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On March 13, 2012, Rich Kelly joined Blake Krapf in providing testimony at Senate hearings in Harrisburg regarding proposed changes to Pennsylvania’s Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Control Act, 18 Pa. C.S. § 5701.  Rich Kelly is counsel for the Pennsylvania School Bus Association (PSBA) and Blake Krapf, CEO of the Krapf Bus Companies, is the PSBA President elect. 

The changes proposed by Senator Alloway’s bill 2011 SB 1117 would provide an exception that would exempt School Bus operators from civil and criminal penalties arising from the use of audio taping on school buses. 

In testimony, Krapf noted that audio/video cameras have been available in school buses for 20 years but the audio is normally turned off to comply with the PA Wiretap Law. 

Krapf noted the benefits of audio and video in school buses when it comes to behavior control and noted instances where the ability to use the audio from the camera has come into question. He further noted that most district attorneys do not see the use of audio taping on school buses as a crime. 

However, the law as written is unclear and has generated criminal enforcement activity and civil suits involving school bus contractors.  Kelly testified about the legal standards and application of the current law.  Kelly said that many families actually expect audio and video taping on school buses and, based on this and other factors, said that there is no subjectively reasonable expectation of privacy on a school bus.  Kelly noted that because there has been no dispositive ruling on criminal charges or civil liability arising from the use of audio taping on school buses, the issue comes up frequently.  Senator White responded that school bus companies deserve a decision on the legality of using audio taping on school buses one way or another, but expressed concern about the potential uses of the information. She said the use of audio should be allowed but the legislation should provide guidelines or narrow the use.  Kelly and Krapf said that the PSBA supports passage of 2011 SB 1117 to clarify the existing wiretap law.  A video of the testimony can be seen here http://senatorgreenleaf.com/judiciary/2012/031312/agenda.htm (Blake Krapf at 1:14, Rich Kelly at 1:25)



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