Bill requiring warrant for drone surveillance advances
The House Energy and Aerospace Committee on Tuesday passed House Bill 1556, which would regulate the use of drones in the state. HB 1556, by Rep. Paul Wesselhoft, R-Moore, would, among other regulations, require law officers, absent an emergency, to obtain a warrant first before using drones for surveillance purposes and would prohibit the state from outfitting drones with weapons. Wesselhoft said his measure is not intended to harm efforts under way in Oklahoma to test the small, unmanned aircraft systems. A federal agency is testing the drones near Fort Sill, and the state is seeking to be a testing site for another federal agency. The State Chamber opposed HB 1556, saying it could cripple Oklahoma's economic development efforts. The committee voted 23-4 to pass HB 1556. It now goes to the House Calendar Committee, which will decide whether it advances to the full House.
House OKs beer samples bill
A measure that would allow brewers to serve free samples of beer to visitors older than 21 years old passed the House on Tuesday. House Bill 1341, by Rep. Glen Mulready, would limit samples to no more than 12 fluid ounces to each visitor. Mulready, R-Tulsa, said HB 1341 would help microbrewers get attention to their products and would help the state's tourist industry. State law allows wineries to offer wine samples, which have proved popular with tourists. Rep. Todd Russ, R-Cordell, opposed the measure, saying it would increase the availability of alcohol. Mulready said the breweries are not a target market for teenagers. “The brewing of craft beer is an art form ... much like winemaking,” he said. HB 1341 passed the House 62-30 and now heads to the Senate.
Panel passes arms bill
The House States' Rights Committee passed a measure that would let voters decide whether to clarify the state constitution on the right of Oklahomans to possess weapons. House Joint Resolution 1026 would let voters decide whether to change Article 2, Section 26 of the Oklahoma Constitution to declare it is a fundamental right of each individual citizen to keep and to bear handguns, rifles, shotguns, knives and other common arms and ammunition. The measure's author, Rep. Dan Fisher, R-Yukon, said the proposal makes it clear what types of weapons may be owned. HJR 1026 passed 10-2 and now goes to the House Calendar Committee, which will determine whether it advances to the full House.
MICHAEL MCNUTT, CAPITOL BUREAU