Washington State Legislature Passes UAV Bill

Legislation that puts regulations in place for government use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in Washington state has passed the Senate with a 46-1 vote and is now awaiting concurrence in the House, where it previously passed by a vote of 83-15.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Washington, the bill, EHB 2789, requires approval from agency heads or the legislature before an agency can acquire UAVs. The ACLU adds that with the exception of emergencies and other specified uses, law enforcement agencies would have to obtain a warrant before using drones.

Furthermore, agencies are required to report how and how often they use UAVs in order to give the legislature and public more transparency in understanding how these technologies are being deployed, the ACLU reports.

‘The bill allows for legitimate uses of drones and ensures that public debate happens before they are actually deployed,’ comments Shankar Narayan, legislative director for the ACLU of Washington. ‘It sets reasonable, common-sense limits on their uses, including banning suspicionless, warrantless, generalized surveillance by drone.’

Once the legislation receives a concurrence vote in the state House, it will head to the desk of Gov. Jay Inslee.


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