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Essay Example on the State of Washington

3 pages
757 words
Harvey Mudd College
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The United States government has three branches which are the executive, the legislature, and the judiciary. The executive is charged with the role of approving or rejecting the roles that are made by Congress. The president heads the executive branch of the government. The legislature's main task is to make laws and determine how the federal taxes that are paid by all citizens are going to be spent. The House of Representatives and Senate make up the legislature and are known as the Congress. The judiciarys main duty is to ensure that the laws that are passed by Congress or local authorities respect the principles in the nations constitution.

An initiative refers to the power of citizens to evade the legislature, come up with a proposed law and have people vote on it. Citizens want this power so as to ensure that they have power over the government. A referendum is a law that is passed by the legislature but referred to the voters. It is important to allow for an initiative and referendum because it gives the citizens a voice and control over the government.

The executive branch is made up of nine officials and all of them are independently elected. The nine officials include the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, superintendent of public instruction, commissioner of public lands, insurance commissioner, auditor and treasurer.

The writers of the state constitution agreed that the state has to make ample provision for the education of all children that live within its borders, without distinction or preference based on sex, race, or caste. The court ruled that the state has to provide all the public schools with sufficient money to pay for the basic education of all students. Washington became the 42nd state on November 11, 1989.

The Washington state constitution had a long debate on whether women should be given rights to vote in the constitution. There are those who thought that women should be allowed to vote but they feared if they put it on the constitution it would be rejected by the voters and would hold up the process of Washington becoming a state. Finally, the issue was put on the ballot but the male voters rejected it. Another contentious issue was the power of railroads and other big companies. The construction of the railroad opened up the state to more settlement and enabled farmers to get their produce to the market easily. However, the citizens of the state thought that the railroads and other big companies had a lot of control over the government. A debate arose on the how the 2.5 million acres of land which was given to the state by the federal government was supposed to be used. A strong statement was put down that the Washington that the public land should not be sold to private owners at less value than what they are worth. The biggest debate, however, was what should be done about tidelands as some businesses were already operational there. Finally, the state decided that the state would still own the tidelands but some of the tidelands would be leased out to private businesses.

The state legislature meets in January at the start of every year and the legislative session goes for 105 days. They agree on a two-year state budget, and in the second year, the legislative session goes for 60 days. A proposed law is called a draft and it first goes through to the code revisers office. The bill is then introduced to either the house or the Senate. The committee then discusses it and may then decide to amend it. The legislature leaders then vote the bill. If the bill passes both the house and senate the governor can sign it into a law.

Municipal court: they have exclusive jurisdiction over non-criminal and misdemeanor crimes within the city boundary.

District court: they hear traffic infraction, misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor cases, civil cases and small claims suits

Superior court: it considers all civil and criminal matters within a countys boundary. It also hears felony cases, family law cases, and juvenile hearings

Court of Appeals: it considers appeals in civil and criminal cases appealed from superior court

Supreme Court: it majorly hears appeals from the decisions made by the court of appeals.

Civil cases involve a plaintiff claiming that the defendant has failed to perform a duty owed to them legally by the plaintiff. A criminal case, on the other hand, involves a person or an organization being accused of felonies or misdemeanors by the government on behalf of the citizens.

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