Arizona State Senate censures lawmaker who threatened rivals with violence : NPR


Arizona state Sen. Wendy Rogers was censured Tuesday by her colleagues in a bipartisan vote.

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Arizona state Sen. Wendy Rogers was censured Tuesday by her colleagues in a bipartisan vote.

Congressional Quarterly/CQ-Roll Name, Inc by way of Getty Imag

The Arizona Senate, in a bipartisan vote, has censured a Republican lawmaker for calling for violence towards her political opponents, saying state Sen. Wendy Rogers “has broken the status of the Arizona State Senate by her actions.”

The transfer comes days after Rogers spoke at a convention organized by a widely known white nationalist by which she known as for her political rivals to be hanged. She later used anti-Semitic tropes to explain Ukrainian chief Volodymyr Zelensky, whose nation is being invaded by Russian troops.

The occasion — the America First Political Motion Convention — which was organized by Nick Fuentes, a web-based troll and outspoken white nationalist, was additionally attended by U.S. Reps. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., and Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga. Each lawmakers have drawn scrutiny for his or her previous remarks although neither was formally reprimanded by occasion management for his or her presence on the occasion, although each face political isolation.

“There is not any place within the Republican Occasion for white supremacists or anti-Semitism,” Senate Minority Chief Mitch McConnell mentioned in a press release, not naming any of the occasion’s contributors by identify.

In the course of the convention, audio system made racist remarks and cheered on Russian President Vladimir Putin, evaluating the Russian chief favorably to Adolf Hitler.

Rogers, in her remarks, praised Fuentes — an outspoken racist who has mentioned he doesn’t consider girls ought to have the precise to vote — as “probably the most persecuted man in America.”

13 Democrats and 11 Republicans within the 30-member chamber voted to censure Rogers. She engaged in “conduct unbecoming of a senator, together with publicly issuing and selling social media and video messages encouraging violence towards and punishment of Americans and making threatening statements declaring ‘political destruction’ of those that disagree along with her views,” the censure movement towards Rogers mentioned.

In a sequence of tweets on Tuesday following the censure, Rogers defended her look on the convention as an expression of her First Modification proper to free speech.

“I don’t apologize, I can’t again down and I’m sorely disenchanted within the management of this physique for colluding with the Democrats to try to destroy my status,” she wrote.

Individually, Congresswoman Taylor-Greene, who has an extended historical past of selling racist and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, additionally took to Twitter to double down on her remarks.

Posted with a video clip from her remarks on the convention, Greene wrote: “I’m not going to play the guilt by affiliation sport by which you demand each conservative ought to justify something ever mentioned by anybody they’ve ever shared a room with.”

“I am not going to be drawn into that. I am solely liable for what I say,” she mentioned, referring to speeches that included bigoted language and reward for Hitler as “a number of off-color remarks.”

Utah journalists can no longer interview lawmakers on Senate and House floors without permission


Credentialed reporters are actually restricted from getting into the Home and Senate flooring of the Utah Capitol to conduct interviews with out permission.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) The Utah Capitol at nightfall on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020, throughout the legislative session.

The Utah Home of Representatives restricted media entry to lawmakers on the statehouse flooring on Tuesday.

After an almost 20-minute debate, state representatives moved to approve the Home guidelines decision sponsored by Rep. James Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville, on a 65 to 9 vote.

Credentialed reporters are actually restricted from getting into the Home and Senate flooring of the Capitol with out permission, a transfer that has sparked criticism from media shops and press advocacy organizations.

Dunnigan’s guidelines decision that alters media entry within the Home chamber mirrors the same measure accredited by the Senate final month. HR2 prevents credentialed journalists from getting into nonpublic areas of the Home, together with the chamber, halls and convention rooms, to conduct and document interviews with out the permission of the Home speaker or speaker’s designee. The foundations change additionally requires reporters to acquire approval from a committee chair earlier than standing behind a committee room dais.

Just a few lawmakers, each Republican and Democrat, brazenly opposed the principles decision limiting entry to media.

Throughout flooring debate of the principles decision, state Rep. Suzanne Harrison, D-Draper, requested Dunnigan if there had been any cases the place reporters harassed lawmakers or printed personal info when trying over their shoulder.

Dunnigan stated generally lawmakers really feel uncomfortable their computer systems or telephones when a videographer is standing behind a lawmaker throughout a committee assembly. Photographers and videographers usually stand behind the dais throughout a committee assembly to seize footage of a lawmaker or witness testifying for or towards a invoice.

“So far as the nonpublic areas, I’ll simply state once more, these are nonpublic areas. I feel the media ought to have entry, and I feel the speaker or his designee will give them entry. All they must do is request it for these nonpublic areas,” Dunnigan stated.

“I simply have considerations concerning the restrictions on our free press,” Harrison stated in response. “I really feel like if there’s abusive practices or harassment occurring in any manner, I feel that will surely warrant … a person being restricted, however I feel our free press performs a significant function in holding energy to account and the enterprise of the general public ought to be carried out in public, and for that cause, I’ll be voting no.”

State Rep. Norm Thurston, R-Provo, stated he supported regulating media entry to the Home flooring and stated it might cease reporters’ “gotcha strategy” when requesting interviews with lawmakers.

