"General Law" Local Government
in the United States of America

 

PRIMARY CIVIL DIVISION = County or equivalent
MINOR CIVIL DIVISION = traditional County subdivision

 
State Kind Name Type Executive
(administration)
Legislative
(policy-making)
AlabamaPrimaryCountyStrongCOMMISSION
MinorprecinctNoneno associated governmental structure
MINOR CIVIL DIVISION: Functioned historically as the jurisdiction of Alabama's justices of the peace (until that office was abolished in 1977); some precincts still elect a constable but this office may be abolished by local option. Where a constable is no longer elected, the precinct is largely dormant
AlaskaPrimaryBoroughStrongASSEMBLY
MinordistrictNoneno associated governmental structure
ArizonaPrimaryCountyStrongBOARD OF SUPERVISORS
MinorprecinctNoneno associated governmental structure
MINOR CIVIL DIVISION: Functions primarily as the jurisdiction of Arizona's justices of the peace
ArkansasPrimaryCountyStrongJudge (of County Court)QUORUM COURT
(= justices of the peace meeting with the county Judge)
MinortownshipVestigialno associated governmental structure
MINOR CIVIL DIVISION: The Arkansas township has traditionally been the electoral unit for, as well as the jurisdiction of, the Justice of the Peace (although, in practice, the jurisdiction of a given J.P. tends to extend throughout the county)
CaliforniaPrimaryCountyStrongBOARD OF SUPERVISORS
MinortownshipNoneno associated governmental structure
MINOR CIVIL DIVISION: Functioned historically as the jurisdiction of California's justices of the peace until the development of the Municipal Court system throughout the mid-20th Century eventually replaced these township Justice Courts with a districted system of Justice Courts which ultimately was to be subsumed into the Municipal Court system as the primary court of limited jurisdiction in California. The original text of the [2nd] California Constitution of 1879- in Article XI, section 4- contained a clause which stated that the Legislature by general laws shall provide for township organization, under which any county may organize whenever a majority of the qualified electors of such county, voting at a general election, shall so determine: however, this provision was repealed by an Amendment to the Constitution of California adopted by majority vote of the State's electors on Tuesday 27 June 1933; thus, for a little over half a century, the State of California allowed a given county to turn its non-governmental (principally judicial) townships into active governmental subdivisions of the county by local option but, since 1933, this option has no longer been available. Nevertheless, many of the more recent subdivisions of the county in California for purposes of both county and State government were often originally delimited with at least some reference to the township boundaries in that county; therefore, the township- though having become dormant- remains the traditional Minor Civil Division in the State of California
ColoradoPrimaryCountyStrongBOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MinorprecinctVestigialno associated governmental structure
MINOR CIVIL DIVISION: Precincts were, at one time, the unit associated with Justices of the Peace
ConnecticutPrimarycountyVestigialno associated governmental structure
PRIMARY CIVIL DIVISION: CONNECTICUT abolished County government as of 1 October 1960: until that time, each County was administered by a Board of Commissioners
MinorTOWNVery StrongFirst Selectman &
Board of Selectmen
TOWN MEETING
DelawarePrimaryCountyStrongLEVY COURT
MinorhundredVestigialno associated governmental structure
MINOR CIVIL DIVISION: The hundred was once the unit re: Delaware's Justices of the Peace (it was also used for a time as the basis of representation in the General Assembly); although, for the most part, defunct (it still functions relative to locating property re: legal title to land), the hundred remains Delaware's traditional subdivision of the county.
FloridaPrimaryCountyStrongBOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MinorprecinctNoneno associated governmental structure
GeorgiaPrimaryCountyStrongBOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MinordistrictNoneno associated governmental structure
HawaiiPrimaryCountyStrongMayorCOUNCIL
MinordistrictNoneno associated governmental structure
IdahoPrimaryCountyStrongBOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MinorprecinctNoneno associated governmental structure
IllinoisPrimarycountyLimitedBoard of Supervisors
MinortownshipBroadSupervisorTOWN[SHIP] MEETING
PrimaryCountyStrongBOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MinorprecinctNoneno associated governmental structure
IndianaPrimarycountyBroadBoard of CommissionersCOUNCIL
MinortownshipLimitedTrusteeBoard
IowaPrimaryCountyStrongBOARD OF SUPERVISORS
MinortownshipVestigialBoard of Trustees
KansasPrimarycountyBroadBOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MinortownshipLimitedTrusteeBoard
KentuckyPrimaryCountyStrongJudge(=Executive)FISCAL COURT
MinordistrictNoneno associated governmental structure
LouisianaPrimaryParishStrongPOLICE JURY
MinorwardNoneno associated governmental structure
MainePrimarycountyWeakCourt of Commissioners
MinorTOWNVery StrongBoard of SelectmenTOWN MEETING
MarylandPrimaryCountyStrongBOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MinordistrictNoneno associated governmental structure
MassachusettsPrimarycountyWeakBoard of Commissioners
PRIMARY CIVIL DIVISION: Chapter 34B of the General Laws of Massachusetts- enacted in 1996- provides for the optional abolition of County Government, with the further option of replacing most of the former functions of such abolished government with a Regional Council of Governments made up of representatives of the Minor Civil Divisions (Cities and Towns) within or contiguous to a given abolished County. As in CONNECTICUT and RHODE ISLAND, abolished Counties continue to function as the basis of subdivisions of the Commonwealth for judicial purposes.
MinorTOWNVery StrongBoard of SelectmenTOWN MEETING
MichiganPrimarycountyBroadBOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MinortownshipLimitedSupervisorBoard of Trustees
MinnesotaPrimarycountyBroadBOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MinortownshipLimitedBoard of SupervisorsTown(ship) Meeting
MississippiPrimaryCountyStrongBOARD OF SUPERVISORS
MinorbeatNoneno associated governmental structure
MissouriPrimarycountyBroadCOMMISSION
MinortownshipLimitedTrusteeBoard of Directors
MontanaPrimaryCountyStrongBOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MinordistrictNoneno associated governmental structure
NebraskaPrimarycountyBroadBOARD OF SUPERVISORS
MinortownshipLimitedChairmanBoard
PrimaryCountyStrongBOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MinorprecinctNoneno associated governmental structure
NevadaPrimaryCountyStrongBOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MinortownshipNoneno associated governmental structure
New HampshirePrimarycountyWeakBoard of Commissioners
MinorTOWNVery StrongBoard of SelectmenTOWN MEETING
New JerseyPrimarycountySharedBOARD OF CHOSEN FREEHOLDERS
MinorTOWNSHIPSharedMayorCOMMITTEE
New MexicoPrimaryCountyStrongBOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MinorprecinctNoneno associated governmental structure
New YorkPrimarycountyLimitedBoard of Supervisors
MinorTown[ship]BroadSUPERVISORBoard
North CarolinaPrimaryCountyStrongBOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MinortownshipNoneno associated governmental structure
North DakotaPrimarycountyBroadBOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MinortownshipLimitedBoard of Supervisors
OhioPrimarycountyBroadBOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MinortownshipLimitedBoard of Trustees
OklahomaPrimaryCountyStrongBOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MinortownshipVestigialno associated governmental structure
OregonPrimaryCountyStrongJudgeCOUNTY COURT
MinorprecinctNoneno associated governmental structure
PennsylvaniaPrimarycountyBroadBOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MinortownshipLimitedBoard of Supervisors
Rhode IslandPrimarycountyVestigialno associated governmental structure
MinorTOWNVery StrongCouncilTOWN MEETING
South CarolinaPrimaryCountyStrongCOUNCIL
MinortownshipNoneno associated governmental structure
South DakotaPrimarycountyBroadBOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MinortownshipLimitedBoard of Supervisors
TennesseePrimaryCountyStrongExecutiveBOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MinordistrictNoneno associated governmental structure
TexasPrimaryCountyStrongJudgeCOMMISSIONERS' COURT
MinorprecinctNoneno associated governmental structure
UtahPrimaryCountyStrongBOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MinorprecinctNoneno associated governmental structure
VermontPrimarycountyWeakAssistant ["Side"] Judges [of Superior Court]
MinorTOWNVery StrongBoard of Selectmen (more generally known as a 'Selectboard')TOWN MEETING
VirginiaPrimaryCountyStrongBOARD OF SUPERVISORS
MinordistrictNoneno associated governmental structure
WashingtonPrimaryCountyStrongBOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MinorprecinctNoneno associated governmental structure
West VirginiaPrimaryCountyStrongBOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MinordistrictNoneno associated governmental structure
WisconsinPrimarycountyLimitedBoard of Supervisors
MinorTown[ship]BroadBoard of SupervisorsTOWN MEETING
WyomingPrimaryCountyStrongBOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MinordistrictNoneno associated governmental structure
 


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