Legislative Terms & Acronyms

Arizona State Legislative Terms & Acronyms

A world full of terms and acronyms can be hard to navigate. Take a look at our list of most commonly used terms and acronyms to familiarize yourself with common industry terminology, or use the list as a reference when you need it.

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Absent Parent - An individual who is absent from the home and is legally responsible for providing financial and/or medical support for a dependent child, as specified by A.A.C. R9-22-1001.

Ad hoc committee

An informal committee

Adjournment - To end the day’s proceedings. Regular adjournment sets the date for the next meeting. Adjournment “sine die” is Latin for “without a day” and marks the end of the legislative session because it does not set a time for reconvening. It terminates all unfinished business.

ALIS Online - The Internet service provided by the legislature to make available to the general public most of the paperwork of the legislature. The ALIS Online address is http://www.azleg.state.az.us

APPROPS - Appropriations Committee for the House or Senate

Amendment - Changes in pending legislation by adding, deleting or modifying material

Appropriation - Money allocated by the Legislature to various departments or agencies for their operation

Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) - The laws of Arizona. The set of books which contains the Constitution and laws enacted by the Legislature to govern the state. These are updated each legislative session. http://www.azleg.gov/ArizonaRevisedStatutes.asp


Bicameral - A legislature composed of two houses – in Arizona the House and the Senate. Only the State of Nebraska has a unicameral, or one house, legislature.

Bill - A proposal of a new law, the amendment or repeal of an existing one, or appropriation of public money. Bills are introduced in either the House of Representatives or the Senate. Senate bills are numbered starting with 1001 and designated “S.B.____” Bills introduced in the House of Representatives are numbered starting with 2001 and designated “H.B.____.”

Bipartisan - Cooperation between members of both political parties


COR (Committee of Reference) - A type of study committee made of Legislators from the House and the Senate that discuss audits and receive testimony, usually regarding sunsets and sunrise applications.  The COR makes a recommendation to the Legislature on the issue requested.

Caucus - "Caucus" is both a noun and a verb. The noun caucus means a group of people who share something in common (for example, they are members of the same political party). The verb caucus describes when these people meet to address their group’s issues.  In the Arizona legislature, there are two caucuses in each body.  The Senate has a Republican and a Democrat Caucus.  The House of Representatives also has a Republican and a Democrat Caucus.

Chair - The person who presides over a committee

Chamber - The area reserved for members and staff for conducting legislative sessions – also called “floor”

Chief Clerk - Chief administrative officer of the House of Representatives elected by the House membership

Concurrence - Action of one house agreeing to or approving proposal or action by the other body

Constituent - A citizen residing within the district of a legislator

COW, Committee of the Whole - The entire House of Representatives or Senate debating legislation and adopting amendments to legislation

Conference Committee - A joint committee made up of Representatives and Senators appointed by the Speaker and the President, respectively. Committee members try to resolve differences in legislative measures between the House of Representatives’ version and the Senate’s version of the measure. A majority of conferees of each chamber is required to approve the compromise before submitting to the entire membership of each chamber for final approval.

Consensus - Broad agreement that the majority of participants can “live” with the issue as stated

Convene - To officially begin a meeting

Cosponsor - A legislator who has helped sponsor a bill, but is not the prime sponsor


Debate - Discussion of a matter according to parliamentary rules

Decorum - Proper conduct of legislator as set forth in House and Senate Rules

District - A geographical area represented by one Senator and two Representatives


Emergency Measure or Emergency Measure - If the sponsor of a bill wants the bill to become immediately operative on the signature of the governor, the bill will contain an emergency clause.  A bill containing an emergency clause must receive a two-thirds vote in each chamber of the legislature in order for the emergency clause to be effective. If the bill is adopted by less than a two-thirds vote, it is considered enacted without the emergency clause and, therefore, becomes effective on the general effective date 

Engrossing - Merging amendments with a bill prior to third or final reading

Engrossed Bill - Official copy of a bill as passed by either the House of Representatives or the Senate

Enrolled Bill - Final official version containing all necessary signatures


First Reading - The initial formal introduction of the bill in either the Senate or the House of Representatives. The Arizona Constitution requires three formal readings.


Gallery - Balcony of the House or Senate chamber from which visitors may view proceedings of the Legislature

General Effective Date - As stated in the Constitution of Arizona, the general effective date of enactments (bills) is the ninety-first day after the date on which the session of the legislature enacting them is adjourned sine die. For example, if the legislature adjourned sine die on May 15, the general effective date would be August 14 the instant after midnight (i.e., 12:01 a.m.). Exceptions to the general effective date include delayed effective dates, bills that are conditionally enacted, an emergency measure, a supplemental appropriation or Proposition 108 measure.

