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How Should the Government Respond to Obesity?,

Tanya Wanchek

Exploring different government policies on obesity, a well-recognized public health problem in the Commonwealth and in states across the country, encourages one to think through the advantages and disadvantages of public policy.  Furthermore, it…

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…

Governor’s Executive Orders,

Office of the Governor

This website offers a comprehensive index of executive orders issued by the current governor of Virginia. These downloadable documents can range from issues such as smoking in restaurants to issuing states of emergency. Examining these documents leads to interesting discussions of executive power and the role of the executive branch in Virginia's government.

Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services,

Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services

How does the government help individuals who might have trouble making it on their own? The Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services aims to help people with disabilities gain independence, so that they can live, work, or go to school. This website offers a window into the way government helps individuals, with an extensive index of articles that show concrete examples of government actions. These include downloadable press releases relating to gubernatorial initiatives, charts, meeting minutes, and much more.

Virginia State Police,

Virginia Department of State Police

The Virginia State Police website offers information about police initiatives to improve public safety throughout the Commonwealth. Website visitors can see the ways the public can access these initiatives, including public safety tips and annual vehicle safety inspections. Police are also subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), and the website offers directions for requesting information. Overall, the Virginia State Police portal deals with ways the public and public safety officers interact with each other, which is a prime example of government in action.

Virginia Department of Health,

Virginia Department of Health

The Virginia Department of Health has a comprehensive website with information on health-related issues ranging from disease outbreaks to restaurant inspections. Ever wondered why you have to get all those pesky shots before going to school? The Virginia Department of Health deals with issues that affect everyone, and its website shows the ways government influences our lives every day.

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…

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.