The Virginia Sheriffs’ Association applauds Governor McAuliffe’s vetoes of HB 1673 and SB 965. These bills would have defined motor vehicle license plate numbers issued by the Commonwealth of Virginia as personal information, meaning that their use by law enforcement agencies in solving crime would have been greatly challenged, if at all possible.
Law enforcement agencies use license plate numbers from motor vehicles daily to serious solve crimes including abductions, drug offenses, and other violent felonies. The bills, including the amended version of HB 1673, did not address this serious concern.
The correct process is to carefully examine these activities considering any constitutional issues, balanced against public safety concerns, and cautiously advance any protections necessary to address individual privacy concerns. The Secure Commonwealth sub-panel on the use of emerging technologies by law enforcement agencies is the appropriate body for this effort.