The State Executive Branch

A governor is the head of the executive branch of a state government in the United States. The powers of a governor vary depending on the state but generally include the authority to:

  • Sign or veto legislation passed by the state legislature
  • Appoint judges, members of boards and commissions, and other officials
  • Serve as commander-in-chief of the state’s National Guard
  • Prepare and submit a budget to the legislature
  • Negotiate contracts and agreements on behalf of the state
  • Issue executive orders and proclamations
  • Pardon or commute sentences of convicted criminals of state crimes
  • Represent the state in legal matters and negotiations with other states and the federal government
  • Call the legislature into a special session

It should be noted that the power of governors differs from state to state, some may have more powers than others depending on their state’s Constitution.