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North Idaho College • Coeur d'Alene • Social & Behavioral Sciences • Political Science

State and Local Government POLS-275-3

  • Fall 2012
  • Section 03
  • 3.0 Credits
  • 08/27/2012 to 12/20/2012
  • Modified 10/03/2012

Contact Information

Mr. Shawn Moore ([email protected]).

Meeting Times

On-line office hours: Thursday, 11-12 PM


Using a comparative approach, this course examines the characteristics and qualities of both state and local governments. Emphasis is placed on how local and state governments are organized and how they operate. Additional issues that are examined from a state and local government context include: federalism, the role of political parties, participation, land use, finances and various policies that are important to government at the state and local levels. This course fulfills a social science requirement for both the A.A. and A.S. degrees. Lecture: 3 hours per week


Simon, Christopher, Brent S. Steel, and Nicholas P. Lovrich. 2011. State and Local Government: sustainability in the 21 st century. New York, Oxford (U.K.): Oxford University Press.


POLS 275      State and Local Government


This course is designed to give students a more intimate knowledge of the functions and design of state and local governments in the United States. As a result of taking this course students will:


?   Gain a greater understanding of their underlying philosophy of the role of government. 


?    Be able to identify, understand and apply political science concepts and theories to historical and contemporary issues in state and local government.


?    Obtain a basic working knowledge about the evolution, differences and important functions of state and local government.


?    Become knowledgeable in the election process, the various types of officials and the institutions of state and local government.


?    Gain an understanding of what federalism is and how the bureaucracy functions.


?    Develop critical thinking skills and knowledge of specific policy areas affecting local and state government. Examples of such policy areas include but are not limited to land development, planning, judicial issues, taxation, civil rights and education.


?    Learn the basics of budgeting and fiscal considerations as they relate to state and local government.


?    Gain an understanding of the ethical and moral issues that are involved with government service and citizenship.


The assessment of these outcomes will include exams, discussion, case studies, writing assignments and class participation.   



TESTS (400 pts.): There will be four exams in the course. The exams will cover the lecture material (PowerPoints), assigned readings, handouts, and other assigned class exercises. The exams will not be cumulative. All exams will be online. You will be given advanced notice of the exam times, and the following week (five days) to complete the exams. A ten point per day (up to a total of fifty points), will be deducted for late exams. On the sixth day after the exams close, a zero will be entered for the exam grade. There is no exception to the rule. Don't be late!

Discussion Board (100 pts.): There will be ample subject choices for this assignment. Each student will be required to write an original reply and post to response posted by another student (or myself) regarding some aspect of the intergovernmental political process. Your response must rely on three sources: your informed opinion, properly cited text material addressing the topic, and properly cited material from one or more scholarly sources. The discussion board is not an opinion piece. While your opinion is part of this assignment, it needs to be backed by other sources.

While your opinion is a valuable part of the assignment, utilizing scholarly sources lends strength and credibility to your argument. Seven days will be allowed for one original post and a response to a discussion thread. After those dates have passed a zero will be given. There is no exception to the rule. Dont' be late! Please do not be rude. Remember that this is an academic exercise, and therefore abbreviations and (EX: OMG, you are so rite, or UR so wrong) are not acceptable.

PARTICIPATION POINTS (100 pts.): Class participation is based on prompt participation in submitting discussion board assignments, checking your e-mail/responding to quizzes in a timely manner, and getting your final on time. If you treat this class as a job, you will get full participation points. These points are discretionary, and will not be justified.  Quizzes will be posted. Posted quizzes are worth ten participation points each, and are due seventy-two hours after posting. After seventy-two hours has passed a zero will be entered for the quiz. There is no exception to the rule. Don’t be late!

