HB2574 was set for committee Wednesday morning, to be heard only. Not scheduled for a vote – Representative Justin Pierce was the chair. It is important to note that we had gone to all of the committee members days in advance and secured support from 6 out of 8 members. Also, remember that we were able to get 9 sponsors/co-sponsors for our bill. It is a popular bill with the legislature. We had made certain that our version had good balance between law enforcement requirements and 4th amendment privacy concerns. We were hoping to sway the committee to vote Wednesday.
While we were preparing our statements to be heard, I discovered a drone bill with a different number on it, HB2269. It was very similar in language but favored the Law enforcement lobbyists, not the citizens of Arizona.
They were simultaneously moving on HB2269 in the Commerce committee 2 doors down. So I quickly alerted the two guys helping with HB2574 and I entered a request to be heard on this committee as well. So did the two other guys on our team. HB2269 was essentially a stealth striker bill. It was entered into the agenda Tuesday night and no one knew about it. What that means is they took an existing bill, having to do with liquor, removed or “struck” that language and put in their own version of a drone bill. Representative Thomas Forese is the chair of the commerce committee. Forese was also the sole sponsor of this bill. They allowed me to give my statement (I was both angry and nervous at the same time – pretty awkward). I only had a few moments to wrap my mind around what was happening and was not well prepared for this new bill. They didn’t let the other two people on my team to speak. They jammed this bill through, voted on it, then passed it through committee.
Getting back to the other committee room, I was still going to give my statement for my bill. They killed HB2574 “before the fireworks started” (they actually said that, you can hear it when the microphone is still hot.)
This was a coordinated effort by Peirce and Forese.
Their bill is largely in favor of the burgeoning POLICE STATE. Not only did they remove the criminal penalties that were attached to HB2574, but the worst part is that HB2269 gives the Feds an exception – they will have a kind of special permission to fly drones, etc. The Feds will have a stronger foothold than ever in Arizona.
See the section of HB2269 below:
“C. This section does not prohibit the use of a drone:
1. to counter a high risk of a terrorist attack by a specific individual or organization if the United States Secretary of Homeland Security determines that credible intelligence indicates that there is such a risk.
2. if the law enforcement agency first obtains a search warrant signed by a judge authorizing the use of a drone.
3. If the law enforcement agency possesses reasonable suspicion that, under particular circumstances, swift action is needed to prevent imminent danger to life or serious damage to property, or to forestall the imminent escape of a suspect or the destruction of evidence.”
Make no mistake, this was timed precisely and coordinated to pass one bill first and then kill our bill, and made sure I was NOT allowed to speak on behalf of HB2574.
We are essentially unprotected from warrantless drone surveillance in the state of Arizona.
Patriots in Justin Pierce’s legislative district 25 have already started passing out flyers regarding his decision to disregard the 4th amendment privacy issues and federal overreach that’s addressed in HB2574. Tracy Langston printed out roughly 50 copies of the flyer and handed them out to almost everyone that attended their recent Republican meeting. Among the people in the meeting to receive the flyer were, LD25 State Senator Bob Worsley, LD 25′s 2nd Vice-Chairman, Precinct and State Committeemen and Congressman Matt Salmon. “The feedback from the flyer regarding Pierce’s decision was negative” stated Langston. “Most of the people wanted to know “why he would do this” and wanted an answer!” Tracy has called and left messages for Pierce, but hasn’t received any response. Also, many of his constituents have e-mailed Pierce with their concerns.
Here is the video of part of what happened Wednesday regarding the drone bill. You can see Joel’s testimony/statement.
click on the video link for “House Commerce” 2/20/2013
HB2269 shenanigans begins at 02:13:08 ends 02:32:45
Joel’s statement begins at 02:15:30