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Governing States and Localities

Governing States and Localities

Eighth Edition
Available with:

October 2021 | 592 pages | CQ Press
Winner of the 2022 Textbook & Academic Authors Association's The McGuffey Longevity Award

From the implications of Donald Trump’s presidency on intergovernmental relations to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on state-federal relations, the Eighth Edition of Governing States and Localities introduces students to the most recent challenges, developments, and political changes impacting state and local politics. Employing a comparative approach, bestselling authors Kevin B. Smith and Alan Greenblatt illustrate the similarities and differences in the way state and local governments operate to show students the real-world application of policy and politics. Following a crisp journalistic style with magazine-quality graphics and top-ten takeaways per chapter that keep students engaged, this edition provides a comprehensive introduction to state and local governments that is easily accessible to undergraduates in a variety of majors.

This title is accompanied by a complete teaching and learning package. Contact your SAGE representative to request a demo.
  • Digital Option / Courseware
    SAGE Vantage is an intuitive digital platform that delivers this text’s content and course materials in a learning experience that offers auto-graded assignments and interactive multimedia tools, all carefully designed to ignite student engagement and drive critical thinking. Built with you and your students in mind, it offers simple course set-up and enables students to better prepare for class.
    • Assignable Video with Assessment
      Assignable video (available with SAGE Vantage) is tied to learning objectives and curated exclusively for this text to bring concepts to life. Watch a sample video now.
  • LMS Cartridge: Import this title’s instructor resources into your school’s learning management system (LMS) and save time. Don’t use an LMS? You can still access all of the same online resources for this title via the password-protected Instructor Resource Site.  Learn more.

Chapter 1 • Introduction to State and Local Government: They Tax Dogs in West Virginia, Don’t They?
Chapter 2 • Federalism: The Power Plan
Chapter 3 • Constitutions: Operating Instructions
Chapter 4 • Finance: Filling the Till and Paying the Bills
Chapter 5 • Political Attitudes and Participation: Venting and Voting
Chapter 6 • Parties and Interest Groups: Elephants, Donkeys, and Cash Cows
Chapter 7 • Legislatures: The Art of Herding Cats
Chapter 8 • Governors and Executives: There Is No Such Thing as Absolute Power
Chapter 9 • Courts: Turning Law into Politics
Chapter 10 • Bureaucracy: What Nobody Wants but Everybody Needs
Chapter 11 • Local Government: Function Follows Form
Chapter 12 • Metropolitics: The Hole Problem of Government
Chapter 13 • Education: Reading, Writing, and Regulation
Chapter 14 • Crime and Punishment
Chapter 15 • Health and Welfare
Chapter 16 • Environment and Climate Change: Thinking Globally, Acting Locally


Instructor Resource Site

For additional information, custom options, or to request a personalized walkthrough of these resources, please contact your sales representative.

LMS cartridge included with this title for use in Blackboard, Canvas, Brightspace by Desire2Learn (D2L), and Moodle

The LMS cartridge makes it easy to import this title’s instructor resources into your learning management system (LMS). These resources include:

  • Test banks
  • Editable chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides
  • Sample course syllabi
  • Lecture notes
  • All tables and figures from the textbook 
Don’t use an LMS platform?

You can still access all of the same online resources for this title via the password-protected Instructor Resource Site.
Student Study Site


The open-access Student Study Site makes it easy for students to maximize their study time, anywhere, anytime. It offers flashcards that strengthen understanding of key terms and concepts, as well as learning objectives that reinforce the most important material.

I like this book because it is thorough and accessible, which is not an easy balance to make.

Professor Eric Schwartz
History & Political Science, Hagerstown Community College
January 21, 2022

Contains many useful charts and tables which lend themselves to discussion of data collection and analysis. Up to date with contemporary challenges.

Dr Dennis Lambries
Social Science, Newberry College
February 21, 2022
Key features
  • The new edition is available as a digital option through SAGE Vantage, an intuitive digital platform that offers auto-graded assignments and interactive multimedia tools—including video—all designed to enable students to better prepare for class.

All chapters have been revised substantially, with the content updated throughout to reflect the latest issues, trends, and political changes, including the following:

  • Analysis of the results of the 2020 elections.
  • Discussion of the most important state supreme court decisions and constitutional debates.
  • The growing impact of political polarization at the state and even local levels, and the implications of the nationalization of party politics for sub-national governance.
  • Increased focus on the core pedagogical theme of the comparative method, including a number of completely new features highlighting “a difference that makes a difference.”
  • New updates on state and local responses to coronavirus and the pandemic’s impact on state–federal relations.
  • Updated coverage of the impact of the Donald Trump presidency on intergovernmental relations and issues of central interest to states and localities.
  • Updates to “The Latest Research” sections at the ends of all chapters, where recent scholarship is put into the context of what students have just read.
  • “A Difference That Makes a Difference” boxes provide clear examples of how variations among states and localities can be used to explain a wide range of political and policy phenomena. These pieces detail the ways the institutions, regulations, political culture, demographics, and other factors of a particular state shape its constitution, the way its political parties function, how its citizens tend to vote, how it allocates its financial resources, and why its courts are structured the way they are, to name a few.
  • “Local Focus” boxes spotlight the ways localities function independently of the states and show how they are both constrained and empowered by intergovernmental ties. From battles to wrest control of their budgets from the state to constitutional restrictions on how they can tax and spend, the topics addressed in these boxes showcase the rich variety represented in these nearly 87,000 substate entities.
  • “Policy in Practice” boxes demonstrate how different states and localities have interpreted and implemented the legislation handed down from higher levels of government, and the consequences of these decisions. The impact of declining agency fees on public unions, the difficulties and implications of city-county mergers, and the policy implications of the power imbalance between states and localities are just some of the issues addressed.
  • “Top Ten Takeaways” reinforces key themes and ideas. Each chapter also includes a set of highlighted key concepts. These terms are defined near the places where they are introduced in the text and are compiled into a list at the end of each chapter, with corresponding page numbers. A comprehensive glossary of key terms precedes the book’s index.

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