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Bill protecting civilians' right to record police officers clears Legislature

The state Legislature gave final passage Thursday to a measure that would affirm the public's right to record the actions of police officers.

The bill, which goes now to the governor, spells out that making an audio or video recording of police officers in public places is legal.

It was among a slew of police accountability measures introduced this year in response to a string of high-profile killings that thrust the issue of police force into the national debate. Most of those measures have stalled.

“We are one signature away from making it absolutely clear: You have the right to record,” the bill's author, state Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), said in a prepared statement. “This is about reinforcing our 1st Amendment right and ensuring transparency, accountability and justice.

“Cellphone and video footage is helping steer important national civil-rights conversations, and the Right to Record Act is critical to protecting this fundamental right,” Lara said.

Gov. Jerry Brown has not taken a public position on the measure, SB 411.

Also on Thursday, the state Senate approved a proposal to legalize the use of electrically motorized skateboards on sidewalks, roads and bike paths in California.

Assembly Republican leader Kristin Olsen of Modesto introduced the measure, saying the ban on motorized devices is archaic, as it was intended to clear sidewalks of skateboards with noisy, polluting gas motors that few use today.

New technology has made the skateboards “fun, safe and easy to ride” now, Sen. Jim Beall (D-San Jose) told his colleagues during a debate on the bill, and they provide a good way for people to commute short distances quietly and without polluting the air.

The proposal, AB 604, would allow cities to adopt their own restrictions on the skateboards. It now goes back to the Assembly for approval of minor amendments.

Follow @melmason for more on California government and politics.

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
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