Germaneness - The State Constitution requires that the subjects in any one bill be "germane" to a single subject.  Generally, a court will sustain an act if there is any reasonable basis for grouping the various matters and if a deception would not be perpetrated by the combination.


HB - House Bill

HCM - House Concurrent Memorial

HCR - House Concurrent Resolution

HJM - House Joint Memorial

HJR - House Joint Resolution

HM - House Memorial

HR - House Resolution

Hearing - A formal committee meeting where business is conducted or information is received


Initiative - A method of initiating legislation by the people

Interim - Period between legislative sessions

Interim Committee - A committee which meets between the adjournment of one session of the legislature and the beginning of another. Interim committees often meet to gather facts and hear testimony. What is learned at these hearings often serves as the basis for proposed legislation for the next legislative session. Most interim committees are also joint committees.

Intro Set - Paperwork which authorizes a sponsor to file a bill

Introduction of Legislation - Bills, memorials, resolutions may be introduced during the first 29 days of the first and second regular sessions, and the first 10 days of a special session. House and Senate rules spell out provisions for prefiling.


JLAC - Joint Legislative Audit Committee

JLBC - Joint Legislative Budget Committee

Joint Committee - Committee which has members of both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Some joint committees also have members of the general public. 

Journal - Official chronological record of each chamber. Contains all roll call votes, attendance records, committee assignments, daily record of events, but is not a verbatim transcript.



Laid over - A postponement of consideration of legislative measure for a day. Usually in connection with introduction and committee assignments in the Senate.

Legislative Council - Staffing arm of the legislature, primarily charged with the actual drafting of proposed legislation.

Legislative Page - Non-partisan staff often referred to as “pages” that serve all 90 members of the House and the Senate. The Page program introduces students to the mechanics of the legislative process in an environment that fosters professional development and academic exploration

Legislature - In Arizona, the Legislature is made up of the House of Representatives and the Senate.  The House of Representatives has 60 members and the Senate has 30 members.  Each Representative or Senator is elected to a two-year term from one of the 30 Legislative Districts (one senator and two representative for each district).  Legislators may not serve more than four consecutive terms in that office.

Lobbyist - Person who seeks directly or indirectly to encourage the passage, defeat, or modification of any legislation


Majority - Group of legislators, usually of the same political party, who have greatest number of elected members and who control top leadership positions. Also the number of members - 31 in the House and 16 in the Senate - necessary to pass most legislation.

Minority - Group of legislators, usually of the same political party, who numbers the fewest members in each chamber



OSPB - Governor’s Office of Strategic Planning & Budget


Prime Sponsor - The legislator listed first on the list of sponsors for the bill.  The main champion for the bill or measure.   The prime sponsor can be the only sponsor.

President - Presiding officer in the Senate elected by Senate members

Pro Tempore - Designated officer of House or Senate to act in absence of Speaker or President

Prop 108 - Article IX, § 22, Constitution of Arizona, requires that if a bill provides for a net increase in state revenues through a new tax, tax increase, change in a tax exemption, new or increased fee or assessment, elimination of an exemption to a fee or assessment or change in state tax revenue allocations among state and local governments, the bill must receive a two-thirds vote of the members of each house of the legislature and is effective immediately on the governor's signature. These bills are often called "Prop. 108" bills in reference to the 1992 ballot proposition that enacted this constitutional provision.  Bills that require a two-thirds vote go into effect on the day the governor signs the bill into law. Therefore, if the bill also contains effective date sections or a conditional enactment, these provisions have no effect.

Prop 105 - In the 1998 general election the voters passed Proposition 105, which amended article IV, part 1, § 1, Constitution of Arizona, to prohibit the legislature from repealing "an initiative measure approved by a majority of the votes cast thereon . . ." and to allow the legislature to amend laws enacted or amended through an initiative or referendum only if "the amending legislation furthers the purposes of such measure and at least three-fourths of the members of each house of the legislature, by a roll call of ayes and nays, vote to amend such measure." Proposition 105 applies to all legislation enacted by initiative or referendum beginning with the 1998 general election.  Unless the bill contains an emergency provision or triggers the requirements of Proposition 108, a Proposition 105 bill has a general effective date.

