Legislative history refers to the process that a piece of proposed legislation goes through before it becomes law and consists of the documents created during that process. Legislative history research is often conducted to investigate why the legislature passed a particular law or to assist scholars, lawyers, and judges in interpreting a law.
Additional Arizona legislative history guides:
Researchers of Arizona legislation may also wish to consult the Arizona Legislative Manual, a publication of the Arizona Legislature's Legislative Council. The manual offers a narrative of what the Arizona Legislature is what goes on in the Legislature. It relates the requirements and practices that are prescribed by the Arizona Constitution, laws, and rules for the Arizona Legislature.
Legislative history materials for Arizona legislation passed in the 39th Legislature or earlier (before 1990) are primarily available in print resources. Legislative bill files for legislation from 1991-1997 have been digitized and made available on the website of the Arizona Memory Project.
Below are steps to conducting legislative history research for legislation passed before 1997.
The majority of legislative history materials for Arizona legislation passed in the 40th Legislature or after (1991-present) are available on the website of the Arizona State Legislature. The website defaults to the current legislative session; information for past sessions can be accessed by utilizing the “change session” link in the navigation bar at the top of the page. Below are steps to conducting legislative history research for legislation passed 1991-present.
Search for Commentary on the Legislation
There may be commentary related to the legislation you are researching. You can search for this commentary by checking the online catalogs of Arizona State University and the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records for materials that might relate to the legislation.
Be sure to also consult the Arizona Bar Journal (1965–1988), Arizona Attorney, Arizona Law Review, and Arizona State Law Journal for articles that may discuss the legislation. Most of these publications can be found full-text on Lexis and Westlaw (1980 to date) or HeinOnline (available on campus or remotely with ASURITE).
Newspapers are also good potential sources of commentary on Arizona legislation. Both local and national newspapers should be searched. Local newspapers include the Arizona Republic (1930-current at Hayden Library, 1999-current via ProQuest: Arizona Republic) and its predecessor the Arizona Republican (1890-1922 via ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The Arizona Republican, 1890-1930 at Hayden Library), as well as the Arizona Daily Star (1991-current via Access World News) and Arizona Capitol Times (2003-current via Business Insights). Multiple national newspapers can be searched through the databases ProQuest News & Newspapers and Access World News.
Search for Arizona Cases
See if a judge referred to some aspect of the statute's legislative history in the course of his or her opinion. See the Arizona Courts page of this research guide for information on accessing state court opinions.
Arizona Initiatives and Referenda
For information on researching initiatives and referenda in Arizona, see Tina Ching, Arizona Initiatives and Referenda, 26 Leg. Ref. Serv. Q. 21 (no. 3/4 2007).