Table of responsibilities

The following table lists some typical government functions. Many of these functions span the 3 levels of government, with each level having different powers and responsibilities.

brainstorm BRAINSTORM

Agriculture

Federal

Inspection and safety standards; market development and trade; purchasing for federal food programs

Arts

Federal

Federal funding; historic preservation laws; Library of Congress; National Archives

State

Grants; historical preservation laws and programs; creation and operation of state libraries and archives

Local

Community libraries

Commerce

Federal

Interstate trade; patent and trademark protection; import and export duties

State

Licensing: businesses and professions, marriage

Demographics

Federal

National census

State

Issues marriage licenses, birth, and death certificates

Local

Recordkeeping

Education

Federal

Federally funded programs; civil rights enforcement

State

Sets standards by testing and teacher certification; develops curricula; manages federal and state grants; establishes state colleges and universities

Local

Schools organized by local districts; implement state policies; usually exist as a separate administrative structure

Elections

State

Administers and certifies state and federal elections; redistricting for state and congressional district boundaries; campaign finance regulation

Local

Voter registration; administration of local elections

Energy and utilities

Federal

Policy; nuclear safety/programs; regulation of interstate communications and utilities sales, oil and gas rates

State

Regulates utility providers; consumer complaints; renewable energy incentives

Local

Owns and regulates some public utilities

Environment

Federal

Administration and regulation of federal laws; energy policy; nuclear safety; energy regulation and research

State

Air quality; water resource allocation; solid waste management; wildlife management; land-use management (growth control, rural development); cleanup and redevelopment

Local

Sewerage and waste disposal; water provision; monitors and enforces environmental regulations

Health and welfare

Federal

Food and drug safety regulation; disease control; Medicare insurance program; works with states to establish health insurance and care standards; social security benefit administration

State

Administers public-funded programs for mental health, addiction, long-term care, medical care, foster care, domestic violence; regulates child custody and child support, insurance

Local

Social welfare programs

Housing and development

Federal

Affordable housing programs; mortgage loans and insurance; enforcement of federal discrimination laws

State

Administers public-funded programs; tourism; land-use regulation

Local

Operation of assisted housing programs; zoning and building code enforcement

Justice

Federal

Interpretation and adjudication of federal law; state appeals; original jurisdiction over patents, bankruptcy, securities, maritime, and international claims; administration of federal prisons, investigatory activities, drug enforcement; interstate commerce; regulation of firearms and explosives

State

Creates and oversees state judicial system

Local

Local judicial functions

Labor

Federal

Occupational safety; wage and hour standards

State

Job seeking assistance; job training; administers unemployment and workers’ compensation claims

Land

Federal

Administers public lands; mining issues; fish and wildlife; national parks; water resource management; administration of territorial possessions

State

Manages state parks and recreational programs; hunting, fishing, boating permits

Local

Manages local parks and recreation programs

Money

Federal

Printing of currency and coins; federal income tax; financial crimes; securities regulation

State

Imposes sales, income, inheritance; sin (alcohol, tobacco); fuel taxes; tolls; runs lotteries; regulates insurance

Local

Imposes local taxes; property assessment

Science

Federal

Weather research and information; space programs; biomedical research

Security

Federal

Military; conscription; immigration; customs; border protection; emergency management (when state or local resources are overwhelmed); federal law enforcement; coastguard

State

State police; handgun licensing; emergency management; state national guard

Local

Fire and rescue services; law enforcement; animal control

Transportation

Federal

Exclusive power over aviation and railroad regulation; maritime issues; safety investigations

State

Builds and maintains infrastructure; motor vehicle registration; driver testing

Local

Street maintenance; local and rural road construction and maintenance

Veterans’ affairs

Federal

Administers veterans’ benefit programs

State

Administers veterans’ benefit programs

Miscellaneous

Federal

Postal service; international relations; Indian affairs

Table 42: Table of governmental responsibilities (USA)

Sponsored links