On Wednesday, March 23 the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted in favor of a drone regulation bill, HB 602.
The bill clarifies that the government cannot use drones on private property without a warrant, unless there are special circumstances such as an imminent terrorist attack. The bill also restricts drone use by private individuals without a property owner’s consent.
“We have to rethink what trespass is,” Rep. Renny Cushing said in support of the bill.
HB 602 was first drafted in 2015, and was vetted in multiple committees.
The bill passed with a large majority – 251 to 114 – but the last committee to review the bill, the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, recommended killing the bill. The committee pointed out that there was a large discrepancy in penalties for private individuals versus government employees. A private individual would be fined at least $1,000 for violating the law and could be charged with a misdemeanor. A government employee would pay nothing out of pocket; instead the agency he or she works for would contribute $10,000 to the state general fund.
Other critics are concerned about a provision that allows law enforcement to use drones to deploy tear gas.
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