In the U.S., states are enjoying the relative autonomy from Washington. This right has been granted by the Constitution and protected ever since. Originally, the federal government has been put in charge of foreign and military affairs, and the states have been assigned to regulate local policies that had a direct influence on the everyday life of their populations. As a result, the political life in America may seem strange to foreigners who come from unitary states. Each state has its own government with separate branches. Also, each of them its own unique political tradition and different sets. This paper aims to analyse the differences between governments of Mississippi and New Mexico.
The state government of Mississippi consists of three branches, such as legislative, executive, and judicial. The state legislature consists of the two chambers (“Mississippi State Legislature”). The lower House of Representatives consists of 122 members, and the upper State Senate has 52 senators. For both representative and members of the State Senate, there are no term limits, and their terms last four years. The headquarters are located at the Mississippi State Capitol. The state’s constitution determines the length of the legislature’s sessions. A regular session lasts ninety days. Each year, it begins on Tuesday that follows the first January’s Monday (“Mississippi State Legislature”). Extended sessions, which occur once in four years, last one hundred twenty-five days maximum due to the shifts in the calendar. The current Senate President is a Republican Tate Reeves, and the House speaker is another Republican Philip Gunn (“Mississippi State Legislature”). In Mississippi, the work at the legislature is considered a part-time job, and the per diem salary is $142 (“Comparison of State Legislative”).
Apart from the Governor, the executive branch of governments consists of several offices, such as the Attorney General, Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce, Executive Director of Employment Security, the State Auditor, the Treasurer, and others. The incumbent Governor is a Republican Phil Bryant, and his salary in 2016 was $122,160 (“Governor of Mississippi”). In Mississippi, a person who wishes to participate in gubernatorial elections must be at least thirty-years-old, have the U.S. citizenship for at least twenty years, and reside in the state for at least five years. The term lasts four years, and a person can be elected for two terms maximum.
The judicial system in Mississippi consists of the Supreme Court, the Circuit Courts, the Chancery Court, the County Courts, the Justice Courts, and the Municipal Courts (“Judicial Selection in Mississippi”). The method of selection is the nonpartisan election. Terms in the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals are eight years, in all other courts terms are four years. The salaries of the Mississippi Supreme Court justices vary from $122,000 to $126,000; judges of other courts receive from $90,000 to $118,000 (“Mississippi Court Salaries”).
Just as in Mississippi, the state of New Mexico has a bicameral legislature, which consists of the House of Representative and the Senate. The New Mexico legislature is smaller in Mississippi, having only 42 senators and 70 members of the House of Representatives. Like Mississippi, New Mexico has no term limits for the members of legislature, but the length of a senator’s terms is shorter and is only two years (“New Mexico State Legislature”). The New Mexico Senate President is a Republican John A. Sanchez, and the House Speaker is a Democrat Brian Egolf, Jr. The per diem salary of the legislators is $164 (“New Mexico State Legislature”). Sessions start on the third Tuesday every January, and their lengths vary from thirty to sixty days, which is much shorter compared to Mississippi.
The executive branch of New Mexico government consists of the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, the Secretary of State, the State Auditor, the State Treasurer, the Attorney General, the Commissioner of Public Lands, and the Public Regulation Commission (“New Mexico State Executive Offices”). Noticeably, the number of executive offices is smaller than in Mississippi. The incumbent Governor is a Republican Susana Martinez. The length of a gubernatorial term is four years, and the criteria of eligibility require from candidates to be thirty-years-old or older, be a citizen of the U.S., and reside in New Mexico for at least five years. These criteria are similar to those in Mississippi. In 2016, the governor’s annual salary was $110,000 (“Governor of New Mexico”).
The judicial system in this state is a bit different from Mississippi. It also has the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, and the Municipal Court. However, it also has trial courts, which are not presented in Mississippi, such as the District Court, the Magistrate Court, and the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court (“Courts in New Mexico”). Apart from the Supreme Court justices and the judges of the Court of Appeals, all other judges are selected through partisan elections. Justices of the Supreme Court are first selected by assisted gubernatorial appointment and then elected through partisan elections. In the District Courts terms are six years, in the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court terms are eight years. Reelection is possible through retention elections. Annual salaries vary from about $80,000 to $127,000.
All things considered, New Mexico and Mississippi have quite similar models of government, although there are some differences regarding the number of legislators, the number of executive offices, and the methods of selecting judges. All other aspects are quite the same. The distinctions may be explained by the differences of these states’ populations.
- “Comparison of State Legislative Salaries.” Ballotpedia, ballotpedia.org/ Accessed 5 April 2018.
- “Courts in New Mexico.” Ballotpedia, ballotpedia.org/ Accessed 5 April 2018.
- “Governor of Mississippi.” Ballotpedia, ballotpedia.org/ Accessed 5 April 2018.
- “Governor of New Mexico.” Ballotpedia, ballotpedia.org/ Accessed 5 April 2018.
- “Judicial Selection in Mississippi.” Ballotpedia, ballotpedia.org/ Accessed 5 April 2018.
- “Mississippi Court Salaries and Budgets.” Ballotpedia, ballotpedia.org/ Accessed 5 April 2018.
- “Mississippi State Legislature.” Ballotpedia, ballotpedia.org/ Accessed 5 April 2018.
- “New Mexico State Executive Offices.” Ballotpedia, ballotpedia.org/ Accessed 5 April 2018.
- “New Mexico State Legislature.” Ballotpedia, ballotpedia.org/ Accessed 5 April 2018.