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  1. The United States Constitution
  2. Legislative Branch
  3. Executive Branch
  4. The Judicial Branch
  5. Voting
  6. Political Parties
  7. State and Local Government
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Mayor and Governor standing at a podium
Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger at a press conference.
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State and Local Government
State and local governments in America are modeled after the federal government. The three branches of government; the executive branch, the legislative branch, and the judicial branch exist in each state. Although each state has a unique history and a unique set of laws, states may not create laws that contradict the United States Constitution, the supreme law of the United States. However, states do have jurisdiction over any law or right that is not implied in the U.S. Constitution. For example, each state determines a legal driving age and a legal age to begin schooling. State residents elect governors to manage the executive branch of the government within a state; city residents elect mayors to lead this branch within a city. Just as the president of the U.S. enforces laws within the country, these leaders enforce laws within their states and cities. Each state also has it’s own elected legislature, which creates laws for the state. All states, except for Nebraska, have a bicameral legislature. Nebraska’s legislature has only one house. The state judicial systems use judges and juries to interpret the states’ laws. Other state and local elected representatives include city or county council members. Judges and school board members are elected in some places and appointed in others.
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