House approves drone regulation measure

May 30, 2013

A proposal that would regulate the use of drones by law enforcement agencies in Illinois has cleared the House. Drones are sophisticated, unmanned aircraft that authorities are considering for aerial surveillance.

Representative Ann Williams is sponsoring the bill. The Chicago Democrat says the measure helps keep people's reasonable expectation of privacy.

"This bill in no way limits the use for important law enforcement needs. What it does is ensure that the privacy protections afforded to us under the Constitution -- under the First and the Fourth Amendment -- are intact."

The proposal would require police to obtain a search warrant before using a drone to collect information.

The legislation includes exceptions, like when the Department of Homeland Security determines such surveillance is needed to prevent a terrorist attack. Other exceptions include cases of imminent danger or preventing a prisoner escape.

House members approved the legislation on a vote of 105 to 12 on Thursday. It still needs final approval in the Senate.