House passes drone, government surveillance bills

OLYMPIA — Two bills that would restrict the use of drones and government surveillance in Washington state have been passed by the House.

House Bill 2178 passed by a vote of 92-6 Monday. It would ban the unauthorized use of drones, or other unmanned aircraft with sensing devices, in the airspace above private property. Under the measure, drones, which could include those capable of gathering personal information such as photos, could be used on private property if certain conditions were met.

The bill also states that unmanned aircraft could be flown over public land if it does not unreasonably interfere with the rights of others. Violation of the rules could result in a gross misdemeanor charge.

House Bill 2789, which passed 83-15, would limit the purchase and use of unmanned aircraft systems by state and local agencies.

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