Course Policies

Please familiarize yourself with Blackboard ASAP, as your e-mail, grades, and other essential student information is be found there. Logging on to Blackboard is essential, as class announcements will be posted on Blackboard. Also, Class readings are listed in your syllabus and should be read prior to that week’s class. Should you have any problems or technical issues, contact the Help Desk, located in the Siebert Building, Room 107 (Number 6 on the campus map). You can reach the Help Desk at extension 3280 (on campus) or (208)769-3280 (off campus). Alternatively, you can get assistance from me via e-mail. It is suggested that you resolve any technical issues early in the semester. Grading, Course Requirements, and Course Guidelines: There will be four exams, discussion board assignments, and participation points.

The course is composed of different types of assignments so that all students get an opportunity to maximize their particular talents to their benefit. Participation and virtual attendance are expected and will be rewarded over the course of the semester. As you are well aware, this is a college level political science course. Since this is a political science course, it is required that all Political Science majors and minors use the APSA Style Manual for Political Science at:  It will help you immensely in your future classes to familiarize yourself with this style now. Exams will be assigned four times during the semester on Blackboard. You will have five (5) days to complete each exam.   



Discussion  Topic

Readings   and Assignments

Week   1 (8/27-31)

Syllabus   and Intro

Chapter   1-2; PowerPoint  Presentations 1 and 2; quiz 1

Week   2, (9/3-7)


Chapter 3 (Labor Day [Sept. 3] Campus closed); PowerPoint  Presentation 3;

DB 1

Week   3, 9/10-14/23

Resources and Sustainability

Chapter   4; PowerPoint  Presentation 4;quiz 2

Week   4, 9/17-21

Exam   I


Week   5, 09/24-29

State Constitutions

Chapter 5; PowerPoint  Presentation 5;DB 2

Week   6, 10/1-5

The Legislative Process

Chapter 6; PowerPoint  Presentation 6; quiz 3   

Week   7, 10/8-12

The   State Executive

Chapter   7; PowerPoint  Presentation 7; DB 3

Week   8, 10/15-19

Exam   II

Exam   II (mid-terms)

Week   9, 10/22-26

The   Courts

Chapter 8; PowerPoint  Presentation 8; quiz 4

Week  10,   10/29-11/2


Chapter   9 and 10; PowerPoint  Presentation 9/10; 10/30 is advising day. Only classes that

meet after 4 PM will meet; DB 4

Week   11, 11/-5-9

The   Budget

Chapters   10/11; quiz 5

Week   12, 11/12-16

Exam III



Week 13   11/19-23

Start prepping /reading for  take-home final

Entitlements; Now is the time to see where your grades are at and catch up.

No extra credit or grade adjustments will be allowed after this week;  Chapter 12;

PowerPoint  Presentation 12; DB 5

Week 14, 11/26-29




Week 15 12/2-7




Week  16 12/12-14 

Take Home Exam Qs

Now would be the time to make sure you clearly understand the rubric for the

Final exam.

Final   Exam, Take Home – due by 5:00 PM, 12/17




Additional Items


Division Policies

For a complete explanation of the North Idaho College Statement on Academic Honesty & Academic Integrity please ferfer to Policy 5.06 & Procedure 5.06.01: 

Academic Dishonesty
Violations of academic integrity involve using or attempting to use any method that enables an individual to misrepresent the quality or integrity of his or her work at North Idaho College. These violations include the following:

Cheating: using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information, or study in any academic exercise.
Fabrication: falsifying or inventing any information or citation in an academic exercise.
Plagiarism: knowingly representing the words or ideas of another as one’s own in an academic exercise.
Violation of Intellectual Property: stealing, altering, or destroying the academic work of other members of the community or the educational resources,materials, or official documents of the college. Facilitating Academic Dishonesty: knowingly helping another to attempt to violate any provisions of this policy.

Student Responsibility
As outlined in the Student Code of Conduct, all North Idaho College students have both rights and responsibilities: Please access www.nic.ferpa.StudentCode/index.htm for complete information that pertains to this subject.

