Call to curb use of drones by Pa. state and local government

Written by Mary Wilson | Jul 27, 2015 4:17 AM

Photo by AP Photo/John Bazemore

FILE PHOTO: A drone lifts off at a Georgia Power training complex during power line inspection demonstration. Power companies across the United States are testing whether drones as small as 10 pounds can spot trouble on transmission lines or inspect equipment deep inside hard-to-reach power plant boilers.

(Harrisburg) --  A state Senate plan would curb the use of drones by state and local government.

Several other states have enacted laws limiting the use of drones for surveillance or hunting purposes.

Federal rules for civil drones are still in the works.

But, Pennsylvania has no specific laws governing unmanned aircraft systems.

Republican state Senator Mike Folmer of Lebanon County says he wants to limit their use among government agencies.

He says he's worried drones could be used in violation of someone's right against search and seizure.

"I've heard of some scenarios where they're flying around certain cities and they're watching people, and it's kind of like big brother, you know, watching everybody," he says. "This is kind of my thing. I'm a big constitutionalist, and I really enjoy my freedoms and my liberties that so many brave men and women fought for and died for and I just want to make sure my freedoms and my liberties are not going to be violated."

Folmer calls his measure a two-year moratorium, though it would still allow governments to fly drones if they obtain a warrant.

The plan wouldn't apply to National Guard training, search and rescue missions, and missing children searches.


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