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Arizona Law

Arizona Statutory Publications

Slip Laws
The first issuance of an enacted law passed by the Arizona Legislature is a slip law. Current slip laws are available on the website of the Arizona Legislature

Sessions Laws
At the end of each legislative session, slip laws are consolidated and arranged chronologically into a permanent set of bound volumes called session laws. Session laws are an official publication of the Secretary of State’s office and are issued annually at the end of a legislative session. 

In addition to enacted legislation, Arizona session laws contain:

  • Veto messages written by the Governor
  • Election results for the year
  • Listing of federal and state elected officials for Arizona
  • The Governor’s Message to the legislators at the start of the legislative session
  • Listings of memorials and proclamations

Each session law is assigned a chapter number.  At the beginning of each chapter is the title of the bill and the Senate or House bill number. Additions to the law are usually indicated by an underline, while repeals or removal of language are indicated by a strike through. Session laws lack subject arrangement and are not cumulative, making it difficult to locate laws on a particular subject.

The session laws from 1989 (39th Legislature) to date are on the Arizona State Legislature website. The site default is to the current legislative session. For another session, click on “change session” in the navigation bar at the top. 

Arizona Session Laws 1912-1996 are available on the Arizona Memory Project website.  Arizona Session Laws are also available on HeinOnline (1864-present, on campus or ASURITE), on the University of Arizona Daniel F. Craccchiolo Law Library website (1864-1909), and in print at KFA 2425 .A212 (1912-present).

The Arizona Revised Statutes Annotated, published by West/Thomson Reuters, is the official statutory code for the State of Arizona. When issued in 1956, an enacting clause designated this set as the positive law (binding authoritative text of law) for Arizona.  

The annotated code contains both the full-text of every statute as well as annotations, which include statutory notes, historical notes, and citations to law reviews, legal forms, legal encyclopedias, treatises, and West Digest key numbers. Attorney General opinions and cross-references to the Arizona Administrative Code, the United States Code or, Uniform Laws may also be listed.  In addition, notes of decisions are provided in the annotated code, which provide brief synopses of cases decided on that point of law.

In addition to enacted legislation, the Arizona Revised Statutes Annotated contains:

  • Annotated Rules of Court
  • Constitutions - Arizona and United States
  • Declaration of Independence
  • Treaties - Treaty of Guadeloupe, Hidalgo and Gadsden Treaty
  • Proclamation of Admission/Admission of the State of Arizona
  • State Anthems
  • Constitutional Convention
  • Election Ordinance no.2
  • Enabling Act

The current version of the Arizona Revised Statutes Annotated in print is located in the main reading room of the Law Library. Superseded annotated codes and historical Arizona territorial codes are also available in the Law Library. In addition, the Arizona Revised Statutes are available through a number of electronic resources:

Free Resources
Arizona State Legislature

Subscription Resources
Lexis (Lexis password required)

Bloomberg Law (Bloomberg Law password required)

Westlaw (Westlaw password required)

Proposed Legislation and Bill Tracking

Bills – proposed legislation introduced by either house of the legislature. A bill creates new laws or amends or repeals existing law.

Memorials – a legislative measure containing a request or proposal to a named recipient. They petition a recipient to act on an issue that the Arizona Legislature does not have jurisdiction to act upon itself. Memorials are merely requests and have no official standing or effect. Memorials may be presented for consideration in either one house (simple) or both houses (concurrent).

Resolutions – a declaration of legislative opinion, will, intent, or resolve in matters within the legislature's legal purview. There are three types of resolutions:

  • Simple Resolutions are considered only by one house and may express an opinion, appoint a committee, commemorate the death of a prominent public figure, or request the return of a bill from the other house in the legislature. Simple resolutions are not signed by the Governor.
  • Concurrent Resolutions are processed through both houses of the legislature, but are not signed by the governor. They may provide for the submittal of a referendum to voters, initiate legislative action to amend either the U.S. or Arizona Constitution, or express regret for the death of a prominent public figure.
  • Joint Resolutions are used for temporary measures having the effect of law. They cannot be used to amend the U.S. or Arizona Constitutions. They are passed through both houses and signed by the Governor.

