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Secretary of Finance,

Secretary of Finance

This website outlines the way the Secretary of Finance implements Virginia’s budget, in cooperation with the Governor, legislature, and other departments. One important aspect of the website is Agency Information, which shows how the Secretary of Finance connects with other financial departments. A News section offers press releasees about the Governor’s financial policies. While brief, the Secretary of Finance website shows the interconnectedness of government offices.

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.

2007 Attorney General opinion on school transportation,

Robert McDonnell

In this public letter, Attorney General Robert McDonnell responds to a state delegate asking a legal question about school transportation. The delegate requested legal advice about whether or not a school could charge a fee to transport students to…

Taking on the Systems that are Failing Working Virginians,

Mike Signer

In this press release, Democrat Mike Signer announces his candidacy for Lieutenant Governor in the 2009 election. Signer raises issues he plans to address during his campaign.

How do political parties organize to win elections? How do…

Political Activity for Public Servants (Hatch Act),

U.S. Office of Special Counsel

These Hatch Act guidelines outline the legal restrictions placed on government employees’ involvement in political activities. This website is aimed at state, federal, and local government officials, and it offers a window into potentially problematic areas of government. How may state and federal officials participate in political campaigns? When does it become a conflict of interest? These questions and more could form the basis of a classroom discussion or a research project.

Virginia Campaign Finance Website,

Virginia State Board of Elections

This website offers government-mandated disclosure information for campaign finance contributions to candidates for Virginia state and local elections. Members of the public can view sometimes-surprising information about who made large contributions to Virginia candidates and political committees. PACs range from the Cigar Association of Virginia to the Virginia Taxicab Association. This website raises questions about the role of PACs and campaign finance, and can lead to discussions of these issues.

U.S. Census Educational Resources,

U.S. Census Bureau

This website from the U.S. Census Bureau has a series of educational materials related to use of the U.S. Census, including maps, community involvement, and data (in pdf format). There are also lesson plans for each section (in ASCII format) that offer guides on how to use these materials in the classroom. State Facts also offers a page on Virginia with more unusual data, such as the number of amusement parks. This website offers a window into how the Census works, and gives ideas on how that data might be used in government decision-making processes.

Virginia General Assembly Homepage,

Virginia General Assembly

This website offers a diverse array of information about the Commonwealth’s legislative branch: live audio and video streams of House and Senate chamber discussions, a guide to contacting your legislator, and information on visiting the Capitol. It is also a portal for Capitol Classroom, an educational resource about the Virginia General Assembly. The website provides core information on the General Assembly, and is a good jumping-off point for further study.

National Conference of State Legislatures,

NCSL

The National Conference of State Legislatures is a bipartisan organization that provides networking and information services to state legislators from Virginia and around the country. While some services are restricted to legislators, NCSL offers up-to-date information on issues that affect policymakers at the state level, such as the Federal budget, immigration, and ethics. The website is an excellent source for information on State-Federal relations and the division of power.