The autonomy of local governments from the federal government has always been a point of contention especially with particular reference to the State of Texas. Legislators in this state have always pushed for non-interference from the federal government in its affairs. There have emerged two schools of thought on this matter, one party arguing that federal government interferences impedes necessary legislation and functions of the state government and the opposing party that cites powerful local governments tend to infringe on the rights of individuals. This essay aims to look into both arguments and establish which the most objective outlook in governing the citizens is.
Local control means that local governments have the ability to retain sovereignty and enact laws with minimal interference from the state or national government. The Texas legislature for instance, passed the Home Rule Amendment in 1912. This amendment enabled over 5,000 Texans to formulate and enact their own laws and regulations. This translates to communities that are in-charge of how they are run therefore resulting in a satisfied and healthy citizenry CITATION Loc15 \l 2057 (Texas, 2015). This means that the powers of the central government are limited therefore giving citizens an opportunity to tweak laws to work in their favour.
In accordance to liberty, local state governments have the ability to step on the liberties and freedoms of its governed. This is achieved through micromanaging state outputs such as public education and traffic regulations. Ronald Reagan often quipped that the government is best which remains closest to the people. This means that the local government is in a better position to be up to speed with the grievances of the citizens as compared to the national government CITATION Mat15 \l 2057 (Rinaldi, 2015). However, as much as the local government is the best body to formulate policies and enact legislation for the benefit of its constituents, it still has the ability to impose the interests of a minority on the majority. For instance, in the case of elections, a single special interest has power to push for its agenda because of limited voter engagement. It is therefore the responsibility of the legislature to ensure that the local government does not overstep its boundaries.
The liberty of an individual is firmly entrenched in the 14th Amendment of the American Constitution and therefore some the laws not only touch on basic freedoms, they do not benefit the majority. Argues that local control is inconsistent because legislators are vocal on some issues but remain numb on others, for example, the state ban on texting while driving means that states that had no ban on it, have to abide by it. Legislators however have not been as aggressive in opposing this ban as they would be on red light cameras. Hence, the legislators should find a balance between affecting laws that govern local governments and monitoring these same institutions so that they do not enact laws that interfere with the rights of others.
A good example of local governments flexing their muscle is the transportation bill that introduced a state wide ban on red light cameras in Austin, Texas. Republican legislators were very aggressive about imposing a ban on these cameras as they argued that they added no value to Texans rather they were just an avenue for the local governments to raise revenue (through ticketing) and infringed on their privacy and liberties. However, the Texas legislature did not support the state wide ban and as a result majority of the cities in Texas retained the cameras. These cameras were aimed to take photographs of vehicles that ran red lights within the cities, especially at intersections. The intent of the bill in the first place, shows how hypocritical the state government is about letting local governments manage their own affairs. Some legislators argued that killing the bill was the best way forward because matters such as traffic regulations remained within the jurisdiction of local government and did not require state interference CITATION Enr15 \l 2057 (Rangel, 2015). It is therefore paramount to draw a line between the functions of the state and that of the local government to avoid conflict and one party interfering with the work of the other.
References BIBLIOGRAPHY Rangel, E. (2015, May 25). Amarillo Globe News. Retrieved from Lawmakers Give up on Red Light Camera Ban : http://amarillo.com/news/local-news/2015-05-25/lawmakers-give-red-light-camera-ban
Rinaldi, M. (2015, March 12). Liberty Trumps Local Control. Retrieved from Texas Tribune: http://www.tribtalk.org/2015/03/15/in-defense-of-straight-ticket-voting/
Texas, L. C. (2015). What is Local Control. Retrieved from Local Control for Texas: http://www.localcontroltexas.org
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