Political/Governmental Activity in the News:
Objective: The goal of this assignment is to become more aware of how government
activities and laws affect the greater world around us.
1. Each student will find a news article related to activity taking place concerning the
United States government. The stories can range from very serious to very strange.
2. Each student will then answer the following questions about the article.
Who was involved? What happened? When did it happen? How did it happen?
Why did it happen?
3. Students will then answer the following reflection questions about each article.
What is the government activity that this article is focused on? Do you agree or
disagree with the activity in question? Why or Why not? What impact, if at all,
does this or will this have on your life?
Grading: 20 points total
5 points for a copy of the article being presented to me the class period before the
presentation with the URL
5 points for the summary questions of each article
10 points for answers to all reflection questions
Sample: Public urination law may change
By Jake Wagman ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH01/15/2006
Just in time for the city's largest street party, a St. Louis alderman and tavern keeper is seeking to change the law
against urinating in public.
Alderman Ken Ortmann, with an eye toward next month's Mardi Gras celebration, introduced a bill that he hopes will
lower the penalties for some instances of public urination.
Public urination "does not uniformly constitute indecent exposure," Ortmann's bill states, and should not always be
grouped with sex offenses and similar crimes.
Ortmann, who runs the Cat's Meow bar in Soulard, says police should not throw the book at all revelers caught leaving
their mark in the neighborhood. His bill would allow police to issue a different citation for those trying to be discreet.
He insists that he is not trying to give offenders a break - just trying to make the punishment more in line with the
"There's a difference between going in the middle of the street, in front of God and country, and somebody who is
behind a Dumpster," said Ortmann, whose 9th Ward includes a slice of Soulard.
Ortmann's bill was introduced Thursday and referred to the Public Safety Committee, where Chairman Terry Kennedy
said the bill would get a quick hearing.
If it is put on the fast track for approval, the bill could become law before the Mardi Gras grand parade on Feb. 25. If
passed, it would apply to events around the city, from concerts to sporting events.
The bill exempts children under the age of 6 and those who "may not be able to adequately control" bodily functions
due to a medical condition.
The current penalty for lewd and lascivious conduct, which includes public urination, is a fine of $100 to $500, 90
days in jail or both. Ortmann's proposal maintains the maximum penalties, but the alderman said he hopes the actual
penalty would be considerably less.