North Idaho College, in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504/508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, provides both services and accommodations to students who meet the guidelines provided in these acts.  For a complete description, please see:

Please contact the North Idaho College Center for Educational Access in Seiter Hall, Room 100 for assistance.  Phone:  208-769-5947

To withdraw from all courses a student must obtain a college withdrawal form from the Registrar's Office, secure the signatures of those persons indicated on the form, and return the form to the Registrar's office. No student may withdraw from the college after the final date of withdrawal from courses except for compelling and extraordinary reasons. In such circumstances a student must petition the Admissions and Academic Standards Committee for late withdrawal from college using the college withdrawal form available in the Registrar's Office.


For complete information regarding student withdrawals, please see the North Idaho College Policy 5.04.01: 

Institutional Policies

Student Code of Conduct

The Student Code of Conduct applies to any student enrolled at North Idaho College.  This includes, but is not limited to, face-to-face classes and Internet classes.

Student Responsibilities

As students undertake to fulfill the obligations and duties outlined in this document, the college community of which they are a part undertakes to respect the basic freedoms of students. In recognition of students’ rights and dignity as members of the college, North Idaho College is committed to the principles found in the NIC Student Handbook.

Center for Educational Access/Disability Support Services

In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504/508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, North Idaho College provides accommodations to eligible students who experience barriers in the educational setting due to learning, emotional / mental, physical, visual, or hearing disabilities.  Instructors will provide accommodations to students only after having received a Letter of Accommodation from the Center for Educational Access. 

If a student would like to request accommodations, he or she must contact the Center for Educational Access so that a Letter of Accommodation may be sent to the instructor.  Students requesting accommodations must contact the Center for Educational Access at the beginning of each semester.


By registering at North Idaho College, you agree to provide payment by the due dates. You also understand that collection costs and legal fees will be added if the services of a collection agency are utilized.

If you are registered for a class and do not attend, you will still be liable for the tuition unless you drop the class.


Last day for students to withdraw from semester-length classes:

Instructor-Initiated Withdrawal: Instructors have the right to withdraw students for academic reasons up until the same date; in doing so, instructors must notify students through NIC e-mail within 48 hours of submitting documentation to the Registrar's office, and students have the right to appeal the instructor's decision. For more information, see the NIC Procedure:

Financial Aid Satisfactory Progress Policy: All withdrawals, whether for individual classes, total withdrawal from school, or instructor-initiated are not considered to be satisfactory progress for financial aid.  See the Financial Aid Satisfactory Progress Policy:

Additional withdrawal information:


An incomplete is assigned only if the student has been in attendance and has done satisfactory work to within three weeks of the end of the semester (or proportional length of time for a course of less than a semester in length).  Incompletes are issued only in cases of extenuating circumstances, such as severe illness or injury.  Incompletes are not issued in cases in which the student is simply unable to complete his/her work within the specified semester or session.  If a final grade of "I" is recorded, the instructor will indicate in writing to the Registrar what the student must do to make up the deficiency.  The instructor will indicate in the written statement what permanent grade should be entered if the Incomplete is not removed by the deadline.

All incomplete grades must be removed within six weeks after the first class day of the following term, excluding the summer session.  If the Incomplete is not removed by that date, the grade reverts to the grade indicated by the instructor's written statement authorizing the incomplete.

Discrimination and Harassment

North Idaho College has a zero tolerance policy for any acts of discrimination or harassment of any kind.  For more information, please see the NIC Student Handbook, Code of Conduct Article III and Article VIII. Compliance efforts with respect to these laws and regulations are the responsibility of each member of the campus community and are under the direction of the Dean of Students Office for Student Issues (2nd floor, Edminster Student Union Building, (208) 676-7156) and the Human Resources Office (Sherman Administration Building, (208) 769-3304) for employee issues.

Institutional Statement

DROP FOR NON-PAYMENT:  By registering at North Idaho College, you agree to provide payment by the due dates. You will be dropped from classes if payment is not received by  5 p.m. Pacific Time on the third day of the semester. Students on the waitlist will be given the option to register for classes after students are dropped for non-payment.

REMOVAL FROM CLASS FOR NON-ATTENDANCE:  Attendance is based on your participation in this class. Failure to attend may result in your being removed from this class and may result in your financial aid award being reduced. You are responsible for confirming the accuracy of your attendance record.