File - Stingray Civics

Students will learn about the specific processes
for each branch of government and how laws are
made at each level of government.
It is important to know who represents you, what these representatives do,
and to understand that you are considered constituents for many
different people and levels of government
Complete the following using your “Who Represents Me?” student activity
 You will conduct research to understand your representatives at the
federal, state, county, city, and school board levels. Determine who your
representative is at every level of government and write a summary
sentence explaining the primary job of the position. You can find helpful
links to assist you in your research on my website. After completing your
research and reviewing with the team, respond to the following:
Based on what you have learned during your research for the “Who
Represents Me?” assignment, compare the primary responsibility of
lawmakers at the federal, state, and local levels. Be sure to include
information you researched related to your local city/county commission
or council, state legislators and U.S. congressmen.
Station 2: Complete the following using your “The Great
State” packet. RoundRobin read the article. While reading,
underline the words or phrases that explain the structure
of the state government. Using your article, complete the
foldable activity on graphic organizer of pg. 1.
 Then, read “How Laws Are Made in Florida’s Cities”
handout and provide an overview of how ordinances are
proposed and passed in Florida’s cities. Respond to the
following on the back:
Using what you have learned in this lesson, write two
informational paragraphs. In the first paragraph,
summarize the lawmaking process at the federal, state and
local levels. In the second paragraph, compare the three
processes. Be sure to include specific evidence from your
activity sheets, readings, and notes.
Each group will create a one-page handout
on their branch of government and the
associated processes. The handout must
provide a brief overview of the structure
and function of the branch. The majority
of the page must be dedicated to the
processes listed for the assigned
branch. Each handout must include
cited sources. Use the research websites
on my website for help.
Handout should include the following:
 Legislative Branch: appointment
confirmations, committees and
committee selection (conference
committees, special committees,
standing committees), impeachment
 Executive Branch: executive order, veto,
and appointments
 Judicial Branch: court order, judicial
review, summary judgment, and writ of
Grading for this project will
be based on the following
Brief description of the
structure of the branch of
government: (15 points)
Brief description of the function
of the branch of government:
(15 points)
Description of each process for
the branch of government: (55
Cited sources: (15 points)
You will be playing LawCraft, a game where you
play a member of Congress from the state of
your choice. You'll pick an issue that's important
to you and your constituents and take it all the
way through the law-making process. If you're
successful, you'll have a bill you can print and
show off. See if you can make the compromises
necessary to get your bill passed and still make a
law you're proud of!
Read the LawCraft Game Guide for instructions
on how to play at the Smartboard.
Answer the pre-game questions.
Complete the activity and answer the post-game
questions with your teammates.
Congress has two parts. What are they, and what is the
difference between them?
What is a bill?
What power does the president have in the lawmaking process?
What was your goal in your own house of Congress, before the
compromise process?
Why do you think the compromise process involves adding so
many amendments?
Was it difficult to stick with your chosen value? Did you have to
add an amendment that did not support your value?
Why might the president veto a bill?
What do you think could happen if there was no compromise
process? No veto power?
The House Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing at
which lobbyists can express their opinions regarding a
bill in hopes to sway the committee’s opinion. Today,
you all will be assuming the roles of a committee
member, or a lobbyist for one of the following special
interest groups who will be testifying at the hearing,
either for or against the proposed legislation:
After completion of the station rotation, we will hold
this simulation and decide the fate of the bill.
All members of the class will be involved in debate,
deliberation, and voting.
Your presentation of evidence and reports as well as a
reflection on the process will be a quiz grade.
Look at the chart on
pg. 370.
Examine the role’s of
the governor, then
answer the chart skills
questions #’s 1-2 in
complete sentences.
How does the role of
the governor compare
to the president?
The diagram below shows some of the steps involved in creating a
Florida state law.
What is the next step in the lawmaking
A. The governor signs the bill into law.
B. The bill goes to the Senate for action.
C. The people vote on the bill in an election.
D. The bill goes to the Supreme Court for a
I. Congress
A. House of Representatives –
 i.
Speaker of the House, Majority Leader, Minority
 ii. Members are referred to as “Representative”
B. Senate –
 i.
President Pro Tempore, Majority Leader, Minority
 ii. Members are referred to as “Senator”
II. Executive Branch – President, Vice President, Cabinet
III. Judicial Branch – Chief Justice of the Supreme Court,
Associate Justices
Lawmaking is central to
U.S. government.
Legislators are elected at
every level of
government which gives
direct power to citizens
in deciding who makes
the laws.
Bills must be passed by
at least half of the
membership of each
chamber voting to
approve (218 in the
House; 51 in the Senate).
Bills, are then
considered by the
president. Bills that are
approved by the
president become laws
at the federal level which
are called acts.
Committees in Congress allow
for discussion and debate with
less people.
Committees allow members to
spend time on issues
important to their district in
order to serve their
constituents well.
In their discussions,
committees hold hearings,
conduct research, and write
policy. Special interest groups
often testify during these
hearings in their efforts to
shape legislation as it is being
There are five different committee types in Congress:
Permanent legislative panels that
consider bills and issues
Temporary committee that addresses
a specific issue.
