The influence of divided government within state agencies
Jackson, Casey Lyn
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In an administrative state, administrative agencies implement and interpret state laws based on the authority of the legislature. Ideally, the function of administrative agencies would be to act as a “transmission belt” between the legislature and the people. In an ideal administrative state, agencies would follow fair and impartial decision procedures, act within the bounds of statutory authority and respect private citizens rights. However, as government rapidly expands, so does the role of administrative agencies. Legislators are deferring more and more to these unelected agents to make decisions, thus decreasing the fundamental democratic right to assume control of governmental actors by the electorate through elections. This research seeks to explain the variation in state agency discretion across the states. I will examine this variation by looking at some of the mechanisms by which agency discretion may be constrained through a number of legal and political mechanisms.