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05/30/2020 01:32 AM
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20190&cosponId=30249
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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: September 9, 2019 02:25 PM
From: Representative Dan L. Miller
To: All House members
Subject: Improving access to police videos
 
In 2017, the legislature in my opinion, was right to approve the use of body cameras by law enforcement in Pennsylvania. I believe this important tool can protect officers and the public, and lead to more deescalation across the board. However, in passing Act 22 we also drastically changed how the public could access police videos- not just body cameras, but basically every type of police video recorded anywhere through any type of police device.

I intend to introduce legislation that largely reduces this overstep, which to me decreased the value of authorizing body cameras and needlessly scooped up other video footage that had previously been accessed by the public through our Right to Know Law.
Specifically, this bill:
  1. Returns all non-body camera police video to the purview of the Right to Know Law, as was the case before Act 22;
  2. Increases the amount of time a person has to request body camera footage from 60 to 180 days;
  3. Increases the ways a person may formal request such footage;
  4. Increases response time for such requests;
  5. Increases appeal rights by providing for review by the Office of Open Records; and
  6. Develops a uniform request form.
This bill keeps the exact investigative exemption language relating to body cameras that is currently in Act 22.

In 2017 we took a positive step forward to help protect our police and our citizens, but the lack of transparency in the system undercuts the benefits of Act 22. In order to help improve relations and trust between the mend and women who protect us and the communities they serve, I think it is important to we reach for the higher level of accountability reflected in our Right to Know Law.

Please consider co-sponsoring this legislation.

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Introduced as HB1903