With the new year comes the beginning of the legislative session at the Arizona State Capitol. As usual the bills address a variety of subjects, including criminal law. There is one that I want to bring to your attention first and foremost: SB1054. It creates a new crime of video recording any law enforcement activity within 20 feet without the permission of the officer. If you want to read the full text, here it is: http://www.azleg.gov/legtext/52leg/2r/bills/sb1054p.htm
First of all, I don't think this is even Constitutional. Even if it is, this would make a crime out of recording situations where peoples' rights are at stake of being violated or when Police officers themselves could be breaking the law, exactly the circumstances when videos are most critical.
In an era where surveilance cameras and video phones are commonplace, we expect videotaping to occur in public. Think about the shocking videos of police we have seen over the last couple of years from incidents in South Carolina, Texas, and other parts of the country. It is important that we are able to monitor and record the police officers whose job it is to protect us.