political units and citizens. State constitutions usually consist of a preamble, a bill of rights, articles providing for the separation of powers, a two-house legislature, an executive branch, and an independent judiciary with the power of judicial review. They will also have a description of the form and powers of local units of government, an article on how to amend the constitution, and miscellaneous provisions dealing with election procedures, corporations, railroads, finances, education, and other specific topics. Though most constitutions are strikingly similar there are differences among the states.
One major difference a state may have is their government structure. The states are free to choose the governing structure as long as they obey the U.S. Constitution’s requirement of a republican form of government. Another difference that may be found when observing state constitutions is the bill of rights. The bills of rights in state constitutions are typically similar to the federal Bill of Rights, but they may use different language. Also states’ bills of rights can go beyond the protections in the U.S. Constitution, particularly with more recently emerging protections. Some examples of these protections are the right to an equal public education and the rights of crime victims. As stated thus far, many parts of the state constitutions are similar to those of the U.S. Constitution. However there are some differences that are needed.
State constitutions simply must contain more details than the U.S. Constitution. This is simply because the states are forced to handle much eider ranges of functions, educational provisions, and criminal codes. To aid with these specific concerns state constitutions will typically have articles that deal with specific substantive policies. Some examples of policies that articles may have include taxes, education, or health. Also in looks and physically the state constitutions are longer, on average containing roughly 26,000 words. This amount is about three times greater than the number of words the U.S. Constitution contains.
Some of the every first state constitutions gave legislatures power without much limits on how they should practice them. However after many legislatures abused the their power by giving superior privileges to railroads, canal builders, and other business interests, reform groups began to insist on certain control, since putting something in a state constitution typically makes it challenging to change than legislature. Due to this state constitutions became stuffed with layers of procedural details. This is not to say though that some matters are more appropriate for legislative act.
In particular the state constitution of Kansas is important to me. It is important for me to be aware of how the state is ran due to the fact that I am a Kansas resident and have been for five years. Kansas was the 34th state and is currently home to about 2,893,957 people. In the constitution lie a preamble, the Kansas Bill of Rights, and 15 articles and is considerably fewer than 50,000. The government structure in Kansas is the judicial system. The court system in Kansas contains the Kansas Supreme Court, 7 justices, the Kansas Court of Appeals, 14 judges, the District Courts, 31 judicial districts/ 105 counties, and the Municipal Courts. As one can notice Kansas’ state constitution has it’s own unique constitution but is very similar to the basic outline of the U.S. Constitution.
As stated in the previous paragraphs, state constitutions are unique to their own state. Many times they have a lot of the same information with a few little details here and there that will be useful in situations that are probable to arise in that state. These constitutions will give a basic outline that guides and tells the population of that state how the state should be ran to function effectively.
Tawnya Ramirez x
The First state constitutions help reflect the basic ideas of the declaration of Independence. It concluded ideas that were considered revolutionary, giving power to its own people. This was considered a radical but necessary idea to end the oppression of the British rule by our founding fathers. Our basic Rights were defined as “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The concept of state constitutions were to help the Federal government provide the people with basic rights, the idea that all men were created equal, and keep the power to the people by a separation of powers. The separation of powers is a system that that prevents the shift of power from going to only one part of the government by a series of checks and balances. To prevent being ruled by another government like the tyranny of Britain the new government was divided into three main branches of government, the Executive branch which is led by the president where they can recommend new laws and carry out federal laws. The second branch is the Legislative branch that is headed by congress, this branches main responsibility is to make the laws. The last branch is the judicial branch that is made up of the Supreme Court where they mainly interpret the constitution and review cases that involve state rights. State constitutions make and enforce laws that help form the backbone of our government and therefore help our nation to thrive.
The United States constitution set a central government and laws that guaranteed protection of the basic human rights of its people. It is the governing document of the entire United States compared to a States constitution, where it is a governing document of that particular State. State constitutions outline the same basic laws and principals that the U.S. federal constitution instills, however the states version is much more in depth limiting the general power that is established from federal constitutions. Each state has its own set of constitutions that include a bill of rights and laws that are unique to that particular state.
Each State’s constitution has an average of 26,000 words versus the U.S constitution which has about 8,700. Each state has its own set of constitutions that deals with issues that influence that state, and which they wishes to address. However the states own constitutions must also not contradict the U.S constitution. State constitutions can be amended, revised and changed through judicial action. There are several ways a state constitution can be revised or amended, such as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment ,an initiated constitutional amendment, a commission-referred amendment process, a constitutional convention or Through direct action of the state legislature where the people cannot vote. There are several reasons a constitution is amended or revised it could be a choice of the people or the government. A few examples include when a federal court asserts that a state's constitution is considered unconstitutional under the U.S. Constitution and must be removed or voided. Also if a state court decides that an amendment to the state's constitution is inappropriate.
Both State and Central government are responsible for separate things. Centralized Government is responsible for things like, printing money, establishing and maintaining military, regulating commerce between the states, and making laws to enforce the constitution and so on. Powers of the state governments consists of things like establishing local government, regulating intrastate commerce, conducting elections and ratifying amendments to the U.S constitution.
This Great country is made up of 50 individual states and one of the best forms of government in the world. Nothing is perfect and our state constitutions can sometimes be so detailed that they actually affect the productiveness of our government. This is still a country where the people have a say in how it’s governed and natural born rights given to each and every one of us, and that is a beautiful thing.
1. Longley, R. (2015, March 26). Federalism: National vs State. Retrieved March 26, 2015, from http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/rightsandfreedoms/a/federalism.htm
2. state constitutions. (2008, January 1). Retrieved March 26, 2015, from http://www.ushistory.org/us/14a.asp
Jason Manning x
Each state in the glorious country of the United States of America is Special because each state is entitled and has its own constitution. Most of the time these constitutions are much larger than the federal constitution. The federal constitution is 8,500 words and so most of the state constitutions exceed this word count. The shortest word count of all the state constitutions is the Constitution of the state of Vermont. The constitution of Vermont Has a word count of 8,295 is slightly less than the Federal constitution but as you can tell its not far behind. The largest state constitution is the constitution of the state of Alabama with its constitution being a whopping 357,157 words.This example is to show just how large the state constitutions are in regards to the federal constitution. As such these larger constitutions are more thorough in detailing the relationship between government and people.
The 10th Amendment of The United States Constitution was written in because the states themselves did not want a constitution to apply to the states as a collective. That is why the states write their own constitutions so that they can dictate how the government and the peoples relationships will play out. This was put into play in such a way as to prevent what I believe would be a to powerful government, to prevent tyranny in a way. The state put these constitutions into effects so that they could govern their own land. While they still have to follow a set of rules put into place by our nations overseeing government the constitutions of each state allows that state to govern themselves through their own form of a lesser government.
