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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Judge orders ‘Republic’ editor to turn over documents about priest’s murder

Posted on Mar 11, 2016 in Featured, News & Blog | 0 comments

An Arizona Republic editor must turn over all his documentation about interviews with a Catholic priest relating to the 2014 murder of another priest, a Maricopa County Superior Court judge has ruled,  the Republic reported March 10. Reporter Dennis Wagner’s story tells of editor John D’Anna, who published two pieces about the murder of the Rev. Kenneth Walker that included accounts of d’Anna’s interview with fellow...

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Judge to mull further inspection of corporation commisioner Stump’s phone

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

A Maricopa County Superior Court judge will consider more inspections of an Arizona Corporation Commissioner’s state-owned cell phone via use of a different forensic software, The Arizona Republic reported March 8. Reporter Ryan Randazzo reported that an attorney for a clean-energy group called Checks and Balances asked Judge Randall Warner to allow use of the software. According to the story, the request was to learn whether Commissioner...

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Two bills before Arizona Legislature would reduce access to public records

Posted on Feb 7, 2016 in Featured, News & Blog | 0 comments

Anyone seeking to view a public record in Arizona and anyone suing Arizona government officials over such access would have a harder time doing it, according to two bills before state lawmakers, The Arizona Republic reported Feb. 3. According to Republic reporter Alia Beard Rau’s story, House Bill 2383 would deny access to photos in the hands of government agencies depicting crime victims or minors unless a judge allows release of those...

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Vocal prayers to start Phoenix City Council meetings now a thing of the past

Posted on Feb 7, 2016 in Featured, News & Blog | 0 comments

In a 5-4 decision, members of the Phoenix City Council ended a decades-long practice of starting their meetings with a vocal prayer, opting instead for a moment of silence, The Arizona Republic reported Feb. 4. The vote came after members of the Satanic Temple signed up to give the invocation at a Feb. 17 council meeting, leading to some council members seeking to change how those who offer the prayers are selected, according to Republic...

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Expiration date of execution drugs may arrive before suit over them concludes, attorneys say

Posted on Jan 13, 2016 in Featured, News & Blog | 0 comments

A federal lawsuit filed by the First Amendment Coalition of Arizona and others over which drugs should be used to execute death-row inmates in Arizona will continue onward, a federal judge ruled Jan. 12, The Arizona Republic reported. But attorneys who brought the action say the litigation may not be over by the state Department of Correction’s existing supply of lethal drugs’ expiration date in May, according to the reporter...

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Bill calls for fines for taking video too close to an Arizona police officer

Posted on Jan 7, 2016 in Featured, News & Blog | 0 comments

Those who stand less than 20 feet away while taking videos of police officers performing duties in public could be fined if a bill becomes law, Howard Fischer of Capitol Media Services reported in the Arizona Capitol Times Jan. 7. Under Senate Bill 1054, introduced by state Sen. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, taking video any closer would be allowed only if the officer first gave his or her approval, according to Fischer’s...

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