Okla. Senate agrees to make OHP recordings public records

The state Senate voted 38-4 on Thursday to remove the Open Records Act exemption for Oklahoma Highway Patrol recordings. An amended House Bill 2676 also adds audio and video recordings from dashboard and lapel cameras to the list of records that all law enforcement agencies must make available for inspection and copying.

The bill allows agencies to "redact or obscure specific portions of the recording" that depict or reveal:

  • The death of a person or a dead body,
  • Any person who is nude,
  • Identify minors under the age of 16, or
  • Law enforcement officers "who become subject to internal investigation by the law enforcement agency until the law enforcement agency concludes the investigation." The unedited recording would become available at the end of the "investigation and disciplinary process" or earlier if the "investigation and disciplinary process lasts for an unreasonable amount of time."

The bill must go to the full House for another vote. It is sponsored by Sen. David Holt, R-Oklahoma City, and Rep. Ken Walker, R-Tulsa.

I will add the names of the senators who voted against the bill when I get the list.

Joey Senat, Ph.D. Associate Professor OSU School of Media & Strategic Communications

The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the commentators and do not necessarily represent the position of FOI Oklahoma Inc., its staff, or its board of directors. Differing interpretations of open government law and policy are welcome.