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Lawmakers looking to stop HOAs from banning security cameras

SILVER SPRING, MARYLAND - AUGUST 28: A doorbell device with a built-in camera made by home security company Nest is seen on August 28, 2019 in Silver Spring, Maryland. Some homeowners' associations, or HOAs, banned the devices in Utah under an older state law written before cameras became small. The legislature is considering a change to that law to keep HOAs from banning them. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah lawmakers could soon move to stop homeowners’ associations (HOAs) from banning security cameras.

Lawmakers to HOAs: no more banning cameras

To this point, HOAs have been relying on Utah law which allows them to block cameras for aesthetic purposes. Although, keep in mind, lawmakers approved that law well before cameras became much smaller in size.
 
The move by some state lawmakers to restrict HOAs’ ability to block outdoor security cameras on homes is almost entirely based on it being a public safety issue.
 
One of the specific examples they cited is the killing of Linda Nemelka in Millcreek this past March.
 
In that incident, someone shot Nemelka as she sat in her car outside a home. Since then, police have not identified any suspects, largely due to the lack of security footage, since the HOA in the area had a ban on surveillance cameras.
 
“There was more than just one gunshot wound. That’s just what he saw at that time,” Unified Police Sergeant Melody Cutler said at the time. “She was unconscious at that time.  Unified Fire Authority arrived and transported the female to the hospital where she succumbed to her injuries.”
 
Nemelka’s daughter, Susan Manfield, is calling the potential change a good idea.

“This will allow people to secure their premises and their homes in an adequate manner,” she tells the Deseret News.

During a discussion Tuesday afternoon, Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, refuted claims that security cameras could potentially violate the privacy of neighbors.

“That’s why it’s limited to your building. It prohibits putting cameras in open areas,” he explains. “For example, you can’t put it on a post by the swimming pool.”

The bill has already been unanimously approved by the Business and Labor Interim Committee, meaning that it will be considered by the full Legislature in January’s session.