Governor Signs Bill Protecting Privacy of Hotel Guest and Bus Passenger Records

September 27, 2018

SACRAMENTO, CA – Today Governor Brown signed the Consumer Trust Act, Senate Bill 1194, authored by Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), which protects the private information of hotel guests and bus passengers.

Senator Lara introduced the California Trust Act after reports that employees at Motel 6 locations in Arizona and Washington released the personal information of all their guests to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials.

SB 1194 ensures that the guest and passenger records of California patrons of lodging establishments and private bus companies are not disclosed to third parties, other than a California peace officer, without a court-issued subpoena, warrant, or order.

“Invasions of privacy have been particularly devastating for immigrant communities, where this disclosure has resulted in arrests and deportations across the country,” said Senator Ricardo Lara. “SB 1194 ensures that California hotel guests and bus passengers have the privacy they expect for their personal information.”

The State of Washington sued Motel 6, alleging that employees of the motel chain violated the privacy rights of 9,150 guests.

In Arizona, a mother of four U.S. citizen children, ages 2 to 11, took refuge from the heat with her family at a Phoenix-area Motel 6 in June 2017. Employees alerted ICE, and she was subsequently placed in deportation proceedings, according to a lawsuit.

Senate Bill 1194 is sponsored by the ACLU of California.

Governor Brown’s signing message indicated the need to allow data sharing for administrative investigations, and Senator Lara is committed to addressing the issue in future legislation.