State bill on police radio encryption dies in committee

Palo Alto Weekly

By Gennady Sheyner

A proposal to require California law enforcement agencies to find alternatives to full encryption of radio communications fizzled on Thursday morning when the state Assembly Appropriations Committee declined to advance the bill for a full Assembly vote.

By agreeing to "hold the bill," the powerful committee effectively killed SB 1000 for this year. The legislation from state Sen. Josh Becker had cleared the state Senate in May and was on its penultimate step in the state Assembly on Thursday when it became one of dozens of bills at the committee's "suspense file" that failed to advance.

Becker, D-Menlo Park, said in an interview after the vote that he plans to bring the bill back next year. He said many of bill's supporters, including media organizations and nonprofit groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, became aware of the encryption issue fairly recently and that there was a flurry of activity at the end of the legislative process.

"I like to think we can keep the momentum going into next year," he said. "I do plan to bring it back."

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