Body Camera Legislation Approved by Texas Senate

royce-westAUSTIN, TX – Earlier today, Senate Bill 158 by Senator Royce West (D-Dallas) passed out of the Texas Senate chamber by a final vote of 22-8. If approved by the Texas Legislature, SB158 would establish statewide policy on the use of body-worn cameras by law enforcement and provide assistance for the purchase of body cameras through a grant program to be administered through the governor’s office. Local police and sheriff’s departments would be eligible to apply for grant funding.
“After months of preparation, we were able to pass the second hurdle on the way to full passage of body camera legislation in Texas,” said Senator West. “While the bill remains a work in progress, it will now begin its way through the House of Representatives. SB158 has been a collaborative effort and we will continue to rely on the input and energy of the many stakeholders who have helped us to craft what for now, might be the most comprehensive body camera legislation in the nation.”
Beginning in February, Senator West assembled a stakeholder workgroup comprised of law enforcement administration and labor organizations, sheriff’s departments, city and county organizations, advocacy groups, prosecutors and defense attorneys. Using the filed version of SB158 as a starting point, the group discussed issues including open records, privacy, records retention, local policies, funding and data management concerns. Those items are each addressed in the version of the bill voted on by the full Senate. Senator West has continued working with Senate leaders, the Lt. Governor and the Office of the Governor to secure funding for a matching grant program.
For more information, please contact Kelvin Bass at 512-463-0123.