Oregon drone regulation bill earns House approval

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April 15, 2012

By Maresa Strano


SALEM, OR: Earlier today, the Oregon House of Representatives advanced efforts to clarify the state's limitations on weaponized drone use with the passage of House Bill 2710. The bill proposes what many lawmakers consider necessary restrictions on the use of new drone technology.

According to Portland's rookie state Rep. Jennifer Williamson (D), H.B. 2710 is intended to protect the public against potential civil rights infringements resulting from the introduction of drones, or unmanned aircraft, into the arsenals of state law-enforcement. “This our chance today colleagues...to get out in front of this new technology and ensure our citizens’ right to privacy,” Williamson said before the House vote.[1]

Barring cases of emergency, the measure would require police to apply for a search warrant before using drones "to intercept communications only as provided under laws relating to wiretaps and other interceptions of communications."[2] The legislation would further require surveillance information taken from a drone to be erased within 30 days, except if it qualifies as evidence in a criminal prosecution case. The bill does not aim to regulate recreational, non weaponized drone use by private Oregonians.[3]

The legislation was sponsored by Rep. John Huffman (R). It was first presented to the House Speaker on February 4, 2013, and passed in the House by a sure-footed 52-7 vote on April 15, 2013. Of the seven who voted against the bill, two were Democrats and five were Republicans. The bill now progresses to the State Senate.

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