The Legislative Council was established in 1953 when it succeeded to the powers and duties of the State Legislative Bureau and the Special Legislative Committee on State Operations (Laws 1953, Chapter 2). Statutory authority is found in A.R.S.§§41-1301 et seq.
The Legislative Council is a 14-member, statutorily established committee consisting of the President of the Senate, who appoints six Senators and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, who appoints six Representatives. Members serve two-year terms. The purpose of the Council is to improve the quality of legislation and ensure full participation by the legislative branch in determining and reviewing policy and the administration of state affairs.
Council staff provides nonpartisan support to all members of the Legislature, including bill drafting, research, computer and administrative services. The Director of the Council is responsible for publishing a bill drafting manual; publishing a report on defects in the constitution and the laws of the state; preparing session laws and other enacted laws for publication at the end of each session; and blending sections of statute that have been added or amended by two or more enactments.
The Director is also responsible for operating, managing and controlling certain portions of the state capitol building and adjacent grounds, as outlined in A.R.S.§41-1304.05. Jurisdiction for other buildings and facilities in the capitol area is divided among the President of the Senate, Speaker of the House and the Arizona Department of Administration, as outlined in the same section of statute.
The Howell Code, the legal code for the territory, provided for establishment of the Territorial Library at the capitol in 1864 and named the Secretary of the Territory the Territorial Librarian.
The State Library was created in 1915 and included, as one of its divisions, the Law and Legislative Reference Bureau, which was the predecessor of the Legislative Council.
The 1915 law placed the State Library under the control of a three-member board of curators and specifically named Con P. Cronin as the legislative reference librarian (Laws 1915, Chapter 62). Mr. Cronin had served as the Secretary of the State Senate for the first and second legislative sessions. He assumed his duties as librarian on June 10, 1915. His goal for the Legislative Reference Department was to supply “information, data, and bibliography on all matters of current, pending and proposed legislation at five minutes’ notice” (Maxwell, 217-218). In 1932, Con Cronin died and Mulford Winsor was appointed the State Law and Legislative Librarian in his place.
The responsibilities of the Library have remained essentially the same since statehood, although specific duties have changed over time. For example, in 1937, the Legislature created the Department of Library and Archives, combining the State Legislative Bureau, the Library Division, and the Arizona History and Archives Division (Laws 1937, Chapter 32).
The Special Legislative Committee on State Operations was established by Laws 1949, Chapter 63 in order to “make a thorough investigation of the affairs and operations of the various departments and institutions of the state of Arizona.” The committee was required to submit a report which included: a review of the distribution of functions among departments; a plan to establish a budget office and its relationship with the Legislature, Governor, State Auditor and State Tax Commission; and recommendations to consolidate, curtail or eliminate departments in order to accomplish efficiencies and economies in conducting the affairs of the state. The Committee was authorized to employ assistants, auditors, accountants and clerks in order to conduct the survey. The measure included a general fund appropriation of $25,000 to cover committee expenses.
The Committee contracted with Griffenhagen & Associates, a national organization of consultants in public administration and finance with offices in Chicago, New York, Boston and Los Angeles. Two contracts, dated June 18, 1949 and August 30, 1949 were executed. Reports were issued in 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, and 1954 and contained an extensive review of state policies, organization and agency responsibilities. One report, dated January 12, 1953, includes a recommendation to create a Legislative Council consisting of 14 members to provide for research and bill drafting services for legislative members. The report also recommended continuation of the Special Legislative Committee on State Operations until a Legislative Council was created. Suggested draft legislation was included as Appendix G. See Special Legislative Committee on State Operations Report, 1952, page 4 and Appendix G.
