The Latest: House Democrats defined press access rules

The Latest: House Democrats defined press access rules

PHOENIX (AP) – The Latest on press access in the Arizona House of Representatives (all times local):

2:20 p.m.

Minority Democrats are trying to change Arizona House rules on media access in response to the now-rescinded ban on reporters on the House floor.

Tuesday‘s action by Rep. Diego Espinoza comes on the same day that Republican Speaker David Gowan allowed reporters to return to their floor positions to watch proceedings.

Gowan said his ban on reporters was prompted by security concerns, but many in the Democratic caucus were strongly opposed. The ban was put in place last week, forcing journalists to report from the public gallery.

Espinosa’s proposed rule change would severely limit when reporters could be denied access. Republicans beat back a similar effort on Monday mainly on procedural grounds.

The House can change its rules on a majority vote.

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9:27 a.m.

The speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives has allowed journalists who refused to submit to extensive background checks back on to the floor of the chamber amid pressure from lawmakers and the public over the sudden shift in decades-old policy.

The announcement Tuesday came five days after Republican House Speaker David Gowan banned reporters who refused to comply with new security rules requiring extensive criminal and civil background checks.

Journalists covered House floor sessions from the public gallery area in the meantime but lost access to lawmakers.

Gowan spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham says Gowan came up with a compromise. Reporters will now have to sign in with the chief clerk to get floor access, but their pass cards allowing free entry remain disabled.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.

About The Author

Eduardo Santiago joined the FOX 9 and ABC 5 news team in February, 2012. That’s the same year KECY launched its very first local newscast. He has been covering local news in Yuma and the Imperial Valley since his start as a KYMA photojournalist in 2006. During his decade in broadcasting, Eduardo has covered some of the biggest stories in the Desert Southwest – from President Bush’s visit to Yuma, Ariz. to the uncovering of drug tunnels that span the US-Mexico border. One of the most memorable stories Eduardo covered was the 2010 Easter Earthquake that rocked the Imperial Valley, Mexicali, and Yuma. Eduardo, along with his news team, won an award from the Associated Press for best coverage of an ongoing story following the quake. Before he made his move to TV, Eduardo was just a kid born in East Los Angeles, where he spent his early childhood. His parents moved him to Mexicali, B.C. Mexico, where he did most of his elementary school education. He finally landed in El Centro, where he graduated from Central Union High School in 2005. Eduardo is currently a student at Imperial Valley College. You can find Eduardo hanging out in the Imperial Valley and Yuma with his family on any given weekend. His off-screen passion is playing guitar and sports.

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