Who Makes State Laws?

It is generally the state legislatures who make the state laws. However, the federal government can override state laws.

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The Constitution

The United States Constitution is the supreme law of the United States of America and sets forth the framework for the federal government. The Constitution is divided into three main parts: the Preamble, the Articles, and the Amendments. The Constitution has been amended 27 times since it was first ratified in 1788.

The Preamble sets forth the main purposes of the Constitution, which are to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity.

The Articles establish the structure of government and set forth the powers of each branch. There are seven articles in total: Article I establishes the legislative branch (Congress); Article II establishes the executive branch (the President); Article III establishes the judicial branch (the Supreme Court and other courts); Article IV establishes relationships between states; Article V explains how to amend (change) the Constitution; Article VI declares that the Constitution is supreme over all other laws; and Article VII explains how to ratify (approve) the Constitution.

The 27 Amendments expand on various aspects of government set forth in the Articles or correct problems that were found after Ratification. The first 10 Amendments are collectively known as The Bill of Rights.

The Legislative Branch

The Legislative Branch is in charge of making laws. The United States Congress is the main lawmaking body of the federal government. The word Congress comes from the Latin word con gressus, meaning “to come together.” The Constitution created a bicameral, or two-chamber, Congress. The upper chamber is called the Senate, and the lower chamber is called the House of Representatives.

The Executive Branch

The executive branch is responsible for carrying out the laws. The president is the head of the executive branch. He or she can veto laws that the Congress has passed. The president also appoints federal judges, including the justices of the Supreme Court.

The Judicial Branch

The judicial branch of government is responsible for creating and interpreting the laws of the state. The supreme court is the highest court in the state and is responsible for hearing appeals from lower courts. The court of appeals hears cases from lower courts and can decide to overturn a lower court’s decision. The superior courts are the trial courts of the state and are responsible for hearing criminal and civil cases.

State Legislatures

The primary lawmaking body in every state is the legislature, which is responsible for drafting, passing, and ratifying laws. Most states have a bicameral legislature, which means that there are two chambers, or houses, through which a bill must pass before it becomes law. The upper chamber is typically called the Senate, while the lower chamber is called the House of Representatives. In some states, the upper chamber is instead called the Assembly and the lower chamber is called the Council. The names may vary slightly from state to state, but the concept is always the same: two chambers representing different constituencies within the state passing laws on behalf of the people.

###The legislative process###
A bill can be introduced in either chamber of the legislature by any member (or group of members). Once introduced, a bill will usually be referred to a committee for further consideration. Committees may hold hearings on a bill during which members of the public and experts can offer testimony for or against its passage. After hearings have been held and testimony has been given, committee members will vote on whether or not to send the bill to the full chamber for a vote. If a majority of committee members votes in favor of sending the bill to the floor, it will be placed on the chamber’s calendar for debate and a vote.

The first step in floor debate is usually a period of time during which members can offer amendments to change parts of the bill. Once debate on amendments has concluded, there will be a final vote on whether or not to pass the bill in its current form. If a majority of members votes in favor of passage, then the bill goes to the other chamber where it will begin again at square one — introduction and referral to committee. If both chambers pass identical versions of a bill, it goes to the governor’s desk for signature and becomes law. If one chamber passes a version of a bill that differs from what was passed by the other chamber, then representatives from both chambers meet together in what is called conference committee in order to work out their differences and produce one version of the bill that both chambers can agree on. Once an agreement has been made, that version of the bill goes back to both chambers for another vote. If it passes in both chambers after going through conference committee, then it goes to governor’s desk for signature and becomes law


The governor is the chief executive officer of the state and is responsible for carrying out the laws. In most states, the governor is elected to a four-year term and can serve no more than two terms in a row. The governor is often called the “chief executive officer” of the state.

The duties of a governor vary from state to state, but most governors are responsible for carrying out the laws, making sure that state agencies carry out their duties, and representing their state in dealings with other states and the federal government. Governors are also responsible for protecting the safety of citizens and property within their state.

State Courts

As with the federal court system, there are different levels of state courts. The lowest level is usually the Municipal or City Court, which usually handles misdemeanors and small civil matters. The next level is usually the Superior or District Court, which handle more serious crimes, larger civil matters, and appeals from lower courts. The highest level is the state court of appeals, followed by the state supreme court.

Local Governments

Local governments are responsible for passing state laws. The process of passing a law is typically initiated by a bill, which is a proposed law that is introduced in the legislature. If the bill passes through the legislature, it becomes a law. In some cases, the bill may be vetoed by the governor, which means it does not become a law.

The People

state legislators are responsible for creating the laws that govern their state. These legislators are either elected by the people or appointed by the governor. In most states, the legislature is a bicameral body, which means it is made up of two houses, usually referred to as the Senate and the House of Representatives. The number of legislators in each state depends on that state’s population. For example, California has 80 assembly members while Wyoming has only 30.


In the United States, the Constitution outlines a system of government known as federalism. This system separates the nation’s power between the central government and smaller political units, such as states or territories.

Under federalism, both the central government and the smaller units have some degree of governing power. The Constitution divides this power between the two levels in a few ways. For example, the central government has the power to declare war, while states have the power to create their own laws. This arrangement is known as the division of powers.

Federalism allows different levels of government to share power in order to better govern a large and diverse nation. It also allows for flexibility and experimentation in governing, since each level of government can create its own laws and policies.

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