2017 Legislation Update

Earlier in 2016, Ohio HB 172 (Creates fair and accurate publishing of criminal records law) unaminsouly passed through the state House then the Senate but was unable to make it to the Governor’s desk before the session ended. The bill is planned to be reintroduced to the Ohio Legislature in the 2017 regular session.

For the 5th year in a row, Florida lawmakers have drafted legislation hoping to get rid of online mugshot scams (SB 118). More on the many issues behind this bill later… But again, the Sunshine State also happens to be ground zero for the national online mugshot extortion dilemma —so please don’t hesitate to contact Florida lawmakers and ask them to support SB 118 when they convene March 7th.

North Carolina recently filed a bill (HB 18) that would exempt mugshots from public record. This isn’t the first time NC lawmakers have proposed doing so. Much like those who disagree with a recent Federal Court ruling in favor of individual privacy, seemingly concerned journalists solely want to place blame on those shady extortive mugshot websites for inspiring the government to take this kind of action. Perhaps these same reporters should give themselves and their colleagues a share of the credit for taking part in commercially over-publicizing mugshots. Numerous North Carolina media outlets like WRAL publish “mugshot galleries” for clicks under the guise of journalism.

Meanwhile in South Dakota, advocates of SB 25 are probably hoping that any negative publicity associated with the exploitive practice of for-profit mugshot publishing doesn’t blow their chances of making booking photographs part of public record. South Dakota is one of the few states where these photos are currently not made public. Expanding the online mugshot extortion industry’s clientele base is a very avoidable circumstance —so long as South Dakota legislators, as well as, the attorney general choose not to ignore the laws passed by 14 other states. SB 25 should include a provision to discourage despicable profiteers from exploiting unbridled access to these records if this bill is going to be signed into law. Today, SB 25 was advanced by the South Dakota Senate judiciary committee with a vote of 6-1. The one senator who opposed the measure said “The photos, if made public record, are available to literally anyone,”… “My concern is with the unintended consequences of what we’re doing here.”

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