HB 2319 Overturned


Izaias Pirila, Staff Writer

HB2319 is a bill that has the capability to decimate any chance the public may have at ending police brutality and holding police responsible for their actions. Thanks to an Obama district court appointee, John Tuchi, this bill has been blocked.

After the death of George Floyd and subsequent protests that ensued, the public has demanded more and more accountability from law enforcement. Certain Republican politicians have opposed this at every step of the way, such as condemning protests, and attempting to implement stronger qualified immunity laws. But the newest and most disturbing step Republican lawmakers have tried to take to curb police accountability, was to illegalize the filming of police officers within 8 feet of an officer fulfilling their duties.

 This bill known formally as House Bill 2319 or HB2319, passed in Arizona’s House of Representatives in February of 2022, and later passed in Arizona’s state Senate in late June , and was signed into law just a few weeks later, on July 6th by Republican Governor: Doug Ducey, which has caused mass outcry amongst the public and many civil rights activists.

This bill is not just bad policymaking, but also may be unconstitutional, says Tori Gantz of AZ Mirror. After this bill was passed, Arizona’s ACLU and ten other media organizations filed a lawsuit against the state of Arizona, challenging the legality of House Bill 2319. The ACLU, along with Ballard Spahr argued that the bill violated the first amendment and the right of citizens to record law enforcement carrying out their duties within a public setting. 

Obama appointee Judge John Tuchi oversaw this case, and on September 9th, 2022, ruled the bill unconstitutional. Tuchi, ruling that there is a “clearly established’ right to ‘record law enforcement officers engaged in the exercise of their official duties in public places’ under the First Amendment.” After filing a preliminary injunction, the ruling blocked the bill from becoming law. 

This is a major victory for the public, as recording police misconduct is the easiest and most practical way for civilians to document police wrongdoing.