Understanding the Legislative Process
Even if you weren’t around when it first aired in 1976, you’re probably familiar with Schoolhouse Rock’s It’s Just a Bill. The helpful video explains the journey a bill takes to become law. If you’ve ever found yourself yearning for a refresher on how that happens, or for information on what to do to have your voice heard regarding upcoming legislation, Raising Special Kids has collected some helpful resources.
Lawmakers will propose thousands of bills but not all bills will become law. To see all the bills currently submitted for consideration, visit https://www.azleg.gov/bills/. There are separate tabs for bills proposed by the members of the House of Representatives and those proposed by members of the Senate. The Arizona Republic produced this helpful flow chart explaining the process any bill takes from its first reading to the Governor’s desk.
How to Get Involved
To share your opinion on proposed legislation, Arizonans can do so in person by attending a hearing at the Legislature and requesting to speak in front of the committee hearing the bill. For many, that is inconvenient at best. Thankfully, Arizona has developed the RTS (Request to Speak) system which allows you to make your voice heard by supporting or opposing legislation while it’s being heard in committees from anywhere. You do not need to attend the hearing in person. If you don’t want to speak or even type up your thoughts on a bill, you can simply click a button to express whether you support or oppose it. This gives lawmakers an idea of how many Arizonans are watching a bill and how they feel about it.
Before using the RTS application for the first time, you must register in person at the Arizona Legislature. If it is impractical for you to visit the Capitol, the organization Civic Engagement Beyond Voting will create an account for you. Their runners are at the Capitol at least twice a week, so it should not take long after submitting their form to hear news of your account. They also send instructions, helpful links, and Legislature Weekly (Iyer Report) every weekend during the Legislative session. CEBV also provides free RTS training.
Thank you for staying informed and using your voice to advocate for families of children with disabilities!