Voice Recording Law
2:12 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

Ill. House: it's OK to record audio of police - with a few caveats

 

Updated 3:42 p.m. with Illinois Public Radio story.

Reporting by Illinois Public Radio's Brian Mackey used in this report.

Although the NATO protests in Chicago have come and gone, today the Illinois House took a second crack at making it legal to create audio recordings of police. This time the legislation passed.

At least three courts have found the law unconstitutional, and a few high-profile prosecutions have attracted national attention, but beyond all that, backers of the change say most people wouldn't know they were committing a crime.

"Citizens of Illinois, you ask them a question -- ask a hundred people a question: 'Do you think it's a felony offense to take out your cell phone and click the video button and happens to audio record somebody in the performance of their duties?' Ask a hundred people if they think that's a felony offense; I bet you not one of them would agree," Representative Chapin Rose, a Republican from Mahomet, said.

Police successfully blocked an earlier attempt to relax the law. They say the measure would put officers at risk and make it harder to investigate crimes.

In an attempt to mollify those concerns, the proposal was changed to say if someone tampered with a recording in order to file a complaint against a police officer, that would be a crime.

The measure passed 71 to 45 and now heads to the Senate.