Arizona Legislature Lingo and Abbreviations

3rd Read? Do pass? COW?

What’s really going on at the Legislature?

25th Territorial Legislature Council

The Arizona Legislature has its own lingo and abbreviations. Here is a flow chart we find helpful to track legislation and understand what’s going on during the legislative session and with the introduced bills.

Remember, we have a treasure trove of materials on legislation – including Session Laws from before Statehood, Journals of legislative action for both the House and Senate, introduced bills, and many years of bill files. Contact us for research help!

Arizona State Legislature in session

Legislative process and abbreviations

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Makes sense, right!? This flow chart is a little more advanced than the Schoolhouse Rock “I’m Just a Bill” clip we learned legislative process from as kids!

Here are a few more pictures of our State legislators and staff in action through the years, completing the process outlined above!

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Secretaries or attaches for the Arizona State Legislature
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Arizona State Legislature in session
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Members of the 1912, First State Legislature
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Legislature in session in the Arizona State Capitol

 

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Researching the Old Legal Stuff

YaleWe recently purchased The Yale Law School Guide to Research in American Legal History, a new resource to help you find historical legal information that is very specialized or pre-dates the information that is readily available online. Some of the resources are digitized, and some only in print. It is available to use in the Reading Room at the Polly Rosenbaum Archives and History Building.

For example, if you are looking for the laws on witchcraft, this source tells you step-by-step how to find them. Witchcraft was originally designated as a felony in the United Kingdom and carried the death penalty. Later revisions passed by Queen Elizabeth I reduced the severity of the penalty if nobody got hurt. This change enabled herbalists to practice their craft. Maybe this was the origin of the No Harm, No Foul standard.

Yale TOC

Later chapters address later eras. Apparently practice manuals were widely used in the Colonial era by justices, officials, and educated citizens. Some states had constitutions that predated the adoption of the Federal Constitution, and this reference has information on both, as well information on how to access statutes and cases from the early days of the Republic. Later chapters explain how the Reporter system for publishing case law was a pioneering innovation, how to do archival research, searching administrative law, and the advent of legal forms.

 

DictionariesAnother chapter discusses how international law and treaties affect U.S. law. Another introduces the use of dictionaries and biographical sources. The book concludes with tips for researching newspapers, statistical resources, and public records.

If you don’t know where to find the historical legal topic you are researching, we may just look here first!

Arizona’s Ever-Changing Constitution

What’s with all these propositions?

Arizona’s Constitution can be amended in 3 ways. The Legislature may vote to put a proposal on the ballot (Referendum). Second, the voters may submit a petition with the required number of signatures (Initiative).  Regardless of the means of getting on the ballot, if a majority votes for the proposition, it becomes law and the Constitution is changed. The 3rd method is for the Legislature to propose a Constitutional Convention. In that case, the voters must approve the Convention and any revisions that the Convention recommends. These routes to change our Constitution make for some vibrant, interactive, and often rowdy election cycles!

At the State of Arizona Research Library we have lots of materials about the Arizona Constitution. You can browse the Minutes or the Records of the Constitutional Convention of 1910.

 

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You can compare the Arizona Constitution with the U.S. Constitution with these publications from the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office.

You can see how the Arizona Constitution has changed over the years at our Constitution Timeline here.

You can study the work of experts who have analyzed the Constitution by viewing these titles (and more) in our Reading Room or borrowing them through your public library via interlibrary loan. The Toni McClory book is also available for free as an ebook through Reading Arizona!

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And you can vote! There are 3 proposed Constitutional amendments on the ballot for the 2018 midterm election on November 6, 2018.  Here’s the publicity pamphlet for this year’s General Election.

Arizona’s Territorial Legislature

Arizona’s Legislature met to debate the issues of the day and pass laws, long before Arizona became a state. The Legislature met in Prescott between 1864 and 1867, and again between 1879 and 1889. In between they met in Tucson, before settling in to Phoenix in 1891 to stay.

We have copies of the enacted laws (“Session Laws”) passed by the Territorial Legislature dating from 1864 until Arizona became a state on February 14, 1912. We were the “Valentine to the Nation”. We also have copies of the Session Laws passed since Statehood, which you can research in print in our Reading Room or browse online on the Arizona Memory Project here.

Session LawsWe think it’s vital to preserve these irreplaceable materials. We keep a print copy that is accessible to users. We also make digital copies of everything we can, and post them online so people can access them from anywhere there is an internet connection. We set aside a good-quality preservation copy of each document. Then we select multiple duplicates whenever possible to use as replacements for the accessible copies. We keep the preservation copies and the duplicate replacement copies in separate climate-controlled spaces to assure that the information in them will not be lost.

These may not be things to curl up on a comfy couch and read. But preserving them is just one of the many things we do here at the State of Arizona Research Library.

If you wish to come see the Session Laws or any other historic or current law material in person, stop by the Polly Rosenbaum Archives and History Building at 1901 W. Madison Street, Phoenix any Monday through Friday (except state holidays).

Ever wonder about Federal Depository Libraries?

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This post from Free Government Information might seem a little inside baseball to some, but it does a great job explaining why the Federal Depository Library Program (of which the State Library is a member) is so important to both preserving and accessing information produced by the federal government.

For more background info, check out our Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/StateLibAZ/timeline?ref=page_internal

To read the article:

http://freegovinfo.info/node/11549

USPTO Patent Filing Webinar

noun_201421_patentpendingThinking about filing a patent, but confused by the application options? Check out the USPTO’s upcoming webinar:

DATE AND TIME

Mon, January 23, 2017

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM EST

DESCRIPTION

Are you an inventor looking to protect your idea but unsure of which application to file?

Then join us as we go over the differences between Utility and Design Patent applications and the advantages of filing a Provisional and/or Non Provisional Utility Patent Application.

We will also go over the different forms, fees, and formalities required for the respective type of application.

This interactive presentation will allow online users to send questions via the chat function to have them answered live!

Registration Link:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-different-types-of-patent-applications-tickets-29490635284

This is an outside event; please follow links above for more information.