Hobbyists Welcome Proposed Changes To Drone Legislation

By Chris Lehman

SALEM, Ore. – People who fly unmanned aircraft for fun say new changes to an Oregon drone bill have addressed their concerns. An Oregon Senate panel will consider the measure Wednesday.

For fun, Patrick Sherman straps a camera to a small, remote-controlled helicopter and flies the contraption over parks and fields. As originally written, the Oregon Senate’s bill on drones would have made it a misdemeanor for Sherman to engage in his hobby unless he got special permission from the state. Now, a proposed amendment backs away from that requirement. Sherman still doesn’t like the bill. But at least it leaves room for his hobby.

Patrick Sherman: "The bill makes it so that it's not illegal to own or to fly a drone, but rather to commit certain offenses with it. And for the most part these are offenses that I believe virtually everyone thinks should be crimes."

Stuff like invading personal privacy and electronic eavesdropping. The measure would still require law enforcement agencies to get a warrant before using a drone unless a crime is in progress. A similar measure died in the Washington legislature this year after objections from aircraft manufacturer Boeing.

Senate Bill 71: https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2013R1/Measures/Overview/SB71

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