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Hear this Arizona Senate page read bills out loud as fast as she can

In order for a bill to become a law in Arizona, it must pass through three readings in each chamber. In each of the six hearings — three in each chamber — a reader reads the bill and short title.

Over the years, state senators have come up with a way to speed up the process. The Show went to the state Capitol to find out how. 

You can spot a Capitol page by their navy blazer, light blue button up and red and blue striped tie. They’ll get coffee and water for legislators, deliver memos and do whatever else is necessary to help things run smoothly during the legislative session.

Amanda Smith, 21, is in her second session as a page, so she’s earned the title senior page. One of her duties is to read bills during Senate floor proceedings — a tradition that’s been around since before Arizona was a state.

"It dates back to when people in Arizona were not literate ... and they couldn’t read the bills themselves. So the job of the reader was to make sure they knew what was going on with the bill, what they were talking about, and all of those kind of things that come with not being able to read," said Smith.

Smith says now it's a matter of ceremony instead of necessity.

"The reason that we do it so fast is because there’s not really a need to have somebody read it fully out loud," said Smith. "It’s more of a decorum thing. … The goal is to get it done as accurately and as quickly as possible, so that they can go ahead and continue on with all the rest of the bills that we do have on the desk."

It’s standard procedure for Senate pages to read bills, amendments and other notes as fast as possible. But Smith is known for being especially speedy. 

"A lot of the senators will make jokes. I think that they’re really funny," Smith said.

"I’ve had over 250 that I’ve read in just one kind of fell swoop. They’ll come up and be like, 'OK, so when are you going to become an auctioneer?' Things like that," she said. "Last session when I was here and I did this, I got coined a nickname by one of the assistants in the building. She coined me 'Rambling Red,' because my hair is a little bit red.”

Smith is studying political science, communication and family and human development at Arizona State University. She’ll be working on a master’s degree in public policy in the fall. She used to want to be a lawyer, but now she's thinking about a career in politics.

"I really want to make government accessible to everybody," said Smith. "It’s not something that a lot of people know the back process of. So I really hope to take that degree and use it full force to make sure people feel connected to their government and represented in their state and local legislatures."

As the session progresses, and lawmakers have already voted on more bills, there will be fewer for Smith to read. But there are still bills waiting to be voted on. And, of course, she’ll still have the chance to read the budget bills — once they’re introduced.

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Amber Victoria Singer is a producer for KJZZ's The Show. Singer is a graduate of the Water Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.