A The invoice which would allow law enforcement to use GPS tracking on stolen vehicles without a search warrant or the vehicle owner’s permission was spearheaded by the Minnesota House Public Safety Committee.
Current state law allows authorities to use GPS tracking devices with a warrant or the consent of the vehicle owner.
The bill’s author, Rep. Kelly Moller (DFL-Shoreview), told 5 EYWITNESS NEWS it would give law enforcement the ability to respond to carjackings more quickly. Also, officers could end potentially dangerous pursuits by chasing vehicles instead and arresting the suspect at a later date.
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Moller’s bill says law enforcement would have to stop using the GPS tracking device after a vehicle is recovered or after 24 hours, whichever comes first.
“We also wanted to make sure this isn’t a tool that law enforcement would like to track that stolen car indefinitely, to follow a suspect, to find out who they’re talking to, where they’re going next.” to follow them for a week or so,” Moller said.
Ramsey County Undersheriff Mike Martin told lawmakers they could deploy GPS tracking monitors out of their squads to attach to the back of a vehicle, sometimes making dangerous pursuits unnecessary.
“We can pull out, we can all monitor where this car is on our phones and then we’re not involved in a reckless chase or a chase that endangers the public,” Martin said.
The bill passed the Public Safety Committee unanimously with bipartisan support after concerns about its constitutionality were allayed by support from the Minnesota chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.
However, Hamline University law professor David Schultz told KSTP that there is a precedent to be broken due to similar rulings on using GPS tracking data without a warrant.
“We know that a few years ago the US Supreme Court ruled that when police put a tracking device on a car to track where the car is going, a warrant is required,” Schultz said. “So this bill could break that precedent and it could break the Fourth Amendment.”
The bill will now go to Parliament for a full vote.
Keep track of the movement of other important bills KSTP’s Minnesota Legislative Tracker.