Performing Arizona legislative history research can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. It can be time consuming and yield few results but it is a necessary skill when you need to determine the "intent" behind an Arizona statute.
Legislative History research is a logical step- by- step process. Follow the 6 step process set out in this guide. The information found in each step is cumulative, so do the steps in order and don’t try to skip any.
A legislative history is a compilation of documents that follows a piece of legislation through the legislative process, usually with the goal of determining the "legislative intent" of the legislation.
Legislative intent is defined in the Arizona Legislative Manual as "A goal of the Legislature in enacting legislation. Intent may be stated in enacted legislation or may be ascribed from the provisions of the law and circumstances contemporaneous with its enactment. Intent does not have the force of law but may be used to interpret statutory provisions."
Arizona is a "plain language" state. That means that the courts prefer you to use the plain language of the statute for interpretation. The problem is that many statutes are not clearly written and therefore there is room for different interpretations.
In Arizona, the year 1997 is an important date for legislative history research. If the statute you are researching was enacted prior to 1997 the research may need to be done in print resources. After 1997, most of the resources are online.
Helpful Hints and Resources
Important Phone numbers and addresses for Arizona Legislative History Research:
Clerk of the House at 602-926-3032, 2nd Floor, House of Representatives Building
Senate Resource Center at 602-926-3550, 1st Floor, Senate Building
Both the House and the Senate offices are located at the Capitol Complex at 1700 West Washington, Phoenix, AZ 85007-2890.
Arizona Legislative Council at 602-926-4236, 1700 West Washington Street Suite 100 Phoenix, AZ 85007