House passes drone, government surveillance bills

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 18, 2014 at 12:42 am •  Published: February 18, 2014

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The state House on Monday passed two bills that would restrict the use of drones and government surveillance in Washington state.

House Bill 2789, which was approved by an 83-15 vote, would limit the purchase and use of unmanned aircraft systems by state and local agencies.

Under the measure, state agencies and municipal governments could only obtain drones or other unmanned aircraft after getting approval from their governing body. The drones could only be used with a search warrant and in other circumstances including: emergencies with an immediate danger of death or serious bodily injury; criminal emergencies with immediate danger of death or serious bodily injury with no time to get a warrant; for military training on a base; training and testing of devices if no personal information is collected; a governor-declared state of emergency; or for an operation such as environmental or wildlife monitoring.

Agencies using drones would have to prepare annual reports available to the public that describe details of their use. Anyone who claims that a violation of the provisions has injured his or her business, person or reputation could sue the agency for damages, attorney fees and other litigation costs.

Rep. Roger Goodman, D-Kirkland, said he supported the bill because technology now allows people to be watched without their knowledge.

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