Usually state constitutions are made as to not focus on just one thing in particular. State constitutions are usually made to cover a large quantity of ideas and problems that the state feels the need to address. If the state feels that an issue needs to be addressed and offers enough importance to become significant the issue may be put into the states constitution. Although the states are free to make their own constitutions these state constitutions are the majority of the time based around if not off of the federal constitution. These state constitutions will go over the structure and building blocks of the government of the sate. The state constitution will also usually have a bill of right addressed somewhere in the constitutional writing. The constitution also lays out the role of a Governor who rules over an executive branch. This constitution will also put into place a legislature along with a state supreme courts and state courts. Many more things may be possibly put into the states constitution depending on what issues need to be addressed or if a high significance is needed to be placed on the idea. Same states even allow their constitutions to be amended if need and if the amendment is seen fit.
Kansas State Constitution
Andrew Todd x
The Constitution of the State of Kansas is very unique. There were four separate drafts submitted to Congress for admission into the United States: The Topeka Constitution, The Lecompton Constitution, The Leavenworth Constitution and finally the Wyandotte Constitution.
The Topeka constitution was only voted on by those who wanted Kansas to be a free state. This constitution also stated that "every civilized male Indian who has adopted the habits of the white man," as well as white males, were given the right to vote.
The Lecompton Constitution was the second to be submitted. This one was drafted by a proslavery convention. When this constitution was submitted to voters within the region to vote, they could vote for a constitution with slavery or without slavery. Those who believed slavery should not be permitted chose not to vote since the option without slavery allowed people to retain the slaves they had already purchased.
While the Lecompton Constitution was being drafted, Governor Frederick P. Stanton created another convention. The Leavenworth Constitution was more radical than the others. This constitution would have allowed free black negroes and mulattos to be part of the state.
The Wyandotte Constitution was the final constitution sent to Congress. Negroes were not excluded from the territory, but it seems that it was implied, since "white" was left in the document. When this fourth constitution was put to Congress, 4 states had already seceded from the union. Eight of the 33 states were not represented, and Kansas' constitution was finally ratified.
The Kansas Constitution consists of an Ordinance and Preamble, a Bill of rights, and 15 articles. The Ordinance assigns land for public schools, a State University, public works and charitable organizations. The Preamble starts with a recognition of and gratitude for the blessings of God, and then lays out the boundaries of the State.
The Kansas Bill of rights lists 20 rights guaranteed to citizens, most of which mirror those in the US Constitution. Number six outlaws all slavery except as punishment for crimes committed. This was a point of much contention during the ratification process. Number 20 states that any powers not delegated to the state in the Constitution are retained by the people of Kansas.
Articles 1-5 deal with the organization of the government, separation of powers, elections, and voting rights. Article six lays out the public education system, the state university, and funding for both. Seven deals with public institutions and welfare, and 8 concerns the state militia. Article nine describes the organization of Counties and townships, and ten describes the process of drawing district lines. Article 11 contains guidelines for taxation and state finance, and articles 12 and 13 govern banks and corporations. Article 14 lays out the two methods through which the Constitution may be amended, and Article 15 is miscellaneous.
The Kansas Constitution can be amended through either the “legislatively-referred constitutional amendment” method or the “constitutional convention” method. Since it’s ratification in 1859, there have been many amendments passed. Some of the more notable include: Prohibition of the sale of alcohol - 1880, Suffrage for women – 1912, and the repeal of prohibition in 1948. The most recent were a 2005 amendment to define marriage as being between one man and one woman and a 2012 amendment related to the classification of certain watercraft.
Despite the controversy in its inception, the Wyandotte Constitution’s ability to be amended enabled it to be flexible, and appealed to a large population. As times progress, and our society’s values continue to change, our constitution will continue to change, reflecting the values of the people it governs.
Constitutional Amendments. (n.d.). Retrieved March 19, 2015, from http://www.jocoelection.org/archives/History/H-ConstitutionalAmendments.htm
Kansas Constitution. (2015, January 14). Retrieved March 21, 2015, from http://kslib.info/constitution
Loren Evans x
A state constitution is the governing document of a U.S. state, comparable to the United States Constitution which is the governing document of the United States. Each state has its own constitution. Usually, they are longer than the 8,500-word federal Constitution and are more detailed regarding the day-to-day relationships between government and the people. The shortest is the Constitution of Vermont, adopted in 1793 and currently 8,295 words long. The longest is Alabama's sixth and current constitution, ratified in 1901, at 357,157 words long. Both the federal and state constitutions are organic texts: they are the fundamental blueprints for the legal and political organizations of the United States and the states, respectively.
The Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, part of the Bill of Rights, provides that "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." The Guarantee Clause of Article 4 of the Constitution states that "The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government." These two provisions indicate states did not surrender their wide latitude to adopt a constitution, the fundamental documents of state law, when the U.S. Constitution was adopted.
Typically state constitutions address a wide array of issues deemed by the states to be of sufficient importance to be included in the constitution rather than in an ordinary statute. Often modeled after the federal Constitution, they outline the structure of the state government and typically establish a bill of rights, an executive branch headed by a governor (and often one or more other officials, such as a lieutenant governor and state attorney general), a state legislature, and state courts, including a state supreme court (a few states have two high courts, one for civil cases, the other for criminal cases). Additionally, many other provisions may be included. Many state constitutions, unlike the federal constitution, also begin with an invocation of God.
Some states allow amendments to the Constitution by initiative. Many states have had several constitutions over the course of its history. Every state chose to answer these questions in different ways based on distinctive local experiences, but in most cases colonial traditions were continued, but modified, so that the governor (the executive) lost significant power, while the assemblies (the legislative branch, which represented the people most directly) became much more important. We'll focus on the new rules created in three states to suggest the range of answers to the question about how to organize republican governments based upon popular rule.
John Adams remarked that the Pennsylvania constitution of 1776 was "so democratical that it must produce confusion and every evil work." He would be elected to the Presidency in 1796. Pennsylvania created the most radical state constitution of the period. Following the idea of popular rule to its logical conclusion, Pennsylvania created a state government with several distinctive features. First, the Pennsylvania constitution of 1776 abolished property requirements for voting as well as for holding office. If you were an adult man who paid taxes, then you were allowed to vote or even to run for office. This was a dramatic expansion of who was considered a political person, but other aspects of the new state government were even more radical. Pennsylvania also became a "unicameral" government where the legislature only had one body. Furthermore, the office of the governor was entirely eliminated. Rather than continue those forms of government, the Pennsylvania constitution decided that "the people" could rule most effectively through a single body with complete legislative power.
