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Arizona bill would make it illegal to secretly record your phone calls with others

In Arizona, it’s legal to secretly record a phone call you’re having with somebody. But a measure to criminalize those one-party consent recordings advanced at the Legislature on Thursday.

Rep. David Cook (R-Globe) said a bill he’s sponsoring that would make it a felony to record someone in a wire or electronic communication without their consent is targeted at artificial intelligence scams. Although law enforcement is exempted, the Arizona Police Association, as well as the Arizona Media Association, opposes the bill because of its potential broader impacts. 

Cook says he’s willing to amend the bill, and won’t move it forward until stakeholders are more comfortable.

“We need to address the threats of AI to our individual security liberties and protections,” he said.

A dozen other states have “two-party consent” laws, but implementation varies. In Cook’s language, violation of the proposal would be a class 5 felony.

The bill passed its first hearing, 7-3, with one Democrat and two Republicans voting “no.”

An in-person conversation between Republican Senate candidate Kari Lake and then-Arizona Republican Party Chair Jeff DeWit was recently released, driving DeWit to resign. But Cook’s bill was not a response to that incident — it had been filed long before the Lake-DeWit recording was released and would not pertain to in-person conversations.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been updated to clarify that the bill would apply only to wire or electronic communications, such as phone calls.

Camryn Sanchez is a field correspondent at KJZZ covering everything to do with state politics.