HB21-1250 Measures to Address Law Enforcement Accountability

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New bill goes before the Colorado State, Veterans, & Military Affairs committee on Tuesday May 25th at 2 P.M.

HB21-1250

In it's current form addresses media access to encrypted public safety communications.

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W8KIC

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New bill goes before the Colorado State, Veterans, & Military Affairs committee on Tuesday May 25th at 2 P.M.

HB21-1250

In it's current form addresses media access to encrypted public safety communications.

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Notice how the revision is buried halfway through the last paragraph? Gotta love legislators and their ability to get creative when attempting to revise or amend existing law. Lol!
 

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Bill has passed committee.

Portion of the bill related to this thread:

SECTION 19. In Colorado Revised Statutes, add part 5 to article
6 of title 24 as follows:

PART 5
ENCRYPTION OF RADIO COMMUNICATIONS
BY GOVERNMENTAL ENTITIES

24-6-501. Definitions. AS USED IN THIS PART 5, UNLESS THE
CONTEXT OTHERWISE REQUIRES:

(1) "ENCRYPTION" MEANS THE ENCODING OF VOICE
COMMUNICATION ON AN ANALOG OR DIGITALLY MODULATED RADIO
CARRIER, WHICH ENCODING RENDERS THECOMMUNICATION DIFFICULT OR
IMPOSSIBLE TO BE MONITORED BY COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE RADIO
RECEIVERS OR SCANNERS.

(2) "LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY" MEANS A MUNICIPAL POLICE
DEPARTMENT OR A COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE.

(3) "MEDIA" MEANS A NEWS MEDIA ENTITY ASSOCIATED WITH A
STATEWIDE ORGANIZATION REPRESENTING FCC-LICENSED BROADCASTING
ENTITIES OR A STATEWIDE ORGANIZATION REPRESENTING A MAJORITY OF
COLORADO NEWSPAPERS.

(4) "RADIO COMMUNICATIONS" MEANS ANY COMMUNICATION BY
WAY OF TRANSMISSION OF A RADIO FREQUENCY CARRIER TO BASE,
MOBILE, OR PORTABLE RADIO TRANSCEIVERS BY EITHER ANALOG OR
DIGITAL MODULATION.

-29- 12501 (5) "SCANNER" MEANS A RADIO RECEIVER DESIGNED FOR THE
PURPOSE OF MONITORING MULTIPLE RADIO CARRIERS SIMULTANEOUSLY.

24-6-502. Public broadcast of governmental radio
communications - encryption policy.

A LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY
THAT ENCRYPTS ALL OF ITS RADIO COMMUNICATIONS SHALL CREATE A
COMMUNICATIONS ACCESS POLICY, THROUGH COLLABORATION WITH
COLORADO-BASED MEDIA OUTLETS, THAT INCLUDES AN AGREEMENT
GOVERNING ACCESS FOR THE MEDIA TO PRIMARY DISPATCH CHANNELS OR
TALK GROUPS THROUGH COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE RADIO RECEIVERS,
SCANNERS, OR ANY OTHER FEASIBLE TECHNOLOGY. THE POLICY MAY
INCLUDE, BUT IS NOT LIMITED TO, VERIFICATION OF MEDIA CREDENTIALS;
REASONABLE RESTRICTIONS ON THE USE OF THE COMMERCIALLY
AVAILABLE RADIO RECEIVERS, SCANNERS, OR OTHER FEASIBLE
TECHNOLOGY; AND FINANCIAL OR OTHER COSTS RELATED TO THE SALE,
LEASE, OR LOAN OF THE COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE RADIO RECEIVERS,
SCANNERS, OR ANY OTHER FEASIBLE TECHNOLOGY.

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Spitfire8520

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It only applies to municipal police or sheriff's office and only requires that a communication access policy exists in some form. The entire second half is a complete mess with the language of "the policy may include, but is not limited to." With how the bill is, Denver's current policy should be able to pass the legal sniff test with flying colors and might just be the model other for other agencies wanting to have a policy that effectively keeps the media out.
 

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Bill sent to the Governor on 06/21.

Relevant section in final form

PART 5 ENCRYPTION OF RADIO COMMUNICATIONS BY GOVERNMENTAL ENTITIES

24-6-501.Definitions.

AS USED IN THIS PART 5, UNLESS THE CONTEXT OTHERWISE REQUIRES:(1) "ENCRYPTION" MEANS THE ENCODING OF VOICE COMMUNICATION ON AN ANALOG OR DIGITALLY MODULATED RADIO CARRIER, WHICH ENCODING RENDERS THE COMMUNICATION DIFFICULT OR IMPOSSIBLE TO BE MONITORED BY COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE RADIO RECEIVERS OR SCANNERS.(2) "LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY" MEANS A MUNICIPAL POLICE DEPARTMENT OR A COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE.(3) "MEDIA" MEANS A NEWS MEDIA ENTITY ASSOCIATED WITH A STATEWIDE ORGANIZATION REPRESENTING FCC-LICENSED BROADCASTING ENTITIES OR A STATEWIDE ORGANIZATION REPRESENTING A MAJORITY OF COLORADO NEWSPAPERS.(4) "RADIO COMMUNICATIONS" MEANS ANY COMMUNICATION BYWAY OF TRANSMISSION OF A RADIO FREQUENCY CARRIER TO BASE, MOBILE,OR PORTABLE RADIO TRANSCEIVERS BY EITHER ANALOG OR DIGITAL MODULATION.(5) "SCANNER" MEANS A RADIO RECEIVER DESIGNED FOR THE PURPOSE OF MONITORING MULTIPLE RADIO CARRIERS SIMULTANEOUSLY.

