State and Local Politics: Government by the People (15th Edition)

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9780205006397: State and Local Politics: Government by the People (15th Edition)

Updated in a new 15th edition, State and Local Politics: Government by the People, is the most authoritative book for state and local politics. It continually sets the standards for other state and local politics books by anticipating readers' needs. Known for its esteemed author team who treat each new edition as a fresh challenge, State and Local Politics: Government by the People is the perfect text for understanding how America's state and local political systems work.

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From the Back Cover:

Features:

  • Exciting and informative boxed features. These boxes challenge students and offer insight into the issues of politics at the state and local level.
  • Changing Face of American Politics. This feature addresses the diverse nature of the American political system. These unique boxes are designed to reflect the concerns and experiences of ethnic and minority groups in American politics, giving students tangible examples of the key trends in diversity on the American political landscape. These boxed features appear in context with topics presented in every chapter. By involving students on a personal level, this text engages them in a more meaningful, memorable study of politics as it affects their own lives. Topics include, "The Growing Diversity of State Populations," "Same-Sex Marriages and State Constitutions," and "Women Governors."
  • History Makers.Reinforcing the importance of being an active participant in–and contributor to–political change, this inspirational feature profiles influential political figures, some contemporary, some historical.   History Makers features active people representing divergent parties, ideologies, and agendas, but all sharing the common trait of engagement in the political process, from America's most important public servants to its ordinary, and sometimes, extraordinary, citizens.
  • Learning Objectives in the margins give students clear and concise reading goals
  • At the end of every chapter students will find a Chapter Summary highlight the key topics covered in the preceding pages; Chapter Self-Test for gauge comprehension; Key Terms for easy identification; and Further Readings students can use to find publications that delve deeper into the topic for research.

 

New to this Edition:

 

Chapter 1 includes an expanded discussion of the role of state and local governments, including their impact on public health, the economy, and employment.  The new How Other States Govern explores the impact of population size on policy.  The Changing Face of U.S. Politics on the diversity of state populations includes updated 2008 data.  The discussion of lobbyists in the statehouse includes recent attempts to curb abuse, including bans on contributions.  You Will Decide/Thinking it Through looks at California’s emissions standards and the EPA, asking students to consider what power states should have to address climate change.  The section on grassroots apathy has been revised to focus more on the factors causing apathy and provide data and examples.  The discussion of civic initiations now includes civic responses to Katrina and Rita. 

 

Chapter 2 adds a discussion of the detail of some state constitutions, including information that would be better left to the legislature.  You Will Decide/Thinking it Through asks students to consider whether states should use a majority rule or supermajority to amend constitutions.  The discussion of Hawaii’s constitutions adds a section on 2008 decision regarding holding a constitutional convention. 

 

Chapter 3 moves the information on elections before the sections on parties, so that students first gain understanding of elections before learning about the role of parties in elections.  The chapter also now begins with a new section on understanding the constitutional context for state and federal elections.  The discussion of who may vote provides more insight into various state policies and now includes a discussion of motor voter registration, voter identification laws, disenfranchisement, and turnout.  You Will Decide/Thinking it Through asks students to consider whether felons should be allowed to vote.  The discussion of how we vote includes new material on electronic voting machines, and material on party ballots, split tickets, and office block ballots has been moved to this section.  The discussion of ballot questions includes a new section on the liberals increasing use of the initiative process. A new section on campaign finance, including disclosure, contribution limits, and financing laws, wraps up the discussion of elections.  A revised Changing Face of U.S. Politics looks at the demographic differences in state legislatures.

 

Chapter 4 includes a new How Other States Govern that compares various aspects of state legislatures.  You Will Decide/Thinking it Through asks students to consider whether legislators should be part time or professional legislators. 

 

Chapter 5 has been updated to include results from the 2008 election.  An updated Changing Face of U.S. Politics reflects recent data on women governors.  A new How Other States Govern compares the salaries of various state governors.  The discussion of budgetary power now includes a section on sources of state revenue.  You Will Decide/Thinking it Through asks students to consider whether governors should have a line-item veto.  The section on policy-making influence has been revised to focus more on the techniques and strategies governors use to influence policy, and less on the obstacles to influence. 

 

Chapter 6 includes updated data throughout the chapter and figures.  A new How Other States Govern looks at the policy and implementation of the death penalty across states.  You Will Decide/Thinking it Through asks students to consider whether judges should be appointed or elected. 

 

Chapter 7 includes updated, 2007 data in Table 27-1 on the growth of governments in the U.S.  No Child Left Behind is added to the discussion of state involvement in local school districts.  The discussion of counties now includes information on the number of counties, and their sizes, and a new figure to reflect the data.  The discussion of county performance now looks at reasons for the differences in performance, and the growing professionalism of the workforce.  How Other States Govern looks at child poverty in cities.  The discussion of eminent domain now includes Kelo v. New London, and the new You Will Decide/Thinking it Through asks students to consider whether economic development justifies use of eminent domain. 

 

Chapter 8 includes updated data in Figure 28-1 on state and local government expenditures on public education.  A new You Will Decide/Thinking it Through asks students to consider whether the federal government should encourage increased state funding of higher education.  A new How Other Nations Govern looks at the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. The discussion of the state’s role in environmental policy includes a discussion of California’s emissions standards. 

 

Chapter 9 begins with a new introduction on the challenges of states’ raising revenue.  The chapter includes an updated discussion of the merit system and its challenges, and a new section on management-centered reforms.  The discussion of outsourcing and privatization has been expanded to include more analysis of the topic and additional examples.  You Will Decide/Thinking it Through asks students to consider whether governments should contract with faith-based organizations.  The discussion of paying for government looks at recent strains on budgets and the national economic condition.  The section on funding the government includes a new figure on sources or income, and an expanded introduction.  A new How Other Nations Govern looks at taxes across the states.  The discussion of legalized gambling includes information about the revenue generated by gambling, and the discussion of grants now includes information about the revenue generated by grants.  A new section on state and local spending looks at how money is spent across functions.  The section on assessing state and local performance has been expanded to look at various measures of success, including new examples for these measures.

From the Inside Flap:

PREFACE

This book 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 book 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 book will motivate you to appreciate that every person can make a difference, and that all of us should work toward that end.

This book consists of the last nine chapters plus the chapter on federalism from the eighteenth edition of Government by the People, National, State, and Local Version 2000. We have had the benefit of useful criticisms and suggestions from Professors Thad Beyle, University of North Carolina; Randall Bland, Southwest Texas State University; John Green, Akron University; and Karl Kurtz of the National Conference of State Legislatures. We also wish to express our sincere thanks to our production editor at Prentice Hall, Serena Hoffman, and to the political science editor, Beth Gillett Mejia.

We would be pleased to hear from our readers with any reactions or suggestions. Write to us at our college addresses or in care of the Political Science Editor, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458. Thanks.

James MacGregor Burns
Williams College
Williamstown, MA 01267

J.W Peltason
University of California
Irvine, CA 92717

Thomas E. Cronin
Whitman College
Walla Walla, WA 99362

David B. Magleby
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602

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