ND legislator says economic development can’t trump civil liberties
The proposed North Dakota and Oklahoma bills have included exemptions for the use of drones for training and research purposes, along with a number of other exemptions not in the current Kansas bill. These include using drones to find missing persons and armed suspects, in the case of natural disasters, and on the Canadian border. North Dakota state Rep. Rick Becker (R-Bismarck), the bill’s sponsor, said the exemptions were built in to balance legitimate needs and civil liberties, adding that economic issues do not take precedence.
“The bill should stand on its own two feet with regards to civil liberties, and it should not take into account economic activity,” Becker told HuffPost. “It is a bad precedent to say we will judge how we will protect our civil liberties based on whether it is financially advantageous or not.”
Becker said he’s concerned about county sheriffs in his state who have indicated a desire to use drones in law enforcement, but he also said that he can see a role for drone training and research in North Dakota. The University of North Dakota has a drone pilot training program and has been working on drone research.
“With it being a new technology, it seems pretty hard on how you can implement it and be adept with using it if you never train, test or research,” he said