As part of a special concerning the “Freedom For Which the Flag Stands“, and just in time for the elections, I am featuring a special treat for my viewers. In the first of a four part series, I am featuring the scope of the state governments. I am from Illinois, so I am comparing one state as based on a Miami University and directly from my State of Illinois. Also in addition, I am featuring the Budget of the State of Illinois.
First level State Government:
Every state has it’s own constitution, separate and detached from the U.S. constitution. Elements on the state constitutions must be somewhat in the parameters of the laws, but there are often inconsistencies on the down and upside of this, and when this happens, a law can be challenged up to the state supreme court. But when a law is so out of bounds, that it challenges one’s rights as guaranteed by the U.S. constitution or Bill of Rights, the case can end up in the federal court system. Every state has a state “handbook” whereby all the laws are contained in it is simpler terms instead of layman’s terms. All the “rules” contained by the state are contained within the handbook. Also, each state has its own set of compiled statutes, whereby criminal code is contained and portrayed. The compiled statutes are exactly when an activity, whether criminal or civil, is measured by a call to police and if it is considered civil, the police authority in charge cannot pursue action, and usually assigns a case number for the civilian to show what was done about a particular incident, whether civil action, insurance, or other gets involved at a later date. The states all follow a similar pattern of government as the U.S. Government, with some differences per state. Voting rules also vary by state and are controlled by each state, but if there is something, again that violates one’s right to vote, it can also end up in federal courts. There are also special rules for territories of the U.S. but the territories again project to live up the the freedoms that the U.S. flag stands for.
All states follow the similar structure of that of the U.S., in that the actual state has an executive branch, legislative branch, and judicial branch. Each branch has it’s duties and appointees.
- In the highest branch–the executive branch, per state’s constitutional power, the power rests mostly of the governors and is distributed among other officials and either elected by the people independently of the governor or appointed as dispelled in each respective constitution. The executive branch is to empower law.
- Governors are the chief executive officer of each state may approve or veto bills passed by the state legislatures, either recommending the passage of bills, usually with support by aligning supported political parties. Governor’s responsibility also includes appointing appellate and supreme court justices. Also in times of need, calling of National Guard is the governors’ responsibilities.
- Lieutenant governor is usually the speaker of each house of representatives, and stands in for any incapacitated officers including the governor.
- Attorney general is the the state’s chief law enforcement officer, who is responsible for achieving law and order per state. In some states, they dually serve as head of the state’s department of justice.
- Comptroller is the official that is responsible for allocating funds within the sate and supervising the quality of accounting and financial reporting overseeing the preparation of financial reports and balance sheets plus income statements.
- Treasurer is the a official who administers and manages the financial assets and liabilities of the state.
- Secretary of state is the official who is the chief clerk of the state, and is often the primary custodian of important state records, driver’s services departments, other licensing departments, seeing eye dogs and other vital privileges of one’s state. Bills signed by the governor’s office are also entered into law by the secretary of state’s offices.
- Other executive departments as determined by each state, whereby there is an executive necessity that is not covered by the above.
- The legislative branch or the state’s general assembly, is responsible for enacting all law and appropriate state funds, following the constitution of the states which are also guided by the U.S. constitution. A vetoed bill goes back to the legislative branch and can either be terminated or voted back on a second time requiring a 2/3 pass, and become law overriding executive approval. The legislative branch also approves of the governor’s decision on all appointed appellate and supreme court justices.
- In a state’s In the house of representatives, a bill is typically started out, voted on and the particular state’s law has rules (either of rule of majority or some sort of quorum as projected by the state, depending on what type of bill) to enact of dismiss any partial bill. A bill can be one or a package of laws.
- In the state’s senate, the bill is passed or rejected in whole. Once it is passed in the senate, it goes on to to either pass through to the executive branch, or fail, thereby being rejected.
- The judicial branch of government is where citizens have civil, criminal, or administrative procedure served due process. Civil court covers any law that is NOT in the complied statutes code. A plaintiff or petitioner files a case to a defendant or respondent are summoned to court for trial. If while in the court, a compiled statute violation is uncovered, the state’s attorney may file charges of violation. Criminal law is either in a misdemeanor or felony division of law. An infraction occurs, and the people of the state are named as the plaintiff served onto someone, usually taken into custody and named the defendant. Misdemeanors are laws whereby prosecution is at or under one year in sentencing and persons are incarcerated in a state jail. Felonies are laws whereby sentencing is much harsher, and prosecution is over a year in sentencing, and persons are incarcerated in a state prison.
- Trial level court, generally called a district court, superior court or circuit court or municipal court is where civil and criminal law starts. A trial judge is usually voted in by constituents and uphold law and justice as construed by the state constitution. Trial level courts are usually ran from within a particular county based on state law, as per state.
- First-level appellate court or Court of Appeals is where a case ends up if a decision from trial court is not acceptable by the defendant’s or respondent’s status of determination from the trial court, whether civil or criminal.
- Supreme Court is where a case ends up if a decision from trial court is not acceptable by the defendant’s or respondent’s status of determination from the Court of Appeals, whether civil or criminal. If the decision of the state supreme court is not acceptable, it can end up going to federal level court systems ONLY if one’s rights based on the Bill of Rights or U.S. constitutional rights have been violated, or if there is any other federal guideline inconsistency issues.
It is important to know that Indian reservation or Alaska native, Hawaiian homeland, or other tribal jurisdictional areas have their own set of laws that completely supersede all U.S. and state level law, and are completely balanced as per separate U.S. law. Law within the guideline is completely separate of all law as governed in the constitution be it U.S. or state level.
Second level State Government (not governed by the direct state):
- County, Parish, Borough, Census area , District
- Consolidated city-county
- Unorganized atoll
The purpose of second level function is:
- Structural – power to choose the form of government
- Functional – exercise local government
- Fiscal – authority of revenue sources, setting tax rates, allocate financial activities
- Personnel – authority to set employment rules, remuneration rate, employment conditions and collective bargaining
There are other levels of state government,that are NOT governed by state, rather by smaller entity starting at county level.Second level governments can have “Home Rule” laws or ordinances that are enforced between criminal and civil law, and usually only have fines as cost to violations.
Third level State Government (not governed by the direct state):
- Cities, towns, villages and municipality
- Census-designated place
- Barrio Chapter
- Fourth level
- Other areas
- Protected areas (Conservation district, National monument, National park)
- Congressional district
- Homeowner association
- Associated state
- Military base – Federal enclave
- Unincorporated area
- Ghost town
- Other business venture projects
Third level government share similar features such as structural, functional, fiscal and personnel as described in second level government. The entities can also have ordinances that are enforced between criminal and civil law, and usually only have fines as cost to violations. Other parties as described not governed by any of the above can have have by-law systems in place which include hiring of security crews or forces. While on the properties where such is in place the by-laws are always placed, and any HOA or other business entity by-law may supersede a state or local government entity’s laws, but can be in addition to them. Not following the by-laws leaves one open to lawsuit, but it is up to the property managers to have proper warning to be able to have by-laws properly enforced.
Government is needed to keep structure, law, order, justice in everyday living. Every society in the world including Antarctica, and as I researched now has some type of government. Past history provides the results of total lack of law and order, or justice always fail and falter, and total KAOS and disorder result, if and when more than a family try to live life in harmony, due to different personalities and ways of upbringing. Principles are very important to live in any type of society through the ages, especially our modern society.
Added After Posting: Due to Follower’s Needs
In order to find a state case through the courts of the states’ system as opposed to in the United States federal court system, you can contact each state from the federally provided court list to find out about your individual state at: State Court Web sites | NCSC.
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