Bill would ban ‘unduly burdensome’ public-records requests, but doesn’t define it

Posted on Dec 28, 2016 in Featured, News & Blog | 0 comments

After similar legislation died in the state House of Representatives last year, a state senator is sponsoring a bill that would allow public officials to declare a request for public records as “unduly burdensome or harassing” and therefore deny it. Capitol Media Services’ Howard Fischer reports in the Arizona Capitol Times that “(t)he proposal by Sen. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, leaves in place existing requirements...

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Witnesses can see all of an Arizona execution, judge rules

Posted on Dec 22, 2016 in Featured, News & Blog | 0 comments

Arizona must let all of an execution be viewed by witnesses, a U.S. District Court judge ruled Dec. 21, The Associated Press reported. Judge Murray Snow’s decision says the viewing must include any time drugs are administered to the condemned inmate, The AP reported, “marking a partial legal win for a coalition of news organizations that filed suit over secrecy surrounding lethal injections.” Read The Associated Press’...

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State appeals court denies murder suspect access to journalist’s notes

Posted on Aug 14, 2016 in Featured, News & Blog | 0 comments

Saying that Arizona journalists have a qualified privilege to refuse to surrender their notes, state appellate judges ruled in favor of an Arizona Republic editor, the Republic reported, in a case pitting the First Amendment right of a free press against a defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial. The Arizona Court of Appeals turned down arguments that the reason the editor’s notes are needed is to aid in the defense of...

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Tucson media outlets each receive $1,171 bills for public records in inquiry about supervisor’s former staffer

Posted on Jun 10, 2016 in Featured, News & Blog | 0 comments

Pima County Supervisor Ally Miller has given a $1,171.80 public-records bill to each of two media outlets seeking to know whether a former staffer of Miller’s “was involved in the creation of a short-lived and dubious news site,” The Arizona Daily Star reported June 8. Read Star reporter Joe Ferguson’s story...

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Pima Community College board members want independent look at how school complies with access laws

Posted on May 22, 2016 in Featured, News & Blog | 0 comments

Members of the Pima Community College Governing Board in Tucson are asking for an independent examination of the college’s compliance with state public records and open meeting laws, the Arizona Daily Star reported May 22. The story quotes First Amendment Coalition of Arizona attorney Dan Barr, a lawyer with the Phoenix firm of Perkins Coie, L.L.P., who told the Star that the college’s average time of three weeks to fulfill public...

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New laws declare Arizona college campuses as free-speech zones, penalize preventing access to certain public events

Posted on May 17, 2016 in Featured, News & Blog | 0 comments

Two new state laws, one designating all Arizona public college and university campuses as free-speech zones and another providing penalties for blocking access to such events as campaign rallies or public hearings, The Arizona Republic reports. Gov. Doug Ducey signed the bills May 16. Read The Arizona Republic story about HB 2615 and HB 2548, which go into effect in...

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FAC, SPJ react to reporters being barred from floor of House of Representatives

Posted on Apr 9, 2016 in Featured, News & Blog | 0 comments

The First Amendment Coalition of Arizona and the Phoenix chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists have issued statements opposing Arizona House Speaker David Gowan’s new policy preventing reporters from continuing to work on the House floor until they agree to unprecedented background checks. “Under a new rule that would bar reporters who had been convicted of certain crimes, members of the Capitol press corps h ad been...

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Federal judge hears arguments over banned death-penalty drug

Posted on Apr 9, 2016 in Featured, News & Blog | 0 comments

A federal judge heard arguments April 7 from attorneys representing the state Department of Corrections and five death row inmates and the First Amendment Coalition of Arizona over whether to lift a ban on controversial drug used in lethal injections of condemned inmates, The Arizona Republic reported. Read the Republic’s Michael Kiefer’s full story...

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None of texts recovered from commissioner’s cell phone are public records, judge rules

Posted on Mar 28, 2016 in Featured, News & Blog | 0 comments

A judge has ruled that none of the text messages recovered from of Arizona Corporation Commissioner Bob Stump’s cell phone is a public record, Capitol Media Services’ Howard Fischer reported March 25 in the Arizona Daily Star. After examining several hundred text messages that Stump deleted from a state-owned cell phone, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Randall Warner said only 36 of them occurred within dates sought by Checks...

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