Alabama House Judiciary Committee approves bill banning electronic tracking without permission
Approval follows approval of bill to ban involuntary microchipping
A microcomputer chip on the tip of a finger. (Getty)
An Alabama House committee Wednesday approved a bill to make it more difficult to track individuals using electronic devices.
HB 153, sponsored by Rep. Allen Treadaway, R-Morris, makes it a crime to place an electronic tracking device on someone’s property without permission from the owner.
“I actually had some surrounding cities in Jefferson County call me on this bill a year or two ago when a young lady was tracked from a nightclub, and they had a hard time getting a warrant,” Treadaway said.
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The legislation moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.
The bill would create a new crime called electronic stalking. Placing an electronic tracking device on someone’s property without permission would be considered a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $6,000 fine.
Placing an electronic device on someone’s property to stalk, surveil, or harass someone would be a Class C felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $15,000 fine. The punishment could rise up to 20 years in prison if the device is placed in violation of a domestic abuse, elder abuse or temporary restraining order.
This is the second instance that the committee has addressed electronic tracking. The committee on March 22 approved HB 4, sponsored by Rep. Prince Chestnut, D-Selma that bans employers from requiring their workers to be microchipped.
“We are saying that we can’t tie conditions of employment to getting microchipped,” Chestnut said at the March 22 meeting.
People violating the proposal may be convicted of a Class D felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine up to $1,500.
The committee approved the bill after approving an amendment that allowed employees to be voluntarily microchipped.
The amendment allowed the Bureau of Pardons and Paroles to use devices to track parolees and inmates on early release. It also directed the Board to “promulgate rules and policies governing microchipping insertion, maintenance and timely removal.
The House of Representatives had not taken up Chestnut’s bill as of Thursday.
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