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Arizona Law: Legislative History

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LEGISLATIVE HISTORY RESEARCH: OTHER RESOURCES

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 6/65–1988 (K1 .R5), Arizona AttorneyArizona 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.

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. 

See also the State Library's publication Guide to Arizona Legislative History at Arizona's Capitol.  For an anecdotal history of the Arizona legislature from 1912-1967 see the History of the Arizona State Legislature, 1912-1967 by J. Morris Richards. 

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 tab of this research guide for information on accessing state court opinions. (This is a long shot, but necessary in the thorough investigation of legislative history.)

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).

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY RESEARCH: LEGISLATION 1991-PRESENT

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.

Look Up Code Section to be Researched
Locate the latest version of the code section to be researched in the Arizona Revised Statutes Annotated (see where to access the A.R.S. under the Arizona Legislature tab of this guide). Read the history note following the code section. Note the original chapter number and date. Determine what amendments are relevant to your search. If you are using the print A.R.S., do not forget to check the pocket part.

Find the Session Law Passed by the Arizona Legislature
Look up the original chapter number in the Arizona Session Laws and note the original bill number and whether it originated in the House or the Senate.  Bills that originated in the House are designated by “H.B.” and bills that originated in the Senate are designated by “S.B.”

The session laws from 1991 (40th 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 of the page.  Arizona Sessions Laws 1912-present are available on the website of the Arizona Memory Project.  Arizona Session Laws are also available on HeinOnline (1864-present, on campus or ASURITE), and on the University of Arizona Daniel F. Cracchiolo Law Library website (1864-1909).

Locate Copies of All Versions of the Bill

Check for Interim, Special, or Study Committee Reports
To see if the Legislature appointed an Interim, Special, or Study committee on the subject of the legislation, check the list of Interim Committees on the website of the Arizona State Legislature.  Much of the investigative work of the legislature goes on in these temporary groups and they sometimes issue reports and recommendations to the Legislature generally, or to specific committees. 

The Arizona State Law Library's Legislative Study Committee Reports collection within the online Arizona Memory Project also provides access to Interim, Special, and Study committee reports. For detailed information on researching this special collection, consult a reference librarian.

Read the Appropriate Committee Information
Committee information from 1991-present, including minutes and agendas, is available on the Arizona State Legislature's website under the "Committees" tab.  The minutes are indexed by committee and then by the date that the committee heard the bill. It is necessary to know the committee(s) that heard the bill and the date(s) it was heard. This information is available from the “Bill Overview” reports link. Committee meetings from 2007-present can be viewed at the Legislature’s Live Proceedings webpage

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY RESEARCH: PRE-1990 LEGISLATION

Legislative history materials for Arizona legislation passed in the 39th Legislature or earlier (before 1990) are primarily available in print resources. Below are steps to conducting legislative history research for legislation passed before 1990.

Look Up Code Section to be Researched
Locate the latest version of the code section to be researched in the Arizona Revised Statutes Annotated (see where to access the A.R.S. under the Arizona Legislature tab of this guide). Read the history note following the code section. Note the original chapter number and date. Determine what amendments are relevant to your search. If you are using the print A.R.S., do not forget to check the pocket part.

Find the Session Law Passed by the Arizona Legislature
Look up the original chapter number in the Arizona Session Laws and note the original bill number and whether it originated in the House or the Senate.  Bills that originated in the House are designated by “H.B.” and bills that originated in the Senate are designated by “S.B.”

Arizona Sessions Laws 1912-1996 are available on the website of the Arizona Memory Project.  Arizona Session Laws are also available on HeinOnline (1864-present, on campus or ASURITE), and on the University of Arizona Daniel F. Cracchiolo Law Library website (1864-1909).

Locate Copies of All Versions of the Bill

Consult the Journals of Both the House and Senate
When consulting the journals turn to the tab marked “History” in the House Journal (KFA 2418 .A6) and Senate Journal (KFA 2418 .A5) for the year of the legislation. Look up the bill number and copy the chronology of actions taken on the bill. Do this in both the House and Senate Journals. Note which committee(s) considered the bill, as well as the time period that the bill was considered. While the History also lists the pages within the Journals that mention each bill, those pages do not offer any additional information.

Check for Interim, Special, or Study Committee Reports
To see if the Legislature appointed an Interim, Special, or Study committee on the subject of the legislation, first check the Committee Section of both the House and Senate Journals for the year the legislation was enacted, plus a year or two before. Much of the investigative work goes on in these temporary groups and they sometimes issue reports and recommendations to the Legislature generally, or to specific committees.

To access a committee report that you find listed in the Journals, you will need to go to the State Capitol to review the bill and committee files at the Clerk of the House (for House bills) or the Senate Resource Center (for Senate bills). Take all the information you have gathered thus far. Ask each clerk for the Bill File (House, 1971 to date; Senate, 1969 to date) which will contain all the proposed amendments and versions of the bill and the Committee Files (House, 1965 to date; Senate, 1967 to date) for the committees that considered the legislation. Then browse through the minutes during the time period the bill was being considered. (Don't bother with the Rules Committee file).

While looking through the files, watch for references to Interim Study Committees, Special Committees, or the Arizona Legislative Council. If you find a reference to a document produced by one of these groups, consult with the Clerk. These documents are rarely appended to the committee minutes. If the Clerk of the House or Secretary of the Senate do not have a copy of the committee report you are seeking, contact the State Law Library (602-926-3948) or the Legislative Council Library (602-926-4236) to see if they might.

Contact Information for the Clerk of the House and Senate Resource Center

Clerk of the House
The Clerk of the House maintains a collection of bill, resolution and memorial files from 1971. 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) 926-3032

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) 926-3550