Organization of the Arizona Legislature

Instructor: Lisa Roundy

Lisa has taught at all levels from kindergarten to college and has a master's degree in human relations.

The legislative branch of each state is organized in a unique way and the Arizona State Legislature is no different. This lesson will discuss how the Arizona State Legislature is arranged and managed.

Organizational Overview

Each state in the United States has the power to organize its own legislative branch. Because of this, all state legislative bodies are not organized in the same way. If you had to make a guess, how many different types of state legislative bodies would you say exist? If you guessed 50 you would be correct.

Some states may have a similar organization of their legislatures, but no two are exactly alike. State legislatures can vary in size, name, structure, and in any other manner the state deems necessary. However, most state legislatures do have a basic bicameral structure.

A bicameral system is a legislative structure consisting of two separate legislative bodies. Think of the United States Congress. It has two separate parts, the Senate and the House of Representatives. This is an example of a bicameral system of legislature.

This lesson will discuss the Arizona State Legislature. The Arizona Legislature is also a bicameral system, consisting of an upper house and a lower house. Like in the United States Congress, the lower house is called the House of Representatives and the upper house is called the Senate.

Arizona State Legislature

Let's look at the overall organization of the Arizona State Legislature first. There are 30 legislative districts in Arizona. Each district has one Senator and two House members. This makes a total of 90 legislators who hold office in the Arizona State Legislature. The Senate and House of Representatives choose their own officers and rules of procedure. They meet at the Capitol Complex in Phoenix, the state capital of Arizona.

Each legislator must be at least 25 years old and a citizen of the United States. They also must have lived in Arizona for at least three years and must have lived in their elected county for at least one year. Each term of office for legislators in Arizona is two years and no legislator may serve more than four consecutive terms of office.

Look at the following checklist. If you can check all of the boxes, then you are eligible to run for office in the Arizona State Legislature.

Requirements to run for the Arizona State Legislature.

The Arizona House of Representatives

The Arizona House of Representatives is the lower house. In this case, being the lower house means they have more members and represent the public. Two representatives are elected from each legislative district for a total of 60 members of the House. On average, as of the 2010 census, 106,534 residents of Arizona are represented by each member.

The House of Representatives is led by the Speaker of the House, who is elected by majority vote. New legislation passes through the House of Representatives before heading to the Senate for approval. The House of Representatives has 19 standing committees. Standing committees are the committees that are permanent and meet regularly. These committees recommend legislation in specific areas.

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