‘Fine to kill terrorists,’ but Sen. Joe Negron says drones have no place in Florida

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A proposed bill in the Florida senate would make it illegal for law enforcement and government agencies from using drones to gather evidence or monitor Florida residents.

Sen. Joe Negron (R-Palm City) said he believes the bill, also known as the “Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act,” would protect citizens’ rights to privacy.

“Drones are fine to kill terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but they shouldn’t be hovering in the sky, monitoring Floridians,” Negron said. “That’s not something we believe is an appropriate role for government.”

The bill comes with some exceptions such as search warrants. These warrants are authorized by judges and for national security, hostage and missing children situations.

Miami Police were the first to use drones after the Federal Aviation Admission gave them permission, according to The Orlando Sentinel. They also mentioned that the Orange County Sherriff’s Office recently acquired drones for about $50,000.

About half a dozen law enforcement departments in Florida use drones, according to the Jacksonville Daily Record.

The Senate Criminal Justice Committee was the bill’s first stop, and it has three more places to go before it heads to the Senate floor. It has to go through the judiciary committee, the appropriations subcommittee on criminal and civil justice, and the appropriations committee.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Florida Public Defenders Union support Negron’s bill, according to Sunshine State News. It added that the bill is opposed by the Florida Sherriff’s Association and the Florida Police Chiefs Association.

About Karly Kehres

Karly is a reporter who can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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