Using electronic resources to contact legislators about pending bills
1. The AZ Legislature’s web page (http://www.azleg.gov/) makes it easy for you to contact your legislators by phone or email. You can also determine your district and which legislators are yours.
- To find who represents you: From main page, upper left under the blue FAQ choose How Do I Find My Legislators? Directions appear. If you want to see the whole group, see middle of the page under the rotunda picture and choose: “Click to See The Members.” You can contact your legislators, or all legislators this way.
2. Another effective strategy for making your voice heard is to offer commentary on bills that are being considered by a committee of the legislature en route to becoming law – the only stage at which the public is invited to weigh in through testimony at a committee hearing, or with written comments, which you can do from home. To either testify or comment you’ll need to be entered in the system at the state capitol. Someone can do for you with your email and a generic password. The first time you log in you can create your own password. It’s a good idea then to build a profile, especially to identify yourself as a voter. The system will ask for additional information to verify your claim: Find your name at the top of the page right side. Choose Account Management.
3. To offer commentary on a pending bill, either in person or in writing from home on your computer:
- On the AZ Legislature main page, go to Request to Speak. You’ll see two options. If you know the bill number, you can check on the status of a bill, its sponsors, and other matters easily with Bill Status Inquiry. The other choice is Request to Speak. Recall that, despite that microphone icon, you don’t have to actually speak to share your views – you can submit written remarks. Look over the list on the left-hand side (black background). If the bill is on a committee’s agenda, you can weigh in on the merits this way.
3. You can find lots of information to prepare.
- To check what bills are under consideration, choose Bills under Legislative Session on the left side. You will get a list and the option to “View All House Bills” (the Senate bills are below the House list). Click on it and you get the whole list with helpful title info. Or you can enter a Search Phrase (above the list of bills) – you’ll instantly get every bill that includes your phrase, and you can click on the relevant bills to get information on them.
- If you want to know what committees are meeting, and when and where, click Committee Agendas on the left side under Legislative Session. You can see what’s on the agenda for that meeting by clicking on the right side of the page. Note that you usually can’t tell what order will actually be followed on the agenda. The committee chair has discretion to change the order of appearance at the committee meeting.
- If you know a bill’s number, you can go directly to this information. Look on the upper right and you’ll see Bill Number Search. Just type in the bill number and you’ll get a page with various options: overview (bare bones summary of title, sponsors, committee assignments – note you can click on the names and committees for details), the sponsors (repeats the overview info), the versions under consideration, and stage in the process (e.g. first reading).
4. Another way to get information on a particular bill is access it from Request to Speak:
- Choose Bill Status Inquiry and you’ll find the same information, formatted differently as above. (You can also research past bills, e.g. SB1070, this way, by changing the legislative term at the top of the page.)
- To research a topic, in Request to Speak go to Bill Status Inquiry, Search, and choose “Keywords” and hit Display All Keywords. Choose your keyword and you’ll get any relevant bills and an offer to print it, send it, or add it to your own “Personal Progress” list (see below).
5. Note that you can also build lists of bills that you are tracking and the system will give you alerts of their progress through committees. This is a great way to stay on top of the matters the various committees are considering, so that let them hear what you think:
- Choose “Personal Progress” on the left side after you have chosen Bill Status Inquiry. Until agendas have been set, this function will not produce any useful information, however.