May 18, 2022

Botu Linum

The Car & Automotive Devotees

Debate heats up ahead of license plate reader bill’s final vote

6 min read

An embattled license plate reader bill that would green-light a six-month pilot of the law enforcement technology in Nashville is nearing its final vote.

The bill will need 21 votes on Tuesday night to clear this last hurdle — something it narrowly achieved on its second reading earlier this month, passing 22-11 with two abstentions.

Passage of the bill would allow Nashville police to pilot automatic license plate readers, which capture images of every license plate and vehicle that pass. Under the bill, law enforcement could then compare plate numbers against those of stolen vehicles, vehicles flagged for potential connections with crime, or for traffic or parking offenses.

As the vote nears, opponents have heightened their criticism, highlighting what they say are problematic contradictions and deficiencies in the bill’s language that cloud the efficacy of restrictions on how city departments could use and share license plate reader data.