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Published on Friday, February 28, 2014

Three drone bills still hovering through the process

Three bills involving extraordinary sensing devices, commonly known as drones, continue to be debated in the legislature. HB 2178 passed from the House to the Senate, but is not scheduled for a hearing. EHB 2789
was amended and passed out of the Senate Law & Justice Committee on February 26. The striking amendment replaced all of the original language with the language from a similar bill, SSB 6172. Some of the differences of the two bills are as follows:

  • SSB 6172 excludes the WA National Guard from the definition of “Agency”. HB 2789 does not.
  • “Governing body” is undefined in SSB 6172 and in EHB 2789 it means an agency’s controlling body with legislative powers.
  • Procurement – SSB 6172 agencies with jurisdiction over criminal and regulatory law enforcement must get explicit authority to procure drones from their governing body. EHB 2789 – only criminal law enforcement agencies must obtain authority from their governing body.
  • Under EHB 2789, agencies other than those described in the procurement section may not procure drones. There is no similar prohibition in SSB 6172.

None of these bills are scheduled to be voted on, but AWC will continue to monitor the issue and report on any progress.

The Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC) is taking the lead on the topic and contributed to the many changes made to these bills throughout the process.

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