1st Edition

State and Local Politics Cases and Topics

By Jayme Renfro Copyright 2021
    154 Pages
    by Routledge

    154 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book is the first of its kind to take concepts directly from the most commonly used textbooks in state and local politics and apply them directly to current events. It presents twelve chapters of case studies, richly detailing key topics ranging from how the comparative method can be used to understand the similarities and differences between diverse places, to a look at how state governments have taken the lead on COVID-19, environmental policy, civil rights, gun control, college tuition regulation, cybersecurity and elections, sex offenders, and many more subjects of contemporary interest. It devotes a complete chapter to local-level politics in Nevada, Florida, and Iowa, and wraps up with a unique chapter on regional governance bridging between states and localities. This detailed and highly readable book is designed to complement traditional state and local textbooks. It is also of interest to students of public administration, public policy, urban politics, and intro to American politics.


    Chapter 1: The Comparative Method

    Borders and BBQ: KCK and KCMO and the Dividing Lines of Government and Culture

    Georgia on My Mind

    Using the Laboratories of Democracy to Keep People Healthy

    Chapter 2: Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations

    Hurricanes, Floods, and Tornados Oh My! The High Cost of Disaster Recovery

    Federal Ownership of Land, or, When Nevada isn’t Actually Nevada

    FedEd: Investigating Civil Rights Violations in Schools

    Chapter 3: State Constitutions

    The Right to Hunt and Fish and Hang Out on the Front Porch

    Problems in Euclid and the Limitations of the Ohio Constitution

    From Plastic Bags to Guns: Preemption Laws and an Evolving Political Landscape

    Chapter 4: Budgeting, Finance and Fiscal Policy

    Tax Cuts and College Tuition: A Louisiana Story

    Is Grandpa Bankrupting your City? A Look at Debts and Liabilities

    Isn’t that Their Job? How State Legislatures End Up Not Passing Budgets

    Chapter 5: Elections and Political Participation

    Social Pressure and Voter Turnout

    Cybersecurity and Election Systems: When Is It Time to Panic?

    Is the Internet a Tool or a Distraction for Increasing Political Participation?

    Chapter 6: Political Parties and Interest Groups

    A Two-Party System Requires Two Parties: Democrats in the South

    (Maybe Don’t) Show Me the Money: Big Money’s Influence in State and Local Elections

    ALEC and the Use and Misuse of Model Bills

    Chapter 7: State Legislatures

    Descriptive Representation and Policy Outcomes: Do Female Legislators Matter?

    Professional versus Citizen Legislatures

    Jeffrey Epstein and the Varying Interpretation of Federal Sex Offender Registry Laws

    Chapter 8: State Executive Leadership

    When It All Goes Wrong: The Impeachment of Governor Robert Bently and Eric Greitens

    The Gubernatorial Incumbency Advantage

    Can a State Make a Difference on Environmental Policy?: California is Giving it a Shot

    Chapter 9: State Court Systems

    In Loco Parentis

    Judicial Recall: How the Brock Turner Case Turned California on its Head

    Selling Beer to Alcoholics: The Nebraska State Supreme Court and the Whiteclay Problem

    Chapter 10: The Bureaucracy

    Interesting Work, Good Benefits, and Job Security: Why Work for the Government?

    Bureaucrat Bashing in the Era of Civil Service Shame

    Verruckt and the Case for Increased Government Regulation of Amusement Parks

    Chapter 11: Local Governments

    Handling an "Alien" Invasion in a Small Desert Town

    Council-Manager or Strong Mayor? Clearwater, FL Decides

    Postville, IA: A Town Recovers from a Major Immigration Raid

    Chapter 12: Regional Governance

    The Sprawliest Sprawl—Not Los Angeles?

    The Houston Metro Area: Flood City U.S.A.

    Tiebout Gets Schooled: The Indirect Benefits of Public Schools on Community Satisfaction



    Jayme L. Renfro is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Northern Iowa. She enjoys teaching public policy and administration to both undergraduate and graduate students and has earned university- and college wide teaching awards. She is co-author, with Kevin B. Smith, of State and Local Government 2013–2014. She enjoys books, her husband, travelling, playing darts, her children, cake, and naps (not in that order).

    "A lively and comprehensive set of readings that cover all the key elements of state politics. The topics are carefully selected and the essays engaging—highly recommended."
    Kevin B. Smith, University of Nebraska—Lincoln

    "This book is an uncommonly witty and lively examination of state and local government. These enjoyable case studies will engage every reader."
    John C. LePete, Palo Alto College

    "This timely volume provides a focused analysis on the most pressing issues facing state and local governments, applying the latest in political science and public policy research to ongoing social problems. The applied nature of the content as well as the end of chapter discussion questions make this a valuable resource for students and faculty."
    Christopher W. Larimer, University of Northern Iowa