Off to Rick Perry’s Desk: Bill to Nullify Warrantless Drone Spying

AUSTIN, Texas – A Texas bill that would nullify warrantless drone spying gained final approval this week and now heads to Gov. Rick Perry’s desk for his signature.

HB912 would virtually eliminate all warrantless drone spying in the Lone Star State and criminalizes all drone use outside of carefully prescribed parameters.

The Texas Privacy Act states that “a person commits an offense if the person uses or authorizes the use of an unmanned vehicle or aircraft to capture an image without the express consent of the person who owns or lawfully occupies the real property captured in the image.” The offender would be charged with a Class C misdemeanor if they were caught violating this part of the law.

The bill then outlines acceptable application of drones, including pursuant to a criminal warrant.

Data gathered by law enforcement illegally ‘may not be used as evidence in any criminal or juvenile proceeding, civil action, or administrative proceeding’ according to the bill and ‘is not subject to discovery, subpoena, or other means of legal compulsion for its release.’ This incentivizes police to not misuse the drone technology unless they wish to risk jeopardizing their entire investigation.

House passed the bill by a vote of 128-11 on May 10, and the Senate gave a slightly amended version its approval 29-1 a week later. HB912 then went to a conference committee and both chambers approved the final version.

Details

Mo. Gov. May Allow Gun Control Nullification to Pass Without His Signature

In less than two weeks, Missouri could join Kansas in enacting a state law refusing to enforce federal gun control measures.

On May 22, the Second Amendment Preservation Act (HB 436) was sent to Governor Jay Nixon. As of this writing, Nixon, a Democrat, has not indicated whether he plans to veto or sign the bill.

Earlier this month, both houses of the Republican-controlled state legislature passed the bill by an overwhelming majority.

When asked about Governor Nixon’s intention, a source inside his office told The New American that in an effort to avoid multiplying the several scandals already plaguing his administration, Nixon would likely let the bill sit on his desk without signing or vetoing it, thus allowing the measure to become law without his participation.

According to Article III, Section 31 of the Missouri state constitution:

Every bill which shall have passed the house of representatives and the senate shall be presented to and considered by the governor, and, within fifteen days after presentment, he shall return such bill to the house in which it originated endorsed with his approval or accompanied by his objections. If the bill be approved by the governor it shall become a law. When the general assembly adjourns, or recesses for a period of thirty days or more, the governor shall return within forty-five days any bill to the office of the secretary of state with his approval or reasons for disapproval. If any bill shall not be returned by the governor within the time limits prescribed by this section it shall become law in like manner as if the governor had signed it.

Therefore, the Missouri gun control nullification bill could become law on July 6 (45 days from its May 22 transmittal date) without the governor’s signature.

Should he decide to sign the bill, however, Governor Nixon would join Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas, who recently enacted a similar measure passed with overwhelming support by the Kansas state legislature.

While there are similarities between the Kansas and Missouri measures, the text of the Missouri bill goes much farther in its bold opposition to attempts by the federal government to infringe on the right of Missourians to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment.

Details