Arizona State Legislature
|Arizona State Legislature|
|Term limits:||4 terms (8 years)|
|2014 session start:||January 14, 2013|
|Website:||Official Legislature Page|
|Senate President:||Andy Biggs (R)|
|House Speaker:||Andy Tobin (R)|
|Majority Leader:|| John McComish (R) (Senate),|
David Gowan (R) (House)
|Minority leader:|| Leah Landrum-Taylor (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|
- 1 Sessions
- 2 Ethics and transparency
- 3 Districts
- 4 Term limits
- 5 Role in State Budget
- 6 Legislators
- 7 Senate
- 8 House of Representatives
- 9 Powers and responsibilities
- 10 History
- 11 Joint Legislative Committees
- 12 External links
- 13 References
As of October 2014, 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.
Losing super-majorities in the House and Senate, Republicans no longer wielded the same level of power and compromises were more likely. Gov. Jan Brewer (R) said her legislative priorities included education standards and simplifying the state's transaction privilege tax.
- See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions
In 2012, the Legislature was in regular session from January 10 through May 3.
- See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions
In 2011, the Legislature was in regular session from January 10 through April 20.  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.  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. 
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. 
- 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.
Ethics and transparency
Open States Transparency
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 is 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.
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.
- See also: State legislatures with term limits
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. 
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.
- 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).
In 2006, Arizona Proposition 302 attempted to raise legislative salaries to $36,000 annually, but was defeated. Arizona Proposition 300 attempted to raise annual salaries to $30,000 in 2008, but was also defeated.
When sworn in
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. After the 2000 Census, each member represented 171,021. 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 October 2014|
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.
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. After the 2000 Census, each member represented 85,511.
|Party||As of October 2014|
Powers and responsibilities
- Main article: Amending state constitutions
- 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
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.
Joint Legislative Committees
The Arizona State Legislature has fifteen (15) joint interim committees:
- Adjudication Monitoring Committee, Arizona Legislature
- Adoption Promotion Committee, Arizona Legislature
- Audit Committee, Arizona Legislature
- Border Security Advisory Committee, Arizona State Legislature
- Budget Committee, Arizona Legislature
- Capital Review Committee, Arizona Legislature
- DES Block Grants Committee, Arizona Legislature
- Federal Mandates Committee, Arizona Legislature
- Homeland Security Committee, Arizona Legislature
- Income Tax Credit Review Committee, Arizona Legislature
- K-12 School District Receivership Study Committee, Arizona Legislature
- K-12 School Funding and Best Practices Study Committee, Arizona Legislature
- Oversight Committee on Residual Contamination of Drug Properties Committee, Arizona Legislature
- Review Committee on Transportation between Sonora, Mexico and Arizona, Arizona State Legislature
- Water Salinity Issues Study Committee, Arizona State Legislature
- Cronkite News, "Brewer, top legislators: Education, businesses priorities for session," January 11, 2013
- StateScape, Session schedules, accessed April 30, 2012
- Timesunion.com, Ariz. Legislature ends session after all-nighter, 20 April 2011
- KTAR.com, Arizona governor calls special session on economy, 14 Feb. 2011
- Bloomberg Businessweek, Ariz. Gov won't seek session without bill backing, June 15, 2011
- Stateline.org, States balance budgets with cuts, not taxes, June 15, 2011
- Sunlight Foundation, "Ten Principles for Opening Up Government Information," accessed June 16, 2013
- National Association of State Budget Offices, 2008 Budget Processes in the States, Pages 4-5
- Arizona Joint Legislative Budget Committee, "FY 2010 Appropriation Report, Budget Highlights 2010," September 25, 2009
- NCSL.org, "2012 State Legislator Compensation and Per Diem Table," accessed March 18, 2013
- Arizona 2006 election results
- Proposition 302 Information
- Arizona Elections Division, 2008 Election Results, "Proposition 300"
- 2008 Arizona Ballot Measure 300
- Population in 2010 of the American states
- Population in 2000 of the American states
- Population in 2010 of the American states
- Population in 2000 of the American states