State senator files bill that would restrict conversation recording rights in Georgia

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The Gist: A Georgia state senator has filed a bill that would prevent Georgia residents from recording conversations without consent.

What is the current law?: Under current Georgia law, you can record a conversation by phone or in person if you are party to that conversation. This is known as one-party recording. You have a right to record someone else without their consent.

What is the proposed bill?: Senate Bill 59 would require you to get consent from all parties to a conversation prior to recording the conversation. There are 12 other states where all parties must consent prior to being recorded.

Who proposed the bill?: The bill was authored by Jeff Mullis, a republican senator from Chickamauga. He represents district 53 and is the chairman of the Senate Rules Committee. The bill is co-sponsored by senators John Wilkinson, Butch Miller, Ellis Black, Larry Walker III and Steve Gooch.

Who benefits: People who are in power who would not want their words recorded without their knowledge stand to benefit. A prime example is former Lieutenant Gov. Casey Cagle, who’s campaign for governor was derailed when recordings of a conversation between he and fellow republican Clay Tippins were released to the public. Tippins recorded the conversation without Cagle’s consent and if this bill were the law at the time, the recordings that may have cost Cagle the race would have been illegal. Incidentally, Mullis was a Cagle supporter.

Who loses: Those who wish to hold the powerful accountable would stand to lose if this bill became law. This would include reporters who record interviews with politicians, employees who are being treated unethically by employers, and anyone who may feel the need to record the actions or words of a person in authority whom they fear may act unethically or violate their rights.

Current status of the bill: SB 59 is still in its infancy. It was proposed Feb. 5 and read and referred in the Senate Feb. 6.

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