I'll be the first to admit that when I studied PoliSci in college, I snoozed on State & Local. I was not all that excited about it... and I know this my kids get less, since I condense into one blase day at the end of the year. Mostly it's because there are less resources out there. State and Local info is underfunded and not tracked as much, but here are some attempts at gettin' cozy with the local yocals.
1. Open States: A fantastic resource from the brain trust @ Sunlight Foundation. You can look up legislation, local reps, how they vote, etc... all in one application. Which brings me to the next thought...
2. American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC): Do you remember the controversial Stand Your Ground Laws, passed by many states, including Florida? This was the state laws that were under scrutiny after Trayvon Martin's death. That law was brought to us by ALEC. They do a lot of sharing of information, laws, and initiatives with state bureaucrats and elected officials. It remains controversial to this day.
3. Convention of States: A non-profit run by Citizens for Self-Governance that is trying to get grassroots support to start a Convention and get some Amendments passed to deal with the ever expanding role of the federal government.
4. Municipal Leagues: When you discuss Home Rule versus Dillon's Rule, you can check in with your state's Municipal League. It's a little association of local governments and sharing of ideas. They vary in sophistication. An extension of this is the National League of Cities.
5. iCivic's lesson plan on Dillon's Rule vs Home Rule. A great intro that breaks it down into reasonable chunks. An additional resource: Try this VA State lesson plan.
6. Some great lessons, including simulations from this Colorado state website.
7. LOC has a page devoted to S&L resources.
Well, there you have it. There are resources out there, but what to do with them.
Certainly, you cover a lot of this when you talk about Article 1, 4, and 5... as well as the 10th Amendment.
Do you have a fun and creative assignment? Have a moment to share? Leave a comment and let's start a dialogue!
Photo via Flickr/Ted Eytan