Chapter 3
State Constitutions
 The Evolution of State Constitutions
 Weaknesses of Constitutions
 Constitutional Reform...
The Evolution of State Constitutions
The thirteen colonial charters provided the foundation for
the new state constitution...
Legislative Supremacy
The first state constitutions reflected their framers’ fears and
distrust of the executive. This was...
Weaknesses of Constitutions
Excessive Length
State constitutions, which originally averaged around 5,000
words, became len...
Weaknesses of Constitutions
Problems of Substance
Specific concerns voiced by reformers are:
 The long ballot – the gover...
Problems of Substance (continued)
 A swamp of local governments – there are
approximately 88,000 municipalities, and they...
Constitutional Reform
After World War II, more people became concerned with the
substance on state constitutions.
One infl...
Constitutional Reform
Two state constitutional traditions can be seen today:
Positive-law tradition - a state constitution...
The Model State Constitution
The Model State Constitution has twelve basic articles:
1. Bill of Rights
2. Power of the Sta...
Methods for Constitutional Change - Federal
There are only two methods for altering the U.S.
Constitution. One method is t...
Methods for Constitutional Change - States
One informal and four formal methods exist for amending state
constitutions.
In...
Methods for Constitutional Change - States
The four formal procedures for amending a state
constitution are:
Legislative p...
Constitutional Initiative
Direct Initiative – a procedure by which the voters of a
jurisdiction propose the passage of con...
Constitutional Conventions and Commissions
A constitutional convention is an assembly of delegates
chosen by popular elect...
State Responsiveness & Constitutional Reform
State constitutions were the original guardians of
individuals and rights, wi...
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5
×

Ch 3 state and local government

197

Published on

Published in: Education
0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total Views
197
On Slideshare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
1
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
5
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Ch 3 state and local government

  1. 1. Chapter 3 State Constitutions  The Evolution of State Constitutions  Weaknesses of Constitutions  Constitutional Reform  Methods for Constitutional Change  State Responsiveness and Constitutional Reform
  2. 2. The Evolution of State Constitutions The thirteen colonial charters provided the foundation for the new state constitutions. The framers of the first state constitutions had to decide how the new government would be structured, when elections would be held, and how land once owned by the Crown would be distributed. Only one of the thirteen original constitutions survives today – that of Massachusetts. It is the oldest functional constitution in the world.
  3. 3. Legislative Supremacy The first state constitutions reflected their framers’ fears and distrust of the executive. This was the result of their experiences with the colonial governors who represented the British Crown. Legislative Supremacy – the legislature’s dominance of the other two branches of government. During the early 1800s, citizens became disillusioned with the legislatures and the executive branch began to accumulate more power.
  4. 4. Weaknesses of Constitutions Excessive Length State constitutions, which originally averaged around 5,000 words, became lengthier due to increased social and economic complexities. Furthermore, state constitutions were much easier to amend than the federal constitution, and therefore grew in length. Lengthy constitutions tended to contain meaningless clauses and contradictions. Alabama has the longest constitution with 340,136 words. New Hampshire has the shortest with 9,200 words.
  5. 5. Weaknesses of Constitutions Problems of Substance Specific concerns voiced by reformers are:  The long ballot – the governor has little influence over elected executive branch officials. Reformers wish to instill only a governor and lieutenant governor.  A glut of executive boards and commissions – this has led to fragmentation and a lack of policy coordination in the executive branch.
  6. 6. Problems of Substance (continued)  A swamp of local governments – there are approximately 88,000 municipalities, and they nearly always suffer from overlapping responsibilities and a lack of coordination.  Restrictions on local government authority – localities in some states have to obtain permission from the state legislature before providing a new service or exercising authority not specifically given to them by the state.  Unequal treatment of racial minorities and women – constitutional language can discriminate against African Americans, Latinos, women and other groups.
  7. 7. Constitutional Reform After World War II, more people became concerned with the substance on state constitutions. One influential group was the U.S. Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations. Another important group was the National Municipal League which developed a Model State Constitution in 1921. Model State Constitutions- an ideal of the structure and contents of a state constitution, emphasizing brevity and broad functions and responsibilities of government.
  8. 8. Constitutional Reform Two state constitutional traditions can be seen today: Positive-law tradition - a state constitutional tradition based on detailed provisions and procedures. This is evident in the constitutions of New York, Alabama and Texas. Higher-law tradition -a state constitutional tradition based on basic and enduring principles , where public policy choices are viewed as the proper responsibility of legislatures.
  9. 9. The Model State Constitution The Model State Constitution has twelve basic articles: 1. Bill of Rights 2. Power of the State 3. Suffrage and Election 4. The Legislative Branch 5. The Executive Branch 6. The Judicial Branch 7. Finance 8. Local Government 9. Public Education 10. Civil Service 11. Intergovernmental Relations 12. Constitutional Revision
  10. 10. Methods for Constitutional Change - Federal There are only two methods for altering the U.S. Constitution. One method is the constitutional convention wherein delegates representing the states gather to consider modifying and amending the Constitution. The second method for altering the U.S. Constitution is through congressional initiative, where Congress, by a two-thirds vote of both houses, agrees to send one or more proposed changes to the states.
  11. 11. Methods for Constitutional Change - States One informal and four formal methods exist for amending state constitutions. Interpretation: this is the informal method for amending state constitutions, whereby members of the executive, legislative and judicial branches apply constitutional principles and law to everyday affairs of governing. State judicial branches play the most direct role in interpreting and changing state constitutions. One of the powers the judicial branch possesses is Judicial Review. Judicial Review: The power of the U.S. Supreme Court or state supreme courts to declare unconstitutional not only actions of the executive and legislative branches but also decisions of lower courts.
  12. 12. Methods for Constitutional Change - States The four formal procedures for amending a state constitution are: Legislative proposal, initiative, constitutional convention, and constitutional commission. The most common method of revision is legislative proposal, wherein the legislature proposes a revision, usually by a two-thirds majority. An initiative is a proposed law or constitutional amendment that is placed on the ballot by citizen petition.
  13. 13. Constitutional Initiative Direct Initiative – a procedure by which the voters of a jurisdiction propose the passage of constitutional amendments, state laws or local ordinances, bypassing the legislative body. Indirect Initiative – similar to the direct initiative, except that the voter-initiated proposal must be submitted to the legislature before going on the ballot for voter approval.
  14. 14. Constitutional Conventions and Commissions A constitutional convention is an assembly of delegates chosen by popular election or appointed by the legislature or the governor to revise an existing constitution or to create a new one. The constitutional convention is the oldest method for constitutional change in the states. A constitutional commission is a meeting of delegates appointed by the governor or legislature to study constitutional problems and propose solutions.
  15. 15. State Responsiveness & Constitutional Reform State constitutions were the original guardians of individuals and rights, with their own bills of rights preceding the U.S. Constitution by many years. Each states’ constitution is designed to meet the needs of that particular state. Over the years, states have changed their constitutions in some way to make them more functional and understandable.
  1. A particular slide catching your eye?

    Clipping is a handy way to collect important slides you want to go back to later.

×