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Bills that would limit the use of domestic drones in Virginia and Montana took an important step forward this week.

On Tuesday, the Montana Senate overwhelmingly passed anti-drone legislation.

Sen. Robyn Driscoll (D-Billings) introduced SB 150 last month. The bill would prohibit any state or local agency in Montana from owning an “unmanned aerial vehicle containing an antipersonnel device.” It would also make any evidence gathered by a drone inadmissible in a criminal proceeding. The legislation contains some teeth, opening the door for any victim of a drone to seek punitive and compensatory damages.

SB 150 passed the Senate by a 32-17 margin.

The bill will now move on for consideration in the House. It has not been assign to a committee at this time.

“Americans are tired of having their privacy violated by government functionaries, and its good to see states stepping in to say no. Here we have bills in two states, one sponsored by a Democrat, the other by a Republican, both garnering broad bipartisan support,” Maharrey said. “This is not a partisan issue. This is an American issue. We value our liberties and our right to just be left alone. I don’t think anybody is comfortable with the idea of drones hovering over our homes, especially when we see the potential for remote controlled execution. We already have a president claiming the authority to off Americans on a whim with the click of a button. Now is the time to nip this drone thing in the bud.”

On Monday, the Virginia House overwhelmingly passed HB2012, it’s own anti-drone bill. It would place a two-year moratorium on the use of unmanned aircraft by any state or local law enforcement agency in the Old Dominion State. The bill, sponsored by Delegate Benjamin Cline (R-Amherst), passed 83-16.

As introduced, the legislation only limited the use of drones until 2014. The version passed would prohibit their use, with a few exceptions, until July 2015.

HB2012 incorporated a stronger anti-drone measure. HB1616 would have permanently banned any state or local law enforcement agency from procuring “a public unmanned aircraft system (drone aircraft) without the approval of the General Assembly or the local governing body, respectively,” and would have required a warrant for their use.

 

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