ND Senate Votes Down Drone Bill

surveillance-drone

The North Dakota Senate today considered and rejected a bill which would have required that law enforcement obtain a warrant before using a surveillance drone in a criminal investigation.

Video is worth watching as Senator Joe Miller, when it became clear the bill would probably fail, asked that it be divided so that the portion of the bill calling for a study could be voted on separately. The bill was divided, and the Senate voted down both divisions, leaving a total bill to be voted on with no language which confused Lt. Governor Drew Wrigley (acting as President of the Senate) for a few minutes.

It’s disappointing that the Senate wouldn’t even vote to study the issue, but the economic development arguments related to UND being a potential test site for drone research trumped civil liberties concerns.

Some Senators even trivialized those concerns. Senator Kelly Armstrong said that 4th amendment protections apply to law enforcement regardless of the vehicle for their surveillance. He said that it’s illegal to use evidence gathered through something like peeing through windows whether a drone is used or not. “Even a small town defense lawyer is probably going to get that suppressed,” said Senator Armstrong (who is a defense lawyer).

But just because the evidence might not be admissible in court doesn’t mean it still might not be collected, and used to inform other less legally dubious aspects of a given investigation.

It was disappointing to see this bill fail.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • Guest

    I just ordered my own drone. I plan surveillance on all Senators not supporting it and will work with Rob to post video of their activities here on SAB

    • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

      If it’s good enough for law enforcement it’s good enough for me.

    • Dave

      “Drones” are targets, people, as in things we shoot at for target practice. They are dummy aircraft created, primarily by the military, for the sole purpose of being shot down. Just because the media uses the term erroneously doesn’t mean we all have to be lemmings and do it. So, I guess, Robert, if you don’t mind me shooting down your “drone,” we’re all good. (:

    • Hal801

      Nope. The government will not let you use a drone, that privilege belongs solely to them.

      http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2013/03/14/faa-grounds-local-aerial-photo-business/

  • thetruthgustyguy

    “But just because the evidence might not be admissible in court doesn’t mean it still might not be collected, and used to inform other less legally dubious aspects of a given investigation.”

    Makes no sense Port…it’s known as the forbidden fruit in legalese. Once something is thrown out, anything that came from it goes out too.

    • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

      Cops lie. They’ll find out stuff illegally and then make up a pretense to get a warrant.

      • thetruthgustyguy

        If something is “made up” to get a warrant, the warrant will be invalid and any subsequent conviction would become nearly impossible.

        • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

          Prove that they lied. For example suppose you have a tall fence and happen to collect cars and you have a dozen of them in your back yard, which for the sake of argument the city has decided is verboten. The cops flying around spot your cars and decide they want to confiscate them for their use. They make up some pretense, such as a report by the meter reader get a warrant and whammo your cars are impounded.

          How are you going to prove the cops lied about how they found out?

          • DixCitizenKane

            What?! Since when is it illegal to collect cars? “for the sake of argument”… when you pose such a silly scenario, we can’t even respond to that with a straight face. Plus, using a meter reader is illegal, since they would be acting as an agent of law enforcement. 4th amendment already applies. Too much paranoia. 98.5% of all cops are honest and don’t push the boundaries.

          • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

            It’s illegal to have cars in your front lawn. And while I might disagree with your percentage, but not your thought, I think 1.5% of the cops using this technology wrongly is far far too many.

          • Say It

            What planet do you live on? I recieved a cash settlement from a sheriff’s dept, right here in North Dakota several months ago. My attorney warned the county that they were not following statuatory law. County does not go by rule of law. State backed me. It turned out to be a nice check for me from the settlement.
            Proof that the cops do whatever they want.

          • thetruthgustyguy

            If cops do whatever they want, you wouldn’t have received your cash settlement.

          • hetruthgusty

            You know, they’re probably monitoring your posts right now. They’re watching you right now.

          • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

            That’s probably true, or at least, they probably are accumulating the data.

        • Say It

          Sure will. You just have to pay an attorney $200 an hour for many hours to show that you are innocent.
          Its no longer innocent until proven guilty.
          Its guilty until proven innocent. If you cannot afford to hire an $200 an hour attorney, then you are guilty by the way the “system” operates.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      It makes plenty of sense.

