COLUMBIA, S.C., January 24, 2014 – The South Carolina state senate this week is considering a bill to virtually ban the use of drones without a warrant. It recently passed the state house unanimously, with a vote of 100-0.
Introduced in early 2013 by Reps. Hamilton, Delleney, Taylor, Putnam and Loftis, House bill 3514 (H3514) would prohibit the operation of drones by an agency of the state unless it is “pursuant to a criminal warrant issued by a court of competent jurisdiction.”
While the bill’s co-sponsors are all Republicans, the unanimous approval in the House shows the widespread bipartisan support for putting restrictions on drone use, which is expected to grow by leaps and bounds in 2015. The ACLU has weighed in on the issue on a national level as well, warning that “unregulated drone use could pose serious threats to our privacy.”
The legislation does include some narrow exceptions to the warrant requirement to allay the fears of law enforcement officials who did not want to be hamstrung in emergency situations when a drone’s use might spell life or death.