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Two eavesdropping proposals surface

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

* The SJ-R editorial board broke a bit of news this morning about the eavesdropping bill kerfuffle. As you may remember, Sen. Mike Noland refused to call a bill passed by the House that would’ve decriminalized the act of audio recording an on-duty police officer in a public place. The penalty for doing such a thing is currently a felony here, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. But there’s now a new bill

The bill’s Senate sponsor, Sen. Mike Noland, D-Elgin, believed the House bill was deficient by not granting police officers the unfettered ability to make recordings of private citizens in public places. This despite Illinois law already giving law enforcement officers eight exemptions that allow them to do so. He said he would let the House version die in the Senate rather than allowing a vote. As sponsor, that’s his prerogative.

Here’s the civics lesson: Now the language of the stalled bill has been placed into another bill (House Bill 1237) with friendly sponsorship in the Senate. We urge the Senate to pass this version and send it back to the House, which we assume would reaffirm the 71-45 vote by which it approved the bill last week.

While the legislative maneuvering might make it look otherwise, this is not rocket science. It should not have become an occasion for law enforcement to try to gain even more freedom than it already has to listen in on private citizens. Good law enforcement officers know this bill will only benefit them. Good legislators know that amending a judicially invalidated and outdated law need not create a major expansion of domestic surveillance. End of civics lesson.

And I totally agree with the SJ-R here. Rep. Elaine Nekritz passed a good bill.

* Trouble is, the bill was assigned to Noland’s own committee, and it wasn’t called for a vote today. Noland now has his own bill in his own committee that uses Nekritz’s language, but also includes this

A person may record the conversation of a law enforcement officer who is performing a public duty in a public place and any other person who is having a conversation with that law enforcement officer if… the person notifies the parties that the conversation is being recorded.

* So, how, exactly was the person who took this video of a “Black Bloc” attack on Chicago police supposed to “notify” the parties that their conversation was being recorded? Could he have just yelled it out? Or would he have had to go up to each person and notify them beforehand? I’m not quite sure I get it

This is a bad idea by Noland.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

14 Comments
  1. - Do The Right Thing - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 11:11 am:

    I can’t believe Senate leadership is allowing Noland to carry on with this charade. Everyone knows he is crazy so why are they protecting him? Doesn’t he have an opponent? Good luck with that.


  2. - former WRMNpolitics - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 11:26 am:

    As a resident of Michael “call me Senator” Noland’s district and having interviewed him a number of times, Noland is a classic example of the 2 minute rule. If you listen to him for 2 minute,he sounds rational, but at the 2 minute and 1 second mark he spins off the planet.


  3. - wordslinger - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 12:14 pm:

    Rather than Noland’s bill, wouldn’t it just be simpler to outlaw smart phones?

    What year is this guy living in?


  4. - LS - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 12:19 pm:

    “This is a bad idea” is actually Noland’s relection slogan. Seriously, there are a lot of goofy legislators but this guy is standing out as one of the worst.


  5. - Wensicia - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 12:40 pm:

    I suppose you could always rent a small plane trailing a banner saying:

    “It’s my legal duty to inform all of you that you’re being recorded.”


  6. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 12:58 pm:

    For the record, no matter how this issue turns out, I do not give anyone permission to record me in public…

    Here is another classic example of the rights of individuals against the those of the state. In this whole protracted argument, I have not heard a single argument why the needs of the state trump our individual liberties, especially in public spaces. I could even buy a carve out that says you don’t have a right to record in most areas of a police station, or something like that. But on a public street, they should be able to record us, and we them, whomever us and them are.

    I believe that, “Congress shall make no law…” has been sufficiently litigated to apply to the States, and as recently as this month upheld by the US Court of Appeals in a Chicago case.


  7. - collar observer - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 1:05 pm:

    Senator Noland - you are wrong here - man up - admit it and move on. Let the Nekritz language come to the floor and pass for crying out loud.


  8. - Siriusly - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 1:12 pm:

    “Mike Noland” and “bad idea” often found closely together.

    I know people who would rather have Derrick Smith carry their bills.


  9. - titan - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 2:02 pm:

    It seems to me holding the cameraphone up int he air in the fashion depicted would be pretty reasonable notice that one is recording with it - cal it sign language


  10. - Chicago Cynic - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 2:20 pm:

    This ridiculous reaction is emblematic of the dysfunctional nature of so many of our arguments these days. Noland’s bill is absurd. Nekritz’s is rational. Pass the damn thing already.

    Oh, and as to Cinci’s comment, “For the record, no matter how this issue turns out, I do not give anyone permission to record me in public.” You better not come to Chicago since this place now has probably more cameras than any City outside of London. It’s ridiculous - they’re everywhere.


  11. - downstate commissioner - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 2:42 pm:

    Cynic- I took Cinci’s comment to mean that he (and I) give no one permission to record us. But his comment also seemed to accept reality that recording occurs, therefore, there should be no ban on us or them recording each other other in public.


  12. - eyewitness - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 3:00 pm:

    everyone knows there are (at least ) two sides to every story. If we are seeking truth we should be be able to see & hear from each sides audio/video recordings.


  13. - Elgin-riffic - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 3:27 pm:

    ===I know people who would rather have Derrick Smith carry their bills.===

    Count me among them. Thank god he’s not effective. And doesnt this completely contradict his liberal mindset? What a goof.


  14. - anon - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 10:32 pm:

    Give it up - Noland may be nuts or he may be right - either way he’s out foxed some pretty smart and powerful folks on this one.


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