License plate reader study bill sent back to committee, effectively dead for the year

February 25, 2021

SB 1198 (Petersen), a bill creating a workgroup to study the use of license plate readers by law enforcement agencies, has been sent back to committee after several days of waiting for a vote on the full House floor.

As reported in the previous edition of Capitol Contact, this legislation originally sought to prohibit law-enforcement and regulatory agencies from using license plate readers to collect and maintain personal information on individuals without a warrant.  Due to substantial concerns raised about the impact and practicality of this bill, the initial proposal was ultimately scrapped in favor of a substitute bill that simply created a workgroup to further study this topic.

As a study bill, SB 1198 reported out of the Senate General Laws and Technology Committee by a vote of 8-4-3 before passing the full Senate by a vote of 28-11.  The bill was first heard in the House Public Safety Committee, where it was reported to the full House of Delegates by a vote of 18-4.  For nearly two weeks, SB 1198 languished on the House floor, as Delegates opted to pass the bill by for the day numerous times in lieu taking a vote on it.  On Tuesday afternoon (February 23), the House opted to refer the bill to the House Communications, Technology, and Innovation Committee.  As that committee will not meet again before the 2021 session is adjourned, this means that SB 1198 is effectively dead.

VACo Contact: Chris McDonald, Esq.

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