Select ONE of the following topics to answer for Writing Assignment 2. The writing assignment should be a minimum of 750 words. You should find most of the information you need to complete the assignment in the textbook, but it may improve your submission by using additional sources (such as news articles or government websites). See the Writing Assignment Instructions for more information.
- What is a plural executive model? How does the single executive model differ from the plural executive model? What are the arguments for and against a plural executive? Do you believe that the plural executive is more democratic than the single executive model? Why or why not? Do you believe the plural executive lead to more efficient and accountable government? Why or why not? Under the plural executive system, how does the power of the governor in Texas compare to other states? (Use specific examples)
- How are state judges selected in Texas? Discuss two different methods used in other states for selecting judges. What are the arguments for each of the selection methods you discussed? Do you think that judges should be elected or appointed? Explain your reasoning. How informed do you think the public is about judicial elections and judicial candidates? If you were voting for a judge, would you research the candidates and their qualifications or would you vote based on party affiliation?
- According to “Who Governs Texas’ Cities?” in Chapter 10, which city council best reflects the racial/ethnic composition of its population? Explain how you came to this conclusion. Which city council diverges the most from its city’s population? Explain how you came to this conclusion. Do you think it is important that city councils reflect the racial/ethnic composition of their communities? Why or why not? Describe an issue a city might face where the racial/ethnic composition of the city council might matter in resolving that issue.
- Do you think that sales taxes are a fair way for the state to generate revenue? Why or why not? As described in The Texas Tribune article “How Texas lawmakers tax swap plan could affect Texans”, there was a proposal in the 2019 legislative session to increase the sales tax to offset a reduction in property taxes. Do you think trading a sales tax increase for a property tax decrease is a fair approach for the majority of Texans? Why or why not? What happened to this proposal during the 2019 legislative session? (Note: The Texas Tribune is a good resource for information on the legislative session.)
- How has Texas ranked over the last 10 years in the percent of people without health insurance when compared to other states? (Refer to Census Bureau data.) Has the percentage of people without health insurance been increasing or decreasing? What are some of the explanations for the differences between the current uninsured rate in Texas and the rate in other states? Do you think this issue should be a priority for Texas legislators? Why or why not? Was this issue addressed in the most recent legislative session and if so, what was the outcome? (Note: The Texas Tribune is a good resource for information on public policy issues in Texas).
- Discuss how the racial/ethnic makeup of the overall prison population and the death row population in Texas compares to the racial/ethnic breakdown of the general population in Texas. (Refer to “Who are Texans?” in Chapter 13.) What might explain the racial/ethnic makeup of the prison population in Texas? Which regions of the country have higher incarceration rates and death penalty usage? (Refer to “Texas and the nation” in Chapter 13.) What do you think explains the differences in the regional patterns of incarceration and death penalty usage? After reading Chapter 13, how do you feel about the fairness of the Texas criminal justice system? Are there any specific reforms that you would like to see adopted?