Each type of proposed legislation receives its own numbering and is numbered consecutively in the order they are introduced.

Proposed legislation originating in the Senate begins numbering at 1001, while legislation originating in the House of Representatives begins numbering at 2001.

At the start of each Legislature (which is two years in length), the numbering begins again at 1001 (Senate) and 2001 (House of Representatives). Proposed legislation not passed by the time the legislative session ends must be reintroduced in the new Legislature to be considered. It will receive a new number. Therefore, it is useful to know either the year or the Legislature in which the proposed legislation was introduced.

Free Resources
Arizona State Legislature
This website contains the text of Arizona bills from the 39th Legislature (1989) to the present.

  • Bill Text Keyword searching can be used to locate proposed legislation. A search can also be done by bill, memorial, or resolution number.  This resource does not allow users to search more than one Legislature at a time.
  • Bill Summary and Status (Bill Tracking) Once the proposed legislation is located, click on “Bill Status Overview.” It will provide information about the progress that the legislation made.

The Ross-Blakley Law Library has copies of bills, memorials, and resolutions as they were introduced.
Senate Bills and Slip Laws
     35th Legislature (1982) - 48th Legislature (2007)
     29th Legislature (1969) – 34th Legislature (1979) 
House Bills and Slip Laws
     35th Legislature (1982) - 48th Legislature (2007) 
     30th Legislature (1971) – 32nd Legislature (1975) 

ASU Library has the following sources, which provide the introduced version of a bill, memorial or resolution.
Senate bills, memorials, and resolutions as introduced
     19th Legislature (1949) - 48th Legislature (2007)
     Hayden AZ documents LG 1.5: L18 A27S35
House bills, memorials, and resolutions as introduced
     11th Legislature (1933) - 48th Legislature (2007)
     Hayden AZ Documents LG 1.5: L18 A27H58

Senate Resource Center
The Senate Resource Center maintains bill, resolution, and memorial files from 1967. These bill files contain the introduced version of proposed legislation and all of it subsequent versions.
     1700 W. Washington Street
     1st floor, Senate Building
     Telephone: 602-542-3559

Clerk of the House
The Clerk of the House maintains a collection of bill, resolution and memorial files from 1971. Like the Senate Resource Center, these files contain the introduced version of proposed legislation and all of its subsequent versions.
     1700 W. Washington Street
     2nd Floor, House of Representatives Building
     Telephone: 602-542-4221

Subscription Resources
Lexis (Lexis password required)
     Arizona Full-text Bills – Full-text of bills currently pending in the Arizona Legislature.

Westlaw (Westlaw password required)
     Arizona Proposed Legislation (Bills) – Full text of all available bills (introduced, amended, and enacted versions) from the current session of           the Arizona Legislature.

Bill tracking is the process used to follow the path that proposed legislation has followed once introduced in the Legislature. It can be used to track current legislation to see if it is near passage or rejection. It can also be used retrospectively on older proposed legislation.

Free Resources

Arizona State Legislature website

The Arizona State Legislature website has a bill tracking tool that provides access bill status and summaries, floor calendars, committee agendas, committee reports, and hearing transcripts, as well as video of the House and Senate floor and hearing rooms. Legislative information from the 39th Legislature (1989) to the present is available.

National Conference of State Legislatures
The website of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) offers 50-state bill tracking for a number of topics.  The list of NCSL 50-State Searchable Bill Databases gives information on each topic and what information the database tracks.

Subscription Resources

Lexis (Lexis password required)
Lexis allows users to receive updated bill information through its Alerts service.

Westlaw (Westlaw password required)
Westlaw allows users to save searches and use the WestClip service to have new documents which match a search delivered to the user.    

The first initiative to go before Arizona voters came the same year Arizona achieved statehood, 1912, and concerned women's right to vote. Below is information on where the text of, and information on, Arizona voter initiatives can be accessed.

Arizona Secretary of State
The website of the Arizona Secretary of State has a list of the initiative, referendum, and recall applications that have been submitted for the current election cycle.

Arizona Memory Project
State of Arizona initiative and referendum publicity pamphlets, published by the Secretary of State, are available for the years 1912 (the first year of Arizona statehood) through the year of the most recent election on the Arizona Memory Project website. The publicity pamphlets include the full text of each proposed ballot measure's language.

