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U.S. Conference of Mayors,

U.S. Conference of Mayors

The U.S. Conference of Mayors is an organization of mayors throughout the United States. The website contains a number of press releases and reports on issues facing mayors and local government, which range from a few pages to hundreds of pages in length. The Mayors at a Glance feature is perhaps the most useful feature those studying Virginia government. Users can search for mayors by last name, city, state, and population. Each mayor featured has a picture, contact information, and short biography. Does your jurisdiction have a mayor? Try finding out more about mayors in your area.

Commonwealth Data Point: Transparency at Work in Virginia,

Commonwealth of Virginia

Commonwealth Data Point is an excellent tool for understanding the basic implementation of financial expenditures. Find out budget data, or what was purchased on the state credit card. The website also provides demographic data, such as university enrollment and food stamp use. While browsing the website, you may want to consider how state and local governments implement policy decisions. What changes could you make to policy or spending practices?

VA Code § 15.2-2223. Comprehensive plan to be prepared and adopted; scope and purpose.,

Virginia General Assembly

This document describes the regulations for creating comprehensive land use plans. Comprehensive plans govern decisions about everything from recycling centers to schools. More information and context about land use planning can be found in the…

Prince William County Comprehensive Plan,

Prince William County Planning Office

"A comprehensive plan is a general guide to the location, character, and extent of proposed or anticipated land use, including public facilities." The Prince William County Comprehensive Plan offers a five-year snapshot of land use decisions. These…

Prince William County Planning,

Prince William County Planning Office

The official website of the Prince William County Planning Office provides a wealth of real-life examples of public policy formation and implementation.

Creating public policy is a long process, and a number of groups have an impact on…

What are Initiatives and Referendums?,

Rob Campbell

Currently, 24 states have some form of initiative and referendum process. Citizens can use the ballot initiative process to implement laws on their own; conversely, a referendum places an existing law to a popular vote. In this activity, students…

Virginia Constitution, 1870,

Virginia General Assembly

Virginia signed its first constitution in 1776 upon the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Since that time, there have been frequent amendments and six major revisions to the constitution: 1830, 1851, 1864, 1870, 1902, and 1971. Our current…

Local Government in Action: Wise County Board of Supervisors,

Wise County, Virginia

The Wise County Board of Supervisors offers a prime example of the executive branch in a local jurisdiction. This website offers meeting agendas and minutes, as well as a TV broadcast of Board meetings. The Wise County website is one among many local government websites that address this issue—you can even find your own local government!

What is the Real Cost of Buying a House and Car?,

Linda Long

Tax rates differ for citizens in Virginia, depending on where one lives. In addition, a local government may choose to spend collected tax money differently than another local government in the Commonwealth. In this activity, students simulate the…

The Politics of Solid Waste Management ,

Joe LaRocco

Virginians produce over 9.5 million tons of solid wastes every year. Solid waste management is a classic study of federalism. Federal, state, and local laws and ordinances have a multitude of requirements that apply to the disposal of solid wastes.…