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Professor Brandy Brooks
Office Hours: Available before or after class for consultation, and/or by appointment
Telephone: (617) 615-9108
E-mail: [email protected]
Facebook: [email protected]
Twitter: Prof_Brooks
Course Website:
Course Moodle: 


The purpose of this course is to acquaint the student with the history and functions of state and local governance. It includes an analysis of political organization and structure; state and local government taxing powers; economic, educational, and police powers; and public service functions of government. The course meets General Education “Individual and Society” Requirement Area 2. Prerequisites: Grade of C or better in Academic Reading III (ESL098) or Reading Skills II (RDG095) and Writing Skills II (ENG095) or exemption by placement testing.


1. Bowman & Kearney, State & Local Government: the Essentials. (Referred to as Bowman & Kearney in the Tentative Schedule/Assignments Section)
ISBN-13: 978-1285737485
2. Annual Editions: State & Local Government (16th Edition). (Referred to as AE in the Tentative Schedule/Assignments Section)

Success in this course depends upon regular attendance. Attendance will be taken on a regular basis, at the beginning or end of the class. Even if you do not participate in class discussions you will benefit from hearing the comments and questions of your classmates. You need to listen and take notes during lectures, as most of the material will not be found in the assigned readings. I do not allow make-ups for missed tests or assignments, unless you have a legitimate reason with documentation (i.e., signed letter from a doctor, jury summons, etc.) explaining your absence. Each class you attend will earn you 5 points towards your total attendance grade (29 classes * 5 points = 145 points total). Each class that you are up to 20 minutes late to or that you leave early from subtracts 2.5 points your daily attendance point total. If you are more than 30 minutes late to class, you will receive no points for the day. Also, if you show up and leave early then you will receive no attendance points for the day.

**You can miss up to 2 classes without it counting against your overall attendance grade.**

**For virtual classes, your camera will need to remain on at all times**

Absence Due to Religious Beliefs

1985 Regular Session
Chapter 375


Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

Chapter 151C of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 2A the following section:

Section 2B. Any student in an educational or vocational training institution, other than a religious or denominational educational or vocational training institution, who is unable, because of his religious beliefs, to attend classes or to participate in any examination, study, or work requirement on a particular day shall be excused from any such examination or study or work requirement, and shall be provided with an opportunity to make up such examination, study, or work requirement which he may have missed because of such absence on any particular day; provided, however, that such makeup examination or work shall not create an unreasonable burden upon such school. No fees of any kind shall be charged by the institution for making available to the said student such opportunity. No adverse or prejudicial effects shall result to any student because of his availing himself of the provisions of this section.

A copy of this section shall be published by each institution of higher education in the catalog of such institution containing the list of available courses.

Approved October 8, 1985.

In general, lecture will occur at the first meeting of the week, with assessment and discussion in the second meeting of the week. Lectures support the assigned reading and/or expand upon the text material. As such, they are not drawn strictly from the assigned reading. Lectures serve to expand upon the reading assignments by providing materials which are relevant to Massachusetts and the New England region.

Success in the course is highly dependent upon your ability to take good lecture notes and manage the reading on your own. I recommend that you create a portfolio of all your notes, papers and tests. You should take the on-line textbook practice quizzes as preparation for in-class quizzes.

A combination of short papers, discussion board posts, quizzes, gubernatorial campaign video, and attendance/class participation comprise the means by which I will assess student learning.
1. Time Capsule (100 points or 10% of your grade)
2. Short Papers (200 points or 20% of your grade)
3. Campaign Video (355 points or 35.5% of your grade)
4. Quizzes (200 points or 20% of your grade)
5. Attendance & Class Participation (145 points or 14.5% of your grade)

Final grades for the course will be based on the following scale. I reserve the right to adjust individual grades based on overall performance in the course and/or extenuating circumstances. There is no grading curve.

The following cutoffs will be used for grades:
A 940-1000
A- 900-939
B+ 870-899
B 830-869
B- 800-829
C+ 770-799
C 700-769
D 600-699
F ≤ 599

All students are expected to abide by the Student Code of Conduct which reads, “A student shall be subject to the disciplinary sanctions outlined in this policy for acts including, but not limited to: Cheating, including use of unauthorized books or notes, plagiarism, or other forms of academic dishonesty, as defined by College policy.” (See BHCC Student Handbook) Any individual caught cheating or plagiarizing will receive an “F” for the course and the student will be referred to the dean for appropriate action.