Performs a special function beyond
the standing committee.
Policy investigation with a narrow
Temporary committee formed to
resolve differences in legislation
passed by both chambers.
Political parties are mentioned nowhere in the
Constitution. Still, political parties play key
roles in the organization of Congress,
particularly committees.
The Democratic and Republican parties are
the only parties recognized in Congress
There is a majority and a minority party in
Majority parties in Congress enjoy unique
leadership opportunities.
The majority party selects the Speaker of the
House of Representatives, which is the only office
chosen by Representatives named in the U.S.
The Senate majority party elects the “President
pro tempore”, or “pro tem” who serves in the
absence of the Vice-President as president of the
Majority party members also chair all standing
and select committees.
The Vice-President breaks ties in the Senate.
Lawmaking in Florida follows a
system similar to that practiced
by the U.S. Congress.
There is both a committee
system and party leadership
system in each legislative
Florida has a bicameral (two
house) legislature comprised of
a 120 member House of
Representatives and a 40
member Senate.
A majority of each house of the
Florida legislature must agree
on all proposed laws, or bills,
introduced before being sent
to the governor.
Bills passed by the Florida
legislature and signed by the
governor at the state level are
called statutes.
The table below shows how the president’s powers are checked
by Congress.
Presidential Power
Chief Executive
Commander-in-Chief of the
armed forces
Check by Congress
Congress creates laws
Congress declares war
Negotiates treaties
Senate approves treaties for
Congress may override a
president’s veto with a 2/3
vote of each house of
Congress raises and
supports armies and navies
Nominates high level officials Senate confirms nominations
Vetoes congressional bills
The president’s one unchecked power is the
power to pardon. A presidential pardon
cannot be vetoed or overturned, and may be
viewed as a check on the courts or the
legislature in that the president is pardoning
someone who has already been convicted by
the courts or who might later be impeached
by the legislature.
The president’s Cabinet was established in
Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution.
Each executive department head is titled
“Secretary” with the exception of the
Department of Justice, which is headed by the
Attorney General.
Department Secretaries must be confirmed by
a majority vote in the Senate.
Article IV of the Florida Constitution outlines the
Governor’s core duties as follows: The supreme
executive power shall be vested in a governor, who shall
◦ commander-in-chief of all military forces of the state
◦ take care that the laws be faithfully executed,
◦ Commission all officers of the state and counties, and transact all
necessary business with the officers of government.
◦ chief administrative officer of the state responsible for the
planning and budgeting for the state.
• The state lawmaking process
is also similar to the federal
process. There is a provision
for an override of a governor’s
veto requiring a 2/3 vote in
each house.
• The governor also serves with
a cabinet.
The U.S. Constitution creates the U.S.
Supreme Court.
All other lower courts, are created and
supported by Congress.
There is no set number of judges on the U.S.
Supreme Court (Tradition keeps the number
at nine; this number is not a constitutional
The U.S. Constitution requires that U.S.
Supreme Court justices “hold their offices
during good behavior” which translates to
lifetime appointments unless removed by
All cases are decided with a majority vote.
Cases that are first heard by the U.S. Supreme
Court (“original jurisdiction”) tend to involve
disputes which may include conflicts between
two states, between the president and Congress,
or cases where a state is a party.
All other cases come before the U.S. Supreme
Court in its role as the highest court of appeal.
The Supreme Court can also decide whether an
act of Congress violates the U.S. Constitution.
To appeal a case, you must go through
a procedure to see if the U.S. Supreme
Court will hear the case. A writ of
is issued when a higher
level court agrees to hear an appeal of
an inferior court’s decision
The Florida Supreme Court, is the highest
state court. It is made up of 7 Justices.
The bulk of trial court decisions that are
appealed are never heard by the Supreme
Court. Rather, they are reviewed by threejudge panels of district courts of appeal.
District courts may issue summary judgments,
which are judgments issued without a trial.
Most jury trials take place before one judge
sitting as judge of the circuit court. Most
criminal and civil cases originate at this level.
Circuit courts have general trial jurisdiction
over matters not assigned by statute to the
county courts and also hear appeals from
county court cases.
Florida’s constitution establishes a court in
each of Florida's 67 counties. The county
courts are sometimes referred to as "the
people's courts," because a large part of the
courts' work involves citizen disputes, such as
traffic offenses and misdemeanors.
Florida’s local governments are comprised of
counties and municipalities such as cities,
towns and villages.
An elected board of county commissioners
governs in each of Florida’s 67 counties.
Counties carry out responsibilities like:
law enforcement and jail
tax collection
election supervision
road maintenance,
public health
waste disposal
Ordinances are the laws that govern cities.
The city charter serves as a constitution. The charter
sets forth the boundaries, its form of government,
the size of the council and governmental processes.
In Florida a city is recognized with certain rights and
privileges; the most important is home rule.
Florida’s constitution recognizes that cities may enact
their own ordinances and self-govern as long as the
city’s law does not conflict with state and federal law.
Self-government at the city level occurs with mayors,
who serve as cities’ chief executives, and
city councils, who serve as city legislatures.
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