New bill to provide regulations on drones

WICHITA, Kansas — Aerial drones are growing in popularity but a new bill in the statehouse wants to make sure they can’t be used to spy on you.

Legislation aimed at putting regulations on unmanned aircraft or drones passed out of the Kansas senate committee of Friday and it is heading to the full senate for a vote.

Senate bill 409 was put forth by state senator Caryn Tyson. It is aimed at protecting the privacy of individuals and businesses from drones that are equipped with cameras and recording devices. The hope is to safeguard property owners from any invasion of privacy.

Aerial drones are steadily growing in popularity, not just by your average hobbyist but by industries looking to capitalize on the potential the technology could possess.

Legislators also see drones as a huge benefit to the agriculture industry, something that could in turn mean big business for the U.S. economy.

“The remarks I’ve heard is it’s an 80-billion dollar plus business potential, I mean there are really huge expectations out of this technology,” said Senator Dan Kerschen, the vice chair of the Natural Resources Committee.

Senator Kerschen is the vice chair of the Natural resources Committee, a group that worked hand-in-hand with Senator Caryn Tyson in getting the bill out of committee.

Kerschen says what makes this bill different is it’s aimed at protecting the privacy of individuals and businesses from drones equipped with cameras and recording devices.

“The bigger part of it is it protects private property rights with the use of these aircraft on who owns the property,” said Kerschen.

Kerschen says the bill was met with minimal opposition in committee, mainly due to the potential for field mapping and insect damage detection for the agriculture industry. However, some concerns did come up from law enforcement.

“They had some concerns on property rights and searches, what could be used for a search warrant so those things had to be defined,” said Kerschen.

Kerschen says the advancement of this technology won’t cost the state or taxpayers a dime and that the drone industry will pick up the cost of further developments.

Kerschen says the bill will now go to the full senate to be heard hopefully sometime this week.

The ultimate decision on the commercialization of drones lies in the hands of the FAA who are expected to write rulse to govern commercial use on unmanned aircraft by 2015.

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