Hunter Price x
The United States Constitution is made up for rules, laws, and standards or expectations to be met by all people living in the United States of America. Where as the State’s Constitution is more or less the same thing only for that specific states. Where all states must fallow the United States Constitution they must also live to there state constitution as well.
The State Constitution is more a set of regulations than the United States Constitution. It is much longer than the U.S. Constitution. The constitution of Alabama is six hundred pages long. State constitutions are also more apt to be amended. The U.S. Constitution has only been amended seventeen times where the Constitution of Massachusetts has been amended more than one hundred and twenty times. The constitution of Georgia has been completely rewritten up to ten times.
The United States Constitution is much more set and stone than a State Constitution. It is much less restrictive allowing more freedoms and focusing more on the morals of what is expected from the people living in the United States. It is what the United States stands for as a whole. The United States Constitution is our organizational document. It describes the balance of powers and the three branches of government. It also explains the amendment proses.
/Amanda Miller// x
Voting is a method for a group of people to make a decision about certain things. Democrats elects holder of high office by voting. A voting system enforces rules to ensure things to the people of America. A government is choosing by voting in an election only by the democrats. The United States is held under a democracy which mean voting goes for a lot in the U.S. There are three different types of ways to vote one being Plurality electoral system, the next is majority electoral system, and last is the proportional representation. Voting in American is very important it is how we the pick things such as president, governors, and so on.
The first method of voting I would like to talk about is the Plurality voting system. The plurality system works best under a two party election. This is a system where it’s a single winner. This system is used to elect executive officers or to elect members of legislative. This system can also be used for multi-member constituencies. It is distinguished from the majority system to win the election. Some of the good things about the system is that it is easily understood by voters. Some people have may have just start voting when they turned eighteen years old would understand this system very well. It is a quick decision for most and does not cost as much as other methods in voting. Some of the down sides to it is when it is more than two candidates in the election, it could result in the candidate with the minority of votes because you only need as little as 25% of the votes to win. How they have improved it is by election by an absolute majority and proportional representation.
The second method of voting I would like to explain is the majority electoral system also can be call the second ballot. This is the system that picks the most qualified personality is selected to represent the constituency. In this election most small parties have no chance in winning. They don’t have a chance a winning because most are not qualified to fill the position. Only way they could win is if they have a popular political view differing from the rest of the country. Also with this system only one Member of Parliament is to be elected per constituency. A lot of countries use this system such as the U.K, Bahamas, and Bangladesh and so on. It is not so much used in the United States.
The third system is the proportional representation. This system is also known as the “PR” and is a system that attempts to make the percentage of the office awarded to the candidates. Voters normally vote for parties more so than an individual. It is the most used system in the world. And this system is also used in America to pick vote on lower levels such as city councils but that’s only in the U.S.A. This system is to award the person with the same seats as parliament. Some of the problems with this system is that is if the voting does not translate with the seats in parliament? Then nobody would be able to win the election.
+** Voting in Elections**
Karly Kriss x
The United States is under the rule of democracy, meaning the power is with the people. Giving the people this power means letting them decide their own leaders through elections. Every year there are many state and local elections that happen every so many years.
The first round elections are called the primary elections and these elections happen in the spring after the officials have been selected. These primary elections are done to determine what candidate will run under what party. For example, Republicans are competing with Republicans and Democrats are competing with Democrats. The next election, the general election, will determine actual officeholder positions. These elections may be interspersed with special elections. Special elections are generally held to fill vacant offices, address one-time issues, elect local school boards, or adopt fiscal measures. Special elections are basically elections in which voters decide on ballot initiatives vote on statewide constitutional changes or new constitutions, or elect a new representative to replace one who has died or resigned. Finally there are recall elections, which call for a vote to remove an official from office before their term has ended.
With that basic information about types of elections, one may wonder who all can vote. Back when the American Democracy was first established, only white male landowners could vote. The first change to that rule was the Fifteenth Amendment, which prohibits denying the ability to vote to anyone because of “race, color, or previous condition of servitude. Next came the Nineteenth Amendment, which granted women the right to vote. And finally the Twenty-Seventh Amendment, which allows qualified people who are 18 or older to vote. Some states, like Maine and Vermont, allow inmates to vote. Most states also refuse to register parolees or convicted felons. More than half the states have a mental competency requirement for voting. Forty-nine states require that the voter register before voting. All of these regulations can have a great impact on the voter turnout. The voter turnout is the proportion of voting-eligible public that votes.
So to actually place a vote in an election, one must fill out a ballot. There are many different types of ballots including paper ballots, punch cards, or lever machines. With the increase in technology electronic touchscreens and optically scanned paper ballots have become available. With this growth in technology is will become very difficult for the local governments to fund machines for voting. The ballots themselves can come in two different forms: party column ballot and straight ticket. The party column ballot is made by political parties to encourage party line voting. It has the party name and symbol at the top, along with the candidates underneath. A straight ticket is a vote for all of one’s party candidates. Some states use the office block ballot to discourage the use of straight tickets. These ballots list all the candidates running for an office together in one block or on one screen, all those running for another office in one block, and so forth. Office block ballots encourage split ticket voting, or voting for a candidate of one party and voting for another candidate of another party. The last system of voting is through the mail or online voting. These ballots are then taken and processed to determine the winner of the election.
In conclusion, voting in an election can be a very detailed and tricky process to understand. From the voting regulations to the different ballots, placing a vote can be tricky. But as a democracy, one must take advantage of this freedom and vote! Every vote can make a difference, especially your vote.
The Electoral Process
Miranda Hernandez x
According to the United States Constitution, a presidential election is to be held once every fourth year. The process of electing a President and Vice-President begins long before Election Day. Candidates from both major and minor political parties and independent candidates begin to raise money and campaign at least one year in advance of the general presidential election. In order to officially represent a political party, a candidate must be nominated by that party.
This primary nomination process is a contest that often produces factions within political parties. These divisions impact the policy stances and agendas of the candidates running for nomination as they attempt to garner the support of party leaders and activists. The nominating process officially begins with the first state primaries and caucuses, which usually occur in the month of February of the election year. It is at these local events that voters are given their first chance to participate in electing the nation’s next President.
There are many factors that influence who will ultimately become the candidate for a party. The public’s perception of the candidates is influenced by such things as media reports, public opinion polls, candidate preference surveys, and advertising. These factors will help determine the perceived strengths and weaknesses of the candidates in the months leading up to the caucuses and primaries.
