Social Studies - 2019-20

GOVT.8c - Relationship Between State and Local Governments

The student will apply social science skills to understand the organization and powers of the state and local governments described in the Constitution of Virginia by 

c) analyzing the relationship between state and local governments and the roles of regional authorities, governing boards, and commissions;

Adopted: 2015


Big Themes/Concepts: Power & Authority, Balance

What is the right balance of local, State, and federal government?

How much power should State government have?

How local should government be?


The authority of local governments in Virginia is derived from the Constitution of Virginia and the state government. 

Regional authorities are political subdivisions of the state and address needs that cross local government boundaries.


Dillon’s Rule: All power of the local government is derived from the state. 

Counties and cities, as administrative subdivisions of the state, assist in the local implementation of state laws and programs. 

Regional authorities 

 Created by the General Assembly 

 Serve one or more special functions 

o Transportation 

o Water and waste disposal 

o Jails 

 Boards and commissions 

o Establish policy 

o Work collaboratively with government officials 

o Oversee public institutions (e.g., Virginia’s public universities)


Updated: Jul 11, 2017