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Body Cameras Bill Sponsor Intends To Bring Dead Bill Back Next Year

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MGN Online

While one body cameras-related bill was sent to the Governor, another died amid the budget impasse between the House and Senate. But, the bill’s main sponsor says he’ll be back again next year.

Florida Police Benevolent Association Executive Director Matt Puckett was a proponent for a measure making sure law enforcement using body cameras have set guidelines in place.

“It's one of the many casualties of the last few days of session it seems like…we’re disappointed that that policy guidelines piece did not pass,” said Puckett. “We think there needs to be uniform guidelines.”

He says he’s especially not happy because of a provision in that bill that would have protected officers using the cameras from Florida’s two-party consent rule.

And, while he too is sad the measure did not pass, Rep. Shevrin Jones (D-West Park) says he’s still grateful the full Legislature passed a bill providing a public records exemption for body camera recordings done by law enforcement aimed at protecting the public’s privacy. He says upon the bill becoming law, it would apply to current agencies using the cameras.

“Right, if the Governor does sign it, those agencies would still have to abide by that public records exemption,” said Jones.

Still, First Amendment Foundation President Barbara Petersen, who was opposed to that bill from the start, says she’s not too happy.

“Various jurisdictions across the state of Florida been using body cameras videos for the last three or four years,” said Petersen. We haven’t heard any complaints. They haven’t complained to us.”

Meanwhile, Jones says he intends to bring the other measure back up next session.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.