Calling it little more than a pretext, 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.

Speaker Gowan said he implemented the policy as the result of a protest in the House gallery on March 28 and another incident at the front door of the Executive Tower two days later. Daniel Barr, attorney for the association of reporters, media organizations, and others noted in a letter that neither of those incidents involved reporters, nor did they happen on the House floor.

No reporters agreed to submit to the background checks, which forced them to cover the House from the gallery which doesn’t provide access to lawmakers before or after the floor session to inquire about legislation or statements they may have made.

David Bodney, who represents several media outlets, was hoping to confer with the House attorney early Monday to see if a resolution is possible.

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