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.

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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).

Join us to Learn the Basics of Westlaw!

westlaw-flyer-jv

Join us to learn the basics of using Westlaw!

Are you new to legal research? Want to learn to use one of the most common legal research databases?

  • Research and retrieve case law and statutes
  • Find annotations for statutes
  • Find out if a case or law has been changed or overruled

Date: Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Time: 12 Noon – 1p.m.

https://www.azlibrary.gov/events/2182

Learn to use WESTLAW!

July 26, 2016 – Westlaw Basics

Westlaw Flyer Final

Are you new to legal research? Want to learn to use one of the most common legal research databases?

Join us to learn how to use Westlaw. Presented by Kay Engler, Esq. Westlaw Government Account Manager.

  • Research and retrieve case law and statutes
  • Find annotations for statutes
  • Find out if a case or law has been changed or overruled

Date: Tuesday July 26, 2016

Time: 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon

Location: State Library of Arizona, Con Cronin Commons

To register: http://www.azlibrary.gov/events/1683