24-6-502. Public broadcast of governmental radio communications - encryption policy.

A LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY THAT ENCRYPTS ALL OF ITS RADIO COMMUNICATIONS SHALL CREATE A COMMUNICATIONS ACCESS POLICY, THROUGH COLLABORATION WITH COLORADO-BASED MEDIA OUTLETS, THAT INCLUDES AN AGREEMENT GOVERNING ACCESS FOR THE MEDIA TO PRIMARY DISPATCH CHANNELS OR TALK GROUPS THROUGH COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE RADIO RECEIVERS,SCANNERS, OR ANY OTHER FEASIBLE TECHNOLOGY.

THE POLICY MAY INCLUDE, BUT IS NOT LIMITED TO, VERIFICATION OF MEDIA CREDENTIALS;REASONABLE RESTRICTIONS ON THE USE OF THE COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE RADIO RECEIVERS, SCANNERS, OR OTHER FEASIBLE TECHNOLOGY; AND FINANCIAL OR OTHER COSTS RELATED TO THE SALE, LEASE, OR LOAN OF THE COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE RADIO RECEIVERS, SCANNERS, OR ANY OTHER FEASIBLE TECHNOLOGY.

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Confirmed the Governor signed HB21-1250 during a signing ceremony along with other bills on July 6th and will become law.

For the portion of interest to this community how will agencies go about abiding to media access?

Will they follow the draconian measures the City and County of Denver put on the table or will they come up
with a reasonable approach?

Looking back at how access was during the period of 1992 to 1999 before EDACS capable scanners were
available there were some hoops to go through to receive permissions from Denver and Westminster/Arvada
for access and programming by the EEB.

In the case of P25 systems such as DTRS, MARC and FRCC it could be a major headache in order to have multiple agencies in a single radio
with multiple keys or having a rack of radios in the newsroom. Sure radios are capable of multiple systems and keys however getting multiple agencies to agree to this approach I see perceived issues. Also add the likelihood that cost of the radios would be prohibitive for the media as budgets are tight in the industry.

Another approach using the KISS principle would put dispatch groups back in the clear. I know wishful thinking however it would be a lot easier than having to create policy with time and money spent having to vet every media application.

In any case it will be interesting to see how this all plays out in the long term.

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edweirdFL

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They subvert the Constitution's 1A protections by applying a narrow definition of what "media" is in this bill.

(3) "MEDIA" MEANS A NEWS MEDIA ENTITY ASSOCIATED WITH A
STATEWIDE ORGANIZATION REPRESENTING FCC-LICENSED BROADCASTING
ENTITIES OR A STATEWIDE ORGANIZATION REPRESENTING A MAJORITY OF
COLORADO NEWSPAPERS.

So unless you have the money to mount a statewide enterprise, and/or to acquire a FCC broadcasting license, you are shut out from having access. All press including independent press should have access. This is a carve out for the corporations and companies that have enough resources to also lobby and make campaign contributions to lawmakers.
 

scannerboy02

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They subvert the Constitution's 1A protections by applying a narrow definition of what "media" is in this bill.

(3) "MEDIA" MEANS A NEWS MEDIA ENTITY ASSOCIATED WITH A
STATEWIDE ORGANIZATION REPRESENTING FCC-LICENSED BROADCASTING
ENTITIES OR A STATEWIDE ORGANIZATION REPRESENTING A MAJORITY OF
COLORADO NEWSPAPERS.

So unless you have the money to mount a statewide enterprise, and/or to acquire a FCC broadcasting license, you are shut out from having access. All press including independent press should have access. This is a carve out for the corporations and companies that have enough resources to also lobby and make campaign contributions to lawmakers.
To this, back in the early 2000's the California Highway Patrol stopped issuing press credentials due to this exact issue. I few independent journalist were denied credentials and a joint lawsuit was filed that was settled out of court when it was made clear to the CHP that they were not allowed to decide who was and who was not a journalist. This is something that will definitely need to be addressed with this new law in Colorado.
 

Thunderknight

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I read it as you have to associated with an organization representing such a group. So, for example, be a member of the Colorado Association of Broadcasters, or the Colorado Newspapers Association (If such groups exist). Not that you have to be a statewide media company.

Kind of like saying an “Amateur Radio Operator associated with a National radio association” (e.g. be an ARRL member).
 

kc0kp

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Years ago in Colorado in order to get press credentials your media organization had to belong to either the Colorado Association of Broadcasters or the Colorado Press Association. The back of the credential stated it entitled the bearer to cross police and fire lines to cover stories. It was signed by Gib Carrell, Chief of the Colorado State Patrol and Art Dill, Denver Police Chief. There were spaces to allow other endorsements depending on where you worked. Alternative papers decided that impaired their coverage. It was over a reporter who was a convicted felon who was denied a pass and the press associations agreed. So cards were then made available to whoever wanted them. The endorsements on the back were eliminated. Police and fire departments also eliminated access that was previously allowed. A lose, lose proposition. You could have your press card but good luck getting close enough to see anything let alone get a picture of it.
 

scannerboy02

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The endorsements on the back were eliminated. Police and fire departments also eliminated access that was previously allowed. A lose, lose proposition. You could have your press card but good luck getting close enough to see anything let alone get a picture of it.
This is why I like paragraph d of California P.C. 409.5. Would be nice to see other states adopt something similar.
 
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