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Bill banning cameras in government bathrooms passes Iowa Legislature

Photo: MGN

A bill banning government buildings from putting video cameras in bathrooms is heading to Governor Branstad’s desk.

It stems from a case out of Iowa City, where a resident raised concerns about being videotaped inside the Iowa City Public Library.

Supporters say although the cameras don’t record in the stalls – it still invades a space where a person can expect privacy.

Lawmakers against the bill say the cameras there for safety reasons.

“I understand the fine line between security and safety privacy and I think by placing these cameras in the common area in the common places – it guarantees security,” said Rep. Vicki Lensing (D – Iowa City)

Republican state representative Greg Heartsill (R- Chariton) says the footage is public record because they’re in government buildings.

He says that’s a key reason for bringing this bill forward.

ACLU of Iowa Legal Director Rita Bettis said, “After years of pushing the library to take down the cameras from inside the public bathroom, we are relieved that lawmakers have acted to finally require the library board to remove them. We are very thankful to our client for being willing to stand up for her own privacy rights and the rights of other library patrons. We’re also glad that the Iowa Legislature realized that this was a wider problem and intervened to protect Iowans from this type of bizarre and invasive surveillance in private spaces.”

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