Arizona’s 52nd Legislature – First Regular Session is now in full swing. Below is a brief guide to following legislation in Arizona… For the nuts-and-bolts of how a bill becomes law, the multiple “readings”, and the COW, and so forth, see e.g. this document from azpolicy.org
Bills are labeled as either HBxxxx or SBxxxx, depending on whether they originated in the House or the Senate, and ‘x’ a 4 digit number; and note that the numbers get “reused” and are only valid for a particular Session. You can directly search all bills at www.azleg.gov/Bills.asp . This usually isn’t particularly fruitful; other ways are by looking at various interest groups, like the Coalition, or by reading about them in the news, where they will normally mention the bill number.
Here are some bills currently before the Arizona legislature as of Spring 2015 that are of particular interest to Arizona’s bicyclists.
- SB1167 – photo radar; prohibition [traditional view][apps view] (died but resurected as a striker SB1192, which died in committee)
- SB1102 – text messaging while driving; prohibition [traditional view][apps view]
- SB1302 – vulnerable users of public ways [traditional view][apps view]
- HB2639 – theft; bicycle from school grounds [traditional view][apps view]
- HB2308 – NOW: eligibility; defensive driving schools [traditional view][apps view]
Tracking Bills with apps.azleg.gov
Most bill-followers will want to set up an account on apps.azleg.gov; though it is not necessary. With an account, you can create lists of bills to track so you won’t have to remember bill numbers; and receive status alerts on those bills.
You also need an account if you ever want to speak (or just formally register your views) at a committee hearing, the “request to speak”. This requires a one-time in-person visit to the capitol to enable your account.
Viewing Bill status
Viewing is as simple as clicking on any of the view links, above. Note the traditional view and apps view are more-or-less the same information presented slightly differently. The ‘apps’ view is generally slicker and easier to use.
One of the most important things to watch for is the “Overview” which will tell you what committees a bill has been assigned to. For example, SB1102 – text messaging; has been “triple assigned” (assigned to 3 committees plus the Rules committee. Rules is pro-forma) which indicated the bill is going to have a tough time — any committee can ignore a bill and it then dies. Though it has passed GOV with a DPA (Do Pass Amended), it is also assigned to PSMT (public safety), and TRANS; and it has not been put on either of their agendas; this can be a sign that either of those committee chairpersons does not want to allow the bill to move forward.
There are many other status views; you can even watch a video of committee hearings online from when the bill was heard (which are also available live), as well as find minutes from the hearings (though these are quite delayed); view sponsors; and with the apps version view who has registered their opinions on the bill. For example, Arizona Citizens Defense League, a Tuscon-based pro-gun rights group has registered opposition to the texting prohibition bill.
Ultimately you will want to take action to influence legislation. One way is via “request to speak”, mentioned above, at a committee hearing. Requesting to speak can also simply be registering your support/opposition, without actually speaking, on a bill.
Should make your views known to your elected officials; the rosters can be found under house/senate at the azleg.gov home page. To locate your elected officials, you can use LAB’s page bikeleague.org/TakeAction and enter your zip at “Find Officials”. You have one state senator, and two state representatives.