PLSC 2306 Assignment 4 This assignment deals with federalism and a state policy that was in opposition to the United States government policy. You will assume the role of a U. S. Supreme Court Justic

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PLSC 2306 Assignment 4

This assignment deals with federalism and a state policy that was in opposition to the United States government policy.  You will assume the role of a U. S. Supreme Court Justice.  You will weigh the facts of the case and provisions from the United States Constitution to decide whether South Dakota policy or the United States government policy should prevail (“win”) in this situation.  The material below presents brief arguments from each side.

Federalism-a South Dakota case

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South Dakota’s legal drinking age was 19 years old.  Young people from neighboring states with higher drinking ages would drive to South Dakota to buy beer.  Selling beer was also profitable for small businesses so that there were many business supporters of the current state drinking age.

Congress then passed a law requiring all states wanting money from the United States government to help take care of their portions of interstates to raise their drinking ages to 21.  If states did not raise their drinking ages, they would lose five (5) percent of their federal highway funding.

  1. South Dakotachallenged the federal law in court.  It argued that:

*Establishing individual state drinking laws is not part of Congress’s express powers in the Constitution.

*the 10th Amendment (1791) allows states to make laws unless the U. S. Constitution prohibits states from dealing with a certain topic.  There is nothing in the Constitution about drinking ages or highways.

*the 21st Amendment (1933) gives states exclusive (sole) power to regulate the use of alcohol within their jurisdictions

  1. The U. S. Government argued that different drinking ages across states created an “incentive to drink and drive,” creating danger on the nation’s interstate highways.

*Congress is charged with promoting the general welfare of the country, which in this case means uniform state drinking laws.

*States are not forced to take federal money or to obey this law.  This federal law was simply to encourage all states to raise their drinking ages.

If you were a member of the U. S. Supreme Court would you rule for South Dakota or the United States government?  And why?

  1. Begin with a one (1) sentence paragraph like this:

I, Justice [your name here] would rule in favor of [the state of South Dakota OR the United States government.

  1. Then give your reasons for voting as you did in a longer second paragraph. Frame your reasons this way:

My arguments in favor of [which level of government] include the following:

This assignment calls for a clear, well-written sentence for paragraph one.  And then in 2-3 paragraphs give your reasons in logical order.

