One thing that inefficient lawmakers and those behind the mugshot racket have in common is that many of them live quite comfortably in the state of Florida. Take a quick a glance at this page of online petitions and you will get an idea of how rampant mug shot extortion disrupts the lives of Florida residents with more prevalence than in other parts of the country. There is no sugarcoating that the recent death of HB 265 is a huge defeat for the cause (and a big victory for scammers worldwide.) So, let’s recount the events that transpired in the Sunshine State leading to the death of this anti-mug shot extortion bill with the hope that other states can avoid similar failures.
On Tuesday, November 05, 2013 at 11:05 HB 265 was filed. The highlight of this bill was when it glided past the Criminal Justice Subcommittee with a vote of 13 yeas and 0 nays –worrying journalists across the state. During the deliberation Representative Matt Gaetz, a public records attorney, brought up the fact that he had his mug shot taken once and that ultimately he wasn’t convicted of anything. According to Florida news sources, Gaetz said “a mugshot bill was filed last year, but he didn’t give it a hearing in his committee. He said he changed his mind this year because online mugshots are a big problem for some people, particularly those who “don’t put themselves forward to live a more public life” like he’s done.”
Shortly afterwards, the Floridian press portrayed Representative Gaetz as a privileged daddy’s boy who didn’t have to deal with the same standard consequences everyone else has to go through. It did not go unnoticed that Gaetz did a fine job of setting himself up for this little spanking he received in the headlines. On Friday, May 02, 2014 at 10:39 PM this bill was pronounced dead. “The public right to know is so important killing the bill this session was the sensible course of action.” said Gaetz.
Maybe you’re thinking why the heck should I contact state lawmakers about my mug shot being on the internet when Florida keeps dropping the ball and some Debbie-downers are claiming that these laws are all ineffective? I would say that getting in touch with your legislators is more practical than running for congress yourself, drafting your own mugshot bill, and putting it on the Governor’s desk.