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Texas Politics: Individuals Making a Difference / Edition 1

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Overview

This Texas politics text prompts students to participate in local government by emphasizing through anecdotes and examples how they can make a difference in their state and community. The theme of participation throughout the text encourages students to discover their individuality by getting involved in politics as citizens.

Local government is covered early in the text, and larger policy issues such as criminal justice, health and human services, education, and the budget are discussed in separate chapters. Each chapter includes a Texas in Context box, outlining similarities (or differences) between Texas and other large states. Also included at the end of every chapter are vignettes highlighting important individuals in Texas politics and summaries to recap the key ideas.

  • Key terms appear in bold throughout the body of the text and are defined in the margins. A complete glossary is included at the end of the text.
  • Study questions revisit concepts from each chapter, helping students absorb and understand what they read.
  • Annotated lists of related web sites appear at the end of every chapter.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Texas Politics is an engaging examination of Texas state and local government that provides the student with an insight into he or she might become involved."

"Excellent use of examples to bring classroom study to life. Students get a feel for how politics affects their lives and how they can get involved and participate. Very good state-to-state comparisons, which shows how Texas compares to other states in the Union."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618000289
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company College Division
  • Publication date: 11/1/2001
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 379
  • Product dimensions: 7.50 (w) x 9.12 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

Nasser Momayezi is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Texas A&M International University in Laredo. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. He teaches American Government, Texas Government, and courses on Constitutional Law.

W.B. Stouffer is a former peace corps volunteer, former Political Science Chair and Health Administration Chair at Texas State. He is also the editor/author of State and Local Government: The Individual and the inter-governments, 2nd ed. Harper Collins.