The spring of an election year is characterized by vigorous campaigning for primaries and caucuses all over the nation. This process reaches its crescendo at the national conventions of the political parties. Once at the national party conventions, the delegates from the states cast votes for the person who will represent the political party in the November general election. In order to secure a party’s nomination, a candidate must receive a majority of the votes from the delegates. It is not unusual for delegates to vote several times before one candidate secures the majority of the votes and officially becomes that party’s candidate for the election to determine the next President of the United States. The candidate for President then must choose a vice-presidential candidate. Generally, a running mate is chosen that will in some way balance the party’s ticket for the general election. This balance may be geographic (choosing a running mate that is very popular in one region where the Presidential candidate is not) or ideological (choosing a running mate with a different ideological framework than the presidential candidate), and the balance is intended to make the overall general election ticket of a political party acceptable to as wide a range of voters as possible.
If a President is running for re-election, this nomination process must be completed. Even if the President does not face any opposition from within his own political party, the national convention will still occur. The conventions are extravaganzas, full of pageantry and showmanship. They serve to help jump start the general election campaign for the presidential candidates.
Jason Manning x
Whats your Political affiliation? Most people have heard this question at least once in their life. Perhaps on a rare occasion someone hasn't, but that's probably because they live in a small town were every one is a retarded, pot smoking, gun grabbing, liberal. That aside most people identify with some sort of political affiliation. Now each of the political parties center around how they believe government and the people of america should live and what should be lawful or not. Identifying with a political party is a personal issue, one that every person should think long and hard on. People shouldn't just affiliate with a political party purely because that's the one their parents or friends identify with. Identifying with a political party is something that some research should be put into. Analyze what the party believes in in all aspects, what the parties views are and how your views on the subject either correlate or oppose their views as a political party. People as a whole should worry themselves with politics, without politics and having your say in them, think how quickly a nation could turn out how you wouldn't want it. Scary thought right? Imagine a totalitarian society purely because people didn't want to look into politics.
Now there are many political groups one might be able to affiliate with, but as of right now will only go over a few Mainly being the two main political parties that are easily recognized. Democrat and Republican.
The Democratic party was founded in 1828, but back then it was known under a different nomenclature. In the beginning it was known as the Democratic-Republican party, eventually it became known as it is today. The party supports equality and creating a welfare state. (So that's were your taxes go! Helping people who don't want to work. (Good for people who are looking for work but need a little help along the way.) Currently in 2015 the Democratic party is on the smaller edge of the spectrum in the house of representatives.
The other greater known party is the Republican party. This party was founded in 1854 by anti-slavery activists. Its also known under the lesser known name of the Grand Old Party. The party supports american conservatism. This means they support letting the people decide through more of a limited government, and supporting a stronger national defense, which includes the ability to defend your self. Currently right now in 2015 the Republican party has the majority of seats in the house of representatives.
The lesser known parties include independent party, the liberal party, a green party. And a few others. These parties are separate from the two main parties but stand for their own personal views. Something that people should take into account when affiliating themselves with a party.
Political Parties in America
Hannah Albin x
The nation started with two political parties: the Federalists and the democratic-republicans. They would take sides and start debating over the Constitution. This disagreeing has continued throughout American history. America is known as a multi-party system, meaning we do have third party candidates at times although it is a rare occasion. The republicans and democrats make up the two most popular political parties in America today. Republicans are known as conservative and democrats and liberal. The democratic party actual began thirty years before Republican Party.
Following are some of the main disagreements today that the democrat and republican parties are having today. The democrats are in favor or community and social responsibility whereas republicans are more for individual rights and justice. A couple big ones that have to do with a personal view of beliefs today are abortion and gay marriage. Democrats would be in support of gay marriage and pro-choice meaning they think abortion shouldn’t be made illegal because it’s the women’s choice. On the other side of the spectrum are republicans who are against gay marriage, what they say as pro-life and think the abortion should be illegal. Some other things they don’t agree on are taxes and healthcare. Republicans believe that no one should be taxed more where the democrats think it would be wise to raise taxes for the wealthier.
Republicans are for private company healthcare and oppose some of the regulations of Obama care, and on the other hand Democrats believe in government involvement in that area support Medicare, Medicaid, and Obama care. Republicans also think that minimum wage shouldn’t go up because it will hurt the businesses causing tight margin businesses to either increase prices or decrease jobs. But democrats want to raise minimum wage to help individuals not agreeing with the republicans on the damage it will and can do to businesses. The list of disagreements goes on; another thing the two parties wouldn’t agree on is military. The Republican Party would like the military to increase in size as well as in power, which in their viewpoint would act as a deterrent. However the Democratic Party would like it to decrease the military’s size for a savings in the budget as well as having the nations of the world view us as a peaceful people. A really big controversy is gun control.
Democrats would favor more gun control laws and oppose conceal carries in public settings and the republicans are opposite they disagree with gun control laws and support the second amendment. There are many differences between these two party and often don’t agree as you’ve read and know. So often we get caught up in that and forget that they are similar in some ways. They both are for liberty, equality, and individualism. As well neither party thinks America should disregard the Constitution, and follow the electoral process. Political parties played a big role then and still do in American government and politics!
Ushistory.org. Political Parties. American Government Online Textbook. 28 Mar. 2015. Web. http://www.ushistory.org/gov/5a.asp
Party System. Library of Congress. 28 March 2015. Web. http://www.loc.gov/teachers/classroommaterials/presentationsandactivities/presentations/elections/partysys.html
Democrat vs. Republican. Diffen. 28 Mar 2015. Web. http://www.diffen.com/difference/Democrat_vs_Republican
+ + **Two Parties Emerge**
Chelsie Calliham x
The election of 1796 brought change for the United States because for the first time political candidates at local, state and national levels ran for office as members of a party who had completely different political principles and beliefs. Shocked by the thought, older revolutionary era politicians believed it was only a phase that would happen for elections that had controversy. Little did they know, the importance of the peoples’ opinions in their new democracy would continue for years to come.
The two parties, at the time, were the Federalists and the Democratic- Republicans. Federalists favored the Constitution and were strong supporters of the federal administration. The party consisted of merchants, creditors and urban artisans of the northeast. The opposing party, Democratic- Republicans, were committed to extending the American Revolution and had members throughout the country consisting of farmers among German and Scot- Irish groups.
Now our country is still divided into two major parties, but they are very different than the parties that started in our country in 1796. The Democrats and Republicans are the two major political parties currently in the United States. Some of the main differences in the parties include views on taxes, the role of the government, entitlements, healthcare and gay rights. They even are complete opposites in their symbols and colors.
