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House panel OKs bill requiring warrants for drones

droneAn Arizona House panel has given initial approval to a bill requiring state and local law enforcement agencies to get search warrants before using unmanned aircraft to gather evidence in a civil or criminal case.

The bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Tom Forese of Chandler was prompted by civil liberties concerns raised by the possible use of drones by law enforcement agencies.

The bill contains exemptions allowing drone use without a warrant. One comes into play if the federal Department of Homeland Security determines drones are needed to prevent a terrorist attack. The other kicks in when swift action is needed to prevent an escape, evidence destruction or imminent danger.

The bill passed the House Commerce Committee Wednesday and now goes to the full House after a routine review.

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