PHOENIX — Calling it little more than a pretext to retaliate against a reporter for a critical story, the First Amendment Coalition of Arizona is demanding House Speaker David Gowan rescind his policy of requiring extensive background checks of reporters before restoring their access to the floor.
In a letter late Friday, Daniel Barr, attorney for the association of reporters, media organizations and others, said the screening was proposed following a protest March 28 in the House gallery and an incident two days later when three women associated with the Puente Human Rights Movement chained themselves to the front door of the Executive Tower.
Barr pointed out neither incident involved news reporters nor did they occur on the House floor.
“Simply put, Mr. Speaker, no one is fooled by what is going on here,’’ Barr wrote.
He said if there were safety concerns at the Capitol, similar measure would have been taken at the Senate and separate Executive Tower.