Legislature passes license plate reader bill

Published: Thursday, March 14 2013 3:41 p.m. MDT

In this 2007 file photo, a Salt Lake City Police Officer uses a license plate reader on his patrol car.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY — A substituted bill requiring law enforcement to delete data scanned on license plate readers passed 24-0 Thursday in the Senate.

The bill, having already passed the House, will go on to the governor for his consideration.

SB196, sponsored by Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, attempts to limit how long such data may be stored on the new tracking devices and how it can be used.

The device gives police access to location and license plate numbers of vehicles. While the data helps police track down criminals, the potential misuse of the information by divorce lawyers or police makes lawmakers uncomfortable. 

The bill would require government entities to delete the data within nine months of the reading. Private entities would have 30 days to do so.

There is an option for government entities to extend the length of time the data is kept and preserve it for the future, said the bill's House sponsor, Daniel McCay, R-Riverton, presenting the substituted bill to the House on Wednesday. The substituted bill would extend the option to criminal defendants as well.

McCay said the substitute would allow a government entity to contract out its right to another entity within the city, with the exception of a law enforcement entity.

The bill would also bar a person or governmental entity from using an automatic license plate reader system, except under certain circumstances.

Rachel Lowry

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