Social Studies - 2018-19

CE.7a - Structure and Powers of State Government

The student will apply social science skills to understand the American constitutional government at the state level by

a) describing the structure and powers of the state government;

Adopted: 2015



The form of government of the Commonwealth of Virginia is established by the Virginia Constitution.

Legislative, executive, and judicial powers are separated at the state level of government.


The Virginia Constitution distributes power among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the state government.

The legislative branch is the General Assembly, a bicameral legislature—the House of Delegates and the Virginia Senate—that meets annually for a fixed number of days.

The executive power is exercised by the governor, who is elected for a four-year term of office. The governor appoints members of the cabinet, who oversee specific functions of government.

The lieutenant governor and the attorney general are executive branch officers who are elected for a four-year term of office.

The judicial power is exercised by a court system that consists of four levels of courts:

 Supreme Court

 Court of appeals

 Circuit courts

 District courts (including small claims courts and juvenile and domestic relations courts)


Updated: May 16, 2018