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State and Local Government Law
South Texas College of Law Houston
Festa, Matthew J.

I. Focus Topics (Class notes cover very well)
a. Const’l Limits of the Authority of States over Local Governments & Hunter pg. 28 – 37
b. Progressive Era History of State & Local Government Reform
c. Equal Protection pg. 38 and Due Process pg. 40 – Start pg. 37
d. Differences between Federal and State Law Conceptions of the Doctrine
II. Expanded
a. Federal Government pg. 3
i. Government of limited power as defined by Constitution with no express constitutional authority to intervene or participate in state or local government matters
ii. Exercise over state and local government via Congress comes from:
1. Spending power
2. Power to regulate interstate commerce
3. Power to adopt laws to implement 14th Amendment
iii. The Politics of federal intervention – change over history
1. Changing demographics has altered the way Congress spends on state and local – aide has restructured to reduce federal influence
iv. Affect of Federal financial assistance on state and local government
1. States must designate a single agency to administer federal assistance
2. Local government – also have special units with statutory and fiscal power to administer federally aided programs.
3. Affects state and local budgets and spending priorities
a. Ex: Civil rights, equal opportunity, minimum wage, maximum hour requirements
b. State Government
i. Structure and Function – Similarities and Differences from Fed
1. Difference
a. State has plenary, not limited authority
b. Possess full residual authority of governmental power, which they delegated up to federal government in the federal Constitution, and which they can delegate down to local governments through state constitution and state statues
c. See. Pg. 4 paragraph for examples
d. Must less centralized – Pres v. Governor (bottom pg. 4)
i. State governors usually weaker than President
1. Note: Governors can line item veto budget items passed by legislature (unlike Pres)
ii. Major reforms have strengthened governors
e. State Legislatures
i. Legislature leadership is critical and many times they have more power than their congressional counterparts and committee chairs
f. Power shift from state to federal government
2. State Constitution
a. Difference from federal constitution pg. 5 bottom
i. Limited v. plenary
ii. More specific – listing of requirements and delegated authority affects the authority of state legislators to enact laws
iii. Do not need to draw authority from state constitution – but they can specify how delegated authority can be exercised
b. Similar
i. Prescribe basic government structure for state, delegate authority to state legislature and provide for organization of local governments
c. Home Rule Provision
i. State constitution specify powers of local governments, usually through home rule provision that confers home rule authority on local governments that adopt charters
c. State Government – Legislative Power: Grant v. Limitation (More similarities and differences)
i. Problem – Deals with population discrimination – See later chapter
ii. Role of State Constitutions as a limit on the state legislature
1. Utah School Boards Assoc v. Utah State Board of Ed pg. 8-13
a. Constitution’s failure to describe the full extent of leg’s power is critical to the result
iii. Notes and Questions pg. 13
1. The power of plenary legislative power
a. Important principles
i. State legislatures have plenary power
ii. Grant of power from the state constitution is not necessary
iii. State constitution is only a limit on legislative power
b. Two types of Constitutional provisions when considering limitations in a state constitution on state legislative power
i. Explicit delegation of legislative authority
ii. Limitation on how legislative authority can be exercised – not delegation of legislative authority
2. Expressio Unius
a. Holds that a delegation of authority must be found within the statute – mention of one thing implies the exclusion of another
b. Not applied to state constitution
3. Conflicts in agency jurisdiction
a. Limit-not-grant rule/Limitation v. Grant Doctr

from the beginning until today.
b. Reviews vertical v. horizontal
2. Regional Variations
e. State Government – How Municipalities are Governed
i. Evolution of municipalities pg. 24-25
ii. Note and Questions
1. Governing the City
2. Who governs?
a. City manager or chief administrative officer.
b. Mayor varying powers
i. Is he elected?
ii. Does he have veto power over legislation?
f. Sources of Local Government Authority
i. Legal status of local governments
1. Any powers local governments possess must be delegated by the state, either by state statute or by constitutional home rule provisions (chap 3)
2. Counties and townships
a. Key to legal status lies in their status as organized municipality corporations
b. History – Important point that municipality corps, unlike private corps, were subject to state control and domination. Municipality corps have dual status that distinguishes their public and proprietary dimension. Occurs for the first time in the Hunter decision.
3. Statutes and Charters
a. State control over municipality corps is exercised via states and charters, all municipality power must find its source in either type of delegation. Local governments are governments of grant, not limitation.
b. Delegate authority to local governments (ex: authority to reg and authority to borrow and tax)
c. Home rule provisions pg. 27
i. Many states have these in their state constitutions.
ii. Called home rule b/c they delegate authority directly to local governments, and statutory intervention is not necessary if the authority is included within the home rule grant
Constitutional Limitations on the Authority of States over Local