Mitch Barker of the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs said the use of drones by law enforcement agencies would be better decided in court cases.
"I think our courts have done an excellent a job providing checks and balances," Barker said.
The Association of County Officials argued the drone bill is attempting to regulate law enforcement searches, which are already covered in existing state and federal laws.
Democratic Sen. Senator Maralyn Chase of Shoreline, the sponsor of the Senate bill, said the drone issue is not only about civil liberties but about jobs, because some of the vehicles are manufactured in Washington.
"There is a place in our society for the use of drones," Chase said in testimony.
Lawmakers in at least 11 states are looking at plans to restrict the use of drones over their skies amid concerns the vehicles could be exploited to spy on Americans. Concerns have increased since the FAA began establishing safety standards for civilian drones, which are becoming increasingly affordable and small in size.
Earlier this month, the city of Seattle abandoned its drone program after community protests. The city's police department had purchased two drones through a federal grant.
Manuel Valdes can be reached at http://twitter.com/ByManuelValdes
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