Late last month, the North Dakota House passed a bill the would limit the use of drones in the skies over the Peace Garden State by a wide margin.

HB1373 severely restricts the use of drones by North Dakota law enforcement and also calls for a study to assess the use of drone based surveillance.

Except as provided in section 3 of this Act, a law enforcement agency may not use an unmanned aircraft for surveillance of a person within the state or for the surveillance of personal or business property located within the borders of the state to gather evidence or other information pertaining to criminal conduct, or conduct in violation of a statute or regulation except to the extent authorized in a warrant issued by a court which satisfies the requirements of the Constitution of North Dakota.

The bill would also ban the use of evidence gathered in violation of the law in court, and provides for civil remedies for anybody spied on in violation of the act.

HB1373 passed the House 60-31 on Feb. 22 and was moved on to the Senate for consideration.

Rep. Becker, Anderson, Beadle, Heilman, Hofstad, Monson, Rohr, Toman and Hanson all cosponsored the measure in the House. Sen. Margaret Sitte is sponsoring the bill in the Senate.

While the bill only limits drone use by state and local authorities, state pushback against domestic drones could have major impact on federal policy. At this stage in the ‘drone game,’ the feds are working hard behind the scenes to get states to operate the drones for them. In fact, the Department of Homeland Security issues large grants to local governments so that those agencies can purchase drones. The goal? Fund a network of drones around the country, placing the operational burden on the states. Once they create a web over the whole country, DHS can step in with requests for ‘information sharing.’

“Bills like these put a dent in this kind of long-term strategy. Without state and local communities operating the drones today, it’s going to be nearly impossible for DHS plans to – take off,” Tenth Amendment Center executive director Michael Boldin said.

SB1373 was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. A hearing is scheduled for March 12 at 11 a.m.


1. Contact Senate Judiciary Committee. If you live in North Dakota, contact members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and ask them to pass HB1373 on for consideration by the full Senate. You can find committee member contact information HERE.

2. Encourage your local community to take action as well. Present the Privacy Protection Act to your city county, your town council, or your county commissioners. Various local governments around the country are already passing similar resolutions and ordinances. Local legislative action present a great way to strengthen a statewide campaign against warrantless drone surveillance.

model legislation here:

3.  Share this information widely.  Please pass this along to your friends and family.  Also share it with any and all grassroots groups you’re in contact with around the state.  Please encourage them to email this information to their members and supporters.


If you’re outside of Washington, 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

Mike Maharrey

The 10th Amendment

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