Difference between revisions of "Arizona State Senate"

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{{Arizona budget process}}
{{Arizona budget process}}
===Cost-benefit analyses===
::''See also: [[Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative Cost-Benefit Study]]''
{{Pew cost-benefit study|State=Arizona|Rank=Worst}}
==Ethics and transparency==
==Ethics and transparency==

Revision as of 08:32, 6 June 2014

Arizona State Senate

General Information
Type:   Upper house
Term limits:   4 terms (8 years)
2015 session start:   January 13, 2014
Website:   Official Senate Page
Senate President:   Andy Biggs (R)
Majority Leader:   Steve Yarbrough (R)
Minority Leader:   Katie Hobbs (D)
Members:  30
Length of term:   2 years
Authority:   Art 4, Arizona Constitution
Salary:   $24,000/year + per diem
Last Election:  November 6, 2012 (30 seats)
Next election:  November 4, 2014 (30 seats)
Redistricting:  Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission
Meeting place:
Arizona senate chambers.jpeg
The Arizona State Senate is the upper house of the Arizona State Legislature. There are 30 state senators; they represent 30 districts each composed of an average of 213,067 residents, as of the 2010 Census.[1] After the 2000 Census, each member represented 171,021 residents.[2] Members serve two-year terms with term limits, limiting Senators to four terms (a total of eight years).[3]

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

See also: Arizona State Legislature, Arizona House of Representatives, Arizona Governor


Article IV of the Arizona Constitution establishes when the Arizona State Legislature, of which the Senate is a part, 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 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature will in session from January 13 to May 1.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2014 legislative session include student success-based K-12 funding, university funding.[4]


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 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.[5]


See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in regular session from January 10 through May 3.[6]


See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the Senate was in regular session from January 10 through April 20.[7] 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.[8] 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.[9]

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.[10]


See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

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

Role in state budget

See also: Arizona state budget

Arizona operates on a biennial budget cycle, with each biennium beginning in July. The sequence of key events in the budget process is as follows:[11][12]

  1. Budget instructions are sent to state agencies on June 1 of the year preceding the start of the new biennium
  2. State agencies submit their budget requests to the governor by September 1.
  3. Agency hearings are held in November and December.
  4. The governor submits his or her proposed budget to the state legislature in January.
  5. From January through April, the legislature debates the budget. A simple majority is required to pass a budget.

Arizona is one of 44 states in which the governor has line item veto authority.[12]

The governor is required by law to submit a balanced budget to the legislature. In turn, the legislature is legally required to pass a balanced budget.[12]

Cost-benefit analyses

See also: Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative Cost-Benefit Study
Map showing results of the Pew-MacArthur cost-benefit study.

The Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative released a report in July 2013 indicating that cost-benefit analysis in policymaking led to more effective uses of public funds. Looking at data from 2008 through 2011, the study's authors found that some states were more likely to use cost-benefit analysis, while others were facing challenges and lagging behind the rest of the nation. The challenges states faced included a lack of time, money and technical skills needed to conduct comprehensive cost-benefit analyses. Arizona was one of 11 states that made rare use of cost-benefit analyses in policy and budget processes.[13]

Ethics and transparency

Following the Money report

See also: "Following the Money" report, 2014

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a consumer-focused nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., released its annual report on state transparency websites in April 2014. The report, entitled "Following the Money," measured how transparent and accountable state websites are with regard to state government spending.[14] According to the report, Arizona received a grade of B and a numerical score of 84, indicating that Arizona was "advancing" in terms of transparency regarding state spending.[14]

Open States Transparency

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.[15]



See also: Arizona State Senate elections, 2014

Elections for the office of Arizona State Senate took place in 2014. A primary election took place on August 26, 2014. The general election was held on November 4, 2014. The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election was May 28, 2014.


See also: Arizona State Senate elections, 2012

State senate seats in all 30 districts were on the ballot in 2012. The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in these elections was May 30, 2012 and the primary election day was August 28, 2012. The general election took place on November 6, 2012.

In Arizona, senators serve two-year terms with a four consecutive term limit. There wwere two senators termed out in 2012 -- Republicans Linda Gray and Ron Gould.

