Illinois Lawmaker Proposes Lawmakers Wear Body Cameras While Conducting Public Business

Illinois Lawmaker Proposes Lawmakers Wear Body Cameras While Conducting Public Business

SPRINGFIELD (IRN) — One state lawmaker has an idea for how to reduce political corruption.
State Rep. John Cabello, R-Rockford, wants to make it mandatory for all elected officials in the state to wear body cameras while conducting official business. The measure would apply to municipal, county and state lawmakers.
“The cameras would be on anytime they’re in meetings,” Cabello said. “That could stop the backroom deals. It would be more transparent and bring more things out into the light.”
Cabello pointed specifically to recent corruption cases out of the Chicago area, including charges filed against longtime Chicago Alderman Ed Burke. Burke is accused of attempted extortion for allegedly using his position to attempt to push business to his private law firm.
And, Cabello said he’s found a way to minimize the potential cost of the bill.
“There’s a proposal out there to make every single law enforcement in the state wear a body cam,” Cabello said. “In each of those law enforcement districts, you have elected officials. We could just buy a couple extra and they can be moved onto the storage that law enforcement is going to use.”
The bill directs the State Board of Elections to develop rules for the program. The video would be available if needed as evidence.
“We want the law enforcement agencies to have access to it, so if there’s wrongdoing going on, they have the evidence that is needed at the tips of their fingers,” Cabello said. “However, I am totally open to making it subject to the Freedom of Information Act, so anyone can have access to that stuff.”
Under the proposal, public officials found to be in violation of the body cam law could receive fines.
Cabello doesn’t have a co-sponsor for the bill yet, and is pessimistic about its chances of making it out of committee. But, he said it’s been popular among
constituents.
“I have gotten a huge response from people who like the idea, even people who aren’t fans of mine,” Cabello said.