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Body camera public record exemption sent to governor

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Included in the package of bills sent to Gov. Rick Scott Thursday is SB 248, which creates a new public record exemption making a body camera recording by police exempt from public record disclosure when the recording is taken:

  • Within the interior of a private residence
  • The interior of a mental health care or social service facility
  • In a place that a reasonable person would expect to be private

“We do not want the voyeuristic public requesting video of the inside of someone’s house,” sponsor state Sen. Chris Smith explained to reporters last month.

A coalition that included the ACLU had argued the exemption was too broad to prevent disclosure of evidence of police misconduct.

The measure cleared both the House and Senate with a total of four no votes.

Legislatures in at least another 14 states are considering bills this year to exempt video recordings of police encounters with citizens from state public record laws or to limit what can be made public.

Scott has until May 22 to act on the bill. The measure provides for repeal of the public record exemption on Oct. 2, 2020, unless the Legislature reenacts the exemption.

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