Mo. House endorses anti-drone measure

Apr 4, 2013

The use of manned or unmanned aircraft for criminal investigations or surveillance of farms would be barred in Missouri under a bill advanced by the House without receiving prior consent.

The legislation given first-round approval yesterday would still allow law enforcement agencies to conduct aerial surveillance if they have a warrant or there's immediate danger.

Republican Representative Casey Guernsey of Bethany said his bill protects privacy rights and prevents unwanted surveillance. The measure would prevent evidence obtained during unwanted surveillance from being introduced in any potential criminal court proceeding.

Republican Representative Paul Curtman of Pacific added a provision that prevents reporters and news organizations from conducting air surveillance without landowner permission.

He cited journalism school courses in drone usage as the reason for his amendment.

KBIA has partnered with the Missouri School of Journalism on the “Missouri Drone Journalism Program.” The collaboration’s website says students in the reporting course work with unmanned drones to create journalism.

KBIA Producer Scott Pham has responded on the program’s blog saying they have already been operating under similar restrictions, and do not believe this bill will prevent them from pursuing more stories.

The measure needs one more vote before moving the Senate.