The Arizona LegislatureOn This Page
Our defining vision is for LGBTQ+ Arizonans to be fully involved and included in the civic and political functions of our state. On this page, you can find action alerts and policy updates on all the legislation affecting Arizona's LGBTQ+ communities. You can also sign up for action alert emails or subscribe to our podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or with the RSS feed. We publish these guides as a resource to help LGBTQ+ Arizonans get informed and engaged in civic advocacy. For more information about the Arizona legislature, keep reading!
Tracking the Arizona Legislature
By sheer volume, 2022 was the worst year on record for anti-LGBTQ+ policy in state legislatures around the nation. Here in Arizona, we faced an onslaught of legislative attacks, from bills targeting kids and their support systems to book bans and preemptive restrictions on gender neutral identity documents. Some ideas that we’ve successfully rebuffed before, like a law banning trans girls from school sports, found success this year, and disturbing new proposals, like the criminalization of gender-affirming care, nearly made it into law.
Through organized, citizen-based advocacy, the vast majority of anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced this session never made it out of the legislature. In some cases, these were more draconian versions of bills that did pass: compared to SB 1138, SB 1130 would have banned gender-affirming care for both youth and vulnerable adults by classifying it as abuse and criminalizing providers, while SB 1046 (a trans student athlete ban like SB 1165) would have subjected cis and trans girls alike whose genders were questioned to invasive testing and genital inspections. To learn more about any of the bills listed below, visit azleg.gov and search by the bill number.
Anti-LGBTQ+ Bills Signed Into Law
Senate Bill 1138
Summary: Originally written as a total ban on gender-affirming care for youth. With a strike-everything amendment, the bill has been narrowed to a ban on gender-affirming surgery for youth, interfering with international standards of care created and maintained by medical experts.
Senate Bill 1165
Summary: Bans trans girls from girls sports in schools. A similar exclusion does not apply to boys sports.
Senate Bill 1399
Summary: Would permit discrimination in adoption and foster care services on the basis of religious preference, under the guise of protecting religious groups from discrimination.
Successfully Amended Anti-LGBTQ+ Bills
House Bill 2161
Summary: As originally written, would have expanded parental access to school and medical records in ways that could violate the privacy of minors, particularly LGBTQ+ children. Along with an initial requirement in the bill for teachers to out trans students to their parents, these concerns have been removed by a series of amendments.
House Bill 2495
Summary: Bans books and other materials with depictions or descriptions of sexual conduct. Originally included a blanket ban on “homosexuality,” but has been amended.
Failed Anti-LGBTQ+ Bills
Senate Bill 1045
Summary: Would ban gender-affirming care for youth and require school employees to out trans kids.
Senate Bill 1046
Summary: Would ban trans girls from girls sports in schools. Requires invasive testing and genital inspections for girls whose gender is questioned.
Senate Bill 1049
Summary: Introduces $5,000 penalties against schools for violations of the parent's bill of rights, the legal cornerstone of many anti-LGBTQ+ bills.
Senate Bill 1130
Summary: Defines gender affirming care for children and vulnerable adults as a form of abuse, criminalizing providers.
House Bill 2011
Summary: Targets GSA clubs in schools by introducing a parental opt-in requirement and other restrictions.
House Bill 2292
Summary: Mandates that Arizona birth certificates are only issued with M or F gender markers.
House Bill 2293
Summary: Stipulates that schools cannot require employees to respect a student’s pronouns or penalize them for misgendering students.
House Bill 2294
Summary: Would prevent state agencies like the MVD or vital records department from issuing documents with gender markers other than M or F.
House Bill 2314
Summary: Ban trans kids from school bathrooms, changing rooms, and other “multi-occupancy facilities” appropriate to their genders.
House Bill 2608
Summary: Originally written as a total ban on gender-affirming care for youth, it may be subject to a strike-everything amendment on an unrelated issue.
How the Legislature Runs
The schedule and parliamentary procedures of the Arizona Legislature can feel archaic and impenetrable, but they don't have to be. With the important caveat that almost every rule can be bent by a simple majority vote, the schedule of the session and the process a bill follows to become a law are largely the same as they have been for decades. The legislature's own guide to the process dates back to the year 2000, but it's still worth a read.
