2022 Sine Die Report
An analysis of the content and output of the 2022 legislative session in Arizona, co-authored by Niles Corder and Jeanne Woodbury.On This Page
Overview & Motivation
Each year, the Arizona legislature meets from early January to Sine Die – the final day – often in late June, to sponsor, discuss, and pass into law or the public record hundreds of bills and resolutions. At Equality Arizona, we spend the majority of the legislative session keeping on top of the bills that are core to the challenges facing our community. Over the past decade, this has meant contending with an ever increasing number of bills targeting trans people and LGBTQ+ children, along with threats to our fundamental freedoms of speech, association, and bodily autonomy. One side effect of this is that we don’t often get to share the full picture of what goes on in the legislature; for all of the harm even one anti-LGBTQ+ bill can cause, the record numbers proposed this year still only make up a small percentage of the legislature’s total.
We thought it would be interesting to quantify that, so we ran an analysis of every bill and resolution sponsored in the Arizona legislature this year, and tallied up the number of items sponsored across a range of topics. Good, bad, or something more complex, the amount of legislation on the subject of LGBTQ+ rights accounted for only 1.43% of the total. Everything pertaining to reproductive rights (a wide net including abortion access, foster care, and more) accounts for another 2.98%. So where else are legislators spending their time? And what can we gain from learning more about that?
Before we answer that second question, let’s go over the categories we defined to structure our data.
- Education (10.76% of sponsored items)
- Housing (4.18% of sponsored items)
- Transportation (3.66% of sponsored items)
- Economic Development (3.95% of sponsored items)
- Climate + Water (6.12% of sponsored items)
- Healthcare (10.07% of sponsored items)
- Disabilities (1.60% of sponsored items)
- Justice (13.97% of sponsored items)
- Guns (1.60% of sponsored items)
- Democracy (11.96% of sponsored items)
- Reproductive Rights (2.98% of sponsored items)
- LGBTQ+ Rights (1.43% of sponsored items)
- Other (27.70% of sponsored items)
Curious about this category? Many of the items that ended up here were vehicle bills, like technical corrections, that were only sponsored to be a convenient platform for strike-everything bills later in the session. Other significant contributors were resolutions commemorating the deaths of significant individuals, establishing new holidays, or sponsoring new speciality license plates.
It’s important to note that these are subjective categorizations, and an imperfect system. When a bill connected to multiple issues, it came down to a judgment call; LGBTQ+ education bills would always end up in the LGBTQ+ category, for example. In some cases, a bill might have an intent that diverges from the topline subject of the bill (this was common for legislation written in response to the pandemic) so we would categorize those according to their intent. With this in mind, we’re publishing all of our raw data, which in turn references the publicly available information on the Arizona Legislature’s website.
So what can we learn from this?
One common use case for legislative tracking like this is to create scorecards for each legislator. They can be an important tool for accountability and a useful gauge of what to expect when engaging with a legislator on the issues you care about. For a project like that, we would track how each legislator voted on LGBTQ-specific items, and then assign a score to show how their votes aligned with LGBTQ+ rights. But in many cases, the votes don’t tell the whole story; dangerous policies can be killed before they reach a vote, or neutralized through amendments, and votes from a minority caucus can’t easily translate into real policy outcomes. When we meet with legislators, we’re often trying to win their first pro-LGBTQ+ vote, and that requires taking the time to see the legislature and the legislative process the way they do. What we realized we wanted to see was something more like player stats than a scoreboard. If we’re meeting with a legislator about something that’s important to us, is it an issue they spend a lot of time on, or not? Where do they focus their attention? Are they generally successful at getting bills passed, or not? We’ve compiled that data for all 90 legislators from the 2022 session, but before we get there, let’s look at some of the highlights.
Category by category, how many bills became law?
- Education: 39 bills out of 188 total items
- Housing: 17 bills out of 73 total items
- Transportation: 19 bills out of 64 total items
- Economic Development: 14 bills out of 69 total items
- Climate + Water: 23 bills out of 107 total items
- Healthcare: 62 bills out of 176 total items
- Disabilities: 9 bills out of 28 total items
- Justice: 58 bills out of 244 total items
- Guns: 0 bills out of 28 total items
- Democracy: 20 bills out of 209 total items
- Reproductive Rights: 10 bills out of 52 total items
- LGBTQ+ Rights: 5 bills out of 25 total items
Category by category, where did each party focus?
