Legislation was approved by the Missouri House Thursday putting restrictions on aerial drone surveillance, requiring permission or a warrant by law enforcement.
The bill, presented by Rep. Casey Guernsey of Bethany, Mo., requires a warrant or permission from the property owner to use manned or unmanned aircraft. Law enforcement may use a drone as aerial surveillance without a warrant if there is a reasonable suspicion of imminent danger.
According to the Associated Press, Guernsey said it is “"completely reasonable for citizens to rely on constitutional right for reasonable expectation of privacy."
Regulations on the use of drones have become an issue, prompting meetings last year between farmers and the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA came under scrutiny after using small airplanes to monitor Clean Water Act Violations in Iowa and Nebraska.
Drones used in the media and by animal welfare groups are a growing issue. Earlier this week it was reported an animal welfare group in Australia purchased a $14,000 drone to monitor cattle operations. A University of Missouri assistant professor is teaching journalism students to use drones for public stories including floods, forest fires, or car crashes. CBS St. Louis reports coursework for the class reviews ethics and considers privacy concerns when using the drones.
The bill had just over the minimum votes required to pass and will go before the Senate next.