St. Onge "disappointed" full Senate did not take up drone legislation during session; will pre-file bill for 2018 session

04/03/2017 03:43 PM

FRANKFORT — Expressing her disappointment in the upper chamber this session, Rep. Diane St. Onge, R-Lakeside Park, said she will again file legislation to regulate drone usage in Kentucky.

House Bill 291, cleared the House of Representatives on a 99-0 vote this session. The bill hit a speed bump in the Senate’s Judiciary Committee , but after working on the bill with lawmakers and law enforcement the legislation was not called for a full Senate vote in the final days of the session.

As St. Onge explains, she feels there was time to take up the bill, which has come before the General Assembly year-after-year, but for a variety of reasons the Senate never took action.

During the final days of the session there were also some potential misconceptions that the drone bill had been vetoed — however that was separate legislation — House Bill 540, which the General Assembly opted to override.

As House Bill 291 went through the Senate Judiciary committee in early march, one lawmaker, Sen. Danny Carroll, R-Paducah, a former law enforcement officer, had issues with part of the bill — so there were more tweaks made in the final month of session.

While expressing her disappointment, St. Onge said she would again push the bill forward in the 2018 legislative session.

St. Onge, the chair of the House Small Business and Information Technology Committee, has been working with a variety of business and law enforcement groups to strike a balance between privacy, business and law enforcement issues.

The groups working on the bill include: Amazon, UPS, Kentucky State Police, Kentucky Department of Aviation, Kentucky Homeland Security, Tourism Department, Kentucky Film and Digital Entertainment Association, Kentucky School Board Association, Insurance industries, drone businesses and the Kentucky chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.


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