News - Advocacy
Tuesday, September 22, 2020 12:00 AM

SB611 Library Privacy Act Passes in the Senate, Heads to House

September 22, 2020

For the past year, the Michigan Library Association (MLA) and our members have worked diligently with Senator Peter MacGregor (R-Rockford) to make sure that any changes to the Michigan Library Privacy Act (1982 PA 455) continue to protect the rights of Michigan citizens.

After an extensive pause in moving bills through the legislative process due to the coronavirus, a few weeks ago, SB611 (S-2) was moved from the Judiciary and Public Safety Committee to the full Senate. With a slight amendment recommended by the MLA Board and approved by Senator MacGregor, on Tuesday, Sept. 22, SB611 (S-2) was heard on the Senate floor and was passed with a unanimous vote of approval. We are proud to say that it will now move onto the Michigan House of Representatives for their consideration (we think after the election) and then onto Governor Whitmer for her final signature (hopefully before the end of the year.)

The proposed bill – SB611 - removes obstacles and legal barriers libraries sometimes face when a crime has been committed in the library while providing for continued protection to a libraries core foundational value…protecting patron privacy…in their reading histories, materials borrowed, resources reviewed, or services used at the library. 

The greatest change to the Michigan Library Privacy Act as proposed in SB611 has come in clarifying that a library record does not include video surveillance and that video surveillance can be turned over to law enforcement without a court order if it shows no identifying records. Libraries have an obligation to provide a safe and welcoming environment for the public that they serve. By updating the current Act we are providing the potential to make libraries safer by hastening the investigation of crimes committed in the library and on library property through video surveillance.

The MLA board, staff and our 1700 members across Michigan are highly supportive of the current revisions to the Michigan Library Privacy Act and recommend passage of SB611.


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