Illinois legislator proposes combating corruption with body cameras

The Illinois State Capitol

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois- A state senator wants to combat corruption by increasing transparency of public officials.

State Rep. John Cabello, R-Rockford, proposed making body cameras mandatory for all elected officials while they’re conducting official business, according to the Illinois News Network.

Cabello pointed to the recent corruption case filed against Chicago Alderman Ed Burke. Burke, who’s been an alderman since 1969, stepped down after he was charged with attempted extortion in January of 2019.

Cabello believes keeping body cameras filming as officials conduct business may prevent further corruption.

“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.”

The current proposal only allows body camera footage to be used as evidence in investigations. However, Cabello says he is open to making footage open to public access under the Freedom of Information Act.

Under the proposal, public officials could be fined if they break the body cam law.

Cabello does not have a co-sponsor for the proposal at this time. The proposal has been referred to the Rules Committee. Cabello is pessimistic about it’s chances of making it out of committee, according to Illinois News Network. However, he says the proposal has gotten a huge response from the people he represents.

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