Difference between revisions of "Arizona State Legislature"

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::''See also: [[Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions]]''
::''See also: [[Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions]]''
In 2013, the Legislature will be in session from January 14 through April 19 (estimated).
In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 14 through June 14.
====Major issues====
====Major issues====

Revision as of 14:01, 25 June 2013

Arizona State Legislature

General Information
Type:   State legislature
Term limits:   4 terms (8 years)
2015 session start:   January 14, 2013
Website:   Official Legislature Page
Senate President:   Steve Pierce (R)
House Speaker:  Andy Tobin (R)
Majority Leader:   Andy Biggs (R) (Senate),
Steve Court (R) (House)
Minority Leader:   David Schapira (D) (Senate),
Chad Campbell (D) (House)
Members:  30 (Senate), 60 (House)
Length of term:   2 years (Senate), 2 years (House)
Authority:   Art 4, Arizona Constitution
Salary:   $24,000/year + per diem
Last Election:  November 6, 2012
30 seats (Senate)
60 seats (House)
Next election:  November 4, 2014
Redistricting:  Arizona Redistricting Commission
The Arizona Legislature is the state legislature of Arizona. It is a bicameral legislature that consists of a lower house, the Arizona House of Representatives, and an upper house, the Arizona State Senate. There are 60 Representatives and 30 Senators. The state legislature meets in the Capitol Complex in the state capital, Phoenix.

As of May 2015, Arizona is one of 23 Republican state government trifectas.


Article IV of the Arizona Constitution establishes when the Legislature is to be in session. Section 3 of the Second Part of the Article contains the relevant provisions. It states that sessions are to convene on the second Monday of January of each year.

Section 3 also allows the Governor of Arizona to call special sessions of the Legislature.


See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 14 through June 14.

Major issues

Losing super-majorities in the House and Senate, Republicans no longer wield the same level of power and compromises may be more likely. Gov. Jan Brewer (R) said her legislative priorities include education standards and simplifying the state's transaction privilege tax.[1]


See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in regular session from January 10 through May 3.[2]


See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the Legislature was in regular session from January 10 through April 20. [3] Three special sessions were called in Arizona for 2011. The first special session was convened on January 19, addressing requests for a federal Medicaid exemption. A second special session was called by Governor Jan Brewer on February 14, 2011. The special session will run in tandem with the regular session, and was convened to consider business tax cuts as part of an economic development package proposed to add jobs by encouraging businesses to expand and relocate in Arizona. [4] The third special session was convened on June 10 to extend unemployment benefits. The session lasted two days, and ended on June 13 without a vote on Governor Brewer's proposal. Brewer refuses to call another special session until lawmakers support the unemployment extension. [5]

Session highlights

In the 2011 session, Arizona fixed its $1.5 billion shortfall by eliminating $1.1 billion in spending. There were no new taxes instated to help with the reductions, only tax cuts. The legislature sliced the corporate income tax rate from 6.9 percent to 4.9 percent. [6]


See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the Legislature was in regular session from January 11th to April 29th. The Legislature was convened in special session from February 1st-11th.


See also: Open States' Legislative Data Report Card

The Sunlight Foundation released an "Open Legislative Data Report Card" in March 2013. Arizona was given a grade of C in the report. The report card evaluated how adequate, complete and accessible legislative data was to the general public. A total of 10 states received an A: Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington.[7]


There are 30 legislative districts in Arizona, each of which is a multi-member constituency. Each district elects a Senator and 2 Representatives for a two-year term. The crossing of upper and lower house districts into a single constituency is found in only seven U.S. state legislatures: Arizona, Idaho, Maryland, New Jersey, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Washington.

Term limits

See also: State legislatures with term limits

Serving two-year terms, both Senators and Representatives are constricted by term limits. Members may only serve four consecutive terms (or eight years) in either chamber.

Arizona's term limits were approved by the state's voters in 1992, when Proposition 107 was enacted with 74.2% of the vote.

Role in State Budget

Main article: Arizona state budget

By the end of January of every other year, the Legislature of Arizona receives a biennial budget proposal from the Governor. The budget proposal is for the next two fiscal years, which each begin July 1st. The Legislature then revises the biennial budget proposal over the course of the next month or couple of months. Between January and April, the Legislature votes on a budget. For a budget to pass, a majority of legislators must vote in support of it. [8]

In fiscal year 2009, Arizona passed a wildly unbalanced budget. The year ended with a $500 million budget shortfall. The problems carried over to fiscal year 2010. At the beginning of the fiscal year 2010, the budget for fiscal year 2010 faced serious challenges, as a $3.16 billion deficit was projected. The Governor and the Legislature scrambled to address budget problems. Disagreements between Gov. Jan Brewer and the Legislature marked the handling and eventual passage of a final 2010 budget with $2.71 billion in budget solutions (a mixture of higher taxes and spending cuts). After the changes, FY 2010 was projected to carry a $451 million deficit, which combined with the $500 million FY 2009 gap left Arizona facing 2011 with $951 million in the red.[9]



See also: Comparison of state legislative salaries

Currently, members of the Legislature earn $24,000 each year, which is paid on a bi-weekly basis throughout the calendar year. This amount was approved by the voters through Proposition 302 during the 1998 general election. Prior to that, legislators earned $15,000 per year from 1981 through 1998 and $6,000 per year before 1981.

