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Lawmakers weigh viewer suggestions

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

Every legislative session, there are reports of bills that some say are far out there. These bills never become law and rarely fall on many people's list of priorities.

CBS 5 News spent a week compiling viewer suggestions for lawmakers to consider during Arizona's 51st Legislature, promising to take those ideas to leaders in both the House and the Senate.

Many of those emails asked lawmakers to focus on issues like education and fixing the troubled Child Protective Services. One viewer wanted to ban the use of cell phones while driving and another asked lawmakers to decriminalize marijuana.

Some lawmakers like Arizona Sen. Steve Gallardo, D-Dist. 29, welcome the public input.

"These are the issues that matter to most people in Arizona, however, they get lost, they get lost with legislation like Senate Bill 1294," Gallardo said.

Senate Bill 1294 was introduced by a group of Republican senators and representatives. The bill would ignore all federal gun laws. While bold, it has little chance of making it to the governor's desk. However, lawmakers like Rep. Adam Kwasman, R-Oro Valley, are still backing the bill.

"These bills still change and morph and we find best practices as we move forward," Kwasman said.

Senate Bill 1294 may not be on many citizens' list of priorities but both Republicans and Democrats draft these bold suggestions every year. At the same time, bills that matter to citizens often fail. Arizona Sen. Adam Driggs, R-Dist. 28, says it's a vetting process.

"It's very hard for a bill to become a law," Driggs said. "[Your suggestions help], we try to be responsive to our constituents."

CBS 5 News sent our viewers' suggestions to every member of the Arizona Legislature and some of those ideas are grabbing their attention.

"This is the type of message that we welcome, we welcome these types of emails, we welcome these types of remarks," Gallardo said. "We want them part of the legislative process."

For more on this story and other stories around Arizona from this author, follow Shawn Kline on Facebook and Twitter.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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