Monday, February 28, 2011

Hispanic civil rights leader banned from state Senate - East Valley Tribune: Immigration

Hispanic civil rights leader banned from state Senate - East Valley Tribune: Immigration

Senate President Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, confirmed Friday he told the Senate sergeant at arms to bar the leader of a group that was being "rowdy" while watching a committee hearing on a TV monitor in an overflow room. But Pearce said he did not learn until later that the person he banned was Reza.

Reza was arrested Thursday when he went to meet with Sen. Steve Gallardo, D-Phoenix. When Reza refused to leave - even after Gallardo told police Reza was there to see him - he was charged with trespass.

Attorney Stephen Montoya said he is weighing legal action against Pearce and the Senate. He said even assuming Reza was the leader of the group that cheered and clapped during Tuesday's hearing, there is no legal right to permanently bar him from the government building.

"You can't ban someone because he's allegedly the leader of a disruptive group," Montoya said.

Pearce also told Capitol Media Services he is weighing whether to ban bullhorns and other amplifiers that have become commonplace at rallies on the lawn.

That, however, may have only limited effect: A spokesman for House Speaker Kirk Adams, R-Mesa, who controls the northern half of the lawn, said he would not impose such a limit.

"It is my duty to protect our members, staff and visiting public, and provide a safe, secure environment," the statement reads. "In the future, we will be much more vigilant over misconduct by anyone visiting this building."

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