  1. Submit this decision of yours in an attached WORD document.

View the rubric for this assignment: PLSC 2306 Assignment 4 Rubric.pdf

PLSC 2306 Assignment 4 This assignment deals with federalism and a state policy that was in opposition to the United States government policy. You will assume the role of a U. S. Supreme Court Justic
Unit 4, Assignment #4 Rubric 1. Critical thinking Total points (60 points possible) Comments are well thought out and supported by careful reasoning (60 points) Most comments are very general and solely personal opinion with no supporting arguments (52 points) Comments are few, very general, and solely personal opinion (45 points) There is no indication of understanding the issues involved//no comments made (0 points) Total Total points (60 points possible) 2. Composition and format Total points (40 points possible) The format : a one -sentence first paragraph giving the opinion and a clearly written essay in the remaining paragraphs is submitted. There are no spelling/composition errors (40 points) Format has been followed with minimal spelli ng and composition errors (34 points) There are several format (spelling or format) errors (28 points) One of required components is not submitted or has many spelling and composition errors (15 points) Nothing was submitted (0 points) Total Total points (40 points possible) Total ___________________________
PLSC 2306 Assignment 4 This assignment deals with federalism and a state policy that was in opposition to the United States government policy. You will assume the role of a U. S. Supreme Court Justic
Government Finance The United States has a lower tax burden and a smaller public sector (meaning less government spending) than any other advanced industrial democracy.  In general southern states spend less than northern states. In 2018, Texas state and local government spending was lower than that of most states: Texas ranked 45th among states in state government spending, and 48th in combined state and local government spending ( State and local government spending is a problem because governments must bring in money–revenue–in order to provide public services. There are four general ways to finance governmental activity:*taxes:  people and organizations must pay taxes; they are compulsory *charges, user fees:  primarily those who use a governmental service or facility are the ones who pay for them (e.g., swimming pools, parks) *intergovernmental transfers, grants:  grants of money from higher levels of government.*borrowing: loans must be paid back. Taxation Taxation:  Most governmental revenue comes from taxes.  Taxation is the traditional but unpopular way to raise governmental revenue.  Tax capacity refers to the ability of a state’s people to pay taxes (basically, state income).  Tax effort is the measure of taxes paid relative to tax capacity. There are some general guidelines for a “good” tax:*the distribution of the tax burden should be equitable; that is, people in the same general situation should pay the same amount.*taxes should interfere as little as possible with private economic decisions or consumer behavior*taxes should be transparent and understandable to those taxed*the costs of collecting taxes should be as low as possibleObviously, governments face challenges in meeting these guidelines. As you will read in the Local Government lecture the three levels of American government rely primarily on three different types of taxes:*federal government:  income tax (although the payroll tax is another part of the federal tax system)*states: sales taxes: 43 states also have an income tax. Several states, including Alaska, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming, do not have a state income tax. As a result, they generally rely on higher sales taxes.*local governments:  property taxes.  Local governments are limited by state laws on both how they can raise revenue and how much they can tax. Property taxes provide most of the local financial support for municipal governments, county governments, and school districts. Generally income taxes are more progressive. Progressive taxes are those that take a larger percent of income from those better able to pay; i.e. those with higher incomes or more valuable property. .Property taxes are generally fairly progressive, but property taxes may be regressive for low-income and retired homeowners since these people may own their homes but have current lower incomes. Regressive tax systems are those that take a larger percent of income from lower-income individuals in that all income groups must pay the same tax rate. Sales taxes are the most regressive taxes.  Most states allow local governments to attach a local sales tax to any others imposed by state government, making it a “hidden tax” that makes it difficult for people to assess their services relative to the cost of these services.  One way many states have made sales taxes less regressive is by exempting essential items such as groceries and medicines. Other types of taxes that do not target so many people include the excise taxes or “sin taxes” which are taxes on alcohol, tobacco, and similar items.  These are designed to both to increase revenue and to discourage use.  Estate taxes, or “death taxes,” are taxes put on a person’s estate or other holdings after that person’s death. The Texas constitution prohibits the imposition of an income tax, and its property and sales taxes are relatively high. Texas relies heavily on state sales taxes and local property taxes. Therefore, Texas has a more regressive tax system than most states. All states except Vermont cannot run deficits because their state constitutions forbid doing so; that is, they must have balanced budgets. Nevertheless, state governments have to maintain at least basic functions, such as public safety, and the national government is giving less money to the states for certain purposes.  The budget process:  In most states, the state budget is created annually. Texas has a two-year budget cycle. For a description of a typical state (Idaho) budget process, see Figure 4-1). Governments are required to provide entitlements, or services that laws require expenditures regardless of cost to the state.   Other expenditures are discretionary spending. Terms and Ideas Revenue4 ways to raise governmental revenue*taxes*charges, user fees*intergovernmental revenues*borrowingTaxation*property taxes*income taxes*excise, or “sin taxes”*estate taxesTax capacityTax effortGuidelines for a “good” tax systemPrimary sources of revenue for the 3 levels of governmentProgressive taxesRegressive taxesTexas budget cycleDeficitsExpendituresEntitlement spendingDiscretionary spendingBalanced budgetTexas reliance on sales taxes and property taxes
PLSC 2306 Assignment 4 This assignment deals with federalism and a state policy that was in opposition to the United States government policy. You will assume the role of a U. S. Supreme Court Justic
