G CS 21

Public Policy

Federal, state and local governments address problems and issues by making decisions, creating laws, enforcing regulations and taking action.

Content Statement

21. A variety of entities within the three branches of government, at all levels, address public policy issues that arise in domestic and international affairs.

Content Elaborations

Public policy issues are matters of discussion and debate related to the functions of government. They frequently revolve around problems the government is attempting to address and the projected consequences of public policy decisions.

Examples of public policy at different levels of government by different branches of government include:

  • Federal Executive – the Department of State, which advises the president on foreign policy and directs activities of embassies in foreign countries;
  • Federal Legislative – the Congressional Budget Office, which provides analyses of economic and budgetary data;
  • State Legislative – the Ohio Legislative Service Commission, which assists in drafting legislation;
  • State Judicial – the Ohio Courts of Common Pleas, which apply sentencing guidelines for convicted felons; and
  • Local Legislative/Executive – County commissions, which determine and grant tax abatements.

The complexity of public policy issues may involve multiple levels and branches of government. These levels and branches may engage in collaboration or conflict as they attempt to address public policy issues (e.g., 2010 Federal Race-to-the-Top education grants, the cleanup of the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Arizona’s planned enforcement of immigration laws in 2010).

Expectations for Learning

Analyze a public policy issue in terms of collaboration or conflict among the levels of government involved and the branches of government involved.