Initiative and Referendum Institute - USC Gould School of Law
The Initiative and Referendum Institute at the University of Southern California is a non-partisan educational organization dedicated to the study of the initiative and referendum process in American democracy. The Institute's online information for Arizona includes a list of all initiatives and referendums in the state, both those that passed and failed.

Ballotpedia provides a wide range of political information, including a neutral compendium of U.S. ballot measures. The site has a "List of Arizona ballot measures" that lists every measure from the first in 1912 to the most recent election, including information on the ballot measure type and its result.

The Legislative Process

The Arizona legislature consists of a Senate and a House of Representatives. Each legislature lasts two years and consists of a first regular session and a second regular session. Regular sessions begin the second Monday in January and generally last 100 days. Either the legislature or the Governor may call special sessions. In special sessions called by the Governor, the legislature may only consider matters specified by the Governor. There is no such limitation for special sessions called by the legislature. 

Bills are prepared for introduction by the Arizona Legislative Council, who may also draft the bill upon request. Bills are drafted in accordance with the Arizona Legislative Bill Drafting Manual, which is available on the Council’s website. The Legislative Council is a joint legislative committee with members from both the House and the Senate and a professional staff. The Council is responsible for making sure each bill is in proper form, for knowing how each bill will affect other statutes, and for making a determination of whether each bill is constitutional. The Legislative Council also checks bills for compliance with the constitutional requirement that each act cover one subject only and that the title of each act express that subject. (Ariz. Const. art. IV, part 2, §13)  When a bill is amending existing legislation, they will indicate new language by all caps and deleted language by strike-through. 

In the House, bills must be introduced in the first 29 days of a regular session and the first 10 days of a special session. In the Senate, bills must be introduced in the first 22 days of a regular session and the first 10 days of a special session. In both the House and the Senate, Rules Committee approval is needed to introduce bills after the deadline. Bills may also be pre-filed before the legislative session begins. 

Bills are introduced by a member of the House (for House bills) or a member of the Senate (for Senate bills), although they may be initiated from other sources. When a bill is introduced, it is placed in a box called the “hopper” in the office of the Clerk of the House or the Secretary of the Senate. The bill is then given a bill number. The numbering of Senate bills starts at 1001, and the numbering of House bills starts at 2001. The numbering is retained throughout the session.

Once introduced, bills are put on the calendar for a first reading. The Arizona Constitution requires that each bill have three readings, which means that each bill must be read in the chamber in its entirety on three separate days. (Ariz Const. art IV, part 2, §12) To speed things along, there is an exception to the three readings requirement for emergencies. In the House, bills are referred to committee at the first reading, and second reading occurs before the bill is considered by the Committee of the Whole. In the Senate, bills are referred to committee at either the first or second reading. All bills must be sent to at least one standing committee in addition to the Rules Committee. The Rules Committee is a standing committee in both the House and the Senate that must approve each bill, determining whether the bill and any amendments are constitutional and in proper form. The Rules Committee must also make sure that any proposed amendments are on the same subject as the original bill and its title. The Rules Committee may propose an amendment to a bill to correct any deficiencies.

Standing committees hold meetings at regularly scheduled times and may hold additional, special meetings. An agenda is prepared for each committee meeting and lists all bills to be considered that day. Only bills listed on the agenda may be discussed on that particular day. Fact sheets or bill summaries are usually prepared and distributed to committee members by committee staff. There may or may not be hearings on bills considered by the committee. Committees may propose amendments to bills, but these amendments are not incorporated into the bill at this time. Amendments are kept separate until they are approved by the Committee of the Whole. If a bill receives a positive vote by a majority of the committee, it is sent to the chamber with a “do pass” recommendation. The committee staff prepares written minutes of each meeting.

Amendments may be added to a bill by a committee, by the Committee of the Whole, or by a conference committee. One type of amendment is a “strike everything after the enacting clause” amendment, or “striker,” which may only be proposed by a standing committee. Strikers are total replacements of the text of the bill where everything is stricken after the enactment clause - “Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Arizona.” Strikers may be on an entirely different subject than the text that is deleted. Legislators use strikers to get around deadlines for introducing bills and to revive bills that have died. Strikers have a more extended notice period than other amendments.

