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The Law of American State Constitutions$
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Robert F. Williams

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195343083

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195343083.001.0001

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The State Executive Branch

The State Executive Branch

The Law of American State Constitutions

Robert F. Williams

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the differences between the state executive branch created by state constitutions and the federal executive. In many states there is a plural or fragmented executive, with more than one state-wide elected official in addition to the governor, such as the attorney general, treasurer, commissioner of education, etc. Such additional executive officers perform constitutional functions separate and apart from the governor's constitutional functions. State executive officials such as the governor do not exercise plenary authority like that of the legislature. Rather, their authority is delegated either in the state constitution or by statute. A governor's use of executive orders is therefore limited to implementing constitutional or statutory powers. The chapter discusses the variety of gubernatorial veto powers, together with the judicial involvement in controversies over the exercise of this power. This judicial involvement is particularly important with respect to the item veto power. Further, some state constitutions create executive agencies, and specify their powers (often including quasi-executive, quasi-legislative, and quasi-judicial powers), thereby divesting the state legislature of authority in those subject areas.

Keywords:   item veto, executive, executive orders, executive agencies, executive officers

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