      They fruit from the poison tree is about admissibility. What if they don’t use the done info directly?

      • Hal801

        Exactly! It will never be mentioned or documented if done improperly.

  • Ray Seltz

    this is easy. just don’t break the law and be a dirtball and you have nothing to worry about.

    • RCND

      What’s your address? we’ll have them hover one outside your bedroom window just to be sure you are not breaking the law. If you aren’t, no worries

      • Ray Seltz

        paranoia strikes deep. suggest you watch Preppers on NatGeo. They’re coming for you. The government is watching you.

        • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

          No really, if you don’t have anything to hide you shouldn’t mind putting your address out there so RCND can set up his web cam.

          • Ray Seltz

            at least I use my real name. look me up if you wish to find me, “Mr. Paranoid use an alias”

          • RCND

            RC is my name, and I live in ND

    • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

      I would suggest you buy the book “Three Felonies a Day” to discover how many laws we unintentionally and in good faith break. The government has criminalized all types of honest behavior and now they have the means to get the information on us.

      I hope the chains rest lightly on your wrists and ankles, or even more so on your kids should they be caught up in this kind of abuse.

      • Ray Seltz

        and I in turn suggest you get out of your basement and away from your computer. A computer and gullibility are a terrible mix.

        • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

          Actually it’s serious. You’re probably guilty of crimes that you didn’t even know there were laws against. What’s saving you (us) is that the government doesn’t have the power to prosecute us all yet.

          • Thresherman

            You are correct and unfortunately too many people like Ray are ignorant of this. Granted, many of these laws are not enforced but that will be of small comfort when some over zealous prosecutor decides it is time to make a name for himself.

            Or just look at the amendments that Chuck Schumer just attached to the background check bill that is in the Senate. One makes it a felony for you to let your child shoot your gun while hunting and is punishable by 5 years in federal prison. And since it is a felony, you loose all your gun rights as well. Odds are that this will not make it through the House vote, but a lot of other not as blatant laws do.

          • SusanBeehler

            Don’t make up things which are not in the bill. It will not make it a felony to hunt with your child using your gun, hunting is provided for in the bill page 13 on this copy http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-113s374rs/pdf/BILLS-113s374rs.pdf Read the bill.

        • http://flamemeister.com flamemeister

          A cop once told me that he could follow anyone around a city block and pop him for at least one violation.

      • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

        Glenn Reynolds has an excellent essay too called Due Process When Everything is Illegal.

    • http://flamemeister.com flamemeister

      My father, a veteran of WW II and a hunter, saw no reason why an average citizen should have a handgun. He saw no reason why anyone who really had nothing to hide should fear a search or investigation by authorities. After two years of Obama he changed his mind on both counts. Then he died at age 90. It’s not too late to learn.

      • Lew

        Sorry for your loss. Your dad was clearly a patriot and a good man.

        • http://flamemeister.com flamemeister

          Thanks.

    • Drain52

      It has nothing to do with whether or not you’re breaking a law. This is an issue of human dignity and as self-directing humans we have the right we have to be left alone and live our lives without someone watching us.

  • Robert

    Well then we need to find out who voted no, and vote THEM out of office. The people of this state, and Americans in general are getting tired losing our civil liberties and our rights to privacy. Drones are not acceptable and will not be tolerated in this state.

    • SusanBeehler

      Based on the record of vote only three Senators would be left standing Sitte, Kilzer, Larsen but than including the others who voted for part A then you would have a few more you could leave in office YEAS: Bowman; Cook; Dever; Lee, G.; Miller; O’Connell; and Sitte,Kilzer, Larsen. So going with your idea you better start recruiting.

  • DixCitizenKane

    So what’s the difference between using a manned helicopter or an unmanned drone? You have no reasonable expectation of privacy in the air surrounding your home. Supreme Court has ruled so. This is knee-jerk legislation if I’ve ever seen it, and Sen. Armstrong is correct in his dissertation.

    • devilschild

      Google has already infringed on that area. How many of us are a little irked that they can drive by our house and posts pictures of it on the internet?

      • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

        The front yard isn’t so bad. I object to anyone peeking in my windows.

      • SusanBeehler

        Just like the property tax assessor and they can even come into your home and post the pictures online, no one seems to get their panties in bind about that.

    • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

      The Supreme Court ruled that attaching a sensor on your car to track it required a warrant even though the police could follow the car and gather the same information. The concern was that the police could gather information wholesale that they would never get by following people around.

    • RCND

      The helicopter has to stay at 1000 ft. The drone won’t have to

      • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

        It’s a lot harder to peek in your windows from 1000 feet.

        I also don’t care that the police can trespass and get by with it. The Supreme Court was wrong to decide that. They’ve made a lot of decisions that infringe on our liberty.

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          The drone can hover too, relatively quietly.

        • SusanBeehler

          And it is harder to PEE in your windows from 1000 feet too.

          • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

            It IS!

  • Yogibare

    Technology has now gotten to the point where we may be “watched” from some unknown vantage point on a 24/7 basis, then if the ‘watchers” see some law being broken we can be hauled in for the violation.

    Is that where this 24/7 surveillance thing is going?

    The reason for search warrants is that law enforcement (society) must show specific reason for the warrant—-a blanket warrant that says “we think something illegal is going on at his property and we want to look” would be considered unreasonable search.

    Am I right or wrong on this statement?

  • POTUS_GTFO

    FYI ND residents: Kevin Cramer pitched ND as the prime testing sight for mixed drone air traffic. Keep your eyes on him, Mr. “Freedom Canidate”. Either we got sold snake oil, or he missed the point of being elected. Both disappointing.

    • hendrickson2016

      Hey dickhead this is a state issue. Get a clue chump.

      • Dave

        Hey, dumbshit, the reason it got shot down today is purely because of economic development reasons that would come from federal funding and other support.

      • POTUS_GTFO

        I happen to live in state, duhh.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Cramer backed this bill.

      • POTUS_GTFO

        Ok? Watching this debate was informational. I did medaphoricly refer to my confusion on his stance. I would LOVE some clairity if you have it! I’m always ready to listen.

  • Lew

    Rob, you probably meant to write “peeking” rather than “peeing” through windows. Good laugh, though.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Ha, I did, long busy day, I’ll fix it.

  • jimmypop

    so youre against police helicopters and cameras on cop cars.

    what if a cop looks around and sees you in your back yard as they drive by? has she infringed on your rights just by looking?

    • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

      I don’t think it’s a problem of what you can see from the road. The problem is snooping around where there is an expectation of privacy.

      • RCND

        Precisely

      • jimmypop

        so, from 15 feet away, not an issue. from 10,000 feet, issue?

        plus, a cop in a car can see in my window. a jet at 10,000 feet wont have much of a line of sight. i think we need to ban cops in cars without a warrant.

  • JoeMN

    Honestly sir, I don’t know what you are talking about.

    I was just out snipe hunting

  • The Fighting Czech

    Jez…. you cant expect them to waste time on citizens Privacy issues…. or possibly some silly search and seizure issues…. damn it… its Raw milk…. thats a REAL problem… or how to hell to spend all that money before a bunch more comes rolling in… and dont forget, they have to figure out another excuse to take more every year… They can waste their time frivolousness civil rights issues…

    • the fighting Czech

      they cant waste their time…..

  • The Liberty Movement

    “If at first you don’t succeed, Try, try, try again.”

    If the statists can do it, so can we.

    • camsaure

      Let’s try it again with some new Senators(that are not RINOs).

      • SusanBeehler

        Start recruiting based on the record of vote only three Senators would be left standing Sitte, Kilzer, Larsen but than including the others who voted for part A then you would have a few more you could leave in office YEAS: Bowman; Cook; Dever; Lee, G.; Miller; O’Connell; and Sitte,Kilzer, Larsen.

  • joeb

    Well, any ladies with those nice, fenced back yards who might want to avoid tan lines…

    Somebody’s watching you….

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