PHOENIX – The American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona and a group of 10 media organizations, represented by the ACLU and Ballard Spahr, respectively, have reached a settlement agreement with Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes, permanently prohibiting an unconstitutional police recording law. The proposed agreement was filed on July 12 and awaits final approval by U.S. District Court Judge John Tuchi.
H.B. 2319 was passed by the Arizona Legislature in 2022 and would have made it a crime to record police officers under certain circumstances. A clear violation of the First Amendment, the ACLU subsequently filed a lawsuit challenging the law and was granted a preliminary injunction just weeks before it would have gone into effect. The settlement agreement was reached with Attorney General Mayes following the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office and legislature’s decision to not defend the lawsuit.
The following statement can be attributed to K.M. Bell (pronouns: they/them), Staff Attorney for the ACLU of Arizona:
"This settlement will ensure every Arizonan's fundamental rights are protected and people are not criminalized exercising their First Amendment rights. Recording police officers is an important tool for holding law enforcement accountable to the public they are sworn to serve. We hope this settlement will deter the Arizona state legislature from continuing to pass flagrantly unconstitutional laws against the advice of their own attorneys.”
The plaintiffs in this case include the ACLU of Arizona and the following media organizations: Phoenix Newspapers, Inc.; Gray Television; Scripps Media; KPNX (12 News); Fox Television Stations; NBCUniversal Media (Telemundo Arizona/KTAZ); Arizona Broadcasters Association; States Newsroom (AZ Mirror); Arizona Newspapers Association; and the National Press Photographers Association.