Once out of committee, bills go on the calendar of the Committee of the Whole. A bill may be placed on the Active Calendar of the Committee of the Whole so that the Committee of the Whole may debate the bill, propose floor amendments, and vote on whether the bill should go to third reading. Alternatively, an unamended bill may be placed on the Consent Calendar where it will bypass the Committee of the Whole and go directly to third reading. Before a bill receives its third reading, it is sent to the Legislative Council to become an “engrossed” bill. At this point, approved amendments are incorporated into the bill. Once a bill has been engrossed, it may no longer be amended or debated in that chamber. 

After a bill receives its third reading, it is subject to an electronic roll call vote. If the bill fails to pass, it can be revived by a motion to reconsider if the motion is made the day of the vote or the next day by a legislator who voted against the bill. Once a bill has cleared its first chamber, it is sent to the other chamber where the whole process is repeated. When a bill passes the second chamber without amendment, it is sent to the Governor. When a bill passes the second chamber with an amendment and the originating chamber agrees to the amendment, the bill is sent to the Governor. Otherwise, when the House and Senate do not agree on the language of a bill, it is sent to a conference committee, and the conference committee will send an amended bill with a conference committee report to each chamber for a vote. If the amended bill is approved by both chambers, it is sent to the Governor.

The Governor has five days to act on a bill if the legislature is in session or ten days to act if the legislature has adjourned. The Governor may sign the bill, allow it to become law without signature, or veto it. If a bill is vetoed and the legislature is still in session, the House and Senate may override the veto by a 2/3 vote. When a bill is vetoed after the legislature has adjourned, the bill dies. Upon receiving the Governor’s signature, a bill is sent to the Secretary of State where it becomes an act, receives a chapter number for publication in the Arizona session laws, and is codified into the Arizona Revised Statutes. The new law takes effect 90 days after the legislature adjourns, or immediately if it is an emergency bill. 

For a visual representation of how a bill becomes a law in Arizona, click here

Direct legislation in Arizona consists of initiatives and referendums.

Initiatives are proposed changes to Arizona statutes or Constitution that must be approved by Arizona voters. For an initiative to be placed on the ballot, a petition containing the text of the proposed measure and the signatures of Arizona registered voters totaling at least 10% of the number of votes cast at the most recent gubernatorial election (15% for constitutional amendments) must be filed with the Secretary of State at least four months before the general election. The Secretary of State and county recorders verify the petitions before placing the measure on the ballot. All registered Arizona voters receive publicity pamphlets that have the text of initiatives and referenda, an impartial analysis provided by the Legislative Council, arguments for and against the proposal that have been submitted to the Secretary of State, and a fiscal impact statement. If an initiative wins the approval of a majority of the voters in the general election, it becomes effective when the election results are proclaimed by the Governor.

Referenda are attempts by the voters to block legislation enacted in the most recent legislative session. Laws “immediately necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or for the support and maintenance of the departments of the state government and state institutions” are not subject to referenda. (Ariz. Const. art IV, part 1, §1) Referenda proposers have 90 days after the adjournment of the session where the legislation was enacted to file their petitions. This is why new legislation is not effective until 90 days after the legislature adjourns. The petition must have the signature of Arizona registered voters totaling at least 5% of the voters of the last gubernatorial election. After the petition is successfully filed with the Secretary of State, the new legislation is put on hold until it is approved by the majority of voters in the next general election and the election results are proclaimed by the Governor. Referenda may also be submitted to the electorate by the legislature for their approval or disapproval of new legislation, and all Arizona constitutional amendments proposed by the legislature must be approved by the voters.

In 1998, by initiative, the Arizona Constitution was amended to declare that the Governor may not veto successful referenda and initiatives and that these may not be repealed or amended by the legislature unless the amendment furthers the purposes of the initiative or referendum and is approved by a ¾ vote in each chamber. (Ariz. Const. art IV, part 1, §1) Because this provision was added to the Constitution in 1998, it only affects initiatives and referenda after that date.