Democrats are also known as Liberals or the left leaning party. Their economic ideas include minimum wage, progressive taxation and higher taxes rates for people who make a higher income. They also believe that government regulations are needed in order to protect the consumer. In terms of healthcare, they strongly support universal healthcare and government involvement. This includes Medicare, Medicade, and now Obamacare. Another big difference is their stance for being pro- gay marriage and want less spending towards military. Usually, states that have a higher population of Democrats are California, Massachusetts, and New York. Their symbol is the donkey. This symbol was first associated with Andrew Jackson when he ran for the 1828 election. Simply put, Jackson’s opponent called him a “jackass” for his beliefs. Surprisingly, Jackson embraced these comments and used a picture of a donkey on his campaign posters. Later, famous cartoon artist Thomas Nast used Jackson’s idea of the donkey in his political cartoons for the Democratic Party. It has remained the symbol ever since.
On the other side of the aisle, Republicans are the conservative group who is also known as the right leaning party. They believe taxes shouldn’t be increased if you are a higher income earner and that the free market should set wages. Another economic idea of the Republican Party is the idea of flat taxes. Flat tax means that everyone pays the same amount in taxes regardless of their income. They believe that there is too much government control and it negatively affects capitalism and job growth in the United States. As far as healthcare goes, they again believe our government shouldn’t control it. They definitely disagree with Obamacare since it requires individuals to buy health insurance and requires the coverage for the cost of contraceptives. Instead, Republicans agree private companies should provide that healthcare and it should be the citizens’ responsibility to purchase it. The Republican Party is anti-gay marriage and believes we should be spending more on our military. Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas lead the population of states with Republicans. Their symbol is the elephant, which was also created by Nast. A cartoon he created in 1874 showed a donkey, the Democratic Party, clothed in a lion’s skin in the jungle that was scaring away all of the other animals except for one courageous elephant that was labeled “the Republican vote”.
The parties do show major differences in their beliefs but that is what makes the United States of America a successful democracy. Although, Republicans and Democrats do have many things they disagree on, we hope they both still have the best interest of our country in mind.
By Jordan Harms x
Nebraska has a unique type of legislature. Forty-nine out of fifty states in the United States of America use a two-house legislative system. In Nebraska a one-house system of legislation is used. It is referred to as a unicameral. Nebraska didn’t always have a unicameral.
George Norris, a “New Deal Republican” from McCook campaigned for a measure to change the state’s legislative process from a two-house legislative process to a one-house. He drove all over the State of Nebraska speaking for the measure. He claimed that the two-house system was not efficient and out of date. During his campaigning for the measure George Norris reportedly drove so many miles that that he wore out two sets of tires.
Norris pointed out that a bicameral system was patterned after the British Parliament. The British Parliament is composed of the House of Commons, with its representatives chosen by the people; and the House of Lords, with its upper-class members handpicked by the King. According to George Norris, “…The constitutions of our various states are built upon the idea that there is but one class. If this be true, there is no sense or reason in having the same thing done twice, especially if it is to be done by two bodies of men elected in the same way and having the same jurisdiction.”
One of the regularly asked questions during George Norris’s trip throughout Nebraska was how do you preserve checks and balances to preclude the exploitation of power. Norris explained that the Supreme Court and the governor would decide on or deny measures that were determined to be unacceptable. The voting public would function as a check on any potential abuse of power by the officials that they had elected into office. The people could do this through their right to vote and petition. More rights were extended to the press, with the intent to increase public knowledge.
In a one-house legislature dealings could not be obscured as often occurs in the conference committee of a two-house system. Conference committees solve differences when bills forwarded in both houses differ in content. In Nebraska’s unicameral an appointed six-member committee meets in private; the vote of the committee members does not become a part of public record.
When a bill is out of the conference committee it not allowed to be altered. It has to either be approved or disapproved. If it is rejected a different committee is created to work out the differences or the measure is unsuccessful. Currently, lawmakers can propose amendments and discuss them on the chamber floor, outside of committee.
Several factors aided in the passing of a one-house legislature. Probably the biggest factors were the Depression of the 1930’s along with Norris’s influence in the state. With nearly 60% voting in favor of Nebraska becoming the first, and only, unicameral in the United States. The last bicameral session in Nebraska was in 1935, lasting 110 days, approving 192 bills and cost the public $202,593. The first unicameral session in 1937, lasted 98 days, approved 214 bills and cost Nebraskans $103,445 approximately a 34% savings.
State Governors Important Roles
Kaice Allen x
A state governor serves a term of 4 years with the exceptions of Vermont and New Hampshire where it is only 2 years. A fun fact for you is the longest serving current governor is Terry Branstad of Iowa, who got elected to his 6th non consecutive term.
The governors serving today must step into certain roles and while some of those roles are constantly expected of the governors, others arise sporadically. Also some may be more important than others and due to this fact the governors personal preference to the roles they are given will affect the choices they make while they are in office. The primary roles of governors are those of chief legislator and chief executive. Although these are the roles that will be discussed in this paper they are not the only roles governors must take on. They also take on the role of chief of state on an on going basis, crisis manager, chief judge, chief of party, intergovernmental liaison, and military chief, which are important, but not as time consuming or as constant as the main roles of this paper. When these roles do arise, however, they take up most of the state governors time.
The first role is chief legislator, which is probably the most important role of the governors in the modern period. They take the lead in all lawmaking procedures, which are mostly laws considered and passed by the state legislative body, and they are tools for the legislative branch. Although they are not technically a part of the legislative branch they do help in some ways. In state governors legislative roles they are given tools themselves that they can use, such as, the veto, the power to present a state of the state address, and the power to prepare and administer the budget. As the chief legislator the state governor has to deal with some issues, such as, policy making. If they want to set a new policy they have to convince the legislature, which is not always a yes or no issue, it can be very time consuming and arguments will arise for the new policy and against it. Agenda setting is the first step in policy making which is important for all state governors who want to make a difference.
The next role is chief executive, which is the second key role of the governor. The governor must make sure laws are being faithfully executed. This role is a very difficult one and the least politically rewarding. This role is very time consuming and unsuccessful most of the time, unlike the role of chief legislators, and do to how much work is involved it can not be solely done by the state governor. The state bureaucracy must work with the state governors to carry out the laws in a fair and just way. This brings up more issues for the state governor, because they have to manage the state bureaucracy throughout this whole process, which adds on to the already time consuming job. Bureaucracies are notoriously difficult to handle because they are made up of hundreds and thousands of people who have their own opinion. Even though this role is time consuming it is still a critical job that has to be done.
State governors take on many roles and have many responsibilities, but the most important ones are that of chief legislature and chief executive. Even though one role might be more rewarding than the other they both are critical for the success of the state governor while he or she is in office.
State Governors Responsibilities
In all fifty states, governors serve as chief executives by playing part in legislation, making all of the executive orders and having appointment and emergency powers. However, one must follow the qualifications in order to become a state governor. In each state, the qualifications vary when it comes to minimum age, USA citizenship and state residency. The age requirement ranges anywhere from no requirement to 35 years of age. The requirement for USA citizenship is the same way ranging from no requirement to 20 years. State residency can range from no requirement to seven years. Most states are very similar in having a term length of four years, besides Vermont and New Hampshire. Once elected, the governor starts taking on full responsibility for his or her state.
