Politics

Texas Congressman Withdraws Bill That Would Restrict Citizens' Right To Record Police

| by Kathryn Schroeder
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A bill that would restrict private citizens from photographing or recording police was introduced to the Texas House of Representatives on Tuesday.

Republican Rep. Jason Villalba of Texas introduced House Bill 2918. Under the proposed new law, private citizens who photograph or record the police within 25 feet of them would be charged with a class B misdemeanor, reports the Houston Chronicle. If the private citizen is armed, they will not be allowed to record police activity within 100 feet of an officer.

The only persons allowed to record police would be radio or television organizations that hold a license from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), a qualified newspaper, or a magazine that is regularly published.

In 2011, an appeals court in the case of Glik v. Cunniffe ruled anonymously that private citizens are allowed to record police. Villalba's bill would go against the set precedent.

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Villalba received backlash from Twitter followers regarding the legislation, reports Huffington Post. They said he was seeking to make all filming of cops illegal.

”My bill just asks filmers to stand back a little so as to not interfere with law enforcement," Villalba tweeted in response.

Christopher Hooton, senior reporter for The Independent, asked Villalba via tweet for a status update on the bill this morning.

“The bill will not be moving forward,” Villalba tweeted in response to Hooton.

Villalba then tweeted at another user that, "Once it was clear not all LEO's supported it, I withdrew it."

Sources: Houston Chronicle, Huffington Post, Jason Villalba/Twitter

Photo Source: IFCAR/Wikipedia Commons, Wallethub via Houston Chronicle