DIRECTIONS:Answer each of the following essays according to the directions provided.Each essay answer must be typed, 10-12 font with one-inch margins.DO NOT COPY AND PASTE YOUR ANSWERS.NO CREDIT FOR MULTIPLE COPIES OF ESSAYS.DO YOUR OWN WORK!Upload ALL FOUR ESSAYS AS ONE FILE to the appropriate assignment box on Turnitin.com by 11/11/08.


  1. Make a brief comparison between the Virginia Constitution and the Federal Constitution.Give specific examples concerning the similarities and differences between the Preambles, all Articles and Amendments. Use your text, class notes and the web link below to help prepare your answer:




2.                   Give an overview of the Virginia General Assembly (both Houses) by providing specifics concerning the history, powers, meeting times and dates, structure, membership, presiding officers and duties of the clerks. Also explain the Virginia Bill Passage Process by using your personal or delegate bill to illustrate the specific steps required for passage in the Virginia law-making process.Use the web link below to help prepare your answer:




3.                    Give an overview of the Virginia Executive branch by providing specifics concerning the qualifications, powers and duties of the major elected (Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General) and appointed (Governorís Cabinet) officials in the executive branch.Use the web links below to help prepare your answer:

http://www.oag.state.va.us/ - Attorney General

http://www.ltgov.virginia.gov/- Lieutenant Governor

http://www.governor.virginia.gov/VirginiaGovernment/cabinet.cfm- Governorís Cabinet

http://legis.state.va.us/Laws/search/ConstitutionTOC.htm - Article V - Executive

http://www.governor.virginia.gov/†††††† - Governor



4.                    Give an overview of the Virginia State Court system.Provide specifics concerning the five levels of courts, the function and jurisdiction (types of cases) of each and the judges and officials involved at each level.Use the web link below to help prepare your answer.

http://www.courts.state.va.us/cib/cib.htm - Virginia Courts in Brief

http://www.courts.state.va.us/glossary_of_court_terms.html - Glossary of Terms



MULTIPLE CHOICE PRACTICE QUESTIONS FOR UNIT ONE TEST.††† Approximately 10 Ė 20 of these questions will appear on the Unit 1 test.


1)Approximately how many states have governors with strong executive powers?

A) 21 B) 14 C) 33 D) 7 E) 28


2)Except for Nebraska, each state has a

A) bicameral legislature.

B) plural executive.

C) governor and lieutenant governor.

D) supreme court.

E) unicameral legislature.


3)In the 1960s, a succession of United States Supreme Court decisions required that state legislative districts be redrawn to

A) give rural areas more clout.

B) follow county lines.

C) give minority parties more opportunity.

D) ensure the election of more women to the legislature.

E) adhere to the principle of "one man, one vote."


4)Which of the following statements about executive offices other than the governor is FALSE?

A) In some states, it is possible for the two top executives to be members of different political parties.

B) One governor was afraid to leave his state because of the lieutenant governor.

C) Eight states don't have a lieutenant governor.

D) Most lieutenant governors have few formal duties.

E) Re-organization of state executive branches has resulted in cost-savings and efficiency.


5)State courts of appeals

A) hear only the facts of a case.

B) decide cases using a panel of three or more judges.

C) are organized on a local basis.

D) use juries in 42 states.

E) have seen their case load decrease in recent years.


6)Most modern state legislators are

A) millionaires.

B) very effective and professional.

C) corrupt.

D) inexperienced.

E) paid on a part-time basis.


7)Gubernatorial elections tend to be decided based on

A) "hot-button" issues such as abortion.

B) presidential coattails.

C) what voters think about the candidates.

D) campaign spending.

E) the national economy.


8)The judicial system in most states is set up

A) as a merit system.

B) as the lowest level of the federal court system, with the states having little say over structure or operations.

C) without an appellate level; any appeals of state trial court decisions go directly to the United States Supreme Court.

D) in a haphazard fashion, with trial courts and appellate courts differing county by county, municipality by municipality.

E) as a hierarchical system under state control, similar in its organization to the federal court system.


9)The lieutenant governor

A) runs separately from the governor in seven states.

B) does not exist in seven states.

C) runs with the governor as a team in 42 states.

D) runs with the governor as a team in eight states.

E) is appointed by the governor in 43 states.


10)Which of the following statements about state constitutions is FALSE?

A) A state constitution spells out basic rules of the political game for that particular state.

B) All fifty states have constitutions.

C) State constitutions are subordinate to the United States Constitution.

D) State constitutions are typically much shorter than the United States Constitution.

E) State constitutions take precedence over state laws.


11)Which of the following powers is NOT given to most state governors?

A) holding sole authority in the state's executive branch

B) calling the legislature into special session

C) informal ceremonial authority similar to the president being "Head of State"

D) overseeing the preparation of the state budget

E) line-item veto


12)After the 2002 elections, how many states had divided government?

A) 12 B) 17 C) 38 D) 10 E) 28


13)One power most governors have, but that the president does not, is the

A) line-item veto.

B) symbolic head of state.

C) responsibility for preparing the budget.

D) ability to initiate legislation.

