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Virginia House panel votes to ground drones

Kathy Stewart, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – Drones are supposed to fly, but some Virginia state lawmakers want to keep them grounded for another year and a half.

The Virginia-Pilot reports that the House Courts of Justice Committee approved a bill that prohibits state and local law enforcement from flying drone aircraft in the Commonwealth until July 1, 2014.

The idea behind the bill is to give lawmakers time to develop regulations on drone use across the state – a topic several groups do not agree on.

The American Civil Liberties Union is concerned with privacy protection with drone use, while law enforcement worries limiting the use of drones will restrict surveillance or evidence for criminal activity.

The Virginia-Pilot reports that the Sheriff’s Office in Russell County already purchased two drones and will be unable to use them if the bill passes.

Before anything is implemented, the bill will head to the full House for a final vote.

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(Copyright 2013 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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