Legislative drafting services were provided by the Library until the Legislative Council was established in 1953 (Laws 1953, Chapter 2). The 1953 act transferred to the newly created Legislative Council: 1) the powers and duties of the Special Legislative Committee on State Operations; 2) the powers and duties of the Department of Library and Archives and its Director relating to the Legislative Bureau; and 3) powers and duties of the State Legislative Bureau. All related papers, documents, files, materials and property were transferred as well. A history of the Council and the debate over the merits of its creation, (including the number of members; their geographical distribution; and concerns related to constitutionality) are outlined in The Arizona Legislative Council: Its development, powers and duties, authored by Steve Birringer in 1975.
Correspondence from 1955 describes the Council as a legislative service agency, not a state agency, created to provide bill drafting, research and other services to the Legislature in order to improve the quality of legislation. Its goals included review of policies and administration of state affairs as well as cooperating with other divisions of state government (Letter from Jules M. Klagge, Director of Research to Honorable Clarence Carpenter and Honorable Harry Ruppelius, dated February 22, 1955).
Laws 1972, Chapter 75 required Legislative Council to prepare an analysis of each ballot measure referred by the Legislature as well as arguments for and against the measure. A similar measure was adopted in 1984 that applied to measures placed on the ballot by initiative (Laws 1984, Chapter 197).
Laws 1976, Chapter 161 deleted the requirement for Council to publish slip laws and required each chamber to publish its own journal. The measure also required the House and Senate to publish session laws in alternate years.
Laws 1981, Chapter 286 allowed the Council to purchase, lease and make improvements to land and buildings related to the Legislature; provided that operation, maintenance and security would be provided by the Department of Administration without charge; and authorized the Council to either employ personnel or contract for outside services to perform those functions. The measure also placed the Public Records Retention Center under Council jurisdiction.
Laws 1984, Chapter 197 transferred the responsibility to publish the Blue Book from the Council to the Secretary of State. The Blue Book contains information on the executive, judicial and legislative branches of Arizona government as well as state boards and commissions.
Laws 1990, Chapter 57 changed reports required to be submitted to the Council and eliminated closed meetings of the Council.
Laws 1994 Chapter 215 required the bill drafting manual to include styles and forms for drafting amendments; modified responsibilities for preparing the A.R.S. for publication and required Council to print and distribute session laws.
The office of the Ombudsman for Private Property Rights was established as part of the Council in 1994 in order to represent the interests of private property owners in proceedings involving governmental action. In 2000 the name of the office was changed to the Advocate for Private Property Rights. In 2010, the office was terminated. See Laws 1994, Chapter 277; Laws 2000, Chapter 272 and Laws 2010, Chapter 27.
- A.R.S.§§41-1301 et seq.
- Session Laws
- Laws 1915, Chapter 62
- Laws 1937, Chapter 32
- Laws 1949, Chapter 63
- Laws 1953, Chapter 2
- Laws 1972, Chapter 75
- Laws 1976, Chapter 161
- Laws 1981, Chapter 286
- Laws 1984, Chapter 197 and Chapter 293
- Laws 1990, Chapter 57
- Laws 1994, Chapter 215 and Chapter 277
- Laws 2000, Chapter 272
- Laws 2010, Chapter 27
- Libraries on the Last Frontier; Con Cronin and the Fight for Public Library Service, Margaret Maxwell. The Journal of Arizona History, Autumn 1996, pp 213-230.
- Reports of the Special Legislative Committee on State Operations, Griffenhagen & Associates. 1949 – 1954.
- History of the Arizona State Legislature, 1912-1967, J. Morris Richards. Personal legislative papers, clippings, scrapbooks, manuscript and files from the Arizona Historical Society. Arizona State Archives, Manuscript Group 31 (13 boxes, microfiche).
- The Arizona Legislative Council: Its Development, Powers and Duties, Steve Birringer, ASU Law intern paper, 1975, 87 pages.
- Arizona Documents Classification System, DLAPR, 1993.
- Master List of State Government Programs http://www.ospb.state.az.us
- Arizona Legislative Council https://www.azleg.gov/legislative-council/ provides a complete list of Council documents and publications.