Pennsylvania Wiretap Law Updates
As you will recall, in 2012 the Pennsylvania Legislature considered a variety of changes to Pennsylvania’s existing wiretap law, 18 Pa.C.S. § 5703. The existing statue, commonly regarded as the most restrictive in the nation, devotes most of its text to law enforcement’s use of wiretaps and provides criminal and civil remedies for violations.
The risk of enforcement against a school bus contractor is an unintended result of that statue. While certain changes to Pennsylvania’s wiretap law were passed in 2012, none of those changes provided an exception for audio taping on school buses. However, the effort to change the existing statue to clearly allow audio taping on school buses is being pursued again.
In December, Pennsylvania State Senator Richard Alloway announced his intention to reintroduce legislation that would allow for audio taping on school buses. Senator Alloway’s December 2012 memo to all Senate members stated that “allowing school buses an exemption from the Pennsylvania Wiretapping laws will be a measure towards a safer school bus environment”. In January of this year, SB 57 of 2013 was in fact introduced by Senators Alloway, Brewster, Erickson, Vulakovich, Washington, Solobay, and Rafferty.
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