Last week, in an unprecedented move, Republicans who control the Arizona House of Representatives banned reporters from the House floor. Then they said the press would have to undergo extensive background checks. They finally relented on Tuesday, saying the floor would be open to journalists — at least for the rest of this session.
As usual, this embarrassment has a back story. Earlier this year, Hank Stephenson of the Arizona Capitol Times, revealed that House Speaker David Gowan had used a state vehicle to travel to events for his congressional campaign. Even in compromised Arizona, this action has left Gowan in deep doo-doo.
The ban was an explicit retaliation. It included a provision that if a reporter had been convicted of even a misdemeanor, he or she could be kept off the floor for a decade. Conveniently, Stephenson had pleaded guilty to misdemeanor trespassing in 2014, apparently after a bar fight in Wickenburg (my kind of reporter).
Gowan is a typical Kook mediocrity. He's connected to the extremist "Oath Keepers." A-plus rating from the NRA. As usual, he wants to perpetuate his sucking at the gub'ment teet by moving up in gub'ment. With incumbent Ann Kirkpatrick (to my mind misguidedly) challenging wealthy Republican John Sidney McCain III for the U.S. Senate, the First Congressional District seat is open.