Billings Considering Repeal of Hotel Registry Ordinance
The Billings City Council is considering repealing a municipal ordinance that requires hotels and motels to give police unfettered access to their guest registry. Police Chief Rich St. John and Deputy Yellowstone County Attorney Dan Schwarz, along with City Attorney Brent Brooks, met with the Yellowstone County Lodging Association to discuss whether to repeal or amend the 2015 ordinance.
The consensus was to repeal it, rather than amend the existing ordinance.
Brooks said in a memo to the Council that the ordinance has “mostly remained unutilized over the past few years,” especially after the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision to strike down a similar ordinance in Los Angeles. Police can still obtain hotel registry information in an emergency, employing the hotel’s consent or through a warrant.