Arizona lawmaker drops ban on journalists who refuse background checks

PHOENIX (AP) — 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.

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