Education policy Public policy refers to what issues governments act on. Individual states face different issues, and in conjunction with the federal government choose how they individually will handle these issues.  There are several areas of public policy that affect us all in our states and local communities.  All states provide free public education for grades K-12.  Education is free in the sense that students do not have to pay to attend. Attendance is mandatory in all states up to a certain age level. In each state, education policy is made by a state board of education.   Besides state boards of education, education policy is shaped by parents’ groups, teachers’ unions and groups, and political parties. Taxpayers financially support public education primarily through local property taxes and state monies.  The state/local formula for expenditures differs from state to state. Spending for education, including both K-12 and higher education, makes up the largest average share of state budgets, about 27 percent on average (2013 figures). According to the U. S. Bureau of the Census, Texas ranks below the national average in K-12 education funding for 2012-2013 ($8275 per student v. $10,938, national average). In 2014-2015, 28 percent of the Texas state budget was spent on primary and secondary education. Although percentages vary over time, it is clear that today a higher proportion comes from local property taxes. Basing most education funding on local property taxes means that school districts in poorer communities struggle to provide good education. Following a series of lawsuits beginning in the federal courts in the 1970’s and the state courts in the 1980’s, the Texas state courts have ruled that the Texas Constitution – which requires an efficient system of public education and a state equal protection clause – requires a degree of equalization. This was eventually accomplished through the so-called Robin Hood plan, where some of the revenues collected by richer districts were redistributed to poorer districts. Today the issues continue to be both overall funding and equalization requirements throughout the state. All states face education issues including improving teacher qualifications, more testing requirements, and setting higher standards of student performance. *Testing: the federal law No Child Left Behind Act (2001) which requires that all public schools receiving federal monies for K-12 education provide evidence of student achievement and give a standardized test to all students and set clear standards for qualified teachers. The increased demand of state and federal testing has resulted in criticism of teachers’ “teaching to the test” rather than addressing individual student needs.   In Texas, the standardized test is now the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) (*School vouchers, or the provision of state money to families wanting to send their children to private schools – upheld by the Supreme Court in 2002 *Charter schools, or private K-12 schools which also receive money from the state but do not have to meet some of the state rules and regulations*Curriculum, including what to teach in controversial issues like evolution and sex education*And for higher public education, whether state funding should increase or whether students and families should bear more of the cost through tuition hikes Terms and Ideas Education policy Texas per student funding and ranking Texas and the Robin Hood planWays states and schools have tried to improve their educational systemsNo Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) (2001)State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR)School vouchersCharter schools Curriculum  
PLSC 2306 Assignment 4 This assignment deals with federalism and a state policy that was in opposition to the United States government policy. You will assume the role of a U. S. Supreme Court Justic
Crime and Punishment Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice All states have police forces (in Texas, the Department of Public Safety and the Texas Rangers), and in most states there are also local police and county sheriffs’ departments. In addition, states have specialized law enforcement agencies such as fish and game wardens. Federal agencies such as the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation), ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms), CBP (Customs and Border Protection), ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), and DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) also affect state law enforcement. States have added homeland security coordinators following the 9/11 terrorist attacks and creation of the federal agency Department of Homeland Security. Criminal justice policy:  Most criminal activity today is committed by 18-25 year olds.  The current criminal justice systems of the states began in the 1960s in part by the U.S. Supreme Court’s interpretations of the Bill of Rights. Prior to the 1960s, criminal justice was largely left up to the states.  Three key Court decisions were: *Mapp v. Ohio (1961) – involving search and seizure and the exclusionary rule (evidence obtained illegally must be excluded); *Gideon v. Wainwright (1963) – requiring provision of an attorney for all defendants accused of a felony*Miranda v. Arizona (1966) – requiring police to inform suspects of their constitutional rights before questioning. Criticisms of these federal Court decisions include:  more costs for states and more difficulty in convicting criminals. There has been an increase in expenses but appointed attorneys are paid little and often lack expertise and experience, especially in death penalty cases. Occasionally, evidence against suspects and their incriminating statements are thrown out, but this happens fairly rarely. Crime has been going down across the country since the early 1990s. Why? *More criminals are in prison for longer terms (over 2 million people are incarcerated in the U.S., mostly in state prisons and local jails).*More police were added in the mid-1990s through a federal grant program during the Clinton administration. Since the grants have now expired, state and local governments had to find money to retain the law enforcement officers hired in the mid-1990s. *Demographics: the proportion of young men in the population is lower, and the economy was relatively strong until 2008, and has slowly improved in the last few years. Theories for punishment include:*retribution:  to punish someone for a crime they committed*rehabilitation:  to prepare someone to re-enter society though education and job skills development *incapacitation:  to prevent a convicted individual from committing further crimes *deterrence: to deter others from committing a similar crimeRehabilitation has less support than retribution and incapacitation.  Whether punishment serves as deterrence is still unsettled. The public across the country favors harsh punishment.  The incarceration for the United States is higher than in other countries. A 2012 public opinion poll by the University of Texas/Texas Tribune showed, for example, that 73 percent of Texans supported the death penalty and 51 percent said they thought the death penalty had been implemented fairly (28% thought it had not been applied fairly and 21% didn’t know) ( Death penalty: As of June 2019, 29 states plus the federal government retain the death penalty. Texas has about 230 people on death row. There have been 1500 executions since 1976; 561 (37%) of these have been in Texas ( In 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court banned execution of mentally retarded offenders. In 2005, the Court prohibited the execution of juveniles, those under age 18 (at the time of the offense). Issues regarding the death penalty including racial bias, the often poor quality of attorneys representing death penalty defendants, and the possibility of executing innocent defendants continue to drive debates over the use of the death penalty. Criminal Justice Reforms The textbook chapter outlines a number of criminal justice reforms. These include some sentencing reforms, so that fewer nonviolent offenders are sentenced to prison and so that some inmates serving long sentences can be released. They also include some new programs to provide more mental health and drug and alcohol treatment, and some new education and job training programs. Criminal Justice and Minorities The textbook also highlights several issues regarding minorities, especially African-Americans, and the criminal justice system. These include disparate treatment by police, by prosecutors, and by sentencing laws. All these issues serve to create a very different environment and perception of police and the criminal justice system for minorities. Terms and Ideas Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Rangers County sheriffs, local police, and other state and local law enforcementFederal agencies affecting state law enforcementThree Supreme Court decisions affecting state criminal justice systems:*Mapp v. Ohio (1961)Exclusionary rule*Gideon v. Wainwright (1963)*Miranda v. Arizona (1966)Criticisms of Supreme Court decisionsTheories of punishment:*retribution*rehabilitation*incapacitation*deterrenceWhy has crime been going down since the 1990’s?Death penalty issues and statistics Criminal justice reforms Criminal justice and minorities
