New Hampshire state Rep. Neal Kurk’s bill to nullify unwarranted drone spying has passed out of committee.

HB1620 would regulates the use of drones by governments, as well as individuals. It would require search warrants, levy fines, and does not allow for the lethal or nonlethal arming of drones in the state.

“No government shall use a drone in this state; provided that such prohibition shall not apply…”

Exceptions include a duly issued warrant, “to counter a high risk of a terrorist attack” if the Department of Homeland Security determines such a threat to exist,” “If law enforcement “possesses reasonable suspicion that…swift action is needed to prevent imminent danger to life or serious damage to property,” and if the agency has prior written consent.

The legislation defines “government” as “federal, state, and local agencies and departments and any political subdivisions thereof, including employees, agents, and contractors.”

While some might find the exceptions written into the legislation troubling, passage of HB1620 would be a huge improvement over the status quo. As things stand today, government entities and individuals can operate drones with no restrictions.

HB1620 passed out of committee with a vote of 12-5 and moves on to the full House.

Not only does the bill directly prohibit the federal government from flying drones over New Hampshire expect for specific circumstances, it would also serve to put the brakes on more general federal plans to expand drone use across the U.S.

In 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.’  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.


If you live in New Hampshire: Click HERE to find out what steps you can take to support HB1620

If you live in another state: Visit the Tenth Amendment Action Center to see what action you can take to limit drone use in your state HERE.

Kelli Sladick

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