The Washington Times reports that The Virginia General Assembly approved a moratorium on drone aircraft in the state, sending the legislation to Gov. Bob McDonnell’s desk.
The Senate passed their version of the bill, which advocates a blanket ban on the use of drones except where missing person searches are concerned, for the next two years. Members voted by a 40-0 vote after accepting an amendment from the House, which passed their bill, HB2012, Wednesday.
“We are pleased that it’s on the way to the governor with strong bipartisan support,” bill sponsor Delegate Benjamin L. Cline, Augusta Republican, told reporters in Charlottesville, Va. “We hope that the governor will also share our support for a breathing period to get some rules in place.”
Although the bill does not go quite as far as Delegate Todd Gilbert’s legislative push last year for a strict ban on surveillance by drones, it is a step in the right direction as far as privacy advocates are concerned.
Gov. McDonnell is expected to approve the moratorium, despite comments he made last year when he described warrantless drones as “great”, citing “battlefield successes”.
“If you’re keeping police officers safe, making it more productive and saving money… it’s absolutely the right thing to do.” McDonnell said on the deployment of drones in the State.
The approval of the moratorium on drones comes in the wake of the passage of legislation by city officials in Charlottesville, Va to keep drones out of their airspace altogether, making it the first US city to enact such a ban. Whether city officials will be able to extend their ban to federal drone aircraft or not remains to be seen.
LEGISLATION AND TRACKING
If you’re outside of Virginia, please contact your own legislators regarding anti-drone legislation. If none has been introduced in your state, you can email them The Privacy Protection Act model legislation.
Track the status of drone nullification in states around the country HERE