Spokane City Council Brings Up Drone Ordinance

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Spokane City Council members are getting ready to vote on a local ordinance regarding the regulation of domestic drone use. According to city council president, Ben Stuckart, this ordinance is modeled after a similar action that was passed earlier this year in the city of Seattle.

Representative David Taylor introduced a bill in the Washington House of Representatives during the recent session, which would have required state and local law enforcement to obtain legislative approval before purchasing drones. It  reaffirmed the right to privacy by laying down rules regarding the obtainment of information and use of surveillance. Despite being voted out of committee, 9-1 the bill failed to get a vote on the house floor before the cut off deadline. It was heavily lobbied against by both Boeing, and the Washington Association of Sheriff’s and Police Chiefs. Despite this, Representative Taylor still has hopes that the bill can be pushed through next year.

There is valid concern among citizens that because there are no current state regulations regarding drone use, the potential for abuse is incredibly high. Local communities like Spokane are stepping up to provide guidelines to their law enforcement agencies.

The Spokane ordinance would contain three main components;

1) A detailed plan – developed with justification

2) A robust public outreach, and

3) City council approval for purchase.

While not a perfectly comprehensive plan, it would offer citizens some protection – which currently they don’t have at all. The Tenth Amendment Center, ACLU, Bill of Rights Defense Committee, and other organizations spoke out in favor of the state legislation, and are working to help more communities take the reigns on this issue.

The Council meets at Spokane City Hall in the council room and will vote on this ordinance Monday, July 29th. Contact your city council members to let them know where you stand.

 

If you live outside of Spokane, you can find model local legislation from our partners at the BORDC, here.

If you are outside the state of Washington, the Tenth Amendment Center also has model legislation for your state government, here.

 

Amanda Bowers is the National Outreach Coordinator for the Tenth Amendment Center, and also directs the Washington State Chapter. She lives in eastern Washington.

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