November 23, 2014

Iowa legislature’s drone bill ‘a good beginning’ but not ‘final chapter’

Rich Taylor

Rich Taylor

The legislature has voted to ban the use of drones to catch speeders on the state’s roads, but the bill does not go as far as a previous, House-passed plan that would have banned anyone from flying a drone over private property to record video or pictures without the property owner’s permission. Senator Rich Taylor, a Democrat from Mount Pleasant, says the bill in its final version calls for a study of the issues surrounding unmanned aerial vehicles.

“This is a relatively new frontier in aviation and this is not the final chapter, but a good beginning,” Taylor says.

Senator Mark Chelgren, a Republican from Ottumwa, says the bill is a good first step.

“I believe it’s important that we not have aerial vehicles, unmanned aerial vehicles, used for traffic enforcement,” Chelgren says.

The bill passed the Iowa Senate earlier this week. The House endorsed it today and sent it to the governor for his consideration. The bill says law enforcement agencies are to get a search warrant if they plan to use a drone to collect evidence in a criminal case. If the governor approves the legislation, representativates from the Iowa Department of Public Safety will assemble a task force and develop “model guidelines” for the use of drones in Iowa and submit a report to legislators by the end of the year.