This chamber was mentioned in a November 2012 Pew Center on the States article that addressed supermajorities at stake in the 2012 election. Supermajority generally means a party controls two-thirds of all seats. While it varies from state to state, being in this position gives a party much greater power. Going into the election, Republicans in the Arizona Senate held a supermajority, which Democrats looked to cut into.[16]

In the general election on November 6, 2012 Democrats were able to pick up four seats, reducing the Republican majority from the supermajority it had prior the election at 21-9 to a majority of 17-13 after the election.[17]

The following table details the 10 districts with the smallest margin of victory in the November 6 general election.


See also: Arizona State Senate elections, 2010

State senate seats in all 30 districts were on the ballot in 2010. The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in these elections was May 26, 2010, and the primary election day was August 24, 2010. The general election was on November 2, 2010.

In Arizona, senators serve two-year terms with a four consecutive term limit.

In 2010, candidates running for the state senate received a total of $2,954,711 in campaign contributions. Their top contributors were:[18]


See also: Arizona State Senate elections, 2008

Elections for the office of Arizona State Senate consisted of a primary election on September 2, 2008, and a general election on November 4, 2008.

During the 2008 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $3,185,493. The top 10 contributors were:[19]


See also: Arizona State Senate elections, 2006

Elections for the office of Arizona State Senate consisted of a primary election on September 12, 2006, and a general election on November 7, 2006.

During the 2006 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $2,571,504. The top 10 contributors were:[20]


See also: Arizona State Senate elections, 2004

Elections for the office of Arizona State Senate consisted of a primary election on September 7, 2004, and a general election on November 2, 2004.

During the 2004 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $2,274,490. The top 10 contributors were:[21]


See also: Arizona State Senate elections, 2002

Elections for the office of Arizona State Senate consisted of a primary election on September 10, 2002, and a general election on November 5, 2002.

During the 2002 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $2,149,412. The top 10 contributors were:[22]


See also: Arizona State Senate elections, 2000

Elections for the office of Arizona State Senate consisted of a primary election on September 12, 2000, and a general election on November 7, 2000.

During the 2000 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $2,127,230. The top 10 contributors were:[23]


Article 4, Part 2, Section 2 of the Arizona Constitution states: No person shall be a member of the Legislature unless he shall be a citizen of the United States at the time of his election, nor unless he shall be at least twenty-five years of age, and shall have been a resident of Arizona at least three years and of the county from which he is elected at least one year before his election.


See also: How vacancies are filled in state legislatures
How Vacancies are filled in State Legislatures
NevadaMassachusettsColoradoNew MexicoWyomingArizonaMontanaCaliforniaOregonWashingtonIdahoTexasOklahomaKansasNebraskaSouth DakotaNorth DakotaMinnesotaIowaMissouriArkansasLouisianaMississippiAlabamaGeorgiaFloridaSouth CarolinaIllinoisWisconsinTennesseeNorth CarolinaIndianaOhioKentuckyPennsylvaniaNew JerseyNew YorkVermontVermontNew HampshireMaineWest VirginiaVirginiaMarylandMarylandConnecticutConnecticutDelawareDelawareRhode IslandRhode IslandMassachusettsNew HampshireMichiganMichiganAlaskaVacancy fulfillment map.png

If there is a vacancy in the Senate, the political party committee or the Board of County Supervisors must select a replacement. The political party committee is responsible for appointing a replacement only if the Senate district has thirty or more elected precinct committeemen.[24]

The Secretary of State is required to contact the state party chairperson to give notice of the vacancy. The state chairperson must give notice of an election to fill the seat within three days of receiving notice.[24]

Before an election takes place, the state chairperson must submit a list of three recommended candidates to fill the seat. The election involves all the precinct committeemen who represent the Senate district. If the Legislature is out of session, the election must be held within twenty-one days after the vacancy happened. If the Legislature is in session, the election must be held within five days after the vacancy happened.[24]

The Board of County Supervisors fills vacancies in Senate districts that have less than thirty elected precinct committeemen. Also, the Board of Supervisors must select a replacement if the party committee fails to select a replacement within the specified periods. This is only for districts with thirty or more elected committeemen.

