Body-Worn Cameras Legislative Update

Following the Maryland Police Accountability Act’s passage in 2021, the Maryland General Assembly introduced several body-worn camera bills this session seeking to address issues raised by counties and other stakeholders.

MACo has lent its support to three of these bills, all of which are facing varying prospects for passage:

Senate Bill 31 – Public Information Act – Inspection of Records From Body–Worn Digital Recording Devices

A former MACo initiative, this bill would implement a balanced release of police body camera video upon receiving a Public Information Act request, accounting for police accountability, victim privacy and safety, and available government resources.

  • On January 19, 2022, MACo testified before the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee in support of SB 31.
  • On February 25, 2022, the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee voted favorably on SB 31, ultimately passing out of the Senate and into the House on March 4, 2022.
  • At present, this bill has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee and is awaiting a hearing.

Senate Bill 558/House Bill 162 – Public Safety – Law Enforcement – Body-Worn Cameras

This bill would, among other provisions, require the State of Maryland to procure body-worn cameras, equipment, and technology for all law enforcement agencies, and establish and administer a statewide uniform storage and access system for all body-worn camera data captured.

  • On February 23, 2022, and March 1, 2022, MACo testified before the Senate Judicial Proceeds and House Judiciary Committees, respectively, in support of SB 558/HB 162 with amendments.
  • Although neither the House nor the Senate bills have seen additional action since their hearing dates, several important amendments have been drafted by the bills’ sponsors:
    • SB 558/HB 162 would incorporate all of Senate Bill 31’s provisions.
    • The bills would clarify that local governments are the official custodians of body-worn camera footage and have final say over the release of footage.
    • The bills would allow local governments to provide input into the procurement of body-worn camera equipment.
  • MACo is engaged in active conversations with the bills’ sponsors to address additional needs.

House Bill 1207 – Public Safety – Body-Worn Cameras – Costs and Expenses

This bill would require the State to assume responsibility for all costs and expenses related to the procurement and use of body-worn cameras by county law enforcement agencies.

  • On March 1, 2022, MACo testified before the House Judiciary Committee in support of HB 1207.
  • Since its hearing, the bill has not seen additional action.

Additional Conduit Street Coverage on Body-Worn Cameras.

More on MACo’s Advocacy:

Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2022 legislative session on MACo’s Legislative Tracking Database.
Learn more about MACo’s 2022 Legislative Initiatives.
Read more General Assembly News on MACo’s Conduit Street blog.