Many Lawmakers Busy Drafting Drone Measures

DAVE KOLPACK
SOURCE: ASSOCIATED PRESS

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A freshman lawmaker from North Dakota is one of numerous state legislators around the country suggesting regulations to limit the use of unmanned planes for law enforcement, an effort that’s gaining bipartisan support and fostering unlikely political alignments.

The bill proposed by Republican State Rep. Rick Becker, of Bismarck, stems from the 2011 arrest of a Lakota farmer during a 16-hour standoff, an event that sparked national debate. State courts held up law enforcement’s use of a drone to help a SWAT team apprehend Rodney Brossart, but Becker says there should be safeguards in place to make sure the practice isn’t abused.

Lawmakers plan to introduce similar bills in several states, and although Republicans are mostly leading the charge, the issue crosses party lines in Florida and brought together a tea party member from Virginia’s General Assembly and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Becker insists he’s not out to hinder police; he says it’s a matter of privacy.

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