A Virginia city has become the first in the country to formally pass an anti-drone resolution this week and the state has become the first to pass a bill putting a two-year moratorium on the use of drones by state and local law enforcement.
The Virginia House Bill 2012 passed Monday by a vote of 83-16 and the Virginia General Assembly passed a bill Tuesday by a vote of 36-2.
Charlottesville, Va., adopted their resolution with a 3-2 vote Monday. The resolution calls on the United States to adopt legislation formally prohibiting information gathered by the use of domestic drones from being used in either Federal or State court. In addition, the city pledges to abstain from doing the same thing with any drones in their possession.
Although this was a step closer for privacy advocates to keeping their privacy, it was a watered-down version of the original resolution introduced that would have banned all Charlottesville municipal agencies from buying, leasing, borrowing or testing drones.
The state’s measure requires no state or local law enforcement agency shall utilize an unmanned aircraft system before July 1, 2015.
The bill allows for use of drones in cases where there is a “major disaster” or Amber Alert, allowing a search and rescue operation to use police drones when it is necessary to protect life, health or property.
The state’s passed measures are also pared down from earlier drafts requiring law enforcement to obtain government permission to purchase a drone and a warrant to operate the unmanned aerial vehicles.
Gov. Bob McDonnell has yet to decide if he will sign the bill into law.