Legislation which gives guidelines for releasing body cam footage passes Senate committee

03/22/2018 03:32 PM

FRANKFORT – A bill which would give local governments options to not release video from police body cameras has been passed by the Senate Judiciary committee.

House Bill 373, sponsored by Rep. Robert Benvenuti, R-Lexington, which passed by a 7-1 vote, would let local government officials refuse to release footage from body cameras that showed dead bodies, sexually explicit scenes, death of a police officer and children as well as other examples.

Benvenuti told committee members that HB 373 creates a construct under the open records act for the release of body cam footage. The retiring Republican from Lexington emphasized that the legislation does not mandate the use of body cameras.

What the bill does do is regulate how Kentucky will handle the transfer of information under the Open Records Act from body cameras on police officers or first responders.

Benvenuti felt that it was important to create the construct because he says there are currently no rules which leads to no consistency on how the information gets out.

“It provides situations where body worn footage will not be released and it creates an exception to those exceptions,” Benvenuti said. “For example, the footage will not be released if it’s recordings from inside a private residence, medical facility, correctional facility, of a sexual nature, involves minor children, involves the body of a deceased individual, reveals a witness, involves the location of a domestic violence shelter or reveals protective educational information.”

Sen. Ray Jones, D-Pikeville, an attorney who voted against the legislation , voiced his concerns to Benvenuti about how the legislation will unfairly affect attorneys who are trying to do their jobs in preparing cases.

House Bill 373 moves on to the full Senate for consideration.


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