Maine lawmakers could take first step to regulate drones

March 7th, 2013 by admin Leave a reply »

Posted: 11:50 AM
Updated: 12:45 PM

Maine lawmakers could take first step to regulate drones

By Steve Mistler
Staff Writer

AUGUSTA — State lawmakers could take the first step in regulating law enforcement’s use of drones on Thursday.

The Legislature’s Judiciary Committee is poised to vote on a bill that would limit the ability of state and local police to use drones and require a warrant before the unmanned vehicles are deployed in an investigation. 

The bill is sponsored by state Sen. John Patrick, D-Rumford, but it’s part of nationwide effort by the  American Civil Liberties Union of Maine to raise concerns about violation of privacy amid unchecked drone use. 

The Judiciary Committee will work through the bill Thursday afternoon. The committee is expected to hear from Attorney General Janet Mills. Mills, in written testimony provided to the committee last week, said that she supports the bill’s intent. However, she said lawmakers should narrow the language. As it’s currently drafted, she said, the bill prohibits children from flying toy airplanes or deploying drones for news gathering, mapping, weather monitoring or private investigations.

Maine is one of 21 states currently considering legislation to regulate the use of drones, according to the national ACLU. Stateline reported earlier this month that nine law enforcement agencies in six states – Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Texas and Washington – have been authorized to use drones, while nine more have applied to the FAA to do so.

The Maine Department of Public Safety bought a drone recently

Article source: