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Bill advances to restrict use of drones for spying

Published March 13, 2014 5:45 pm

Flies through turbulance • After concerns calmed, legislators give final approval.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A bill to prevent the government from using aerial drones to spy on people is on final approach to the desk of Gov. Gary Herbert for his signature.

The House approved SB167 on a 63-5 vote Thursday.

That came after the bill earlier ran into turbulence, with may lawmakers questioning if it would prevent using drones in the same sorts of activities that police helicopters are used now.

Rep. Marc Roberts, R-Santaquin, the bill's House sponsor, pulled it from debate for two days to come back with intent language that satisfied most of the concerns.

Roberts said, "This bill restricts the use of drones by law enforcement officers requiring they either obtain a search warrant or use the drone in a judicially recognized exemption to warrant requirements."

He said exemptions could include such things as "crime scene investigations, search and rescue or surveying the scene of an accident."

Lee Davidson