After two years of legislative work, a bill that would restrict the use of commercial drones was effectively killed by the Senate Thursday.
Without debate, the Senate sent House Bill 1620 to interim study, a polite way to kill bills in the second year of a legislative session.
The bill would have regulated the use of aerial drone photography and broadcasts by government agencies and private individuals and businesses.
The bill’s chief sponsor, Rep. Neal Kurk, R-Weare, believes privacy rights need to be protected by a law as the use of drones grows.
Kurk, a noted privacy advocate, has worked for more than two years on the bill and believes it balances the privacy rights of citizens with the benefits of drone technology.
Opponents of the bill claim it goes too far and imposes restrictions on drones that do not exist for such things as helicopters or small planes that aerial photographers and news organizations use.
At a public hearing earlier this month, photographers and news organizations urged the Senate to take a hard look at the bill.
The N.H. American Civil Liberties Union also suggested the Senate review the restrictions on private use to protect First Amendment rights.
At the public hearing, Department of Safety officials said they are not aware of any governmental use of drone technology, but that may change in the future.
The House passed the bill on a voice vote in March.
©2014 The New Hampshire Union Leader (Manchester, N.H.)