The State Governments

The State Governments - they have adapted to new roles and...

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The State Governments The Constitution also grants state governments some key powers, including the right to determine how to choose delegates to the Electoral College. States also have a great deal of latitude to write their own constitutions and pass their own laws. All state governments have three branches (paralleling the national government), although the powers granted to the branches differ in each state. In some states, for example, the governor has a great deal of power, whereas in others, his or her power is severely limited. States also use a variety of methods to choose judges. The vast expanse of the national government has led some to conclude that state governments are of secondary importance. In 1941, for example, Supreme Court justice Harlan Stone remarked that the Tenth Amendment (which reserves powers to the states) had no real meaning. State governments, however, are still vital political actors, and
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Unformatted text preview: they have adapted to new roles and new circumstances. At the start of the twenty-first century, many states have reasserted their strength and taken a larger role in homeland security, economics, and environmental policy. Professional and Nonprofessional Legislatures All states have a legislative body that makes laws, and all but one of the legislatures are bicameral. (Nebraska is the lone state with a unicameral legislature.) In some states, being a legislator is a full-time job. These legislators are paid well, have large staffs, and meet in session for much of the year. Political scientists call this type of legislature a professional legislature. In other states, the legislators are in session for short periods, receive very little pay, and have almost no staff. These states pride themselves on having nonprofessional citizen legislators rather than professional politicians....
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