Ohio Bill Would Nullify Warrantless Drone Spying

Ohio has joined the growing number of states considering restrictions on drone use. Legislation limiting the use of drones by law enforcement agencies was introduced on 6/12/2013 by Ohio State Representative Rex Damschroder (R-Fremont).

House Bill 207 was introduced in response to law enforcement agencies seeking to purchase and use unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly referred to as drones.

“As this technology continues to become more prevalent, the state of Ohio must be vigilant in seeing that drones are used only in circumstances that specifically protect public safety,” Damschroder stated. “HB 207 ensures that law enforcement agencies are only using drone technology for appropriate reasons. We have all watched over the past few weeks how technology could potentially be used by government agencies to violate our privacy and conduct unwarranted surveillance. We need to do everything possible to prevent a Big Brother society where government exerts too much control of our lives or has too much access to our private information.”

The bill states that no law enforcement agency shall operate a drone unless the agency has obtained a search warrant, or if a law enforcement agency has reasonable suspicion that swift action is needed to prevent imminent harm to life, serious damage to property, or to prevent the escape of a suspect or destruction of evidence. HB 207 further ensures that no information or evidence collected while operating a drone shall be used in a court proceeding if it was obtained in violation of the exceptions provided in the bill.

“We all have a right to personal privacy and HB 207 advances that cause,” Damschroder continued. “The bill is a preemptive strike against the abuse of our 4th amendment rights and makes it clear that drones cannot be used simply to spy on individuals and survey our property.”

ACTION ITEMS FOR HB 207

1. Contact your state representative. Strongly encourage her/him to support HB 207.

http://www.ohiohouse.gov/members/member-directory

2.  Encourage your local community to take action as well. Using model legislation

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Maine House Passes Bill to Nullify Unconstitutional Federal Ban on Hemp Farming and Production

Last Wednesday, the Maine House of Representatives passed LD525 (Industrial Hemp) which allows hemp cultivation in the state of Maine, effectively nullifying unconstitutional federal acts which ban the same.  The bill is a simple amendment to previous hemp farming laws removing a requirement that federal permission must first be acquired before production is authorized.  The final vote on LD525 was 24-10 (roll call here).

The amendment simply states:

3. Application. A person desiring to grow industrial hemp for commercial purposes shall apply to the commissioner for a license on a form prescribed by the commissioner. The application must include the name and address of the applicant, the legal description of the land area to be used for the production of industrial hemp and a map, an aerial photograph or global positioning coordinates sufficient for locating the production fields.

4. License issued.   Upon review and approval of an application, the commissioner shall notify the applicant and request that the application fee determined under subsection 7 be submitted. Upon receipt of the appropriate fee, the commissioner shall issue a license, which is valid for a period of one year and only for the site or sites specified in the license.

The bill now has moved to the Maine State Senate where Senator Emily Cain made a motion to have the bill placed on the Special Appropriations Table. In Maine, the Special Appropriations Table is where funding of the bill is determined. If the bill is properly funded, it moves forward. However, this is also the one of those legislative road blocks that is often used to kill bills. If the Senate fails to fund a bill, it will die here. So putting pressure on Maine State Senators is crucial for the advancement of this bill.  If passed, Maine would become the 2nd state in the country to nullify the unconstitutional federal ban on hemp farming and production.  Just this month, Colorado’s Governor Hickenloooper signed a bill making his state the first.

ACTION ITEMS  

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Oregon Senate Passes Bill to Nullify Warrantless Drone Spying

SALEM, Ore – Last Monday, the Oregon Senate passed an amended version of a bill that would nullify drone use without a warrant in all but a few cases.

HB2710 “Provides that drones may be used by law enforcement agency for purpose of surveillance of persons only pursuant to a warrant or in emergency circumstances. Provides that law enforcement agencies may use drones to intercept communications only as provided under laws relating to wiretaps other interceptions of communications. Requires destruction of images and other information acquired by use of drone within 30 days.”

The bill also outlaws weaponized drones.

The House passed its version of the bill 52-7 on April 15. The Senate passed the amended version 23-5.

The amendments broaden the scope of the bill by requiring any public body operating a drone to register with the Oregon Dept. of Aviation, and by criminalizing the use of a drone to interfere with another aircraft and hacking into a drone. The amended bill would also  allow property owners to seek damages from anyone operating a drone less than 400 feet above their property.

Senate amendment also make exceptions more explicit, allowing police to use drones if they have “probable cause to believe that a crime committed at the time the drone is used and exigent circumstances exist that make reasonable for the law enforcement agency to obtain a warrant authorizing use, or if the law enforcement agency has probable cause to believe that the targeted intends to commit a crime and circumstances exist that prevent the law enforcement acquiring a warrant, authorizing use of a drone, before the time at which enforcement agency believes the crime will be committed.” Police could also use drones to track an individual fleeing the scene of a crime.

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State Legislatures Strengthen the Constitution Via Nullification

On May 4, politicususa.com published “Republicans Shred the Constitution By Passing Unconstitutional Nullification Laws” by Rmuse.

This article is nothing more than worship at the altar of the All-Powerful National Regime. The author’s supposition is that Republicans despise the Constitution because many states have passed bills that nullify federal government laws and reject federal court opinions. It is my contention that citizens of the several states do not need to stand by and accept unconstitutional overreach of federal statutes and poorly reasoned federal / Supreme court decisions. As James Madison put it:

The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. . . . The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State. (THE FEDERALIST NO. 45, at 292-293 (James Madison)(Clinton Rossiter ed., 1961))

Rmuse’s primary contention is that any and all decisions by the federal government must be constitutional because they say so. Nothing could be further from the truth. All three branches, executive, legislative and judicial, are three limbs of the same power hungry tree.

In the second paragraph of the article, he makes some strange reference to secession petitions submitted after the 2012 election. These petitions, submitted through the White House web site, have nothing to do with nullification. Nullification acts are passed by state legislatures, petitions are submitted by individual citizens. He also said nullification started immediately after the 2012 election when, in fact, efforts began during in 1798 with the Virginia and Kentucky resolutions. Other nullification efforts began as early as 1832 during the Jackson administration. And if we are talking about the modern nullification movement, we can look back to the mid-1990s when California began nullifying federal prohibition of weed.

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