There are two very important roles that governors play in their state legislature. First, they have the power to call special legislative sessions. These cases must be planned prior with a purpose and agenda. Second, they must work with the state legislature in many ways including approval of state budgets, enactment of state legislation, confirmation of executive and judicial appointments and legislative oversight of the executive branch functions. Legislation reviews and approves all of the governors state budgets. But in most states, governors have the power to line item veto their objections. This allows state governors to play a huge role in where the budget is emphasized. Governors and legislatures together make sure that they have the same goals and priorities for their state.
Most state governors have a huge amount of power when nominating officials to be a part of the state executive branch. Many of these members will become part of the governors advisory committee that is known as the cabinet. The cabinet is mostly made up of people who are the head of state departments and agencies. Their main role is to direct the governor in policy making. Governors may also appoint state judgeships.
Governors can issue executive orders that are found in their constitution and are used for many reasons such as to declare emergency powers in natural disasters or energy crises, to create committees and to address management or administrative issues. As governor, he or she must be prepared for any disaster and ensure the state’s safety. Most emergencies can be taken care of at the local level. In some more serious cases, the president may declare disaster nationally. Each governors main goal is to be prepared for normal events like tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, power outages, fires, and hazardous spills. The states main focus for disasters and emergency preparedness are prepare, prevent, respond and recover. These help the governor to communicate with the public and come up with an effective strategy for the emergency.
In Kansas, our governor plays the role of constitutional officer, head of the executive branch and the highest state position available. We have four-year terms that are popularly elected. However, no individual may serve more than two terms. Our current governor is Sam Brownback. He is the 46th governor in Kansas and was elected to his first term in 2010. He was later reelected again in 2014.
Governors are the leaders of state government and can make huge changes in our states. This job comes with plenty of stress, hard work and determination. Every governor must realize how influential they truly are in our state government.
Karly Kriss x
Becoming a State Governor
Each state’s constitution explains they rules for eligibility, tenure, and salary for its governor. Thirty five sates require their governors to be at least 30 years old, and 28 states require candidates to be residents of the state for at least five years immediately before the election. States including California, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin all have an age limit of 18 years or old, but the odds are often against them. There are often well-planned career paths that lead right to being a governor if the age required is met. During 2012, the stereotypical governor was a 60-year old white male. During that time the oldest governors were 74 and the youngest governors were 40 and 41. There were 6 female governors and one African American governor, as well as, two Latino governors. Twenty-nine governors were Republican and 20 were Democrats. One of the most common paths to being a governor is election to a state legislature. This is followed by election to a statewide office such as lieutenant governor, secretary of state, or attorney general, followed by a run for governor. Although serving in office is helpful, it is not completely needed to be a governor.
Once a person is elected governor, they enjoy high visibility in their states. Governors’ salaries are much higher than the average US citizen. They earn more than $100,000 in 43 states. Many salaries range form $179,000 in New York to $70,000 in Maine. Governors usually receive an expense allowance; 46 live in an executive mansion; and 42 have regular access to a state plane or helicopter. But these benefits and income barely compare to those of fortune 500 companies. Whether governors seek office to benefit the public or to get a foothold for a run for the Senate or to be president, nonfinancial incentives are probably dominant for most candidates. Even as governors, their roles have become much more important in the past few years. They have also had to deal with the problems of rising public expectations and limited resources. The society wants better schools for their children, uncongested highways, better universities with low tuition, a good job market, access to health care, protections for civil rights, low crime, and clean air and water. However, the society also wants low income tax, which is contradicting. Many expect the governors to expand on programs but there is usually limited money for these projects.
Incumbent governors are typically reelected when they run. Between 1998 and 2010, 82 percent of incumbent governors seeking reelection won. Over this 12 year period, 17 governors lost reelection and there was 8 republicans and 9 democrats. Many say these loses to economic trouble in their state, combined with the governor’s inability to get in front of the problem, scandals and long term partisan trends in the state, or good fortune of running favorable election cycle. Governors’ reelection chances may be helped by the insulation of most elections from the national political problems that presidents often face. In 34 states, elections are held only in even numbered, but non-presidential, midterm elections. Some other states are help in odd numbered years. Research shows that voting behavior in states can be still affected when national politics issues are stressed during a race. Circumstances dictate how governors run for reelection. The health of the state’s economy is a critical factor; incumbents lose because of a depressed state economy. Their electoral fortunes are also affected by whether voters approve or disapprove of the job the president is doing. The 2012 elections resulted in a one seat increase for the Republicans.
Hannah Albin x
Governors have tremendous power, in that they can veto legislation much like the president. This means that the legislature must have overwhelming support for the legislation to overrule his veto. Therefore their support for any issue is much sought after. Governors are also like the president in that they are in charge of the National Guard. They are able to call up the National Guard in times of emergency’s, such as Hurricane Katrina. Most all governors pathway to governorship is through experience in lower offices. It is the governor’s responsibility to make the state’s budget work out. He must work with his own party’s leaders, as well as enough opponents to be able to pass a workable budget. This can be challenging. The governor also has appointive powers; these will vary from state to state. The appointive powers can include appointing judges, state department heads, and other important positions in government. In 2/3 of the states governors have another power called pardoning. This is an interesting one and is becoming a rarity. If someone is convicted of a crime and is sentenced to a penalty, the governor has the power to reduce the sentence or totally release the criminal. Many governors don’t use this or wait until the very end of their term. The governor also can grant a stay of execution in death penalty cases. These can become highly charged politically. State governors are often the “face” of the state because of high media and news. Besides the president, governors are the most widely known and visible elected official in all the United States of America. For some governors it is the launching pad for the presidency. For an example George W. Bush was Texas governor, as well Bill Clinton was governor of Arkansas before their presidencies.
