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North Carolina State Government

Three Branches of Government

Legislative Branch
(Legislative building)

Executive Branch
(Capitol Building)

Judicial Branch
(Justice Building)

Makes laws

Executes laws

Interprets Laws

Legislative Branch of State Government

NC General Assembly, or Legislature modeled after US
Made up of a House of Representatives and a Senate, with
members being popularly elected
HOR has 120 members and must be a citizen at least 21 years
old and have lived in their district a year before election
Senate has 50 members elected from districts and must be at
least 25 years old, have been a citizen living in North Carolina
for at least two years, and have lived in the district at least
one year before election.

Legislative Branch of State Government

General Assembly enacts
bills called general
Bills can be introduced in
both houses, both
presiding officers in each
house must sign bills
before they are
presented to the
governor, governor signs
bill it becomes a law

Legislative Branch of State Government

Other powers given to the
General Assembly
Legislative oversights:
examines government
operations, allowing
legislators to view current
laws in practice and evaluate
their effectiveness
Elects members of the
University of North Carolina
Board of Governors
Impeachment of North
Carolina officials

Legislative Branch of State Government

Who runs the Senate?
The Lieutenant Governor of NC serves as President of the NC Senate, but
does not vote unless the Senate is equally divided.
The Senate elects a President Pro Tempore who stands in and becomes
President if necessary.
Who runs the House of Representatives?
The House elects a Speaker of the House who presides over the House of
What are the Committees?
At the beginning of each legislative session, the leaders of the House and
the Senate appoint Committees and Committee Chairs.
Committees review legislative proposals and hold hearings on legislative
Committee Chairs push legislation they favor and can prevent their
committee from viewing other possible legislation, which they may oppose.

Executive Branch of State Gov.


Governor: chief executive of NC

NC elects a Governor for a four-year term,
and limits the Governor to two consecutive
He execute the laws passed by the General
He appoints key state officials and works
with state agencies in addition to proposing
and administering the state budget.
The Governor can grant clemency, or
forgiveness for crimes and has sole authority
in this process.
The Governor can veto legislation passed by
the General Assembly.

Current NC Governor:
Pat McCory

State Budget Finances

The Governor always recommends a budget; the budget as enacted by the
General Assembly shall be administered by the Governor.
Sources of Revenue ($ coming in)
Intergovernmental Revenue: money that states receive from the federal government
Sales Tax: general tax levied on all purchases
Individual Income Tax: workers pay state income taxes as well as federal income
Employee Retirement Contributions: contributions that state government workers
make into their retirement funds, the money is invested until retirement

Expenditures ($ spent)

Entitlement Programs, Public Welfare

Hospitals, Highways, Prisons
Interest on debt, Unemployment compensation
Employee retirement
Higher Education

Executive Branch of State


Current Lieutenant Governor:

Dan Forest

Lieutenant Governor

North Carolina elects a Lieutenant

Governor for a four-year term.
The Lt. Governor succeeds the
Governor if necessary.
The Lt. Governor presides as
President of the Senate.
This individual may or may not work
closely with the Governor.

Executive Branch of State Government


Council of State: composed of the Governor, the Lt. Governor, and 8 other individuals
picked by voters (ELECTED to 4 year terms!!)
Attorney General: Oversees the Department of Justice, which provides legal advice
and representation to state government departments and agencies, protects consumers,
and runs the State Bureau of Investigation
Commissioner of Agriculture: Oversees agricultural research and the safety of
agricultural products
Commissioner of Insurance: Regulates the states insurance companies
Commissioner of Labor: Regulates worker safety and employment
Secretary of State: Facilitates the states business activities and manages the states
official records
Superintendent of Public Instruction: Oversees NCs public school system
State Auditor: Reviews (audits) the performance of other state dept.
State Treasurer: Manages NCs money
All serve four-year terms and appoint staff within their own agencies.
Each of these individuals acts under policies and procedures decided by
the General Assembly and decides how to carry out these practices.
The Council of State acts independently.

Executive Branch of State Government


Governors Cabinet: 10 people appointed by the Governor, help to oversee the executive
departments (APPOINTED!!)
Department of Administration: Helps oversee other state agencies
Department of Commerce: Oversees programs that aid NCs economic growth
Department of Corrections: Oversees NCs prison system
Department of Crime Control and Public Safety: Oversees Emergency Management and the
State Highway Patrol
Department of Cultural Resources: Promotes historical preservation and its arts
Department of Environment and Natural Resources: Protects NCs natural resources and parks
Department of Health and Human Services: Includes nearly 20 agencies, including public
health, mental health, and social services
Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention: Attempts to prevent delinquency
and deals with juvenile delinquents
Department of Revenue: Collects taxes
Department of Transportation: Constructs and maintains a statewide transportation system
that includes highways, ferries and airports, and it licenses the vehicles and the drivers that
drive in North Carolina at the Department of Motor Vehicles
North Carolina Community College System is an executive department. The president of the community
college system serves at the pleasure of the State Board of Community Colleges and is not
appointed by the governor.

