ALIS and RTS: Tools for the politically active
by Patrick O'Malley
Precinct Committeeman LD12
This year there are two applications on the Arizona State Legislature website (azleg.gov) that every Conservative should know about. They are the Arizona Legislative Information System (ALIS, pronounced like Alice) and the Request To Speak (RTS) applications. The Progressives are on board and using RTS to out comment Conservatives by two to one, and all of their comments are read as part of Legislative Committee hearings. We need to speak up or our Legislators will be overwhelmed with comments that don’t support our views.
Both applications deal with new bills under consideration by the Legislature. They both let you search for bills of interest to you and see what committees they have to go through to get to the floor. You can mark bills of interest to you and put them in a personal list so you can check on them quickly.
ALIS vs RTS
The disadvantage of the RTS application is you have to physically go to the State Capitol to create your account, or get somebody to do it for you. After that you can do everything with RTS online. With the ALIS application you can create an account online and track bills, but you can’t make comments. This article focuses on RTS because RTS does everything ALIS does and lets you make comments that will be read in committee meetings.
Signing up on RTS
Are you ready to go to the Capitol and use one of the PC’s in the lobbies of both the Senate and House office buildings to make an RTS account? Or do you have somebody to do it for you? The minimum information required is your email address, your first and last name, and you have to choose a password.
Once you have an account you can login from home and add that you are a registered voter. Start at the www.azleg.gov page and go down the list on the left to General Information and click on Request To Speak. Login using your email address as your username and the password you chose. Click on Settings in the upper right corner and choose Account Management. The screen that appears lets you change your password, and if you choose Update Personal Information you can add that you are a registered voter.
Example of RTS Comments
Let’s look at comments that others have submitted on a bill, using HB2196 as an example. Choose Agenda Search from the left column of RTS, and enter HB2196 as the Search Phrase, and choose Yes for Show Past Agendas. Click on Search and three committee hearings pop up. Choose the 1/30/14 Judiciary hearing.
The agenda for the 1/30/14 House Judiciary hearing comes up and there is a green check mark showing HB2196 passed committee. Click on the bill name or the little blue circle to the left of the name and you can see who commented on the bill, whether they were for or against it, whether they requested to speak, or submitted a written comment, or no comment at all.
Note that in the name column some names have a head with a blue box next to it. These are lobbyists. Some have a head with a green checkmark. These are confirmed registered voters.
How to Comment using RTS
Click on Upcoming Agendas in the left column of RTS, and pick a committee you care about with a meeting in the future. The bills they will consider are shown. Pick one that’s interesting and write down the bill number. Now go to New Request in the left column and enter the bill number as the Search Phrase and click Search.
The bill should come up along with the committee name and an Add Request button you should click. You get to say whether you are for or against the bill, whether you wish to speak, and submit a written comment. Don’t worry; your comment can be bigger than the tiny box.
You’ve seen that comments for old and upcoming committee meetings are available. But currently our Legislators think of these comments as things they see in committee hearings, not before or after. So this tool makes certain your position and comments are heard in committee, but you still need to continue to contact our Legislators the old fashioned way too.