We always hear either on the radio, watch on the televisison or read in the papers that a certain bill or proposal is on the floor of either of the houses of Congress. The news will follow up with what the bill wishes to address, either to rectify some social imbalance, to create or establish something, or to regulate an activity. But have ever wondered just what exactly goes into the making of a law?
From the end to the start
The sessions of the Arizona state legislature start at the beginning of the year, hence attention is high as the sessions unfolds (Senator Randall Gnant).
But in actuality the best place to begin the legislative journey is at the end of the legislative session (Gnant). As the last session draws to a close, the legislators from the end of the last session to the beginning of the next take time to gather informtaion on the next set of bills they will introduce, or engaging in drafting the bills (Gnant).
This is the time legislators gather information and preferences for the next session of the legislature (Gnant).
The legislature gets the ball rolling
As the next session of the legislature begins, the legislators begin to draft an introductory set, or “intro set”, of the proposed bill (Gnant). This is when the proposal’s language is finally approved by the sponsor of the bill (Gnant). The sponsor is then free to distribute the bill for additional signatures of other legislators who may want to affix their signatures on the proposal (Gnant). Then the bill is placed in a “hopper”, a container located at the office of Senate Secretary (Gnant).
Then the bill goes to the floor for the proposal’s first reading (Gnant). This practice finds its roots during times that communication of the legislators were much more primitive (Gnant). Today the first reading of the bills only perform a ceremonial aspect in the present-day Senate, and is the time for amendments in the House of Representatives (Gnant). The second reading of the bill is the time that the proposed bills are sent to the different committees (Gnant). In this case, the “reader” reads aloud the number of the proposal and an abbreviated title (Gnant).
If the bills have passed the committee level, the proposal is elevated to the Commiittee of the Whole (Gnant). The Senate President will then appoint a chairman for the meeting. It is the time that the debate by all members of the Senate will ensue, without any outside input or testimony (Gnant). It is also the period where the amendments to the bill being deliberated upon takes place (Gnant). On third reading, the “reader” reads the proposal’s title and the members of the legislature proceed to vote electronically whether to approve or reject the bill (Gnant).
Once the bills are transmitted to the House, they are made to undergo the process of reconcilation with the report of the Senate in a conference committee (Gnant). The process begins as both leaders of the two legislative houses appoint the members of their respective committees (Gnant). If the members concur, or agree on the report, the consolidated bill is sent to the governor for his signature (Gnant). If the members do not or cannot come to a final version of the bill, then the bill is considered dead (Gnant).
Another way of introducing a bill in the Arizona legislature is the practice of a caucus (Gnant). Majority and minority members of a legislative house will meet at periods within the session days to be appraised of some proposals that have cleared the committee level and the committee of Rules (Gnant). Votes are not taken during caucus meetings, but individual legislators are allowed to voice out either their support or opposition against a certain bill (Gnant). As the bill is scrutinized by both parties, some of these bills are pushed into the Committee of the Whole meetings for deliberation (Gnant).
Guns and Books
Recently, a proposed bill in the Arizona legislature generated a great deal of controversy in the state. Senate Bill 1214, authored by state Representative Republican Karen Johnson, would have allowed persons to carry their firerams on school grounds provided that they have concealed weapon permits (Gun Pundit). The proposed law would have exempted individuals with the permit to carry concealed weapons from a state mandate that prohibits people from deliberately carrying weapons on school grounds (Gun Pundit). If the measure is passed, faculty members, students or anybody can bring their firearms to any educational facility in the state, public or private (Gun Pundit).
The bill was introduced shortly after the shooting incident in Virginia Tech, where an armed assailant gunned down five individuals, then committed suicide (Mary Lou Seymour, 2008). The bill originally would have permitted license holders to carry their guns on public K-12 school grounds, but was later amended to allow firearms to be carried on college and university facilities as well (Denny, 2008). The Republican-dominated Judiciary Committee of the Arizona Senate followed party lines in approving the measure, voting 4-3 (Seymour, 2008). But the proposed measure ran into a road block in the person of Senate President Tim Bee (Allison Denny, 2008). Bee held the bill from ever being considered for voting by the full membership of the Senate because the bill did not muster adequate support (Denny, 2008).
But according to Johnson, the bill is essentially dead for the year (Scott Wong, 2008). Johnson believes that Bee blocked the measure from being considered on the floor (Wong, 2008). She believes many of the lawmakers, in consideration of their reelection chances in the fall, voted in the negative as this would make them to take a stand on such a controversial proposal (Wong, 2008). But Bee fires back at the accusation, saying the Johnson could not carry the measure with the sufficient number of votes needed (Wong, 2008). Johnson said that Bee would take action on the bill if she could enlist enough votes for the bill (Wong, 2008).
Johnson avers that she gave Bee a list of 16 senators that were backing the bill, a mojority in the 30-man body (Wong, 2008). The proposed act would seem to signify that all of the initiatives of the state government to keep firearms out of the schools has been a dismal failure (Gun Pundit). The bill, supported by the National Rifle Association, which they state that teachers and students need to given means of self-defense from individuals whoe mean to them harm (Wong, 2008). But police and other law enforcement agencies opposed to the measure say that with muliple individuals carrying firearms in a similar incident, might kill the wrong person (Wong, 2008).
Denny, A. (2008). Controversial guns on campus bill fails in Senate. June 9, 2008. Rertrieved August 13, 2008, from
Gnant, R. (n.d.). The legislative process in the Arizona Senate. Retreived August 13, 2008, from
Gun Pundit. (n.d.). Arizona Senate Bill 1214. Retreived August 13, 2008
Seymour, M. (2008, February 27). Guns-on-campus bill advances in Senate. Rational Review
Wong, S. (2008, May 19). Campus-gun bill dies in Senate. The Arizona Republic
Cite this Arizona Legislature: Bills and Laws
Arizona Legislature: Bills and Laws. (2016, Jul 21). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/arizona-legislature-bills-and-laws/