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 hSPJ_Vertical_Web

ad been asked this week to authorize background checks of their criminal and driving histories and ‘other public records’,” Arizona Republic reporter Richard Ruelas reported April 8. Reporters refused to submit to the checks and have since been covering House sessions from the balcony gallery, Ruelas reported.

  • Read Ruelas’ full story here.
  • Read The Arizona Republic‘s April 8 editorial, “Reporters unmasked Arizona’s House Speaker, so they had to be punished,” here.
  • Read “Don’t chain Arizona’s watchdogs,” an April 8 My Turn column by Amanda Ventura, president of the Valley of the Sun
    Daniel C. Barr, esq., partner in the Phoenix law firm of Perkins Coie, L.L.P.

    Daniel C. Barr, esq., partner in the Phoenix law firm of Perkins Coie, L.L.P.

    chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ is a charter member of the First Amendment Coalition of Arizona) here.

  • Read Capitol Media Services reporter Howard Fischer’s story of his interview with First Amendment Coalition of Arizona attorney Daniel Barr, published in the April 9 Arizona Daily Sun, here.
  • Read Barr’s letter to Speaker David Gowan regarding the House’s new policy here.
  • Read KTAR-FM/The Associated Press April 11 account of Barr’s letter to Gowan here.
  • Read the (Prescott) Daily Courier‘s April 9 editorial opposing the policy here.
  • Read the Arizona Daily Star’s April 10 editorial opposing the policy here.