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The Maine Senate has passed LD 236, a bill requiring police to get a warrant for drone use except in emergencies, incensing the senate chair of the Judiciary Committee, which had recommended developing rules before moving forward with the bill, reports Portland Press Herald.

The approved version of the bill was advanced by a minority of the Judiciary Committee and passed the Senate in a 23-12 vote. Also adopted was an amendment to put a moratorium on drone use by law enforcement until July 2015, the report states.

Sen. Linda Valentino (D-Saco) Senate chair of the Judiciary Committee called the vote “an insult” to the committee, because, for all intents and purposes, it ignored the committee’s recommendation. She also noted that drones are “technology we really don’t even have” in Maine, bringing into question whether a law is necessary at all.

But the bill’s sponsor Sen. John Patrick (D-Rumford) and the Maine ACLU say the bill is needed. The ACLU points to important research uses for drones, and Patrick says while the “vast majority of our law enforcement agents are great, "We’ve got to make sure that we protect the average citizen’s rights.”

Written By

Emily Leach, CIPP/US

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