Bill concerning lawful use of drones passes Senate committee

02/22/2018 01:21 PM

FRANKFORT – A bill which would detail permitted and prohibited uses of drones in Kentucky was unanimously passed by the Senate Standing committee on Judiciary on Thursday.

House Bill 22, sponsored by Rep. Diane St. Onge, R-Lakeside Park, is aimed at protecting the privacy of law abiding citizens, as well the airspace for piloted aircraft.

St. Onge told committee members that the bill is not aimed at citizens who lawfully use their drones.

“It allows for the recreational use of drones, it allows for commercial use, it allows for educational use on the postsecondary level and in the district schools, it allows for any legitimate business use,” St. Onge said. “There would be penalties that would be incurred for violation of either interfering with first responders, and there are penalties for violating regular flight.”

St. Onge says that the bill has the support of a number of governmental agencies and business entities, including the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s offices across the state.

KSP, the motion picture folks, the chemical industry, the railroads, and those who are concerned about the critical infrastructure are appreciative of the drone bill,” St. Onge said.

Take Back Kentucky moderator Richard Treitz expressed concern about language in the bill which would allow the military to fly drones which are armed with weapons.

“If the military wants to use armed drones at Fort Knox or Fort Campbell, that’s fine, let them go for it, but this exception, allows for armed drones to be used anywhere in the commonwealth,” Treitz said.

Committee chair Sen. Whitney Westerfield, R-Hopkinsville, told Treitz that the rules for drones laid out in the bill are no different than current unmanned military aircraft regulations in the commonwealth.

“Federal law governs where they can operate, we’re not trying to change that,” Westerfield said. “I think this fits nicely with it.”

HB 22 moves on to the full Senate for consideration.

Don Weber

Don Weber is a Video Journalist for Spectrum News and covers politics and education on Pure Politics, Kentucky’s only nightly program dedicated to state politics. Don is a lifelong Kentuckian and a graduate of Northern Kentucky University. He spent many years covering sports in the Northern Kentucky area before shifting primarily to politics. You can watch Don’s work weeknights at 7:00 and 11:30 on Pure Politics, available exclusively on Spectrum News, HD Channels 403 and 715. If you have a story idea you can reach Don at


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