Government of Arizona
Part ofUnited States of America
ConstitutionConstitution of Arizona
Legislative branch
Meeting placeArizona Capitol
Upper house
Presiding officerWarren Petersen, President
Presiding officerBen Toma, Speaker
Executive branch
Head of State and Government
CurrentlyKatie Hobbs
Deputy leaderLieutenant Governor
HeadquartersState Capitol
Judicial branch
NameJudiciary of Arizona
CourtsCourts of Arizona
Supreme Court of Arizona
Chief judgeRobert M. Brutinel
SeatPhoenix, Arizona

The government of Arizona is the governmental structure of the state of Arizona as established by the Arizona Constitution. The executive is composed of the Governor, several other statewide elected officials, and the Governor's cabinet. The Arizona Legislature consists of the House of Representatives and Senate. The judiciary is composed of the Arizona Supreme Court and lower courts. There is also local government, consisting of counties, municipalities and special districts.


The statewide elected officers are:

All elected officials hold a term of four years, and are limited to two consecutive terms (except the office of the State Mine Inspector, which is limited to 4 terms[1]). Arizona is one of five states that do not have a specified lieutenant governor, so the Secretary of State is the first in line to succeed the Governor in the event of death, disability, resignation, or removal from office. The line of succession also includes the attorney general, state treasurer, and superintendent of public instruction. Elections for statewide officers occur during even numbered, none presidential, years, except that 3 of the corporation commissioners are elected during presidential years.

On November 8, 2022, Arizona voters approved a state constitutional amendment (Proposition 131) that created the position and office of the lieutenant governor beginning with the 2026 elections. The position will be elected on a joint ticket with the governor. The lieutenant governor ascends to the governorship if the incumbent governor dies, resigns, or is removed (via impeachment conviction) from office. The proposition, through a law pre-passed by the state legislature, also tasks the governor with assigning a job to her or his running mate, such as chief of staff, the director of the state Department of Administration, or "any position" to which the governor can appoint someone by law.[2]


The state departments and agencies are:[3]

The Arizona State Capitol Executive Tower in Phoenix
Arizona Boards and Commissions Include


See also: List of representatives and senators of Arizona Legislature by districts (2023–2033)

The State House Chamber of the Arizona State Capitol Building

The Arizona State Legislature is bicameral and consists of the 60-member Arizona House of Representatives and the 30-member Arizona Senate. Each of the thirty legislative districts has one senator and two representatives. Legislators are elected for two-year terms and are limited to four consecutive terms in a chamber, though there is no limit on the total number of terms.

Each Legislature covers a two-year period. The first session following the general election is known as the first regular session, and the session convening in the second year is known as the second regular session. Each regular session begins on the second Monday in January and adjourns sine die (terminates for the year) no later than Saturday of the week in which the 100th day from the beginning of the regular session falls. The President of the Senate and Speaker of the House, by rule, may extend the session up to seven additional days. Thereafter, the session can only be extended by a majority vote of members present of each house.


The Cochise County courthouse in Bisbee

The Arizona Supreme Court is the highest court in Arizona. The court currently consists of one chief justice, a vice chief justice, and five (5) associate justices. The supreme court has appellate jurisdiction in death penalty cases, but almost all other appellate cases go through the Arizona Court of Appeals beforehand. The court has original jurisdiction in a few other circumstances, as outlined in the state constitution. The court may also declare laws unconstitutional, but only while seated en banc. The court meets in the Arizona Supreme Court Building at the capitol complex (at the southern end of Wesley Bolin Plaza).

The Arizona Court of Appeals, further divided into two divisions, is the intermediate court in the state.[5] It hears and decides cases in three judge panels.[5] Division One is based in Phoenix, consists of sixteen judges, and has jurisdiction in the Western and Northern regions of the state, along with the greater Phoenix area. Division Two is based in Tucson, consists of six judges, and has jurisdiction over the Southern regions of the state, including the Tucson area.

The Arizona Superior Court is the court of general jurisdiction.[6] The Superior Court also acts as an appellate court for justice and municipal courts.[6]

The Arizona justice courts are nonrecord courts of limited jurisdiction in each county, presided over by a justice of the peace who is elected for a four-year term, that have jurisdiction over civil lawsuits where the amount in dispute is $10,000 or less, landlord and tenant controversies, small claims cases and the full range of civil and criminal traffic offenses, including DUIs, and other types of misdemeanor allegations (e.g. shoplifting, writing bad checks, violating restraining orders).[7][8]

The Arizona municipal courts, also known as city courts or magistrate courts, are nonrecord courts of limited jurisdiction that have criminal jurisdiction over misdemeanor crimes and petty offenses committed in their city or town and share jurisdiction with justice courts over violations of state law committed within their city or town limits, and hear misdemeanor criminal traffic cases such as driving under the influence of alcohol, hit-and-run and reckless driving where no serious injuries occur, and hear civil traffic cases, violations of city ordinances and codes, and issue orders of protection and injunctions prohibiting harassment, and can also issue search warrants.[7][9]

Merit Selection

All justices of the Arizona Supreme Court and all judges of the Arizona Court of Appeals as well as the trial court judges in some counties are selected through a process known as merit selection, a version of the Missouri Plan. The process, approved by voters in 1974 and amended in 1992, is described in Article 6, Section 37 of the Arizona Constitution.[10] As described there in paragraph B, the selection of trial court judges through this process only applies to counties with a population of over 250,000 people, as counted by the most recent US Census. As of 2023, this only applies to Maricopa County, Pima County, and Pinal County. An exception is made in Section 40 for less populous counties that vote to opt in to the process.[11] As of 2023, only Coconino County has done so, back in 2018.[12]

In merit selection, justices and judges are appointed by the governor from a list recommended by a bipartisan commission, and are re-elected (through what is called retention election) after the initial two years following their appointment. Subsequent re-elections occur every six years for the supreme and appellate courts, every four years for superior courts.[13][14]

Local government

Main article: Administrative divisions of Arizona

See also: List of counties in Arizona and List of cities and towns in Arizona

The (Maricopa) County-City Administration Building in Phoenix

Arizona is divided into political jurisdictions designated as counties, which derive all of their power from the state. Incorporated cities and towns are those that have been granted home rule, possessing a local government in the form of a city or town council.

See also


  1. ^ "Format Document". Archived from the original on 17 September 2016. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  2. ^ Stern, Ray (8 November 2022). "Arizona voters approve Proposition 131 to create lieutenant governor position". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved 12 November 2023.
  3. ^ "Department and Agency Heads". Office of the Governor of Arizona. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
  4. ^ "Arizona Weights and Measures Department folding, duties moving". 2 September 2015. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Court of Appeals". Arizona Administrative Office of the Courts. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  6. ^ a b "Superior Court". Arizona Administrative Office of the Courts. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  7. ^ a b "AZ Courts". Arizona Administrative Office of the Courts. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  8. ^ "Justice Courts". Arizona Administrative Office of the Courts. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  9. ^ "City Courts". Arizona Administrative Office of the Courts. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  10. ^ "Judicial Vacancies and Appointments". Arizona State Legislature. Retrieved 30 November 2023.
  11. ^ "Option for counties with less than two hundred fifty thousand persons". Arizona State Legislature. Retrieved 30 November 2023.
  12. ^ "Voters in Coconino County choose merit selection for judges". The Associated Press. Retrieved 30 November 2023.
  13. ^ "Supreme court; term of office". Arizona State Legislature. Retrieved 30 November 2023.
  14. ^ "Superior court; term of office". Arizona State Legislature. Retrieved 30 November 2023.