PLSC 2306 Assignment 4 This assignment deals with federalism and a state policy that was in opposition to the United States government policy. You will assume the role of a U. S. Supreme Court Justic
Health Care Policy and Social Welfare Policy There are two other broad public policy areas that affect the states.  These are health care policy and social welfare policy. Health Care Policy Early public efforts at stopping diseases (in the 1800s – early 1900s) included governmental development of sewers, clean water supplies, and vaccines. Otherwise efforts were minimal and at the local government level. The United States health care system now includes private payment for health care services, private insurance, and some government provided health insurance. Medicare is a health care program for people 65 and older and people no longer able to work because of disability. Medicaid is a program for low-income individuals and families. Both programs were introduced in 1965, and a major expansion of Medicare to include a prescription drug benefit was implemented in 2006. Medicaid involves the states in administration and financing. The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), also known as the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) provides health care for children; it was signed into law in 1997. In 2009, President Obama signed the Reauthorization Act to continue the CHIP program. CHIP was extended again in 2015. CHIP also involves states in administration and financing. Health care policy issues are quality, access, and cost. It is possible to address one or two of these with a policy, but it is difficult to achieve all three. Other developed countries provide universal coverage to insure access. Costs may be lower than in the United States.  However, quality in these other countries sometimes suffers in that not all technology is available and waits to receive coverage are sometimes longer than in the United States.  In the United States, coverage (access) is rationed through ability to pay privately, as not all have health insurance coverage. Health care costs are high because new expensive technology is used, because payment is often through private insurance, because lack of access for the uninsured leads to emergency room visits, and because drug prices are unregulated. In all these ways, the United States differs from other countries. Some states have adopted innovative health care programs. For example, in 2006, Massachusetts instituted a program that attempt to provide insurance for nearly everyone in the state. The program requires everyone to purchase health insurance, provides subsidies for poor and low-income persons, and expands Medicaid eligibility. The Massachusetts state law greatly influenced the structure of the federal law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010.  This federal law, also known as the Affordable Care Act, ACA, and Obamacare, mandated that Americans purchase health insurance, provided subsidies for low-income people for health care costs, and included an expansion of Medicaid. The Affordable Care Act went into effect in 2014. It has increased coverage substantially. It has reduced the number of people without health insurance (uninsured) from about 48 million to about 27 million – from 15.7% to 8.6% of the population. Even more would be covered by Medicaid had the Supreme Court not ruled that states could not be compelled to expand Medicaid; 31 states (and DC) did expand Medicaid, 19 states did not. But Obamacare has been costly and controversial. Texas remains the state with the highest level of uninsured residents. In 2010, about 25% of Texas were uninsured. As of 2015, the proportion is about 16% uninsured. Texas is one of the states that chose not to expand Medicaid. With the election of President Donald Trump and House and Senate majorities, in 2017 Republicans tried to seeking to enact a new health care program to (repeal and) replace the Affordable Care Act. The effort passed in the House but failed in the Senate. The Act was weakened through executive orders and the repeal of the individual mandate in the Republican tax plan of 2017. With Democrats reclaiming the House majority in the 2018 midterm elections, there is no possibility that the ACA will be repealed, at least until after the next election. Social Welfare Policy Historically, social welfare was not considered a governmental responsibility. Any assistance to the poor was provided by local governments, private charities, and churches. These practices largely collapsed with the Great Depression in the 1930’s. Starting in 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Congress offered New Deal programs: business regulation, government work programs, labor organization rights, Social Security, and direct social welfare aid. In the 1960’s, under President Lyndon Johnson Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) was expanded as part of the War on Poverty. The introduction of Medicare and Medicaid also came in 1965. In 1992, President Clinton vowed to “end welfare as we know it.” In 1996, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act (1996) was passed.  This welfare reform law sets time limits on receiving welfare benefits, requires recipients to get a job or job training, and makes it more difficult to qualify for welfare assistance. Also, AFDC became Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF). Because of the nationwide recession that began in 2008, many states, including Texas, further reduced welfare benefits and increased restrictions on eligibility and length of time on TANF.  Although the population has grown in many states, inadequate funding by the federal government has in part led to much stricter provisions, according to The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in 2011 ( States, which are required to administer and contribute to the Medicaid, CHIP, and TANF  programs, face great challenges in providing health care and social welfare for their residents. Terms and Ideas Health care policy issues of quality, access, and costReasons for the high cost of health care The development of New Deal social welfare policiesMedicare (1965)Medicaid (1965) Children’s Health Insurance Protection Act (CHIP) (1997)The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (2010)AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children)Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act (1996)TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) (1996)

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