Writing Assignment 1:
Select ONE of the following topics to answer for Writing Assignment 1. The writing assignment should be a minimum of 750 words. You should find much of the information you need to complete the assignment in the textbook (Governing Texas 5E), but you may also need to use additional sources (such as news articles or government websites). Make sure to provide a citation for all sources used in your paper. See the Writing Assignment Instructions for more information.
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- Explain how the population has changed in Texas and how it is projected to change in the future. (Hint: Look at the charts and graphs in Chapter 1.) In what ways might Texas’ politics change in the future based on its racial and ethnic makeup? Based on the population growth, urbanization, and economic transformation of the last two decades, how might Texas change in the next two decades? Which areas will grow in population, and what might Texas’ government have to do to respond to that growth? (Be specific)
- According to Chapter 5 of the textbook, what are some of the historical and more recent barriers to voting in Texas? (Be specific) What accounts for the low level of voter participation in Texas? What can be done to increase voter participation? (Specifically, discuss at least two policy proposals that election officials could adopt.) After the 2020 election, state legislatures controlled by Republicans (including the Texas Legislature) have been debating and passing election reforms. Counties are in charge of administering elections in Texas. What were some of the proposed changes to election laws in Texas in 2021 and how would they impact a county’s ability to administer elections? Do you think these changes pose undue restrictions on the ability of Texans to vote?
Writing Assignment 2:
Select ONE of the following topics to answer for Writing Assignment 2. The writing assignment should be a minimum of 750 words. You should find much of the information you need to complete the assignment in the textbook (Governing Texas 5E), but you may also need to use additional sources (such as news articles or government websites). Make sure to provide a citation for all sources used in your paper. See the Writing Assignment Instructions for more information.
- Read Chapter 11 in the textbook. Texas is considered to have one of the most regressive tax structures in the nation. Define “regressive” and “progressive” taxes. What makes the Texas tax system “regressive?” How might Texas make its tax system more “progressive?” What would prevent Texas from having a more progressive tax system? Is it the job of the tax system to promote equality of taxation across all income groups?
- Discuss how the racial/ethnic makeup of the overall prison population and the death row population in Texas compares to the racial/ethnic breakdown of the general population in Texas. (Review “Who are Texans?” – Chapter 13) What might explain the racial/ethnic makeup of the prison population in Texas? Which regions of the country have higher incarceration rates and death penalty usage? (Review “Texas and the Nation” – Chapter 13) What do you think explains the differences in the regional patterns of incarceration and death penalty usage? After reading Chapter 13, how do you feel about the fairness of the Texas criminal justice system? To respond to crime in Texas, should the state decriminalize certain behavior, reduce sentence lengths, invest in crime prevention (such as drug and alcohol rehabilitation), or build more prisons?