Pennsylvania: bill would make it a misdemeanor to audio/video record in or near a courtroom without judge’s permission; 2016 version passed House 200-0

A bill that would make it a crime to make an audio or video recording in or around Pennsylvania courtrooms without a judge’s permission has been refiled for the 2017 session.

Under HB 149

A person commits a misdemeanor of the second degree if the person in any manner and for any purpose uses or operates a device to capture, record, transmit or broadcast a photograph, video, motion picture or audio of a proceeding or person within a hearing room, courtroom or the environs of a hearing room or courtroom without the approval of the court or presiding judicial officer or except as provided by rules of court…”environs” means the area immediately surrounding any entrance or exit.

The lead proponent notes that existing witness intimidation laws don’t cover such courtroom or near-courtroom recordings.

The 2015/2016 version of the bill (HB 1682) pass the House unanimously with a 200-0 vote, but the Senate never took it up.

HB 149 has been filed in the House Judiciary Committee.