Police, prosecutors could have names removed from online tax records

Posted June 5, 2014

— House lawmakers have begun crafting a bill that would allow law enforcement officers, district attorneys and assistant district attorneys to request that their names, addresses and phone numbers be removed from city or county websites that display tax records.

Rep. Chris Malone, R-Wake, said the measure was in response to an incident in which the father or a local assistant district attorney was kidnapped, as well as a churn of complaints about daily threats faced by law enforcement. 

"I've had a number of policemen come to me that they've had people they've arrested or had issues with come to their door," Malone said.

Some, he said, have speculated that bad actors have used tax records to find law enforcement and court officials with whom they had issues. 

The bill is question is Senate Bill 78, which was originally drafted as a measure to amend state contracting law. The House Rules Committee stripped the contracting language and added in the privacy measure. Doing so puts the measure on a fast track through the General Assembly, where it could, in theory, bypass review by a Senate committee.

Under the bill, the information regarding the law enforcement officials would remain a public record, but it could not be displayed online once they asked for its removal.

Several members of the committee raised questions about the measure. Rep. Edgar Starnes, R-Caldwell, said he was troubled that the bill could give elected officials the right to have their names protected. District attorneys are elected, and the bill would cover them and their assistants. 

As the committee discussed the bill, one member raised the question of whether or not its provisions should be expanded to include other officials. 

"A lot of decisions we make up here are not received well in our districts," said Rep. Elmer Floyd, D-Cumberland.

However, House Rules Chairman Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, refused to review an amendment that would have expanded the measure's protections. Instead, he said the measure would get further review by a House Judiciary committee.


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  • sinenomine Jun 5, 2014

    Anyone against whom another person has a grievance could argue that their names and addresses should not be listed in online tax records due to the danger of retaliation. If we do this who's next? The state legislator who hasn't paid property taxes for three years? There is too much room for abuse in this proposal. Additionally even if the records are pulled from the online listings a person really bent on revenge can get the same information through more traditional means so what's the use?

  • Forthe Newssite Jun 5, 2014
    user avatar

    I don't want mine listed either.
    Seems knee-je*k reaction to me, but.....perhaps they could just not print the addresses & phone numbers, all the rest should be public.

  • letsgocanes Jun 5, 2014

    Agreed. While I sympathize with the issue, there is absolutely no reason why government officials or police officers should be treated any different than anyone else. The last thing we need to do is allow the government to start changing public records in their favor.

  • Jun 5, 2014

    YOu know the risks when you choose your profession. If this type of thing worries you, then you may need to find a different profession. (I'm simply saying this because that seems to be the pat response to anything from our right wing friends).

  • common tater Jun 5, 2014

    I agree with SINE. Unless I can block my info, they shouldn't be able to either.

  • Greg Boop Jun 5, 2014
    user avatar

    This bill is absurd; there are plenty of other sources where an individual can find the home addresses of nearly any individual in the U.S. This bill will only serve to hide the police officers and prosecutors who do not pay their taxes.

  • Cabe Merritt Jun 5, 2014
    user avatar

    Remove everyone then!

  • Steve Sanders Jun 5, 2014
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    Yes we know the risk but in the interest of our families this is the right thing to do! Someone has to do these jobs and for those that can't or will not you just stand on the sidelines and shake until we get there to do our jobs!

  • Erin Brooke Schneider Jun 5, 2014
    user avatar

    As LEO family, I can understand this concern as well as many of the arguments both for and against.
    One comment that I would like for people to consider is the notion that police officers should not be "treated any differently than any other [citizen]."
    I wish that were the case, but the hard truth is the LEO's are held to higher standards in many areas that those who are not in a profession do not even consider. I am certain that the same is true for many other professional jobs where there are strict rules/general orders/etc.
    All that I am asking is that those of you who are not in the life of an LEO, think before you speak. I am sure that the overwhelming majority of LEO's and their families dream of the day where they can be treated "just like everyone else" but in order to maintain integrity that will never be the case.

  • Rob Dunham Jun 5, 2014
    user avatar

    If they get this then we all should be able to do the same. Might help with Identity Theft.