Government agencies, law enforcement officials angry at backlash Steve Watson Infowars.com Feb 22, 2013
The states of Virginia and Washington moved significantly closer to banning spy drones yesterday, making legislative progress that has angered government agencies and law enforcement.
The Washington Times reports that the Virginia General Assembly approved a moratorium on drone aircraft in the state, sending the legislation to Gov. Bob McDonnell’s desk.
The Senate passed their version of the bill, which advocates a blanket ban on the use of drones except where missing person searches are concerned, for the next two years. Members voted by a 40-0 vote after accepting an amendment from the House, which passed their bill, HB2012, Wednesday.
“We are pleased that it’s on the way to the governor with strong bipartisan support,” bill sponsor Delegate Benjamin L. Cline, Augusta Republican, told reporters in Charlottesville, Va. “We hope that the governor will also share our support for a breathing period to get some rules in place.”
Although the bill does not go quite as far as Delegate Todd Gilbert’s legislative push last year for a permanent strict ban on surveillance by drones, it is a step in the right direction as far as privacy advocates are concerned.
Gov. McDonnell is expected to approve the moratorium, despite comments he made last year when he described warrantless drones as “great”, citing “battlefield successes”.
“If you’re keeping police officers safe, making it more productive and saving money… it’s absolutely the right thing to do.” McDonnell said on the deployment of drones in the state.
The approval of the moratorium on drones comes in the wake of the passage of legislation by city officials in Charlottesville, Va to keep drones out of their airspace altogether, making it the first US city to enact such a ban. Whether city officials will be able to extend their ban to federal drone aircraft or not remains to be seen.
In a similar move in Washington State yesterday, legislation to limit drone use was approved 9-1 by a House Committee, and will move forward to the Rules Committee before potentially heading to the floor of the House.
“I’m pleased the Committee moved H.B. 1771 with a ‘Do Pass’ recommendation. We’ve been working on the issue for several months and we have a lot of work left to do, but we passed the first hurdle today. It’s a great day for freedom and liberty in Washington State,” said Rep. David Taylor (R), the primary sponsor of the bill.
Much like the Virginia push, the Washington legislation allows for drones to be used for surveillance, by government agencies and law enforcement, only if a warrant is issued, or in search and rescue situations.
“This bill quite simply provides protection to the citizens of Washington state from warrantless surveillance. That’s our intent here. To start a conversation and say if these things are going to be used, you will protect the Constitutional rights of the citizens,” said Rep.Taylor.