E) executive clemency.


14)Which of these is INCORRECT?

A) Most state legislatures have become much more professionalized over the past thirty years.

B) The Nebraska legislature only has one house.

C) Although it is the second largest state, the Texas legislature is only scheduled to meet every other year.

D) All states now limit the terms of their legislators.

E) Many state legislators are part-timers who have other careers.


15)Modernization in state governments has resulted in

A) enhanced powers for governors.

B) weaker governors.

C) resolving the fragmentation of executive power.

D) greatly increasing the number of independently elected officials and independent boards and commissions.

E) fewer incumbent governors winning reelection.


16)All states have a ________, usually called the supreme court, that is the final appellate level in a state.

A) trial court

B) court of last resort

C) judicial review

D) intermediate court of appeals

E) criminal court


17)Most lieutenant governors

A) are not in line for succession to the governor.

B) have few formal duties.

C) have substantial authority in the budgetary process.

D) preside over the state house chamber.

E) none of the above


18)The states most likely to send women to the United States Senate are those which

A) have had a strong tradition of women's involvement in school politics.

B) have been in the Midwest.

C) have had high rates of women in the state legislature.

D) have elected women as governors.

E) have a high proportion of women in the workforce.


19)Most states provide for legislative sessions every

A) four years.

B) year.

C) week except holidays.

D) two years.

E) three years.


20)Which of the following is FALSE?

A) There was only one woman governor as of 1995.

B) Some governors are not allowed to run for reelection.

C) Two independents won governorships in the 1990s.

D) There has never been a black governor.

E) all of the above






21)The most common method used to amend state constitutions is through

A) constitutional convention.

B) popular initiative.

C) legislative proposal.

D) judicial review.

E) executive order of the governor.


22)Most states

A) have unwritten constitutions rather than written constitutions.

B) do not have their own constitutions.

C) have constitutions more detailed and longer than the United States Constitution.

D) have constitutions less detailed and shorter than the United States Constitution.

E) have constitutions with about the same level of detail as the United States Constitution.


23)About how many gubernatorial vetoes are overridden by state legislatures?

A) 40 percent B) 20 percent C) 30 percent D) 15 percent E) 10 percent


24)State legislative races are

A) more personalized than presidential elections.

B) more personalized than congressional races.

C) not personalized at all.

D) less personalized than gubernatorial races.

E) more personalized than gubernatorial races.


25)Since the 1960s, most states have

A) shifted gubernatorial elections to off-Presidential years.

B) reduced the number of elected state executives.

C) changed the governor's term of office to four years.

D) both A and C

E) both B and C


26)The executive powers of governors

A) vary from state to state.

B) are very strong in almost all states.

C) have decreased in modern times.

D) usually do not include a veto power.

E) all of the above


27)In the state judicial system, it is at the ________ level that the facts are considered before a single judge and a jury.

A) court of last resort

B) federal district court

C) trial court

D) appellate court

E) none of the above


28)Most state legislators

A) mirror the characteristics of their constituents.

B) lack a college education.

C) are women.

D) are from rural areas.

E) have professional jobs.


29)Gubernatorial elections have become more "presidentialized" in that they

A) have come to rely on political party organizations more.

B) have become more personality-focused.

C) receive greater media coverage

D) have become more policy-oriented.

E) none of the above



30)Historically, state elections have been decided by

A) strong political parties.

B) contributions of Political Action Committees.

C) vigorous campaigning on the part of candidates.

D) national political and economic forces.

E) state political bosses.


31)One result of the personalization of gubernatorial elections has been

A) the adoption of sunset legislation.

B) less media coverage.

C) more of an emphasis on policy positions.

D) weakening of state political parties.

E) divided government.


32)Only ________ state(s) does not have at least the initiative, referendum, OR recall available.

A) ten B) twenty C) five D) fifteen E) one


33)Compared to the federal district courts, state courts, on average, hear ________ trials and appeals.

A) far fewer

B) far more

C) somewhat more

D) somewhat fewer

E) about the same number of


34)Since the 1960s, women have

A) had limited success in running for governor.

B) been less successful than Hispanic Americans in running for governor.

C) had little interest in running for governor.

D) been less successful than African Americans in running for governor.

E) had numerous successes in running for governor.


35)Since the 1960s the states have become

A) more irrelevant to governance in modern society.

B) more dependent on the federal government.

C) more homogeneous in how they govern.

D) revitalized in their institutions, personnel and governance role.

E) less powerful in their policymaking capacity.


36)Reforms of state legislatures oriented toward enhancing their "legislative professionalism" include all of the following EXCEPT

A) increasing the staff available to state legislators.

B) lengthening legislative sessions.

C) increasing the number of legislative committees.

D) increasing the salary of state legislators.

E) none of the above


37)Voters in many states have recently approved ________ to guarantee legislative turnover.

A) shorter terms of office for state legislative seats

B) recall elections

C) reapportionment

D) term limits

E) malapportionment


38)Over a ten-year period, about ________ of state legislative seats turned over.

A) 10 percent

B) 90 percent

C) 75 percent

D) 30 percent

E) 50 percent



39)The judicial branch in most states operates on a ________ system.

