Two Bills Making Progress That Would Dismantle the Mandatory State Bar of Arizona

The Arizona Legislature is considering two bills to dismantle the State Bar of Arizona.

Senate Bill (SB) 1435, sponsored by State Representative Justine Wadsack (R-Tucson) and passed the Senate 16-13 on February 27, would make the Bar voluntary and move the licensing and regulation of attorneys back under the Arizona Supreme Court. Currently, lawyers cannot practice law in Arizona unless they are a member of the Bar. While Arizona is a right-to-work state, lawsuits attempting to stop it from acting like a mandatory union have failed due to judges ruling against them. More than half of the states have mandatory bars; the rest are voluntary.

Article V of the Arizona Constitution states in part, “No person shall be denied the opportunity to obtain or retain employment because of non-membership in a labor organization.”

The Bar is not a governmental agency but is delegated authority from the Arizona Supreme Court to regulate attorneys. Since it is ostensibly private, it is not subject to transparency and public records requests. SB 1435 now goes to the House for consideration.

SB 1092, sponsored by State Representative Anthony Kern (R-Glendale), who has championed many previous Bar bills, passed the Senate 16-12 and is also in the House. It prohibits the Bar and the Arizona Supreme Court from disciplining or revoking attorney licenses “for bringing good faith, nonfrivolous claims based on law and fact to court.”

Read the rest of the article at The Arizona Sun Times

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