How Government Works

Navigating the Arizona Legislature's Website

The Arizona State Legislature has a website that provides information to the public.  www.azleg.gov.  The website contains valuable information, including the names and districts of senate and house members, legislative calendars, the Arizona Constitution, Arizona Revised Statues, and a host of other information.  The website is moderately easy to navigate, but there are significant shortcomings.

Website Organization

The website is colorful, with information divided into nine basic categories that are displayed along the top of the page.  When you move your curser over a category, a list of subtopics will appear.  The nine categories are Senate, House, legislative Council, JLBC (Joint Legislative Budget Committee), Other agencies, Bills, Committees, Legislative information, and Calendar and News.

The sections for “Senate” and “House” include things like the names and districts of Senate and House members, their rules and their schedules.  A really cool feature is the live streaming of various committees and sections.  You can sit at your computer at home and watch your state legislature in action.  You will need to download Adobe Flash to use this section of the website. 

The “Legislative Council” section contains the Arizona Constitution and the latest version of Arizona Revised Statutes. The statutes are indexed to make it easy to find the one you are looking for.  The “JLBC” section has budget updates and meeting agendas.  “Other Agencies” contains information on the Arizona Supreme Court, the Governor’s office and the Secretary of State. 

I found the section for “Bills” to be the weakest part of the website. While the category “Bills” allows you to track Senate and House Bills, it does not provide any information about the contents of the Bills.  The text of the Bill is found elsewhere.  You can see the identifier of the Bill (ex: HB2339), learn when it was introduced and by whom.  You can see when it left committee, and you can learn the disposition of a Bill. Finding the text of a Bill requires a search under the “Legislative Information” category, which seems counter-intuitive.

I also found the Legislative Digest to be very difficult to read and not very informative.  This is a small sample of a Legislative Digest:
HB2382    pharmaceuticals; misbranding; enforcement prohibited  LOVAS - HEALTH RULES
HB2384    consular identification cards; prohibition; repeal.  CHÁVEZ BENALLY BLANC et al - GOV RULES
HB2387    early childhood; school readiness committee  BOLDING - RULES
HB2397    AHCCCS; medicare beneficiaries; benefits; appropriation  BOWERS - HEALTH APPROP RULES
HB2398    invalid annexation; procedure  BOWERS - FPRPP RULES
HB2400    medical marijuana; identification cards; expiration  POWERS HANNLEY ANDRADE BLANC et al - HEALTH RULES
HB2401    health care providers; religious beliefs  POWERS HANNLEY ANDRADE BENALLY et al - HEALTH RULES
HB2403    clean elections; contributions prohibited  COLEMAN ALLEN J MESNARD et al - GOV RULES
HB2404    initiatives; circulators; signature collection; contests  LEACH - GOV RULES
HB2405    postpartum depression; task force  FRIESE – RULES

The spacing is much tighter on the actual website than what I have shown in my example.  It is very difficult to read.  The digest provides the Bill identifier and the Title of the Bill.  I presume the name that appears next is the person sponsoring the Bill, but there is no heading to tell you that.  I also assume that terms like “health rules” indicate the committee where the bill is currently located, but there is no key to tell me if my guess is correct.

I was also disappointed to find that everything listed under Session Summaries was “not available.”  There is also “nothing” listed under Session Laws.  In short, the entire Category of “Bills” was disappointing. If you know the number of the Bill you are tracking, you can find out where it is, what committees have considered the Bill and who sponsored it.  If you want to learn more about a Bill and read the full text, you need to look under “Legislative Information.”
The heading “Committees” contains good and useful information.  Here you can find out who is on the various committees, the Bills they have considered, and the disposition of those Bills.  You can also access their agendas and read the minutes.

The “Legislative Information” category is where you can locate the text of a Bill that interests you.  There are two sections under “Legislative Information.”  They are Request to Speak and Full Text Search.  Full Text Search is where you can locate the text of a Bill as well as its current status.  You will find a search box.  You can either input a few key words from the title of the Bill or input the Bill identifier.  In some instances, searching by Bill identifier did not produce the text of the Bill.  When I went back and did a key word search, I did get the text in the form of a PDF document.  That was the case with HB2028.  In other instances, searching by Bill identifier did produce the text of the Bill in the form of a HTML Bill summary.  The bottom line is that if inputting the Bill identifier does not produce the text, try using a key word search.

The last category is “Calendar and News.”  This section contains floor calendars, capitol events, press releases and basic information on active Bills.

Our State Legislature’s website contains a great deal of useful and important information.  It is a valuable tool for keeping ourselves informed about what is going on in state government.  Is it perfect?  Of course not.  It may take some time to successfully navigate the website, but, with a little effort, you can probably find exactly the information you need.


Arizona State Legislature, www.azleg.gov. Accessed 16 Feb. 2017

This website has been prepared for general information purposes only. The information on this website is not legal advice. Legal advice is dependent upon the specific circumstances of each situation. Also, the law may vary from state-to-state or county-to-county, so that some information in this website may not be correct for your situation. Finally, the information contained on this website is not guaranteed to be up to date. Therefore, the information contained in this website cannot replace the advice of competent legal counsel licensed in your jurisdiction.

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