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February 28, 2020                                                                                                    Rep. Chris Taylor, 608-266-5342  

Gov. Evers Signs Bipartisan Police Body Camera Bill into Law
Rep. Taylor honored to have served as Vice-Chair of the Study Committee that produced the bill

MADISON – Today, Governor Tony Evers signed 2019 Senate Bill 50, which regulates the storage and usage of footage recorded by police body cameras, into law as 2019 Wisconsin Act 108. Representative Chris Taylor (D-Madison) has worked on this issue for many years, and she served as the Vice-Chair of the 2018 Legislative Council Study Committee on the Use of Police Body Cameras. The Study Committee crafted Senate Bill 50 by combining provisions of a bill previously authored by Rep. Taylor with a bill authored by Senator Patrick Testin (R-Stevens Point), who chaired the Study Committee.

The bill requires police departments to retain body camera footage for at least 120 days, and the footage must be retained longer in the event of a critical incident such as a physical injury, an arrest, or any encounter that includes the use of force by a law enforcement officer. The bill also states clearly that this data is subject to Open Records laws, and police departments cannot alter or destroy footage upon receipt of an Open Records Request. In the event that footage is to be released, the bill protects privacy rights by obscuring minors or victims of sensitive or violent crimes that may be depicted in footage with pixelization or another form of redaction.

Representative Chris Taylor (D-Madison) released the following statement:

“I was the Vice-Chair of the 2018 Legislative Council Study Committee on the Use of Police Body Cameras with Sen. Testin, and I’m really proud of the work we did to craft this legislation. We started out on the committee with two competing body camera bills that were significantly different, but we were able to come together with stakeholders from the media, the legal community, and law enforcement on some really important issues regarding the retention of camera footage and the privacy concerns of individuals. As long as we have a system of policing in our communities, there needs to be transparency and accountability, which is why this bipartisan legislation is so important. I was thrilled to see unanimous support for this bill in both houses of the legislature, and I am thankful to Governor Evers for recognizing the importance of statewide standards in the event body cameras are implemented in Wisconsin communities.”

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