In order to be successful in this course, it is expected that students will:
• Attend all class sessions
• Arrive on time to all sessions
• Remain for entire duration of all class sessions
• Read all assigned course materials
• Regularly check BHCC email and course website for updates
• Prepare and submit homework assignments by due date
• Treat faculty and classmates with respect and courtesy
• Abide by all guidelines presented in the BHCC Student Handbook.

There are few things more annoying in modern life than the sound of a cell phone going off in a public meeting of any kind. Please turn off your cell phones, laptops, tablets, netbooks, e-readers, and/or pagers during class or at the very least switch to the vibrate mode. Do not text (receiving or sending) people during class either. If students are using these devices for note-taking, then notify me beforehand. In addition, if you wish to record (audio or video) lectures permission must be granted in advance. If you cannot bear to be out of contact with people for the duration of class, then you are in the wrong class. However, in an emergency please notify me before class begins so that you can be accessible.

Food and beverages will be permitted so long as consumption of food and beverages does not disrupt discussion.

It should be noted that a course on politics can excite passionate feelings and heated debates can result. I encourage you to adopt the practice of criticizing the IDEA being presented, rather than the SPEAKER. Above all, treat all speakers with respect. For more information on how you should conduct yourself while in this class or on BHCC’s campus please refer to the guidelines presented in the BHCC Student Handbook.

The Office of Disability Support Services is a student-focused department dedicated to assisting members of the BHCC community with documented physical and/or learning disabilities. Students may be eligible for services that include tutoring, testing and other classroom accommodations. To get more information or request an accommodation, contact the Disability Support Services Office at 617-228-2327. Students are encouraged to request accommodations as early as possible and ideally before the start of the semester. For information about programs and services please visit:

The Bunker Hill Community College Library and Learning Commons is closed this semester but most resources are available virtually. To search the library database: Additionally, virtual Library Sessions are available using Webex. One on one sessions with a librarian:
Information literacy workshops for classes:


For this assignment the Governor of Massachusetts, Charlie Baker will be burying a time capsule on September 21, 2020. He asks for your opinion on three items that should be buried that reflect the past year of politics in Massachusetts (September 20, 2019 – September 20, 2020). What three items (e.g., news articles, artifacts, etc.) would you add to the time capsule and why? Your 1-2 page response should use 12-font Times New Roman and be double-spaced. Your paper is due by 7:00am September 22, 2020.

Students will write two short papers. When you write a short paper, you are using information discussed in lecture and/or in assigned readings to reflect critically on the questions posed in the syllabus.

Each short paper is to be One to Two Double-Spaced Pages, Times New Roman, 12-font, and may be written in the first person. A reference page is required.

In order to write a good short paper refer to the following:
Four Steps to Better Writers
APA In-Text Citations & List of References

Short papers are due at the beginning of class. Late papers will be penalized at the rate of 5 points per day. If you need help with your short papers, BHCC’s Writing Place is open virtually and is offering remote tutoring sessions at

Read “Justice by Numbers” (pp.135-139) in your Annual Editions Reader and write a reaction response which includes the following: (1) The main idea of the article/identify the author’s thesis. (2) How does the author prove his/her main idea? (3) Provide your own comments on the article. (i.e., Do you agree with the thesis of the article? Why or why not?)

Write a letter to your local senator (to look up your representative name visit: expressing your stance on Massachusetts House Bill 4975. This law signed by Governor Deval Patrick on July 2, 2010 prohibits text messaging and using a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle. In your 1-2 page response, discuss the following:
What are the pros and cons of this bill as well as similar cell-phone legislation in the Commonwealth?
Do you think this legislation goes far enough in attempting to prevent distracted drivers? Why or why not?
Are there any additional bills you think should be considered to reduce distracted driving?
To read this bill or find more information on Massachusetts Cell-Phone Driving Laws visit:

For this assignment you will be the campaign manager, candidate, or spouse of a candidate for State Senator of Massachusetts. You are required to produce a video at least one minute in length (maximum 2 ½ minutes) in which you describe who your candidate is and what they stand for and why we, the voting public, should vote for him or her. Each video should include the following:

1) What is your candidate’s platform? What issues does he/she stand for? What will you do as an elected official?
2) Why should people vote for your candidate? How are you different from your opponents?
3) What is your campaign slogan? Should be stated at least twice in your video
4) What is your campaign logo? Should be a graphic which appears in your video

You have creative license in describing this individual’s personal background (i.e., job, political affiliation, children, marriage, war hero, activist, etc.). In addition, be creative in how you present your candidate. You can show video clips (would need to be very brief) of friends/family/acquaintances praising your candidate and their platform or create poll results that show why the country needs your candidate. In other words, whether you vote or actively participate in politics or not, think of the characteristics, slogans, logos, issues, that would make you vote. However, be careful that the issues and slogans you choose are applicable to you candidate. Do your research and understand the issues and voters. I would suggest that you start preparing for your video by viewing campaign ads provided on the course website.


