This time of year we brace for the flood of proposed legislation and wonder what among those great ideas will be the most ludicrous.
I monitor state legislation across the country and what just popped up from Illinois is so far beyond the pale that it is fair fodder for a Saturday Night Live skit and should give us some comfort, we hope, that no one would propose anything like it here.
Still, we might recall, there was one idea that went way too far, the bill to weaponize police drones in 2017, HB 7260. It would have made Connecticut the first in the nation to allow weaponization and got national attention. It was ultimately defeated.
North Dakota, it might be acknowledged, allows nonlethal weaponized drones. Last week, the proposed Public Official Body Camera Act, HB 4065, was introduced into the Illinois House requiring elected and appointed public officials in the state to wear body cameras at all times, even in closed meetings, when performing their official duties. What would be recorded would be available in legislative, judicial, disciplinary, and administrative proceedings, but not subject to the state’s freedom of information laws. Broadly read, those body cams would be on during meetings with lawyers, executive sessions, and personnel discussions. No funding is provided and the State Board of Elections curiously is tasked with writing regulations.
Let’s hope no one this session can top that here.
Dwight Merriam is a lawyer in private practice in Simsbury.