There are two writing assignments worth 100 points each. The purpose of these essays is to provide students an opportunity to discuss a key concept or topic in Texas politics and to show a basic understanding of academic research and reporting skills. Students should offer evidence for their arguments. Thus, submissions that are more comprehensive and detailed will earn a higher point total. Each assignment should be a minimum of 750 words. Submissions must include a works cited page (note: there must be a parenthetical citation at the end of each sentence that contains information from a source). The textbook should be one of the sources and included on the works cited page (sources other than the textbook should be used as well).
You should use New Courier or Times New Roman, 12 point font, double-spacing, and one-inch margins on all four sides of the paper. The assignment is to be formatted according to the Modern Language Association (MLA) style which includes works cited page but does NOT include a title page. Students should research this style in order to properly format the assignment (see the Purdue Online Writing Lab).
All writing assignments will be analyzed using SafeAssign. Essays that contain plagiarized material will receive a significant reduction in points or a zero. Students may receive a failing grade in the course for submitting plagiarized material. Do not cut and paste information from an online source or copy information directly from the chapter without using quotations and citing the information.
Writing Assignment 1
Select ONE of the following topics to answer for Writing Assignment 1. The writing assignment should be a minimum of 750 words. You should find much of the information you need to complete the assignment in the textbook, but you may also need to use additional sources (such as news articles or government websites). Make sure to provide a citation for all sources used in your paper. See the Writing Assignment Instructions for more information.
The current Texas Constitution was designed to provide greater public control over government, effectively limiting the government’s power. Thus, the people are given a direct say in the amendment process. Look at the proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution from 2017, 2019, and 2021. Choose one of these amendments to research. In your response, you should explain the amendment process in Texas and the background of the amendment you have chosen to discuss. What groups support or oppose the amendment and what are their arguments? Explain which side you agree with and why. If the amendment received a vote in an amendment election, what was the result?
Read both Chapter 3 in the textbook and the article “Abbott presses Congress for extra $61 billion to rebuild after Harvey.” Then, define federalism in the U.S. (explaining the relationship between the national and state governments). What are some benefits to leaving most of the control of programs (and their funding) in the hands of Texas and other states exclusively? What are some of the benefits of allowing the national government to provide funds (and control how the funds are spent) for programs administered by Texas and other states? Do you think the federal government should be allowed to enact “unfunded mandates” on the states? Why or why not? What state issues do you feel the federal government should be involved in? Why these and not others?
According to Chapter 5 of the textbook, what are some of the historical and more recent barriers to voting in Texas? (Be specific) What accounts for the low level of voter participation in Texas? What can be done to increase voter participation? (Specifically, discuss at least two policy proposals that election officials could adopt.) After the 2020 election, state legislatures controlled by Republicans (including the Texas Legislature) have been debating and passing election reforms. Counties are in charge of administering elections in Texas. What were some of the proposed changes to election laws in Texas in 2021 and how would they impact a county’s ability to administer elections? Do you think these changes pose undue restrictions on the ability of Texans to vote?
Using the data from Chapter 7, discuss in detail the gender, racial and educational makeup of the Texas Legislature. Does it adequately represent the population of the state? If the Texas Legislature had more people of color, more women, or more people of varying levels of education, do you think it would pass different policies? If so, what kinds of policies might they pass? (Be specific here.) Does the part-time nature of the Texas Legislature encourage or discourage people from particular occupations to run? Do you think a full-time legislature could make the legislature more representative? Why or why not?
Any citation style (APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian, Harvard)
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