AGENCY CONTACT INFORMATION
Arizona Commerce Authority
Previous: Department of Commerce.
Created by Laws 2011, Second Special Session, Chapter 1 and Laws 2012, Chapter 170 (conforming amendments). Statutory authority is found at A.R.S. §§41-1501 et seq.
The Arizona Commerce Authority (Authority) was established “to facilitate the beneficial economic growth and development of this state and to promote prosperity through the development and protection of the legitimate interests of Arizona business, industry and commerce within and outside this state.” (Laws 2018, Chapter 66, Section 4 - Purpose.)
The Authority was established by Governor Jan Brewer (Executive Order 2010-12) which created a public-private board of directors to provide private sector leadership and support to diversify the state economy, create new jobs, and attract businesses. Prior to creation of the Arizona Commerce Authority, many of these duties were housed in the Arizona Department of Commerce. (See administrative history for the Arizona Department of Commerce.)
Laws 2011, Second Special Session, Chapter 1 created the Arizona Commerce Authority which replaced the former Arizona Department of Commerce. The Authority succeeded to the authority, powers, duties and responsibilities of the Arizona Department of Commerce (Sec. 128). The measure prescribed the mission of the Authority and outlined the duties of the Board of Directors; transferred most responsibilities from the Arizona Department of Commerce to the Authority, and transferred certain duties to the Governor’s Energy Office and to the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority of Arizona; established the Rural Business Development Advisory Council; created the Arizona Commerce Authority Fund; and established the Arizona Competes Fund, consisting of a portion of lottery monies.
The measure also directed Legislative Council to prepare conforming legislation related to the creation of the Authority for consideration during the 2012 legislative session (Section 136). Laws 2012, Chapter 170 contained conforming amendments that fulfilled the requirement.
Laws 2016, Chapter 114 continued the Authority until 2018 and incorporated recommendations made by the Auditor General during the sunset review process. The measure required the Board of Directors to: 1) post an annual report on the progress made toward the goals of the Authority with regard to jobs creation, capital investment and higher average wages; and 2) develop and implement written policies relating to the grants awarded by the Arizona Competes Fund.
Laws 2018, Chapter 66 required the Authority to maintain three FTEs to serve as advocates for small and rural businesses regarding economic development, regulatory matters and to support efforts related to small business growth and regulation. The measure also continued the Authority for six years, until July 1, 2024.
In 2018 and 2019, the Legislature enacted measures establishing Regulatory Sandbox Programs (RSP) in order to allow a person to test innovative products or services without having to obtain a license or authorization from the state that would otherwise be required.
Laws 2018, Chapter 44 required the Attorney General to create and administer an RSP, in consultation with applicable state agencies, to allow testing of innovative financial products or services. The program was expanded in 2022, at Laws 2022, Chapter 187. This program ends on July 1, 2028. A person must submit an application to the Attorney General in order to participate in the RSP, and if the application is approved, may test the innovation within specified limitations. Laws 2019, Chapter 45 modified various provisions adopted in 2018 including those related to types of innovations, disclosure, enforcement, consumer caps, recordkeeping and reporting requirements.
In 2019, the Legislature enacted another sandbox program, requiring the Chief Executive Officer of the Arizona Commerce Authority to establish a Property Technology Sandbox Program in consultation with the Arizona Department of Administration, the Arizona Real Estate Department and other state agencies. The purpose of the program is to allow a person to test innovative products or services without having to obtaining authorization that would otherwise be required. The measure establishes an application process, describes the scope of the program, outlines provisions relating to consumer protection and disclosure, and establishes record keeping, reporting, monitoring and enforcement requirements. The Property Technology Sandbox Program terminates on July 1, 2029. See Laws 2019, Chapter 9.
Laws 2021, Chapter 84 requires the Authority to compile information regarding in-demand jobs in Arizona, including starting salaries, required education, cost of tuition, information on student loans and graduation rates. The Authority is required to annually transmit the information to all public high schools in the state and to post the information on its website.
Laws 2022, Chapter 187 expanded the regulatory sandbox program (established in 2018) by modifying the definition of ‘innovation’ to eliminate its application to only financial products or services.
A second measure enacted in 2022 established the Water Infrastructure and Commerce Grant Fund within the Authority. Grants are to be used to design and construct water infrastructure at locations that employ more than 250 employees in counties with a population between 400,000 and 1 million, or for public service corporations that provide water on behalf of the employer. The measure outlines administrative duties, criteria to award grants, requires an assessment of the direct economic impact of the grant, and requires an annual report. See Laws 2022, Chapter 312.
A third measure enacted in 2022 established the State Broadband Office within the Authority, outlines duties and responsibilities of the Office, and requires development of a state broadband plan. See Laws 2022, Chapter 384.
- Arizona Revised Statutes §§41-1501 et seq.
- Session Laws
- Laws 2011, Second Special Session, Chapter 1
- Laws 2012, Chapter 170
- Laws 2016, Chapter 114
- Laws 2018, Chapter 66
- Laws 2019, Chapter 9 and Chapter 45
- Laws 2021, Chapter 84
- Laws 2022, Chapter 187, Chapter 312 and Chapter 384
Arizona Commerce Authority website
Performance Audit and Sunset Review, Arizona Commerce Authority, 2015
Performance Audit and Sunset Review Highlights, Arizona Commerce Authority, 2015
RELATED COLLECTIONS AT ARIZONA STATE ARCHIVES
- Record Group 140 – Department of Commerce