- Education: Democrats, 17.96% | Republicans, 12.46%
- Housing: Democrats, 7.47% | Republicans, 1.67%
- Transportation: Democrats, 3.66% | Republicans, 3.97%
- Economic Development: Democrats, 8.44% | Republicans, 2.82%
- Climate + Water: Democrats, 8.06% | Republicans, 2.66%
- Healthcare: Democrats, 6.77% | Republicans, 12.74%
- Disabilities: Democrats, 1.94% | Republicans, 0.80%
- Justice: Democrats, 11.13% | Republicans, 11.18%
- Guns: Democrats, 1.00% | Republicans, 2.67%
- Democracy: Democrats, 5.06% | Republicans, 20.30%
- Reproductive Rights: Democrats, 4.84% | Republicans, 2.66%
- LGBTQ+ Rights: Democrats, 1.79% | Republicans, 2.09%
How effective was each party?
- Received a committee hearing: Democrats, 14.38% of their items | Republicans, 67.49% of their items
- Passed by chamber of origin: Democrats, 15.52% of their items | Republicans, 54.96% of their items
- Became law: Democrats, 5.79% of their items | Republicans, 33.02% of their items
Individual Legislator Records
- Most items sponsored by one legislator: Raquel Terán, 169 items
- Fewest items sponsored by one legislator: Michelle Ugenti-Rita, 18 items
- Most successful Republican: David Gowan, 45 items passed into law
- Most effective Republican: Rick Gray, 66% of his items passed into law
- Most successful Democrat: Amish Shah, 17 items passed into law
- Most effective Democrat: Amish Shah, 26.56% of his items passed into law
Category by category, who sponsored the most items?
- Education: Christian Solorio, 31 sponsored items
- Housing: Christian Solorio, 17 sponsored items
- Transportation: Tyler Pace, 11 sponsored items
- Economic Development: Raquel Terán, 23 sponsored items
- Climate + Water: Christian Solorio, 22 sponsored items
- Healthcare: Nancy Barto, 32 sponsored items
- Disabilities: Jennifer Longdon, 10 sponsored items
- Justice: Martin Quezada, 40 sponsored items
- Guns: Jennifer Longdon, 10 sponsored items
- Democracy: John Fillmore, 47 sponsored items
- Reproductive Rights: Raquel Terán & Rosanna Gabaldon, 9 sponsored items
- LGBTQ+ Rights: John Fillmore, 6 sponsored items
Category by category, who was the most focused?
- Education: Michelle Udall, 45.10% of her sponsored items
- Housing: Lela Alston, 15.94% of her sponsored items
- Transportation: Tyler Pace, 22.00% of his sponsored items
- Economic Development: Juan Mendez & Robert Meza, 20.00% of their sponsored items
- Climate + Water: Juan Mendez, 24.00% of his sponsored items
- Healthcare: Nancy Barto, 42.11% of her sponsored items
- Disabilities: Christine Marsh, 8.20% of her sponsored items
- Justice: Martin Quezada, 26.32% of his sponsored items
- Guns: Daniel Hernandez, 19.15% of his sponsored items
- Democracy: Kelly Townsend, 53.85% of her sponsored items
- Reproductive Rights: Lupe Contreras, 14.63% of his sponsored items
- LGBTQ+ Rights: Diego Espinoza, 8.00% of his sponsored items
Data & Methodology
Using publicly available data from the Arizona Legislature, hosted on azleg.gov, we reviewed all 1,747 items sponsored in the 2022 regular session across both the state Senate and state House of Representatives, and sorted them into the categories described above. We decided at the beginning not to sort these bills based on any political consideration, such as pro-LGBTQ or anti-LGBTQ, primarily because we wanted to ensure that the data reflected the degree to which each legislator focused on a topic, rather than their beliefs, but also because in many categories there simply aren't two directly opposed sides of an issue.
Another early decision was to sort each item into only one category, which occasionally meant discerning which topic was the focus of a bill. A good example would be HB 2011, an education bill targeting LGBTQ+ students, which we chose to sort into the LGBTQ+ Rights category instead of the more generic Education category. Rather than creating a separate COVID-19 category, we chose to categorize those items under Healthcare, which introduced some interesting decisions, including sorting HB 2613 into Healthcare, despite the content of the bill, which was designed to discourage vaccination messages on ADOT highway signs but does not directly reference COVID-19.
For transparency, we've made our entire dataset available online as a read-only Google Sheet. The first two pages document our categorizations of each item and provide overall statistics from the legislature as a whole. The page titled Full Data presents the statistics for all 30 senators and 60 representatives, and the subsequent 90 pages show the detailed data for each legislator.