Wyoming Liberty Group
In the 2015 Wyoming General Session, a bill to limit use of drones—or unmanned aerial surveillance—by the law enforcement failed in the Senate Judiciary Committee after passing the House. The bill was sponsored by the Joint Judiciary Committee following the 2014-15 interim, but underwent amendments on its journey through the legislature that ultimately kept it from going before the Senate. In its original format, the bill would have required police to get a warrant before using drones to conduct searches in criminal investigations. The bill was not considered in the recent 2016 Budget Session, but the topic is certainly not going away.
House Bill 18 – the Drone Protection Act – died this morning in the Senate Judiciary Committee by a vote of 2-3. The bill was a committee bill, considered by the Joint Judiciary Committee (that is, the Senate and House committees together) in the interim between the 2014 and 2015 legislative sessions. The bill passed the House 41-19, but had House committee and additional floor amendments that raised concerns in the Senate Judiciary.
RAWLINS, WY – Wyoming Liberty Group provided information to the Joint Judiciary Interim Committee as it considered legislation that would regulate the use of unmanned aerial vehicles-commonly known as drones-by law enforcement agencies.
“Drones are quickly becoming smaller, more efficient, cheaper and common,” said Steve Klein, WyLiberty staff attorney. “Despite this, courts treat them just like manned airplanes when they’re used for surveillance, meaning police do not need to get a warrant before using them. The Judiciary Committee should adopt a committee bill that would fix this by requiring a warrant for most investigations using drones.”
Next month (May 12 and 13) the Joint Judiciary Interim Committee will meet in Rawlins in the first of three meetings between the 2014 and 2015 legislative sessions. One of the topics they will address is drones, more technically known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or unmanned aerial systems (UAS). I appreciate the committee taking this up, since bills addressing law enforcement use of drones were introduced in our legislature in both this past session and the 2013 session.
Now that marijuana is legal in Colorado under state law for not only medicinal but recreational use by people over 21, a new industry is taking off. As reported earlier this week by the Denver Post,
“Commercial real estate tracker Xceligent Inc. estimates that marijuana cultivation and manufacturing facilities in [Denver] occupy about 4.5 million square feet — the equivalent of 78 football fields.”