Legislators who reside in Maricopa County (the metropolitan Phoenix area) are paid $35 a day in per diem expenses for the first 120 days of regular and special sessions, then $10 a day thereafter. Members who reside outside Maricopa County receive an additional $25 a day for the first 120 days of session (for a total of $60 a day), and then an additional $10 a day thereafter (for a total of $20 a day).[10]

In 2006, Arizona Proposition 302 attempted to raise legislative salaries to $36,000 annually, but was defeated.[11][12] Arizona Proposition 300 attempted to raise annual salaries to $30,000 in 2008, but was also defeated.[13][14]

When sworn in

See also: When state legislators assume office after a general election

Arizona legislators assume office on the first day of the session after they are elected. Each regular session begins on the second Monday in January.


The Arizona Senate consists of 30 members. Each member represents an average of 213,067 residents, as of the 2010 Census.[15] After the 2000 Census, each member represented 171,021.[16] Members serve two-year terms with term limits, limiting Senators to four terms (a total of eight years). Members of the Republican Party are currently in the majority in the Senate.

Members to the Senate are elected from the same legislative districts as members of the House of Representatives; however, one Senator represents the constituency, while for the House there are two Representatives per district. This districting system is similar to those in Idaho and Washington.

Like other upper houses of state and territorial legislatures and the federal U.S. Senate, the Senate can confirm or reject gubernatorial appointments to the state cabinet, commissions and boards.

Party As of May 2015
     Democratic Party 13
     Republican Party 17
Total 30

Leadership of the Senate

Arizona, along with Oregon, Maine and Wyoming, is one of the four U.S. states to have abolished the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, a position which for most upper houses of state legislatures and indeed for the U.S. Congress (with the Vice President) is the head of the legislative body.

In the Lieutenant Governor's constitutional absence, the President of the Senate presides over the body, appointing members to all of the Senate's committees and joint committees, and may create other committees and subcommittees if desired. In the Senate President's absence, the President Pro Tempore presides.

The current President of the Senate is Republican Steve Pierce of District 1. The Senate Majority Leader is Andy Biggs of District 22. The Senate Minority Leader is David Schapira of District 17.

House of Representatives

The Arizona House of Representatives is the lower house of the Arizona State Legislature. Its members are elected to two-year terms with a term limit of four consecutive terms (eight years). Members of the Republican Party currently hold a majority in the House.

The House of Representatives is composed of 60 members representing 30 multi-member constituencies, with two members per district. This district setup is similar to both the Washington and Idaho districting systems. Each member represents an average of 106,534 residents, as of the 2010 Census.[17] After the 2000 Census, each member represented 85,511.[18]

Party As of May 2015
     Democratic Party 24
     Republican Party 36
Total 60

Powers and responsibilities

Constitutional amendments

Main article: Amending state constitutions

Article 21 of the Arizona Constitution, in addition to defining the people's right of initiative, also defines the role the state legislature can play in amending the state's constitution:

  • Either chamber of the Arizona legislature is allowed to propose an amendment as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment. A majority of members of both chambers must approve it; if they do, the proposed amendment goes on a statewide ballot for a popular vote of the people where if a simple majority approves it, it becomes part of the constitution.
  • The Arizona Secretary of State is required to publish a copy of the proposed amendment in a newspaper in each of Arizona's 15 counties for a period of at least 90 days before the election.
  • Proposed amendments must be voted on separately.
  • The state legislature is allowed to call a special election for the purposes of voting on proposed amendments. If no special election is called, amendments are voted on in the next statewide general election.
  • A constitutional convention may be called by a statewide vote of the people. In the absence of such a vote, the state legislature is not allowed to call a convention. Any proposed changes to the constitution that are reported out of a constitutional convention must be submitted to a statewide popular vote where, if approved by a majority of those voting, become part of the constitution.


Partisan balance 1992-2013

Who Runs the States Project
See also: Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States and Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States, Arizona
Partisan breakdown of the Arizona legislature from 1992-2013

Arizona Senate: From 1992-2013, the Republican Party was the majority in the Arizona State Senate for 20 years while the Democrats were never the majority. The Arizona State Senate is one of 13 state senates that was Republican for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992-2013. The Arizona senate spent the last 11 years under the control of the Republican party. During the final five years of the study, Arizona was under Republican trifectas.

Across the country, there were 541 Democratic and 517 Republican state senates from 1992 to 2013.

Arizona House of Representatives: Throughout every year from 1992-2013, the Republican Party was the majority in the Arizona State House of Representatives. The Arizona State House is one of nine state Houses that was Republican for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992-2013. During the final five years of the study, Arizona was under Republican trifectas.

Across the country, there were 577 Democratic and 483 Republican State Houses of Representatives from 1992 to 2013.

Over the course of the 22-year study, state governments became increasingly more partisan. At the outset of the study period (1992), 18 of the 49 states with partisan legislatures had single-party trifectas and 31 states had divided governments. In 2013, only 13 states have divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Office of the Governor of Arizona, the Arizona State Senate and the Arizona House of Representatives from 1992-2013. Partisan composition of Arizona state government(1992-2013).PNG

Joint Legislative Committees

The Arizona State Legislature has fifteen (15) joint interim committees:

External links


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