Illinois House Endorses Proposal to Criminalize PETA Drones
On April 8, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) issued a press release indicating it was in the market for a few good drones in order to stalk hunters. The release stated, “PETA aims to collect video footage of any illegal activity, including drinking while in the possession of a firearm, a common complaint from those who live near wooded areas; maiming animals and failing to pursue them so that they die slowly and painfully; and using spotlights, feed lures, and other hunting tricks that are illegal in some areas but remain common practices among hunters.”
In response to that news, a committee in the Illinois House or Representatives sanctioned a proposal on April 15 that criminalizes the use of drones to interfere with hunting or fishing. Proposed by State Rep. Adam Brown, R-Champaign, the new law makes such interference a misdemeanor. In an article at Pantagraph, Brown indicated that after reading about hunters in Pennsylvania being harassed by a drone operated by an animal rights group and the aforementioned press release by PETA, he decided to act on new legislation. Brown said, “I think these drones are a new frontier as far as the invasion of our personal rights.”
On April 15, the Illinois Senate approved a bill that requires law enforcement agencies to acquire a warrant before using aerial drones in investigations. This bill passed by 52 to 1. Sponsored by Sen. Daniel Biss, the bill also prohibits law enforcement from using armed drones.
"It's all about this new technology that if it's not restricted in some way, enables government and law enforcement to have a completely unprecedented level of knowledge of what people do, where they go, and frankly therefore, what they think," Biss was quoted as saying in a Chicago NBC article.
It appears that Illinois is lining up a strong wall of legal defense against aerial drones in its cities, towns, woods and water.
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