State legislators taking second shot at drone laws

John Langeler reports.

SEATTLE -- A bi-partisan effort is underway in Olympia to put guidelines and restrictions on how private citizens can use drone-operated cameras. Similar legislation, mainly focused on government usage, was vetoed by Governor Jay Inslee after the last legislative session.

"It takes away the right for you to buzz a neighborhood, to surreptitiously take pictures randomly to see what you find," said Rep. Jeff Morris (D-Anacortes), co-sponsor of House Bill 1093.

Rep. Morris said the main desire of the measure is to protect the privacy of homeowners from cameras that can often go undetected.

"The public doesn't know the strength of the cameras, so they have an expectation of privacy," he added. "That's what we're trying to protect."

There have been several instances of complaints by the public about drones infringing on privacy. Notably, last summer a drone operated from a Seattle hotel nearly clipped the Space Needle, sparking calls for regulations by some city council members.

Rep. Morris said Friday a new bill merging restrictions on private and government drones will be discussed next week.


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