State governments functions such as transportation management, budgets and public safety. Although federal and state governments may share some powers, states are solely responsible for a number of duties. According to the 10th Amendment to the United States Constitution, state governments are responsible for all duties not specifically assigned to the federal government.
Family, Health and Public Safety
State governments regulate social assistance programs such as health insurance for low income residents, food stamps and veterans affairs. States also oversee child welfare cases, adoption procedures, abuse and neglect cases or other family wellness services by allocating federal funds and enforcing federal regulations. Emergency management responses are generally state responsibilities, although federal assistance programs are available when needed. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, states are responsible for managing emergencies and distributing appropriate funds and provisions.
Transportation, Commerce and Environmental
State police departments, public transportation systems and interstate commerce fall under the purview of state governments. States often keep highways and other roadways safe for travel by clearing snow from the roads, repairing damage, replacing signs or conducting various construction projects, although specific responsibilities vary by state. issuing drivers' licenses and vehicle registrations are also state responsibilities.
Taxes, Finance and Legalities
Establishing a budget, managing debt, processing fees such as tolls, controlling election procedures and overseeing all state finances are the responsibilities of state governments. They create local governments by counties or other regional designations. States also carry out federal mandates, although the funding for mandates is federally controlled. State supreme courts are responsible for considering appeals and correcting errors from lower-level court decisions. The states have their own income taxes and other financial duties such as budgeting or managing lotteries.
Employment and Education
One of the major responsibilities of state governments is overseeing and regulating public schools and state libraries. Although public schools receive some federal funding, state and local governments are primarily responsible for education. State governments are responsible for training and licensing programs, such as issuing teachers’ licenses. Workforce development offices help residents secure employment and process unemployment claims, although specific duties vary by state.
- The White House: State and Local Government
- Fairfax County: Explaining Federal, State and Local Government Responsibilities in Virginia
- U.S. Department of Education: The Federal Role in Education
- United States Environmental Protection Agency: State Emergency Response Commissions Contacts
- Project Vote Smart: Government 101: State Governments
- The National Archives: The Charters of Freedom
- U.S Department of Homeland Security: State Workforce Agency Questions and Answers
Amy Pearson earned dual bachelor's degrees in management and horticulture. She is a licensed elementary teacher for kindergarten through sixth grades. Pearson specializes in flower and vegetable gardening, landscape design, education, early childhood and child development.