Mug-shot websites bill moves to Senate

HB 14-1047, intended to stop Internet sites from charging people to remove booking photos, picked up support from Republican lawmakers Tuesday as it moved to the Colorado Senate on a bipartisan 45-19 House vote.

At least one GOP representative who raised some First Amendment questions about the mug-shot bill during second-reading debate Monday voted for it on third reading. The measure was introduced by Rep. KC Becker, a Boulder Democrat.

“Though I had questions yesterday, questions do not always mean a no vote,” said Rep. Bob Gardner, R-Colorado Springs.

Some commercial websites are in the business of scraping mug shots from jail websites, publishing them and then charging people hundreds of dollars to take them down.

HB 14-1047 would require websites to remove a booking photo free of charge if the arrested person makes a request in writing and that person was not charged with a crime, charges were dropped, the person was acquitted or the person’s criminal record has been sealed. The bill exempts websites run by newspapers, periodicals, wire services, news syndicates and radio and TV stations.

“This bill is a very good and conscientious attempt to deal with what is a reprehensible practice,” Gardner said. “…It’s really not on the right to post. It’s on the right to post and say, ‘Pay me to take it down.'”

Follow the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition on Twitter @CoFOIC. Like CFOIC’s Facebook page. Visit CFOIC’s legislature page to track bills in the General Assembly that could affect the flow or availability of information in Colorado.

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