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Pearce issues memo on Senate ban

Arizona Senate building. (File photo)

Arizona Senate building. (File photo)

Two weeks.

That’s how long a person will be banned from setting foot in the Senate building after causing a disruption in the chamber, according to a memo sent today by Senate President Russell Pearce to his fellow senators.

Further disruptions, however, will mean that the ban will apply for the rest of the session, and, if the Legislature is not in session, for 60 days.

“Any person who has committed a serious criminal offense or engaged in a pattern of disruptive conduct in the Senate may be excluded from the Senate indefinitely,” Pearce wrote.

The memo is an attempt by Pearce to lay down some clearer guidelines to govern under what conditions, and more importantly, how long a person is excluded from entering the Senate building after causing a disruption.

The three-tiered exclusion also appears to be an acknowledgement that any prohibition must not be a blanket ban against individuals.

The issue stems from Pearce’s decision to prohibit several immigration activists from entering the Senate building after they were identified as leaders of disruptive behavior during a committee hearing last month. Others were also banned for shouting down a press conference.

Pearce has contended he has the backing of the state Constitution and Senate rules in banning the activists.

But critics argued that the ban is disproportionately heavy-handed. In addition, some critics insist Pearce has no power to ban anyone at all, and he’s reading the Constitution and Senate rules to suit his decision.

2 comments

  1. This article claims “The issue stems from Pearce’s decision to prohibit several immigration activists from entering the Senate building after they were identified as leaders of disruptive behavior during a committee hearing last month.”

    By uncritically accepting as fact Pearces claim that Sal Reza was disruptive, Mr Del Puerto does this paper a disservice.

    Pearce has claimed that Mr Reza was kicked out of the Appropriations Meeting on 2/22. This claim is demonstrably false. The entire audience of that meeting was segregated from the policy makers in a separate room, and the entire audience did applaud on several occasions — Mr Reza no more than the rest. He was never asked to leave, and (as camera footage clearly shows), he was present throughout the entire marathon session which did not end until the early morning hours of 2/23. Pearce further claimed that people in the overflow seating were “pounding on drums”. This is also a patiently false claim; no drums were present that night.

    I hope that in the future, Mr Del Puerto & the Capitol Times editors will use more responsible verbiage. It’s a mistake to blindly accept Pearces claims as fact — I expect better from the Az Capitol times.

  2. J. Odhner is 100% correct. There was absolutely no drumming inside and if clapping in a separate room is the new RULE OF LAW at the Capitol, it needs to apply to everyone which will eventually include Pearce’s supporters just like Arpaio’s supporters at the BOS meetings a few years ago. That little lapse in fairness and judgement cost the Tax Payers 500,000 big ones and if the individuals arrested were not kind folk-they could’ve collect much more.
    Pearce wanted Reza away because he is a very serious threat to him. But everyone who knows Reza knows he practices and preaches non violence. For Pearce to make statements about “safety” is ridiculous.

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