New Hampshire House Approves Drone Regulation Bill

The regulations would apply to individual and government-owned drones such as those used by law enforcement.

by Garry Rayno, The New Hampshire Union Leader / March 24, 2016

(TNS) — The New Hampshire House Wednesday overwhelmingly decided the state should regulate the use of drones, passing House Bill 602 on a 251-114 vote.

The regulations would apply to individual and government-owned drones such as those used by law enforcement.

“We have to rethink what trespass is,” said bill supporter Rep. Renny Cushing, D-Hampton, in light of the new technology available today that allows something as small as a bumblebee to hoover outside your bedroom window.

But opponents said the bill needs more work and is an example of government overreach as it was written allowing police to use drones to spread tear gas. The Department of Safety request to allow drones to deploy tear gas was removed after concerns were raised about the provision.

Under the bill, which several House committees have worked on over the summer and fall, both government- and privately-owned drones would need permission to travel over private property.

Law enforcement would not be allowed to fly a drone below 250 feet over private property to collect information without the consent of the owner.

Drone owners would be required to follow all federal guidelines within five miles of an airport, weapons of any kind would be prohibited and using drones to harass or stalk anyone.

Law enforcement may use drones to gather evidence with a court warrant, and in an emergency, to assess the scope of an incident or to counter a potential terrorist attack

Lawmakers decided to exempt the Air National Guard from the regulations.

The bill now goes to the Senate.

©2016 The New Hampshire Union Leader (Manchester, N.H.), Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.