The governor of the State of Kansas is the head to the executive branch, including secretary of state, lieutenant governor and attorney general. The governor’s office is the same to the state as the President’s office is to the United States. The lieutenant governor’s would be like a vice president. Territorial governors were appointed by the President of the U.S. But now state governors are elected by popular vote. Kansas state governor’s terms were two years up until 1974 when they switched to 4 year terms. Our state governor is Sam Brownback. He is the 46th state governor for Kansas, in which we have records, and has been in office a little over 4 years. He is on his second term. Sam is a Republican, former U.S. Senator from Topeka. It is interesting that he stepped down from a national office of Senator to the top state office of governor. Brownback has struggled with balancing the state budget, especially with the education budget. He is known as a conservative pioneer. Not everyone is a supportive fan of Brownback’s. In recent days he made a tour of several locations in Kansas to highlight the new abortion law passed by him and the legislature. Many are confused how so much money was spent on this issue while some schools are shutting down early for lack of funds, as well as bad roads and etc. It is impossible as governor, or really any political office, to please all the people. In conclusion the governor’s office is a very demanding, highly stressful, profoundly challenging position that is not for the weak of heart. It is also a very powerful, influential and would appear to be rewarding job
“State and Local Politics- Government by thePeople” by Magleby, Light, Nemachek
Paige Armbruster x
Samuel Brownback is the current State Governor of Kansas, representing the Republican Party. Governors are limited to two consecutive, four year terms. Governor Brownback was elected in December 2010 and took office in January 2011. Brownback was reelected for a second term after a close race against Paul Davis in 2014. The state of Kansas does not set any requirements for office. However some states require nominees to be thirty-five years of age and state residency for seven years. Brownback is a Kansas native and is fifty-eight years old. As a governor his duties include approval of the state’s budget, passing and vetoing bills signed into legislation, confirmation of executive and judicial appointments, and legislative oversight of executive branch functions. Governors submit annual and biennial budgets for approval by the legislature. Governor Brownback signed into law one of the largest income tax cuts in Kansas history. Brownback also has cut funding to public schooling and higher education. Many governors also prepare specific legislative proposals to be introduced on their behalf. Governor Brownback has proposed to increase tax revenue. Governors also have the power to veto state bills. Brownback has previously vetoed a bill that would have increased regulations on ride-hailing companies. Brownback has also signed a bill into law that blocked tax breaks for abortion providers and banned sex-selection abortions. Governors also have appointment power, so they have the authority to nominate officials to serve in state executive branch positions. Many of these officials represent the governors’ cabinet. Some of Brownback’s cabinet members include Jeff Colyer, Lee Tefanelli, and Jim Clark. State governors also have the executive order to trigger emergency powers during natural disasters, emergency crises, and other situations requiring immediate attention. In previous years, Governor Brownback has declared state of emergency due to extremely bad weather and heavy snowfall. Other facts about Brownback include that he opposes same-sex marriage, describes himself as pro-life, and believes life begins at fertilization. Brownback’s term as Governor of Kansas will end in 2018.
Kansas State Governor
Andrew Todd x
The office of Governor is one of the oldest and most prestigious political offices in the United States. As the President is considered the leader of the nation, the governor is the leader of their respective state. Besides the legal responsibilities that come with the post, the governor is representative of the State as a whole. Elections for Governor tend to be very competitive, and the office of governor is often considered a stepping stone on the way to the Presidency.
The executive branch of the Kansas government differs from some other states' executive branches. Kansas's executive branch has the offices of the governor, the lieutenant governor, secretary of state, and attorney general as opposed to just the governor. These other three must report to the governor prior to every legislative session. The Lieutenant Governor, much like he vice-president, is to take power in the event of something happening to the current governor. The Secretary of State is responsible for state elections, economic issues and publishing of state legal documents. The attorney general is responsible for the state’s legal issues.
Unlike most other states, the Kansas Constitution does not lay out specific qualifications for the office of Governor. The youngest Governor of Kansas was Samuel Crawford, who was 29 when he took office in 1865. The oldest was Joan Finney who took office at the age of 65 in 1991. There are no educational requirements set forth in the Constitution for the governor.
The governor's responsibilities include reporting from the executive branch to the legislature and the issues and agenda for the session of the legislature. He or she can enact or veto laws with a signature, close legislative session or call one, call up the National Guard in the case of an emergency, and pardon criminals. He or she cannot "make laws, levy taxes, or administer justice in the state." In order to pardon a criminal, the governor must submit the case to the prison review board. The board reviews they case, and if they approve it then the final decision rests with the Governor.
Kansas governors are allowed two consecutive four-year terms of office. Although theoretically a governor could serve more terms if they were not consecutive, no Kansas Governor has ever done so. If at any point the Governor is unable to fulfil his duties, the Lieutenant Governor steps in. If he is also unable, then the state legislature will determine the ensuing chain of command.
Sam Brownback, the current governor, is the 46th Kansas governor. He is in his second term of office. Of the 46 Governors, 35 have been Republicans. 10 were Democrats, and one was a populist. The first female governor was Joan Finney, who was in office from January of 1991 to January of 1995. There have been no minority governors in the state of Kansas.
As the popularly elected leader of the State of Kansas, the Governor represents Kansas around the nation. Although his powers are limited by the Constitution, he is the most powerful man in the state Government, and is ultimately responsible for the wellbeing of the state.
Hunter Price x
Taking the State Governors Seat
First I am going to tell you what it takes to become a Kansas State Governor, about our current Governor. Then I am going to tell you what kinds of jobs you will be doing as the State Governor. After that I will be telling you some of the things our Kansas State Governor has done recently.
To be a Kansas State Governor you can be any age, you will be at the highest executive state office. You have to be voted in by a popular vote of your states plurality. You will serve a four-year term. After your four years in office you will have the opportunity to be voted back into office for a second term. As State Governor you are limited to two terms as governor. Our current Governor is Sam Brownback. Sam Brownback is a republican and our 46th governor on his second term that started in 2012. A Kansas State Governor has a salary of about 100,000.
As State Governor you are chief executive of the executive branch in your state. You are commander-in-chief of the Kansas National Guard. You are to ensure that the law is enforced and piece is preserved. You are able to grant pardons. You put the great seal of Kansas to use. Governor’s responsibilities vary from state to state. All depends on the States Constitution. State Governor is closely related to the U.S. president but on a smaller scale.
Governor Sam Brownback is more conservative as republican. Brownback made budget cuts in a hope to boost economy. He also raised taxes on cigarettes and alcohol.
+Judges and Justices
by Tawnya Ramirez x
Judges have been a part of our judicial system for hundreds of years. Our legal system today, although not perfect has evolved leaps and bounds over the last century. The main goal of our justice system and government today is to keep law and order in our society. This includes holding people accountable for their actions and crimes, while also keeping their civil liberties and rights intact. This responsibility is not taken lightly and requires those on the seat of justice to be competent and unbiased. This accountability falls on the judges and justices of our judicial system. In order to hold up the duty charged to them by the American people judges and justices are appointed to a higher standard of conduct.
