SALT LAKE CITY — The House passed a bill Monday that would make it illegal to charge for the removal of mug shots published online.

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HB408 is a response to an operation where individuals running certain websites obtain hundreds of mug shots from sheriff's offices through open records requests, publish them, then charge exorbitant fees to have them removed.

Oftentimes a person will pay several websites to have their mug shots removed.

House sponsor Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, said the operations are a huge concern to sheriff's offices and the Utah Department of Corrections. 

In committee last week, Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder testified that his office has lost hundreds of thousands of photographs to this type of operation, which is currently legal. The bill passed with a 73-0 vote and will head to the Senate for consideration.

Mary Mellor