The county of residence from where the person last held the seat is responsible for making the selection. The county that is responsible for filling the vacancy must form a citizens panel. The citizens panel is charged with recommending to the Board of Supervisors three candidates to fill the vacant seat. The panel must recommend persons from the political party that last held the seat. The full county board must select a replacement within five days of receiving the list of recommended candidates.[25]

The person selected to fill the seat serves for the remainder of the unfilled term.[25]

Term limits

See also: State legislatures with term limits

The Arizona legislature is one of 15 state legislatures with term limits. Voters enacted the Arizona Term Limits Act in 1992. That initiative said that Arizona senators are subject to term limits of no more than four two-year terms, or a total of eight years.

The first year that the term limits enacted in 1992 impacted the ability of incumbents to run for office was in 2000.[3]


See also: Redistricting in Arizona

Since the passing of Proposition 106 in 2000, redistricting has been handled by the five-member Independent Redistricting Commission, consisting of two Republicans, two Democrats, and one independent.

2010 census

Arizona received its census data on March 9, 2011.[26] Although the state grew by almost 25 percent -- second in the nation to Nevada's 35 percent -- some population areas did not meet growth expectations.[27]

Overall, the population figures showed large growth in Arizona's Hispanic population. The white population fell from 65.1 percent to 59.4 percent, while the Hispanic population grew from 25 percent to 30 percent.[28] Across the state, the suburbs grew faster than major cities.[29]

On December 20, 2011, the Commission approved new maps along party lines; all of this came after Republicans suggested that the commission be abolished, and its chairwoman was effectively removed by Governor Jan Brewer and subsequently reinstated by the Arizona Supreme Court.



The President of the Senate serves as presiding officer and is chosen from the Senate membership.[30][31]

Current leadership

Current Leadership, Arizona State Senate
Office Representative Party
President of the Senate Andy Biggs Ends.png Republican
President Pro Tempore Gail Griffin Ends.png Republican
State Senate Majority Leader Steve Yarbrough Ends.png Republican
State Senate Majority Whip Adam Driggs Ends.png Republican
State Senate Minority Leader [[[Katie Hobbs]] Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Assistant Minority Leader Lynne Pancrazi Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Minority Whip Steve Gallardo Electiondot.png Democratic


See also: Comparison of state legislative salaries

Arizona state senators are paid $24,000/year. They are also paid a per diem of $35/day for the first 120 days of regular session and for special sessions and $10/day thereafter. Senators who live outside of Maricopa County are given an additional $25/day for the 1st 120 days of regular session and for special sessions and an additional $10/day thereafter.[32]

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.

Partisan composition

See also: Partisan composition of state senates

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

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Arizona State Senate from 1992-2013.
Partisan composition of the Arizona State Senate.PNG

Current members

Current members, Arizona State Senate
District Senator Party Assumed office
1 Steve Pierce Ends.png Republican 2009
2 Andrea Dalessandro Electiondot.png Democratic 2014
3 Olivia Cajero Bedford Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
4 Lynne Pancrazi Electiondot.png Democratic 2012
5 Kelli Ward Ends.png Republican 2013
6 Chester Crandell Ends.png Republican 2013
7 Carlyle Begay Electiondot.png Democratic Aug. 2013
8 Barbara McGuire Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
9 Steve Farley Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
10 David Bradley Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
11 Al Melvin Ends.png Republican 2009
12 Andy Biggs Ends.png Republican 2011
13 Don Shooter Ends.png Republican 2011
14 Gail Griffin Ends.png Republican 2011
15 Nancy Barto Ends.png Republican 2011
16 David Farnsworth Ends.png Republican 2013
17 Steve Yarbrough Ends.png Republican 2011
18 John McComish Ends.png Republican 2011
19 Anna Tovar Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
20 Kimberly Yee Ends.png Republican 2013
21 Rick Murphy Ends.png Republican 2011
22 Judy Burges Ends.png Republican 2012
23 Michele Reagan Ends.png Republican 2011
24 Katie Hobbs Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
25 Bob Worsley Ends.png Republican 2013
26 Ed Ableser Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
27 Leah Landrum Taylor Electiondot.png Democratic 2006
28 Adam Driggs Ends.png Republican 2011
29 Steve Gallardo Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
30 Robert Meza Electiondot.png Democratic 2011

Senate committees

The Arizona State Senate has 13 standing committees:


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

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.

