Arizona Law and Government

Arizona Law and Government

The governing document and the framework of the State of Arizona are laid down by its Constitution. The constitution which is the first and the only one was approved in the year 1912, after the state got into the statehood of the United States of America. The preamble and the thirty articles included in the Arizonian constitution lays down the duties which the government and the other public offices should be following and the rights and freedom people living in the state of Arizona should enjoy in order to create a better state.
Phoenix, the State Capitol
Phoenix, the largest metropolitan city in Arizona was designated as Arizona's state capitol from the time the state was admitted into the American Union (in the year 1912). But the copper domed Capitol building of the state was build when the area was still a little territory, back in 1901 to demonstrate the effort that the Arizonan territory was ready to get into Statehood. The house of Representation, the lower house of the Arizonan state legislature and the senate building and the executive office building were dedicated in the year's 1960 and 1974 respectively. Later these offices were relocated into an adjacent building and the original capitol building was then converted into a museum displaying the history and the culture of the state of Arizona along the years. A number of memorials and monuments can also be seen at the site of the capitol complex which includes the granite display of the Ten Commandments, the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum, a fifteen thousand seat indoor arena and also one of the navy ships that were sunk in the Pearl Harbor, the USS Arizona.
State Legislative branch
Arizona has a bicameral parliament or the bicameral parliament with thirty senate members and 60 members from the house of the representatives. The republican party of Arizona currently holds the power in both the houses and this has been so since the year 1993. The legislatures are elected for a term of two years but the number of terms a person can complete is not limited. The two year term includes the first year or the first regular session and the second year referred to as the second regular session. Each of the two sessions begins on the second Monday in January and ends on the Saturday of the week where the 100th day from the regular session falls. This can be extended up to a seven more days by the President of the Senate or the Speaker of the House of Representative. Any further extension can be done only by a majority of support vote from the both house.
State Executive Branch
The Governor of the State, who is elected for a four year term, heads the State Executive branch. Though the governor can run the state in any number of terms, consecutive terms only up to an 8 years (2 terms) is also allowed. The executive tower at the state capitol houses all the executive offices of Arizona but no governor's mansion is maintained by the state and the elected Governor are required to stay at their private residence or wherever they feel comfortable. Secretary of State, State Treasurer, State Attorney General, Superintendent of Public Instruction, State Mine Inspector and the corporation commission of five members includes the other elected executive officials who also serve a four year term at the office. The state of Arizona doesn't have a post for lieutenant governor, the post just below the Governor; rather the secretary of the state is the most powerful person after the governor and is the first in the succession line. So in any case that the Governor discontinues in the office, it is the secretary who takes up the post, after which comes the attorney general, state treasurer and superintendent of public instruction. Jan Brewer, the current governor of the state has risen from the post of Secretary after the former Governor; Janet Napolitano was nominated for the post of Secretary of Homeland Security.
State Judicial Branch
The highest court in Arizona is the Arizona Supreme court and it includes a one chief justice, a vice chief justice, and three associate justices who are appointed by the governor for a two year term after which they are re elected to the post. First reelection is followed by subsequent reelections which occur after every six years. Almost all appellant cases goes through the Arizona Court of Appeals before it reaches the Supreme court, but in case of death penalty and in a few other circumstances, the supreme court has appellate jurisdiction. The immediate court under the Supreme Court in the state of Arizona is the Arizona Court of Appeals which is again divided into two, one based in Phoenix and the other based in the city of Tucson. Each of the fifteen counties in the state also has a superior court of its own which is dependent on the size and population of the particular county.
Current Elected Officials
  • Governor of Arizona: Jan Brewer (R) (succeeded to office)
  • Secretary of State: Ken Bennett (R) (appointed to office)
  • Attorney General: Terry Goddard (D)
  • State Treasurer: Dean Martin (R)
  • Superintendent of Public Instruction: Tom Horne (R)
  • State Mine Inspector: Joe Hart (R)
  • Corporation Commissioners: Gary Pierce (R), Kristin Mayes (R), Bob Stump (R), Sandra D. Kennedy (D), and Paul Newman. (D)