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Table of Contents

Note: Each chapter includes a Summary and Preview, Key Terms, Study Questions, Critical Thinking Questions, and Online Study Tools. 1. The Individual and the Megastate How Individuals Make a Difference in Texas Politics Texas: The Largest Megastate The Diversity of Texas Politics: Land, People, and Cultures The Civic Culture: A New Analytical Model Texas in Context: 1.1 Megastate Tuition and Fee Revenue as a Percentage of Expenditures 1.2 Megastate Index 1.3 Sources of Population Change in the Megastates 2000—2004 1.4 Chance for Success: Megastates Ranked by Chance-for-Success Score Among All Fifty States 1.5 The Megastates Ranked by Civic Culture Index Join the Debate: Should we deport illegal immigrants, punish employers who hire them, and seal the border? 2. The Texas Constitution Historical Constitutional Development in Texas Texas Constitution Today Criticisms of the Texas Constitution Social Changes and Constitutional Adaptation Texas in Context: 2.1 Constitutions of the Megastates Join the Debate: Should the Constitution of 1876 be revised? 3. Texas in the Federal System The American Federal System Intergovernmental Relations and the Constitution Texas in Context: 3.1 Texas in a System of States and Megastates Join the Debate: Should gun control be left to the states rather than to national government? 4. Local Government in Texas Why Have Local Government? What Is Local Government? General-Purpose Governments in Texas Special-Purpose Governments in Texas Issues in Texas Local Government Texas Local Governments in the Twenty-First Century Texas in Context: 4.1 Numbers of Local Governments in Megastates Compared to Population 4.2 Numbers of Public School Districts in Megastates 4.3 Population Changes of Selected Cities in Megastates Join the Debate: Should a city be able to annex an adjacent area without the consent of the residents of that area? 5. Political Participation and Public Opinion Political Participation and You Seven Participation Strategies Public Opinion Powell's Paradox in Texas Texas in Context: 5.1 Megastate Percentage of Children Under 18 Years Below Poverty Level Join the Debate: Should the Electoral College be abolished? 6. Interest Groups Interest Groups, Participation, and Democracy Interest Groups: Problems Interest Groups: Solutions Classifying Interest Groups Three Types of Interest Groups Interest Group Power in Texas Texas in Context: 6.1 Interest Group Spending on Lobbying 6.2 Union Membership in the Megastates and Voter Turnout Join the Debate: Are interest groups beneficial? 7. Elections and Parties Parties, Elections, and Democracy Political Parties in Texas Texas in Context: 7.1 Participation in Elections in Megastates (Ranked by Average Turnout in 2004 and 2006) 7.2 Party Strength and Gubernatorial Nominations Join the Debate: Should Texas change from a single-member plurality (SMP) voting system to a proportional representation (PR) voting system? 8. The Texas Legislature Parliamentary Functions of Legislatures Legislative Organization The Legislators Legislative Functions Legislative Process Legislative Support System Texas in Context: 8.1 Legislative Sessions in the Megastates 8.2 Number of Legislators in Megastates and Their Compensation 8.3 Professionalization of State Legislatures in the Megastates Join the Debate: Are you in favor of the 140-day biennial regular legislative session? 9. The Executive Branch of Texas Government Structure of the Executive Branch The Governor Elected Executives Boards and Commissions The Executive Branch and You Texas in Context: 9.1 Power Rankings for the Megastate Governorships, 2005 9.2 Megastate Governors: Salary and Staff 9.3 Megastate Executive Branches: Number of Elected Officials Join the Debate: Should the governor be able to appoint judges instead of having voters elect them? 10. The Texas Court System Judicial Cases in the News The Judicial Process in Texas Contemporary Issues of Tradition and Symbolism "A Jury of One's Peers": Fact or Fiction? The Texas System of Courts The Courts and Public Policy Judicial Selection Tools for Citizen Input Texas in Context: 10.1 Postconviction DNA Exonerations Under State Statute 10.2 Jury Pay in Megastates 10.3 Total Executions by State in 2005 and 2006 10.4 Judicial Selection in the Megastates Join the Debate: Should judges be elected or appointed by the governor from a pool of candidates screened by the state bar or another nonpartisan agency? 11. Criminal Justice Policy The Political Character of Criminal Justice Equal Justice for All? Texas Prisons: "Cruel and Unusual Punishment"? How Well Do Incarceration and the Death Penalty Work? Race, Ethnicity, and Criminal Justice in Texas The Changing Landscape of Criminal Justice in Texas Texas in Context: 11.1 Megastate Comparisons of Reversal Rates in Death Penalty Cases, 1973-2002 11.2 Percentage of Sentence Served by Violent Offenders Released from Prison in 1997 11.3 Incarceration and Violent Crime Rate Changes, 1991-2001 Join the Debate: Should Texas place a moratorium on death sentences? 12. Texas Health and Human Services What Is Poverty? How Many People Are Poor in Texas? The Causes of Poverty The Consequences of Poverty What Government Is Doing About Poverty Administration of Social Welfare Programs Texas in Context: 12.1 Poverty Rates in the Megastates, 2004 12.2 Education Levels of Heads of Families with Children Living in Low-Income Households (Below 200% of the Poverty Rate) in the Megastates 12.3 Percentage of Children in Low-Income Households by Parent's Highest Educational Attainment Level in the Megastates 12.4 TANF Benefits per Month for a Single Parent with Two Children, 2003 12.5 Three-Year Average of Low-Income Uninsured Children in the Megastates, 2003-2005 Join the Debate: Should welfare benefits stay low to increase incentives to work? 13. Education Policy The Political Character of Education Political Issues in Texas Education Policy Key Actors in Educational Politics Texas in Context: 13.1 Teacher Salaries Adjusted for Cost-of-Living Differences in the Megastates, 2003-2004 13.2 Average SAT I Scores for the Top 20 Percent of College-Bound Seniors in the Megastates, 1999 13.3 Average Faculty Salary in Public Universities, 2004-2005 Join the Debate: Should creationism be taught alongside the theory of evolution in school science classes? 14. The Budget Understanding the Budget The Budget-Making Process Appropriations Revenues Evaluating Taxes and Tax Systems Looking to the Future: A Personal Income Tax? Why a State Personal Income Tax Would Be Hard to Enact Texas in Context: 14.1 The Heavier Tax Burden of the Working Poor in Texas Join the Debate: Do you favor the idea of trickle-down economics? Endnotes Credits Glossary Index

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