HOW TO OBTAIN BILL INFORMATION

HOW TO OBTAIN BILL INFORMATION

A word of caution about reading legislative bills. It is important to pay attention to negating words and phrases like “except”, “unless”, “only if”, etc. Quite often, excellent language is followed by negating words that totally change the meaning of the initial language. It is particularly disturbing when the negating language comes in the form of amendments, because then it is harder to spot. Therefore our advice is to read the bills, but to do it carefully, and always read the latest version, which generally includes all amendments. It is also a good idea to read the adopted amendments themselves.

When seeking detailed information on any legislative bill, the first thing to do is to access the legislature’s main bill information page. This is done by clicking on the bill number (if it is a hyperlink) or by going to the main page of www.AZLEG.gov and entering the bill number where indicated. The page that appears contains 6 menu items as follows:

Overview: Lots of information here, but generally we are only interested on how the votes went, by clicking on “Standing Details” for standing committee votes, or “Show THIRD” for third reading votes
Bill Status: A more detailed way of finding out how the votes went and how members voted. It also includes every step that the bill has gone through. Note that this is specific to House or Senate action. One must choose which.
Videos: All hearings are videotaped. Here is where we access the videos. Most are extremely boring, but some are quite lively.
Sponsor/Keyword/Sections: Most useful info here is the list of sponsors/supporters. The rest of the info is seldom used by us citizens.
RTS Current Bill Positions: List of individuals and/or organizations that expressed a vote via the Request to Speak System.
Documents: Includes the full text of all the bill versions and all the summaries. Some times bills are amended substantially along the way, leading to an end product quite different from the original. For this reason it is usually best to pay more attention to the latest versions of both the bill text and/or the summary.

* To find out what bills have been sent to the governor, and/or what bills have been signed, go to https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/SearchChapteredTransmittedTo Then click on “SELECT BILLS TO” for a menu of the various options available.

* To find out what bills have been vetoed, along with the letters explaining the veto, go to http://www.azleg.gov/governors-letters/

* To contact the governor’s office by e-mail, go to  http://azgovernor.gov/engage/form/contact-governor-ducey

* To contact the governor’s office via phone, dial    Phoenix: 602.542.4331                                              Tucson: 520.628.6580

Have fun!

HOW AN IDEA BECOMES LAW

HOW AN IDEA BECOMES LAW
The AZ legislature has created two fine articles that explain the legislative process from beginning to end.
One of those articles is fairly basic and uses a cartoon character (Arizona Bill) to explain the process. It may be accessed by clicking on this link:
https://www.azleg.gov/alisPDFs/hbillaw.pdf
The other article is far more detailed. It is a full 82 pages filled with useful information. It may be seen by going to:
https://www.azleg.gov/alisPDFs/BillToLaw.pdf

 

USING REQUEST TO SPEAK

Using the Request to Speak (RTS) program of the AZ Legislature Information System (ALIS).

For those legislators who listen to citizen input, a major source of information is the testimony rendered at committee hearings, both in person and remotely. The following are instructions on how to provide opinions at committee hearings without being there physically.

NOTE: Testimony at hearings can only be done for bills that are scheduled for standing committee hearings (e.g. appropriations, education, etc.). For all bills, scheduled for hearings or not, one may provide citizen opinions via other methods, like e-mail, telephone, etc.

First, one must register. This has to be done at the capitol, using one of the various terminals available. In January, 2014 the system was upgraded and all prior registrations were deleted. Those citizens that registered prior to that, must re-register. However, for those who registered after January, 2014 it is a one-time thing. They need not register again. Once registered, one may log in as often as desired, using one’s home computer. To do so, this is the procedure to follow:

  1. At your home computer, go to AZPEOPLESLOBBYIST-ALIS Then click on the green square on the upper right hand corner of form.
  2. Choose “Request to Speak (RTS)”.
  3. Sign on using the e-mail address and password you used when you registered at the capitol.
  4. Choose “New Request” from the Request to Speak menu.
  5. You now have several options as to how to choose a bill on which to render your opinion, but the easiest and fastest way to go is to enter the bill number at “Search Phrase”, then click on the “search” button.
  6. The search results page comes up
  7. At the bottom right, click on “Add Request”
  8. Choose your position from the three provided: For, Neutral, or Against.
  9. Next, choose whether you actually want to be present at the hearing and speak. Your choices are: Yes, No, or Only if Necessary. Most of the time you will be choosing “No”.
  10. Next, go to the comments section and state your opinions, but this is optional. Keep in mind these are public comments, for the record. Everyone has access to these comments. Any thing you say can and will be used against you in the court of public opinion.
  11. Next, click on “Submit” and you are done. Now you can start the process again for the next bill you wish to render an opinion on.

Going through the 11 steps is a lot easier than it may seem when reading the instructions.

Have fun!

E-MAILING LEGISLATORS

E-Mailing Legislators Using the AZ People’s Lobbyist Website

Those of you who have visited the new legislature’s website at www.azleg.gov have very likely noted that it is not nearly as user friendly as the old version was. In fact, searching for most everything is downright annoying. But most important, it is impossible to send an email to more than one legislator at a time. If you want to contact a few legislators on the same subject you are either out of luck or in for a long session at your computer.

But don’t fret. Once again, the AZRRT has done the heavy lifting for you and made the process so simple that it will be very difficult to find an excuse for not contacting legislators when a request to do so is issued. Here is how it is done:

Sending Email to all Legislators:

First, go to our website at www.azpeopleslobbyist.com. Scroll down a bit and look on the right hand side. You will see a series of buttons labeled “Email all House Republicans”, “Email all House Democrats”, etc.

If, for example you wish to send an email to all House Republicans, simply click on the button so labeled and, Walla! The emails of all House Republicans will go to the Bcc. line of your default email program. Now all you do is compose your email in the usual manner and send.

Sending Email only to Committee Members:

The system for this is a bit different because there are so many committees:

Make sure that you are on the main page of the www.azpeopleslobbyist.com.

This system is most easily explained by using an example. Let’s assume you wish to send an email to all the members of the House Education Committee.

First, hover your cursor over the 2017 House Membership, but do not click. A drop down menu will appear. Scroll down to House Education Committee and click on it.

You will see two items. One is a table listing all committee members with their contact information. The other item is a series of text lines containing the email addresses of all committee members. All you need to do is highlight, copy, and paste on to the Bcc. line of your email program. Next, simply compose and send your message in the usual manner.

Some Tips on Sending Emails:

  1. Do not squander this golden opportunity that you have of being heard at your state legislature with a minimum amount of effort on your part. We don’t know how long we will be allowed to do this, so please heed every call to action you can.
  2. Always state your position very briefly on the Subject line. For example, “Support HBxxxx”, or “Oppose SBxxxx”
  3. Provide supporting information in the body of your email, but remember that legislators very seldom get to read your emails. The lengthier the email, the less likely that it will be read.
  4. State your case. Do not blast the legislator. The idea here  is to convince him/her of your point of view. Save the fight for some other time.
  5. Do not use templates or copy-and-paste schemes. Administrative assistants are experts at detecting this nonsense and will ignore them. Keep in mind that it has been the widespread use and abuse of these schemes that have caused legislators to discourage emails in general.
  6. Do use your own words in stating your case. It is easier than you may think and the more you do it the easier it gets.