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Lawmaker wants to see drones regulated in Ohio

 
Lawmaker wants to see drones regulated in Ohio
Posted Tuesday, November 12th 2013 @ 5pm  by WTVN Newsroom

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) -- Law enforcement agencies wouldn't be able to use drones to collect evidence or other information under a proposal at the Ohio Statehouse.

"Protecting our Fourth Amendment rights is certainly not a partisan issue and House Bill 207 the needed steps to preserve those freedoms," said State Rep. Rex Damschroder, the Fremont Republican who introduced the bill.

He wants to clarify how law enforcement could use the unmanned aircraft. Agencies would only be able to use drones in cases of risk of a terrorist attack, with a search warrant, and in cases where law enforcement deems there's a life in danger or serious damage to property imminent.

Drones wouldn't be allowed to be used for traffic enforcement under the bill, but Damschroder says it wouldn't prevent the Ohio State Highway Patrol from issuing tickets from manned aircraft.

"This does not affect any current law and that's not the intention of this bill. This bill is focused clearly on a new industry and this is the drone industry," Damschroder said.

Damschroder also has concerns about the use of drones without regulation from the Federal Aviation Administration. As a pilot, he believes there are some real safety issues that need to be addressed.

At the same time, Ohio is one of about six states being considered for thousands of jobs related to the industry. Damschroder was questioned by lawmakers on the House Transportation Committee about how his bill might impact that. He doesn't believe it should be considered an "anti-drone bill."

"The legislation recognizes the fact that, in specified circumstances, this technology is a useful tool for Ohio's law enforcement community. I am also aware that the use of drones for agricultural purposes and by private citizens and companies are all issues that we, as a legislature, may deal with in the future," he said.

43 states either have already passed laws about drones or are considering them.

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