At the conclusion of this course, the student should be able to:
1. Describe the different powers, duties, and roles of elected officials and offices of California's state and local governments.
2. Assess the principles and impact of California's direct democracy processes.
3. Compare and contrast selected California public policies with the policies of other states.
4. Identify contemporary political issues and challenges facing California.
5. Analyze proposed and implemented public policies designed to address California's current challenges.
I. Introduction and Overview of California Government and Politics
A. California Historical and Political Background
2. Statehood and the California Constitution
3. Progressive Era
B. California Today
1. Diversity of California
a. People, regions, natural resources, economy
2. Current challenges facing California
II. The California Legislature
A. The organization and function of the Assembly and Senate
B. The legislative process
C. Powers and duties of the legislature
III. The Executive Branch of California
A. Offices of the plural executive
B. Powers and duties of the governor
C. The California bureaucracy
IV. The California Judiciary
A. Structural organization and operation of judicial system
B. Election of judges
C. Criminal justice
V. Local Government in California
A. Duties and structure of local government
B. Funding of local government
C. Relationship between local and state government
VI. Direct Democracy
A. Initiative, referendum, and recall
B. Use and impact of California's direct democracy processes
VII. Political Parties, Campaigns, and Elections
A. The role and influence of political parties
B. Campaign finance
C. The election process
D. Vote choice and political behavior of Californians
VIII. Interest Groups and the Media
A. Types of interest groups
B. The impact of interest groups
C. The role of the media
D. Evaluation of sources of information
IX. The State Budget
A. The budget process
B. Sources of state revenue
C. Expenditure of state funds
X. Federalism: California and the Federal Government
A. Provisions established in the U.S. Constitution
B. Court cases concerning the balance of power between national and state governments
C. Comparison of California to other state governments and policies
XI. California Public Policy
A. Abortion policy
B. Education policy
C. Environmental policy
D. Immigration policy
E. Social programs
F. Additional current policy issues
Governing California in the 21st Century. 8th ed. Anagnoson, J. Theodore, et. al. Norton. 2021.
California Politics a Primer. 6th ed. Van Vechten, Renee B. CQ Press. 2021.
Democracy in California: Politics and Government in the Golden State. 5th ed. Janiskee, Brian, and Masugi, Ken, and Villegas, Christina. Rowman & Littlefield. 2020.