“I’ve seen many examples of media, ready till the top of flooring time and coming onto the Home flooring when you’re at your desk and … leaning up in your desk and saying, ‘Can I ask you a query?’ with a with a tape recorder in your face,” Thurston stated. “If a media particular person desires to speak to you, they may have the decency to name your cellphone and schedule a time to inform you what they need to discuss, which is according to their code of ethics, so that you’ve got time to arrange what it’s that you simply’re going to speak about.”

In prior periods, journalists have historically requested interviews with lawmakers throughout recess contained in the statehouse chamber to succeed in a lawmaker earlier than they left for one more assembly or committee room.

Minority Chief Brian King, D-Salt Lake Metropolis, stated he was involved the principles decision would restrict transparency.

“I need to guarantee that our media after they’re performing — particularly as they virtually at all times do in my notion — with integrity and honesty, are capable of assist us do our jobs properly,” he stated. “We will’t successfully act as legislators within the state of Utah with out the issues that we’re doing right here being reported to the folks of the state of Utah, actually and with integrity. And after I requested myself if this rule change on these explicit traces strikes us in that course, I simply don’t really feel that we’re getting in the correct course on that.”

State Rep. Steve Useful, R-Layton, who used to work within the newspaper advertising and marketing enterprise, additionally opposed the principles decision.

“I feel their job is crucial to what we’re doing right here within the legislature. There have to be sunshine, as a lot as we may give,” he stated. “I do know that we’re simply making an attempt to regulate the principles and put this in writing, however I feel the optics are horrible. I actually suppose they’re horrible.”

Dunnigan famous that credentialed reporters nonetheless have a chosen media house within the Home chamber, which is situated within the gallery on the second flooring.

“We’re not making an attempt to restrict the media. They’re a precious associate. We want them. We recognize them and we wish them to have continued entry. However these are the nonpublic areas. They only must get permission from the speaker or the designee,” he stated.

This yr, different Republican-controlled statehouses in Iowa and Kansas have additionally taken steps to restrict media entry to lawmakers.

‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill passes in the Florida House, goes to state Senate : NPR


Florida State Rep. Carlos Smith speaks at a press convention on the Florida state capital in opposition to HB 1577, dubbed the ‘Do not Say Homosexual’ invoice by critics, on Tuesday, February 15, 2022, in Tallahassee, Fla.

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Florida State Rep. Carlos Smith speaks at a press convention on the Florida state capital in opposition to HB 1577, dubbed the ‘Do not Say Homosexual’ invoice by critics, on Tuesday, February 15, 2022, in Tallahassee, Fla.

Rick Wilson/AP

Florida’s Home of Representatives handed a controversial invoice on Thursday limiting when and the way lecturers and faculty employees can focus on gender and sexual orientation within the classroom.

Opponents – lots of whom have taken to calling the measure the “Do not Say Homosexual” invoice – say it would make life more durable for LGBTQ youth, who already face a better charge of bullying and a better danger of suicide than their straight, cisgender friends.

However the Republican sponsor behind H.B. 1557 says it goals to have faculties educate gender and sexuality at an acceptable age and hold mother and father knowledgeable about what’s occurring within the classroom.

The laws prohibits any instruction about sexuality or gender between kindergarten and third grade “or in a way that’s not age-appropriate or developmentally acceptable for college kids in accordance with state requirements.”

It will additionally assure mother and father entry to their kids’s schooling and well being information and require that faculties notify mother and father “if there’s a change within the scholar’s providers or monitoring associated to the scholar’s psychological, emotional, or bodily well being or well-being and the varsity’s capability to offer a protected and supportive studying atmosphere for the scholar.”

Colleges may withhold info from mother and father in the event that they believed that disclosing it may lead to abuse, abandonment or neglect.

Thursday’s vote drew condemnation from LGBTQ advocates and Democratic politicians within the state.

“As anticipated, the #DontSayGayBill simply handed the Florida Home, however SEVEN Republicans crossed get together strains to vote in opposition to it,” Rep. Carlos G Smith said in a tweet.

“I need to thank [the Florida House Democrats] for his or her constant allyship and in addition thank the gang of seven who noticed our humanity and rejected this horrible laws,” he added.

President Biden beforehand slammed the proposal as effectively. “I would like each member of the LGBTQI+ neighborhood — particularly the youngsters who will likely be impacted by this hateful invoice — to know that you’re beloved and accepted simply as you might be,” Biden tweeted earlier this month. “I’ve your again, and my Administration will proceed to combat for the protections and security you deserve.”

The invoice handed the Home by a vote of 69-47, in response to the chamber’s web site. Associated laws remains to be into account within the state Senate.

It is unclear whether or not Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis would signal the invoice if it reached him, however he did point out his basic assist for the hassle throughout an occasion in early February.

“We have seen situations of scholars being informed by totally different of us at school, ‘Oh, don’t fret, do not choose your gender but, do all this different stuff.’ They will not inform the mother and father about these discussions which can be occurring. That’s fully inappropriate,” DeSantis stated on the time.

“The bigger subject with all of that is mother and father will need to have a seat on the desk on the subject of what is going on on of their faculties,” he stated.