The State Bar of Arizona's Government Relations Department interacts with, and is a resource to state and federal governmental entities, as well as members of the Bar. Please feel free to contact the Government Relations Department if you have questions about these processes, specific legislation or rule changes, or the Bar's position on particular issues.
The Government Relations Department monitors the legislative priorities of the State Bar of Arizona based on the directive of the Board of Governors, and as set forth in Rule 32(a)(1), Arizona Rules of the Supreme Court.
Any State Bar section or committee may initiate new legislation. Their proposal may be vetted among other relevant sections or committees for their review in advance of the Board of Governor's consideration.
Proposals are then submitted to the Board during the fall preceding the beginning of the legislative session in January. If the Board endorses the proposal, the State Bar Lobbyist will guide the bill through the legislative process.
The basic public positions the Bar may take are: support or opposition, or no position if a bill is not sufficiently relevant to the Bar's mission to warrant taking a public position. The support or oppose position is limited to a relatively small number of bills in order to preserve the Bar's lobbying effectiveness and is reserved for bills which are seen as central to the interests of the Bar and which appear to have some viability in the Legislature.
If the Board does not endorse the proposed legislation, their action in no way diminishes the right of every member to express, in his or her individual capacity, support or opposition to any legislation. Individuals in a section or committee are free to advocate their own position as long as they clearly indicate that they are not speaking on behalf of the State Bar of Arizona.
Keller v. State Bar of California 496 U.S. 1 (1990) requires that the State Bar's legislative positions must be narrowly limited to specific issues. The Bar's credibility is related to the expertise, which the Bar is able to bear on any given issue, and the extent to which our views are not seen as being self-serving, but as promoting the interests of the legal profession, the public in improving the administration of justice and in promoting advancements in Arizona jurisprudence. The Bar does not take positions that are divisive among its membership. On January 1, the Arizona Supreme Court published a new Rule 32 which gives a member who objects to particular State Bar lobbying activities the ability to request a refund of the portion of their annual fee allocable to those activities at the end of the membership year. You can read more here.
The State Bar's ability to maintain an effective legislative program is directly dependent upon its members continuing to devote their time and efforts to legislative analysis, and their active involvement in the legislative process. If you have questions regarding the State Bar's government affairs, contact Joe Hengemuehler.
As a courtesy to members during the current legislative session, the State Bar publishes Bar track, a weekly legislative newsletter tracking bills that could affect the legal profession in Arizona. To be added to the dirstibution list, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other Legislative Resources: