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Legislators move to tackle drone use in the state

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Michigan legislators have introduced a number of bills to establish rules around how drones can be used in the state.

Two bills would establish no-fly-zones within one thousand feet of correctional facilities, police posts, and court buildings, a with a maximum penalty of up to a year in jail and a one-thousand dollar fine.

Democratic State Representative John Chirkun is a bill sponsor. He said it’s important for the state to set some rules around drone use.

“They’re getting more popular and with more and more doing that, they’re using them in all kinds of situations, there should be some basic laws.”

Democratic State Representative Patrick Green introduced the bill banning drones from bringing contraband into prisons.

“There wasn’t anything on the books about this and what we did was we made this a misdemeanor punishable by one year in jail, a one thousand dollar fine, or both. But we wanted to give the tool to the courts to allow the Department of Corrections to defend themselves against this.”

Green said the bill was developed after a drone was used last year to drop contraband into the Richard A Handlon Correctional Facility in Ionia.

Green said it’s important for the state to develop laws around how drones can be used.

“But we have had conversations with people about the individual rights of the user but how do we weigh that against the privacy rights of someone acting like a peeping tom with the thing?”

Green said it’s important for Michigan courts to have a legal structure for trying drone cases.