Legislation has been introduced in the Iowa State House that would regulate the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) to protect the privacy rights of citizens.
HF427 was introduced last year by Rep. Jason Schultz (R-18) and was lying dormant in the Public Safety Committee ever since. In January, it was reassigned to a subcommittee for an initial hearing and vote. Today, the subcommittee approved the bill, moving it on to the next step – consideration and vote in the full committee.
According to Rep. Clel Baulder, R-Greenfield, the original bill in 2013 “was poorly written [and] wasn’t thought out well.” So the text of the original bill was stripped out and completely replaced.
Last Thursday’s meeting of the public safety subcommittee was the first time the new version of the bill was unveiled.
The newly reworked bill makes certain that government officials only can use drones when serving properly issued search warrants, stops information gathered illegally by drones from being used in criminal prosecutions, and provides other safeguards that provide basic protection to IA citizens from this burgeoning technology. There is a provision that allows law enforcement agencies to use drones in an emergency situation, provided a search warrant is obtained with 48 hours of their use.
Unlike the previous version, the bill also now prohibits drones from being equipped with dangerous weapons or “an instrument that emits a peculiar sound or excessive noise.”
Although not perfect, this bill represents a huge improvement over the status quo and would help citizens to mount a defense against these menacing weapons that are already policing the skies. It has even been estimated that 30,000 drones could be in the air by 2020. If we do not take action now, our rights could be lost forever.
Tenth Amendment Center’s executive director Michael Boldin said that this kind of bill has significant ramifications at the federal level because Washington D.C. is pushing and funding drone use at the state level.
“The feds want to push these on the states, and if the states refuse, it’ll foil their plan,” he said. “They already spy on Americans so much that Rand Paul said it numbered in the ‘Gazillions’ after a secret meeting last fall. If the feds can get the states to start buying up and running drones over our cities, they’ll certainly want access to all that surveillance information in the future. It’s important that states begin drawing a line in the sand now – no aerial spying here.”
As a matter of fact, the federal government serves as the primary engine behind the expansion of drone surveillance carried out by states and local communities. The Department of Homeland Security issues large grants to local governments so they can purchase drones. Those grants, in and of themselves, represent an unconstitutional expansion of power.
The goal? Fund a network of drones around the country and put the operational burden on the states. Once they create a web over the whole country, DHS steps in with requests for ‘information sharing.’ It is in the best interest of the DHS and the rest of the federal government to bring the states onboard with their regime of constitutional destruction to shift costs, shift blame and make it easier for them to get their hands on more of your private information.
Bills like HF427 put a dent in this kind of long-term strategy. Without the states and local communities operating the drones today, it’s going to be nearly impossible for the police state plans of the DHS to – take off.
For Iowa: Take action today to help pass HF427 by clicking HERE.
For Other States: Take action in your state to push legislators to introduce and support bills to nullify drones by clicking HERE.