Chapter Overview

As discussed in Chapter 5, in political systems reflecting a separation of powers philosophy of governance, a policy adoption versus policy administration and implementation dichotomy exists separating the legislative branch and the executive branch. In line with this demarcation of responsibilities governmental powers are fairly clearly separated in law and in practice. In contrast, in political systems reflecting an integration of powers philosophy of governance, members of the executive branch are selected from and are held directly accountable to the legislative branch. In the United States, state legislatures are presidential-style bodies that are primarily in charge of making laws of general purpose and universal application for the respective states, with governors being responsible for the "faithful execution" of state laws. At the local level both general-purpose governments and single-purpose governments are present. The former provides a wide range of services and serves a diversity of functions, whereas the latter carries out a specific function such as education, the provision of utilities, the irrigation of farmlands, or the provision of transportation services. There are a variety of legislative structures used in local governments, including boards of county commissioners, city councils, school district boards, and a wide variety of more specialized elective boards and commissions that are discussed in this chapter.

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