Innovations at the Arizona Legislature
Here in Arizona, we are committed to the latest technology, and using it to serve our great citizens. In the past five years, we have made tremendous progress in transparency, and as a result our electorate is better-informed.
ALIS Remote/Paperless Senate
The Arizona Legislative Information System (ALIS) allows members and staff to go paperless. The program provides easy access to legislative documents (bill versions, amendments, bill status, calendars, committee agendas). ALIS saves the state thousands of dollars, by not having the need to print documents prior to going to the floor or committee.
Legislature website (live proceedings, video archive, bills)
The Arizona Legislature has been recognized in a national study of government webcasts, and its online archive of video is one of the most-viewed. Of 518 government agencies studied, Arizona ranked #4 in most-archived webcasts created, and #7 in most live webcast viewers. Arizona is one of the only states in the country that requires committee agendas distributed five days in advance, and all are posted online.
Real-time Budget Transparency
As part of the Arizona Legislature’s commitment to an open process of establishing a budget for the state, the Joint Legislative Budget Committee is putting all major budget documents on the Web. Anyone with access to a computer can now see the latest updates on the state budget, economic analysis and a fiscal history for the state. The JLBC site even includes updates on overnight borrowing, in light of recent cash flow concerns.
In the past, people interested in speaking before a committee had to fill out “speaker slips”. Now, the public can directly express their views on bills by stepping up to a kiosk right in front of the hearing room. Committee members can directly access all opinions on bills. Once a person has created an account at a kiosk, future requests to speak can be done online.
Expanded public access on first floor
In 2009, the Senate reconfigured several meeting rooms and offices. The goal was to have an entire floor dedicated to public access, furthering the mission of transparency at the Legislature. The Majority Caucus Room moved to this public first floor, and was greatly expanded, with seating for one hundred, more than doubling previous capacity. Security was also improved with this redesign, with all members’ offices moved off the public floor.
Arizona Capitol Television,
In 2007, Arizona Capitol Television brought Senate and House live proceedings into the state’s living rooms. ACTV can be seen on the state’s two largest cable systems, Cox and Comcast, and on the Web at azleg.gov. Arizona Capitol Television provides live and recorded coverage of all Senate and House floor and committee and commission meetings. ACTV and the Legislative Broadcast Center produce original programming, including a half-hour interview program, a half-hour roundtable discussion program and a monthly magazine-style program on special events at the Capitol.
Much of the work done by the nonpartisan Senate Research staff is now online, readily available for people across the state. The Legislative Summary offers an overview of all legislation approved by the Legislature. It features searchable text, and includes vetoed bills, memorials and resolutions. Research Briefs, also published online, features information on issues discussed at the Legislature.
Secretary of State One Stop Shop
In the 2010 Regular Session, lawmakers passed House Bill 2260, which called on the Secretary of State’s Office to establish an online database of rules, codes, ordinances and business license requirements for state agencies, cities and towns. This “one stop shop” helps businesses and start-ups identify regulations that apply to their field. By 2014, state agencies will need to be in compliance, with cities and towns following in 2015.
HOUSE BILL 2260
D. ON OR BEFORE DECEMBER 31, 2013, THE SECRETARY OF STATE SHALL ESTABLISH AN ONLINE DATABASE OF RULES THAT IS SEARCHABLE BY AGENCY, DATE, TOPIC, RULE NUMBER, TYPE OF BUSINESS FOR COMPLIANCE AND TYPE OF ACTIVITY FOR COMPLIANCE.
E. ON OR BEFORE DECEMBER 31, 2014, THE SECRETARY OF STATE SHALL ESTABLISH AN ONLINE DATABASE OF CODES, ORDINANCES AND BUSINESS LICENSE REQUIREMENTS FOR EACH AGENCY THAT IS SEARCHABLE BY AGENCY, DATE, TOPIC, ORDINANCE NUMBER, TYPE OF BUSINESS FOR COMPLIANCE AND TYPE OF ACTIVITY FOR COMPLIANCE. THE SECRETARY OF STATE SHALL LINK THE COUNTY INFORMATION TO THE SEARCHABLE DATABASE PRESCRIBED IN SUBSECTION D. EACH COUNTY SHALL SUPPLYINFORMATION TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE IN A MANNER AND FORMAT PRESCRIBED BY THE SECRETARY OF STATE.
F. ON OR BEFORE DECEMBER 31, 2015, THE SECRETARY OF STATE SHALL ESTABLISH AN ONLINE DATABASE OF CODES, ORDINANCES AND BUSINESS LICENSE REQUIREMENTS FOR EACH CITY AND TOWN THAT IS SEARCHABLE BY CITY OR TOWN, DATE, TOPIC, ORDINANCE OR CODE NUMBER, TYPE OF BUSINESS FOR COMPLIANCE AND TYPE OF ACTIVITY FOR COMPLIANCE. THE SECRETARY OF STATE SHALL LINK THE CITY OR TOWN INFORMATION TO THE SEARCHABLE DATABASE PRESCRIBED IN SUBSECTION D. EACH CITY OR TOWN SHALL SUPPLY INFORMATION TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE IN A MANNER AND FORMAT PRESCRIBED BY THE SECRETARY OF STATE.
Library & Archives
Arizona’s most important documents and historical artifacts now have a new home. In late 2008, the Polly Rosenbaum History and Archives Building opened. The new building protects these documents in a controlled environment. Innovations include a freezer to help preserve water-damaged documents and neutralize contamination by bugs or rats. In the past, records damaged by pests would have been destroyed. The new Archives building also features a humidification room, where brittle records can be infused with moisture.
The Arizona State Library also is taking an active role in implementing virtual and digital services, including full-text state agency publications.