AZ Lege 2015: Participation 101 – Part 2, Section 1

By Craig McDermott

As the opening of 2015 session of the Arizona legislature approaches, it is time for a quick tutorial on using the legislature’s website.

Users can access an incredible amount of information on or through the website, but it can be a little confusing for people who are unfamiliar with it.

Hence, the quick guide to using it. 🙂

Notes:

The following is accurate as of the date of writing.  While I do not expect that there will be any significant changes in the functionality of the website for this session of the lege, I cannot rule out the possibility that there will be changes – that’s completely out of my control.

It was created while using Mozilla Firefox as the browser.  Other browsers may display differently.

No matter how well this is written, it will not and should not be expected to replace experience with using the website.  I hope this helps people get started, but users should take the time to familiarize themselves with the website and its nuances *before* they need to use it efficiently.

Lastly, this is not a comprehensive guide to using the website.  I’m covering the basics in a way that I hope serves to help people who are just getting started.

On to the substance of this tutorial…

First step: Point your browser at http://www.azleg.gov/.

Main 1

Because I am writing this before the start of the new legislative session, the main page of the lege’s website still shows it as the 2014 session.  That will need to be changed (unless you want to research something in the 2014 session).

At the top of page, there is a “change session” link.  Click it.

Change 2

Select the session that you wish to examine (in this example, “Fifty-second Legislature – First Regular Session (2015)” ), and click on “Select Session”.

If you wish to research into activities of another session of the lege, select that session instead.

Current 3

Today, we will briefly discuss the two left-most options among the drop down menus at the top of the main page, “Senate” and “House”.

The Senate menu –

Senate drop down 4

While all of the options are useful ones, I will focus on two here – “Members” and “Confirmations”

“Members” is just what it seems like – a link to the list of members of the Arizona State Senate.

Click on it (this illustration is from the 2014 session).

Sen roster 10

In addition to some basic info (name, district, party, email, office location, office phone and fax numbers), it is important to note that the names of the members are hyperlinked to their individual pages, and those pages contain a *lot* of information.

Click on one (again, the illustrations are from the 2014 session) –

Sen bio 1 11 Sen bio 2 12

An individual member’s page list offers the same contact info as the roster listing page.

It also offers a listing of a member’s committee assignments and their membership status on those committees (member, vice-chair, or chair) and a listing of the bills that they have sponsored, with the type of sponsorship (C = co-sponsor, P = prime sponsor, P* = prime prime sponsor {aka – original sponsor} ).

The other item on the Senate drop down menu that merits some attention is “Confirmations”.

Confirmations 13

This page contains information on nominees for various executive branch positions.  Some are nominations for agency heads, but most are for slots on one of the many state-level commissions and committees.

Click on a name of interest –

Confirmations 2 14

This page contains the name of the nominee, the position for which they have been nominated, some process-related information, and once the nomination nears committee consideration, a “Nominee Summary” (basically, a political version of a resume).

One interesting thing that I learned while researching for this post is that the nominations can be searched by agency (or committee/commission).

Those listings show also list prior nominees for those specific entities, something that may be useful when researching long-term ties –

Confirmations 3 15

Fun fact:  Arizona used to have a civil rights commission, but it was ended in the year 2000.  Apparently, in AZ there haven’t been any civil rights-related problems since then. (For readers who are unfamiliar with recent Arizona history, that is sarcasm, folks 🙂 )

Confirmations 4 16

 

The House drop down menu is similar to the Senate drop down, but there are some differences.

One item of interest there is “Deadlines”.

It hasn’t been updated for 2015 yet, but the House publishes a memo containing a list of all of the deadlines for the legislative session (i.e. – financial disclosure forms, bill filings, committee consideration of bills, etc.).

Deadlines 17

 

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