Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Arizona responds to Sunshine Week by kicking reporters out of State Capitol

Since 1960 reporters in Arizona have had a press room in the state capitol in Phoenix. Now state Senate President Bob Burns has announced legislators will take over the press room in the Capitol and prevent reporters from using any other rooms in the capitol. This announcement was made in a speech detailing what State Government will do to ensure transparency in State Government. Cocky, eh? Well this what we here in Arizona are being treated to now that Gov. Janet Napolitano has left for D.C. This is only one example of rightwing backlash & retaliation since January 09. State legislators have also moved to allow guns on school campuses, gut higher education, restrict abortion, and abolish the governing body of the State University system, the Arizona Board of Regents.

Wow they are feeling high and mighty up there but it's not the Dark Ages anymore, morons. From the Arizona Daily Star, 3/17/09:
Capitol Media Services
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 03.17.2009
PHOENIX — For the first time in nearly 50 years, reporters will not have work space in the state Capitol after July 1.
Senate President Bob Burns said Monday he is not interested in finding new space for reporters after Republicans take over the current press room in the Senate on that date.
Burns wants the current press room for Republicans to have caucuses, meetings of party members to discuss policy and pending legislation.
Burns also said he is not interested in providing space for reporters in any of the other rooms that will open up once the caucus room moves out of its current second-floor location.
And he's not interested in finding space for reporters who cover the House and Senate in the adjacent Old Capitol building.
"We have needs for the space," he said.
Burns' statement came at the end of a press conference where he and other Senate Republicans used "Sunshine Week" to detail what they say they are doing to make government more transparent to the public.
Sunshine Week is an unofficial effort by the American Society of Newspaper Editors designed to educate the public about the importance of open government and freedom of information.
There has been a place for reporters to work since the current House and Senate chambers were constructed in 1960, according to Rep. Jack Brown, D-St. Johns, first elected to the Legislature in 1962.
Reporters have been in the same room on the first floor of the Senate since the late 1970s.
About a decade ago, amid concerns about subsidizing private operations, the Senate began charging rent based on the equivalent cost of Class A office space. The rent this year is $77 a month per reporter.

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