Body cam bill voted out of committee

A bill that would establish statewide rules for how police use body cameras and handle requests for access to videos has been approved by the Senate Committee On Judiciary & Public Safety.

The committee met Wednesday morning and voted 5-0 to approve SB 50. The bill will now go to the Senate.

A public hearing on the bill was held last week.

The bill, in part, maintains the Wisconsin’s current standard of public records being assumed accessible to the public, unless a records custodian rules against openness using the balancing test. The bill uses the balancing test to determine if video should be released, and asks records custodians to take into consideration the expectation privacy for anyone who appears in the video and the treatment of victims and minors. The bill also directs records custodians to use redaction where necessary to allow for a video to be released.

The bill also sets standards for record retention and mandates training for police departments that adopt the use of police body cameras.

SB 50 is the product of a Legislative Study Committee that included law enforcement, the legal community, and open government advocates. WISN-TV News Director Ben Hart was on the committee and also testified at last week’s public hearing.