Bill Permitting Automatic License Plate Scans Gets Final OK

State Sen. Ronnie Johns, R-Lake Charles

BATON ROUGE (AP) — Louisiana lawmakers have agreed to let law enforcement agencies automatically scan motorists' license plates, to crack down on car thieves and insurance scofflaws.

         The House and Senate voted Thursday for a proposal by Republican Sen. Ronnie Johns, of Lake Charles, creating a pilot program that will allow the practice until 2021. The bill goes to Gov. Bobby Jindal for consideration.

         Johns touted the technology as an easy way for police to cross-check license plates with police databases. If a scan yields results, officers could have probable cause to make an arrest, or issue an insurance citation to a vehicle owner.

         The bill doesn't allow stationary traffic cameras to scan plates. Departments that opt into the program would have to coordinate efforts with local district attorneys.

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