2022 Session Calendar
- January 31 | last day for the introduction of bills in the Arizona Senate.
- February 7 | last day for the introduction of bills in the Arizona House.
- February 18 | last day to hear bills in their chamber of origin. If a Senate bill doesn't make it to a committee meeting in the Senate by this date, or a House bill to a committee meeting in the House, that bill is dead.
- Crossover Week. After the February 18 committee deadline, passing and transmitting bills to the next chamber is prioritized during the following week.
- March 25 | last day to consider House bills in the Senate, or Senate bills in the House. After passing one chamber of the legislature and being transmitted to the other, if a bill doesn't receive a committee meeting by this date, it's dead.
- April 15 | last day to consider bills in conference committees. After passing through both chambers, the version of a House bill that passes the Senate might not be the same the one that passed the House. Conference committees are formed to resolve the differences between both versions.
- April 19 | Day 100. The Saturday after the 100th day of the session, the legislative session is set to adjourn sine die. However, this can be extended by a majority vote.
- June 25 | Sine Die. This Latin phrase is used to mark the end of the session, effectively meaning that there are no more days left. If the session runs its prescribed course this year, this will fall on April 23. In 2022, the session did not adjourn sine die until June 25.
What It's All About
From the start of the session to sine die, lawmakers introduce, debate, amend, and vote on updates to the Arizona Revised Statutes. From the first draft to the Governor's desk (or the ballot), there are countless ways for a bill to die or be brought back to life. Bills aren't always written with the expectation that they'll become law, or even that they'll get a committee assignment. It's a complicated and high-stakes conversation about Arizona's needs, values, and direction as a state. That conversation needs your voice.
How to Make Your Voice Heard
With new waves of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation swirling around the state capitol each year, most of it cut-and-paste copies of bills from other states or fill-in-the-blank templates from homophobic and transphobic special interest groups, it certainly doesn't feel like the Arizona legislature is listening to Arizona's communities. But you can make your voice heard. Every year, victories for LGBTQ+ rights are won at the capitol through public testimony, good-faith conversation, and intentional relationship building.
Request to Speak on azleg.gov
You don't have to go to the capitol to keep up to date with what's going on in the legislature. Bills, amendments, and agendas for committee meetings are all available on azleg.gov, where you can watch livestreams and archived videos of the legislative process. With a tool called Request to Speak, you can sign up to give testimony on the issues you care about in committee. Last year, the legislature allowed remote testimony, but in 2022 this is no longer an option. If you need help activating your account, preparing your testimony, or getting to the capitol, let us know.
Tips for Testimony
- Be prepared. Understand how legislation is designed to shape conversation, and try to reframe the issue around your own principles. Especially when it comes to anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, you don't need to accept the conversation on their terms. Research their claims, investigate their priorities, and center the real people and communities the bills would affect.
- Be prepared to adjust. When you're in a committee meeting, lawmakers won't always ask the same questions or use the same words you would to discuss an issue or a piece of legislation. It's important to pay attention to how they think things through, and to have the conversation that's happening in the room. Not everyone is going to listen, but people can and do change when we can establish a genuine dialogue.
- Follow procedure. It's common for testimony to be limited to just two minutes, so it can be helpful to practice with a stopwatch. When you begin your testimony or answer a question, always speak "through the chair," addressing the chair of the committee first, and only then the other members (even when you're answering a question from someone other than the chair).
Meet Your Legislators
Arizona is drawn into 30 legislative districts, each of which elects a senator and two representatives. With redistricting and a recent wave of resignations, the waters are a little muddier, but with the search tool at the end of this page, you can find the three legislators who represent you specifically at the capitol. By and large, most legislators really do want to hear from their constituents; you can call or email them, or even set a meeting. It can be hard to get on their calendars, and intimidating to have a face-to-face conversation with an elected official, so we're here to help. Contact Equality Arizona, and we'll help you to schedule and prepare for a meeting with your legislators.