Utah House backs away from restricting reporters on floor

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah’s House of Representatives has backed away from a proposal that would ban reporters from the House floor before lawmakers meet there for floor sessions.

Rep. Jim Dunnigan originally sought to ban reporters for 45 minutes before floor sessions start, saying lawmakers need time to collect their thoughts without journalists approaching them at their desks for interviews.

Lawmakers later softened that to a five-minute ban but Dunnigan on Tuesday night got rid of the ban altogether. He instead proposed a change requiring journalists to leave the floor after conducting interviews.

West Valley City Republican Rep. Mike Winder says it addresses any concerns about reporters loitering or eavesdropping on lawmakers.

The House unanimously passed the change Tuesday.

Journalists are still allowed to access the area after floor sessions.

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