A bill that would drastically limit drone use in Hawaii passed unanimously out of the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor Tuesday.

SB2698 would prohibit state and local law enforcement from using drones without a warrant with a few exceptions. The legislation does allow law enforcement done use if DHS determines it necessary to counter a high-risk terrorist attack, for searching for missing persons, in disaster relief, or for assisting the military. Any information gathered by a drone under the exceptions must be destroyed within 30 days unless necessary for a criminal proceeding.

SB2698 passed out of committee 6-0 with one senator not voting. Earlier this month, the Committee on Transportation and Internal Affairs approved the measure 8-0.

While many may find the exceptions for drone use in SB2698 troubling, it represents a major improvement over the status quo. Currently, law enforcement can utilized unmanned aircraft in Hawaii with no restrictions at all.

The bill only address drone use by state and local agencies, but if passed into law, it will also have an impact at the federal level.

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 on board 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 SB2698 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.

The bill will now move on to the full Senate for consideration.


For Hawaii: Take action today to help pass these bills 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.

Mike Maharrey

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