You should e-mail your State Senator Campaign Video by 7:00 a.m. on Tuesday, November 19, 2020. Late videos (starting at 7:01 a.m.) will be penalized at the rate of 10 points per day.

Three quizzes will be given. The quizzes will test your knowledge of the material covered in the lectures and in the assigned readings. The quizzes may have a combination of short answer, multiple choice, and essay questions. The quizzes will be given in class and will start promptly at 7:15 a.m. Makeup quizzes are not permitted except in extenuating circumstances. An unexcused absence will result in a 0 for that quiz.

Extra credit opportunities will be available throughout the semester. These assignments will add points to short paper and discussion board grades. It will be the responsibility of students to monitor postings of extra credit assignments on the course website.


    September 8th & 10th

    Review Syllabus/Introduction to the Course

    Assignment: Like ProfB  Facebook page; Set up BHCC Email

    September 15th

    Introduction to State & Local Politics

    Reading: Bowman & Kearney Chapter 1

    AE “Fixing the Rotten Corporate Barrel” (pp.198-200)

    September 17th

    Political Culture

    Reading: AE “Counter Culture” (pp.127-128); “The Millennials in the Mayor’s Seat” (pp.132-134)

    September 22nd

    Policy Making Models & Theories

    Reading: Multi-Stream Model & Deborah Stone’s Architecture of Policy (available on course website)

    Assignment: Political Time Capsule

    September 24th

    Federalism and the States

    Reading: Bowman & Kearney Chapter 2

    September 29th

    Federalism and the States

    Reading: AE “The United States of America” (pp.34-37)

    October 1st

    State Constitutions

    Reading: AE “States vs. Feds” (pp.38-41)

    October 6th

    State Constitutions

    Reading: Bowman & Kearney Chapter 3

    October 8th

    Citizen Participation and Elections

    Reading: AE “Portland Fluoride” (pp.70-71); “Voting Matters” (pp.47-49)

    October 13th

    Citizen Participation and Elections

    Reading: Bowman & Kearney Chapter 4; AE “Justice by Numbers” (pp.135-139)
    Assignment: Short Paper #1 Due

    October 15th

    Suppression of Participation

    Reading: AE “Under the Gaydar” (pp.140-142)

    October 20th

    Suppression of Participation

    Watch The Boston Busing Crisis on YouTube

    October 22nd

    Political Parties, Interest Groups and Campaigns

    Reading: Bowman & Kearney Chapter 5

    Assignment: Quiz #1 (in class)

    October 27th

    Political Parties, Interest Groups and Campaigns
    Reading: AE “The Progressive Tax Rebellion” (pp.66-69); AE “States of Conservatism” (pp.62-65)

    October 29th

    News Media
    Reading: AE “Embracing the Future” (pp.83-86)

    November 3rd

    News Media

    Reading: AE “Ready, Set, PAN” (pp.92-94)

    November 5th

    State Legislators

    Reading: Bowman & Kearney Chapter 6

    November 10th

    State Legislators

    Reading: AE “What Legislators Need Now” (pp.100-102); AE “Newbies” (pp.105-107)

    November 12th


    Reading: Bowman & Kearney Chapter 7

    November 17th


    Reading: AE “The Badgered State” (pp.123-126)

    November 19th

    Public Administration: Budgeting and Service Delivery

    Reading: Bowman & Kearney Chapter 8; AE “Two Cheers for the Property Tax” (pp.162-164); AE “Snookered” (pp.171-172); AE “The Enticement Window” (pp.173-174)

    Assignment: State Senator Campaign Video 

    November 24th

    The Judiciary

    Reading: Bowman & Kearney Chapter 9


    December 1st

    The Judiciary
    Reading: AE “Caperton’s Coal” (pp.54-58); AE “License to Kill” (pp.188-191)

    December 3rd

    Conflicts Between Branches
    Reading: Available on Course Website

    December 8th

    Conflicts Between Branches

    Reading: Available on course website

    December 10th

    State-Local Relations

    Reading: Bowman & Kearney Chapter 10

    Assignment: Short Paper #2 Due

    December 15th

    Local Government: Structure & Leadership

    Reading: Bowman & Kearney Chapter 11; AE “The Sentient City” (pp.147-148); AE “The ‘B’ Word” (pp.159-161)

    December 17th

    Course Wrap-Up
    Assignment: Quiz #2 (in class)