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Law Enforcement Drone Bill Moves Through Florida House Committee

File photo of a drone.
File photo of a drone.

A bill to regulate how law enforcement uses drones is making its way through the Florida legislature. A house subcommittee on criminal justice approved the bill Wednesday.

House Bill 75 sets guidelines on how and where law enforcement can use drones. Under the provisions of the bill, first responders could use drones to survey car accidents, and police can use the remote-controlled aircraft to examine a crime scene or keep an eye on large crowds during big events.

“Orange, Seminole, Miami-Dade, everyone is doing their own thing interpreting what they can and can’t do with a drone, whether it’s law enforcement or a recreational user, it’s putting in some definition and avoiding this patchwork quilt of stuff going on in each county,” said Clay Yarborough, a Republican Florida House member from Duval County who sponsored the bill.

He says the legislation also allows the drones to be used for traffic management but “not enforcement, that’s the key word. The drone is not going to come up to your window and hand you a ticket.”

The bill also sets guidelines for the department of agriculture to use drones as a land management tool to do property surveys.

The 60-day legislative session kicks of March 5.

Brendan covers space news for WMFE, everything from rocket launches to the latest scientific discoveries in our universe. He hosts WMFE's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration.