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What is a state function?

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Quick Answer

A state function describes the manner in which a state government provides a service or enforces a law. In the United States, the functions of state governments are comprised of the all the executive, legislative and judicial powers not reserved for the federal government.

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States function in the same way the federal government does: they make, enforce and interpret laws. Specific functions of the state government include creating and approving budgets and overseeing the counties and the municipalities within the counties. In most states, counties are comprised of municipalities and, occasionally, the even smaller boundaries within the county, borough or parish, such as incorporated and unincorporated townships.

In many cases, the cities and townships within the individual state are allowed to oversee the creation of their own local legislation. Functions meted out at the municipal level include fire protection services, parks and recreation services, public transportation services and the organization of school districts. All powers delegated to the municipalities must be granted by the state.

No two state governments are organized in exactly the same way. The ability of a state to function in a particular way depends on the individual state and often varies greatly from municipality to municipality.

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