Early legislative count: 251


By Craig McDermott, cross-posted from Random Musings


251, as in the number of measures proposed so far in the 2013 legislature.  If past history serves as an accurate predictor, another 1000 to 1200 or so to go…

So far the Senate has 91 bills and 1 concurrent resolution (proposed amendment to the AZ Constitution), and the House has 144 bills and 5 concurrent resolutions.

Of those, 105, or nearly 42%, are "technical correction" proposals.  Those measures are ostensibly to make minor changes to current law that are "technical" changes (fixing typos, grammar errors, outdated verbiage, etc.) and not substantive changes to the law.  However, those bills pretty much never make it through the legislative process as "technical correction" bills; they exist to serve as "vehicle" bills for strikers, or strike-everything" amendments, later in the session.

Lawmakers of all stripes introduce these technical corrections bills because there is a time limit on their introduction of bills (early February, varies by chamber).  After that, they can introduce no more than seven new proposals.  However, there is no limit on the number of their bills that they can amend once they are introduced.

Hence, most of the proposals that are introduced early in the session, even many that aren't technical correction bills, are intended only as placeholders for later amendments.

It's still too early to start categorizing the bills for analysis (good, OK, bad. batshit crazy, and sneaky ugly.  Those last are all too often the ones that are resurrected by a striker when/if they die during the legislative process), but one stands out as the early leader in the race for the "most shamelessly hypocritical" bill –


As written, the measure would require that law enforcement training in AZ include "[c]ourses that emphasize the prohibition against motorcycle profiling. For the purposes of this subdivision, "motorcycle profiling" means using the sole fact that a person rides a motorcycle or wears motorcycle-related paraphernalia as the basis for taking any law enforcement action against the person, including arresting, searching or questioning the person, without any other legal basis under the laws of this state or the United States and the constitution of the United States or this state."


This measure is from State Senator Judy Burges (R-Sun City West).

The same Judy Burges who earned the nickname "Birther" for her attempts to have the US' first president of African descent barred from the ballot.

The same Judy Burges who over the last few years has sponsored or supported every measure designed to limit the health care choices available to poor women.

The same Judy Burges who over the last few years has sponsored or supported every anti-worker measure.

The same Judy Burges who in 2009, voted for the infamous SB1070, which as written, would have turned "breathing while brown" into "probable cause" if parts of it hadn't been blocked by the courts.

Now, I don't think that, in and of themselves, riding a motorcycle or wearing "motorcycle-related paraphernalia" constitute probable cause for "law enforcement action", at least an argument can be made that those things are a matter of free choice.

Unlike the color of one's skin, or the national origin of one's parents.

Unlike one's gender or, in most cases, economic class status.

Unlike the necessity of one working for a living in our society (yes, there are some adults in our society who are unable or unwilling to work, but they had better be born to an already wealthy family.  If they aren't, their lives will suck.)

Unlike one's own nation of origin, or the color of one's skin (kind of like the first item on the list;  say what you want about Burges, at least she's consistent.  Consistently bad, but consistent nonetheless.)

Apparently, Burges is OK with discriminating against people based on things that they cannot control, but is aghast at the possibility that people might be judged based on things that they can control.


  1. I did a little google myself and it looks like AZ, FL, and MS are the only states where the entire bill can be altered. By far the google hits are for AZ. I see this as something that really needs to be reformed.

  2. As far as best practices and model states go, I don’t know. It will take a while to find the info, and what I expect to find is that each state lege has its own quirks and that the people there have learned to work within the system, and to “work the system”, that they have there. I think that we’ll find that the AZ lege isn’t any worse than most others, in this one regard, anyway. 🙂

    Based on what I know about the process in AZ, the only major change that I would suggest is adding limitations on the number and timing of “strike-everything” amendments, both in quantity allowed for each member, and timing of introduction (say…no more than 5, and none after March 15th.) Even then, I’d put in a circuit-breaker of sorts, allowing late introduction of a striker in a true emergency upon a 3/4 vote of the originating chamber of the lege.

    I’ll see what I can find out about the bill introduction process in other states, particularly in the Mountain West area, just for comparison’s sake, but I don’t expect there to be major differences. Cosmetic differences, of course; substantive differences, not so much.

  3. Those rules sound like they really need changing. Do you know how many state legislatures use these types of bill “placeholding” rules.
    Are there best practices in state bill creation? (Not ALEC)
    Are there model states where bait and switch are not the legislative M.O.?