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Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Bill Would Require All Elected and Appointed Officials to Wear Body Cameras

There are inevitably a few bills introduced in the Illinois legislature each year that are bound to raise an eyebrow or two. Last week, HB 4065 was introduced in the Illinois House that would create the Public Official Body Camera Act. 

If passed, the new law would require all public officials (elected and appointed) in the state to wear body cameras whenever officials are engaged in official duties. The recordings would be exempt from FOIA but would not be exempt from use in legislative, administrative, or other proceedings. Incredibly, the bill contains no exceptions to when the camera should be turned off, so presumably the camera would be rolling even during closed session meetings, when officials consult with attorneys, when officials are dealing with sensitive personnel matters, and in other circumstances where privacy or confidentiality interests might be present. Oddly, the bill gives the State Board of Elections the jurisdiction to adopt rules in furtherance of the new requirements. The bill says nothing about funding for this state mandate that would require the state and all other units of government in the state to outfit all elected and appointed officials with body cameras.

We'll keep you posted on this proposed legislation but have a feeling this bill may not go very further.

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