Governmental Cooperation

Since the 1930s, state governments and the federal government have increasingly cooperated to fund and administer a wide variety of programs. These include highways, education, and welfare. Usually the federal government provides grants-in-aid— awards of money—to the states to help them pay for some of their programs. States must contribute some of their own money, and they must obey rules set by Congress in order to receive these giants. For example, the federal government contributes 90 percent of the money to build interstate highways, but states must comply with a list of regulations, such as the width of driving lanes and the quality of building materials.

Tie federal government gives some grants-in-aid dircctly to cities and countics. In other cases federal grants "pass through" state governments to citics. Like the federal government, states award grants to cities and counties, with conditions attached.

The Constitution also helps ensure that states cooperate with each other. Article TV of the Constitution cncourages interstate cooperation by requiring states to give "full faith and crcdit" to the public laws and court decisions of other states. This means, for example, that if people get married in one state, the legality of the marriage must be accepted in all other states.

Articlc IV of the U.S. Constitudon also requires every state to have a "republican form of government/' The federal government will defend tiiese state governments if they arc threatened.The federal government will protect each state against invasion and domestic violence. When a state or local police force cannot control violent incidents within a state, the governor may call for the assistance of federal troops. In 1967, tor example, President Lyndon Johnson sent troops to Detroit to help control racial unrest and rioting when Michigan's governor declared that the Detroit policc and the Michigan National Guard could not stop the widespread violence.

In return, states provide ccrtain services to the federal government. For example, states conduct elections for iedcral offices, such as president and vice president of the United States,This is considered part of the reserved powers of the states. States also play a key role in the process of amending the Constitution. No amendment can be added to the Constitution unless three-fourths of the states approve it,

2 ■■ _ ■ 'Explaining How do federal grants-in-aid work?

State Constitutions

State constitutions differ from state to state because every state has its own ideas about what makes a good government. All state constitutions, though, share certain characteristics.

livery state constitution provides lor separation of powers among three branches of government—legislative, executive, and judicial. The state constitutions outline the organization of cach branch, the powers and terms of various offices, and the method of election for state officials. States have also included their own bills of rights in their constitutions, which include all or most of the protections of the 1M of Rights in the U.S. Constitution. Often, they also include rights not provided in the national Constitution, such as workers' right to join unions and protections tor the physically challenged.

State constitutions also establish different types of local governments, including counties, townships, municipalities, special districts, parishes, and boroughs. State constitutions usually define the powers and duties as well as the organization of these forms of local government.

State constitutions regulate the ways state and local governments can raise and spend money. In many states, for example, the state constitution limits the taxing power of local governments.

Finally, state constitutions establish independent state agencies, boards, and commissions, such as public utility commissions and state boards of éducation.

Just as the U.S. Constitution is the highest law in the nation, a state's constitution is the highest law in that state. State constitutions, however, cannot include provisions that clash with the U.S. Constitution.

The amendment process is an important part of every state constitution. While the procedure for changing the constitution varies from state to state, it is usually a two-step process similar to amending the U.S. Constitution. An amendment must first be proposed, generally by the legislature, then it must be ratified by the voters. As states' powers have grown and changed, state constitutions have been amended hundreds of times.

Comparing What do all state constitutions have in common?


Chechrng for Understanding

1. Key Terms Define the fallowing Lerms and use Lhem in compleLe sentences related to the section: federal system., reserved powers, concurrent powers, grants-in-aid.

Reviewing Main Ideas

2. Infer What happens in a federal system, like that of the United States, if a state law conflicts wilh a nalional law?

3. Explain In relation Lo federalism, to what does "full faith and credit' refer?

Critical Thinking

4. Making Comparisons How are reserved powers differenl from concurrent powers?

5. Categorizing Infomtatlon On a web diagram like the one ho low, categorize Lhe imporlanl features of the federal system of government.

Analyzing visuals

6. Interpret Review the Venn dia gram on page 284. How did Lhe Constitution involve the states in national elections?


7. Organize Look a I bolh Lhe sLaLe and federal government pages of your phone book. List the government agencies lhaL reflecl "reserved^ and those that reflect "concurrent" powers.

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