The Arizona House becomes restrictive to the media after the capitol press corps refuses to sign a security clearance form. Capitol reporters feel too much personal information is being required of them. So they’re paying the price with the House deactivating their floor passes.  The

situation triggered, at times, heated debate between Republicans, many of whom endorse the new security measures, and Democrats sympathetic to the press’ plight during the first hour of Thursday’s session.

Democrat Mark Cardenas, gesturing to the empty media tables says,what’s happening in the House is akin to what other countries hostile to the press are doing, naming examples like Pakistan, Turkey, Iran and Vietnam. The form may ask for a reporter’s name, birth date and driver’s license, but reporters feel there’s no guarantee that information unlocking things such as personal records will not be abused by House staff conducting investigations.  

House speaker David Gowan justifies the heightened scrutiny, citing recent Capitol disturbances that led to arrests. Reporters were never participants. Gowan emphasizes the media is still welcome in their usual spots on the floor, as long as they agree to sign the background check. Until then, reporters relegated to the visitor’s gallery, making it harder to interact with lawmakers.

–Barbara Villa

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