Wyoming House Passes Drone Restrictions
The Wyoming House of Representatives has given final approval to legislation that would restrict the use of drones by law enforcement agencies.
The measure was approved on third and final reading on a vote of 41-19 and now moves on to the Wyoming Senate. The bill would require a law enforcement agency to either get a warrant to use the drone, unless there is probable cause to believe that someone is either committing or about to commit a felony.
The agency could also use a drone if circumstances make it unreasonable to obtain a warrant and the drone's use is clearly justified.
House members turned back an amendment by Green River Democrat John Freeman to allow use of the drones on public lands. Freeman argued the Wyoming Game and Fish Department is already allowed to use airplanes and helicopters, and also faces the burden of patrolling large areas with limited personnel. He also said there is no expectation of privacy on public land, unlike private property.
But Natrona County Republican Kendell Kroeker argued Freeman's amendment would be worse than no bill at all. He said it would give the government permission to "spy on anyone, anytime, because there is always public land you could fly a drone over".
The bill was sponsored by the legislature's Joint Interim Judiciary Committee, which includes members of both the state House and Senate.