Jerry G. Landau 2012-12-12 01:17:51
Lawyer (lo-yar)1. Notice the “law” part of the word. In Arizona, we have 46 volumes, or titles of “laws”. There are 49 listed titles in the Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) with three having been repealed. This is not even to mention the United States Code and various other state statutes, local ordinances and administrative codes. Attorneys read, interpret, apply and argue these laws. In the Arizona Revised Statutes we see thousands of sections and subsections. We know where they are. However, do we ever actually think about how exactly they got there? As the government affairs director for the Arizona Supreme Court and prior to that as a special assistant Maricopa County attorney, I am in the interesting position of working with legislators, legislative staff and others in actually writing laws. Sitting as a judge pro-tem when the legislature is not in session, some tell me I have the best of both worlds, others say the worst. How a bill becomes a law is what we learn in 10th grade civics, but do we? It is not exactly what we are taught in school. A legislator introduces a bill and a bill becomes a law, but do practicing lawyers have a role in this process. Have you complained about a statute, argued it was ambiguous, were told by a client it needed to be changed? What do you do about it? Ideas for bills originate from various sources. There might be an issue important to an elected member of the legislature that the member wants to address in statute. A constituent will bring an idea to a legislator and the member will decide to run with it. A lobbyist representing a private company, industry or business association will broach an idea to a legislator that is intended to benefit the proponent. State and local governments will suggest legislation to enhance their ability to serve the community. The State Bar Board of Directors after considering a recommendation from one of its practice sections might propose legislation, a group of attorneys might bring an issue to a member with a request for a bill. A recent example of the latter is Chapter 322, Senate Bill 1193, Proposed rules, acceptable data, passed by the Legislature in the recently concluded session and signed by the governor. Late in the process an amendment to the bill that dealt with economic small business and consumer impact statements was adopted to modify the process for seeking review in Superior Court from the decision of an administrative body. Title 12, Chapter 7, Article 6 is Judicial Review of Administrative Procedures. §12-904, Commencement of action; transmission of record states that an action to review a final administrative decision is commenced by filing a complaint in Superior Court. The defendant agency and all other defendants then answer the complaint. For instance, if a person’s driver license is suspended pursuant to the state’s implied consent law2 that person has the right to “appeal” the final decision of the Department of Transportation. This “appeal” under current law is in reality a lawsuit, the person seeking to overturn the suspension “sues” the Department of Transportation. The agency files an answer and the lawsuit proceeds through the system. The Rules of Procedure for Judicial Review from Administrative Decisions govern. SB 1193 abolishes the “complaint and answer” process substituting a Notice of Appeal by the Appellant (Plaintiff) and a Notice of Appearance by the Appellee (Defendant agency). Originating with the State Bar Administrative Law Section, attorneys from the private and public sector, representing both appellants and appellees, both state agencies and regulated industry have been discussing for years changes to the statutes and rules. This year they met over a number of months in order to craft language and propose a draft to a member of the House of Representatives. Other stakeholders became involved, differences were discussed and resolved. After further discussions with the sponsor of the bill and the amendment significant changes were drafted. Ultimately, a final proposal was presented to the sponsors who then moved it through the legislative process. This is an example of how attorneys with an interest in amending statutes and modifying a statutory process got it done. Default to the basic premise. Laws are statutes. Statutes are enacted in a political process. At the legislature, achieving results is all about credibility, relationships, process and knowledge. In order to seek the enactment, repeal or amendment to a statute one must participate in that process.
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