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 had 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

SQLI and partisanship

The chart below depicts the partisanship of the Arizona state government and the state's SQLI ranking for the years studied. For the SQLI, the states were ranked from 1-50, with 1 being the best and 50 the worst. Arizona had Republican trifectas between 1993 and 2001 and between 2009 and 2013, but no Democratic trifectas during the period of the study. Between these two trifectas, Arizona had divided government. In three separate years, Arizona ranked in the bottom-10 in the SQLI ranking, two of which occurred under Republican trifectas (1996 and 1997) and the other during divided government (2002). Arizona’s highest SQLI ranking occurred in 2006 (16th), under divided government, while its lowest ranking (41st) occurred in 2002 under divided government.

  • SQLI average with Democratic trifecta: N/A
  • SQLI average with Republican trifecta: 36.33
  • SQLI average with divided government: 27.22
Chart displaying the partisanship of Arizona government from 1992-2013 and the State Quality of Life Index (SQLI).

External links


  1. U.S. Census Bureau, "Population Distribution and Change: 2000 to 2010," accessed January 6, 2014
  2. U.S. Census Bureau, "States Ranked by Population: 2000," April 2, 2001
  3. 3.0 3.1 Arizona State Legislature, "Term limits," accessed December 16, 2013
  4. news.azpm.org, "Education, CPS Issues Expected to Top 2014 Legislative Session," January 13, 2014
  5. Cronkite News, "Brewer, top legislators: Education, businesses priorities for session," January 11, 2013
  6. StateScape, Session schedules, accessed April 30, 2012
  7. Timesunion.com, Ariz. Legislature ends session after all-nighter, 20 April 2011
  8. KTAR.com, Arizona governor calls special session on economy, 14 Feb. 2011
  9. Bloomberg Businessweek, Ariz. Gov won't seek session without bill backing, June 15, 2011
  10. Stateline.org, States balance budgets with cuts, not taxes, June 15, 2011
  11. National Conference of State Legislatures, "State Experiences with Annual and Biennial Budgeting," updated April 2011
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 National Association of State Budget Officers, "Budget Processes in the States, Summer 2008," accessed February 21, 2014
  13. Pew Charitable Trusts, "States’ Use of Cost-Benefit Analysis," July 29, 2013
  14. 14.0 14.1 U.S. Public Interest Research Group, "Following the Money 2014 Report," accessed April 15, 2014
  15. Sunlight Foundation, "Ten Principles for Opening Up Government Information," accessed June 16, 2013
  16. Stateline, "In Legislative Elections, Majorities and Supermajorities at Stake," November 2, 2012
  17. Arizona Daily Sun, "Democrats shrink GOP's majority in Arizona Senate" Accessed November 14, 2012
  18. Follow the Money: "Arizona 2010 Senate Campaign Contributions"
  19. Follow the Money, "Arizona 2008 Candidates," accessed April 10, 2013
  20. Follow the Money, "Arizona 2006 Candidates," accessed April 10, 2013
  21. Follow the Money, "Arizona 2004 Candidates," accessed April 10, 2013
  22. Follow the Money, "Arizona 2002 Candidates," accessed April 10, 2013
  23. Follow the Money, "Arizona 2000 Candidates," accessed April 10, 2013
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 Arizona Legislature, "Arizona Revised Statutes," accessed December 16, 2013(Referenced Statute 41.1202 (A), Arizona Revised Statutes)
  25. 25.0 25.1 Arizona Legislature, "Arizona Revised Statutes," accessed December 16, 2013(Referenced Statute 41.1202 (B), Arizona Revised Statutes)
  26. The Republic, "First details on Arizona race and population location from 2010 census coming Thursday," March 9, 2011
  27. USA Today, "Arizona grows but at slower rate," March 13, 2011
  28. Fox News Latino, "Arizona's Latino Population Up a Whopping 46%, Says Census," March 10, 2011
  29. Yuma Sun Arizonans moving to the 'burbs," March 10, 2011
  30. Arizona State Senate Rules
  31. Arizona State Senate Leadership
  32. NCSL.org, "2012 State Legislator Compensation and Per Diem Table," accessed March 18, 2013