Legislature passes amended bill protecting personal information of officers, family members

Composite image, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — On Wednesday, members of the House of Representatives discussed and voted on a substitute version of “Protection of Law Enforcement Officers’ Personal Information,” designated as SB 31 in the 2017 Utah Legislature.

The bill was sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Don Ipson, R-St. George, and carried in the House by Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield. The bill passed the Senate in its original form on Jan. 23.

Read more: Bill protecting personal information of law enforcement, family members passes Senate

The original version of Ipson’s bill would have enacted the following:

  • Providing criminal penalties for online posting of an officer’s address and phone numbers, as well as those of the officer’s spouse or children.
  • Prohibiting the solicitation or sale of the personal information, as well as providing for civil damages and the cost of attorney fees.

The substitute version of the bill expanded the language previously specifying the protection of the information of “an officer’s spouse and children” to read “an officer’s immediate family,” which was defined as “spouse, child or spouse of a child, sibling or spouse of a sibling, or parent.”

In a previous interview with St. George News, St. George Police Officer Lona Trombley said she supported the legislation.

“We’ve had several officers at all agencies who have been approached and said, ‘Hey, you’re the guy that arrested my friend so-and-so,’” Trombley said. “Then, of course, with that comes the comments ‘Watch your back’ and ‘Watch your family’s back.’

Additional changes to the bill included adding correctional officers into this protection and specifying that it not only protected the information of law enforcement officers currently employed but also those who have retired or been killed in the line of duty.

It also specified that a county recorder who has not received specific instruction to remove said personal information would not be in violation if he/she made that information available for public inspection in cases such as voter registration. And a section was included to specify that the law will not affect constitutionally protected rights.

The bill passed the House by a vote of 70-2, with 3 representatives absent. All Southern Utah representatives voted in favor of the bill.

Ipson’s bill then returned to the Senate on the Thursday, where the amended version was approved by a vote of 24-0. The bill was signed by the Speaker of the House and sent back to the Senate to be signed by the President, at which point it will be enrolled and sent to Gov. Herbert for final approval.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

 

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Posted in Government, Local, News, Utah Legislature 2017Tagged , , , , ,

7 Comments

  • comments February 24, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    More example of government trying to protect themselves from accountability. I think cops are tough enough to handle it. They don’t need their own special nanny laws. The whole thing sounds like an infringement on the 1st amendment. Gov’t already has far too little accountability. The next one they pass may well make it illegal to post info on or to even criticize Utah’s political elite.

    • Mike February 24, 2017 at 5:29 pm

      It is a long way from protecting an officer’s privacy to “make it illegal to post info on or to even criticize Utah’s political elite,” and in your later comment the LDS church. This privacy protection is common in many, if not most other states. Frankly, I’m surprised Utah doesn’t allow confidentiality for the private lives of police. It’s not like they can’t be found and held accountable for wrong-doings at work without threatening families safety. As for your comment below about arresting for the “watch your back” comment…a threat probably has to be more specific in order to make an arrest, but not to make an officer’s family feel threatened by it.

  • Rainbow Dash February 24, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    This is such a good thing. Law Enforcement officers willingly encounter the worst people our society has to offer on a daily basis. When LaVoy Finicum reached for his gun on that bittersweet winter day, it was Law Enforcement officers who brought him and his gang down before they could hurt anyone else. When two heavily armed and body armor clad burglars knocked over a bank in L.A in 1997, it was LAPD officers who stood up and brought them down. These brave men and women put their lives on the line for normal citizens every single day. In my opinion, they and their families deserve as much protection as we can give them.

  • comments February 24, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    For example anyone can post my address and families names on any website or blog or whatever and there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it–it’s protected speech under the 1st amendment. Who are these special snowflake law enforcers that think they should have rights well above the rest of us and in violation of the 1st amendment. If your police get threatened in any way they’re gonna have the support of the entire department. Us as the general public get none–we are left to fend for ourselves until we are murdered. The police are not above the law or the constitution. Shame on you politicians. You are all corrupt.

  • comments February 24, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    “We’ve had several officers at all agencies who have been approached and said, ‘Hey, you’re the guy that arrested my friend so-and-so,’” Trombley said. “Then, of course, with that comes the comments ‘Watch your back’ and ‘Watch your family’s back.’”

    Complete and utter nonsense. If there is an active threat they can arrest the person or take other actions. Like I said they have the resources of the entire police force to deal with active threats. They are saying the posting of information is the same as an active threat. Who’s paying the costs to implement and enforce this policy. Will they create an enforcement unit for the sole purpose of monitoring the internet for postings. Of course the public pays for it. The question is what will it cost.

  • comments February 24, 2017 at 4:19 pm

    Even more funny would be if they passed a law making it illegal to criticize the state’s official religion, and all those old men of the LDS royalty will also have their information sealed and it’ll be illegal to criticize them in any way. There must be some sort of scumbag clause in Bush II’s PATRIOT ACT that let’s them get away with this nonsense. LOL

  • .... February 25, 2017 at 1:24 am

    Awww poor little cry baby Bob ! Whaaaaaaaaa whaaaaaaaaa somebody break out the crying towels for poor little cry baby Bob !

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