issues - CHAPTER 14 ISSUES IN PUBLIC POLICY Introduction...

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CHAPTER 14 ISSUES IN PUBLIC POLICY
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Introduction Defining Public Policy Texas has many programs and services it needs to address which constitute the policy agenda of the state. To make public policy is to set priorities for programs that benefit the public. Policy-makers are confronted with controversial issues since there is often disagreement over what the priorities should be. The traditional-individualistic political culture that runs head-long into a newer moralistic culture among a vocal minority makes the disagreements sharper. Fiscal problems also complicate the policy agenda.
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Introduction Setting the Policy Agenda One way that a potential public policy gains consideration is through the efforts of the governor and key legislators. Interest groups and lobbyists may express preferences in setting priorities for the state.
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Introduction Setting the Policy Agenda, cont. Intergovernmenta l and intragovernmental relationships may affect the policy agenda through mandates requiring a particular level or branch of government to act in a certain way. State and federal courts have influenced education policy in Texas through both federal and state court orders that challenged the state's method of financing public education. Similarly, Texas prisons were tied up in court beginning in 1971 over issues of prisoner abuse, overcrowding, health facilities, and other problems. The welfare system is a product of changes in state and federal priorities and state effort to gain administrative approval from the federal bureaucracy. Federal regulations, as in the case of regulations to protect the environment, also affect the state's policy agenda in a state which ranks first among the fifty states in the quality of toxic pollutants released into the air. State funding of programs such as highway construction is sensitive to changes in national government priorities and local governments are challenged to find ways to fund transportation needs when state and federal funding falls. The rules, enacted in 1977 by the legislature, governing a number of procedures that had previously been regarded as local business for public universities are another example of intragovernmental policy-making, the legislature giving explicit instructions to executive branch agencies. The causes of society’s are urbanization, industrialization, inflation, depletion of resources, the world oil market, citizen demand, curtailment of state and local funds, and the high rate of population growth, not intergovernmental and intragovernmental mandates.
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Introduction Setting the Policy Agenda, cont. There are many items on the policy agenda beyond those addressed here. How democratic the Texas political system is may be assessed,
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issues - CHAPTER 14 ISSUES IN PUBLIC POLICY Introduction...

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