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Arizona's police videotaping bill is moving forward

The Senate Judiciary Committee has passed a bill that requires people filming police encounters to keep an 8-foot distance from officers. 

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. John Kavanaugh (R-Fountain Hills), says it’s informed by his experience as a police officer.

“You worry, you worry, is this a friend or an accomplice of this person who I’m dealing with who’s going to attack me? Even if it isn’t the cop is still distracted,” Kavanaugh said.

Kavanaugh’s original bill called for 15 feet but was revised to match a distance mandated by a court in Colorado. But critics like the ACLU argue the bill is unconstitutional. They say police officers could move closer to the person filming and put them in violation of the law.

“One of the group of officers could move toward you and then all the sudden you are in criminal violation of that law as a result of the officer moving and so that is not addressed in this bill,” said K.M. Bell with the ACLU of Arizona.

 The bill’s next stop is the Senate Rules Committee, where it will face a constitutional test.

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Alisa Reznick is a senior field correspondent covering stories across southern Arizona and the borderlands for the Tucson bureau of KJZZ's Fronteras Desk.