February 3, 2022
The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee is scheduled to vote on SB 31 first thing tomorrow morning. This bill has been introduced several times over the past few years, and the Public Justice Center has opposed the legislation as it weakens the Maryland Public Information Act.
If passed, SB 31 would prohibit disclosure of ALL body-worn camera footage of:
Incidents that do not result in: the use of force, arrest, attempted arrest, temporary detention, attempted temporary detention, search, attempted search, citation, death, or injury of an individual; and a complaint or allegation of police misconduct against the officer involved in the incident.
Additionally, the bill specifically prohibits the disclosure of body-worn camera footage of:
Incidents that depict victims of certain offenses or information that could identify such victims; Incidents that depict the death of a law enforcement officer in the performance of their duties.
SB 31 is unnecessary and we need you to take action. Email and tweet at all members of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee (JPR), urging them to OPPOSE SB 31. A sample email, tweet, and JPR contact info is included below.
SB 31 is a solution in search of a problem. The MPIA already protects against improper disclosure as it grants custodians broad discretion to withhold documents, including body-worn camera footage, during the pendency of an investigation. Custodians also have the right to redact portions of body-worn camera footage that should not be released.
SB 31 is unnecessary and will impact the overall implementation of Anton’s Law. I urge you to maintain government transparency with an UNFAVORABLE vote.
JPR member email addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, Bob.Cassilly@senate.state.md.us, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Sample Tweet and Graphic:
SB31 is a solution in search of a problem. The MPIA already protects against improper disclosure and provides the right to redact body-worn cam footage that should not be released. Maintain government transparency with a NO vote on SB31. #MDGA22 #OpenGov
JPR member Twitter handles: @Willcsmithjr @jwaldstreicher @senatorjbailey @jillpcarter @CassillyforMD34 @shellyhettleman @senatorhough @SenatorSusanLee @CharlesSydnor3d @RonForMaryland
Thank you for in advance for contacting the members of JPR before tomorrow morning’s vote.