published Thursday, April 11th, 2013

Tennessee House adds exceptions to bill to banning drones

NASHVILLE — The House has passed a bill to ban most warrantless surveillance by unmanned drones in Tennessee, but added a last-minute exemption for events featuring large crowds.

The chamber voted 91-0 on Thursday in favor of the bill sponsored by Republican Rep. James “Micah” Van Huss of Jonesborough, himself a former Marine with experience piloting drones.

Fellow Republican Rep. Vince Dean of East Ridge added the late change to the bill ensure that police would be able to use drones for events like the Riverbend Festival in Chattanooga, University of Tennessee football games or NASCAR races in Bristol.

Dean said the drones would help law enforcement “protect life and property” at such events.

The Senate would have to agree to the change before it could head for the governor’s consideration.

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