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Conn. lawmakers considering regulation of drones

AP Photo/Pedro Rivera

Connecticut lawmakers are scheduled to hold a public hearing this week, as they attempt to draft regulations for the use of drones.

States are limited in how they can regulate unmanned aircrafts. That's because national airspace is under the jurisdiction of the  Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA is currently working on its own regulations for drones, but states can restrict how police and other government employees use drones.

According to the Conference of State Legislatures, Connecticut is one of 30 states that hasn't passed some kind of drone law. Twelve states have limited how law enforcement can use drones, and seven states have criminalized the use of drones for non-government surveillance.

State Senator John Kissel, an Enfield Republican,  is co-chair of the Legislatures Program Review and Investigations Committee. It's holding a public hearing on  drones.  

"[They] can be as small as something that you hold in your hand, but they can be several pounds...and if they land on people, that could cause public safety issues. There's privacy issues. There's right to fly. There's law enforcement issues. There's a variety of things we're going to take into consideration," Kissel said.

Last May, an incident involving a drone at Hammonasset Beach in Madison drew some national attention. A woman was charged with assault after she confronted a teenager who was flying a drone above the beach.

In February, a journalist used a drone to record images of a car wreck. He filed a lawsuit alleging that Hartford police officers violated his free speech rights when they questioned his use of the unmanned aircraft.  

A drone bill failed to pass the Judiciary Committee last year.

The Legislature's Program Review and Investigations Committee plans to present its recommendations on the matter to the legislature in December.

The committee's public hearing is scheduled for Wed., Oct. 8.

This story contains information from the Associated Press.

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