Local Government Law



SLN #: 26652
Course Prefix: LAW-791
Course Section: 026
Credit Hours: 2
Instructor(s): Garnett

Course Description:
As the level of government closest to the daily lives of most people, local government provides a fascinating variety of contexts for legal problems, from First Amendment speech and religion issues to subdivision regulations. The goal of this course will be to provide the student with a firm conceptual framework for analysis of municipal legal issues, combined with a sense of the real world challenges and dilemmas confronting attorneys who counsel or otherwise deal with local government entities. Initially, the course will examine the structures, functions and powers of cities, counties, towns, and special districts, with emphasis on home rule and state law preemption. In addition to descriptive analysis, the course will touch on the "normative" question of what functions are best performed at the local rather than state or federal levels of government. This section will cover citizen participation in the local legislative process including initiative, referendum, recall, public meeting and public records laws. In addition, the course will provide an overview of the status of municipalities under federal civil rights laws, municipal immunity under state law, and the special legal requirements for litigation against municipal entities. The course will examine local government on a general level through the text material, with supplementation illustrating the Arizona position on key issues. Several case studies with which the instructor, as former city attorney for Scottsdale, was personally involved, will add particularity to the conceptual framework. Among these will be the legal and strategic tools available to local governments for dealing with sexually oriented businesses and the complex and timely topic of financing services through exactions in the nature of impact fees.

Additional Information:
Credit Hours: 2
Grading Option: Letter Grade Only
Written Assignment: 15 page paper (40% of grade)
Graduation Writing Requirement: No
Flexible Writing Requirement: Yes
Skills Requirement: No
Final Exam Given: No
Mid Term or Other Exam: 3 in-class quizzes (60% of grade)
Attendance Policy: Per Statement of Student Policies
Online Course Site: None