Public Recordings of Police Officers Will Be Legal in Illinois After All

12/16/2014 12:50 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Rumors can run rampant on social media. One recent prominent rumor borne out of this year's Illinois General Assembly veto session in Springfield would have people believe that a new law would prohibit Illinoisans from recording police officers in public. The newly proposed law, awaiting Gov. Pat Quinn's signature, would do just the opposite. It would overturn a previous law that made the recording of any law enforcement officer a felony.

I'm not sure how this caught fire and spread so quickly on Facebook and Twitter, because the whole point of the eavesdropping law revision was to remove language that made it a felony for any citizen to record a law enforcement officer on duty. It was that portion of the eavesdropping law that made it both unconstitutional and absurdly antiquated.

The new eavesdropping bill came after a decision in March from the Illinois Supreme Court that said the current law -- which dates back to 1963 -- was unconstitutional. Really, this goes back to 2010, when the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois took up the cause of various groups trying to monitor police actions for evidence of misconduct. They soon learned that in Illinois, the second you point a smartphone camera at a law enforcement officer on duty, you are committing a felony.

Find out what this would have meant for other high-profile police recording cases in the past and what it will mean for Illinois going forward at Reboot Illinois.

More changes are in the works for Illinois. Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner has planned to "shake up" his gubernatorial inauguration in January.

Reboot Illinois' Madeleine Doubek writes:

Republican Rauner's chief spokesman Mike Schrimpf noted in his release that the majority of events are free and open to the public, though tickets are required for many activities.

Looks like Rauner's shaking up inaugural activities, too. An inaugural concert at the Prairie Captital Convention Center will replace the traditional Inaugural Ball. Bummer. I was looking forward to seeing Rauner and First Lady-to-be Diana shaking up themselves on a ballroom dance floor. Maybe they'll jump off the stage and crowdsurf instead?

Read more about the festivities you are apparently invited to at Reboot Illinois.