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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) — A newly approved bill would allow a person to secretly record conversations if they involve discussions of sexual assault and illegal acts involving force or violence.
The bill (HB 7001), which passed in a 115-1 vote on Wednesday, stems from a Florida Supreme Court decision last year that ordered a new trial for a man sentenced to life in prison for sexually abusing his stepdaughter.
The court said recordings made by Richard R. McDade’s stepdaughter should not have been allowed into his Lee County trial.
State law generally bars recording of conversations unless all parties agree, and it also prevents such recordings from being used as evidence in court.
Lawmakers have rushed to create an exemption to the prohibition on secret recordings.
The House bill says such recordings would be allowed when a person “has reasonable grounds to believe that the recording will capture a statement by another party to the communication that the other party intends to commit, is committing, or has committed an unlawful sexual act or an unlawful act of physical force or violence against the person.”
The only dissenting vote Wednesday came from Rep. Joe Geller, D-Aventura.
A similar proposal (SB 542) has been approved by one Senate committee.
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(The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.)