Prefiling - The ability for legislators to submit legislation (bills, resolutions, etc.) for the next legislative session prior to the legislative session officially starting


Qualifications of Members of the Legislature - Must be a citizen of the United States, an Arizona resident of at least three years, and at least 25 years of age. Must be a resident of the county from which they are elected at least one year before the election.

Quorum - A majority of the membership necessary to conduct business


RCV - Roll Call Vote

Recall - Constitutional process by which elected officials may be removed from office

Recess - Intermission in daily session or committee meeting

Reconsider, motion to - A parliamentary maneuver aimed at getting a second chance to vote on a bill

Referendum - Constitutional process by which the Legislature or qualified voters may refer certain legislative measures to a vote of the electorate.

RFE - Requirements for Enactment

RFEIR - Requirement for enactment for initiatives and referendums

Regular Session - Each year the legislature convenes on the second Monday in January. There are two regular sessions for each legislative body – for example, the first regular session of the 52nd Legislature was in 2015 and the second regular session of the 52nd Legislature was in 2016. 2017 marked the first regular session of the 53rd Legislature and 2018 the second regular session of the 53rd Legislature.

Rules - The set of regulations and parliamentary procedures adopted separately by House and Senate

Rules Committee - In each house of the legislature the committee on rules is charged with considering the constitutionality and proper form of bills and the reasonable germaneness of amendments.


S/C - Subcommittee

S/E - Strike-Everything Amendment

SB - Senate Bill

SCM - Senate Concurrent Memorial

SCR - Senate Concurrent Resolution

Secretary of Senate - Chief administrative officer of the Senate elected by Senate membership

Select Committee - Created by the Speaker or President to handle specific matters and usually dissolved when the purpose of the committee is accomplished. Includes one or more member from the private sector.

Senate Calendar - A listing of bills ready for third or final reading.

Session - A meeting of the legislature. Each two-year legislature has two regular sessions. Each session begins on the second Monday in January and adjourns when its business is done.

Session Law - A) a book prepared each year which contains those sections of the Arizona Revised Statutes which were changed as a result of legislation enacted. B) temporary or nonpermanent law, such as a law authorizing a study committee of limited duration.

Sit COW - Sitting as in the Committee of the Whole

Short Title - The reference title, commonly referred to as the short title, appears in the upper right-hand corner of each bill, resolution and memorial. The reference title is used to give a brief idea of the nature of the measure and to aid in indexing, but it is not part of the substantive law of the measure. The reference title is limited to five or fewer words.

SJR - Senate Joint Resolution

SJM - Senate Joint Memorial

SM - Senate Memorial

SR - Senate Resolution

Second Reading - The second of three formal readings.

Sine Die - “Sine die” is Latin for “without a day” and marks the end of the legislative session because it does not set a time for reconvening. It terminates all unfinished business.

Speaker - Presiding officer of the House of Representatives elected by House members

Sponsor - Member of the House or the Senate who gives permission to have a bill introduced in his/her name

Standing Committee - A permanent committee established by the Senate or the House of Representatives where bills are assigned for consideration

Statutory Committee - Created by passage of legislation for specific purpose and with composition of membership defined.  Also known as a study committee.

Strike Everything Amendment (Striker) - An amendment to a bill that replaces the contents of previously introduced or adopted bill. The subject of the striker may or may not have anything to do with the bill it replaces.

Subcommittee - Part of the full committee designed to focus on a single bill or budget issue and make recommendations to the full committee.

Sunrise - Arizona’s sunrise process provides a mechanism for both health professions and nonhealth professions to request regulation and, for health professions, an expansion in scope of practice. The sunrise process begins when an applicant group presents the Joint Legislative Audit Committee (JLAC) with a report defining the need for regulation or scope of practice expansion. JLAC assigns the report to a committee of reference for review and recommendation.

Sunset - Automatic termination of an agency or program on a specific date


TBD - To be determined

Third Reading (also known as Final Reading, 3rd Read) - The third of three formal readings of a bill on the floor of the Senate or House of Representatives. All committee work is finished and all adopted amendments included. On the third reading the entire House or Senate votes on the bill by roll call. If passed, the bill is transmitted to the other chamber for action or to the Governor.


UIR - Unusual Incident Report

Uncompensated Care - Medical services for which no payment is received.


V - Veto

V/O - Veto Override

Vehicle Bill - A bill which acts as a “placeholder” in case an important bill fails

Veto - The action of the Governor in disapproving a legislative measure


W/O E - Without Emergency

W/O S - Without Signature




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