Earth            Maine Municipal Association
                               & the Maine Council for the Social Studies


Local Government
in Maine

Providing for Order
& Security

Providing for the
Common Good

Setting Priorities


Lesson Plans Index

Setting Boundaries . . .



Lesson Plans

When does a local ordinance establishing a curfew conflict with the right to gather publicly, as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution? When does a local ordinance controlling the spreading of sludge conflict with the state’s solid waste law? The boundaries between local government and state and federal government are often subject to debate be it in the legislature or the courts. And when they are, the flags of "home rule" and "local control" are bound to be unfurled.

However, intergovernmental boundaries are not the only boundaries up for debate. There are the boundaries, real and imagined, that exist between local government and its citizenry. No where does it rear its head more often among citizenry than in the "Right-To-Know" law and in calls for "a more open government." While at the same time, local government decries lack of public participation in the democratic process and citizen apathy.

Setting Boundaries focuses both on the tools used by local government to carry out its duties in the name of home rule as well as the tools available to citizens to participate in their local government.