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Public accountability: Two bills improve it
Two bills considered in the Legislature today would make public officials, particularly those in law enforcement, more accountable.
House Bill 145 as amended would clarify that citizens have the right to record public officials who are performing their public duties. It is needed because too many law enforcement agencies in New Hampshire have abused the state wiretapping law by arresting citizens who have recorded on-duty police officers.
The bill states that all legal recordings of public officials belong to the person who made them, and it would require any confiscated recordings to be copied and the copies given to the owner within 10 days.
House Bill 1535 clarifies what public information has to be included in an arrest record. It requires that arrest records contain the identity of the person arrested and the arresting officer or officers “unless the officer’s supervisor has good cause to believe that identifying the officer would not serve the public interest,” a “statement as to reasons why and how the arrest was made,” the crime alleged and whether the arrest came in pursuit of a warrant.
These bills improve public oversight and should be passed.
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