Although they are both court officials that hand down a ruling to the courts of law, there are several differences between them. A judge is usually in district or circuit courts, where a justice is more in the Supreme Court and State Appeals court. A judge’s ruling in the lower courts can be appealed to a justice in the higher courts. Judges preside over local cases and courts and rule over civil cases, misdemeanors felony criminal cases. Justices rule over cases that have been sent up from the lower courts and petitions received by the courts. Unlike judges justices do not usually hear oral and testimony from lawyers, they rule over cases with written opinions from lower court cases by judges and base their rulings on documentation received by the lower courts. Oral arguments are only heard on specific cases where the case is considered difficult. Unlike judges they do not hold trials or make rulings alone, justices hear cases in panels where they decide what cases they will accept or deny. It takes at least three justices to decide a case, the more difficult and controversial cases can be presented by a full court of justices, which includes 9 justices. Justices can be elected or appointed by governors or voters. Voters can vote for a justice if they have been elected by a particular party to the Supreme Court bench. There terms are usually for life and can only be removed by impeachment. Justices are also chosen by the president and confirmed by the senate.
Judges are appointed in some states by local offices votes from a campaign, while in other states they are picked by governors that receive recommendations from a judicial nominating committee. The governors choose to nominate judges this way to avoid judges being influenced by special interest groups that contribute to their public campaign. Federal judges like justices are picked by the president and confirmed by the senate. There are several factors that are included in the consideration of judges and justices. Things like experience, political ideology, party and personal loyalties, and even ethnicity and gender are all considered when choosing a court official. A Judge is a licensed attorney that has practiced law at least five years and passed the state bar exam. However unlike justices they can be suspended, removed from office or even disciplined for misconduct. Both justices and federal judges can hold office for life up until the age of 70 where they are required to retire.
Both Judges and Justices are a very important piece of the puzzle that is our justice system. They are expected to uphold justice and order in the court of law while maintaining the basic human rights of civilians. Even with all of the flaws of our justice system today it still remains one of the fairest and most organized systems in the world today.
"What Is the Difference between a Judge and a Justice." Criminal Justice Degree Hub, 4 Mar. 2013. Web. 30 Apr. 2015. <http://www.criminaljusticedegreehub.com/what-is-the-difference-between-a-judge-and-a-justice/>.
"How Justices and Judges Are Chosen." Us History.org, 1 Jan. 2015. Web. 30 Apr. 2015. <http://www.ushistory.org/gov/9d.asp>.
Popular Election vs. Merit Selection
The United States is unique in the fact that some of their systems are run based on state courts. One of these decisions is choosing a judge. When choosing a judge the main goal is to find someone who can reach an unpopular yet “correct” decision. Each states laws are different but there are four broad categories of judicial selection: appointment by the governor, election by the legislature, popular election (either on a partisan or nonpartisan basis), or the modified appointment plan which is also known as the Missouri Plan. Based on which category the judge is elected shows us what their support will be like. For example, if the governor appoints the judge he or she will have the most protection from the public. If the public appoints the judge by popular election, the judge has popular control. In Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont judges are chosen by the governor and confirmed by the state senate. Though the formal process is very important, there are also some informal processes that play a big role in finding good candidates for judgeships. Lawyers will often show their interests to party officials if they want to become a judge. Leaders of the local bar associations may promote favored members, and various members of the bar may seek candidates to recruit. Political leaders and interest groups also participate.
In the past judicial elections have had different rules than other kinds of elections. Previously, judicial elections were typically nonpartisan, with judges appealing to the voters based on their sound judgment or experience. Numerous states declared clauses forbidding judges running for election from stating their views on legal or political issues that might come before the courts. However, much of this changed in the past few years. After the U.S. Supreme Court announced clauses violated judicial candidates’ rights under the First Amendment, judges began to feel free to take stands on political issues. As a result the turnout in judicial elections has increased. Interest groups are now, unlike before, allowed to be much more active. Campaign spending has also increased immensely. The most important spending is by independent groups on behalf of the candidates rather than individual judicial candidates. This is simply because candidates rely heavily on a few law firms, businesses, or special interest groups. With that being said the main reason that costs of the judicial campaigns is the increased dependence on televised campaign advertising.
Merit selection or The Missouri Plan is another form of election among judges. There have been many political scientists as well as lawyers that argued that there should be a screening process before judges are appointed or elected to guarantee that only candidates of quality will be considered. This system known as the Merit system is used in 16 states in America. The Missouri Plan is among one of the oldest merit plans. The Missouri Plan provides that when a judicial position arises, a special nominating commission nominates several qualified candidates. The governor then selects one, who then serves as a judge for at least a year. After this time, at the next general election, the judge runs in a noncompetitive retention election. At this election the voters are asked to vote yes or no on whether the judge should be kept in office. Then a majority of votes must agree, if they agree on yes the judge will serve another full term, which is usually 6 to 12 years. If the votes agree upon no another person is selected by the same procedure. This is the original idea of the merit selection but many states have variations of this plan.
When comparing the two election processes the retention elections have an even less turnout and lower interest than the judicial elections. There are many who ask the question which process is better though. There is no true answer to the question but it has been found that judges and attorneys tend to favor the merit plan over the election or appointment. It is thought that one reason lawyers may prefer the merit process is simply because there are more court cases. Though this is not proven. One thing that can be proven though is that the merit plans do actually reward merit. Judges elected this way have actually shown to need less disciplinary acts than those elected by popular election. As stated before however, there is no right or wrong way to elect judges. Both processes have shown there positives as well as negatives.
State Judges and Justices
Brian Miller x
After reading about judges and their duties I am confident that they’re over stepping there authority. If you’re read the Bill of Rights as a bipartisan person you would have to admit this. People cannot separate there political ideology from the true wording of the bill of Rights. Judges are no different. We have homosexual judges sitting on the bench deciding gay marriage laws. What can we do to change this system to make more Americans free? Nothing there isn’t a dang thing we can do about it besides electing a true libertarian as our next president. Our justice system needs a makeover. We need to elect a president that will rid the justice system of activist. Back to why we needed to learn about judges. Judges and justices have a lot of authority when it comes to deciding people’s fate. A judge can be appointed or elected.
Judges are persons who have passed law degree and have experience as lawyers. Upon elevation as a judge, which is often through appointments, a person gets powers to pass on verdicts on various matters related to law. Judges preside over a jury that is constituted to hear legal proceedings and deliberate to arrive finally at a decision that is binding upon the warring parties. Judges are also qualified to pass on prison sentences. Justices, on the other hand, are the part of the same judiciary that consists of judges, lawyers, clerks, and other legal personnel. It is easier to think of justices as being a rung higher in the ladder of judicial positions or ranks. Another difference between judges and justices lies in the fact that justices are often nominated rather than being elected. If you consider the US Federal court justices, the President of US nominates them. However, there are states such as state of Michigan in US that elect their justices or the judges for the Supreme and Appellate Courts. I was born and raised in Michigan and really didn’t pay attention to the elections but my father does and thinks it’s a great system to get rid of activist judges. I believe that is what America is all about.
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