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How Are Land Use Decisions Made?,

Charlie Grymes

Participating in land-use decisions made by one's local government, after learning the rules of the process, challenges the stereotype that residents affected by land-use changes are victims of uncontrollable circumstances. Working with a county's…

Dillon’s Rule: Should it Stay or Should it Go?,

Shawn English, Fairfax County Public Schools

As one of the central principles that guide policy making decisions of local jurisdictions, Dillon’s Rule (state control of local government) is an important concept in understanding government in the Commonwealth. Students will read an essay about…

Where Does My Money Go?,

Auditor of Public Accounts

This website is a user-friendly database of information about the state budget, as well as demographic information about different localities. On the main page, a pie chart provides a breakdown of the top ten appropriations in 2007. Users can search for information about how much local governments received in appropriations, how many driver’s licenses were issued in each locality, and comparisons between budgets for different localities. Each data set is available in excel format, in case users want to create their own graphs or another analysis of it. This website is extremely easy to navigate, and offers a wealth of information about Virginia’s budget.

Virginia Public Access Project,

VPAP

The Virginia Public Access Project is a non-profit, non-partisan organization which strives to provide information to the public about Virginia campaign donations through computer technology. Their website offers maps of where legislator’s donations come from, the size of their donations, and lists of contributors. There is also information on lobbyists, donors, vendors, and committees. In addition to using the wealth of information on this site, students may benefit from comparing it to the Virginia State Board of Elections Campaign Finance Website. How does a private group’s portrayal of campaign financing differ from the government website?

Aftermath of Immigration Resolution in Prince William County,

9500 Liberty

In July 2007, Prince William County supervisors passed a unanimous resolution to cut down on illegal immigration. The resolution involved increasing local police enforcement of immigration laws and denying public services to illegal immigrants.