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November 21, 2008 - 2:26pm

Video: Learning to Legislate (Part Three)

For over a month now, The Batavian has been following along as the 4-H Student Legislators learn the ropes of local government. We first met up at a meeting of the Genesee County Legislature. Then, we followed along when the interns got together at the Genesee County Nursing Home, where a couple dozen county government staffers came together to talk about what they do and take questions from the interns. Everyone from the sheriff to the clerk of the legislature was present.

In our first video, we asked the students their first impressions. In the next, we talked a bit about what they had learned so far. When we met up with them again yesterday, most of them had finished drafting up a resolution that they plan to present to their fellow legislators when they convene in a mock session of the Legislature in the spring. So we asked about their resolutions.

Before we get to that video, however, we're going to test your knowledge of local government. Chip Malone, the mastermind behind the student government program, devised a test of about a dozen questions—though some have several parts to them—all about local government. I took the test. I scored a 39 out of 46, which is about 86 percent. Not too bad, but not as well as I would have liked to have done. Although, I'm sure that if I were to take it again, I would ace it.

Now, we can't reprint the entire test here, because that would give away all of the answers for the students who have yet to take the test. Nevertheless, Chip has been kind enough to allow us to reprint a few of the questions.

First, allow me to brag that I knew every one of our federal and state representatives, including the incoming and outgoing state senators and congressmen. But those questions should be easy for anyone who has any eye on politics in the region. So, instead, I'll share a couple of the questions I found most difficult, and a few others that were a breeze—try to figure out which. Questions are reproduced exactly as they appear on the test.

1. Describe the special provision (rule) which provides opportunity to bring business before the (county) legislature which is not previously written on the agenda.

2. By law, a town is viewed as a:

a. Independent municipal corporation.

b. Involuntary subdivisions of the state, established to make state government more effective.

c. Any group of more than 2000 citizens who choose to start a local government and enact law.

3. What is weighted voting?

4. What are county governments' three top sources of revenue?

5. List the three committees of the county legislature.

We will post the answers Monday.

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