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State tackles drone policy

February 19, 2014 - 12:05am

HONOLULU — Hawaii lawmakers are considering a bill that would make it illegal for police to monitor people with unmanned aircraft without due process.

Police, hobbyists, filmmakers and regulators told lawmakers Tuesday that the state should protect people’s privacy. But they urged lawmakers not to curtail the many uses for unmanned aircraft beyond police surveillance, including commercial photography, search and rescue operations, resource management and recreational use.

A version of the bill, Senate Bill 2608 SD1, before the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor would restrict unmanned aircraft use to law enforcement, people testified. Committee Chairman Clayton Hee, a Democrat representing Waialua, Wahiawa and Koolauloa, said he would amend the bill to make room for other uses, in line with the Federal Aviation Administration’s regulations.