What Is the Difference Between State and Local Government?

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State government refers to the government offices, elected officials, bureaucrats, laws and government services that exist at the state level in each of the 50 states in the United States while local government refers to governments that cover smaller jurisdictions below the state level, including county and city government. For example, a state’s governor serves at the state level of government while an individual town’s mayor or city council is part of the local level of government. According to the U.S.’s Constitution, state governments, such as governor, state supreme court and state congress, have powers that are separate from the federal government, which is the president, Supreme Court and Congress.

Citizens of a specific state in the U.S. are bound not only by the laws of the nation as a whole but also by the laws that govern their specific state. For example, a resident of San Francisco, Calif., must abide by the laws that affect all citizens of the U.S., but laws within the state of California also apply to that person. Additionally, laws of the Ccty of San Francisco apply to those who live within that city, though San Francisco’s laws may differ from those of nearby cities, such as Berkeley.