HELENA — The Montana House has rejected a bill over the release of mug shots after the bill’s sponsor took the unusual step of urging lawmakers to kill it.
Republican Rep. Frank Garner of Kalispell said during Friday’s floor debate that the House Judiciary Committee had completely changed the bill without any input from the law enforcement and media officials who supported it.
Garner’s bill originally would have clarified that booking photos of criminal suspects are public information. However, the committee amended the measure to bar the photos’ release until there is a conviction.
Committee Chairman Alan Doane of Bloomfield defended his amendment, saying the release of mug shots goes against the principle that a person is innocent until proven guilty.
The House rejected the bill 45-55.
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