The Illinois State Senate Committee on Criminal Law today passed SB1587 this morning, with 7 votes for and 2 against.

The intention of the bill is to protect citizens from loss of privacy through warrantless surveillance, limit liability on the state and local government, and create clear standards for the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, AKA drones.

Warrants have to be very specific in the information they are trying to obtain, must show probable cause, and don’t allow for the keeping of extraneous information that is coincidentally collected about non-involved persons in the process.  Which means that your neighbors should be safe from surveillance, even if the police have a warrant for your backyard. If footage of them happens to be collected in the process, it must be discarded.

If the bill becomes law, therefore, it would be a great victory in protection against unreasonable search and seizure, especially as we head into the new frontier of massive drone production.

“There were a lot of people at the hearing,” said a member of the Tenth Amendment Center who was there in support of SB1587. “And only one group appeared to be against, a member of a police chief group opposed to the bill.”

While the bill only limits drone use by state and local government, it will have some serious impact on intended results being pushed by the federal government. 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, DHS issues large grants to local governments so that those agencies can purchase drones. The goal? Fund a network of drones around the country and put the operational burden on the states. Once the create a web over the whole country, DHS steps in with requests for ‘information sharing,'” he said. “Bills like these 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 DHS plans to – take off.

State Senator Daniel Bliss (D-9th) introduced the bill and worked to get 2 republican and 7 democrat co-sponsors.  SB1587 now moves on to the full State Senate for a debate and vote.

ACTION ALERT for Illinois residents

1. Contact your state senator. Strongly, but respectfully, tell them you want them to vote YES to send SB1587.  Let them know that you want them to “vote on principle, not party.”

Contact information here:
http://www.ilga.gov/senate/

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:
http://tenthamendmentcenter.com/nullifydrones

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.

LEGISLATION AND TRACKING

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