A) two-tier

B) circular

C) four-tier

D) three-tier

E) single-level



40)The ________ is a system of appointing judges based on merit, with the governor given a list of qualified persons from the state bar or a committee of jurists and other officials from whom to make a selection, and the appointment subject to the state's voters deciding on retaining the judge.

A) sunset law

B) judicial review

C) Missouri Plan

D) judicial restraint

E) Merit Plan


41)One of the consequences of the greater visibility of state elections is that

A) state policies have become more progressive.

B) media coverage of state politics has increased.

C) state administration has become more efficient.

D) citizens know more about state politics.

E) state officials have become more representative.


42)Which of the following is NOT one of the methods used by states to amend their constitutions?

A) legislative proposal

B) popular initiative

C) simple statute

D) constitutional convention

E) none of the above


43)The governor and lieutenant governor are elected in separate elections and can be of different parties

A) in about half the states.

B) in none of the states.

C) in eight states.

D) in all fifty states.

E) in about one-third of the states.


44)The ten-year turnover of state legislative seats

A) results in a completely new legislature every ten years.

B) results in a significant change in the people holding office.

C) averages over 90 percent.

D) is costly to taxpayers, but results in nicely furnished capitols.

E) occurs at a very slow rate.


45)In the states, making laws is the legal function of

A) governors.

B) state legislatures.

C) state courts.

D) direct democracy.

E) state agencies.


46)Most governors have ________ authority, allowing them to reject certain parts of legislation approved by the state legislature.

A) line-item veto

B) executive clemency

C) Missouri Plan

D) popular initiative

E) legislative turnover



47)All state constitutions

A) have a bill of rights.

B) have provisions for a bicameral legislature.

C) require a balanced budget.

D) require one legislative session per year.

E) all of the above


48)The fact that most states have a number of elected state executives in addition to the governor

A) reduces the authority of the legislature.

B) reduces the democratic accountability of the executive branch of state government.

C) has no effect on the authority of the governor.

D) reduces the authority of the governor.

E) gives the governor greater authority.


49)Which of the following does NOT serve to limit the power of a governor?

A) civil service employment policies in many states

B) state constitutional separation of powers

C) the line-item veto

D) other elected executive branch officials, such as the attorney general

E) none of the above


50)Which of the following statements about the state court of last resort is FALSE?

A) State courts of last resort are the final appellate level in a state.

B) State courts of last resort only hear criminal cases.

C) State courts of last resort may practice judicial review.

D) They have recently exhibited a new wave of liberal activism.

E) State courts of last resort are headed by a chief justice.


51)A bicameral legislature is one that

A) holds two sessions a year.

B) has only one house.

C) has two houses.

D) is evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans by law.

E) meets every two years.


52)The ________ is the most common method of amending a state constitution.

A) legislative proposal

B) United States Congress

C) simple statute

D) constitutional convention

E) popular initiative


53)Until the mid-1960s, the one group that was over-represented in state legislatures was

A) Southerners.

B) women.

C) minorities.

D) the rural population.

E) urban dwellers.


54)Every state is governed by ________, in which the basic rules of the political game for that particular state are established.

A) an official state guidebook

B) the state government clause in the United States Constitution

C) the laws of the United States Congress

D) a collection of state statutes

E) a state constitution






55)Most states allow for amending their constitutions, and this is usually accomplished through

A) a two-thirds vote of the legislature followed by a simple majority vote of state voters in the next election.

B) a simple majority vote of the legislature followed by the governor's signature.

C) a simple majority vote of the legislation followed by a simple majority vote of the state voters in the next election.

D) a two-thirds vote of the legislature followed by the governor's signature.

E) a two-thirds vote of the legislature followed by ratification by three-fourths of the counties.


56)Increasingly close partisan divisions in state legislatures

A) are relatively new as of the 1980s.

B) are relatively new as of the 1990s.

C) are evident only in the North.

D) are evident only in the South.

E) have occurred in both the North and South.


57)A recent policy change in some states that actually "deprofessionalizes" legislature is

A) Dillon's rule.

B) line-item veto.

C) Missouri Plan.

D) sunset legislation.

E) term limits.


58)Prior to the Supreme Court's rulings in the 1960s to end the malapportionment, ________ areas were overrepresented in many state legislatures.

A) rural

B) suburban

C) urban

D) Republican

E) none of the above


59)Divided government exists when

A) a single party does not control both chambers of the state legislature.

B) a single party does not control both chambers of the state legislature and the governor's office.

C) when the Republicans and the Democrats hold an equal number of congressional seats.

D) the major parties do not control both chambers of the state legislature and a majority of state elected officials.

E) a single party does not control both chambers of the state legislature and a majority of state elected offices.


60)A governor's control over policy administration is somewhat diminished because

A) new state constitutions tend to limit the powers of the governor.

B) a large number of other executive branch officials are also elected in most states.

C) state legislatures have taken over many traditional executive duties.

D) of the weakness of state political party structures.

E) all of the above



APState Government & Chapter 21 Test Answer Key