Judicial Branch of State

North Carolina runs a statewide court
system, so while some employees of the
court may be elected in their local
jurisdictions, they are all state employees.
The court system is also state funded, and
the state incurs all expenses except for
facilities and security.

Judicial Branch of State Government

The Court System has three parts: a District Court Division,a Superior Court
Division, and an Appellate Division.

Judicial Branch of State Government


The District Court is a Trial Court; it is currently divided into 41 districts, and elections of
one or more District Court Judges are held in each district.
District Courts are divided into four categories: criminal, civil, juvenile, and magistrate.
District Courts hear criminal cases involving misdemeanors and infractions; criminal
cases are the most common of the four categories and are heard without a jury.
District Courts hear civil cases involving less than $10,000.
Family Court is a special kind of civil court.
1. Family Courts hear all cases involving juvenile delinquency, neglect and abuse,
termination of parental rights, adoption, domestic violence, custody, divorce, and
child support
2. In these courts, children sixteen years and younger who
are considered delinquents are designated as juveniles, and
children who are eighteen years and younger who are
considered undisciplined, neglected, or abused are
designated as juveniles.
District judges are elected to four-year terms.

Judicial Branch of State Government

B. The Superior Court is a Trial Court; it is currently divided into eight divisions and
46 judicial districts, and elections of one or more Superior Court Judges are held
in each district.
Every six months, Superior Court Judges rotate to a new district.
The Superior Court tries felony criminal cases, civil cases involving more than
$10,000, and misdemeanor and infraction appeals from district court.
The Superior Court does employ a jury in criminal cases.
Superior Court Judges are elected to eight-year terms.

Judicial Branch of State Government

A. The Appellate Division is made up of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals.

The Court of Appeals has 15 judges who sit in rotating panels of three.
1. This Court hears cases appealed from Superior and District Courts and decides cases on
questions of law ranging from parking tickets to murder cases.
2. The Court of Appeals mostly reviews matters decided by trial courts to determine if
there are legal errors in the trial; it does not have a jury.
3. Court of Appeals Judges are elected to eight-year terms.

Judicial Branch of State Government

A. The Appellate Division is made up of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals.

The Supreme Court has a Chief Justice and six associate justices.
1. The Court hears cases appealed from the Court of Appeals and death sentence cases.
2. Parties must petition the Supreme Court to hear their case, and in most cases, the
Supreme Court can decide whether or not it will hear the case. The exceptions to this rule
are death sentence cases, Utilities Commission cases, and Court of Appeals decisions with
one dissent, all of which are automatically heard by the Supreme Court.
3. The role of the Supreme Court is to determine legal error or interpretation of the law;
the Court does not hear cases to determine fact.
4. The Supreme Court does not have a jury.
5. Supreme Court Judges are elected to eight-year

Judicial Branch of State Government

Jurisdiction: a courts authority to hear and rule on cases.

Original jurisdiction: where the case begins; usually the lowest court
Courts responsible for discovering facts in a controversy and creating
the record for which judgment is based.
States have original jurisdiction in any case that occurred inside the
state and broke a state law
MOST cases start and end on the
state level (98%)
Concurrent jurisdiction: shared
jurisdiction between state and
federal courts

Judicial Branch of State Government

Courthouses have many officials that help run the court and trials.

Clerks of Court are elected in every county in North Carolina and are responsible for
all clerical and record-keeping functions of the Superior and District Courts.

The Clerk also acts as a Probate Judge, which means he/she deals with wills and estates;
decides guardianship for minors; and determines incompetence.
Clerks have the power to issues arrest and search warrants and to accept guilty pleas and
payments for minor offenses.
Clerks are elected in their county to four-year terms.

Magistrates are judicial officials who work at the District Court level to handle
certain criminal and civil cases. They do not usually conduct trials, but they do handle
many preliminary matters in criminal cases.

In criminal cases, magistrates issue warrants and set bail.

Magistrates also accept guilty pleas and payments of fines for traffic violations and minor
Magistrates are the only judicial officials who can perform marriage ceremonies.

Judicial Branch of State Government

District Attorneys: government lawyers who prosecute those accused of breaking state
Elected official by NC voters
Look into complaints of a crime
Prepare formal charges
Present evidence in court
Represent the government in civil cases
NC Police: work on three levels (state, county, local)
Make arrests
Collect fines
Take convicted persons to prison
Protects jurors
Keep order in state courts
Serve legal papers including subpoenas: a court order requiring someone to appear in

Judicial Branch of State Government

Jurors are citizens who listen to cases and determine a persons right to property,
right to freedom, or, in capital cases, right to life.
To be eligible to serve as a juror in North Carolina, one must fulfill the following
Citizen of the state and a resident of the county
18 or older (no upper age limit)
Able to speak and to understand the English language
Physically and mentally competent
No felony conviction
Generated lists of jurors come from voter registration lists and driver's license